3221 Harrison Pike Chattanooga, TN 37406 | Phone: (423) 624-9992 | Fax: (423) 624-9435


Local News and Information

5 Reasons for Women to Consider a Career in Construction

In the United States, women make up about half of the workforce. However, only a small percentage of women work in the residential construction industry. Among those women who are working in the industry, a majority have a fulfilling career with opportunities for advancement and competitive pay. Women in construction also have the satisfaction of knowing that they are building homes that make a difference in people’s lives.

Leslie Gower, CEO of AGC East Tennessee shares, "A growing number of women are entering the construction industry, excelling, and shattering stereotypes as they crush it on the job. Their innate qualities of precision, collaboration, problem-solving and attention to detail are the qualities that elevate construction projects to the next level."

This month, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Professional Women in Building Council (PWB) celebrates Professional Women in Building Week (Sept. 11-15) to raise awareness and recognize the essential role of women in the construction industry. Here are some reasons why women should consider creating a career path in construction:

Numerous Job Opportunities. The number of unfilled construction jobs was more than 300,000 in June 2023. An NAHB survey found labor shortages in various construction jobs, including framers, carpenters, plumbers, electricians, and bricklayers. In addition, the residential construction industry is one of the few sectors where demand for new workers rose during the pandemic.

Competitive Salary. A pay gap exists between men and women across most industries. On average, women in the United States earn approximately 80 cents for every dollar a man earns. However, the gap is much smaller in the construction trades. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women in the construction industry earn 95 cents for every dollar a man earns. 

Scholarships and Education Opportunities. Funding is available through numerous programs for students interested in or pursuing residential construction opportunities. For example, NAHB Professional Women in Building and the National Housing Endowment have scholarships and grants available for students seeking to further their education in housing industry related programs.

Chattanooga is also home to the Hamilton County Construction Career Center. Opening in the Fall of 2022, this 28,000 square-foot hands-on vocational workforce center offers education and training to area high school students and TCAT adult learners with the goal of 100% career placement for graduates.

Vast Professional Network. There is a growing community of women in construction willing to mentor and share insights with women entering the field. The Home Builders of Greater Chattanooga is a great place to get connected to other women in the industry with multiple educational and networking opportunities for members. Additionally, AGC East Tennessee is another amazing resource for women in the career field, offering continuing education courses, peer networking events and more.

A Sense of Achievement. A career in the trades brings a sense of satisfaction for completing high-quality work that contributes to home building and ultimately helping to fulfill the American Dream.

If you are a woman with a passion for creating, problem-solving and life-long learning, consider pursuing a career in construction. The industry is open and welcoming, with many opportunities for gaining career success. For more information on career opportunities in our area, contact us here at the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga or visit AGC East Tennessee.

Simple Strategies to Help Sell Your Home This Fall

Spring gets all the attention when it comes to home buying, however, homes sell year-round. Despite the headlines, millions of existing homes are sold monthly. So, if you need to quickly sell your home this fall so you can enjoy your new home, consider the following tips.

Minimize Holiday Décor
One of the joys of homeownership is personalizing your space. Homeowners tend to liven up their spaces at or around October in preparation for Halloween. However, dramatic outdoor displays, loads of fake cobwebs or collections of pumpkins crowding the entryway may scare off potential buyers. The same general principle applies to fall décor.

Maintain Curb Appeal
You’ll want to ensure your house looks inviting as soon as potential buyers catch a glimpse of your home. Make sure your house number can be read from the street and remember to keep your sidewalks clear, with all fall leaves raked up.

Light it Up
As winter approaches, it starts getting darker outside earlier. If prospective buyers tour your home in the early evening hours, ensure there is as much light as possible, so the house looks warm and inviting. Consider adding floor lamps in the darker areas of your home or ask your realtor for staging recommendations.

Prepare for Cooler Temperatures
With colder temperatures outside, buyers will notice immediately if your heating unit isn’t working correctly. Not only will a cold or drafty house make your home uncomfortable for buyers, but they may also be wary of purchasing a new heating system. To ensure your unit is running smoothly and provides optimal comfort, schedule a maintenance tune-up with a professional HVAC technician.

Keep Your Home Clean
A clean home is an inviting one, so experts recommend a thorough cleaning. In addition to tidying up and putting things away, wash your windows inside and out. Now is the best time to make home repairs you may have been putting off. Before showing your home, consider hanging fresh towels in the bathrooms and kitchen. Set the dining room table and buy fresh flowers for vases throughout the home. 


Selling your home in the fall doesn’t have to be a headache. With a bit of preparation, you’ll soon be settling into your new home.  For help with buying and selling a home, visit our membership directory for a list of local professionals.

5 Benefits of New Home Construction

The first step for new home buyers is deciding if they want a new or existing home. Choosing a structure that best fits your needs is essential because a home is one of the most significant investments you’ll likely make in your lifetime. There are plenty of existing homes on the market, but owning a newly constructed home has many advantages. Before you talk to a real estate agent, consider the following reasons why a new home might be right for you.

1. High-Quality Construction. Professional home builders take pride in the quality of their work. Ask any builder for references and they’ll be happy to get you connected to clients who recently purchased a new build. Not only are beautiful new homes lovely to admire, but buyers also have peace of mind knowing that the home is safe for their families. Qualified home builders ensure each new build passes inspections and conforms to current building codes. A new home is also under warranty, and any issues that arise during the warranty term will be fixed at no cost to the homeowner. 

2. Features That Fit Your Family Needs. New homes can be personalized with appliances, cabinets, countertops, carpets, floor coverings, paint color and other design elements to meet your family’s needs and preferences. They also come designed for modern lifestyles, with open floor plans, walk-in closets, and creative storage solutions. New home buyers do not have to make any renovations to change a previous owner’s taste to their own.

3. Built for Efficiency. Newly built homes are highly energy efficient, saving buyers money and helping the environment. New windows, doors and insulation better control the home’s interior climate, and ENERGY STAR-rated appliances and other modern components will help save costs on utility bills. New buyers don’t have to spend time shopping to replace aging appliances.

4. Wired for the Latest Technology. New homes come outfitted with the latest home automation and wiring components that provide state-of-the-art technology to accommodate modern home appliances and entertainment resources such as high-definition televisions, full-house sound systems, hard-wired fire and security alarms, and more.

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

For more information on the benefits of new homes or to find qualified builders in our area, visit our membership directory.

