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How to Host a Successful Garage Sale

The summer months are a popular time for families to move into new homes, as they want to get settled in before the new school year.

One way to ease the stress of moving is to get rid of unwanted household items before you start packing. It doesn’t make sense to transport items or clothes you haven’t touched in years to your new home.

Not only is it a waste of time spent packing and unpacking, but it is also a waste of money because professional movers often charge by the size of the load they are transporting.

One of the best ways to quickly get rid of unwanted stuff is to hold a garage sale. In one day, you can ease your packing burden and make some money for things you no longer use. As the saying goes, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”

To hold a successful garage sale, here is a list of things you will want to do:

Go through your house, including the garage, attic, basement and closets. Organize things into groups: what you think might have value to someone else and would sell, what is in good condition but should be given away, and what is no longer useful to anyone and needs to be thrown away.

Check with city hall to see if your community requires permits for garage sales, and take the necessary steps to obtain one. Find out if you are allowed to hang signs on telephone poles, light posts, or street signs to advertise the sale. Many communities have regulations for how far in advance you can hang signs, and when you need to take them down. If signs are allowed, make clear, readable signs that includes the times, dates and address of the sale, and attach them securely. You might want to laminate the signs to protect them from the effects of rain or other inclement weather.

Advertise your sale in your local newspaper, either in the printed version or on the paper’s website, or both. You can also post information about your sale on Craigslist, an online classifieds website where people can list items for sale for free. There may be other opportunities to promote your sale online such as community blogs or email listservs.

Let your friends know about it on social media. Post a status about your garage sale on Facebook and upload a picture along with it to advertise to your friends what sorts of things you are selling. Post a tweet advertising what where and when your garage sale is to let your friends know when they should stop by.

Start your garage sale early on a weekend morning. Bargain hunters hit the streets early, and you’ll miss out on possible sales if you set up late.

Mark prices clearly on all items and price things reasonably. Don’t get caught up in sentimentality — your object is to get rid of things and make a little money, not to score big profits.

Place all similar items together, and make sure all sets are contained in bags.

Have plenty of quarters and dollar bills on hand to make change and it’s helpful if you have plastic bags and newspapers available to wrap purchases.

After the sale, contact local charities to donate the unsold items and other things you’ve marked to give away. Some charities will send a truck by to pick up your donations, particularly large items like furniture and appliances. Remember to get a receipt from the charity so you can deduct the donation on your income taxes.

On moving day, you’ll be grateful for the extra work you did ahead of time. And when you move into your new house, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at all the storage space you have.

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Storm Response for Homeowners

With the recent bad weather in the area, SSHBA Member GAF would like to provide you with some tips for your roof.

 

Detailed Roof Inspection Checklist

Here are a few tips to follow when assessing storm-related damage. If you do find damage, be sure to call a local, reputable roofing contractor right away. After storms, you may receive solicitations from unfamiliar contractors looking for work. To find reputable, factory-certified contractors in your area, visit the GAF contractor locator at: www.gaf.com/roofing/contractors.

INSIDE: Begin in the attic, if it’s accessible, during the daytime.

OUTSIDE: You may be able to see most, if not all, of your roof from ground level. Walk around your house, examining the roof for these signs of damage.

UP THE LADDER: If you are comfortable climbing a ladder and the weather conditions allow you to do so safely, you can get a better look at your roof up close.

Insider Tips For Getting Your Contractor’s Best Work

Get local referrals. There is less chance of disappointments when you choose a contractor from your community.

Look for manufacturer designations. The contractor must pass certain minimum requirements to be factory certified. Only 2% of roofing contractors are recognized as GAF Master Elite® Contractors.

Research Better Business Bureau (BBB) ratings. GAF Master Elite® Contractors are required to maintain satisfactory ratings with the BBB in order to retain their certification.

