3221 Harrison Pike Chattanooga, TN 37406 Phone (423) 624-9992 | Fax (423) 624-9435
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Local News and Information

Picture yourself hosting a gathering at your home during the holidays. The mental image you conjure most likely includes some delicious food, festive music and a roaring fire in the fireplace, right?

 

Building a fire creates a cozy atmosphere and adds an element of elegance. But whether yours is a wood-burning or gas-burning fireplace, each requires maintenance to ensure it is safe to use. So before you light a match or ignite the pilot light, consider the following:

 

Gas Fireplaces

 

A gas fireplace provides the comfort and style of a wood-burning unit, but they are more efficient and require far less maintenance. “Low-maintenance” does not mean “no-maintenance,” however, so it is best to have your gas fireplace inspected and adjusted by a professional on an annual basis.

Vented gas fireplaces expel exhaust gases (mainly water vapor and carbon dioxide) outside your home without a chimney. If your gas fireplace is vented, the flue or vent should be closed when the fireplace is not in use. And regardless of whether yours is a vented or ventless fireplace, it should never produce a gas odor (different from a burning smell). The smell of gas could indicate a problem. Immediately turn off the gas and report the problem to the gas company.

 

Wood-Burning Fireplaces


Hiring a professional chimney sweep at least once every one to five years (depending on how often you use it) is the best way to ensure it is safe to use. If you are in a newer home with a fresh air vent to supply the fireplace with combustion air, open it and the damper before you light your fire. Then remember to close both when you are not using the fireplace so warm air does not escape in the winter and cool air will not escape in the summer.


Building and Extinguishing Fires


A wood-burning fireplace should be equipped with andirons (or a grate) and a well-fitted screen. Fires should always be built on the andirons or grate — not directly on the fireplace floor. Seasoned hardwood is the best fuel. Do not burn pine logs in your fireplace, as they contain a tar that can accumulate in the chimney and become a fire hazard.


You should never leave a fire unattended for an extended period of time, and always ensure the fire is put out when you are finished enjoying it. To properly extinguish a fire in a wood-burning fireplace, begin by using your fireplace poker or shovel to spread out the wood and embers into a flattened mound. After the flames die out, cover the cooling wood and embers with a few scoops of ash. Once the fire is completely extinguished, you can sprinkle a thin layer of baking soda over the wood to ensure no embers are burning.

 

For more fireplace safety and home maintenance advice, or to find an appropriate contractor in your area, contact the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga at www.hbagc.net or 423-624-9992.


Two members of the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga HBAGC) were recently elected to positions with the Home Builders Association of Tennessee. During HBAT’s Fall Meeting of the Membership in Memphis, Ethan Collier was elected 2018 Vice President – Secretary and Jay Bell was elected Southeast Region Area Vice President.

 

Collier, founder and president of Collier Construction in Chattanooga, becomes the first HBAT Senior Officer from Chattanooga in 34 years. He will become Vice President – Treasurer in 2019 and assume the presidency of the 2,600 member statewide association in 2020. Collier is currently the Chairman of the Chattanooga/Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission, past President of HBAGC and has served on a number of local non-profit organizations.

 

For Collier, it was a rapid ascension from various local non-profit positions to the top of the HBAT ladder.

 

“It’s been a great learning experience every step of the way,” Collier said. “Being able to meet and connect with so many different people from the all corners of the state has been both fulfilling and challenging. I’m extremely proud of our local home builders association and the effort it has put into growing and becoming more involved at the state level. It’s very humbling to be elected to a statewide leadership position and serve our industry and membership.”

 

Bell is a second-generation builder in Chattanooga and Hamilton County and owns Bell Home Builders. As Southeast Region Area Vice President, an office Bell has held for the past two years, he will represent local home builder associations in five different areas – Chattanooga and Hamilton County, Warren County, Cumberland County, South Central and the Ocoee Regional Builders Association.

 

“It’s a tremendous honor to be reelected by my peers at the state meeting,” Bell said. “Now, more than ever, our local associations need to work together and help each other out in order to best promote and protect our industry. I’m looking forward to continuing this service over the next two years and doing everything I can to support our builders, associates and affiliate members.” 
 


Top 4 Reasons to Pursue a Career in Construction

Mike Croxall, President
Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga


As the home building industry celebrates Careers in Construction Month in October, we’re sharing the top four reasons to consider a rewarding career in residential construction.

 

Diversity of Skilled Trades to Consider
A home builder relies on a number of highly trained workers to get the job done right. This includes dozens of skilled artisans and professionals, including carpenters, architects, engineers, plumbers, electricians, painters and landscapers. Analysis from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) shows that 70 percent of builders typically use between 11 and 30 subcontractors to build a single-family home. Indeed, there are many different trades you can pursue depending on your personal interests. 

 

Job Opportunities Across the Country
As the housing market continues to strengthen, home builders across the country and here in Chattanooga and Hamilton County are seeking skilled workers — such as carpenters, framers and roofers — to help them build the American Dream. This means there is ample opportunity for motivated students seeking a rewarding career path.

In fact, the residential construction industry is one of the few sectors where demand for new workers is rising. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and NAHB analysis, the number of open construction sector jobs (on a seasonally adjusted basis) increased to 232,000 in July 2017.

 

Jobs Satisfaction and Competitive Salaries
Residential construction workers consistently express high job satisfaction. And average salaries in Chattanooga and the surrounding area remain competitive with other industries in our area. For example, a career in residential construction can bring annual salaries in the $40,000 or more in a number of different skilled labor areas.

 

Rewarding Career without College Debt
At a time when countless college graduates are finding themselves underemployed and saddled with crushing student debt, it’s important to know that earning a college degree is not the only road to success. A vocational education is equally rewarding and can be obtained at a fraction of the cost.


Considering a career in residential construction? Contact the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga at 423-624-9992 or visit its website at www.hbagc.net.
 


How to Hire a Quality Contractor
By Mike Croxall
President, Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga

 

Chattanooga-area home owners are fortunate to have such a wide variety of quality, professional contractors in the area, but everyone should still take steps to avoid the trouble that comes with hiring a disreputable contractor. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind:

 

Price and payment
• Don’t get pressured into signing a contract immediately. You should not be told that you need to sign a contract that day or risk a price increase.
• Paying a deposit of anywhere from 20 percent to 50 percent is common, however, you should not be asked to pay the full cost in advance, before work begins.  
• Make sure you’re comfortable with the payment options. You should not be asked to pay cash to a salesperson instead of a check, money order or credit card to a company.

 

References
• Confirm that the contractor has a verifiable mailing address for his business.
• Check the Better Business Bureau, www.bbb.org, to ensure the business doesn’t have any unresolved complaints.
• Ask the contractor for references for past work and be sure the references can be reached.
• Check out the business on consumer review sites such as Angie’s List, HomeAdvisor, Houzz, etc. Remember, it’s important to take the good with the bad when reading online reviews.

 

Contract and completion
• Be cautious of anyone that tells you that “a contract won’t be necessary.” Insist on a complete and clearly written contract signed by you and the contractor.
• Ensure that the final payment is not due until the job is completely finished and you are fully satisfied with it. Find out if any of the work requires city or county inspection, and make sure that is done and you have paperwork to prove it before you make the final payment.

 

Following these guidelines will help you select a contractor who will do quality work, and stand behind it. To learn more about finding a reliable contractor with an established business in our community, contact the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga at (423) 624-9992 or visit online at www.HBAGC.net.
 


A Snapshot of New Home Constructions Costs

Mike Croxall

President, Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga

 

If you’re in the market for a new home, you may be wondering about the factors that contribute to the total cost of the home. The National Association of Home Builders recently published a Cost of Construction Survey, which details the various costs of building a typical new single-family home. Many of the results show that costs have remained consistent in recent years.

 

According to the survey, the biggest single component of a home’s price is construction costs, which accounts for 62 percent of the cost. The cost of the finished lot is the second largest factor at 18.2 percent. 

 

Survey respondents broke down construction costs into eight major construction stages: 

  • Interior finishes: 30 percent
  • Framing: 18 percent
  • Exterior finishes: 15 percent
  • Major system rough-ins: 13 percent
  • Foundations: 11.6 percent
  • Final steps: 6.8 percent
  • Site work: 5.6 percent
  • Other costs: 0.5 percent

 

The survey reaffirms the steady progress of our economy since the Great Recession, as home values have gradually risen. And, in each year since 2009, the size of single-family homes has grown as well. The average home in 2015 had 2,802 square feet of finished space, compared to 2,402 in 2009.

 

The size of the lot has increased significantly, too, jumping to 20,129 square feet (nearly half an acre) in 2015, from 14,359 square feet just two years ago.

Though building practices and the cost of labor, land and materials can vary widely across the country, these national averages provide an encouraging snapshot of the building industry and our nation’s housing recovery. The upward trend of home buyer confidence and home price appreciation is inspiring more and more consumers to build the home of their dreams.

 

To learn more about the home building process in the Chattanooga area, visit the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga at HBAGC.net visit nahb.org for more information. 

 


Open Floor Plan Remains Top Pick for Consumers

 

Mike Croxall

 

President, Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga

 

Whether looking for a new home or revamping a current residence, home owners in the Chattanooga area 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 are still 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.

 

Owners of existing homes are choosing to create open spaces, 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 Greater Chattanooga area or North Georgia, visit the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga at HBAGC.net


Increasingly Affordable Rooftop Solar Boosts Home’s Value

Mike Croxall

 

President, Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga

 

 

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 in and around Greater Chattanooga. 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 the Chattanooga area.

A database of solar energy incentives such as tax credits and grant programs is available at www.dsireusa.org. Enter your zip code 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 Chattanooga and surrounding counties, visit the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga at HBAGC.net.

 


Much to Celebrate About Home Remodeling

By Mike Croxall

President, Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga

 

People remodel their homes for many different reasons, with an eye toward their own enjoyment and 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.

 

As the home building and remodeling industry celebrates National Home Remodeling Month in May, one this is clear — home owners are taking their wish lists to professional remodelers to make them happen.

 

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, visit the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga at HBAGC.net. 


Multigenerational Households Continue Strong Growth

By Mike Croxall

President, Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga

 

 

After increasing dramatically during the Great Recession, the formation of multigenerational households shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, a record 60.6 million people lived in multigenerational homes in 2014, according to a Pew Institute analysis of census data.

 

This means that nearly 20 percent of the U.S. population lives in households consisting of two or more adult generations. There are many reasons for this trend, reflecting both economic realities and cultural preferences.

 

The recession caused many adult children to return home after college, either because they weren’t able to get jobs that would cover rent, or they wanted to save up to buy homes of their own. Significantly, living with parents was the most popular housing option for adults ages 18 to 34 in 2014, according to the Pew Institute.

 

For many ethnic and immigrant groups, multiple generations of a family living together is a common cultural custom. The country’s growing Asian and Hispanic populations helps contribute to the formation of multigenerational households, too.

 

However, Pew research shows that multigenerational households are increasing in popularity with nearly all racial groups, as well as all age groups and with both men and women.

 

Multigenerational households also form so that grandparents can help take care of their grandchildren, and as they age, their children can care for them. This type of arrangement can ease financial burdens as well, with several generations contributing to the mortgage payment and not having to incur the expenses of childcare, retirement housing or professional care-giving environments.

 

Home builders and remodelers in the Chattanooga area are building and renovating homes to meet the needs of multigenerational households. These designs allow many generations of the same family to live together under one roof yet have private areas as well as combined living space.

 

Features of multigenerational home plans can include in-law suites within the main home with separate areas for independent living. These often have kitchenettes and en suite bathrooms, and sometimes private entrances from the street. They frequently include "universal design" features and products, which focus on maximum usability by people of all ages and abilities. Examples include wider hallways, walk-in showers, smooth flooring transitions, and cabinets with pull-out drawers.

 

Building professionals who have earned the National Association of Home Builders’ Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS) designation have received training on how to build or renovate a home so that the occupants can live in the home safely, independently and comfortably, regardless of their age or mobility level. They have been taught the strategies and techniques for designing and building aesthetically pleasing, barrier-free living environments. While most CAPS professionals are remodelers, an increasing number are general contractors, designers, architects, and health care professionals.

 

To learn more about multigenerational home plans or to find a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist in Chattanooga and surrounding areas visit Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga at HBAGC.net or go to nahb.org/capsdirectory.

 

 


New Homes Benefit More Than Just Buyers and Builders

Mike Croxall

President, Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga

 

National New Homes Month, observed every April by area home builders, highlights the far-reaching positive impact of new residential construction on families, businesses and services throughout our Chattanooga-area community.

 

According to economists at the National Association of Home Builders, the one-year estimated local impacts of building 100 single-family homes in a typical metro area include $28.7 million in local income, $3.6 million in taxes and other local government revenue, and 394 local jobs.

 

But what does that economic impact mean in the real, day-to-day lives of community residents?

 

Just think about it. When a family moves to a community and buys a new house, they will likely shop at local stores to buy furniture and accessories to decorate the home. They will fill their car’s gas tank at local gas stations so they can get to the stores, have local mechanics work on the car when it breaks down or needs the oil changed, or buy a new car at a local dealer when it’s time to replace the old one.

 

The family may need to hire local companies for regular services to maintain their home, such as landscaping, house cleaning, pet sitters or pool upkeep.

 

The children will enroll in local schools. This increases enrollment, meaning more teachers, janitors, cafeteria workers and other school support staff will need to be hired. Those kids will also join sports leagues and other activities, buy equipment and pay registration fees that provide stipends for referees and coaches.    

 

All this economic activity puts income into the pockets of local business owners and their families, who can then afford to go out and spend money, themselves, which recycles even more dollars into the community’s economy.

 

The new owners also pay local and state taxes. These tax revenues help fund a wide range of government services, including school teachers, police departments, trash collection, parks maintenance and road repairs.

 

Over the long term, as the families who move into new homes become part of the community, their positive impact continues. NAHB estimates that those 100 new homes also provide the community with additional, annually-recurring impacts of $4.1 million in local income, $1 million in taxes and other revenue for local governments, and 69 local jobs.

 

Families who buy a newly built home enjoy benefits including safety, amenities, energy efficiency and floor plans to fit a modern lifestyle. But the advantages of new homes extend far beyond the buyers and the builders—residential construction has a positive, direct impact on the local community for years.

