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The Not-So-Obvious Benefits of Buying a New Home

The Not-So-Obvious Benefits of Buying a New Home

 

Home buyers have the choice of two types of houses on the market: resale or new.

Home buyers planning to buy a brand-new house or condominium often cite energy efficiency, open layout, a warranty, and being able to select appliances, flooring, paint colors and other design elements as factors driving their choice.

But builders say that buyers can be drawn to a new house for reasons that aren’t so obvious. Here are a few more benefits of a brand-new home that you may not see in the sales brochure.

Building a Community Together

A brand-new community is one of the built-in benefits of many new homes. When families move in to a subdivision at the same time, they often form lasting bonds of friendship and neighborliness right away. Nobody is the “new kid on the block,” and many home builders host community parties in new developments to help owners meet and connect.

Popular amenities like pools, walking trails and tennis and basketball courts offer additional opportunities for interaction among neighbors of all ages. Often new communities are comprised of home owners in the same stage of life, such as young families or active retirees, so neighbors can get to know each other through carpools, PTA meetings, tennis matches or golf games.

Entertaining

Throwing a party in an older home can be a challenge because smaller, distinct rooms make it difficult to entertain guests in one large space. Today, new home layouts feature more open spaces and rooms that flow into each other more easily. While you are preparing dinner, you can still interact with guests enjoying conversation without feeling closed off. The feeling of spaciousness in today’s new-home layouts often is enhanced with higher ceilings and additional windows that bring in more light than you would find in an older home.

A Clean Slate

or some buyers, parking the car in a sparkling-clean garage or being the first to cook a dinner in a brand-new kitchen is part of the appeal of new construction. In addition, you won’t have to spend time stripping dated wallpaper or repainting to suit your own sense of style — creating your own home décor from the get-go!

The advantages of being the first owner extend to the outdoors. Instead of inheriting inconveniently or precariously placed trees, or having to tear up overgrown shrubs, you can design and plant the lawn and garden you want.

Outlets, Outlets Everywhere

Homes built in the 1960’s and earlier were wired much differently than houses today. Builders had no way of anticipating the invention of high-definition televisions, DVRs and computers that we enjoy today — and the very different electrical requirements they would introduce. New homes can accommodate advanced technologies like structured wiring, security systems and sophisticated lighting plans, and can be tailored to meet the individual home owner’s needs.

Anyone who has ever lived in an older home can also attest to the fact that there are never enough outlets, inside or out! Today, home builders plan for the increased number and type of electronics and appliances used by today’s families, so you can safely operate a wine cooler, Christmas lights and your laptop — and more.

 

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Open Floor Plans Remain a Top Pick for Consumers

Open Floor Plans Remain a Top Pick for Consumers

Whether looking for a new home or revamping a current residence, home owners continue to be drawn to the feelings of spaciousness, easy flow and welcoming togetherness evoked by an open floor plan.

 

Pioneered in the early 20th century, open floor plans remain popular today, according to a recent survey from the National Association of Home Builders. The survey found that 70 percent of buyers want a kitchen-family room area that is either completely or partially open, with 32 percent wanting it completely open.

 

And owners of existing homes are choosing to open things up, too. Remodelers reported that 40 percent of their projects involve opening existing homes’ main floors by removing interior walls entirely or by using countertops, cut-throughs or archways, rather than full walls, to define separate areas in a more open way.

 

Main floors with few or no interior walls between areas for cooking, eating, relaxing and entertaining allow cooks to chat with family members or guests, provide easy flow for entertaining and enable parents to keep an eye on children from different areas.

 

Open floor plans not only maximize space and flow, they optimize natural light. Windows serve more than their immediate area, illuminating the entire space.

 

With the increasing focus on accessible design, open floor plans meet another of today’s needs— with fewer doorways, they are easier to navigate in a wheelchair or with a stroller.

 

To find a builder or remodeler in the Southwest Suburbs of Chicago, contact the SouthWest Suburban Home Builders Association or visit sshba.com.

 

Illinois-Brick

Increasingly Affordable Rooftop Solar Boosts Home’s Value

Increasingly Affordable Rooftop Solar Boosts Home’s Value

 

Once seen as a pricey alternative for only the most committed environmentalists, rooftop solar electric systems have quickly gained popularity among value-conscious home owners.

 

Today, 1.3 million homes and businesses have solar systems, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association, and in 2016, solar was the top source new electric generating capacity in the United States.