Dealing With Your Insurance Company

Once you choose a contractor, it is likely that they will recommend you call your insurance company and file a claim. In most cases, your insurance company will send out an insurance adjuster to evaluate the damage and work with you to resolve the claim. Most insurance adjusters are experienced with many elements of a home’s construction, but may not be roofing experts or have the ability to climb on your roof, so it may be a good idea to have your GAF factory-certified contractor meet your adjuster at your home.

Defend Against the Next Storm with a GAF Roof. Find a Local GAF Representative here… www.gaf.com

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Summer Living on a New Front Porch

Outdoor living spaces are an “essential design trend” for homes nationwide, according to judges for the Best in American Living Awards, an annual National Association of Home Builders competition, and continue to be on many home buyer and renters’ must-have lists in 2014. Adding a front porch to your home has become increasingly important, whether you are remodeling or selling your home.

The front porch was described as a “transitional space between the private world of the family and the public realm of the street,” by Andrew Jackson Downing, a well known 19th century landscaper. While the purpose of a porch may have evolved from a place to drink sweet tea and gossip to a place where families sit to enjoy a meal or the sunset together, the fact still remains that a porch is an essential and desired feature for many home owners.

Here are some things to think about when planning the construction of your new porch.

Size

The porch is an accessory, so it shouldn’t overwhelm the main structure of the house. It should, however, be large enough to look like part of your home instead of an afterthought. Think about what you want to use your porch for. If you envision dining al fresco with your family during warm-weather months, you will want a porch that is at least 8-10 feet deep to accommodate a good-sized table and chairs. However, if you just want to place a loveseat or a couple of chairs on your porch, somewhere around 6 feet deep should be sufficient.

Location

If your home has the flexibility, the side of your home your porch is on is important. A south-facing porch will take advantage of the sun’s heat, but could also get uncomfortable during the summer. If the idea of cocktails at sunset is appealing, place your porch facing west. Early risers may want maximum light to read the paper and sip coffee with an porch facing east.

Don’t forget about accessing the porch from the home, and what design impact that may have on the interior rooms. For example, you may want to install French or sliding glass doors from the living room or kitchen to create an entrance to the porch.

Features

To ensure aesthetic continuity, try to use the same materials to build your porch as are used in the home, especially the exterior surfaces. This includes coordinating millwork and other design motifs so that your new porch looks like a continuation of the rest of your home.

You should also take into account any other factors that could affect the enjoyment of your new porch. Consider installing screens if you live where there are lots of flying insects, or glass windows so you can extend the use of your porch into cooler months. If you plan to use the porch during the night hours, make sure you install either sufficient lighting or outlets for lamps. A ceiling fan is a good idea to make the space more comfortable in warm temperatures.

Use social media for some inspiration. Pinterest will have some great ideas of ways you can decorate your porch, and of how to make it look more inviting. If you aren’t ready to decorate your porch right away, pin the pictures to your board and come back to them later. Instagram is also another resource you can use to get ideas of how to stylize your new porch.

Before you know it, you and your family can begin to relax and enjoy the summer season from the comfort of your new porch—or have an attractive feature to offer to buyers.

Magnolia Place - Plan 2 Gold Award for Detached Home 2001-3000 sq ft, Home Built for Sale

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Finding Design Ideas for Your Remodeling Project

You want to change the look and feel of your house, but you also want your remodeling job to look fresh for a number of years and complement the existing features of your home. How do you choose the right project and design for you and your family?

Woman looking at design samples

First, take your family’s lifestyle into account when selecting an area of your home to remodel. For example, if you get a lot of traffic through the house, consider hardwood floors. Families who frequently entertain in the kitchen may want to expand the room and add an island or some comfortable chairs. If your bathroom is the place where you escape the world, add a whirlpool tub or a deluxe shower.

After you’ve chosen an area of your home to remodel, the wide array of project options can be both dazzling and intimidating. To get started, consult the resources below, which can give you specific ideas on how to turn your house into the dream home you’ve always wanted.

