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

Summertime is meant for enjoying the outdoors, cookouts, entertaining and time spent with family and friends. However, no one wants to share their summer with pests such as ants, mosquitoes, snakes, rodents, bees, bats or raccoons. Homeowners often inadvertently invite these pests to be a part of their summer activities with some common oversights that can be quickly alleviated. 

 

“If homeowners take a walk around the perimeter of their house, they can often find free or cheap ways to avoid inviting pests inside,” says Clay Cochran, Northwest Exterminating Business Development Executive M/A. “Many people don’t think about it, but something as simple as cutting a branch that touches a third-floor wall will cut an access point for ants to enter your home.”

 

Cochran continues with some simple fixes homeowners can do to help alleviate summer pests. “Remove standing water to keep mosquitoes away,” says Cochran, “birdbaths, kids’ toys, bottoms of plants...these can be breeding grounds for mosquitoes, and even a bottle cap of water can allow mosquitoes to breed in the thousands. Also, keep your grass short, trim bushes, clear piles of wood and debris, and seal cracks and gaps around your home to deter snakes and pests.” 

 

“Food is a big motivator in attracting pests and wildlife,” says Cochran. To keep pests and wildlife out of your home and yard, here are some other suggestions:

 

-Use tightly-sealed and secured trash cans
-Double bag any meats you put into the trashcan
-Store pet food in sealed containers and bring your pets’ food and water bowls inside nightly
-Pick up any fallen birdseed around your home and yard
-Keep your counters clean, floors swept and throw away overripened fruits and vegetables
-Keep fruit off the ground if you have fruit trees
-Keep dishes clean
-Don’t let garbage pile up

 

Finally, don’t wait until you have an infestation to seek professional help. Regular quarterly maintenance by a professional pest control company can save huge headaches and costs later by establishing an exterior boundary so they will not have to spray chemicals as often inside the home. Professionals will know how pest cycles change seasonally and will adjust the treatments to use for your home accordingly. 

 

For a list of professionals in our area to help with your summer home needs, visit the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga’s member directory at www.HBAGC.net.
 


National Home Remodeling Month in May has even more reason to be celebrated locally as the remodeling industry remains strong in our area over a year into the pandemic. In fact, the remodeling market has benefitted as a direct result of the pandemic. Despite lingering supply-side challenges, confidence in the remodeling market continues to increase, according to a recent NAHB survey. Though the market sputtered at the onset of COVID-19, remodeling activity quickly roared back. Nearly half of remodelers reported 50% of their projects were a direct result of the pandemic, according to a recent NAHB survey.

 

“The remodeling market took a hit last year at the start of the pandemic, but it’s completely turned around now,” said NAHB Remodelers Chair Steve Cunningham. “Now, remodelers are facing intense backlog on projects due to supply chain delays, continued labor shortages and an abundance of project leads.”

A desire for better amenities was cited as the most common consumer motivation for remodeling, followed by a need to repair or replace older components, and a desire or need for more space. Moreover, as home prices and interest rates rise, many would-be home buyers are instead opting to stay put and make improvements to their current homes. Especially among older homeowners, aging-in-place and universal design projects are becoming increasingly popular.

“The pandemic along with the unfortunate Easter storms in 2020 definitely increased the home improvement industry here locally, “ says JB Millworks owner and HBAGC member Jeremie Price, “and the market has remained strong in 2021.”

NAHB’s survey found that bathrooms and kitchens continue to top the list of the most common remodeling projects. Among all projects, 74% were primarily bathrooms while 67% involved kitchens.

“As homeowners continue to make modifications to their homes, it’s important that they do their research and hire a qualified professional,” said Cunningham. “Whether it’s a small project or a whole house remodel, a qualified professional remodeler can help homeowners create a space that works for them.”

To find a dedicated professional remodeler to trust with your bath, kitchen or other home renovations in the Chattanooga area, visit the membership directory at www.HBAGC.net.