 

The cost of solar panel systems has decreased dramatically – more than 60% in a decade. Federal and state incentives, along with Energy-Efficient Mortgages (EEMs) – which factor in lower energy costs when calculating how much a buyer qualifies to borrow – have helped home owners see the value of investing in this renewable technology.

 

As more and more home buyers are looking for both new and existing homes that offer solar power systems, home appraisers are incorporating the value of a home’s green features – including solar power systems – into their appraisals.

 

That means that installing solar panels now will not only help you save on your electric bill, it may make your home more valuable when you are ready to sell.

 

And, if you don’t like the look of traditional solar arrays, you can now buy solar-powered rooftop shingles that blend seamlessly into your existing roof.

 

If you’re considering installing solar panels on your home, here are a few things to keep in mind:

 

  • Calculate how much energy your household uses now – and will use in the future.

Before installing solar panels, you need to know your household’s energy usage now and figure out how that will change in the future. A young family can expect their usage to increase as the family grows, while families with older children may see their consumption decrease as their kids leave home. Talk to your solar installer about these changes so that they can determine the system that’s right for you.

 

  • You will still receive a bill from your power company.

Although your solar panels produce energy for your house, you are still using the electric grid for some of your electricity and will receive a monthly electric bill. Check with your local power company to learn how they will calculate your bill. Some electric companies allow solar customers to sell any unused excess solar power to the grid for a credit on their monthly bill.

 

  • Check out the incentives in Illinois.

A database of solar energy incentives such as tax credits and grant programs is available at www.dsireusa.org. Click on Illinois to see a list of incentives that may make rooftop solar even more affordable.

 

  • Protect your solar power investment.

Before your solar panels are installed, learn about the different types of warranty coverage offered by both the panel manufacturer and the panel installer. Manufacturers typically offer 20- or 25-year warranties, while solar installers offer shorter warranties for their work. It’s important to understand who is responsible for the various components of the system.

 

After the system is installed, you’ll want to protect this major home investment, too. Talk to your home insurance provider about adjusting your property insurance to ensure the panels are covered from any damage caused by fire, storms, etc.

 

For more information on installing solar panels in the southwest suburban area , contact the SSHBA at 708-349-4242.

 

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Much to Celebrate About Home Remodeling

Much to Celebrate About Home Remodeling

 

Home owners remodel their homes for many different reasons, with an eye toward their own enjoyment as well as the eventual resale value.

 

Some want to give new life to a house with an out-of-date floor plan. Baby boomers who want to stay in their homes as they age — as well as younger home owners who are looking ahead — want to enhance accessibility. And, many home owners want to add sustainable home features that also save money on utility bills.

Open up to new spaciousness

Open floor plans remain as popular as ever, and more and more home owners are choosing to take out an interior wall or two to make the space feel larger and more connected.

Remove a wall between the kitchen and a formal dining room and the newly opened space can breathe new life into the entire floor. Natural light enters from more directions and family members working in the kitchen or eating at the counter can interact with others watching television or doing homework. Entertaining takes on a new ease, as friends can gather and move about more freely in the space.

Design for aging in place

Enhancing your home to better accommodate aging in place can also be an upgrade in style, ease of use, and comfort for everyone.

A bathroom upgrade where luxury meets universal design might include a large walk-in shower with zero-threshold, a built-in teak bench or tile corner seat, and multiple shower heads, including a waist-high sprayer.

 

A new kitchen island may add an eye-catching look and adaptive conveniences with multi-level countertops of an easy to maintain, durable and attractive material such as engineered quartz, a deep drawer for dishes and another for the microwave, and a sink with hands-free faucet.

 

Going green

Remodeling your home can not only fulfill your family’s dream of a more comfortable and stylish home, but depending on the upgrades you choose, you can also realize savings on utility costs, improve air quality for better health and strengthen the long-term value of your home.

 

Some of the top upgrades that can make a home more energy efficient include putting in high-efficiency windows and low-flow water fixtures, replacing appliances and water heaters with ENERGY STAR®-rated models, increasing or upgrading the quality of insulation, and installing a high-efficiency HVAC system that is appropriately sized for the area that is to be heated or cooled.

 

To learn more about remodeling or to find a remodeler in your area, contact the SouthWest Suburban Home Builders Association or go to www.sshba.com.