 

To learn more about the home-buying process or to find new homes for sale in the Chattanooga area, go to www.HBAGC.net


7 Simple Ways to Boost Curb Appeal

By Mike Croxall

President, Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga

 

Springtime in Chattanooga is the perfect time to invigorate your home’s façade. Even if you aren’t trying to sell your home, and merely want to spruce it up, there’s a definite benefit to enhancing and preserving your home’s curb appeal.  

 

Exterior upgrades consistently rank among the best home improvement projects for their strong return on investment. That’s because many of these strategies are fairly simple and relatively affordable solutions.   

 

But all homes are certainly not alike. While some are in need of large-scale improvements like a re-paved driveway, for example, yours might benefit most from some colorful flower beds and a fresh coat of paint.

 

The first step is to assess your home’s appearance, but this time, look at it from a home buyer’s perspective. Try to pretend you’re seeing it for the first time, and then make a list of which characteristics stand out immediately, and which ones you want to highlight.

 

To help get you started, here are some areas to evaluate:

 

         Clutter – Getting rid of any excess items and lawn ornaments is a great place to start. Stow away—or consider throwing away—old furniture, bikes, knick knacks or any other personal items visible from the front yard that do not add to the aesthetic of the home.

 

         Digits – Possibly the simplest project on the list is to upgrade the address numbers on your home, especially if they might be considered too small, dated or broken. Installing larger, bolder numbers can instantly make the home seem more modern.

 

         Illumination – A dimly lit walkway is not only dangerous, it’s also uninviting. Pathway lighting products are available in a wide variety of designs and price ranges, but even some of the more economical options can be visually appealing at night.

 

         Grime – You might think a heavy rainfall is like a shower for your home, when in fact, it’s probably only making things dirtier. Invest in (or rent) a high-powered pressure washer and give your driveway, front steps, walkways and vinyl siding a once over. You’ll be amazed by how much cleaner they can get.

 

         Paint – A fresh coat of paint on the front door, garage door and window trim can make a huge difference. However, if your front door has seen a lot of use and abuse over the years and it’s beyond repair, it might be time to have it replaced. A new door can be sometimes be costly, but it’s a surefire win when it comes to instant curb appeal, especially if you select a bold color. 

 

         Grass – If you’re looking to sell your home in the near future, having a well-maintained lawn is critical. The National Association of Realtors studied which outdoor features are most appealing to prospective buyers, and having a nice lawn was at the top of the list.

 

         Landscaping – Before you start planting your flowers this year, go online or consult a landscape architect for some new ideas to freshen things up. One suggestion is to install flower boxes under windows, which will make your home look much more warm and welcoming.

 

Boosting your home’s curb appeal doesn’t have to consume all your spare time and your spare cash. While some projects are certainly bigger investments than others, some of the most effective tactics require little more than some good old-fashioned elbow grease.

 

For more suggestions about improving your home’s appearance, visit Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga at HBAGC.net


Get Your Home in Shape for Summer

By Mike Croxall

President, Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga

 

The fitness levels of many of us tend to wane during the fall and winter seasons, and then a renewed motivation comes each spring as we endeavor to get ourselves “beach ready.” Similarly, a home endures a variety of harsh elements during the winter months, and springtime is a great opportunity to get it back into shape.

 

The spring maintenance to-do list can be quite long for some in the Chattanooga region, but the good news is that many of the items on the list can be completed—or at least initiated—by the home owners themselves. The following are a handful of critical areas to assess as you prep for the warm weather ahead.

 

Air Tightness. Take a look at all of your windows and doors for drafts and air leaks. Caulk any seams and re-glaze windows if needed. It’s a good idea to clean all of your windows, inside and out, including the screens. Replacing any worn weather-stripping around doors will help keep cool air in the house and your electric bills down.

 

Air Quality. Consider hiring a professional to clean your ducts where dust and air-borne particles are likely to build up. Spring is also the ideal time of year to inspect your fireplace and chimney. Look around for visible cracks, nesting animals or other signs of damage. Use this opportunity to have a professional chimney sweep clean your chimney, check it thoroughly and make any necessary repairs.

 

Energy Efficiency. Spring is a great time to service your air conditioner. Don’t risk having it break down in the middle of a summer heat wave. A small amount of time spent cleaning the unit and nominal investment in professional maintenance now could save you days or weeks of suffering this summer.

 

Water Damage. Inspect the outside of your house to ensure proper drainage. Some key areas to examine include overhangs, awnings and exposed siding where snow and water tend to collect and cause materials to decay over time. If possible, venture outside during the next rainfall and observe how the rain rolls off your roof and down your gutters. The water should empty a good distance away from your foundation so that it doesn’t seep into your basement. 

 

Keeping gutters and downspouts clear of debris and in good working order will help eliminate water from pooling close to the house, which will not only cause damage but also attract insects like termites. Repairing leaky plumbing in and around crawl spaces, and properly ventilating those areas will help keep them dry and much less hospitable to insects.

 

General Safety. Check the condition of stair railings, steps and sidewalks around your home. Tighten any loose connections and smooth out cracks or ridges in the walkways. If your steps have settled or shifted, consult a professional to have them repaired. 

Focusing on these small jobs now will save you time and money in the very near future. They’ll also give you added peace of mind so that you can enjoy a safer, cooler and healthier summer. For more information about getting your home in shape for summer, visit Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga at HBAGC.net.

 

 

 


Growing List of Green Products and Practices Now Common in New Homes

By Mike Croxall

President, Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga

 

As the Chattanooga home building industry celebrates New Homes Month in April, recent research shows that single-family builders use an average of 10 different green products or practices with each new home they build.

 

That’s good news for the wave of consumers taking advantage of the spring home buying season to find a home that’s perfect for their lifestyle. And that makes it even more important to understand the many advantages of owning a newly constructed home.

 

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) asked builders in January about the green products and practices they use with homes they built during the past year. Among the most popular green products: low-e windows, high efficiency HVAC systems, programmable thermostats, ENERGY STAR appliances and energy-efficient duct systems.

 

The most common green practices include improving the home’s thermal envelope, using moisture-control measures to enhance durability and using efficient construction techniques to minimize material usage.

 

The survey also revealed that 22 percent of single-family builders always or almost always have their homes certified to a green standard.

 

Home buyers rank energy efficiency features among the most desirable things they want in a new home. But they also want the ability to select their favorite appliances, flooring, paint colors and other design elements to give their home a personal touch from the day they move in. 

Indeed, those characteristics are just some of the countless advantages of buying a new home. There are many other benefits of owning a new home that might be less obvious, but are often found to be just as valuable.

 

Strong Sense of Community

One of the built-in benefits of many new homes is the new neighborhood. When families move into a new community at the same time, lasting bonds of friendship and neighborliness often form right away. Many home builders will host community block parties in these developments to help neighbors of all ages meet and connect.

 

Ability to Entertain

Older homes are often smaller and therefore more challenging in which to host gatherings with friends and family. Today’s home builders are creating more open spaces with higher ceilings, larger windows and expansive great rooms for added convenience and modern living. 

 

A Clean Slate

When moving into a new home, you won’t have to spend hours stripping dated wallpaper or painting over an ugly wall color. There are no oil stains to remove in the garage, no windows to replace, no walls to be torn down. Everything is already just the way you want it.

 

Peace of Mind

Building standards have changed a great deal over the decades, almost as fast as technology has evolved. New homes can accommodate today’s advanced technology and be customized to meet the individual home owner’s needs. And knowing that the home was built to the latest safety codes gives the owner added assurance.

 

For more information on the benefits of a new home, visit Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga at HBAGC.net. 


Buyers Prefer New Homes in the Suburbs

By Mike Croxall

President, Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga
 

A majority of home buyers in the Chattanooga area prefer a new home to an existing one, and 65% want that home to be in the suburbs, according to new research and surveys conducted by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

 

The 2017 study, “Home Buyer Preferences: Age, Income, and Other Factors,” is based on a survey of recent and prospective home buyers, providing insights into what buyers are looking for and the trade-offs they are willing to make. 

 

The survey showed that preference for home size increases as income increases, with buyers in the $150,000-plus income bracket preferring homes just under 2,500 square feet.

 

Yet, no matter what the income, buyers overwhelmingly prefer having more features and amenities to simply having a larger home. More than two-thirds of buyers are willing to trade size for high-quality products and features.

 

In fact, in 2015, the typical new home had 2,689 square feet. In 2016, it dropped to 2,634, U.S. Census data show. That’s the first drop in size since 2009 and a sign that the home building industry is preparing for the coming wave of first-time buyers as millennials begin to dip their toes into the market. NAHB expects the size of homes to continue to decline as demand increases from first-time buyers.

 

Among the specific amenities that home buyers want, a separate laundry room tops the list of must-haves across all income groups. Energy-efficient features like low-E windows, Energy Star-rated appliances, ceiling fans and programmable thermostats are also at the top of buyers’ wish lists. Home buyers also want their homes to include a patio, exterior lighting and a full bath on the main level.

 

NAHB’s study complements new research from Better Homes & Gardens (BHG) that targets a subset of these home owners: “first millennials” between the ages of 22-39 who have purchased their first home. These buyers generally purchase older housing stock in need of fixing up. It’s not surprising that most of this subset wants to learn about home improvement and they aren’t afraid of taking on some DIY projects.

 

This group is already thinking ahead about building equity to enable them to purchase their next home. When that happens, they aren’t looking for oversized master suites or over-the-top finishes. They want mud rooms, separate laundry rooms and plenty of gathering space.

 

To learn more about how you can start building your dream home, visit the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga at www.HBAGC.net.

 

 


3 Questions to Ask When Looking for the Right Builder

 

By Mike Croxall

President, Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga

 

Though builders in Chattanooga and surrounding areas might generally use similar tools and materials when building homes, not all are alike when it comes to things like technique, training and customer service. Finding the right builder whose business approach aligns well with your personal preferences is essential to a pleasant home-building experience.

 

The builder will be asking you plenty of questions during your initial meeting to discuss the home you envision. But the questions you ask the builder are equally important to determine if it’s going to be a positive partnership. Consider asking the builder about the following:

 

Work Experience – You will want to find a builder with extensive experience building homes similar to the one you want. Ask to see examples of floor plans and designs they’ve done before to ensure their company can deliver what you need. You should also ask if they have or are working toward any professional designations, which show that the builder has advanced training in a particular area. A few examples of such designations include a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS), a Graduate Master Builder (CMB), and a Certified Green Professional (CGP).

 

References – Any high-quality builder should be ready to provide you with several names and phone numbers of satisfied customers. If they can’t, consider that a red flag and walk away. When reaching out to those former clients, ask about how well the builder followed through on the initial plans, and if the builder met their expectations regarding budget and timing. Don’t forget the most telling question of them all: If they could do it all over, would they hire that builder again?

 

Communication Style – Many builders will do their best to accommodate your communication preferences. But it’s always best to establish expectations as early as possible. The frequency (weekly, monthly, as-needed, etc.) and method (phone, text, email) of how you communicate early on with each other is something that will set the tone throughout the whole building process.

 

For more information about how to find the right builder to create your dream home, visit the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga at www.HBAGC.net.

 


Choosing the Right Professional to Help You Stay in Your Home

By Mike Croxall

President, Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga

 

While some home owners may dream about retiring to a tropical island or downsizing to a smaller home, an increasing number prefer to “age in place.” This means they want to continue living in their current home safely, independently and comfortably, regardless of age or limited mobility.

As waves of baby boomers begin to consider this phase of homeownership, many of them are seeking remodelers who specialize in making home modifications that create safer, more convenient living spaces. But many home owners aren’t sure where to find the most qualified person for the job. 

So as part of National Designation Month – when Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga and the National Association of Home Builders shine the spotlight on industry professionals who go the extra mile to attain advanced training and achieve specialized designations – we would like to specifically recognize the importance of those who are Certified Aging in Place Specialists (CAPS).

Professionals with the CAPS designation are helping home owners throughout our tri-state area identify practical and comprehensive aging-in-place solutions. Having been trained in the unique needs of older adults, CAPS remodelers and builders are well versed in a wide variety of techniques to enhance a home’s aesthetics, livability and value.

Some of the most common services CAPS designees provide to their clients include widening doors and hallways, installing brighter lighting, adding railings or grab bars to prevent falls, changing floor coverings to add traction to slippery surfaces, and installing ease-of-reach shelfing systems. These improvements, among many others, are often the difference makers that allow home owners to maintain their independence and stay in their current homes.

What makes the CAPS program even more impressive is that its graduates pledge to uphold a strict code of ethics, indicating they operate their business at only the highest level of professionalism. Additionally, the designation means they have committed to build upon their knowledge of the latest aging-in-place strategies by attending continuing education programs. They are also consistently engaged in a variety of community service activities.

Nearly 3,200 remodelers and home builders nationwide hold this esteemed designation, including many here in the Chattanooga region. Additionally, there are several other honorable designations that many of our local builders have achieved to better serve their clients. A few of these distinctions include:

 

·         The Certified Green Professional (CGP) – those who incorporate eco-friendly building principles into their work, without driving up the cost of construction.  

·         The Certified Graduate Builder (CGB) or Remodeler (CGR) – those who have several years of industry experience and possess advanced skills not only as a talented home builder or remodeler, but also as a trusted business manager. 

If you would like to find a builder in your area with the CAPS designation or any of the other highly regarded designations for builders, contact the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga at (423) 624-9992 or search an online directory at nahb.org.

 


New Year, New Looks for Your Home

 

Mike Croxall

President, Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga

 

It’s still early in the New Year, and you might be inspired to rejuvenate your home. You’re not ready to move walls or build an addition, but you’d like to breathe some new life into what you have. Here are a few easy updates you can do to make your house seem instantly new to you.

 

Paint a room’s trim. Refresh your main living space by painting the trim. Crisp baseboards and moldings go a long way to revitalizing the whole room. Bright white is a classic color that will complement any décor style.

 

Replace or recover a piece of furniture. Even one new living room chair or a reupholstered love seat can refresh a room’s look. A new coffee table or area rug will also help change a room’s appearance and serve as a new focal point. Or, even without new furnishings or upholstery, rearranging a seating group to face a different direction can breathe new life into the room. Consider hanging a wall mirror to create the sense of additional space around a cozy grouping of furniture.

 

Add fresh accessories. Pillows and throws can quickly change a room’s style by adding vibrant colors or calming neutrals, while also enhancing warmth and comfort. Ceiling-to-floor length drapes hung just outside a window’s width seem to expand the room up and out.