Does it seem this spring more and more apartments, condominiums and houses are breaking ground in the Tennessee Valley? That’s because they are! Housing production rebounded across the country as well as in the South in March as buyer demand remains solid due to low mortgage interest rates. Overall housing starts in the U.S. increased 19.4%, according to a report from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. This was the fastest pace for combined single-family and multifamily construction since June 2006.

However, continued lumber and building supply shortages are weighing heavily on new home builders. “The test for the industry this year will be balancing growth and higher construction costs, given ongoing housing affordability challenges,” according to the National Association of Home Builders Chief Economist Robert Dietz. 

On a regional basis, new housing starts are 13.5% higher in the South. New housing production continues to be strong in our area because, “rates were so low in 2020, driving purchases and especially refinances, so existing inventory remains low,” says Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga member and Synovus Mortgage Loan Originator Holly J. Walsh. This mix of low finance rates combined with low inventory has created a seller’s market, pushing many to look into new home production. 

Are you looking to get a new home loan in this competitive market? “My best advice is to work with a local realtor who knows the market and can help you be prepared to move fast and if you like a home make a quick offer,” says Walsh.  “Another key is to make sure you have gotten your prequalification taken care of so that you already have a letter to submit with your offer to let the seller know that you are serious! Make sure to talk to a Mortgage Loan Originator when you begin house hunting.”

The Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga is an invaluable tool to our community comprised of local professionals dedicated to the continued betterment of home services for both new and existing homeowners. To find a reputable, qualified realtor, builder or housing professional in the greater Chattanooga area, visit the membership directory at www.HBAGC.net. And to have your business be a part of this non-profit organization, visit https://hbagc.net/membership/membership-application.


 

With spring’s warmer weather and more daylight, you may be itching to get outdoors. Wondering what you should be doing now in your yard, flowerbeds and outdoor areas? Here’s a handy list to help.

 

Yard and Landscaping-

“Do not plant annuals until after April 15, we always get one more cold snap before then,” warns HBAGC board member and Home and Lawn Care Services owner Marty Hilliard. According to the Farmer’s Almanac, she is right as it predicts our last frost this year to be April 8 calculated using 1981-2010 climate normals.

To avoid pesky weeds later, Hilliard advises to be sure to put a preemergent or crab grass preventer on your lawn and ornamental beds now as well as a thick layer of mulch on your flower beds. She also recommends following up with a weed and seed in six to eight weeks. 

Now is also the time to do your pruning, and cut back shrubs before they begin flushing. No, we are not referring to the restroom. Flushing in shrubs refers to the point in a flowering cycle when a plant is in full bloom. The period when all blossoms of a plant are open is called a flowering flush. 

If all this sounds exhausting, perhaps you should consider hiring a professional landscaper. Why a professional? “Well for one, it saves your back,” laughs Hilliard, “But seriously, things that take a homeowner two weeks may take us a day. And you definitely help the local economy, which is very important after covid.” 

However, do not expect to call now and get immediate service from a landscaping professional. Be patient if you have waited to the last minute, as most are scheduled six to eight weeks out now for installation. Hilliard recommends calling in January or February to get on their schedule. For design, the wait typically isn’t as long.

 

Outdoor Furniture-

Now’s the time to clean up your outdoor furniture and get it ready for entertaining, too. Use a wire brush to clean off rust on your wrought iron furniture, then lightly sand, spray with a rust inhibitor and repaint. For teak, clean using a special cleanser, let dry then apply teak oil if you want to maintain the natural color. 

 

Window Washing-

April is a good time to clean your windows, too. Use a squeegee, and wipe it off after each pass. If you’d rather hire a professional, prices can start from as little as $100 for a small home. 

 

To find a reputable window cleaner, landscaper or any home services professional in the Chattanooga area, visit the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga’s membership directory at www.HBAGC.net



 

Spring is here, and warmer weather means checking off your home maintenance to-do list. Here are some items to cross off your list this spring. 

