Hire home improvement help with new site

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- A new website is helping you take the headaches out of home improvement.

If you're thinking of tackling odd jobs around the house but you need some help, Porch.com is here to help. From painters to plumbers, Porch allows users to rate 48 different types of pros they have used around the house.

"You just type in your address and you search for the type of pro that you're looking for. Then you're going to see a map of all the pros in your area and all the jobs in your area too," said Porch Houston representative Erin Hill.

If you are a company seeking new business, potential clients can send you a message through the website letting you know they need your services.

When Eyewitness News stopped by AAA Auger Plumbing in Houston, business manager Kenneth Wade received a Porch lead directly on his phone.

"Actually I just got one about 10 minutes ago. I got an email and it comes straight on my phone with a new Porch lead. I see the email and I can give the customer a call right now," Wade said.

Almost immediately after sending the request on Porch, the user received a call from Wade and he sent a licensed plumber to her home that afternoon free of charge.

"Just now, she was surprised that we can actually get someone out there to her today," Wade said.

To make sure the right pros are being sent to your house, Porch vets the businesses as they list themselves on the site.

"We pull in a bunch of data. Some of it is the BBB rating. We also look at Yelp reviews and pull those in. And we verify all the licenses. Any licenses that are put on the site are verified by us," Hill said.

Porch has even partnered with Lowe's stores to help you complete any job that their contractors cannot help with. Lowe's associates will pull up Porch.com in stores to help you find someone to complete the work you need done.

Porch's mission is to help you love where you live, and their website has several features that can help. After browsing photos of home improvement projects in your area, you can add the ones you love to your personal scrapbook.

"If I really like this bathroom or maybe this is exactly what I'm looking for, I can put this in my scrapbook and keep it on Porch. If I'm more of a Pinner, I could put it on my Pinterest profile too," Hill said. "These are real life jobs that you can actually have done in your home. And there are people in your area who can do them!"

Once you complete projects with Porch's help, the site will create a home report that follows the home's address. No matter how many times the house is sold, homeowners can keep in contact with the pros who are familiar with the home.

"One of the coolest things you can do is claim your home. You'll get a home report which is going to show you all the jobs that have been done over time, even before you bought the home," Hill said.

Porch is now a national website, allowing you to find pros all over the country. If you own property out of town or need to find help for relatives in a different area, Porch can help. Creating a log-in on Porch.com is completely free to do.

Houston Permit Information

Permit for an addition:

Permits in Houston require a list of documents that are listed here, including cost of the project, drawn plans, and an assessment on floodplain interference.

To check on the floodplains: http://www.gims.houstontx.gov/PortalWS/MainPortal.aspx

Permits can be purchased by owner, agent or contractor. More info here.

The city of Houston does not require any specific licensing, nor does the state of Texas. This is in regards to general contracting. Specialized projects like electric and HVAC work do require licenses in both Texas and the City of Houston.

For a list of permit fees, click here.

Permits are good for 180 days after they are granted, but can be extended. Click here for more info.

Painting Permits
Painting is not required to have a permit

Tree Service and Removal
Trees are permitted to be removed by seeking permission from the City of Houston, you can reach out to that department at dale.temple@houstontx.gov

Unincorporated Harris County
Permits must be submitted through the county. Applications available here.

Asking for Neighbors Permits
Inquiries about your neighbor's building would be done with the City of Houston.
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