TV Shows: There are an increasing number of shows and channels focused on decorating and simple home improvement projects to more complex remodels or home makeovers. For example, HGTV features projects that evolve from start to finish on shows like “Buying and Selling” and “Curb Appeal”; check your local television guide for listings.

paint samples

Magazines: Magazines that cater to home improvement, lifestyle and remodeling can be an excellent source of ideas. Page through publications such as Dwell, Home, House Beautiful, Better Homes and Gardens, Southern Living, Coastal Living, Food and Wine, Country Living, Ladies’ Home Journal and Good Housekeeping to identify projects and materials that might work in your home. Additionally, you can request a wide range of free or inexpensive literature by completing the mail-in coupons inserted in such publications.

Websites/Blogs: Surfing the Web is a great way to find fresh ideas and to research projects. Many remodelers, manufacturers and magazines host websites that feature project photos, buying guides and product information. Web directories such as the NAHB Remodelers Directory can help you find professional remodelers in your area. Other sites such as Pinterest and Houzz have extensive photo collections for inspiration. And, an increasing number of DIY and design blogs created by homeowners themselves can also provide inspiration for simple projects you can do around the house.

Couple Looking at Blueprints

Sketches and Floor Plans: No two remodeling projects are the same, but you can gain some insight into how another homeowner solved a space problem by carefully studying sketches and floor plans. If, like most people, you are easily confused by plans and drawings, imagine yourself in the middle of the room or space on the plan.

Books: Browse a bookstore with a well-stocked home improvement section, but beware of books telling you to be your own remodeling contractor. Most remodeling projects call for a level of skill and work hours beyond those stated in these books. The job of a professional remodeler requires experience and competence in a wide range of disciplines, and unless you are highly skilled and licensed in all the trades, you can quickly get in over your head.

Newspapers: Most newspapers publish regular sections devoted to real estate, home design and remodeling. Also, twice a year — usually in the spring and fall — many papers print special home improvement supplements. Each of these sections contains timely articles and useful advertisements on remodeling, home improvement, repair and maintenance.

Installing Window

Friends, Family and Neighbors: Do you know someone who has recently remodeled their home in a style you admire? He or she may still have product manuals, magazines and other helpful information you can borrow, as well as practical advice drawn from his or her own experience.

Remodeling Professionals: One of the advantages of choosing a remodeler early is gaining access to an extensive library of resources prior to starting a project. Once you’ve chosen a contractor, he or she usually can offer you a wide variety of materials, including product manuals, magazines, brochures and blueprints.

Manufacturers and Suppliers: The most obvious place to find information about new products and how to use them is on manufacturers’ Web sites and in magazine ads. Lumberyards, hardware stores and other suppliers also can be valuable sources of information. Many suppliers now offer home planning centers, where you can browse comfortably among the following:

  • Plan books
  • Product manuals
  • Sourcebooks
  • Building tips
  • Magazines
  • Brochures
  • Directories of local remodelers and builders

Find more information on planning your remodeling project or to find a professional remodeler in our Remodeling section.

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How to Live with Your Remodeling Project

Remodeling your home is uniquely different from building a new one. With remodeling, your home becomes the worksite. You live side by side with the project from start to finish. Once construction begins, you’ll probably long for simple pleasures like a dust-free home or a fully functioning kitchen or bath. But the end result will be well worth these inconveniences.

home remodeler sawing wood

Here are some tips to help minimize the stress involved with a remodeling project.

 

Open the Lines of Communication

Consistent and open communication between you and your remodeler will enhance your understanding of the project, provide an opportunity to exchange ideas, and ultimately help to make the experience a positive one for everyone involved. To facilitate this process, you need to:

  • Determine who you and your remodeler should contact for daily decisions or an after-hours emergency. For example, your contact may be the lead carpenter for the job, while the remodeler’s contact could be your spouse.
  • Designate a backup for each contact person to assure continuity in anyone’s absence.
  • Create a place in your house where the contact persons can leave messages for each other (a securely anchored notebook is a good idea since it is less likely to disappear).
  • Speak up. If you are uncertain about any aspect of the project, be sure to let the contact person know.

