Month: September 2018

Must Have Safety Items for Your Home

Our homes have always been a place of refuge and comfort from the outside world. But since we spend so much time there, it’s also a place where accidents can happen. We do so much to keep our families safe outside our houses and often neglect the dangers present right under our noses. By taking a few simple precautions, you can make your home a much safer place. Here’s a few items to consider just in case of an emergency.

Greythorne House Plan- Frank Betz

 

Fire extinguishers – Plenty of common appliances and accessories can be fire hazards if used improperly. Ovens, microwaves, even curling irons can pose risks if left unattended. Make sure you have fire extinguishers present on each floor and test them once a year.

 

First aid kits – Accidents are inevitable, especially if young children live in the home. They might get their hands on a sharp knife, get a finger pinched in a window, or touch that hot curling iron we talked about above. To treat cuts, bruises, and burns, keep a complete first aid kit in the house. A proper first aid kit will contain band aids, antiseptic spray, antibiotic ointment, sterile bandages, gloves, medical tape, and a thermometer.

Smoke, CO, and Radon alarms – Sometimes it’s the things we can’t see that pose the biggest threat. A smoke detector needs to be present in every room in the house, but don’t forget about CO and radon alarms. Carbon monoxide is invisible and odorless, but very deadly after exposure. You should probably test these alarms every six months to ensure working batteries.

 

Deadbolt locks – Keeping unwanted guests out of your house is a top priority for all families, but not everyone can afford a sophisticated security system. However, most of the time a quality deadbolt lock will dissuade most bad guys from getting inside. Place one on every door that faces the exterior of the house.

 

Brookwood Park- Frank Betz Home Plan

Wi-Fi Thermostats – If you travel a lot, a Wi-Fi thermostat will regulate your home’s temperature without you being present. You can adjust the heating and cooling levels right from your phone. No more burst pipes in the winter!

 

Emergency contacts list – You aren’t always going to be home when bad things happen, so leave an emergency contacts list in plain sight for anyone in the house to see. Include the numbers for police, fire, ambulance, and any friends or relatives who live close by.

 

Non-toxic house plants – This is a must-have for any home with pets. Make sure no small children or fluffy friends get sick from nibbling on your plants.

Abbotts Pond- Frank Betz Floor Plan

Disaster kits – If bad weather knocks out your power, you need to be prepared. A good disaster kit contains water, food, blankets, batteries, flashlights, first aid kits, and tools.

 

The essence of a home is a place of safety and comfort. Incorporating the above items will not only help protect your family, but go a long way to giving you piece of mind. To achieve the age old maxim of Home Sweet Home, you should start with Home Safe Home.

Home Designs for Small Lots

Building a house on a small lot does not mean you have to compromise on style and space.

With the right home plan and design strategy, you will be able to best utilize every available square foot. By eliminating any wasted square footage, you can build a home with all the typical amenities and living space of a home built on a regular lot. Best practices for building
on a small lot include the following:

 

Positioning

With the small lots usually found in denser urban areas, you will have less leeway on how you position your new home on the land. When possible, a south-facing home is preferred. This position will allow the most light and warmth from the sun. Installing large windows to capture the light is also recommended. Not only will it help with warmth, the natural light will brighten those front rooms making them appear larger. That said, if you live in a hot climate, you will want to minimize your southern exposure either by positioning the home, using blinds to block the sun and extending your roof’s overhang.

Cherbourg House Plan- Frank Betz

Think Tall

More often than not, small lots are usually thin and deep. Take advantage this layout by building your house with two or more stories. Most narrow lot homes have footprints no wider than 40 feet. By building stories and thus stacking your living spaces, you will maximize the amount of house for your lot. These home plans locate the main living areas like the family room, dining room and kitchen on the bottom floor, while the bedrooms and full bathrooms reside on the second or third.

Morningside Manor Floor Plan- Frank Betz

Open Up

Since homes designed for small lots are usually not wide, the structural load of the home can be carried on the exterior walls. This allows for more open floor plans. By opening up common living spaces like the kitchen, dining and family rooms, light and air flow freely to create the appearance of a larger space throughout. Using higher ceilings and large windows also go a long way to achieving this effect.