Top 10 End-of-Summer Home Maintenance Tips

It’s that time of year again, school buses are starting to appear in the neighborhood and cooler temperatures are not too far off in the distance. Before the summer season ends, there are some routine maintenance steps you can take to ensure your home looks good and functions optimally year-round. The best time to pay attention to your home needs is now. Procrastinating on home maintenance could result in future costly repairs. Here are the top common issues to check before the summer season ends.

Exterior Maintenance

  • Clean your gutters. Use a sturdy ladder to inspect your gutters safely and remove any leaves or debris. Consider hiring a professional from our list of skilled local HBAGC members to make sure the job is done properly and safely.
  • Fix cracks in your driveway or walkway. Small cracks can quickly worsen if left untreated as water collects and temperatures fluctuate.
  • Inspect your home’s siding. Look for anything loose or rotting. Then, consider power washing to remove dust, bird droppings, dirt, abandoned wasp nests or tree sap. You may want to repair or repaint the siding to protect it from harsh weather and to increase curb appeal.
  • Prevent bugs from entering your home. Use sprays or re-caulk doors and windows if necessary. A minor pest problem could become a larger issue when not addressed quickly.
  • Wash your windows (both inside and outside). Look for any leaks and re-caulk as needed. Fixing any gaps will help with energy efficiency, and cleaning the windows will allow more natural light to enter your home. Your window screens may need to be replaced, too.

Interior Maintenance

  • Check safety devices. Evaluations include, but are not limited to, smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, fire extinguishers and any child safety devices. These should be tested twice annually, and the end of the summer is a great time to inspect.
  • Clean your air conditioner. If you use an in-window unit, clear out debris. If you use an HVAC system, call the pros to keep up with maintenance.
  • Plan for winter weather. Winter storms can be unforgiving. Power can go out for extended periods. Stay prepared by creating an emergency kit with flashlights, clean water to drink, a battery-powered fan, and non-perishable foods. Protect your expensive electronics with surge protectors year-round as well. 
  • Survey your basement. A variety of problems can go unnoticed in the basement. Call a contractor if you find any cracks in the foundation or leaks in the plumbing.
  • Clean your dryer vent. Clogged vents can pose problems at any point in the year. According to the National Fire Protection Association, approximately 16,000 fires are caused every year due to laundry facilities in the home, with 92% attributed to dryers. Lint and dust build-up is the leading cause of fires in dryers and can easily be prevented with regular cleaning.

For a list of skilled professionals to help with everything from gutter cleaning to home repairs, visit our membership directory.

Is it Time to Remodel or Relocate?

There is always something on a homeowner’s to-do list, from changing air filters to finally repairing that leaky faucet. You may be looking at tackling a big project on your to-do list, such as a kitchen renovation or adding a new addition. Modernizing your home can come with a hefty price tag. Depending on the scope of your project, it might be time to move on to a house that better suits your needs. To help you evaluate if you should invest in a home project or start saving for a new house, start by asking yourself the following questions.

1.     What’s my budget? Crunch some numbers to determine what you’re financially ready to spend. Remodeling can be an excellent investment and save you the hassle of moving. But it requires a great deal of patience and flexibility. On the other hand, buying a home can be instantly gratifying, but the actual costs of buying (and selling) – such as commissions, closing costs and moving fees – need to be part of the equation, as that is money you won’t get back. 

2.     Is the layout of your current home conducive to a remodel? Do you like your kitchen, but a load-bearing wall prevents you from making it your dream space? Or would your perfect bathroom be attainable except for space constraints? A professional remodeler can provide you with creative solutions to your layout needs and help you determine if a dramatic remodel is attainable. Another consideration is zoning laws. If you’re planning a large project, a professional remodeler can tell you if any zoning restrictions would affect the remodeling project you envision.
3.     What is the current value of your home compared to similar homes in your neighborhood? If your home is already the most expensive in the area, you might see a small return on your investment if you remodel. But if comparable home values are more significant than your home, you are much more likely to see a strong return by making improvements.

4.     How might your needs change in the next three, five or 10 years? A growing family, kids going off to college, an aging family member moving in – all are factors that can significantly impact your future requirements for a home. According to the National Association of Home Builders, more than a third (39%) of buyers prefer a multigenerational home.

5.     How do you feel about your current location? Even if you change everything about your home, there are many things outside of your home that you have no control over. Have you resumed a lengthy commute to work, or taken up a hobby or activity farther away from your home? Other lifestyle factors to consider are the school district, parks and shopping centers, and the overall look and feel of the community. 

To find more information to help you make the decision as well as a directory filled with skilled remodelers, real estate agents, visit our membership directory.

How to Spend Your Golden Years Safely at Home

Homeowners are increasingly interested in living out their golden years in their own home. According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), more than three-fourths of remodelers (76%) indicated that requests for aging-in-place features have significantly or somewhat increased over the past five years. The “age in place” approach affords homeowners the ability to live comfortably and independently in the safety of their own home regardless of their age or ability.
To help make a smooth transition into this stage of their lives, many baby boomers are searching for builders and remodelers who can help turn their home into a more convenient place to live as they age. Building professionals who have earned the NAHB 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 ability level. While most CAPS professionals are remodelers, an increasing number are general contractors, designers, architects, and healthcare professionals.
NAHB found that the two most common reasons homeowners request aging-in-place projects are planning ahead for future needs (88%) and living with older parents (50%). Many existing or older homes are simply not equipped to meet the needs of the baby boomer generation.
There are many projects that homeowners can request to better accommodate their current or future needs. Grab bars are the most common aging-in-place project, with 93% of remodelers reporting this job in the last year. They are followed by curb-less showers (83%), higher toilets (77%), wider doorways (63%), and added lighting/task lighting (49%). 

CAPS professionals are helping homeowners find aging-in-place solutions that fit their specific needs and budget. CAPS remodelers and builders are trained to understand the unique needs of aging adults without sacrificing the aesthetic value of the home.

Aging homeowners looking to renovate need to be able to find a remodeler they can trust completely, and the CAPS designation helps give homeowners a guarantee that they’re collaborating with a trustworthy professional who’s an expert in aging-in place renovation. While most CAPS professionals are remodelers, an increasing number are general contractors, designers, architects, and health care consultants.

CAPS designees pledge to uphold a strict code of conduct, so you can be sure that they will listen closely to your specific needs and will never push you to add any renovations you don't need. In addition, CAPS professionals also commit to attending continuing education programs, so they are always up to date on the latest aging-in-place technologies and strategies.

If you’d like to find a builder or remodeler in your area with a CAPS or other designation, contact the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga. You can also search the online directory at nahb.org/capsdirectory.