 

Prepare for the Pre-Construction Meeting

One way to ensure the success of your project is to plan for and actively participate in a pre-construction meeting. This allows your remodeler to clarify procedures and explain how the job will progress. It also offers both you and your remodeler an opportunity to prepare for those issues that may arise later. You should think of this meeting as a forum for all participants to define their expectations and agree on the anticipated outcome.

Some of the issues you may wish to cover at this meeting include:

  • Will you allow your remodeler to place a company sign on your property? Remember that in addition to being a marketing tool, signs help contractors and suppliers locate your home.
  • What areas of your home will be off limits to workers?
  • Does your house have an alarm system? Will workers need a key or will someone always be there?
  • How will you ensure that your children and pets stay out of the work space?
  • How will trash removal be handled? Where will the remodeler locate the dumpster on your property?
  • Does the remodeler anticipate any interruptions of utilities during the project? If so, when and for how long? At certain stages of construction, the project may affect basic household necessities like water and electricity. Will you need to vacate the house at any time?
  • What are your expectations regarding clean up? Will sweeping be sufficient for a daily cleaning, or will you need a more thorough cleaning in order to use the space?
  • You should also use the pre-construction meeting to establish guidelines for the remodeling crew working on the project.
  • What times will workers begin and end work at your home? Be sure to consider the neighbors as well as household members.
  • Where can workers park near the jobsite?
  • Will you allow workers to use your phone for local business calls?
  • Will bathroom facilities in your home be available to workers?
  • What is the remodeler’s policy on smoking on the jobsite?
  • What is the remodeler’s policy on the use of profanity? If you are especially sensitive to this issue, you should let your remodeler know.
  • Will you allow workers to play music at a reasonable volume? Is there any type of music that you do not want played?

 

Prevent Remodeling Fever

The train-station atmosphere of a remodeling project can lead to remodeling fever. The main symptom of this temporary affliction is feeling a loss of control that results from disrupted routines and the impact on your personal space. The best way to prevent this fever is to prepare well, remember that “this too shall pass,” and focus on the progress being made. A few other suggestions from remodeling pros:

Prepare for inconvenience. A remodeling project can turn your home and — on some days — your life upside down. A kitchen remodel will, of course, affect meal planning. But a little ingenuity and some culinary shortcuts can lessen the impact. Set up a temporary cooking quarters by moving the refrigerator, toaster oven, and microwave to another room. Arrange a dishwashing station in your laundry room. If the weather is warm, fire up the grill and dine alfresco.

Designate a safe haven. Find at least one place in your home where you can escape from the chaos and commotion.

Guard against dust. During a remodeling project, dust has the unfortunate tendency to appear everywhere from lampshades to plates stacked inside your kitchen cabinets. To keep out as much dust as possible:

  1. Seal off doorways and stairs;
  2. Turn off central air or heat when workers are sanding and stock up on extra filters so that you can change them often;
  3. Have deliveries made though a designated entrance;
  4. Use doormats and temporary floor coverings where appropriate;
  5. Remove anything that might get damaged by the dust or at least cover it with plastic drop cloths that are taped shut.

Maintain a sense of humor. Remember that certain things are out of your control and it’s best to laugh rather than upset yourself about things like the weather or delayed delivery of materials.

See the remodeling process as an adventure. Tell the kids that you are “camping in” and transform inconvenience into fun. Along the way, celebrate as different stages of the project are completed.

For more information on choosing a professional remodeler and managing every phase of your remodeling project, be sure to visit our homeownership section.