Clarksville House Plan- Frank Betz

Amenitize

Building costs for homes built on small lots are usually less. One way to take advantage of this cost savings is by adding upscale amenities. Kitchen appliances like high-end refrigerators and stoves often feature streamlined designs that save space. The same goes for washers and dryers in the laundry room. Adding smart systems like temperature and light control are also nice space saving touches that add comfort and efficiency.

Holly Ridge Floor Plan- Frank Betz

As people desire to reduce their commute and live closer to work, small urban lots are steadily increasing in popularity. Though these small lots may appear restricting, they should not dictate a small house. There are many home plans designed specifically to maximize every inch of space. These homes provide ample living space with all the trappings of larger homes. Coupled with locations in more walkable and vibrant areas and the lower cost of upkeep, small lot homes are becoming a more attractive option.

 

 

How To Ensure a Timeless Design

 

When designing a home, there is a number of different aspects to consider. Most home buyers want a modern design with staying power, something that won’t fade out of style as the years pass. This can be a difficult assignment for a home designer. ‘Modern’ doesn’t necessarily mean timeless though, and trends fade as the years march on. If you want a timeless design for your home, you will need to actually think inside the box. Because when it comes to home design, the tried and true ways are often still the best.

Kenthurst House Plan- Frank Betz

Accept Traditional Design Standards That Are Established, Don’t Veer Too Far Off Course

Everyone wants their home to be unique, but there are certain proven methods that have become established for a reason. They work both from a style and a functionality perspective. So when you start the design process, do not throw decades of design practice out the window. You can still have a one of a kind home while sticking to more traditional design standards. Venturing too far outside the established norms can turn your home into a funhouse, something that will really come back to bite when it’s time to sell. Keep it simple here.

Havenbrook House Plan- Frank Betz

Traditional Designs Have More Acceptance and Appeal To Buyers When It’s Time to Sell

Unfortunately, you cannot just think about your own personal preferences when it comes to home design. Especially if you are a first time home buyer. Unless you plan on living in the house for the rest of your life, you need to consider what the design will do to the resale value. Sure, a gothic style might appeal to you now, but it could turn off potential buyers later on. The Colonial, Georgian, or Victorian styles have proven to stand the test of time and will entice future buyers down the road.

Baldwin Farm House Plan- Frank Betz

Timeless Designs Can Be Fresh and New Without Losing Traditional Appeal

Know that your new home is not destined to be cookie cutter. Traditional designs can be updated with new ideas and still hold their timeless appeal. For example, you can borrow bits and pieces from traditional style and use them to give your modern home a more classical appearance. Use neutral color schemes and motifs to give rooms a traditional feel. Also, elements like granite and wood give even the most modern houses a nod to the traditional. And as far as furniture is concerned, done tastefully, it is okay to mix traditional furniture with modern architecture and vice versa.

Witherspoon House Plan- Frank Betz

Regardless of your home design preferences, traditional styles are tried and true and have mass appeal to potential buyers. Traditional design aesthetics like room placement, ceiling height, and window choices to name a few have stood the test of time for a reason. They work and can work incorporated in to most other home styles. Mixing in traditional features will give your house a timeless appeal, not to mention the resale value you are looking for.

Why New Homes are More Efficient

Most everyone desires a comfortable and safe place to live. Older homes may offer historic charms, but more often than not, they are models of inefficiency. Older homes usually have poor insulation, single pane windows and insufficient heat and air conditioning. These deficiencies can add up and create wasted costs just to maintain the home. Modern building technology and materials are taking new homes light years ahead of their predecessors. The following will help clearly illustrate why a new home is more efficient:

Panola House Plan- Frank Betz

Better Insulation

New homes are simply better insulated. Insulation helps retain the cool temperature from your air conditioning system while also keeping the summer heat out. On the flip side, insulation keeps a homes warmth inside during the cold season. New homes are more efficient since they use the latest insulation materials. Today’s products have high R-Values. This is the rating system used to gauge thermal performance. Highly efficient insulation products include fiberglass blanket, foil face Polyisocyanurate sheets, and cell spray foam.

