Managing Your Insurance Policy

During the construction of your home, home owners insurance will cover most of your risk but you are asked to grab a builders risk policy due to the possibility that a contractor breaks something or they open the roof and a leak sets in -- the good news is you will only pay for the length of the time you're using it. As soon as you close the extra policy you will no longer be charged.

A contractor carries a general liability insurance and workmans comp insurance but a contractor will give you a certificate of additionally insured but a homeowner should get their own insurance during the length of the construction project.

In order for a contractor to pull a permit the building department needs to have all of a contractors paperwork in order otherwise a contractor cannot pull a permit but there's no way for a contractor to know if a homeowner has done their own due diligence.

A bonus item Josh shares are the details regarding a certificate of occupancy that must be processed before you can live in your home regardless of how many other items you have done properly.

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How To Get Financing and Living At Home During Renovation

Either you want to purchase a home and want to renovate the home or you currently own the home and want to tear it down and build it anew.

If you own the own home a bank will loan you, in most cases, up to 80% of the value of your home. Your LTV or loan to value will depend on the current value of your home but no more than 80% of your home's current value.

A cheaper way to do it is to get a HELOCK (home equity line of credit) with is essentially a second mortgage on the home. You will only pay for the money that you're using.

There are construction loans that banks can offer but they will pay the builder directly and the contractor will have to sign an acquisition form at the bank.

The good news is you have options, as far as New York is concerned.

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How To Stay Within Budget

From downloading a template online to outline what you intend to spend on -- getting an exact amount of the raw materials is possible if you know what type of material you're looking to invest in when building and designing your home because you can get a kitchen counter for $10,000 or $2,000 depending on the materials.

Putting together a fantasy list prior to getting a quote is the best move to avoid surprise fees afterwards because you can always take items off to save money but doing it the other way around can become costly very quickly.

From over a decade of work only one person Josh has worked with has gone only $700 over budget and that was a patent attorney who was having his home built -- 

If you think your budget is $350,000, keeping in mind contractors supply labor and some materials but they may not provide windows or tiles but often they will only include labor and installation and give you a slight credit for the materials.

So when putting together a budget keep in mind materials you'll need in addition to labor and factor in overages such as last minute additions to a work order and each professional you've hired to get the project completed from Architect to Space Planner, Interior Designer etc.

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(Cont.) The Nitty Gritty Details

From night lights, walk lights to exterior lights and even under the counter lighting Josh Rubenstein takes you through the finer details of choosing lighting for you home and what the benefits of each type are -- Not to mention covering the basic rules behind wall outlets and how they have to be apart every four or six feet. Josh also shares why he’s a fan of custom closets especially for home in cities like New York because it essentially removes the need for a lot of furniture. Josh also goes into his insights on smart homes and the installation priority for those items that are Bluetooth capable in the grand scheme of building your home. You’ll get a lot from this episode that will ensure you don’t forget to add items into your home before it’s too late in the game. Taking you from top to bottom inside and out.

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The Nitty Gritty Details

Here’s your crash course Harvard education for building a home from the costs associated with each item to what the first three steps are in the process. This begins to cover the point where you're ready to start construction. Josh Rubenstein will cover items like what to watch for when creating foundations for your home that involve your neighbor via a process called Shoring that keeps your property lines from falling into each other. Also, Josh covers what type of piping you’re allowed to use legally if you’re in New York City for your home. Expect to learn about the different types of insulations available like the fiberglass or spray foam.

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(Cont.) When Choosing an Architect

Going directly to a contractor will save you time and money according to Josh Rubenstein--Architects can potentially see you as a one off project if you’re going to them directly whereas a relationship with a contractor like Josh can potentially mean a variety of projects which is financially promising to an Architect which will bring a better deal for anyone working with the contractor. Josh also goes on to breakdown why not going to a contractor first can force this experience of building or designing your home a second job.

From hiring and managing space planners and interior designers in addition to working with an Architect Josh makes it easy to see why going to a contractor first is your best bet but also arms you with the know-how you need to do it on your own if you want to.

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When Choosing An Architect

From what states require an architect to file a plan -  Josh Rubenstein covers the basics regarding hiring an architect.
Some of the details covered also include what to expect when you go straight to an architect and what they will actually provide for you when you purchase their services.

Josh also reveals that in New York City you do have to be a registered architect to engage the services of an architect --


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(Cont.) When Choosing A Contractor

Finding out if the contractor is gonna be taking responsibility for violations or stop work orders.

How stop work orders affect workflow and timelines. How the building department can give violations to the homeowner or to the contractor.

What type of warranties should you expect from your contractor--Also, Josh Rubenstein will cover whether you should consider hiring your friend or family who does plumbing versus using the contractor. Finally, how often you should be in touch with your contractor and if you should meet up at the job site.

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When Choosing A Contractor

How to make sure a contractor's licensed and other requirements that vary by city and state with a focus on how specifically New York City and the surrounding boroughs operate.

Josh includes insights on going to the New York City department of buildings and typing in the name of the contractor to verify their legitimacy -- Going to the better business bureau to tell if there are filed complaints.

Josh Rubenstein also covers his best advice when it comes to preparing a payment schedule that works in your favor when working with a contractor-- again Josh arms you with the know-how you need to do it on your own if you want to and he shows you how you can make your life easier by not doing it on your own.

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You Might As Well Syndrome and Meeting Josh Rubenstein

One of the biggest expenses in your life is worth getting educated about and Josh Rubenstein wants to share his Harvard Education level experience in the business with you -- From eight story condo buildings to residential family homes Josh shares an overview of 14 years in building homes.


Most important to Josh is that you become aware of You Might As Well Syndrome, where you as a buyer decide to continue adding in changes and upgrades into your original proposal because you may as well add it while you're in the middle of building your home.


Tune in and start your journey so that by the time you're done listening to this podcast you'll be better prepared to build and design your home.

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