How to Plan for a Deck Remodel

A deck extends the living space of the home and provides an outdoor space to relax and socialize. If your deck could use a refresh, you should consider remodeling to improve both your home’s value and your everyday enjoyment of your home. A wood deck with an average construction cost of $17,051 has an estimated resale value of $8,553, which garners a healthy 50.2% percent in recouped costs, according to the 2023 Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report.

To help you plan for a deck remodel, consider hiring a professional contractor and start making a list of your preferences for size, materials, and personalized features.

Determine the Scope of Your Project. If you are adding to your existing deck, remember that the finishes may look newer than your old decking. If you are completely overhauling or building a new deck, think about the overall flow of the area from the inside to the outside of your home. Will you need a staircase and railing? These details will help you determine the size and scope of your project.
Consider Special Features. Modern decks include more than outdoor furniture. If your deck is multifunctional, talk to your contractor about customizable features such as built-in planters, seating or a firepit. Another popular addition to decks is rail and/or built-in deck lightening to create an inviting ambiance to your outdoor space.

Hire a Professional Remodeler. Building a deck requires more than wood planks and tools. A professional contractor will ensure you have the correct materials and will build your deck to code. If you need a construction permit, an experienced contractor will know how to secure one from the local building department or municipal office. Another benefit of hiring a professional is that if a problem arises, they will troubleshoot problems on the jobsite and help keep your project on schedule.

Research Deck Material Options. Modern deck materials are available in a range of styles, colors, and patterns. Composite material, made of recycled plastics and wood fiber, is a low-maintenance option that does not need staining or sealing. Another popular deck material is fiberglass, due to its longevity and resistance to mildew or rust. There also are distinct types of wood, from pressure-treated to redwood and cedar that can offer durability for decks. A professional remodeler can recommend materials for future maintenance related to sealing, staining, and repairing.

Select a Time that Fits Your Schedule. Remodelers install decks throughout the year. Spring and summer are popular times for homeowners to enjoy the space during the warmer months. Winter can make the excavation easier for remodelers since the ground is firm due to the freezing weather. Before your project starts, you must be available to clear the space so the remodeler can start as scheduled. You may also need to find a cool, dry area for your remodeler to store materials while your project is underway.

To find a professional remodeler near you to build a deck for your home, visit the membership directory of the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga.

Simple Ways to Transform Your Home Office

Is working from home a trend, or is it here to stay? According to a recent nationwide poll by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), 30% of American adults work from home at least two days a week. In response, homeowners are seizing the opportunity to reorganize their space to make it more functional, enjoyable, and productive during the workday.

If you already have a designated home office space, there are many simple ways to set up your area to boost your productivity. For example, experts recommend adding greenery. Plants are not only decorative but they also generally make people happy. Incorporating common household plants such as ferns or spider plants is an effortless way to bring the outdoors in.

Another way to increase comfort in your existing space is to reduce factors that contribute to physical discomfort. In general, spending a full day sitting at your desk without an ergonomic setup can lead to back, neck or wrist strain. An ergonomic workspace is designed to increase comfort and efficiency. To help you stay comfortable in your home office, make sure your computer monitor is at least an arm’s length away. And experts recommend utilizing a desk chair with an adjustable height so that your knees support your spine.

Reducing strain through an ergonomic setup and adding greenery is a start, but there are additional ways to enhance your home office. You can exponentially transform your space with a budget for significant improvements. Lighting is one area that is often overlooked. Floor and desk lamps can brighten up your workspace, but a mix of natural and artificial lights is preferred in most home office settings. If your home office space doesn’t have a natural light source, consider adding a window to your home office to potentially boost your mood and productivity. Tiffany Moon from Window Works of Chattanooga shares, “We specialize in custom windows and truly enjoy helping homeowners explore designer options to best capture and bring in natural light with new windows.”

Another option that requires some design work is adding built-in shelving units. An unkept workstation can be distracting and reduce efficiency if you spend time trying to look for items in and around your desk. The cost of built-in cabinets depends on the materials used, the space’s size and the design’s complexity. Still, because built-ins often negate the need to purchase additional furniture, they can be economical.  Given the variety of styles, finishes, and uses, built-ins can be a smart storage solution for your home office.

Adding a window, storage solutions or a splash of color on the walls to liven up your home office can be done with the help of a professional remodeler. A qualified contractor can recommend the best approach to elevate your work from home space, help you stay on budget and provide a high-quality service. To find a professional remodeler to transform your home office, visit the member directory here on our website.

Homeownership Rates Increase Across Generations

As the home building industry celebrates National Homeownership Month in June, new data shows that homeownership rates among adults in all age groups increased over the last year.
The Census Bureau’s Housing Vacancy Survey (CPS/HVS) reported the U.S. homeownership rate at 66% in the first quarter of 2023, amid a persistently tight housing supply. A closer look at the data shows that homeownership rates among households aged 55-54 registered the largest gains among all groups, followed by households aged 45-54. Adults 35 years old or younger also experienced a modest increase in homeownership.


It is no surprise that all age groups are making homeownership a priority. Homes are a primary source of net worth for many Americans. The most recent edition of the Survey of Consumer Finances showed that a primary residence is the largest asset for households.
One of the barriers to homeownership is affordability. Home builders recognize the increasing demand for affordable entry-level homes. However, rising construction costs and limited lot availability create significant challenges to building smaller, single-family detached homes that are affordable to first-time buyers and cost-effective for builders.


To help overcome these challenges, home builders, many of which are small businesses and live in our community, continue to advocate for housing affordability so all families can achieve the American Dream of homeownership. Buyers also may find that some home builders have arranged favorable financing for their customers or offer financial incentives.

When it comes to affordability, qualifying for a mortgage and saving up for a down payment is another obstacle to homeownership. To help address these concerns, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — through the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) — offer low down payment mortgage programs geared primarily toward the first-time home buyer market. These lenders offer mortgages with 3% down payments, allowing more creditworthy borrowers who lack the funds for a large down payment to obtain a home mortgage. However, to ensure that the financing process goes smoothly, buyers should consider pre-qualifying for a mortgage and having a financing commitment in place before shopping for a new home.

Jessica Upshaw with The J Lending Team at Highlands Residential Mortgage shares, “Whether it's your first time or fifth time buying, we specialize in helping home buyers find the best loan option for their budget, making the dream of home ownership attainable and affordable.”

To learn more about the benefits of homeownership or find local professionals to help purchase your new home, visit our member directory.

Residential Construction Offers High Paying Career Paths

As the caps and gowns are cast aside and graduates contemplate their futures, quite a few may be eager to enter the workforce right away. A career in residential construction is one pathway that offers multiple trade options along with on-the-job training. The construction industry in our state is growing at a high pace, with an expected 315,000 job opportunities in skilled trades through 2026, according to Go Build Tennessee. Skilled trades such as carpentry or plumbing do not require a four-year degree and apprentice opportunities allow students to earn while they learn. Once training is complete, skilled trades professionals have strong earning potential.