 

Smarter Designs  

New homes are designed and built with the latest and most efficient design innovations. This involves creating larger indoor spaces or properly-zoned areas to control improved airflow. New homes are also employing cool roof technology, windows with multiple panes, radiant floor heating, efficient water fixtures, strategic landscaping and more.

Magnolia Springs Floor Plan- Frank Betz

Better HVAC Systems

Current HVAC systems are a huge factor in new home efficiency. By providing consistent heating, ventilation and air conditioning, a home doesn’t suffer from wide swings in both temperature and humidity. This consistency is also aided by smart thermostats which have almost become the norm in new homes. These systems are a beneficial investment as well, since the improved the energy efficiency reduces utility bills.

Latimer Farm House Plan- Frank Betz

Renewable power

Renewable energy is more frequently being used to power homes. These products can reduce or completely eliminate your utility bills. These systems include solar panels, wind turbines and large rechargeable batteries that can store several kilowatt-hours of electricity.

 

More Efficient Home Appliances
Modern homebuilders are almost exclusively using energy efficient appliances. Beyond HVAC systems, appliances like tankless water heaters, water saving plumbing fixtures and kitchen appliances are all geared to conserving energy and running more effectively. Another innovation in lighting has come from LED light bulbs. These typically use about 25%-80% less energy than the traditional incandescent bulbs from the past and can last up to 25 times longer.

Wellstone Place House Plan- Frank Betz

With all the advances in residential building technology, new homes are running more efficiently than ever. Sealing the homes with high R-Value insulation, designing rooms to maximize air flow, installing the latest HVAC systems and appliances and even incorporating renewable power sources are making a big difference in home efficiency. When beginning the new home building process, take time to carefully plan these elements with your builder. He should be familiar with all the latest techniques and be able to guide you accordingly. In the end, you’ll have the home you always wanted and a highly efficient one at that.

 

Why Buying a New House is Better than Renovating

You may love your current house, but there often comes a time when you would like to make some changes. Those changes may include adding rooms, opening walls, or just an overall fresh look. And while you may love parts of your home and its location, it does not always make sense to stay. These are common dilemmas that prompt many homeowners to make a crucial choice – buy a new home or renovate the current home to meet their needs.

There are no definite answers as to why buying a new house is better than renovating. There are cases when renovation is the right call and when buying a new home is the best option. However, buying a new house does often work out better than renovating due to the following reasons:

The Easiest Path 

It is much less of a hassle to purchase a new home. You will know exactly what you are purchasing. There won’t be a worry about hidden issues such as termite damage, leaks and foundation problems. And if there are problems that arise, a new home comes with a warranty from the builder. A new home includes the peace-of-mind that major components like HVAC and kitchen appliances are all new and under warranty. It is also easier to finance a new home. Renovations are usually paid for through a second mortgage on the house. These need a higher credit score for approval and have shorter payoff terms. Getting a loan for a new house is usually easier.

Rosemore Place- Frank Betz House Plan

Cost

While it may seem cheaper than a new purchase, you should consider a few things that come with renovation. To begin with, do you have the time and propensity to deal with contractors and manage renovation costs? The majority of home renovation projects bring unexpected complications, budget overruns, and stress. With a new house, you will know the exact cost and be able to move right in and continue on with life.

Hanover Pointe- Frank Betz House Plan

Value

A home renovation can and should add to a home’s value. While one can recoup some or even most costs during a home’s sale, there are still no guarantees. Buyers and markets operate in cycles. And if you are on the down end of a cycle when you go to sell, you may not see that beneficial return on your renovation. Home renovations are usually made to improve lifestyles and living conditions. With that said, emotion becomes a driving factor. And emotion is rarely accurate in a financial situation. You will likely reduce ownership costs and enjoy more improved and modern features of a new home without the difficult renovation experience.

Greyhawk- Frank Betz House Plan

You should now have a better perspective on why buying a new home is the better call. For convenience, practicality, and cost-efficiency, a new home is typically the right path. As one of the major purchases in life, it pays to weigh the pros and cons to decide what is best for you and your family. But in most cases, buying new makes the most sense over time. And who doesn’t love a new house!

 

 

When building a home, size matters: What square footage is right for you?