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Home Buyer’s Dictionary

ARM? GPM? PITI? You’d have to be a cryptologist to figure out some of the terms buyers encounter during the home buying process. Doing research on how to buy a house before beginning the process can greatly improve your experience and prepare you for the exciting course ahead. And with this glossary of home buying terms at your side, you can rest easy that your new home won’t get lost in translation.

  • Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM). A loan whose interest rate is adjusted according to movements in the financial market.
  • Amortization. A payment plan by which a borrower reduces a debt gradually through monthly payments of principal and interest.
  • Annual Percentage Rate (APR). The annual cost off credit over the life of a loan, including interest, service charges, points, loan fees, mortgage insurance, and other items.
  • Appraisal. An evaluation to determine what a piece of property would sell for in the marketplace.
  • Appreciation. The increase in the value of a property.
  • Assessment. A tax levied on a property or a value placed on the worth of property by a taxing authority.
  • Assumption. A transaction allowing the buyer of a home to assume responsibility for an existing loan on the home instead of getting a new loan.
  • Balloon. A loan which has a series of monthly payments (often for 5 years or less) with the remaining balance due in a large lump sum payment at the end.
  • Binder. A receipt for a deposit paid to secure the right to purchase a home at terms agreed upon by the buyer and seller.
  • Buydown. A subsidy (usually paid by a builder or developer) to reduce the monthly payments on a mortgage loan.
  • Cap. A limit to the amount an interest rate or a monthly payment can increase for an adjustable rate loan either during an adjustment period or over the life of the loan.
  • Certificate of Occupancy. A document from an official agency stating that the property meets the requirements of local codes, ordinances, and regulations.
  • Closing. A meeting to sign documents which transfer property from a seller to a buyer. (Also called settlement)
  • Closing Costs. Charges paid at settlement for obtaining a mortgage loan and transferring real estate title.
  • Conditions, Covenants, and Restrictions (CC and Rs). The standards that define how a property may be used and the protections the developer has made for the benefit of all owners in a subdivision.
  • Condominium. A home in a multi-unit complex; each purchaser owns an individual unit, and all the purchasers jointly own the common areas, such as the surrounding land, hallways, etc.
  • Conventional Loan. A mortgage loan not insured by a government agency (such as FHA or VA).
  • Convertibility. The ability to change a loan from an adjustable rate schedule to a fixed rate schedule.
  • Cooperative. A form of ownership in a multi-unit complex; the purchasers own shares of the entire complex rather than owning individual units.
  • Credit Rating. A report ordered by a lender from a credit bureau to determine if the borrower is a good credit risk.
  • Default. A breach of a mortgage contract (such as not making monthly payments).
  • Density. The number of homes built on a particular acre of land. Allowable densities are usually determined by local jurisdictions.
  • Downpayment. The difference between the sales price and the mortgage amount on a home. The downpayment is usually paid at closing.
  • Due-on-Sale. A clause in a mortgage contract requiring the borrower to pay the entire outstanding balance upon sale or transfer of the property. A mortgage with a due-on-sale clause is not assumable.
  • Earnest Money. A sum paid to the seller to show that a potential purchaser is serious about buying.
  • Easement. Right-of-way granted to a person or company authorizing access to the owner’s land; for example, a utility company may be grated an easement to install pipes or wires. An owner may voluntarily grant an easement, or in some cases, be compelled to grant one by a local jurisdiction.
  • Equity. The difference between the value of a home and what is owed on it.
  • Escrow. The handling of funds or documents by a third party on behalf of the buyer and/or seller.
  • Federal Housing Administration (FHA). A federal agency which insures mortgages that have lower downpayment requirements than conventional loans.
  • Fixed Rate Mortgage. A mortgage whose interest rate remains constant over the life of the loan. The payments are not necessarily level. (See Graduated Payment Mortgage and Growing Equity Mortgage).
  • Fixed Schedule Mortgage. A mortgage whose payment schedule for the life of the loan is established at closing. The payments and interest rate are not necessarily level.
  • Graduated Payment Mortgage (GPM). A fixed-rate, fixed-schedule loan which starts with lower payments than a level payment loan; the payments rise annually over the first 5 to 10 years and then remain constant for the remainder of the loan. GPMs involve negative amortization.
  • Growing Equity Mortgage (Rapid Payoff Mortgage). A fixed-rate, fixed-schedule loan which starts with the same payments as a level payment loan; the payments rise annually, with the entire increase being used to reduce the outstanding balance. No negative amortization occurs, and the increase in payments may enable the borrower to pay off a 30-year loan in 15 to 20 years, or less.
