Tag: new build

HOW TO MAXIMIZE YOUR HOMES’ CURB APPEAL

Walk down any residential street and it’s the homes that make up most of the scenery. How your home looks from the curb point of view makes a statement. It’s a first impression that conveys a lot about who and what lives inside. Whether you’re looking to maximize your home’s curb appeal because it’s going on the market or you just want a great looking home, this article can help you get there.

Aspen Ridge Floor Plan- Frank Betz

Knock Knock

The front door is most often the centerpiece of a home’s front exterior. As people approach your home, they’re headed for the front door. As a major focal point, you should create a front doorway that is both strong and welcoming. Depending on your door type, this can be achieved with a fresh coat of paint or stain. While well-crafted hardware that includes the door knob, knocker and even the doorbell can dramatically contribute to the overall look of your front entry way. Long story short, a great front door is a must for curb appeal.

Azalea Farm House Plan- Frank Betz

A porch that says, “come on up.”

If your home has a front porch, it already has a head start in the curb appeal department.

Nothing says “come on up for a visit” like a well-appointed front porch. Taking into consideration the style of your home, furnish your front porch with comfortable chairs or even porch swing. Potted and hanging plants and other attractive ornaments like windchimes, a door mat and sculpture are additional ways to turn up the welcome factor in this out-in-front space.

Heritage Pointe House Plan- Frank Betz

Landscaping matters.

Attractive landscaping means more than just freshly cut grass. From the curb, is there a path leading to the door? Make sure this path is well kept and even. Trimmed bushes, flowering plants and carefully pruned trees all add up to create a beautiful landscape. And remember, it all starts at the curb. The sidewalk and driveway are also important areas to keep looking neat.

Maplegrove Cottage House Plan- Frank Betz

A detailed approach.

Another step in increasing your home’s curb appeal is sprucing up the architectural details. These include any elements that can be seen from the curb. Make sure that any fencing is in order, the roofing and gutters look good and light fixtures and hardware are working and clean.

Even a neat mailbox can help. These items may seem insignificant alone, but together they have a substantial visual effect.

 

New Albany House Plan- Frank Betz

What a difference a color makes.

Finally, and quite important, is your home’s paint. Freshening up the exterior of your home with a shiny new coat of paint is an easy and relatively inexpensive way to boost its curb appeal. Shades of green and brown blend well with most landscapes. Light and dark tones of blue also work well to instill a look of calmness. And if your home is modern or traditional, white is a nice way to emphasize clean lines.

 

There are many simple ways to increase your home’s curb appeal. Start by standing on the curb and observing your home from an objective perspective. You’ll be able to identify key issues that can be easily addressed. With a little time and elbow grease, your home can be looking its best to you and anyone who happens by.

 

5 THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN DESIGNING YOUR MASTER SUITE

Besides the kitchen, the master suite is considered one of the most important areas of a home. It’s where you’ll be spending a good portion of your life, not only because it’s where you and your significant other sleep, but where you get ready for the day ahead. Taking the time to design a master suite that best fits your needs is well worth the effort. With a few design tips outlined in this article, you’ll be on the right path to creating a well-planned master suite.

Chestnut Springs House Plan- Frank Betz

The matter of privacy
Because your master suite will act as a retreat from the hectic world, a sense of privacy should be woven into the design. Positioning these rooms near the back of the home and/or on the upper story is recommended. The privacy issue also comes in to play when locating windows and doors. Yes, you can add curtains or blinds, but it’s comforting to be able to dress and undress freely without having to worry about putting on a show for the neighbors.

Hickory Grove House Plan- Frank Betz

The size is right
The master suite most commonly consists of the largest bedroom and bathroom in the house.
Larger walk-in closets and sitting rooms are also popular features for these areas. When designing your home’s floorplan, assigning a generous percentage of the square footage for the master suite is advised. One should also consider the furniture that will go in these rooms. The size of the bed, dressers and sitting room chairs can help determine the amount of space needed.