 

Determining the size of your future house is perhaps one of the most important factors in the building process. Choosing either large or small comes with its own perks and downsides.

Large houses certainly offer an allure of their own. More square footage allows for more space in terms of bathrooms, bedrooms, living spaces and bonus rooms like a craft room, a home office or a game room. On the other hand, smaller houses are more affordable to furnish, maintain, cool, heat and clean!

The appropriate house size will be based on a range of factors regarding your family’s needs and lifestyle:

What is the number of family members?

This is definitely the most important consideration when choosing the amount of square footage. It will determine the size of the whole house, as well as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms. The number of rooms is also dependent on whether you have guests staying over often or need extra rooms for your elderly parents. These factors will make you more apt to go for a larger house. Moreover, take into consideration if your family will be expanding or contracting anytime soon. A new addition or additions to the family mean more rooms and the need for more square footage. On the flip side, children leaving the nest will mean a need for less rooms.

Frank Betz House Plan- Settlers Ridge

Do you need work space at home?

These days, an increasing number of employers are allowing people to work from home. If that’s your case, you’ll need ample space for your home office. You could choose to create a space in one of the larger living areas, but a room unto itself, away from the main gathering areas will make for better productivity.  If you’re going to be using your house as your workspace, factor that into your square footage needs.

Frank Betz House Plan- Liberty Ridge

Do you need storage? If so, how much?

Storage space is another important factor in determining your house size. Including a basement or attic area for storage is a plus. This square footage is comparably cheaper than building large closets or other storage space in the common living areas. If you’re like most in the U.S., you have a lot of stuff and thus a need to store it.
However, you might consider streamlining your possessions before your move. This will reduce the amount of square footage for your new home and, in turn, the price tag.

Frank Betz House Plan- Brownsville

What can you easily afford?

Your budget is obviously going to tremendously impact your decision. Every square foot has a price in new construction. With this in mind, find a middle ground that works for your budget as well as your requirements. You don’t want to end up purchasing a house that’s too big for your needs and also much harder to maintain – and you also don’t want to go too small, leaving you feeling cluttered and suffocated.

Frank Betz House Plan- Northshore

In a nutshell:

Given the tradeoffs between a larger house with more space and the convenience and affordability of a smaller one, size is a huge factor when building a new home. Keep in mind that every family has its own unique situation, and you must choose one that suits yours. Remember, no square footage is free – but your comfort and ease can come at a higher price too.

Frank Betz House Plan- Kirkwood

How much does a new home really cost?

Building a new home can be an appealing and exciting experience. Yet, if it is the first time, few people really know how much work is involved. Not to mention an accurate estimate of the cost. Variable costs that include architectural fees, permit fees, construction costs and the builder’s fee and land costs all need to be considered to formulate the final price tag and to protect your budget.

Frank Betz House Plan- Ansonborough

Before the first nail is driven, you will need to have a good set of architectural drawings. This usually involves hiring an architect or residential designer. The architect or designer will work with the customer to design the home, produce construction documents, aid and assist with product selection and sometimes manage or monitor the construction of the home. Typically, an architect will cost between $7,500 and $30,000. He or she may also charge a percentage of the construction costs or base their fees on a price per square foot. As an alternative, there are many quality pre-designed house plans available through various media outlets by very talented architects and designers.

Frank Betz House Plan – Sterling Heights

Land is another major cost consideration. As the population increases in major cities, so has the cost of building lots. In the U.S., a buildable lot averages $85,000.00. This number includes survey and financing costs.

Once the lot is secured, the homeowner needs to factor the builder’s fee. Typically, the builder will charge a 10% to 20 % fee. Though this fee might seem excessive, hiring a builder saves both time and money and minimizes waste. Builders can bring valuable expertise in land selection, preparation of your lot, the construction process, obtaining financing and appropriate material selection. They also bring much needed experience to navigating the complicated permitting and inspection process.