  • Hazard Insurance. Protection against damage caused by fire, windstorm, or other common hazards. Many lenders require borrowers to carry it in an amount at least equal to the mortgage.
  • Housing Finance Agency. A state agency which offers a limited amount of below-market-rate home financing for low-and moderate-income households.
  • Index. The interest rate or adjustment standard which determines the changes in monthly payments for an adjustable rate loan.
  • Infrastructure. The public facilities and services needed to support residential development, including highways, bridges, schools, and sewer and water systems
  • Interest. The cost paid to a lender for the use of borrowed money.
  • Joint Tenancy. A form of ownership by which the tenants own a property equally. If one dies, the other would automatically inherit the entire property.
  • Level Payment Mortgage. A mortgage whose payments are identical for each month over the life of the loan.
  • Mortgage Broker. A broker who represents numerous lenders and helps consumers find affordable mortgages; the broker charges a fee only if the consumer fins a loan.
  • Mortgage Commitment. A formal written communication by a lender, agreeing to make a mortgage loan on a specific property, specifying the loan amount, length of time and conditions.
  • Mortgage Company (Mortgage Banker). A company that borrows money from a bank, lends it to consumers who want to buy homes, then sells the loans to investors.
  • Mortgagee. The lender who makes a mortgage loan.
  • Mortgage Loan. A contract in which the borrower’s property is pledged a s collateral and which can be repaid in installments over a long period. The mortgagor (buyer) promises to repay principal and interest, to keep the home insured, to pay all taxes, and to keep the property in good condition.
  • Mortgage Origination Fee. A charge by a lender for the work involved in preparing and servicing a mortgage application (usually 1 percent of the loan amount).
  • Negative Amortization. An increase in the outstanding balance of a loan when a monthly payment is not large enough to cover all of the interest due.
  • Note. A formal document showing the existence of a debt and stating the terms of repayment.
  • PITI. Principal, interest, taxes, and insurance (the 4 major components of monthly housing payments).
  • Point. A charge of 1 percent of the mortgage amount. Points are a one-time charge assessed by the lender at closing to increase the interest yield on a mortgage loan.
  • Prepayment. Payment of all or part of a debt prior to its maturity.
  • Principal. The amount borrowed in a loan, excluding interest and other charges.
  • Property Survey. A survey to determine the boundaries of your property. The cost will depend on the complexity of the survey.
  • Rapid Payoff Mortgage. (See Growing Equity Mortgage).
  • Recording Fee. A charge for recording the transfer of a property, paid to a city, county, or other appropriate branch of government.
  • Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA). A federal law requiring lenders to provide home buyers with information about known or estimated settlement costs. The act also regulates other aspects of settlement procedures.
  • R-Value. The resistance of insulation material (including windows) to heat passing through it. The higher the number, the greater the insulating value.
  • Sales Contract. A contract between a buyer and seller which should explain, in detail, exactly what the purchase includes, what guarantees there are, when the buyer can move in, what the closing costs are, and what recourse the parties have if the contract is not fulfilled or if the buyer cannot get a mortgage commitment at the agreed-upon terms.
  • Settlement. (See Closing).
  • Shared Appreciation Mortgage. A loan in which partners agree to share specified portions of the downpayment, monthly payment, and appreciation.
  • Tenancy in Common. A form of ownership in which the tenants own separate but equal parts. To inherit the property, a surviving tenant would either have to be mentioned in the will or, in the absence of a will, be eligible through state inheritance laws.
  • Title. Evidence (usually in the form of a certificate or deed) of a person’s legal right to ownership of a property.
  • Transfer Taxes. Taxes levied on the transfer of property or on real estate loans by state and/or local jurisdictions.
  • Veterans Administration (VA). A federal agency which insures mortgage loans with very liberal downpayment requirements for honorably discharged veterans and their surviving spouses.
  • Walk-Through. A final inspection of a home before settlement to search for problems that need to be corrected before ownership changes hands.
  • Warranty. A promise, either written or implied, that the material and workmanship of a product is defect-free or will meet a specified level of performance over a specified period of time. Written warranties on new homes are either backed by insurance companies or by the builders themselves.
  • Zoning. Regulations established by local governments regarding the location, height, and use for any given piece of property within a specific area.
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Questions to Ask Your Home Builder