According to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and a National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) analysis, half of the payroll workers in construction earn more than $54,540 and the top 25% make at least $77,030. The BLS publishes wages for more than 400 occupations in construction. Here is a closer look at the median salaries among the highest-paid wages in construction based on the most recent data available (2022). 


Plumbers. The median wage for plumbers was $60,070 in 2022. Plumbers install, repair, and maintain pipes in residential, commercial and/or industrial buildings. In general, plumbers are excellent listeners and problem-solvers. As long as there are complex water systems in and outside of homes, there will be a need for reliable plumbers.


Electricians. Qualified electricians are always in demand. The median wage for electricians was $59,300. Electricians have excellent analytical skills, are adept at diagnosing problems and work with a variety of tools and technology.


Brick Masons. Laying brick is one of the oldest and most respected trades in the construction industry. Masonry construction uses brick, stone, marble, granite, travertine, limestone, concrete block, glass block, stucco, and tile. The median wage for brick masons is $59,130 annually.


Carpenters. Carpenters are needed in all construction areas and are often employed throughout the entire construction process. Thus, it is one of the most secure jobs in the industry. The best carpenters are critical thinkers who are detail oriented. Skilled carpenters earn $52,400 annually.


First-Line Supervisors. Seasoned tradespeople have the opportunity to manage people and projects. First-line supervisors play a key role in making sure projects are completed on time and within budget. The median wage for an employee in this role is $74,330


For more information on skilled trade training programs, apprenticeships, and career opportunities visit Go Build Tennessee or Home Builders Association of Chattanooga.

Increase Your Home's Value with Renovations

Remodeling projects are an excellent way for homeowners to increase functionality and add beauty to their homes. Additionally, if you intend to sell your current home soon, the projects you tackle today can pay off in the future. Depending on the type of remodeling project, improvements can add to your home resale value. However, not all remodeling projects are equal when generating the greatest resale value for homeowners.


Zonda, a housing market research firm, recently released their annual Cost vs. Value Report, which tracks the value ratio over the cost for 23 common remodeling projects. According to Zonda, the value figures are derived from a survey of more than 6,000 real estate agents. As in previous years, exterior projects deliver the best return on investment. Why? Curb appeal has an outsized influence on potential buyers and a home’s exterior that is well-maintained leaves a positive impression.


One essential home exterior feature is an attractive garage door. According to the Cost vs. Value Report, homeowners can recoup 102% of the garage door replacement cost. There are numerous types of garage doors to choose from. However, the best place to start is focusing on function and design. Experts recommend purchasing a new garage door that seamlessly fits your existing exterior style.


Jesse Cox, CEO of Access Garage Doors shares, “Year after year, garage doors stay at the top of the list when it comes to return on investment for homeowners. Not only do you recoup your investment, but garage door installation is also one of the quickest remodeling projects to tackle to improve your home’s value. As a local Chattanooga business for over 18 years that has now evolved into headquarters for our national franchise program, we are proud to serve the community that has always supported us in our mission to provide the highest quality in garage door systems, along with repairs and service.”


A garage door isn’t the only entryway feature that reaps rewards. In addition, homeowners recoup 100% of their investment of an entry door replacement. When selecting a front door, you’ll also want to ensure the style and materials complement your overall home aesthetic.


Another exterior project that topped the list was manufactured stone veneer. Homeowners that tackle this remodeling project are estimated to recover 102% of their investment. Manufactured stone veneer exhibits the look of natural stone and is available in various colors and sizes.


A couple of interior projects also generate a generous return on investment. For example, according to the report, homeowners who invest in a minor kitchen remodel will likely recoup more than 71 percent of their investment. This type of remodeling is generally smaller and involves replacing dated materials and fixtures instead of knocking down walls or reconfiguring plumbing and electrical. Similarly, with a mid-range bathroom remodel homeowners can expect to recoup 66% of their investment.


To learn more about remodeling projects that prove their value or to find a local remodeler in Chattanooga, visit our member directory

Top 5 Tips for Hiring a Remodeler

Are you among the growing number of homeowners who would prefer to remodel than try to purchase a new property? As you request estimates, you’ll soon learn that even simple remodels can cost a significant amount of money. With that type of investment on the line, it’s important to find a contractor you can trust.

As the home building and remodeling industry celebrates National Home Remodeling Month in May, here are the top five tips to ensure you make the right decisions when you find and hire a remodeler.

Utilize a Directory. A simple Google search will provide you with endless pages of remodelers. To help narrow down your search to find a qualified remodeler, utilize a directory from a professional organization like the one available here on our website. A professional remodeler will uphold the industry's highest professional and ethical standards. These sources can also help you find a remodeler who specializes in a specific type of remodeling if you need it, such as a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS) to help modify your home to suit you better as you age.

Narrow Down Your List. Once you have generated a list of professional remodelers, closely examine their services. The best place to start is by visiting the company website or social media accounts to see photos of their work. Home renovation websites like HomeAdvisor or Houzz also have pictures and reviews of remodeling companies. When reading online reviews, try to focus on the descriptions of experiences and qualities that are most important to you as a customer. Another avenue is to ask for referrals from friends, family, neighbors, coworkers, and others who have had remodeling work done on comparable homes under similar schedules.

Conduct Background Research. Once you have a list of potential home remodelers for your project, do some background research to verify that they are appropriately licensed and have a good business track record. Look them up with your local or state office of consumer protection.

Make a List of Interview Questions. When you begin meeting with remodelers, you want to find out information such as:


  • How long have they been in business in your community? Can they provide references from customers and suppliers they work with?
  • Do they carry insurance that protects you from claims arising from property damage or job site injuries? Ask for a copy of the insurance certificates.
  • What is their working knowledge of the many types and ages of homes in the area, and what issues could arise?
  • Do they arrange for the building permit? (The person who obtains the permit is the contractor of record and liable for the work). Do they comply with all local, state, and federal laws?
  • Do they provide a written estimate before beginning the work? Do they offer a contract detailing the work that will and will not be performed and provide a fair payment schedule?
  • Verifying smart business practices and remodeling expertise will ensure your home remodel is completed successfully.

Trust Your Instincts. Make sure you are compatible with the contractor you select. Beginning your project with mutual expectations and good communication will go a long way toward a smooth remodel. You’ll spend a significant amount of time with your remodeler, so having a good rapport and trust in them is essential.