 

Let’s start from the top, literally- Clear your gutters of leaves and debris, and inspect your roof for damaged or loose shingles and get those repaired. If you have a masonry chimney, check the joints between bricks or stones. Any missing? Is there vegetation growing out of them? These are signs of water infiltration. Also, look for efflorescence, a white deposit that indicates your masonry joints are absorbing water.  

 

Outdoor entertaining- Check your deck for splintered or loose boards and repair. Powerwash your patios and decks, and if you have a wood deck that is faded or worn, clean, stain and reseal it. Check grill hoses and clean the grill, and check the propane in your grills and outdoor heaters. For charcoal grillers, clean up any ash and grease residue.

 

Exterior- Check your exterior walls for damaged areas, water spots around eaves and gutters. Wash them and windows inside and out. Check caulking and weather stripping around your windows, and replace as needed. This will keep cool air from inside from escaping outside during hot summer months. 

 

Interior- Now’s a great time to clean those areas we often overlook. Vacuum and flip your mattresses and wash your mattress covers to alleviate dust and allergens. Dust tops of cabinets, chair rails, baseboards, and ceiling fans. Have your drapes laundered and clean your blinds. 

Change the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, and change your hvac filter. Check hvac hose connections for leaks, and make sure the drain pans are draining freely. 

 

Fireplaces- HBAGC member John Fine of Fine’s Hearth and Patio has some excellent tips for fireplace owners. “For gas fireplaces we suggest turning off the pilot light for several reasons; by turning the pilot off you will lower gas consumption, reduce the need for a service call to clean the pilot because when a pilot is burning its constantly drawing in room air and accumulating household dust inside the pilot and if you leave the pilot light lit year round you are adding unwanted heat to the home,” says Fine. 

“We also suggest removing batteries from the remote control and receiver to prevent corrosion over time.” 

“For wood-burning fireplaces we suggest closing the damper to prevent the conditioned air in the home from escaping up the chimney. We also suggest removing all the unburned wood/ashes for the fireplace and having the chimney cleaned or inspected at the end of the burn season.”

 Finally, “Spring is also a great time to have your fireplace serviced so it will be ready for when old man winter comes back again,” advises Fine. 


For a list of qualified professionals to help with your spring maintenance, visit our membership directory at www.HBAGC.net.


 

Prices have soared because of supply-chain issues and other COVID-19-related challenges. Solving the lumber crisis is a critical priority for the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga, particularly because of housing affordability implications. Potential solutions that use high-performance building strategies can reduce the amount of lumber needed to build a home and reduce the demand on the timber industry.

 

“We have seen a dramatic increase in the cost of lumber over the past two quarters and it continues to rise. With an increase in demand, low interest rates, and shortages as a result of the pandemic, it has created an environment for unprecedented cost increases and delays,” says HBAGC member Ryan Jerke, Division President of Goodall Homes. “While this has negatively impacted our margins and build times, the consumer has absorbed the majority of the increases and the market continues to be strong.  We have not yet reached a tipping point but it could be around the corner if lumber continues to run the way it has over the past two quarters.”  

This makes sustainable timber more important than ever, with several elements that make it environmentally friendly:

  • Harvesting: Trees must be cut down in a manner that protects the surrounding ecosystem by avoiding damage to local flora and fauna. Additional trees need to be planted to replace what was cut down.
  • Sourcing: Sustainable timber could be recycled or reclaimed. For example, many demolished buildings or dilapidated bridges still have useable wood that can be saved for other projects.
  • Byproducts: Sustainable timber considers what byproducts are made from the material and how are pollutants within the material are addressed.
     

One way to decipher how wood is harvested is to check if the material has been certified to a standard by an independent organization, such as the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) or the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC). Home Innovation Research Labs also certifies green products (including wood and engineered wood products), and using those products can earn points toward the National Green Building Standard (NGBS) Green Certification.

Strategies highlighted in the above NGBS practices can help to reduce the amount of wood used in a home — potentially alleviating some of the ongoing issues with supply constraints and material costs, while also emphasizing the importance of how building products are sourced.

