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Local News and Information Archives for 2017-03

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.