Hartford Springs House Plan- Frank Betz

Closet space. More is more.
One of the most attractive features of a well-designed master suite is ample closet space. If the square footage is available, including two walk-in closets is the best course. This allows enough room for both occupants to keep their individual wardrobes. A master suite with two walk-in closets is also a huge advantage when selling your home.

Azalea Farm House Plan- Frank Betz

Bathroom zen
While the rest of your home’s bathrooms are purely functional in nature, the master suite bathroom can be extraordinary. Beyond function, this bathroom can be a place of relaxation.
Double sink vanities, spa tubs and steam showers are just a few examples of luxurious master suite amenities.

Ansley Cottage House Plan- Frank Betz

Laundry convenience
Since the master suite is usually inhabited by two people, it will generate a significant amount of clothing and bedding. To conveniently handle the cleaning and upkeep of these items, designing easy access to the laundry is suggested. If the master suite is on the second floor and the laundry room on the first, a laundry shoot is a feature that can aid the accessibility and save time.

Hedgerow House Plan- Frank Betz

Every great home should have a master suite to match. As your own personal escape from the busy world, it should include the space and amenities that will enable both functionality and relaxation. As much if not more than any room in your home, the master suite should be a reflection of your style with the space and features that will complement the home as a whole.

DESIGNING HOME PLANS FOR REAL PEOPLE

When designing a new home there’s sometimes a tendency to get a bit off track. Yes, it’s nice to peruse the magazines and posh websites for fantastic home design ideas. But do all those fancy features and amenities fit into a normal family’s lifestyle? Usually not. Too often we’re mesmerized by a home design that makes a great magazine photoshoot, and not what really makes sense for day to day living. Beyond beauty, your home needs to be functional for everyday life. This article will help outline real world design tips that can make your new home beautiful and most importantly, practical.

Embry Hills House Plan- Frank Betz Associates

Get organized

During the planning stage, it’s time to determine what you want and need out of your new home. Beyond ample living space for your family, what other features and amenities make sense? A new home can help a family keep their lives organized. The latest smart home technologies designed into a home can aid in organization. These products include smart thermostats that adjust temperature according to living habits, smart security, lighting and HVAC systems, and even smart locks that do away with keys. Carefully planned closets, kitchen cabinets and drawers have also evolved to increase storage and reduce clutter. Many home plan designs already dedicate spaces such as mudrooms, larger laundry rooms, working pantries and office nooks to encourage home efficiency.

Kirkwood House Plan- Frank Betz

 

Location matters

Take into account your location, climate and outdoor activities. Hot climates may dictate a swimming pool and proper protection from the sun, like covered porches, awnings and high-performance windows. Colder regions need a home with extra insulation and when possible, a southern facing lot position.  House plan designs that offer covered porches, screened porches and sunrooms can expand your living space while taking climate concerns into consideration. Whether hot or cold, energy efficiency should be factored in to the design. Features like energy efficient appliances and zoned HVAC units are popular and sensible methods.

Kensington Park House Plan- Frank Betz

All the comforts

Comfort should be a major factor when designing a home for practicality. Beyond shelter, your home is a place to feel safe and relaxed. With that, a home plan should have an adequate number of bedrooms and bathrooms for all members of your family. If the budget allows, enhanced amenities like spa tubs, walk-in closets and hardscaped outdoor living areas can help dramatically ramp up the home relaxation factor. Also, a large, open kitchen with an island can act as a central living area for the whole family to gather.

Springmill Floor Plan- Frank Betz

Accommodations that adapt

Another realistic consideration when designing a new home, takes into account the adaptability to lifestyle changes. If you’re building a family, a nursery is a must. As your family grows, you’ll need the right amount of bed and bathrooms. Will you have guests often? If so, a guest room is in order. The same goes for visiting or permanent older family members. Seniors in the home mean accommodations such as an in-law suite or second master bedroom.  And if these seniors have mobility issues, wider doorways and easily accessible bathroom amenities need to be incorporated into your home design.