 

Make your home a little smarter. With a variety of economical smart-home hubs to choose from, it’s easier than ever to take that first step into the world of smart-home living. Look for a hub with do-it-yourself setup and no monthly fees. Download a free app, buy a few compatible lightbulbs and a smart outlet strip, and you’ll soon be able to remotely control several appliances within your home. From there, consider a smart deadbolt, garage door opener, home security system and/or thermostat.

 

Give a small bathroom a new character. Bright-colored walls or bold wallpaper patterns can really make a small bathroom pop. Colors and patterns that would be overwhelming in a larger room work like a decorative accent in the smaller setting. Or go the other way and make the bathroom an oasis of serenity with light blue-grey walls.

 

Look at lighting with new eyes. Is there an area that could use more light? A warmer glow? Add a lamp to a table in a dim corner to open up the room and show off the objects on the table. Pendant lights aren’t just for dining areas — a stylish pendant fixture hanging next to the arm of the sofa or guest bed is an object of interest as well as a source of light. In the kitchen, install LED strip lighting under cabinets where work surfaces below could use a little illumination.

 

For more tips on how to quickly and easily make your house new to you, contact the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga at 423.624.9992.

 


Simple Steps to Financing Your First Home

 

Mike Croxall

President, Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga

 

 

As the Chattanooga area continues to enjoy a growing economy and steady rise in consumer confidence, many first-time home buyers – including millennials – are gearing up to become home owners. Yet, the abundant amount of paperwork involved in the home financing process can intimidate even the most eager of prospective home buyers.


Fortunately, with advanced preparation and a personalized to-do list, new home buyers can easily stay on top of the financing process. You need to decide how much to spend on your home and which type of mortgage will work best for you, as well as understand the settlement process.

 

Before you visit a sales office, model home or open house, you should take advantage of the many sources that can help ensure you’re in the best possible financial situation.

 

Be Realistic About What You Can Afford

Figure out what you can comfortably pay on a monthly basis. Write down all your monthly expenses including loan payments, utilities, insurance, credit cards and don’t forget food, clothing and entertainment expenditures.

 

When determining the monthly payment that’s within your reach, remember that in addition to the monthly principal and interest, you will also be paying into escrows for property taxes, hazard insurance and possibly mortgage insurance or a home owners or condominium association assessment. Many real estate-focused websites have mortgage calculators that are a great way to figure out what your monthly payments would be based on current interest rates and down payment amounts. 

 

Pay Down Your Debts

Debt that you carry on your credit cards will limit the loan amount that your lender will approve. Lenders typically want to see a total debt service ratio that is less than 40 percent of your monthly income. 

 

Get Objective Advice

Attend a first-time home buying seminar or talk to a credit counselor who does not work for a lender. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) offers free housing counseling and seminars. You can find more information by visiting hud.gov or calling HUD's interactive voice system at (800) 569-4287. 

 

Pre-Qualify for Your Home Mortgage

To ensure the financing process goes smoothly, buyers should consider pre-qualifying for a mortgage and having a financing commitment in place before shopping for a new home. Buyers also may find that some home builders have arranged favorable financing for their customers or offer financial incentives.  Pre-approval also enables you to quickly make an offer when you find a home, and is attractive to sellers who are considering multiple offers. A lender’s pre-approval would still be subject to a final verification of your credit and a satisfactory appraisal.

 

Qualifying for a mortgage and saving for a downpayment remain primary obstacles to homeownership. To address these issues, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac offer low-downpayment mortgage programs geared primarily toward the first-time home buyer market. These lenders will now offer mortgages with 3% downpayments, allowing more creditworthy borrowers who lack the funds for a large downpayment to obtain a home mortgage.

 

After taking these steps to get your financing in order, finding your first home will be a much more enjoyable experience. For more information to help ease the first-time home-buying stress, contact the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga at 423.624.9992.

 


Top Design Trends for 2017

Mike Croxall

President, Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga

 

Curious about the latest home design trends making their way to the Chattanooga and North Georgia areas? At the start of each year, the Best in American Living Awards (BALA) recognizes dozens of new projects from this past year that featured the most innovative layouts and eye-catching design elements.

 

Among a wide variety of award-winning homes, several design trends are evident and will be sure to gain the attention of those who might soon be buying, selling or remodeling a home. Some of these trends include:

 

Modern farmhouse. Demand continues to rise for farmhouse sinks, repurposed wood siding for interior design details and barn doors customized for a more contemporary feel that incorporates glass, white tints and metal hardware.

 

Natural wood beams. From remodels to new homes, wood beams left in their original state add a natural touch and create a focal point in interiors. Also, this year’s BALA winners included several homes with natural wood ceilings which add warmth and can be used in either traditional or more contemporary designs.

 

Shiplap inside and out. Horizontal shiplap – or long, overlapping panels of wood – is an increasingly popular choice for exteriors and is also featured in entryways, stairwells and living rooms.

 

Board and batten.  Many BALA winners used this type of wainscoting either as exterior siding or to add a classic touch to today’s contemporary interiors. Some designs featured a unique spin by adjusting the width of the boards to create a more customized feel.

 

Repurposed space. Designers are increasingly utilizing the space under staircases for more than just storage. These areas are great for installing bookshelves, displaying art or creating a nook for pets. One BALA winner even included an entire bar under the living room stairs.

 

Prominent wine storage. Many new kitchens today include floor-to-ceiling wine storage with customized wine racks, glass doors and display lighting.

 

White on white. A long-standing trend remains intact, as many BALA winners featured a clean combo of white on white, most notably in kitchens.

 

Big showers and tubs. Showers keep getting bigger and free-standing tubs have become increasingly luxurious. Walk-in showers with wall-to-wall glass are the most sought after.

 

Metal roofs. A large number of new custom homes in regions across the country are favoring metal roofs. The trend isn’t solely among modern homes, but traditional homes as well.

 

For more information about the latest designs that could be incorporated within your home, or to find a builder in your area that can create the new home of your dreams, visit the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga at www.HBAGC.net. 


Best Bets for Happy Pets

Mike Croxall

President, Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga

 

Chattanoogans love their pets, and there are several ways you can show your pet how much they mean to you by incorporating certain design elements into your home. Many features will not only cater to your pet’s lifestyle, but they also can enhance your home’s appearance and add to its value.

Whether you’re looking to buy a new home, remodel your existing home or just need some inspiration for how to use your current space, here are a few ideas to get started.

 

Improving Comfort and Convenience

 

Designing areas within your home where your pet can eat, sleep and bathe tells them that they are just as much a member of the family as everyone else. And having these dedicated locations can also help reduce the amount of time you spend cleaning up after your pet.

 

   ·Built-in eating areas are among the most popular designs concepts for homeowners with pets. Beneath the kitchen counter, under an island or within a pull-out drawer are all great options to help save space and minimize spills.


   ·Custom nooks provide your pet with a quiet retreat to nap or play. Look for opportunities to incorporate these nooks beneath bay windows, or convert a cluttered crawl space beneath stairs into your pet’s private refuge.


   ·Pet-washing stations in laundry/mud rooms can significantly improve the cleanliness of your home. An enclosed tiled area with an extended faucet can be used to give your pet a full bath or simply to clean paws after a romp in the outdoors.

 

Selecting the Right Flooring

 

With the appropriate flooring, both you and your pet can live amicably without pointing fingers (or paws) at one another whenever a new scratch or a spill is discovered. Flooring options today are seemingly endless, and each type comes with varying levels of durability, so you’ll want to do your research as well as consult with a professional before making the investment. 

 

    ·Bamboo flooring is becoming increasingly popular, especially among pet owners, for its hardness and resistance to stains. And for those who are trying to be green, both bamboo and cork flooring are also good for the environment.

 

   ·Hardwood floors have long been among the most desirable options, though many different types of wood and finishes are highly prone to showing wear over time.


   ·Laminate, stone and tile floors might not be your best option if your pet’s comfort is a top priority. While they are much more durable and typically resist scratches better than other flooring, some pets will find them to be uncomfortably hard and exceedingly slippery.

 

To find a home builder, remodeler or designer that can help you make the best home design choices for your pets, visit the Home Builders of Greater Chattanooga at www.HBAGC.net.  


On October 18, NAHB President Ed Brady spent the day in Chattanooga and HBAGC

NAHB National President Ed Brady traveled to Chattanooga on October 18 to visit with HBAGC leaders, meet with local media representatives and address the HBAGC General Membership meeting and luncheon. One of the stops included a meeting with the Chattanooga Times Free Press editorial board. Below is a link to the story that appeared in Times Free Press on October 19.

 

http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/business/aroundregion/story/2016/oct/19/home-starts-have-long-way-go-associatichief-s/392957/


There are several upcoming HBAGC events that will provide interesting information and networking opportunities.

HBAGC NEWS


General Membership Meeting
Tuesday, September 20
Date: Tuesday, September 20th
Location: HBAGC Office
Time:  Lunch 11:30
Meeting 12:00-1:00
Cost: $10 lunch
Speaker: Charles Wood, Vice President of Economic Development                   with the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce

Mr. Wood Manages and coordinates all efforts related to economic development including business recruitment, existing business, and research. Serves as the Chamber's primary business recruitment officer.

RSVP to Nicole Gosciniak by September 16th.
Email: ngosciniak@hbagc.net
Call: 423.624.9992


HBAGC Golf Tournament


If you are interested in having a team or would like to golf as an individual complete the attached registration and return to the HBAGC office. Click here for Golf Registration.

Looking for a great way to connect and partner with the HBAGC and other members? Consider supporting the industry with a sponsorship. Sponsorship's begin at only $100. Click here for more information: Golf Sponsorship

 

HBA After Hours
Chattanooga Cycle Boat
Space Is Limited
When: October 4
Where: Ross's Landing
Cost: $24 per person- Must be paid in advance and no refunds will be issued.
Space is Limited: 16 total
Time: 6:00pm

Come aboard Chattanooga Cycleboats with us and experience the beautiful Tennessee River together. As you cycle the 16 person vessel, you will get a unique river's perspective of Chattanooga's architecture and landscape. The Captains will tell you engaging facts of Chattanooga's history and the Tennessee River's ecology.

RSVP to Nicole Gosciniak at ngosciniak@hbagc.net or call 423.624.9992.

 

SAVE THE DATE!

 
OCTOBER 20
Benton Sporting Clays
More Information Coming Soon


Newly released data from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the United States Census Bureau show national sales of newly built, single-family homes rose 12.4% in July (18.1% in the South), which is the highest reading in almost nine years

Rise in New Home Sales Great News for Chattanooga
Chris Mabee, President
Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga

 

Newly released data from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the United States Census Bureau show national sales of newly built, single-family homes rose 12.4% in July (18.1% in the South), which is the highest reading in almost nine years. Experts attribute the strong growth to a lower inventory of existing homes available for sale, coupled with attractive mortgage rates for new homes. What’s more, the National Association of Home Builders forecasts continued positive growth for new single-family homes for the remainder of 2016 and into 2017 and 2018.

 

That’s great news for Chattanooga! Why? Because every time a home is built in this area, our entire community benefits:

 

2,800 Local Jobs Supported Annually
Consider the number of professions, skills, and trades involved in the building of a typical home. Before construction even begins, the architects, designers, lawyers, planners, banks, regulatory agencies and a host of others all have a part in the process. The builder is certainly an integral player in the actual construction of the home, but there are so many other industries that have a hand in the process. Plumbers, roofers, electricians, inspectors, millworkers, landscapers, and flooring, tile, window and door installers are only a few of many. Even after construction, professionals like realtors, bankers, and brokers all contribute to the process, not to mention the industries related to helping new owners occupy their homes.

 

$192 Million Generated Yearly in Local Income
To understand how income generated from new home sales affects our community, think about all the suppliers, wholesalers and retailers that earn revenue from the building of the new home. Then add to that the fact that they, along the construction workers and other professionals directly involved with home building, all go out into the community to spend their earnings on goods and services. You can begin see how the building of one home ripples outward to impact an entire community.

 

$26 Million Re-invested Annually in Community Improvements
Compounding the positive impact of new home construction on Greater Chattanooga are the funds generated through permits, fees, and taxes that support local facilities and services vital to our city. Everything from community enrichment programs, to parks, to trash pick-up can be affected by these improvements. Now the next time you see a home being built in your neighborhood, you’ll know exactly how its helping support a greater Chattanooga.

 

Ready to build your new dream home? Contact Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga at 423.624.9992 or visit us at www.HBAGC.net to find the best builders and contractors in the Chattanooga and North Georgia areas.

 


Has your yard become an unused space that requires lots of maintenance every weekend? If so, don’t let another beautiful Chattanooga season go by. It’s time to make a landscaping master plan.

Has your yard become an unused space that requires lots of maintenance every weekend? If so, don’t let another beautiful Chattanooga season go by.  It’s time to make a landscaping master plan.

 

Step 1: Take Inventory
First, walk around your property. Note how your house sits on the lot, where your garage, tool shed, deck, pool or other structure is and what plants you have now. Think about what you’ll need in order to enjoy your yard. Is it more trees for shade, more grass to play in, a flower or herb garden for cutting, or just reworking an area that takes too much time to maintain? Once you know what you want, it's time to start thinking about the plants you will need.

 

Step 2: Select the Right Plants
A healthy, lush and vibrant lawn or garden starts with your choice of plants. Choose trees, flowers, shrubs and other plants that are native to or grow well in East Tennessee and North Georgia. Consult with a landscaper or visit your local garden center, arboretum or botanical garden for advice and ideas. 

 

Step 3: Get to Know Your Yard
Take note of the areas of your property that get full sun versus shade and the areas of excessive moisture from rain versus higher, dry areas. Plan accordingly. For example, plan a nice sitting area in the shade and the kids’ play area in a dry area. In addition, take a sample of the dirt in your yard to a county extension agent or garden center, and ask them to determine the pH and chemical composition of your soil. Your soil's characteristics will have a significant impact on what you will be able to grow successfully.

 

Step 4: Add Shape and Texture
Two key elements of a beautiful garden are shape and texture. Think of your landscape as a photograph or painting framed by plants. Larger trees and plants belong in the back of your yard, medium-sized shrubs and flowers go in the middle of the visual field and short, smaller plants go in the front. To give shape to your garden, select a variety of plants with different shapes and sizes.