To find a sustainable builder in our area, visit the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga’s website at www.HBAGC.net


Trying to sell during the COVID-19 pandemic and looking for some low-budget home renovations that will pay off? Despite the pandemic, house sales boomed in the Chattanooga area in 2020. Many home buyers are looking for turnkey properties, so a little TLC can make a big difference in getting your home sold. Here are some expert tips to get the most bang for your money. 

 

Deep Cleaning

Dirty baseboards; soap scum or hard water stains in the bathrooms; scuffed doors and cabinets; dust bunnies and cobwebs in corners; dirty windows blocking views; driveways and sidewalks in need of pressure-washing; dead flowers in old pots littering the walkway—these can affect the all important first impression of your home for potential buyers. This is by far the least expensive improvement that makes a huge impact, you just need a little time or elbow grease. If you’re short on time, invest in a one-time cleaning service, a professional pressure-washer and a window washer.

 

Front Door/Outdoor Lighting

It’s the first thing a potential home buyer will interact with, so sprucing up the front door is worth the investment. Could your front door benefit from new hardware, door knockers or a fresh coat of paint? And shining outdoor lighting on your home, walkways and path can brighten opportunities to impress homebuyers.

“During winter months, it gets dark early and realtors show houses in the evenings.  Houses lit up pop much more than the house next door,” says HBAGC member Joe Bozich, owner of Outdoor Lighting Perspectives. “Outdoor lighting is a bargain that will increase your curb apparel, security as a deterrent to prowlers and safety from trip hazards. It makes a home that seems average during the day look spectacular at night.” 

 

Minor Kitchen and Bath Upgrades

Outdated kitchens and baths can lower the value of a home. Updating cabinets, countertops, new hardware and accessories, lighting fixtures, even fresh towels and decor can make your home seem more appealing and speed up your selling process.

 

The Great Outdoors 

As people spend more time at home, they are looking for creative ways to expand their living space and make the most of their homes. Fire pits, outdoor kitchens and gathering areas, fish ponds or fountain accessories all make the backyard a more inviting oasis to spend time. Professional landscaping can turn a small area into an inviting  private backyard getaway for potential buyers.

 

Home office

With the changes in lifestyles from COVID-19 and so many people working and schooling from home, a home office is now a necessity for many people. A designated space for an office was once thought to be on the way out of home trends, but the pandemic has changed that. A private area to take zoom calls without interruption from the dog or kids wouldn’t have crossed many potential homebuyers’ minds before, yet now will be a strong necessity for many prospects. 

For professional help with your building, home improvement and remodeling needs, visit the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga at HBAGC.net. 


New Year, new home or home improvements? The NAHB forecast is for ongoing gains for single-family construction in 2021, though at a slower growth rate than in 2020. Remodeling will remain strong as people continue to upgrade existing homes.

 

“2020 was a huge year for home improvements such as window and siding replacement, and 2021 is pacing to be just as strong,” says HBAGC member Trey Moon with Window Works of Chattanooga.

 

Residential construction will remain a leading element of the recovering economy, as illustrated with recent labor market data: Residential construction added 15,400 net jobs in November and was one of only a few sectors of the economy to post a year-over-year jobs gain (26,000).

 

The outlook for housing remains positive, as the overall economy is expected to record a solid gain for GDP growth in 2021. NAHB anticipates GDP growth to accelerate in the second half of the year, after a majority of the U.S. population has been vaccinated. This process will be the most important element of 2021, as it will allow hard-hit sectors in the service industries to begin to recover and diminish shutdown risks harming small businesses.

 

A growing economy will be good for housing, but industry stakeholders should be aware it could also result in higher interest rates that could act as a headwind for more housing growth. Experts suggest now is the time to consider refinancing or getting a home equity loan.

 

“Mortgage rates are at all time lows. Now is the time to refinance or even consolidate high interest rate loans into low interest rate loans,” says HBAGC member David Smart, President and CEO of Trust Federal Credit Union. “A balance on a credit card with a 20 to 25% interest rate could be converted into a historically low home loan or signature loan.”

