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Local News and Information Archives for 2017-04

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.