 

To learn more about how to make a landscaping master plan or to find a skilled landscape architect, contact the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga at info@HBAGC or visit us online at www.HBAGC.net.  
 


Remodeling your home is a big decision that requires planning and resources, but doing so can enhance the comfort and look of your home, increase its value, and improve efficiency.

How to Find a Professional Remodeler

Chris Mabee, Cornerstone Construction

President, HBAGC Board of Directors

 

Remodeling your home is a big decision that requires planning and resources, but doing so can enhance the comfort and look of your home, increase its value, and improve efficiency. Many remodeling projects are more complicated than the average DIY-er is able to handle, so consider these steps when searching for a professional remodeler:

 

1. Collect names of remodeling companies
Start by searching the National Association of Home Builders’ Directory of Professional Remodelers at www.nahb.org/remodel or contact the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga. Also, ask friends and neighbors for recommendations.

 

2. Narrow your list
Call a few remodelers from your list to discuss your project. Describe what you envision for the home remodel, styles you like, your estimated budget, and other ideas for the remodeling work. Ask the remodelers to provide background information, brochures, or a website address that covers their expertise, experience and accomplishments.

 

3. Ask the critical questions
Verifying a few important facts will help identify the best professional remodeler for the job. Does the remodeler have a license? What about general liability insurance in case of an accident on the job? Is the work guaranteed? What is the payment schedule?

 

4. Check the references and background
Once you find one or two remodelers who match your project’s needs, be sure to conduct some research by checking with the Better Business Bureau, talking to their references, and asking if they are a trade association member (such as HBAGC or NAHB Remodelers). Remodelers with affiliations tend to be more reliable, better trained, and more likely to stay on top of construction and design trends.

 

5. Don’t fall for the lowest bidder
You may be tempted by a lowball bid, thinking you’ve found a great deal. But these quotes may actually be costlier in the end if the contractor is cutting corners, not taking into account certain costs, or is inexperienced.

For more tips on planning a home remodel or hiring a professional remodeler, visit nahb.org/remodel or contact the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga at 423-624-9992 or info@HBAGC.net.


Latest in news and information for Remodelers Council leaders

Survey Says: Larger Remodeling Projects Trending Up

A new survey reveals the most common projects in 2016 as compared to results of previous surveys. Remodelers report that the top projects are: whole house remodels, room additions, finished basements and bathroom additions. Learn ore about which projects might be the best focus for your business.

 

Celebrate National Remodeling Month

Throughout the month of May, remodelers and local associations are encouraged to emphasize the benefits of home remodeling projects and the advantages of hiring a professional to their clients and other consumers. NAHB Remodelers provides  free resources to help your local association and members to promote National Home Remodeling Month.

Revised Departmen


Revised Department of Labor Overtime Proposal 'Unacceptable'

NAHB Chairman Ed Brady issued an official statement responding to the Dept. of Labor's overtime plan, declaring that "this proposal is a token effort at best" and is "unacceptable to America's small businesses." Brady urged the DOL to go back to the drawing board to craft a new plan, identifying ways to not negatively impact small businesses, especially the housing community.

 

NAHB Meets with White House on Formaldehyde Rule

Former NAHB Remodelers Chair Robert Criner CAPS, CGP, GMR, and NAHB staff met with the White House Office of Management and Budget May 9 to talk about the Federation's concerns with the Environmental Protection Agency's Formaldehyde Emission Standards for Composite Wood Products rule.

 

Earn Continuing Education Credits by Winning Awards

NAHB members can earn continuing education credits if they win a regional, state or national remodeling industry award. CAPS designees receive credit only for aging-in-place or design awards. Learn more about NAHB Remodelers-sponsored awards programs. The Council Awards for Demonstrating Remodeling Excellence (CADREs), Homes for Life, Remodeler of the Year and National Remodeling Hall of Fame application process will open at the end of May.

 


May is National Home Remodeling Month!

Top 5 Remodeling Projects
Chris Mabee, President
Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga

May is National Home Remodeling Month, and building professionals all over the Chattanooga and North Georgia area are helping home owners determine which remodeling projects are the best fit for their families’ needs and the best value for their homes. Review these top five home remodels and begin making plans for your next project! 

 

1. Bathroom
Remodeling a bathroom can reach a 65-percent return on investment with new fixtures, tile, toilet, vanity and lighting. Additionally, low flow toilets consume less water and can decrease the monthly water bill.

 

2. Kitchen
A minor kitchen remodel yields a 75 percent return and can improve the look and utility of the space without costing a bundle. Consider replacing backsplashes, cabinet fronts, countertops, and flooring. Installing low-flow faucets and energy-efficient appliances can also reduce water and energy expenses in a heavily trafficked room.

 

3. Windows and Doors
Updating windows can also return a solid portion of the investment (73 percent for wood frames and 71 percent for vinyl). New, energy-efficient doors and windows also help reduce energy leakage from the home and can bring down heating and cooling bills.

 

4. Damage Repair
Seize the misfortune of damaged property as an opportunity to customize and upgrade the home. If you are already going to be inconvenienced with major home repairs, take that time to plan and incorporate home remodeling that may have been put off in the past.

 

5. Whole Home Remodel
Repairs and replacements of old components and a desire for upgraded amenities are cited as the top two reasons customers hire a remodeler. Evaluate the use of the entire home to see if it fits your needs. Home owners are repurposing spaces to fit changing families and making more efficient use of their home’s square footage and equity.

 

To find a professional remodeler that can help you with your next project, contact the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga at 423-624-9992 or info@hbagc.net.


Thinking about remodeling and don't know where to start? You're not alone.

How to Evaluate Online Reviews When Choosing a Remodeler
Chris Mabee, President, HBA of Greater Chattanooga
 

Don’t be embarrassed by your outdated kitchen or that ugly bathroom. May is National Remodeling Month, and builder-remodelers all around the Chattanooga area are ready to help you turn those eyesores into show pieces!

 

Keep in mind, even a seemingly simple modification to your home could become a dangerous task for even the most confident do-it-yourselfer. By first consulting with a professional remodeler, you will get the job done right the first time, saving yourself a lot of time, money and headache. Yet with so many remodelers to choose from, how do you find the right one for you and your home?

 

The easiest way to begin your remodeler reconnaissance is by going online.

 

Proceed with Caution
The Internet makes it easy to find a wealth of information with just a few quick clicks of the mouse. Much of what you find will provide some useful background, but you can’t believe everything you see or read. When looking through customer rating sites, use good judgment to weigh the value of certain online reviews (positive or negative).

 

Keep in mind:
• Customers who had any sort of negative experience are much more motivated to post an online review than those who had a thoroughly positive experience.
• A few negative reviews of a less-experienced remodeler carry far more weight than the same number of negative reviews of an established remodeler with several years (or decades) of experience.
• An abundance of positive, brief, non-descript reviews can often indicate phony reviewers.

 

Remember, the most accurate customer review will always come directly from the mouth of a previous client. If you don’t happen to know any former clients of the remodelers you are considering, simply ask those remodelers for references of recent projects.

 

To learn more about finding a reliable contractor with an established business in our community, contact the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga at 423-624-9992 or info@hbagc.net.
 


How to Identify and Qualify Your Best Customers

How to Identify and Qualify Your Best Customers for the special NAHB Remodelers price of $39.95.

 

Watch the webinar live on May 11, 2:00 – 3:00 ET or stream the replay at a membership meeting of your remodelers council later.

 

The goal of this webinar is to give attendees the information they need so that they never again go on a sales call with an unqualified prospect.

 

Participants will learn how to:

Describe how to identify their target market.
Explain how to identify the demographics of their best clients.
Review what questions to ask a potential customer over the phone so time isn’t wasted on an onsite sales call with an unqualified prospect.
Participants earn 1.0 hours of continuing education credits for 12 NAHB Education designations.

 

Register for Webinar

 

Questions? remodel@nahb.org


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For the latest news and information on Housing Headlines, Local News & Information, State & National Updates, NAHB Professional Education opportunties, and the HBAGC Calendar of Events, go to www.hbagc.net and click on "Subscribe to HBAGC News."

 

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The Chattanooga area is steadily gaining a reputation as one of the most desirable places to live in the nation, particularly among younger adults drawn to a strong job market and thriving arts and music scene.

The Chattanooga area is steadily gaining a reputation as one of the most desirable places to live in the nation, particularly among younger adults drawn to a strong job market and thriving arts and music scene.  A recent nationwide study examining housing preferences across generations sheds some surprising light on how these younger residents choose a new home.

 

Forget what you think you know about Millennial homebuyers. Despite prevailing assumptions that the 18-to-34 age group would opt for all things less conventional, sleeker, greener, the most immediate, a study by the National Association of Home Builders shows something quite different. Here are just a few of the findings:
• Young homebuyers want to buy a traditional single-family detached home (as opposed to a condo or duplex) just as much as any other age group.


• More than the older age groups, younger homeowners and buyers prefer bigger homes with more square footage and more bedrooms.
• Millennials are the only age group that list three outdoor spaces (patio, front porch, and deck) and exterior lighting all among the top features they want in a new home.
• While other age groups ranked Energy Star® ratings for the whole home and windows very high on their most wanted list, the feature did not even rank on Millennials’ top ten list.
• Younger homebuyers cited a separate laundry room and a conventional living room as two of their top most desired rooms in a house.

 

The study is particularly interesting in its overarching finding that Millennials do not necessarily want the same type of starter home typical of younger families in the past. They are waiting longer to buy their homes, getting married later, and holding out for larger homes they can grow into over time. The study’s executive report can be found at www.housingeconomics.com.

 

Whatever your age group or home preferences, members of the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga can help you build or renovate your ideal home. Call us at 423.624.9992 or visit us online at www.hbagc.net.
 


HBAGC members can save 10% on a wide variety of professional education books by shopping on NAHB's "Builder Books" website

HBAGC members looking to streamline business operations and better serve new and existing customers should check out NAHB's "Builder Books" at ebooks.builderbooks.com. Everything from jobsite safety, social media, and building codes to financial forecasting, managing employees, and construction contracts. It's all there!


Come one, come all to HBAGC's First Annual Fishing Tournament on June 18! Large and Small Bass

What: HBAGC First Annual Fishing Tournament

When: Saturday, June 18

Where: Chester Frost Park

Cost: Entry fee $120 per boat (2 participants per boat)

Prizes: 1st Place - $1,000, 2nd Place - $750, 3rd Place - $500, Big Fish - $250, plus Door Prizes!!!

 

For complete details and rules, go to www.hbagc.net

 

Contact: Nicole Gosciniak at 423-624-9992 or ngosciniak@hbagc.net


Springtime is a happy time in Chattanooga. Compared to the colder, darker days of winter, spring is the opportunity for a fresh start – from planting a new flowerbed to starting a new baseball season. And for many area residents, it’s when they plan on buying a new home.

Springtime is a happy time in Chattanooga. Compared to the colder, darker days of winter, spring is the opportunity for a fresh start – from planting a new flowerbed to starting a new baseball season. And for many area residents, it’s when they plan on buying a new home.

 

As the momentum of home buying season continues to grow, the home building industry celebrates New Homes Month in April. At this time of year, hundreds of Chattanoogans are starting their search for the new home that’s perfect for their lifestyle. That is why we want to take this month-long opportunity to showcase the many advantages of owning a newly constructed home.

 

Many home buyers are seeking a unique new home that offers energy efficiency, spaciousness and warranties. They also want the ability to select their favorite appliances, flooring, paint colors and other design elements to give their home a personal touch from the day they move in. 

But those characteristics are just some of the countless advantages of buying a new home. There are many other benefits of owning a new home that might be less obvious, but are often found to be just as valuable.

Strong Sense of Community


One of the built-in benefits of many new homes is the new neighborhood. When families move into a new community at the same time, lasting bonds of friendship and neighborliness often form right away. Many home builders will host community block parties in these developments to help neighbors of all ages meet and connect.

 

Ability to Entertain
Older homes are often smaller and therefore more challenging in which to host gatherings with friends and family. Today’s home builders are creating more open spaces with higher ceilings, larger windows and expansive great rooms for added convenience and modern living. 

 

A Clean Slate
When moving into a new home, you won’t have to spend hours stripping dated wallpaper or painting over an ugly wall color. There are no oil stains to remove in the garage, no windows to replace, no walls to be torn down. Everything is already just the way you want it.

 

Peace of Mind
Building standards have changed a great deal over the decades, almost as fast as technology has evolved. New homes can accommodate today’s advanced technology and be customized to meet the individual home owner’s needs. And knowing that the home was built to the latest safety codes gives the owner added assurance.

 

For more information on the benefits of a new home, contact Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga at 423.624.9992 or visit the National Association of Home Builders online at nahb.org.


If you plan on attending and participating in the HBAT Summer meeting in Perdido Beach, Alabama, now is the to register.

Where: Perdido Beach Resort, Perdido Beach, Alabama

When: June 12-15

What: Home Builders Association of Tenneesse Summer Meeting

Register: HBAT Summer Meeting Registration

 

Agenda

 

Sunday, June 12

9 am - 4 pm   Exhibitor Set-Up

4 pm - 6 pm   Senior Officers (closed meeting)

6 pm - 7 pm   Welcome Reception

 

Monday, June 13

7 am - 12 pm   Registration

8:30 am - 9:30 am   Budget & Finance

8:30 am - 9:30 am   Past Presidents, Tennessee Associates Council  (closed meeting)

9:30 am - 10:30 am   Past HBAT Presidents (closed meeting)

10:30 am - 11:30 am  Legislative/Education Program

11:30 am - 12:30 pm   Government Affairs

1:00 pm - 4:00 pm   Afternoon Event TBA

 

Tuesday, June 14

7:30 am - 12 pm   Registration

8:30 am - 9:30 am   HIPAC Trustees

9:30 am - 10:30 am   Membership/Local Leadership

10:30 am - 11:30 am   Executive Officers Council

10:30 am - 11:30 am   Tennessee Associates Council

6 pm - 10 pm   Beach Party

 

Wednesday, June 15

Depart

 


Stormwater Legislation Strongly Backed By HBAGC Advances In Tennessee House of Representatives

On March 29, HB1892, the stormwater legislation strongly supported by HBAGC and HBAT, passed out of the House Local Government Committee with zero "no" votes.  The conversation in committee was lengthy.  A representative from the Sierra Club and the Commissioner of the Department of Environment and Conservation and his staff spoke against the bill, and Bill Penny (HBAT’s environmental counsel) along with John Farris (HBAT lobbyist) spoke in support of the bill.  There were numerous questions, but when the smoke cleared, the bill passed out of committee.  It will now go to the House Calendar and Rules Committee for scheduling to be heard by the full House.  It appears the bill will come to the House floor for consideration sometime during the week of April 4.