For more detailed checklists for finding, evaluating, and working with a remodeler and other information about remodeling your home, check out our other helpful articles on the blog or visit 

How to Recycle Unwanted Household Items

For many of us, springtime comes with renewed energy to declutter and tackle home improvement projects. As the dust settles and renovations are complete, you may find you are left with multiple items that are no longer useful to you. Before tossing everything in the garbage, check out this list to find ways to recycle unwanted items and dispose of hazardous materials properly. Not only will donating and recycling help declutter your home, but it can also help reduce waste sent to landfills, conserve natural resources and create jobs in recycling and manufacturing industries in our local community.

Furniture & Household Items: Gently used furniture and general household items including lighting fixtures, cabinets, appliances, lawn equipment and more are always welcome at the Habitat for Humanity of Greater Chattanooga ReStore. Jens Christensen, CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Chattanooga shares, “In the past year alone, we’ve kept over 1.2 million pounds of reusable materials out of local landfills. Not only will your items find an appreciative new home at the ReStore but proceeds also go to building and repairing homes in the Chattanooga community.”

Broken or Worn Appliances: Many older or broken household appliances such as stoves, washing machines, refrigerators or dishwashers are eligible for recycling. Appliances contain metal that can be reclaimed. If you’re purchasing a new appliance, check with the company installing regarding their recycling options. Local scrap metal recyclers may be interested in your old appliances as well.

Glass: While bottles, jars, and non-food glass containers such as perfume or face creams are recyclable, these items should be taken to local recycling centers and not placed in your curbside recycling bin. You can find a list of local recycling centers at Chattanooga.gov and hamiltontn.gov.  It is important to clean and dry items before recycling them as leftover particles or liquids can contaminate other recyclables. Lids and corks should be removed prior to recycling. Larger glass items such as vases, glass drinking cups, window glass and glass cookware cannot be recycled.

Paper: Beyond documents, many types of paper can be recycled. Mixed paper is a common household item and can include discarded mail, magazines, and cardboard. Your home office may contain recyclable content such as letterhead, files, phone books, copier paper or envelopes. Do not recycle paper that is wet, greasy, or soiled.

Plastic: Jugs, jars and bottles that are plastic can be recycled. Like glass, plastic items must be clean and dry before they can be recycled. Keep in mind that plastic cannot only be found in the kitchen. Your bathroom may have items that can be recycled as well such as shampoo, liquid soap, or mouthwash. Empty plastic detergent or cleaning bottles in your laundry room or utility closet are also ideal for recycling.

Hazardous Materials: Toxic materials should be carefully disposed of to prevent harm to people or the environment. Older materials found in your home, garage or shed can be considered dangerous, such as paint strippers with the newly banned toxic chemical methylene chloride. This type of toxic substance should be removed from your home with the appropriate personal protective clothing such as gloves. Empty containers may have hazardous residual chemicals. All hazardous waste for both Chattanooga and Hamilton County can be taken to the Household Hazardous Waste Collection Facility at 4063 North Hawthorne Street.

For more helpful information on anything related to home improvement, check out the publications section here at hbagc.net. 

Home Design Trends to Watch in 2023

The National Association of Home Builders recently announced the winners of the Best in American Living Awards (BALA) – a prestigious awards program recognizing excellence in designs that will influence the entire residential building industry. 
Award recipients are distinguished as the nation’s most creative and inventive builders, remodelers, architects, developers, land planners and interior designers.
Below are some of the newest trends in home design that buyers throughout the Chattanooga area will see in the coming months and years, based on submissions from this year’s BALA winners. Some of these elements are sure to inspire your next design project.

Outdoor Living. From single-family to multifamily and community amenities, outdoor living continues to be a huge focus in home design. Even in colder climates, designers are incorporating great indoor/outdoor spaces that could be utilized differently depending on the time of year.

Wine in Design. These dazzling features provide not only a great focal point for entertainment spaces, but also highlight the celebratory nature of wine by making it a design element.

Luxurious Bathrooms. Large showers and standalone soaking tubs are making a splash in today’s bathrooms, especially where larger square footage allows. Great bathroom designs also focus on the ability to bring in lots of natural light while still maintaining privacy, whether through frosted panes or outdoor privacy walls.

Colorful Kitchens. From eye-catching backsplashes to ceiling details, kitchens today are expanding beyond the basic white and wood palettes in years prior through thoughtful touches and clean-line designs. Even hood designs are getting more creative as designers work to blend them more seamlessly with the overall space.
Kitchen islands also remain prominent, including creative insets and add-ons, such as beverage coolers for greater functionality. Larger kitchens may feature not one, but two of these entertainment workhorses.

Fantastic Foyers. Rich materials, strong contrasts and sweeping staircases made great first impressions in several standout entryways.

Exteriors with Style. Details add a level of richness to create stunning homes across the country. From traditional to contemporary to modern farmhouse, rich regional materials can be balanced with contrasting colors to create strong curb appeal.

To find an industry professional who is ready to bring these exciting new trends to your new home or remodeling project, visit our member directory or go to nahb.org.

Multigenerational Households Grow in Popularity

The popularity of multigenerational homes continues to grow, with more families choosing to live together under one roof. According to the Pew Research Center, the number of Americans living in a family household of three or more generations is about four times larger today than in the 1970s.

The Pew data also reveals that 59.7 million U.S. residents live with multiple generations under one roof. Several factors contribute to this trend. Recently, the COVID-19 pandemic increased multigenerational living arrangements as families came together for health-related or financial reasons. Other recent factors include rising housing costs and adult children staying home longer.

Multigenerational households also form so that grandparents can help care for their grandchildren, and their adult children can care for them as they age. This type of arrangement can also reduce financial burdens, with several generations contributing to the mortgage payment and eliminating expenses of childcare, retirement housing or professional caregiving environments.

Home builders and remodelers 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 and 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, ensuite bathrooms, and sometimes private entrances from the street. In addition, they frequently include "universal design" features, which focus on maximum usability by people of all ages and abilities. Examples include walk-in showers, smooth flooring transitions, and cabinets with pull-out drawers.

Building professionals who have earned the NAHB Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS) designation have received in-depth training on how to build or renovate a home so that the occupants can live in the home safely and independently, regardless of their age or ability level. While most CAPS professionals are remodelers, an increasing number are general contractors, designers, architects, and healthcare professionals.

To learn more about multigenerational home plans or to find a CAPS professional in our area contact The Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga or visit nahb.org/capsdirectory.

What Do Home Buyers Want in Their Next Home?