 

Many Chattanoogans found themselves spending more time at home in 2020, fueling housing, home improvement and even secondary residence investments. 2021 will bring a new normal for many, including more remote work opportunities as well as how they live and entertain. This new normal will favorably impact housing and home improvement industries for our area.

 

To find a qualified, professional remodeler, builder or real estate agent in the Chattanooga area, visit the Home Builder Association of Greater Chattanooga’s online membership directory at HBAGC.net.


Working Together to Grow Our Community
Jay Bell, President
Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga

 

Very few professions connect a community or region like the residential construction and remodeling industry does. Long before the foundation is poured and walls are framed, the process of building or remodeling a residence brings together dozens of professionals that contribute individual expertise that ultimately concludes with either a new home or an upgrade to an existing residence.


From the real estate agent to the mortgage lender, from the plumber, electrician and carpenter to the carpet, appliances and siding, the residential construction process is one that brings together dozens of businesses, hundreds of employees and thousands of families nearly every day.


For more than 70 years, the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga (HBAGC) has committed itself to building quality, affordable housing for those who strongly believe in the American Dream of one day owning their own home.
Looking back, it has been quite a journey. Through the good times and bad, the builders and the many businesses that support the residential construction industry work closely together to provide an economic development engine that drives our local economy in a variety of ways.


For example, a recent economic impact study conducted by the National Association of Home Builders determined that the estimated one-year local economic impact of building 1,000 single-family homes in Chattanooga produces $192.2 million in local income, $26.5 million in taxes and other revenue for local governments, and 2,796 local jobs. In addition, the additional, annually recurring impact of building single-family homes in Chattanooga includes $36.9 million in local income, $13.4 million in taxes and other revenue for local governments, and 705 local jobs. Every year.


And it doesn’t stop there. HBAGC is proud of its long history of “giving back” to many local and area organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, American Red Cross, Tennessee River Gorge Trust, Hamilton County schools, Chattanooga Area Food Bank, and providing scholarships for deserving students who are interested in a career in the construction trades. Through the years, HBAGC has donated tens of thousands of dollars to local and area organizations and institutions so that our membership can have a positive and meaningful impact on the lives of those who need a helping hand. Through these contributions, HBAGC is able to be a true community partner in the growth and success of this wonderful place we call “Home.”


The next time you drive buy a new construction site or remodeling project, take a moment to consider the multiple moving parts, all working together, to grow our community in a responsible and productive way. Whether it’s the person holding the hammer or the family putting the key in the front door for the first time, it’s an amazing experience.
 


New Year’s resolutions are a great way to give yourself that extra motivation to start making positive changes in your life. Why not do the same for your home?

Top 5 New Year’s Resolutions for Your Home
Jay Bell, President
Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga

 

New Year’s resolutions are a great way to give yourself that extra motivation to start making positive changes in your life. Why not do the same for your home?

 

As we enter 2018, take a moment and reflect on your home. There’s a good chance that it has some problems, especially if it’s more than 10 years old. It can be all too easy to ignore home issues and let them get out of hand.

 

Use your New Year energy to kick home improvement into gear. You might even be surprised to find that you and your home have a strikingly similar list of resolutions.

 

1. Lose Weight
One of the most common New Year’s resolutions is losing weight. While it’s one of the toughest for a person to stick to, for a home, it’s surprisingly easy. Homes tend to collect clutter around the holidays, filling up with gifts, decorations, and new purchases. Don’t wait until spring rolls around to de-clutter. Use the first couple weeks in January to throw away, donate, or re-sell home goods that you no longer need. Your home will feel so much lighter and more spacious once you do.

 

2. Be More Organized
As you work your way through de-cluttering your home, roll with that momentum and take it as an opportunity to get organized. Maybe your home office has become a wasteland of papers, books, and gadgets in the past year. Go through it all. Get rid of things you never use, and recycle all the papers you don’t need anymore. You’ll start the New Year feeling more productive in your clean, de-cluttered workspace. 