 

HBAGC greatly appreciates the strong support from Local Government Committee members Rep. Marc Gravitt and Rep. Dan Howell. 

 

The Senate version of the stormwater legislation has already been approved (vote was 31-0). 
 


Now that Chattanoogans are finally shaking off the cold, it’s a great time to enjoy the milder spring weather in the comfort and style of a custom outdoor living space.

The lines have blurred between indoor and outdoor living areas, and a new deck or patio can provide the perfect gathering place, party spot, or personal retreat. 

 

Consider these factors to help determine whether a patio or a deck is best for you:

 

Do some research

 

Certain areas or neighborhoods have building codes or terrains that dictate whether you build a patio or deck. For example, if you have a rocky backyard terrain, a raised deck may be your best choice, as opposed to the costly excavation needed for patio construction. A raised deck also may work as a better option for low-lying yards that tend to become soggy when it rains. The HBA of Greater Chattanooga is a good source for this type of information.

 

Look at your budget

 

Decks can be a more affordable option than patios, but concrete, while more expensive, tends to be the sturdiest material with the lowest maintenance needs. Remember that site preparation is important for drainage, grade and proper placement, which can be a lot of work for the do-it-yourselfer. When in doubt, budget for a professional with the experience, not to mention equipment, to do the job right.

 

Consider how the space will be used

 

Before beginning your outdoor project, assess your space. Where do you have the best sunlight? Do you want to use your space for dining or grilling? If so, do you have a large enough area for tables and chairs? Is there one area of the yard that is quieter and has more privacy from neighbors? A good home builder, remodeler or landscape architect can help you design a master plan that’s right for your space and your ideas.

Building a great outdoor space is worth the hard work and cost. Not only does it add to the value to your home, it also provides a unique gathering spot for the entire family.

 

To find a qualified builder, remodeler, or landscape architect in the Chattanooga area, please visit the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga website at HBAGC.net or call 423.624.9992.
 


Enforcement Begins in 2017 for Construction Industry

OSHA issued the final silica rule to limit exposure to crystalline silica, which was published in the Federal Register today.

After a brief initial review, it appears that the final rule contains some of the same problematic provisions that NAHB identified in comments submitted to OSHA during the rulemaking process.

 

What work is covered by the rule? Crystalline silica is found in many common building materials. Popular remodeling jobs like kitchens and baths that involve cutting tile, bricks and other materials containing crystalline silica over the new limit will likely be impacted by this new regulation.

 

Why is this important to remodelers? Remodelers will be required to use specified engineering controls like water or ventilation and provide respiratory protection for common tasks like trimming tile and cutting bricks under the updated exposure limits of the new silica rule.

 

What are a remodeler's responsibilities in the meantime? The rule goes in to effect on June 23, 2016 but OSHA will not enforce the rule in the construction industry until June 23, 2017. At that time, remodelers are required to establish work practices that limit worker exposure, have a written exposure control plan and find a competent person to implement it. Employers should prepare to provide workers who must wear a respirator for 30 or more days per year with medical exams and to keep records of workers’ silica exposure and medical exams.

Where can remodelers learn more about the required training and equipment?

 

NAHB continues to review the 1,772 page pre-publication copy of the rule. Members can access more information on the potential impact on nahb.org.

 

When and how did NAHB get involved? NAHB raised numerous concerns during the multi-year rulemaking process. Though the agency has made major changes to the construction rule, NAHB remains concerned that the final rule is not technologically and economically feasible for remodelers.

 

This is the value of your membership. NAHB Remodelers makes your voice heard with regulatory and legislative decision-makers—and ensures that you are informed of the latest actions that could impact you and your business.

 

Questions? remodel@nahb.org


Nine Home Design Trends to Watch in 2016


The National Association of Home Builders recently announced the winners of the Best in American Living Awards (BALA) – a prestigious program recognizing excellence in designs that influence the residential building industry.

 

Award recipients are lauded as the nation’s most creative and inventive builders, remodelers, architects, developers, land planners and interior designers.

 

Below are some of those trends in home design that buyers throughout Greater Chattanooga will see in the coming months and years. Some of these elements are sure to inspire your next design project.

 

Low-Impact Design. A growing number of area builders include sustainable and green features in their designs, including permeable pavers, rain gardens and landscaping with native species.

 

Intimate Outdoor Spaces. Many single-family custom and production homes include intimate outdoor gathering spaces, complete with outdoor fireplaces or fire pits and cozy seating, taking the place of the extended family-size backyards of the past.

 

Troughs and Spouts. Outdoor tables with open, trough-like water channels add interest, often culminating in a delicate waterfall off the edge of the table into a pool or water feature below.

 

Indoor-Outdoor Convergence. What was once a distinct line between two living areas – indoor and outdoor – has been replaced by floor-to-ceiling retractable glass walls and screens.

 

Mid-Century Modern Detailing. Mid-century modern is now 21st century chic in furniture, elevation design and detailing.

 

Interior Board and Batten. This technique adds a three-dimensional layer to interior finishes and provides an interesting alternative to paint and wallpaper.

 

White with Exotic or Repurposed Wood Accents. Many winning interiors feature stark, modern white paired with rich wood accents, a striking combination in flooring, ceilings and cabinets.

 

Modern Industrial Accents. This trend combines sleek lighting and furniture with the brick, glass and steel elements of a building’s shell and skeleton.

 

Barn Doors. Barn Doors offer an alternative to traditional left- or right-hung doors and become a design feature of the home, unlike pocket doors that tuck away.

 

To find an industry professional who is ready to bring these exciting new trends to your new home or remodeling project, contact the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga at 423-624-9992 or www.hbagc.net.


Overcoming Perceived Barriers to Home Ownership

Numerous studies have found that home ownership is more cost-effective than renting – up to 23 percent cheaper, by some accounts. Even so, three-quarters of renters think they are making the more affordable choice by staying in a lease. Where is the disconnect between perception and reality, and what is preventing some renters from making the leap into home ownership? A look at a few common uncertainties about home buying might provide some answers:

 

  1. I can’t afford the down payment. Most people think they need a 20 percent down payment to buy a home, but that is just not the case. The required down payment is subject to myriad factors and can be quite low, depending on the lender and other circumstances. Shop around for the mortgage that best fits your unique situation and don’t be afraid to ask for a lower down payment.
     
  2. My credit history is not good enough for a loan. Even though a credit score of 660 is considered the lowest acceptable score to secure a prime rate loan, there are plenty of lenders that will offer loans to buyers with lower scores. Of course, the higher your credit score, the better your mortgage rate, and the lower your monthly payments. But, don’t assume you’re completely out of the running until you ask.
     
  3. I have too much debt for my income level. It’s true that a high income-to-debt ratio can affect your viability for a loan; however, it is within your control to lower your debt by paying it down over time. Spend some time aggressively attacking the debt with larger monthly payments and avoid increasing your debt as much as possible.
     
  4. Houses are becoming too expensive. Home builders in the Chattanooga area take great pride in keeping housing affordable while maintaining the highest quality in materials and craftsmanship. Such quality translates to less costly maintenance and higher resale values. Additionally, buyers are enjoying historically low mortgage rates, which often offsets the increase in home prices.

 

Buying a home doesn’t have to be a frightening undertaking, and you’ll never know if you’re ready until you begin exploring your options. Consult with a lending professional who can help you determine your readiness for home ownership.

 

For a listing of banks, lenders and brokers in the Chattanooga area, please visit the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga website at HBAGC.net or call 423.624.9992.
 


Monday Morning Briefing

Rules & Regulations
Overtime Rule Moves One Step Closer
Regulation could have major ramifications for home builders.


Stormwater Management for the Little Guy
EPA's new streamlined template will save you time and money.

 

Sales & Marketing
The Best Marketing is Free Marketing

Four tips to help your business gain media attention.


5 Ways Google Analytics Can Help You Boost Sales
A primer on how the software can help you convert traffic from your website or blog to dollars and cents.


Economics
Single-Family Housing Starts: Highest Since November 2007
This key sector is strengthening in line with our forecast.


Builder Confidence Holds Steady in March
Housing Market Index is hovering above the 50-point mid-range.


Membership Pays
Savings, Discounts —  and Shiny Cars
NAHB Member Advantage can save you big bucks on cars, home improvement products and more.


Which Remodelers Make the Most Profit?
NAHB is actively surveying remodeler members to provide them with real-market benchmarks.


Drive Home with NAHB
New promotional campaign focuses on how the home is central to American life.


Spring is in the air! The days are a little warmer. The skies seem a bit bluer. And, is that green we see popping through the landscape? The promise of a new, milder season has many thinking about gardens and spring cleaning, but along with the beautiful days ahead will also be some severe weather.

 

April is traditionally when Chattanooga sees a surge of severe weather, including tornadoes, flooding, and hail storms. While you and your family can evacuate the home during such an event, your house must withstand its wrath.

 

Don’t wait until a weather event is impending; use the month of March to take the necessary precautions:

 

Check your insurance policy to ensure you’re covered in the event of a natural disaster. In particular, flooding is generally not covered by homeowners’ insurance and requires a separate policy at a reasonable rate.


Seal your entryways with weather-stripping to prevent wind and water from entering through the cracks around doors and windows. Don’t forget your garage door, too.


Have your roof inspected to ensure its structural integrity. Apply sealant around the chimney and vent pipes to prevent water from seeping in the home during a torrential downpour.


• If in doubt, consult a building professional to repair loose siding, remove rotted structures, and determine the structural soundness of your home.


Clean out clogged gutters and downspouts. If the rain that accompanies a heavy storm can’t run through the gutters and downspouts, it will spill over the sides, landing in areas where it can soak through to your home’s foundation, causing flooding and structural damage.


Protect your home from loose objects that take flight during a storm. Remove all dead and dying limbs from your trees. Disconnect and remove exterior television antennas from the roof.  Bring inside or secure lawn furniture, trashcans, flowerpots and other yard ornaments. Tie down the larger items such as sheds, doghouses, playhouses, swing sets and boats.

 

When you and your house are prepared, you’re more likely to weather even the toughest Chattanooga storm. Taking time now to prepare your home for storm season could save you a lot of money later.

 

To find a building professional who can help secure your home before a storm or repair it afterwards, contact the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga at 423.624.9992 or info@HBAGC.net.
 


The National Association of Home Builders recently announced the winners of the Best in American Living Awards (BALA) – a prestigious program recognizing excellence in designs that influence the residential building industry.

 

Award recipients are lauded as the nation’s most creative and inventive builders, remodelers, architects, developers, land planners and interior designers.

 

Below are some of those trends in home design that buyers throughout Greater Chattanooga will see in the coming months and years. Some of these elements are sure to inspire your next design project.

 

Low-Impact Design. A growing number of area builders include sustainable and green features in their designs, including permeable pavers, rain gardens and landscaping with native species.

 

Intimate Outdoor Spaces. Many single-family custom and production homes include intimate outdoor gathering spaces, complete with outdoor fireplaces or fire pits and cozy seating, taking the place of the extended family-size backyards of the past.

 

Troughs and Spouts. Outdoor tables with open, trough-like water channels add interest, often culminating in a delicate waterfall off the edge of the table into a pool or water feature below.

 

Indoor-Outdoor Convergence. What was once a distinct line between two living areas – indoor and outdoor – has been replaced by floor-to-ceiling retractable glass walls and screens.

 

Mid-Century Modern Detailing. Mid-century modern is now 21st century chic in furniture, elevation design and detailing.

 

Interior Board and Batten. This technique adds a three-dimensional layer to interior finishes and provides an interesting alternative to paint and wallpaper.  

 

White with Exotic or Repurposed Wood Accents. Many winning interiors feature stark, modern white paired with rich wood accents, a striking combination in flooring, ceilings and cabinets.

 

Modern Industrial Accents. This trend combines sleek lighting and furniture with the brick, glass and steel elements of a building’s shell and skeleton.

 

Barn Doors. Barn Doors offer an alternative to traditional left- or right-hung doors and become a design feature of the home, unlike pocket doors that tuck away.

 

To find an industry professional who is ready to bring these exciting new trends to your new home or remodeling project, contact the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga at 423-624-9992 or www.hbagc.net.


Despite those fun home improvement shows touting the benefits of ultra-tiny homes, a growing number of families are actually reconfiguring or increasing the size of their living quarters to accommodate aging loved ones. The trend away from long-term institutional living for the elderly and toward multi-generational living (or dual-living) brings more options than ever in home building and design.

 

Twenty-one million U.S. households now live multi-generationally, and that number is growing each year. In a recent survey of home shoppers, 44 percent reported they would like to accommodate their elderly parents in their next home. Chattanooga’s affordable housing and reasonable tax rates earned the city a spot on Wall Street Journal’s Best Places to Retire list recently, while its natural beauty and mild seasons have been long-time attractors for seniors. The infusion of an older population in our community will undoubtedly result in an increase in multi-generational living, and experts say, that trend changes the landscape of home design and renovation.

 

Certified Aging in Place Specialists

 

With so many configurations and options to consider, many families turn to the Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS), who can help make homes livable for all generations today and adaptable to future challenges of aging.

 

Privacy and safety are the two primary considerations for home owners and buyers considering a multi-generational living arrangement. The CAPS professional can help identify the modifications required in an existing home or new house plans, individualized for specific needs. For example, while you’re building out walls to create a separate suite for your parent, you might want to consider widening the doorways to accommodate possible wheelchair use in the future. What about grab bars, additional lighting, and slip-resistant flooring? Do you need separate home entrances? A kitchenette? A private outdoor space?

 

When it comes to multi-generational living, a CAPS professional can clarify the specific amenities that will allow your family to co-exist and adapt for many years to come.

 

For more information on CAPS professionals in the Chattanooga area, please contact Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga at 423.624.9992 or info@HBAGC.net.


The wave of Baby Boomers in Chattanooga and the surrounding area is generating a strong demand for remodelers and builders who specialize in making home modifications that create safer, more convenient living spaces. These professionals, called Certified Aging in Place Specialists (CAPS), have been trained in the unique needs of older adults and are well versed in a wide variety of techniques to enhance a home’s aesthetics, livability and value.