New Homes Month in April is an excellent time to think about what you want in your next new home. Most Americans have a vision of their dream home or envy amazing renovation makeovers seen on television shows or social media. But how does your dream home compare to what home buyers across the country are looking for in their new home?

There was a brief uptick in new home sizes in 2021. However, the average size of a new home dropped slightly from 2,525 square feet to 2,480 square feet in 2022. The findings are based on an analysis by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) of U.S. Census Bureau data that tracks new single-family home characteristics.

It’s not the size of the home that matters, it’s what you can do with the space. The data revealed that the percentage of new homes with four or more bedrooms rose to nearly half (48%). Builders have found that buyers are seeking more lifestyle flexibility in their new homes and more bedrooms are part of that solution. For example, home offices, recently appeared on the list of buyers’ most-wanted features for the first time, according to an NAHB survey of home buyer preferences.

Flexible spaces inside the home are key, but exterior features also pique the interest of new home buyers. In a recent survey of builders conducted by NAHB, builders saw a large jump in demand for exterior amenities, such as patios, decks and porches in 2022. In response, many new homes include walking paths and outdoor living spaces connected to the home, contributing to buyers' overall sense of comfort and enjoyment of their space. Cheryl Moore with Core Homes shares, “Over the last three years, many of our home buyers discovered the convenience and freedom of working from home. However, living 24/7 within the same four walls quickly highlighted the need for dedicated rooms for work and play. Plus the desire to stay connected to fresh air and sunlight was tantamount. Home offices and outdoor living spaces went to the top of the list of our buyers’ must-haves.”

The latest new home design trends that support modern lifestyles are just one of the many reasons to buy a newly constructed home. In addition, new home buyers can choose the finishes, fixtures, flooring, paint colors and more that suit their preferences and are often more durable, without the hassle or cost of changing the previous owner’s tastes. “New construction homes offer up-to-date layouts and efficiencies over older, used homes,” says Moore. “If our home buyers decide to build from the ground up - they work in tandem with a nationally recognized designer in choosing every finish and fixture to make their home truly unique and a perfect fit for them.”
To learn about new homes in the Tennessee Valley and to connect with builders in our area, contact us here at the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga or visit our member directory.

Easy Projects to Improve Your Home's Curb Appeal

Spring is the perfect time to make the outside of your home look like the best on the block. Outdoor upgrades will enhance your house’s curb appeal and deliver a more substantial return on investment if you’re trying to sell. Some exterior projects may require the help of a professional, but many solutions are simple and affordable.


First, review your home’s appearance as if you’re a potential buyer, taking note of what you see. What features of your home’s exterior can benefit from a simple touch-up? To help get you started, consider these makeover suggestions:

Grass. Real estate experts say a lush lawn makes all the difference in appealing to neighbors and buyers alike. Fortunately, keeping up with your yard throughout the year can be easier than you think. Before you mow your lawn, inspect the height of your mower blade and adjust as needed to ensure the grass is at least 3-4 inches tall after mowing. Taller grass will help keep the soil cooler and allow the roots to grow longer to retain moisture better and reach nutrients.

Lighting. Landscape lighting can enhance your safety and make your house dazzle at night. A well-planned setup can transform an ordinary porch into your new favorite hangout spot. Another option is to brighten your walkways with pathway lighting. If you’re worried about installing electrical wires, there is a wide range of solar lighting options.

Paint. A fresh coat of paint can enhance your front door, garage door and window trim. However, if your front door is worn and showing age, it might be time to replace it. A new door is one of the easiest home improvement projects to tackle with a high return on investment.

Grime. A thorough cleaning of a home’s exterior can have a major impact on curb appeal. Invest in a high-powered pressure washer or hire a local professional to give your driveway, front steps, walkways and siding a once-over. You’ll be amazed by how much cleaner they can get.

Extra Greenery. Planters with vibrant spring colors can make a big impression on the any-sized porch. While homeowners with covered porches may seek out hanging planter options, those with uncovered porches can explore using planters of all sizes. A creative presentation can make your home memorable if you experiment with arrangements.

For more suggestions about improving your home’s curb appeal and for a list of local professionals to tackle the projects top on your list, visit our member directory.

Homes are Growing Older. Is it Time for a Remodel?

Professional home builders construct homes to last. However, over the decades homeowner needs and preferences evolve. If you’re a homeowner who has recently purchased an older home or spent decades making memories in your current home, you’re not alone. The median age of owner-occupied homes is 40 years, according to a National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) analysis of America Community Survey estimates.

A closer look at the nation’s housing stock data reveals that many properties may be due for an upgrade. A little less than half of the owner-occupied homes in the nation were built before 1980, with around 35% built before 1970, according to NAHB. In contrast, new construction added nearly 8.3 million units to the national housing stock from 2010 to 2021, accounting for only 10% of owner-occupied housing stock in 2021. Chattanoogan homes skew even older than the national average with the median age of homes being 1974 and over 58% being built before 1980, according to the latest Census data.

Taking steps to modernize your home isn’t only about interior design changes like removing shag carpeting. Any improvement project, big or small, can make your home more enjoyable and increase your comfort level. Updating your property also has the potential to add value to your home. According to Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value 2022 Report, upgrades such as a siding replacement, a small kitchen remodel, and windows or entry door replacement provide a great return on investment and add to a home’s resale price.

It might be challenging to know where to start if your home needs significant upgrades. A professional remodeler can provide a wealth of experience and solve any design challenges you may encounter during your project. Home remodeling frequently involves problem solving, such as maximizing existing space, strategically building additions, or navigating limited budgets. Professional remodelers help homeowners manage such challenges and meet their needs while staying within the budget. To find a professional remodeler in our community, visit our member directory.

5 Ways to Spruce Up Your Home for Spring

Those first daffodils and the layer of pollen on your vehicles signal that spring will be here before you know it. As mother nature continues to play her yearly game of highs and lows, inspecting and cleaning your home during the transition to warmer weather can make any household easier to manage. By dedicating just a few days to completing these simple tasks, you will keep your home running smoothly and protect your investment at the same time. To get started, here are five ideas to help you spruce up your home for spring.

Refresh Your Windows. As the weather gets warmer, it’s vital to ensure your windows are in good working condition. First, inspect all windows for proper operation and a tight fit. Next, clean the window tracks with a handheld vacuum or microfiber dusting cloth. If you have window screens, gently wash them with mild soap and water. Next, check that the weatherstripping hasn’t cracked or torn. You can reduce your energy bills by up to 10% by sealing leaks in windows and doors.

