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Local News and Information Archives for 2023-06

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.