 

As part of February’s National Designation Month – when the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga and the National Association of Home Builders spotlight industry professionals who attain advanced training and achieve specialized designations – we recognize the importance of the CAPS designation.

 

CAPS builders and remodelers are helping home owners throughout Hamilton County and North Georgia identify practical and comprehensive aging-in-place solutions, such as widening doors and hallways, installing brighter lighting, adding railings or grab bars to prevent falls, changing floor coverings to add traction to slippery surfaces, and installing ease-of-reach systems. These improvements, among many others, often allow home owners to maintain their independence and stay in their current homes.

 

CAPS graduates pledge to uphold a strict code of ethics, indicating they operate their businesses at only the highest level of professionalism. Additionally, the designation means they have committed to build upon their knowledge of the latest aging-in-place strategies by attending continuing education programs.

 

Nearly 3,400 remodelers and home builders hold this esteemed designation, including CAPS builders and remodelers here in Greater Chattanooga. Additionally, there are several other honorable designations that many of our local builders have achieved:

 

• Certified Green Professional (CGP) –incorporates eco-friendly building principles, without driving up the cost of construction. 


• Certified Graduate Builder (CGB) or Remodeler (CGR) – has several years of industry experience and possesses advanced skills not only as a talented home builder or remodeler, but also as a trusted business manager. 


• Housing Credit Certified Professional (HCCP) – works in the affordable housing industry and educates others on the complex regulations of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit.

 

   If you would like to find a professional with the CAPS designation or any of the other highly regarded builder designations, contact the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga at 423-624-9992 or www.hbagc.net.


The mortgage interest deduction has been a cornerstone of American housing policy since the inception of the tax code more than 100 years ago.

The mortgage interest deduction, which is sometimes called the MID, has been a cornerstone of American housing policy since the inception of the tax code more than 100 years ago. It supports the aspirations of families at all income levels to become home owners, and Americans overwhelmingly oppose any action by Congress to tamper with the deduction.

 

   The Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga (HBAGC) and the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) supports homeownership and rental housing incentives in the current tax code, specifically the deductions for mortgage interest and state and local property taxes as well as provisions that encourage development of affordable housing. HBAGC and NAHB believes that the mortgage interest deduction and other housing tax incentives have helped the U.S. create the best-housed nation on earth. 

 

   The mortgage interest deduction helps make the tax code more progressive and primarily benefits middle class taxpayers. Data from the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation shows that 82 percent of households who benefit from the mortgage interest deduction have incomes of less than $200,000.

 

   Repealing the MID would have serious economic consequences. Almost all studies examining the elimination of the mortgage interest deduction find that it would reduce demand for housing by raising taxes on prospective home buyers. This reduction in housing demand would also lower home values for existing home owners who would experience a significant loss in wealth.  A 1 percent decline in home prices would result in a loss of $200 billion to American households. Just a 5 percent decline would eliminate $1 trillion in household net worth.

 

   Clearly, the MID is a critical part in the decision-making process of buying a new home.  HBAGC, with strong support from NAHB, is committed to working with local, area and state policymakers to ensure the MID remains in place and is available for those wishing to take advantage of this economically beneficial tax deduction.


Recent analysis from the National Association of Home Builders of the latest American Housing Survey provides insight into recent home buyers and the home buying process.

As the housing market continues its gradual recovery, who are today’s home buyers and what motivates them to make a purchase? Recent analysis from the National Association of Home Builders of the latest American Housing Survey provides insight into recent home buyers and the home buying process.

 

While the number of households buying a home had been falling since 2005, the number of recent home buyers actually doubled between the 2011 and 2013 surveys. Of these 13.7 million households, 43% were buying their first home, while 11% were purchasing a new home.  

 

Home buyers said the top two reasons for choosing a home were its size and room layout or design. The house’s price and the neighborhood came in tied for third. However, for first-time buyers, price was the top consideration.

 

When asked about making their neighborhood selection, home buyers noted their top reasons for choosing a neighborhood as “the house itself” and safety. First-time home buyers, who have a median age of 32, also seem to prioritize a healthy home-work balance, such as proximity to job, friends and family.

 

The size of a purchased home hasn’t changed much in recent years. In fact, the median size of all homes purchased has been 1,800 square feet since 2005. However, the median size of new homes bumped up from 2,100 square feet in 2011 to 2,200 square feet in 2013.

 

So how long does it take buyers to find the right home? Home buyers looked at 10 different homes before deciding which one to purchase. And about half of the buyers used their savings for a downpayment while 17 percent used the sale of a previous home or purchased their home without a downpayment.


Recent analysis from the National Association of Home Builders of the latest American Housing Survey provides insight into recent home buyers and the home buying process.

As the housing market continues its gradual recovery, who are today’s home buyers and what motivates them to make a purchase? Recent analysis from the National Association of Home Builders of the latest American Housing Survey provides insight into recent home buyers and the home buying process.

 

While the number of households buying a home had been falling since 2005, the number of recent home buyers actually doubled between the 2011 and 2013 surveys. Of these 13.7 million households, 43% were buying their first home, while 11% were purchasing a new home.  

 

Home buyers said the top two reasons for choosing a home were its size and room layout or design. The house’s price and the neighborhood came in tied for third. However, for first-time buyers, price was the top consideration.

 

When asked about making their neighborhood selection, home buyers noted their top reasons for choosing a neighborhood as “the house itself” and safety. First-time home buyers, who have a median age of 32, also seem to prioritize a healthy home-work balance, such as proximity to job, friends and family.

 

The size of a purchased home hasn’t changed much in recent years. In fact, the median size of all homes purchased has been 1,800 square feet since 2005. However, the median size of new homes bumped up from 2,100 square feet in 2011 to 2,200 square feet in 2013.

 

So how long does it take buyers to find the right home? Home buyers looked at 10 different homes before deciding which one to purchase. And about half of the buyers used their savings for a downpayment while 17 percent used the sale of a previous home or purchased their home without a downpayment.


Conventional wisdom may say that spring is the best time to put your house on the market, but there are advantages to selling in the fall,

Conventional wisdom may say that spring is the best time to put your house on the market, but there are advantages to selling in the fall, too. In fact, with fewer homes on the market, your home may get even more attention from potential home buyers this time of year.

 

While families may prefer to move in the spring and summer, before the start of the school year, Millennials and seniors are more open to moving in the fall before the holiday season and cold weather approach.

 

What Millennials Want

 

Research from the National Association of Home Builders indicates that most Millennials want to live in a single-family home in the suburbs. In terms of home features, they are especially interested in a separate laundry room, Energy Star certifications and storage – including a linen closet, walk-in pantry and garage storage.

 

Millennials are conducting their home searches online, so be sure your listing pictures tell your home’s story in the best possible light. Include separate pictures of the features that appeal to Millennials, such as your laundry room and linen closet.

 

Encourage Empty-Nesters to Take a Look

 

On the other hand, empty-nesters who may be looking to downsize will be attracted to homes with flexible spaces to accommodate their changing lifestyles. For example, you can stage a bedroom as an office or multimedia room. 

 

Increasingly, empty-nesters are returning to the cities, leaving behind the larger house, yard maintenance and the lengthy commute to downtown offices. More of these buyers are looking for a townhouse or condo that is located near shopping, dining and entertainment.

 

For more information on buying and selling a home, contact the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga at info@hbagc.net or visit nahb.org/forconsumers.


smart home technology has matured into an accessible and sustainable industry with record growth in the last few years.

Last year an estimated 26.8 million U.S. households – or 21 percent of homes – harnessed smart home technology for advanced security, entertainment, and efficiency. A smart home is one where a number of automated appliances and systems communicate through a centralized platform that can be remotely managed via internet. Once considered a luxury only for techies and the ultra wealthy, smart home technology has matured into an accessible and sustainable industry with record growth in the last few years.

 

   Despite reports that smart homes are struggling to make the leap from those loyal early adopters to the mass market, projections show 50 percent of North Americans intend to buy at least one smart home device in the next year. Adults aged 25-34 are most likely to purchase smart systems, while younger millennials will probably be the next wave of adopters as they grow into home ownership age. The elderly and those who care for them are also projected adopters, due to the safety benefits of home health monitoring devices.

 

   Home security ranks highest for most desired technology, with remote door locks, security cameras, and automatic outdoor lighting taking three of the five top spots. Here in the South, the self-adjusting thermostat also ranks high, with newer versions automatically adjusting based on your proximity to the house.

 

   While clearly on the rise, there are some lingering barriers to smart home adoption that experts believe must be overcome on order to fully develop the field. Earlier networks can be clunky due to a “patchwork” of myriad systems trying to communicate without a centralized language.  Newer and better software versions will overcome this obstacle and satisfactorily marry the various systems. Also needing action is the simplification of systems for the average consumer.  If you’re not quite ready for your trashcan to automatically order new groceries based on what you toss into it, you’re not alone. Consumers report ease of use as vastly more important than latest technology or “cool factor”.

 

   For more information on Smart Home Technology, contact Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga at 423.624.9992 or info@HBAGC.net.


Your home puts up with a lot. There are many simple ways to show your home some love.

Your home puts up with a lot. It withstands inclement weather, endures the occasional stained carpet, clogged drain or broken window, and it even tolerates the smell of your burnt popcorn.  So it deserves a little love once in a while, and there’s no better time to show it than the month of February. You don’t need to spend a lot of money on new appliances or significant renovations to show your home that you care. There are many simple ways to show your home some love.  Here are a few suggestions.

 

Shed Some of that Extra Weight

 

   Do you really need to hold on to all of those 1980s leisure suits you’d hoped would come back in style? You don’t have to wait for spring to roll around to get rid of the junk that may be piling up in your coat closets, basement or garage. Lighten the load throughout your home and it will seem bigger and significantly cleaner.

 

Get Some Sun 

 

   Winter doesn’t have to be dreary. Sure, the trees may be bare, but that just means less foliage is blocking the sun. Do your home and yourself a favor and let the sunlight in. Pull back (or take down) the drapes, wash the windows, and maybe even swap out dark lampshades for brighter ones to make the inside of your home cheerier.

 

Scrub it Down

 

   Your appliances work hard for you every day so it’s time to give them a thorough cleaning, especially if you haven’t done so recently. Refrigerators especially need a little extra attention on a regular basis. Start by taking everything out, then, be selective about what you put back.

 

Spruce it Up

 

   One of the most economical updates you can give your home is paint. Whether it’s a bold new color, or just a fresh coat, painting a room or even just an accent wall can breathe new life into any space. Winter months can sometimes limit interior painting opportunities if it’s consistently too cold outside to open windows for ventilation.

 

Buy a Bouquet

 

   If you’re not doing any gardening on the outside of your home during this time of year, bring some flowers inside. A blooming bouquet instantly warms up a room during cold winter months. Check out the flower section of your local grocery store to find festive flowers at reasonable prices. 

 

   For additional home owner resources, contact the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga at 423-624-9992 or www.hbagc.net.


A home is the biggest investment most people will ever make

A home is the biggest investment most people will ever make, which is why home owners often go to great lengths to protect that investment. But one of the more important components of safeguarding a home is also one of the most often ignored: the roof.

 

It’s tempting to devote more time and attention to more fashionable maintenance and upgrades like updated kitchen appliances or new bathroom vanities. However, those improvements might lose much of their appeal if water begins dripping through the ceilings or mold starts growing in the walls.

 

When preparing for winter, the top of your to-do list should include what’s on top of your house. Take the time to ensure your roof is up to the task of protecting everything-- and everyone-- it shelters beneath by following these simple steps:

 

1. Start by visually scanning the roof for any sagging or uneven areas, which can be signs of damage to the roof deck below the shingles.

 

2. Clear the gutters of any branches, leaves or other debris that could clog downspouts.  Water or snow that is left standing on the roof will increase the likelihood of leaking or ice damming, which can damage not only to the roof, but the interior walls as well. 

 

3. Ensure the gutters are fastened properly and securely to the fascia board, to minimize the risk of the gutters loosening or, in extreme conditions, falling off while supporting heavy snow and/or ice.

 

4. Remove any debris from the valleys, including small branches and accumulating leaves, which can add weight to the roof and also inhibit proper drainage.

 

5. Check the positioning and the condition of the flashings, which are the thin pieces of material, often made of aluminum or other metals, used to prevent water seepage between joints and seams around vents, pipes, skylights, and chimneys. When loosened or damaged by high winds and heavy rains, flashings can actually cause leaks rather than prevent them.

 

6. Examine the condition of the shingles and repair or replace any that might be missing or damaged. Look for curling edges or missing granules.  

 

Inspecting your roof at least twice a year (before and after winter) by following these steps will help you identify potential problems before they result in costly repairs or even premature roof replacement.

 

For additional home owner resources, contact the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga or nahb.org/consumers.


If you’re among the growing masses of dedicated viewers, you might begin to look around and notice some of your own home’s shortcomings.

If you’re among the growing masses of dedicated viewers, you might begin to look around and notice some of your own home’s shortcomings. Inadequate storage, limited cooking space or simply an outdated design might conjure thoughts of one day remodeling your kitchen, bathrooms or living spaces. Or instead, perhaps you’ll begin to consider moving into a bigger or newer home.

 

Start by asking yourself these questions:

 

1. What’s in the budget? The first step is the most obvious: you’ll need to crunch some numbers to determine what is financially feasible. Remodeling can be a great investment and save you the hassle of moving. On the other hand, buying a home can be instantly gratifying, but the true costs of buying (and selling) – such as commissions, closing costs and moving fees – need to be part of the equation, as that is money you won’t get back.

 

2. Is it a simple fix that you can do yourself? Or a bigger project that will require a professional? Some home owners are especially handy and want to tackle the job themselves. But most others like having the assurance of knowing a professional – who has the necessary equipment, expertise and resources – will get the job done right the first time.

 

3. What is the current value of your home compared to similar homes in your neighborhood? If your home is already the most expensive one in the neighborhood, you might not see a significant return on your investment if you remodel. But if comparable home values are greater than your home’s value, you’re much more likely to see a strong return by making improvements.

 

4. How might your decision impact your taxes? Remodeling your current home or moving to a new home will have an effect on your property taxes. The change may or may not be significant, so it’s good to keep it in mind.

 

5. How might your needs change in the next 3, 5 or 10 years? A growing family, kids going off to college, an aging family member moving in – all are examples of factors that can significantly impact your future requirements for a home.