Schedule an Air Conditioning Tune-up. Have your air conditioning system inspected and cleaned. If your system has a filter, replace it. A good rule of thumb is to change your air filter every three months to keep your unit working efficiently, more often if you own pets. If your HVAC system is in good shape, consider other ways to keep your home cool as the weather turns warmer, like adding curtains, shades or blinds to windows.

Prepare for Unwanted Pests. Warmer weather also means that pests – including ants, roaches, rats, and termites – will be looking to join your household. Keep them out by sealing cracks and openings along baseboards, behind sinks, and around pipes and windows. 

Inspect Your Roof. Severe weather can take a toll on your roof. Experts recommend checking your roof for any signs of winter damage from ice, snow, or debris. Remember to take special care when using a ladder to inspect your roof. Read and follow directions carefully.

Clean Your Gutters. Long winters bring a mix of storms and heavy winds that can carry a lot of debris to your gutters. Leaves, small branches and twigs can clog up your gutters and downspouts which can lead to damage and leaks over time. Cleaning gutters in the spring and then again late fall is recommended to keep your gutters in the best condition.

To find an industry professional to help with spring cleaning and home maintenance tasks, visit the HBAGC member directory.

Should You Buy a New or Existing Home?

A home is one of the most significant purchases a person will make in their lifetime. There is no question that the cost of purchasing a home has been challenging recently. Yet, despite some affordability hurdles, many individuals continue to buy a house to invest in their future. According to a National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) analysis, in the fourth quarter of 2022, nearly half (46%) of prospective home buyers were actively engaged in the purchasing process. Additionally, Realtor.com recently ranked Chattanooga in the top 10 housing markets positioned for growth in 2023.

As Chattanoogans begin their search for homes, one of the buyers' first decisions is if they should purchase a new or existing home. Older homes may offer charm or might be in a preferred location, but existing homes generally need upgrades, costing homeowners more money in the long run.

An NAHB analysis of recent census data found that a third (35%) of owner-occupied homes were built before 1970. Building standards have changed a great deal over the decades, almost as fast as technology has evolved.  Due to this evolution, new homes can accommodate today’s advanced technology and be customized to meet an individual homeowner’s needs. And knowing that the house was built by a qualified professional to adhere to the latest safety codes gives the owner added assurance.

In addition to being built to the most recent safety codes, today’s homes are more energy efficient than ever. With innovative materials and construction techniques, new homes are built to be much more energy efficient than homes constructed a generation ago. As a result, not only can they be more affordable to operate, but new homes also are significantly more resource-efficient and environmentally friendly.

New homes also have adapted to modern homeowner’s needs. The pandemic changed the way most individuals live, work and play. And new homes available on the market today are designed to accommodate a variety of lifestyles, from busy on-the-go families to flexible spaces ideal for spending more time at home.


For more information on purchasing a new home and to connect with home builders in our community, contact us here at the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga. 

How to Modernize Your Home with Light and Dark Colors

Giving your home a more modern style may be more attainable than you think. One common approach is to use light and dark color combinations throughout your interior design, from paint colors to light and dark wood choices (usually on cabinets or floors), furniture, and even carpets or other décor items. If you’re interested in creating a fresh look for your home, consider the following approaches to using dark and light hues to modernize your living spaces.

Take a Walk on the Dark Side
Dark bold pieces or accents give any space depth and a traditional feel. For example, painting walls with dark colors allows art and other objects to stand out. Generally, dark colors like black thrive when paired with neutral tones. Together, these combinations can create a more inviting and comfortable space. Having darker colors in homes is elegant, moody, chic, and sophisticated; most importantly, they always stay in style.

Bring on the Brights
Adding white or light-colored furniture can make a room look more spacious, open, and airy. Painting walls or cabinets white allows for a blank canvas, which can then be the base for creativity to shine through. Using white as a base gives leniency to play with other colors to stand out.

Combine Color like a Pro
Combining dark and light colors can also create an appealing space with a sense of organization and order by following the 80/20 rule. According to the American Institute of Interior Design, “As long as 80% of your interior is unified by the same style, period, or philosophy, you can deviate with the other 20%.” Using this rule, combining dark and light colors creates a contrasting design and allows for substantial flexibility for accessorizing or accenting with a mix of colors to tell a story. 


Find more inspiration to modernize your home design at the 56th Annual Tri-State Home Show coming to the Chattanooga Convention Center February 24th-26th. For more information about the event, visit homeshowchattanooga.com

What Builders are Featuring in Today's Homes

America’s home builders closely follow the preferences of today’s home buyers to ensure they enjoy their new homes. For example, builders responded at the height of the pandemic by adding square footage in new homes since people were spending more time at home. Now the trend is shifting, partly due to housing affordability factors. Here are a few notable trends in the residential construction industry based on recent U.S. Census Bureau data analyzed by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). 


Home Size is Trending Lower 
An expected impact of the pandemic was a need for more residential space, as people use homes for more purposes, including work. The housing boom after covid led to a new single-family home size rise. However, this trend is reversing due to housing market conditions, namely affordability. According to  2022 third-quarter U.S. Census data and NAHB analysis, the median single-family square floor area declined to 2,276 square feet, compared to 2,326 in the third quarter of 2021.


“We work closely with Chattanooga builders and developers and have seen the incredible ways they have worked to meet the challenges and needs of homebuilders through the pandemic, supply shortages and other stressors. Our builders’ answers to the ever-changing housing market are one of the reasons why Chattanooga remains a top place to move in the U.S,” notes Carrie Brisendine, Assistant Vice President of Southern Heritage Bank.  


New Homes Have More Bedrooms and Bathrooms 
According to the most recent data available, only a small percentage of new single-family homes have two bedrooms or less (9.2%), while nearly half (44%) of new homes had three bedrooms and more than a third (36%) had four bedrooms. Moreover, 2021 marked the second year that the share of four-bedroom homes increased.


In addition, a majority (62%) of new single-family homes have two full bathrooms. According to an NAHB analysis, since 2005, most new homes tend to have two full bathrooms. And it is no surprise that an overwhelming majority (93%) of homes that were 5,000 square feet or more had three or more full bathrooms.


Patios are Preferred to Decks 
Homeowners treasure their outdoor space. For the sixth consecutive year, 2021 showed that the share of new homes with patios increased. In contrast, the share of new homes with decks is trending in the opposite direction. However, decks remain relatively popular in certain parts of the country, according to NAHB. For example, more than half (60%) of new homes in New England came with decks in 2021. 