Frank Betz House Plan – Maplewood

Next on the list, is materials. Steel prices have increased significantly over the past years: from May 2017 to December 2017, the global steel price has almost doubled. Future prices are predicted to continue growing, considering the recent 25% tariff imposed on steel imports. Costs like drywall average $11,000 while a typical roof goes for $10,000. Other hard material costs that effect framing, and flooring have become costly as well. The choice of exterior finishes such as brick, siding or stucco also have a major effect on the final home price. And let’s not forget about the cost of appliances, cabinets, countertops, windows, doors, interior trim and plumbing and lighting fixtures.

With the recent uptick in the U.S. economy, new home building has increased and this has made labor harder to come by. Skilled labor is needed to prepare the lot for building, pouring foundations, framing, flooring, roofing, plumbing, electrical, HVAC, insulation, drywall, interior trim, painting, lighting, and much more. With demand for this skilled labor, up, so is the cost.

Frank Betz Material Workbook

And before you put your pencil down, you’ll also need to figure in landscaping materials, outdoor structures like carports, sheds or barns, decks and porches, patios and the driveway. These and other exterior accessories can quickly add up and exceed your budget if not accounted for in the beginning.

Frank Betz House Plan- Aspen Ridge

Taking all this into account, the national average for the overall cost of a 2,000 square foot home is around $285,900.00. A typical low price will be approximately $74/square foot to a high price average of $360/square foot depending on location and materials used. Since building a new home may be the purchase of a lifetime, much preparation and planning should go into the cost considerations. Knowing all the variables up front will make the whole building process run more smoothly and successfully.

Frank Betz House Plan – Greyhawk

Checklist for First-Time Home Buyers

 

Preparing to purchase your first home is usually a thrilling experience. However, when looking at the process as a whole, it can seem a bit overwhelming. Taking it step by step makes the process much easier. A checklist for first time home buyers can help move from creating a sensible budget to finding a suitable home within that budget and finally, to signing the mortgage.

First Time Home Buyers Checklist

 

  • Know what you can afford and manage the budget.

 

Nothing is more important to the first time home buying process than accurately assessing how much home you can afford and calculate a mortgage that fits within your budget. A mortgage of not more than 2.5 times your household gross yearly income is a nice benchmark. Consider your financial scenario and factor in any of you and your partner’s current debt. 

Remember, owning a home is a commitment, and you must plan to live in it for about five years to receive the benefits of equity.

Frank Betz House Plan – Brookhaven

 

  • Control Credit/Debt

 

One of the most powerful ways to save cash on your mortgage and enhance your financial picture is an excellent credit score. It can take some time, so make refining credit your priority for you and your partner, if applicable.

 

Take note; you’re eligible for a free credit report once a year from all three credit bureaus. Make sure to check the reports for any faults and guarantee that all your bills are paid on time. New credit accounts can impact your score as well. Try not to open new lines immediately after applying for a mortgage.

Frank Betz House Plan – Culbertson

 

  • Have Savings/Down Payment Money

 

Making a 20% down payment is a perfect way to receive initial equity in your home and prevent having to pay mortgage insurance. It’s not needed to qualify for a home loan, but will save you money in the long run. You can also find different local and state down payment assistance programs accessible to first-time homebuyers. Just keep in mind to borrow within your means.

Frank Betz House Plan- Kensington Park

 

  • Create/Fine Tune and Stick to A Budget

 

After you find the ideal home for your needs, it is time to get down to the business of making the purchase. Determine how much you’re willing to pay for the house, make a genuine offer and stick to your budget. Anticipate negotiation, but try to refrain from lowball bids which could risk frustrating the seller. If you prefer to make a bold statement of interest, you can consider an earnest money deposit along with the offer.

Frank Betz House Plan- Laurel River

 

  • Get Pre-Approved, So You Know What Size/Price Home You Should Be Looking For

 

Mortgage preapprovals help you determine how much you can afford. It also puts you in a dominant negotiating position with a home seller. Preapproval is different from prequalification. Prequalification is only an estimate from the lender of how much they’d be willing to lend you depending on various factors. Sellers tend to prefer homebuyers who are preapproved. It makes the financing and closing procedure move more smoothly.

Buying your first home is a major life event for most. Careful preparation and a methodical approach is always the best course. It will make all the difference as you take that first walk across your very own threshold.

Frank Betz House Plan- Randolph Place