 

The answers to these questions are different for everyone, which is why it is important for you to carefully consider each one while keeping in mind your unique situation. For additional resources on remodeling your home or buying a new home, contact the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga or visit nahb.org/forconsumers.


When winter gives way to spring, the temperatures won’t be the only things on the rise. The

When winter gives way to spring, the temperatures won’t be the only things on the rise. The home-buying market tends to heat up as well during the spring, and 2016 will be no exception.  Many savvy buyers will be looking to lock in attractive interest rates while they still remain low.  If this group includes you, the time to start preparing is now. These tips will help put you in a better position to find a home that’s just right.

 

Make your Checklist

 

   First-time home buyers should take the time to determine what their needs are, especially regarding size, location and amenities. But even seasoned home owners will find that having a must-have list can save significant time by helping them avoid listings that may look great in the photos, but in reality, won’t meet their needs.

 

Check Your Credit Score

 

   Even if you’ve purchased a home in the past, stricter credit requirements are making it more challenging for some buyers to find home loans. Lenders are more cautious than ever, so having a favorable credit score can make a difference in your ability to be approved for a loan. Even if you think nothing has changed recently on your credit report, it’s good to check periodically to ensure you aren’t being unfairly penalized for old debts, which can sometimes linger on credit reports.

 

Determine What You Can Afford

 

   Don’t let your maximum loan approval amount dictate what your home-buying budget should be. Though the approval process is more extensive now than it was even just a few years ago, lenders still want to make as much profit as possible. You, however, are the best person to judge what you can realistically afford. Experts say that your total monthly home expenses should not exceed more than one-third of your gross monthly income.  

 

Sell Your Current Home

 

   If buying a new home is contingent on the sale of your current home, it’s a good idea to start the process by reaching out and consulting with your realtor. Ask him or her about your best strategy to sell your home quickly, but at the right time and for the best price possible. You’ll want to identify any maintenance issues your home has, and determine if, how and when each one will need to be addressed. 

 

  For more information about the home buying process, contact the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga at 423-624-9992 or info@hbagc.net.


Potential buyers find that qualifying for a mortgage and saving for a downpayment remain high hurdles to homeownership.

Even as the housing market continues its slow and steady recovery, many potential buyers find that qualifying for a mortgage and saving for a downpayment remain high hurdles to homeownership. The good news is that while lenders are looking more closely at borrowers today than in recent years, there are options for purchasing your home without a 20% down payment.

 

In fact, creditworthy borrowers with moderate to low incomes will be able to purchase a home with a downpayment as low as 3% through Fannie Mae’s new HomeReady™ mortgage program. HomeReady will expand and replace Fannie Mae’s current affordable lending program, MyCommunityMortgage®, to include both first-time and repeat home buyers. By increasing access to affordable mortgages, more borrowers should be able to purchase homes.

 

In an effort to increase the types of households that qualify for the mortgage program, more flexible sources of funds can be used for the downpayment and closing costs. For example, income from a non-borrower household member can be considered to determine an appropriate debt-to-income ratio for the loan. This should help multigenerational and extended households qualify for these mortgages.
 

The new mortgage program also allows income from non-occupant borrowers, such as parents, and rental payments, such as from a basement apartment, to supplement the borrower’s qualifying income. 

 

Borrowers will be required to complete an online education course about the buying process and the responsibilities of homeownership. In addition, the program will offer homeowners support through the life of the loan to help ensure sustainable homeownership.

 

More information about the HomeReady program can be found at www.fanniemae.com/singlefamily/homeready.

 

For more information on home buying resources in Chattanooga and the surrounding area, contact the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga at info@hbagc.net  or visit nahb.org/forconsumers.


As our economy and the housing market continue to recover, home builders across the country are seeking skilled workers

As our economy and the housing market continue to recover, home builders across the country are seeking skilled workers – such as carpenters, framers and roofers – to help them build the American Dream. After many workers left the home building industry during the Great Recession to pursue employment in other sectors, recent surveys show that not nearly enough of them have returned.

 

An NAHB survey of home builders illustrates the depth of this problem. Six in 10 of those surveyed experienced delays in completing projects on time, 18 percent had to turn down some projects and 9 percent lost or cancelled sales because they had too few workers to complete their homes.

 

We’ve also experienced many of these issues here in Chattanooga and the surrounding area.  When builders are unable to schedule trades on time, it means that buyers are unable to move into their home on time. These delays and production logjams increase the cost of building homes and makes housing more expensive for consumers.

 

A home builder relies on a number of highly trained workers to get the job done right. This includes dozens of skilled artisans and professionals, including carpenters, architects, engineers, plumbers, electricians, painters and landscapers. A recent analysis from NAHB shows that 70% of builders typically use somewhere between 11 and 30 subcontractors to build a single-family home. 

 

There is ample opportunity for motivated students seeking a rewarding career path. Residential construction workers consistently express high job satisfaction. And average salaries in the Chattanooga region remain very competitive with other industries in our area.

 

The residential construction industry is one of the few sectors where demand for new workers is rising, and the housing industry is working diligently to meet this challenge by training more workers and leaders in the construction industry.


A recent study released by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) shows that residential construction nationwide remains the industry of independent entrepreneurs

A recent study released by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) shows that residential construction nationwide remains the industry of independent entrepreneurs with 81 percent of homebuilders and specialty trade contractors being self-employed independent contractors. Even among establishments with paid employees, the industry is dominated by small businesses, with two-thirds of homebuilders and three out of four specialty trade contractors generating less than 1 million dollars in total business receipts.

 

   Under the most recent US Small Business Administration (SBA) size standards, the vast majority of residential construction companies qualify as a small business. The most recent small business size limits for all types of builders is $36.5 million, for land subdivision $27.5 million, and $15 million for specialty trade contractors. By these standards, almost all remodelers and at least 96 percent of homebuilders, 94 percent of land developers, and 97 percent of specialty trade contractors easily qualify as a small business.

 

   In the case of single–family general contractors and speculative builders, subcontractors account for more than a third (36 percent) of the total construction revenue. For multifamily general contractors, 63 percent of the annual construction receipts are generated by subcontractors. Specialty trade contractors who, by definition, specialize in specific activities (e.g., pouring concrete, site preparation, plumbing, painting, and electrical work) subcontract out only 10 percent of the work.

 

   Because residential construction establishments are highly specialized and subcontract out a significant portion of construction work to others, they maintain relatively few construction workers on their payrolls. Single-family general contractors on average have four employees on their payroll, with only three directly engaged in homebuilding. Non-construction workers include supervisory employees above the working foreman level, in addition to executive, accounting and other professional employees in routine office functions.

 

   The small, family-owned business is the heartbeat of our economy, in Chattanooga and throughout the United States. The next time you drive by an area where a new home is being constructed, take a second and tip your cap to the men and women who wake up every day with the common goal of providing safe, efficient and affordable housing for our community.


Sustainable living has found an enthusiastic following in Chattanooga

Sustainable living has found an enthusiastic following in Chattanooga, as home builders and owners increasingly embrace ways to conserve natural resources and minimize the impact on environment.

 

   Green home initiatives are important to builders, consumers, and our community because they promote lower total ownership costs through utility savings and increased durability, and they encourage environmental awareness and stewardship.

 

   When considering if a green home is an option for you and your family, it’s important to realize there are many shades of green. In it’s simplest form, a green home may have one or more elements of sustainability that enhance energy efficiency or water conservation, such as a tankless water heater, programmable sprinkler system, or smart thermostat. In a step further, builders may use materials that are recycled and sustainable or may include innovative features, like solar panels and stormwater irrigation systems.  Any combination of these and many other building methods are viable options for the environmentally conscious builder and home buyer.

 

   For those individuals ready to take green living to the next level, certified green homes are independently verified to be resource-efficient, durable, healthy, and cost-effective. Several voluntary certification programs give builders and consumers the power to be environmental stewards without the costly restrictions of mandatory regulation. LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ENERGY STAR™ Program are two such well-known rating systems.

 

   The ICC 700 National Green Building Standard™, the only residential green building rating system approved by the American National Standard Institute, is the preferred program of the National Home Builders Association (NHBA). Homes certified under this program are verified to be designed and built to achieve high performance in six areas: Site Design, Resource Efficiency, Water Efficiency, Energy Efficiency, Indoor Environmental Quality, and Building Operation and Maintenance. NAHB also offers a Certified Building Professional™ accreditation for industry professionals.

 

   The Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga (HBAGC) and its members are committed to green building and environmentally friendly construction practices. Several builder members of HBAGC have achieved the highest levels of Green Building certification, exceeding limits to embrace such concepts as net zero energy and living and restorative building standards that improve the natural environment.

 

   If you would like more information on green home building, please visit www.nahbgreen.org or contact Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga at 423.624.9992 or info@HBAGC.net.


To help enhance the safety and comfort of a senior visitor, especially one who may have some of the physical challenges that come with aging, here are a few quick and inexpensive things you can do.

To help enhance the safety and comfort of a senior visitor, especially one who may have some of the physical challenges that come with aging, here are a few quick and inexpensive things you can do to make the time less stressful for you and more comfortable for your guest:
 

Consider pathways in the house. Clear obstacles, and maybe even move furniture that a person usually has to maneuver around. Move any electrical cords that are where a person might walk – perhaps taping them to a wall or using a hook. Clear stairs of any objects—shoes, books, and other personal items that tend to collect on the lower treads. Also check that railings on stairs inside and out are secure, and make repairs where needed.

 

Lighting is crucial. Put night lights in bathrooms, the guest bedroom, any hallways near the guest bedroom, and perhaps in the kitchen. Make sure there is a lamp or light switch within easy reach of the guest bed so that your visitor can keep a light on until safely tucked in.

 

Be sure the shower your guest will use has a non-slip floor. To enhance the traction, apply non-slip strips or a suction-attached non-slip mat. Secure or, preferably, remove any throw rugs, including bathroom mats. Edges of rugs can be a tripping hazard, and even a slight scoot can affect a person’s balance.
 

Identify seating in your gathering rooms that is appropriately firm, high in the seat, and preferably that has arms to help a person easily sit down and get up. A chair that is too soft or too low to the ground can strand a person awkwardly.

 

If you are considering other more long-term home modifications for aging in place, be sure to consult a remodeler or contractor who has the experience and references for this type of work.


Homeownership is the American dream, but it’s also a lot of work. Your home is a significant investment and requires a consistent level of upkeep to maintain its efficiency and to protect its value.

Homeownership is the American dream, but it’s also a lot of work. Your home is a significant investment and requires a consistent level of upkeep to maintain its efficiency and to protect its value.
 

   As you make new resolutions for 2016, set aside some time to build a schedule of your ongoing home maintenance duties. Creating a calendar of anticipated maintenance needs will help you remember key milestones and better prepare for any big expenses.
 

   The following examples of typical home maintenance should be completed at least annually.  Consider your home’s specific needs to determine the relevance and timing of each task, and mark your calendar appropriately. 
 

In the spring:
 

  • Inspect the roof for snow damage.
  • Examine the condition of glazing compound, caulking, and interior and exterior paint.
  • Check for broken glass and screens in windows and storm doors. (It’s also a good idea to
  • do this the fall.)
  • Look for evidence of termites such as sagging floors and ceilings or dry, brown tunnels in
  • the ground near the home’s foundation.
  • Seed and feed the lawn, plant annuals and trim perennials that need pre-growth pruning.
     

In the fall:
 

  • Add mulch around perennials that need protection from winter weather.
  • Clear the lawn of leaves and reseed patchy areas.
  • Inspect the driveway for any cracks, and repair any damage with driveway filler and coat with a commercial sealer.
  • Look for any cracks or damage to the fireplace, and have the chimney cleaned by a licensed chimney sweep.

 

Before winter:

 

  • Inspect the roof, address any damaged shingles or flashings, and remove any debris.
  • Ensure gutters are securely fastened to the fascia board and clear them of any debris or build up that could inhibit proper drainage. 
  • Remove hose connections, then drain and store hoses to keep them from freezing.
  • Empty clay pots and planters of all soil, which can freeze and cause the pots to crack.

 

Anytime throughout the year:

 

  • Check all electrical connections for potential hazards. Pay special attention to any overloaded extension cords, and repair or replace any worn or frayed cords of electrical appliances.
  • Test your carbon monoxide, radon and smoke detectors. Clean each unit with a vacuum or cotton swab and replace batteries and light bulbs, if needed.
  • Have your heating and air conditioning system(s) inspected and cleaned. If your system has a filter, replace it once every three months.
  • Inspect all doors and windows for proper operation and ensure the weather stripping is not cracked or torn. 
  • Inspect the attic insulation to ensure the entire ceiling area is covered. Insulation should not touch the underside of the roof sheathing, nor should it block vents in the eaves, which could cause condensation buildup and poor air circulation.
  • Periodically check storage areas, closets and the basement to ensure that any oily rags, gas cans, paint supplies, cleaning materials or other flammable items have been stored properly.
  • Check the functionality of your security system, inspecting each sensor and confirming the primary and backup batteries are in working order.

 

   The joys of homeownership come with a long list or responsibilities. But staying on top of these duties will help keep your home healthy as the seasons change and the years pass. For more ideas to maintain your home throughout the year, visit HBA of Greater Chattanooga (www.hbagc.net) or nahb.org/consumers.


Home Owners in Chattanooga and the surrounding area just received some good news by way of

Home Owners in Chattanooga and the surrounding area just received some good news by way of recent legislative action in Washington, D.C. In an important victory for home owners, the U.S. House recently approved a five-year highway bill that will not use guarantee fees (g-fees) collected by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to pay for transportation programs.

 

   The Senate is expected to approve the measure and President Obama will sign the legislation into law shortly thereafter.

 

   The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) led the charge to strip a provision that would have used g-fees to help offset a funding shortfall from the final legislation.

 

   G-fees are a critical risk management tool used by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to protect against credit-related losses on mortgages they have purchased or mortgage-backed securities they have guaranteed. NAHB has always maintained that these fees should only be used for their intended purpose – to protect against mortgage defaults and ensure the safety and soundness of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

 

   Despite strong opposition from NAHB, Congress voted in 2011 to enact a 10-year, 10 basis point increase in g-fees to fund the extension of the payroll tax cut. To help fund the long-term transportation bill, lawmakers subsequently proposed what would amount to a $1.9 billion tax on home owners by providing a four-year extension of the previous 10 basis point increase through 2025.