Group with blueprintWhen you’re thinking about buying a new home, selecting the right home builder is a key step in creating the home of your dreams. You should feel comfortable asking a potential home builder every question that you think is important. And, a professional builder or sales representative will want to make you a happy and satisfied home owner.

Besides the questions of “How much does it cost?,” and “When can we move in?,” here are some other questions you should ask:

  • Will the builder give you references of recent buyers/occupants?
  • Does the builder have a financing plan established?
  • Are there options in the floor plan — for example, can a basement or deck be added?
  • Can a room such as the basement be left unfinished?
  • How much “customizing” can be done versus standard features?
  • Can appliances be up- or down-graded?
  • Are there any additional fees relating to the home or development?
  • Will there be a home owners’ association? If so, what will the dues cost and what do they cover?
  • Does the builder offer a warranty program?
  • Does the price include landscaping? What if the plants die within a year?
  • Are there any restrictive covenants?
  • What are the estimated taxes on the property?
  • How is the school system rated?
  • Are day care and grocery stores convenient and satisfactory?
  • What about emergency facilities — police, fire department and hospitals?
  • Are there any major development plans for the area in the next five years?
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Concrete Building Systems

From driveways and walkways to segmental retaining walls and pools, concrete has been an essential home building material for the past century. Recently, concrete construction has risen to new heights. With increasingly unpredictable weather in some areas and rising costs in heating and maintenance, concrete has quickly becoming a primary building material for many homes.

And it’s no surprise the trend is sticking. Concrete homes offer solid, disaster-resistant construction, greater comfort and security, lower energy bills, lower maintenance, as well as a home that is healthier to live in and easier on the environment.

Eco-Friendly

Concrete and masonry wall systems conserve energy using thermal mass and reduced air infiltration. The insulation barrier offered by most concrete wall systems reduces drafts and keeps a more even temperature throughout the house. These factors create a tight thermal building envelope, which can cut heating and cooling bills by more than 30%. Plus, concrete is lauded for being made with a combination of recycled and natural products, and for producing less waste.

Healthy Home Option

The inert properties of concrete provide a good alternative for those concerned about unhealthy airborne solvents and product residues from other common building materials. The concrete, insulation and steel in a concrete wall system are much more mold- and insect-resistant than traditional wood studs, joists and wall sheathing.

Durable and Secure

Concrete homes are extremely durable. Most are able to withstand fires, rains, floods and hurricane-force winds with minimal or no structural damage. Many insurance companies offer lower premiums for fire-resistant concrete constructed homes.

Homes built with insulated concrete walls effectively buffer the home’s interior from the outside. The weight and mass of the concrete can reduce the amount of external noise entering the house by as much as two-thirds.

Save Time and Money

The cost of the basic components of concrete — cement, water, sand and aggregate — are more stable than the cost of framing lumber. While lumber prices can fluctuate wildly, concrete costs have remained steady in recent years, allowing for greater planning and financial forecasting.