3. Take Up a New Hobby
DIY projects are the perfect way to update your home for the New Year. Not only do they make your home a little more functional and beautiful on a tight budget, but they can give you a great sense of personal accomplishment. Replacing light fixtures, painting walls, and switching out hardware are DIY projects that almost anyone can do. There are, however, certain projects that are best left to the professionals. Before you pick up a sledgehammer, start ripping up floors, or removing cabinets, consult with a remodeler who can provide some professional guidance.

 

4. Eat Better and Drink Less
Between parties, family dinners, and seasonal treats, it’s all too easy to overindulge during the holidays. Even your home might be feeling gluttonous - consuming more water and electricity as the weather turns colder. Luckily, there are countless new products - some of which can be installed fairly easily - to improve your home’s energy efficiency. From low-flow water fixtures, smart-home thermostats, and motion-sensing automated lights to Energy Star appliances and double-pane windows, the options are endless. Ask a building professional which features are best suited for your home and budget. Put in the time now, and when next winter rolls around your home will be equipped and ready.

 

5. Get Out of Debt
A top New Year priority for many is getting out of debt and finding better ways to manage finances, especially after holiday spending. You can start by identifying wasteful spending. Try to minimize or even eliminate it wherever possible, but remember that you can’t cut all the fun out of your budget. You probably have several improvements you want to tackle in your home, but starting on them all at once would be a logistical and financial nightmare. Work with a contractor you trust, and let them help you prioritize your needs and wants. Create a plan to address them over time and factor that into your New Year budget. You might also want to check in with a remodeler. They can help you determine which items on your list will give you the best return on investment, making the improvements well worth the time and money.

It’s no surprise that your list of New Year’s resolutions might look very similar to your home’s. After all, your home is a reflection of you. With these tips, you can spend 2018 in a more comfortable, beautiful, and peaceful home.

 

Learn more about which improvements are best suited for your home by visiting HBAGC at www.hbagc.net, 423-624-9992 or info@hbagc.net. 


When you think about the spaces in your home where you most enjoy spending your time, the garage is probably not at the top of the list. Here are some ways to make it a more functional — dare we say — attractive space.

Dream Up a More Functional, Appealing Garage
Mike Croxall, President
Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga


When you think about the spaces in your home where you most enjoy spending your time, the garage is probably not at the top of the list. Here are some ways to make it a more functional — dare we say — attractive space. 


Wall, Freestanding and Overhead Storage
There are several types of sturdy, free-standing shelving units and hanging fixtures available. But pay close attention to the weight limit for each shelf and measure your space carefully to make an informed decision before you buy. Whenever possible, affix the shelves to the studs within the walls so that they do not tip and cause injury.
Then, look up. Do you have space above where you or a professional can install shelving overhead? That might be a great place for larger items, especially if those items are used infrequently. 


Tabletop and Cabinet Work Space
Consider installing cabinetry and countertops that you’d normally see in a kitchen or craft room. You’ll first want to ensure the durability and features meet the demands of your tools or hobby projects. Also, bear in mind that the moisture and temperature conditions of your garage likely differ from those of your kitchen or other rooms inside the home. Those variables could have an impact on the types of materials best suited to meet your needs.


A Splash of Sealant, Paint and Creativity
Don’t forget about style and appeal. You don’t need to leave the drab, grey cement floor and standard-issue rough walls or open studs of your garage untouched. Consult with a remodeler or builder in your area to finish your walls, allowing you to then paint your garage walls an appealing color to brighten it up.


As for the floor, one of the most bang-for-buck upgrades is properly sealing and finishing the floor. When doing so, you choose from a variety of colors, instead of a bland grey. You can also install a durable, non-slip material to portions of the floor that is both appealing to the eye, and safer and softer to walk on. These often come in the form of interlocking squares for easy installation.


Start by going online or to a home improvement store to find out what new products may be a great fit for your garage and your lifestyle. Or think bigger and reach out to a professional remodeler or home builder at HBAGC at hbagc.net or 423-624-9992. Maybe you’ll find the garage becomes your new favorite space in your home.


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.