 

   Working with legislators on both sides of the aisle, NAHB ultimately was able to get the g-fee provision removed from the final transportation bill. On behalf of home owners and the residential construction industry, The HBA of Greater Chattanooga extends a hearty “Thank You” to our local and area Congressional delegation for supporting this meaningful and much-needed legislation.


Your home may be the biggest investment you will ever make. Taking good care of it with

Your home may be the biggest investment you will ever make. Taking good care of it with regular maintenance is necessary to maintain its value and ensure it will provide a comfortable, safe shelter for you and your family for a long time. Here is a brief home maintenance quiz that will test your maintenance knowledge. While this quiz does not address every home maintenance project, it does provide helpful tips and reminders for chores you may have overlooked.

 

1. What part of the faucet usually needs to be replaced when you have a water leak?

 

    The washer.

 

2. Should you run hot or cold water through your garbage disposal?

 

    Cold water.

 

3. How often should the moving parts of garage doors be oiled?

 

    Every three months.

 

4. Where should the fire in your fireplace be built?

 

    On the andirons or grate, never on the fireplace floor.

 

5. Where should your firewood be stored?

 

    Outside, away from your house and not directly on the ground.

 

6. Why should frozen pipes be thawed slowly?

 

    Frozen pipes should be thawed slowly to prevent the formation of steam, which           could cause the pipe to burst.

 

7. How often should your roof be inspected?

 

    A qualified roofer should inspect your roof every three years.

 

8. What should be regularly checked on your security system?

 

    The alarms and circuit breakers should be checked to make sure they are in               working order and the sensors should be inspected one by one.

 

9. To ensure your safety, what household equipment uses batteries that must be checked regularly to make sure they are operable?

 

     Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

 

10. At what temperature should your water heater be set?

 

    120 degrees Fahrenheit


Builders and remodelers should expect a rise in demand for home health technology as more and more baby boomers retire.

Builders and remodelers should expect a rise in demand for home health technology as more and more baby boomers retire.

 

According to AARP, the majority of adult children (88%) and older adults (75%) spend time thinking about aging, and what that may mean for the family. However, 75% of adult children and 69% of aging parents are specifically concerned about their ability to live independently as they get older.

 

Home health technology — digital and electronic systems that allow individuals access to monitor various aspects of their health at home — give older Americans the freedom to live at home on their own longer than they’d be able to otherwise.

 

Often one of the biggest client concerns are those of older children interested in health technology that will keep their parents safe in the home. The possibility of a life-threatening physical injury occurring when no one is around is a big motivator for the installation of home health technology integration systems.

 

Many adult children, especially those who live remotely, want to be able to actively monitor their parents to make sure that they are okay. Home design that incorporates health tech features that allow them to do so is likely to become a significant ongoing trend in the housing industry.  Among older adults for whom health ailments aren’t yet a great concern, there is often a desire to stay fit, which also opens up new opportunities in home technology.

 

State-of-the-art exercise rooms, yoga studios and saunas complete with sophisticated sound systems and large touch-screen monitors that offer ample space and natural light for an afternoon or morning workout are attractive features for older buyers.

 

Another fast-growing tech area for the 55+ crowd: gaming. Motion-sensitive gaming systems, like the Wii and Playstation Move, allow older individuals to stay active with fun, low-impact exercises year-round, like bowling and golf. And according to the National Association of Home Builders most recent “What Home Buyers Really Want” report, one-third of home buyers age 55+ desire a dedicated game room in their home.

 

For more information on design ideas that will accommodate special needs and home health technology—whether for now or in the future, contact the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga (www.hbagc.net).


If you’re in the market for a new home, you may be wondering about the factors that contribute to the total cost of the home.

If you’re in the market for a new home, you may be wondering about the factors that contribute to the total cost of the home. The National Association of Home Builders recently published a Cost of Construction Survey, which details the various costs of building a typical new single-family home. Many of the results show that costs have remained consistent in recent years.

 

   According to the 2015 survey, the biggest single component of a home’s price is construction costs, which accounts for 62 percent of the cost. The cost of the finished lot is the second largest factor at 18.2 percent. 

 

   Survey respondents broke down construction costs into eight major construction stages: 

 

  • Interior finishes: 30 percent
  • Framing: 18 percent
  • Exterior finishes: 15 percent
  • Major system rough-ins: 13 percent
  • Foundations: 11.6 percent
  • Final steps: 6.8 percent
  • Site work: 5.6 percent
  • Other costs: 0.5 percent

 

   The survey reaffirms the steady progress of our economy since the Great Recession, as home values have gradually risen. And, in each year since 2009, the size of single-family homes has grown as well. The average home in 2015 had 2,802 square feet of finished space, compared to 2,402 in 2009. 
 

   The size of the lot has increased significantly, too, jumping to 20,129 square feet (nearly half an acre) in 2015, from 14,359 square feet just two years go. Though building practices and the cost of labor, land and materials can vary widely across the country, these national averages provide an encouraging snapshot of the building industry and our nation’s housing recovery. The upward trend of home buyer confidence and home price appreciation is inspiring more and more consumers to build the home of their dreams.

 

   To learn more about the home building process in Chattanooga, Hamilton County or the surrounding area, contact the HBA of Greater Chattanooga or visit nahb.org for more information.


It is a great honor to serve as the new President of the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga (HBAGC) for 2016.

  It is a great honor to serve as the new President of the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga (HBAGC) for 2016. I have had the great privilege of being born and raised in Chattanooga and I am excited for the opportunity to help lead an organization that has been such a vital part of the community. Many know HBAGC as the host of the Annual Tri State Home Show which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. I would like to take this opportunity to highlight a few of the other contributions of the Association.

 

   HBAGC’s has nearly 500 members and represents thousands of other professionals involved in all facets of the local home building industry. Our members have access to the industries’ best continuing educational opportunities and adhere to a strict Code of Ethics focusing on professionalism and ethical business practices. The Association is a leading advocate for quality construction practices and maintaining the affordability of housing. HBAGC also acts as a valuable consumer resource for finding quality professional services and products.

 

   HBAGC has a proud history and continued commitment to giving back to the local community. The Association’s philanthropic and charitable efforts include providing substantial financial support and volunteer services to organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, the American Red Cross and to other community efforts that have included free assistance to storm victims. HBAGC’s commitment to education doesn’t stop at providing opportunities for its membership.  It provides scholarships to local students and has furnished supplies to local schools for years.

 

   The Chattanooga area is already one of the nation’s best places to live and has unlimited potential for an even brighter future. The Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga is committed to doing its part to help this great community maximize that potential.


You may be wondering how to save money on your energy bills this year.

You may be wondering how to save money on your energy bills this year. Conducting a do-it-yourself home energy audit is a fast, relatively simple way to assess how much energy your home consumes and determine what you can do to make your home more energy efficient.

 

Air leaks. Some places to inspect where air commonly seeps from homes include gaps around baseboards, wall and ceiling junctures, electrical outlets, switch plates, window frames, weather stripping, fireplace dampers, attic doors, window-mounted air conditioners and foundation seals.  Once you’ve identified the leaks, seal them with caulk, weather stripping or the same material as the original seal.

 

Insulation. In older homes especially, you may have insufficient insulation in the ceiling and walls. Your attic door should be insulated and close tightly. Openings around pipes, ductwork and chimneys should be sealed. Flexible caulk should be used to seal any electrical boxes in the ceiling.

 

Heating and Cooling Equipment. See if ducts and pipes located in unheated spaces and your water heater and hot water pipes are insulated. Have your equipment checked and cleaned by a professional annually. If you have a forced-air furnace, replace your filters as soon as they are dirty. Even if they aren’t, replace them every 30 to 60 days.

 

Lighting. Look at the bulbs in your home and determine if a lower-watt bulb would work just as well for your needs. For lights that will be used more than two hours each day, replace your incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs and you can save up to 75% of the energy used for lighting.

 

A home audit is a great way to find out your home’s energy deficiencies and make simple improvements that will save you time and money in the long run!


If you associate log home living with rugged mountains in a rural community, think again.

If you associate log home living with rugged mountains in a rural community, think again. Log homes can be found in cities and towns across the country. And, today’s log homes include modern amenities and options to fit your lifestyle, including open floor plans, multimedia rooms, master suites, garages and more. You may be surprised to learn all the benefits that log homes offer.

 

Log homes are both environmentally and energy-friendly. They are constructed from natural and renewable materials. In fact, using full logs is one of the greenest ways to build. Waste is kept at a minimum during the milling process since manufacturers use all portions of the log. Full log walls have “thermal mass.” Like a stone that’s been left in the sun for a few hours and then brought indoors, logs soak up the heat energy during the day and release heat slowly and evenly, using less energy over the life of the home.

 

Log homes are systems-built houses, with their main components constructed in an enclosed, climate-controlled environment and then delivered to the building site, where they are assembled and completed to become a home.

 

Planning and building a log home is a unique opportunity to create your dream home, but it’s important to do some research first. The Log and Timber Homes Council (LTHC) of the National Association of Home Builders is a great place to start. All LTHC members follow specific standards and a uniform code of ethics, and each member stays abreast of new technology with the end goal of ensuring customer satisfaction and a quality product.

 

The LTHC offers consumers a wealth of resources through its consumer website, loghomes.org.  For more information, contact the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga to find a log home manufacturer near you.


Builders signed contracts on more homes last month than any time since early 2008

Builders signed contracts on more homes last month than any time since early 2008, according to figures released by the Census Bureau and HUD. February seasonally adjusted annual new home sales topped out at a 539,000 annual pace, up 7.8% from a healthy 500,000 rate in January.

 

In percentage terms, sales increased the most in the Northeast (153% over the January rate) due to earlier weather-related declines. Inventories dropped slightly to 210,000, which, with the increased sales rate, lowered the months’ supply measure to 4.7 months. Lower inventories suggests optimism about construction growth for the year ahead.

 

Although reporting smaller gains, existing home sales shook off winter-related declines in February as well. As reported by the National Association of Realtors, sales increased 1.2% in February (up 4.7% from a year earlier), and the share of sales for first-time buyers registered its first gain since last November. Supplies of existing homes for sale are also diminished, with the current inventory representing only a 4.6-month supply.

In percentage terms, sales increased the most in the Northeast (153% over the January rate) due to earlier weather-related declines. Inventories dropped slightly to 210,000, which, with the increased sales rate, lowered the months’ supply measure to 4.7 months. Lower inventories suggests optimism about construction growth for the year ahead.

 

Although reporting smaller gains, existing home sales shook off winter-related declines in February as well. As reported by the National Association of Realtors, sales increased 1.2% in February (up 4.7% from a year earlier), and the share of sales for first-time buyers registered its first gain since last November. Supplies of existing homes for sale are also diminished, with the current inventory representing only a 4.6-month supply.

However, the lingering regional effects of the tough winter for the Eastern part of the U.S. were seen in disappointing construction data for February. The pace of housing starts fell 17% to its lowest level since January 2014.

 

The decline was across the board in building types and regions. Single-family starts were down 14.9% and multifamily starts fell 20.8%. Single-family starts decreased the most in the weather sensitive Northeast (-60.7%) and Midwest (-32.4%) but were also down in the less weather affected South (-5.9%) and West (-9.1%).

The declines mirror the NAHB/Wells Housing Market Index (HMI), which fell two points to 53 in March. The drop marked the third consecutive decrease in this measure of single-family builder confidence.

However, the HMI has been above 50 since July of last year, suggesting that the outlook for construction growth is good, not great.  Similarly, fourth-quarter market data from the Census Bureau and HUD Survey of Market Absorption of Apartments suggest ongoing strong rental demand and positive prospects for maintaining current levels of multifamily development.


When responding to OSHA’s requests for information per the updated recordkeeping rule, make sure to keep these tips in mind...

When responding to OSHA’s requests for information per the updated recordkeeping rule, make sure to keep these tips in mind:

 

  • State the known facts, not opinions or speculation. Speculation or opinions, particularly as to the cause of an accident or the existence of a hazard, are often misinterpreted as admissions as to what actually happened. For example, if cause is only suspected or unknown, or if the instance is still under investigation, say so.
     
  • Avoid placing blame or admitting legal violations. Statements that supervisors violated company rules or committed OSHA violations can significantly impact your company’s liability.
     
  • If a problem is noted, always follow up and document that corrective action has been taken. Almost all safety investigation forms have a space to note recommended or completed corrective action. Failure to take corrective action may be construed by OSHA as willful conduct.
     
  • Be truthful. A false statement in any safety documentation can be very damaging. Make certain that all information provided to OSHA is carefully reviewed and, if necessary, corrected for accuracy.


When in doubt, especially with regard to fatality, catastrophic accident or other significant cases, get the advice of legal counsel before responding with anything more than what you are required by law to initially report


Housing starts fell 17% to their lowest level since January 2014.

Housing starts fell 17% to their lowest level since January 2014. The decline was across the board in building types and regions. Single-family starts were down 14.9% and multifamily starts were down 20.8%. Single-family starts were down the most in the weather sensitive Northeast (-60.7%) and Midwest (-32.4%) but were also down in the less unseasonable weather patterns of the South (-5.9%) and West (-9.1%).

 

While total building permits were up 3%, single-family permits were down 6.2% with only the West recording a rise in single-family permits (+5.6%). Multifamily permits were up 18.3% to the highest level since April 2014 and only the third time above 470 since 2006.

 

Aside from a small weather impact in the Northeast and Midwest, the decline is in line with a hesitation in builder sentiment as measured by the NAHB/Wells Fargo March Housing Market Index that fell 2 points to 53. Builders express concern that buyers are unable to attain a mortgage because of tight underwriting standards and that buyers continue to expect price concessions and discounts.

 

Coincident with buyers discount expectations, builders are facing higher costs and reduced availability of lots on which to build the homes and workers to construct them. The squeeze is causing builders to slow construction until new home prices rise, consumers regain confidence and the supply chain for lots, labor and, to a lesser extent, building materials rebuilds.

 

The underlying conditions for a good, not great, housing rebound remain in place. The economy is adding jobs at a much faster pace than earlier in the recovery, overall growth is more dependably positive, mortgage rates are historically low and there is considerable pent-up demand waiting to be released. Consumers need to regain their confidence in those trends and to readjust their expectations for home prices. The softness in the fourth quarter GDP estimates and the very slow rise in worker pay and household incomes contributed to the current hesitation.