Interest in Two-story Foyers Declines 
In 2021, most new single-family homes were built without a two-story foyer nationally and regionally. According to the Census Bureau, a two-story foyer is an entranceway inside a house's front door and has a ceiling at the second-floor ceiling level. In the United States, the share of new homes with two-story foyers fell from 29% to 25% in 2021, the lowest level in the last five years. A two-story foyer has been an unwanted feature for many home buyers since 2012, as many consider two-story foyers energy inefficient.


For more information on new home trends or how to find a home builder in the Chattanooga area, visit www.HBAGC.net.

Top 5 New Year's Resolutions for Your Home

The beginning of 2023 is the perfect time to start planning for a home project. To keep your space comfortable and functional, it’s essential to keep up with home maintenance. You’ll be surprised by how a refresh or clean-up can be fun and personally rewarding. So here are a few new year’s resolutions for your home.

Add Space to Increase Your Comfort. After spending more time at home during the pandemic, many homeowners are reevaluating their living spaces and want more of it. According to the National Association of Home Builders recent analysis of U.S. Census data, the average size of a new single-family home is 2,506 square feet. If you’re ready to expand your space, visit the HBAGC member directory to find an experienced builder or remodeler. A residential construction industry professional can guide the feasibility of your project, estimates, zoning, building codes and the permitting process.

Refresh Your Floors. Taking steps to refresh your home in the new year doesn’t always require major renovation. One way to liven up your living space is to replace your flooring. Style and décor aren’t the only factors to consider when selecting new floors. Other features you’ll want to consider when replacing the floors in your home are durability, maintenance, and the amount of moisture in the specific area of your home. Connect with a professional remodeler to help you evaluate what will work best for your home.

Spruce Up Your Lawn. A well-manicured front lawn can make all the difference in curb appeal. If your yard needs attention, start with a basic clean-up. Try pruning trees, trimming shrubs, and removing weeds. Once your yard is cleared, consider planting a tree or adding flowers for a fresh look this year.

Increase Your Energy Efficiency. There are a variety of ways to reduce energy consumption in your home. One step is replacing heating, cooling, or water heaters with more energy-efficient units. If your appliances are new or energy-efficient, remember to do regular maintenance so your units can run optimally. Installing drapes and shades on windows are also easy and low-cost ways to regulate the temperatures in your home.

Declutter Your Home. Another year has gone by, so you may have accumulated more items in your home. By decluttering your home, you may find that you have the space you need. Experts recommend clearing your home room by room to avoid feeling overwhelmed. To help manage what stays and what goes, sort items by type: toss, keep, reuse/repair, recycle and donate.

For more information about home repairs or renovations, check out our other blog articles and publications or contact us here at the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga. 

Is Your Home Healthy?

Every January, the gyms and trails of Chattanooga are packed with those making changes in their routines to live healthier. One area you may not be considering as you make changes is your home. Creating a clean-living environment is crucial to not just your physical but your mental well-being as well. Here are a few simple changes that can make your home healthier for the new year.


Eliminate pollutants at the front door. Simply adding double door mats can reduce the amount of dirt and pollen tracked into your home by 80 percent.   Place a quality outdoor mat outside to wipe dirt off shoes and another inside the entryway. Removing shoes when you enter can decrease dirt tracked inside even more. Adding shoe storage and slippers near the door can help you and your family adopt and stick to this new habit. 


Go green by including plants in your home design. Studies show that bringing nature indoors not only reduces toxins but is also proven to reduce stress. Choose air-purifying house plants such as English ivy, aloe vera or peace lilies. If you have pets, opt for Boston ferns, bamboo palms or spider plants which are non-toxic for cats and dogs.


Look for natural, organic cleaners in lieu of chemical-laden ones. When purchasing household cleaners, shop for 100% plant-based cleaners without harsh ingredients. You may also be surprised at how many cleaners you can make yourself with ingredients you already have at home such as vinegar and essential oils. 


Air flow is vital to creating a healthy home. Resist the urge to shut off unused rooms, as this can increase the chances of mold growth and reduce air circulation. Keeping ceiling fans on low can also help with air flow. Most ceiling fans have a switch that changes the direction of the blades in the winter to force warm air down. 


And finally, don’t forget to change your HVAC filters regularly. Most air filters should be changed every few months, but more often if you have furry family members. Check to see if your system will accommodate HEPA filters, which offer the best filtration for common allergens. If you suffer from severe allergies, consider adding air purifiers to your home or contacting one of our local HVAC members to inquire about HVAC systems that include air purification.


For more information on creating a healthy, happy home in 2023, visit the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga’s website at www.HBAGC.net.

Keeping An Eye On Home Security For The Holidays

With the holiday season in full swing, along with trips to visit family and winter vacations, it’s important for everyone to take stock of their home security. Each year there are over 2.5 million burglaries across the US, with Tennessee reporting 22,517 and Georgia 18,452 burglaries in 2021. 


To protect your home, today’s technology allows for a large variety of customizable options from doorbell and outdoor cameras to motion detectors that you can monitor easily from your smartphone. Full home security systems are more affordable than ever, with local companies offering the peace of mind of professional installation and monitoring with pricing similar to self-installed systems. 


Additionally, security systems are not just an option for homeowners anymore. Wireless home security systems offer protection for renters without any damage to leased property and the convenience of being able to move the system with you. 


Proper outdoor lighting is also especially important in deterring potential theft. If your home does not have adequate lighting, some of the options you may want to consider include motion-detecting flood lights around your home, and solar-powered pathway lights and spotlights to keep entrances well-lit and less enticing to criminals. 


“According to the FBI -2/3 of thefts and burglaries are decided randomly and on the spot.   They want ease and no detection.  A lit entryway, path or home will most likely make them move on and search for an easier target. Light it right through the night,” says Joe Bozich, president of Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of Chattanooga. “Studies suggest that lighting not only acts as a deterrent of crime, but also improves community cohesion and pride in home ownership.”


As always, make it a habit to lock any vehicles in your driveway or parked at your home and remove any valuables. Theft of personal property from vehicles is the most common type of larceny theft, with over one million reported in 2020 by police. And motor vehicle thefts numbered over 20,000 in Tennessee and over 18,000 in Georgia in 2021. 


If you’ll be away during the holidays, put a hold on your mail and ask a friend to watch for any deliveries. Mail and packages piling up at your door or in your mailbox can alert criminals that you are out of town. It’s also a good idea to leave a light on in the home or use timers to switch lights in the evening, and ask a neighbor to keep an eye out for anything suspicious. 


After you have installed a security system, proper lighting, or other safety actions in place, be sure to notify your insurance company. Many insurance policies offer discounts for these preventative measures.


To find out more about home security and outdoor lighting, visit the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga’s member directory at www.HBAGC.net to find a list of qualified, local professionals to help with your needs.