Concrete construction boosts profits by increasing the speed of construction and completion times, reducing workplace theft and virtually eliminating call-backs. Insurance costs for concrete builders may also be lower.

Free E-Brochures

Click here for more information about concrete homes. Once you have completed the form at the bottom of the webpage, you will have access to our library of downloadable e-brochures in PDF format. The BSC staff and our membership will send additional information to you in the future about the systems of interest to you.

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Custom Homes

 

Custom Homes

Custom homes stand out from the crowd. They are one-of-a-kind, upscale creations that come with luxury upgrades and unique architectural design.

In addition to flexibility in home design and architecture, buyers typically choose their ideal location and environment. As a result, custom home design often incorporates elements of the local landscape, whether that is a view of the ocean, a natural stream, or the distinct colors and plants of a desert landscape.

Differences between Custom & Production Homes

While production builders build communities by restricting design to a group of preselected home types on lots they have picked and purchased themselves, custom builders tend to build on land owned by the customer and start fresh with each design.

Production builders typically construct a large number of homes throughout the year; these may offer a variety of options, but production builders generally do not use construction plans other than the ones selected by the building firm. Custom builders spend more time on each project and often work on fewer than 10 homes a year.

Waterfront Hideaway custom home

Architect Joel Turkel of Turkel Design and the building team at My House Design created the Gambier Island House, using a design from Lindal Cedar Homes. Perched on a hill overlooking the waterfront in British Columbia’s Gulf Islands, the custom builders used careful planning to integrate the home with its lush forest atmosphere. The home’s sleek design, use of green building techniques and connection to nature earned the home a spot as a finalist in the 2012 Best in American Living Awards. Photo: Lindal Cedar Homes.

Trends

Green Building

Concern for the environment is growing among U.S. households—and so are energy costs. Because of this, many custom builders are embracing green building techniques. Features like solar panels, water-saving appliances, insulation to improve heating efficiency and the use of renewable or recycled building materials are all popular techniques to improve a home’s efficiency. Custom builders allow buyers to include a wide range of green products and give them the opportunity to weigh each cost and benefit to create a home that is stylish, comfortable, but also eco-friendly.

New Amenities

Today, home owners like to see features that will improve their lifestyle through health, entertainment or comfort. In this way, custom homes really set themselves apart from the competition. Yoga studios, resistance pools and fitness rooms can be added to encourage healthy living; game rooms, theaters and even a bowling alley can be added for fun; and for comfort, breezy, screened-in porches or warm hearths can make your home feel cozy and welcoming.

Custom amenities are also taking a turn to the world of tech. In a world where there’s an app for everything, buyers are beginning to expect a custom home to do more and be “smarter.” Nowadays you can control many features in your home using a phone, including energy usage, security systems, lighting and even the music playing in each room.

Multigenerational Living

Whether it’s aging parents moving in with their adult children or young adults living back with mom and dad, multigenerational households have specific needs when it comes to a home.

Custom builders are seeing an increasing need to tailor homes to this lifestyle. A recent Pew Research Center study shows that 39% of adults ages 18 to 34 have had to move in with their parents. In the same year, the U.S. Census reported that 4.3 out of 76 million households were made up of at least three generations.

Multigenerational families often build homes that include the traditional mother-in-law suite or even feature a locked-off living space within the home. These apartment-style spaces can have their own kitchenette, full bathroom and living areas to provide a sense of privacy and independence.

Universal Design

As the country grows older and many baby boomers look to retirement, Universal Design (UD) features are an ever-growing priority for many custom buyers and builders. UD is used to ensure that features like wider doors, lower countertops and fewer stairs are used to create a home that everyone can enjoy comfortably. An accessible home allows owners to age in place, prolonging their ability to stay in the house independently and can also increase value by opening the market to any future buyer, despite age, stature or ability.