Holston Farm Floor Plan- Frank Betz

There are many defining components that should be considered when designing a new home. Creating a place that fits the basic needs of your family is the best place to start. From there, you can expand the home plan design to include practical amenities that keep your family safe and comfortable with attention to efficiency and environmental concerns. The ability to support a changing family dynamic is an additional design aspect. Once all the functional elements are included, the creature comforts can be added to your home plan as the icing on your home cake.

Stick-Built Homes vs. Prefab – What’s the Difference?

There are two main options when deciding to build a new home. These are stick-built and prefab construction. This article will help to clearly illustrate some pros and cons of both. By explaining the differences between stick-built homes and prefab, you will be able to make a better informed decision as you plan the next big step in building your new home.

Chestnut Springs Floor Plan- Frank Betz

Quality

Prefab stands for prefabricated. With these homes, machines are doing most of the initial work. Without the human factor, the structural components are often more precise. Everything is measured, cut, and assembled by computers and machines, so the occurrence of errors is drastically reduced. Like stick-built homes, the craftsmanship during the assembly of a prefab home directly affects the end result. Attention to high building standards should be the same for both methods. One point of difference with a stick-built home, is that it allows the new owner to view all steps and materials used.

Gramercy House Plan- Frank Betz

Your home will be up more quickly with prefab modules

With prefab modular homes, time is not an issue. Once the panels are delivered on site, the basic frame of the home can be put together in under a day. And weather is not a factor when building a prefab home. This enables other teams can get to work on the interior more quickly. However, the foundation measurements must be exact for the prefabricated panels to fit correctly. Unlike stick-built homes, it is very difficult to make in-field adjustments to the panels. Overall, a prefab home can be completed up to a month shorter than a stick-built home.

Wellstone Place- Frank Betz Associates

Costs are actually similar

Often associated with lower quality and cost, modern prefab homes are in line with stick-built homes in both aspects. Initial costs are lower for prefab homes as much of the construction happens in a factory, instead of using manual labor to build on site. One must account for shipping the panels and the costs of special materials.

Variety of design options

This is where the prefab option falls behind stick-built. While there are an ever growing number of prefab design options, a stick-built home design can be completely original. Prefab homes floor plans are often modular in scope, but many allow for highly customized interior and exterior appearances. That may work for most, but there is no comparison to the customizable possibilities when starting a home design from scratch.

Amelia House Plan- Frank Betz

The best decision on your new home direction will come from carefully weighing both options. Explore the prefab design options from different manufacturers. If you find one that truly hits the mark, make sure your builder is experienced with this building process. A builder accomplished in prefab building methods can help you feel confident the quality will be on par with a stick-built home. But for true originality, a stick-built home is the way to go. It may take a bit longer, but a one-of-a-kind dream home will be yours.

 

MATCHING OUTBUILDINGS TO YOUR NEW HOME

If you’re thinking about adding an outbuilding to your property, there’s a few guidelines to follow to make sure this new building fits in. Whether your outbuilding is a garage, pool house, garden shed or storage shed, the same forethought and planning should be applied to achieve a positive result. When incorporating a new outbuilding to your current property, you will want to create a visual harmony between the two. The two buildings will be in close proximity, so creating similarity is a must.  Not doing so will make your outbuilding design look like an afterthought.

Frank Betz- Custom House

Continuity

Continuity is not a word normally associated with building a free standing garage or other adjacent outbuilding, but it’s actually quite important. Start by identifying some of your home’s exterior details. The roof line and exterior style are of greatest importance. Matching these characteristics with your existing home structure will help create a cohesive look across your property. If you have a brick home, it is recommended to use the exact same brick for the exterior of your new outbuilding. Two different kinds of brick on the same property will stick out like a sore thumb. The same goes for paint colors, other exterior materials, window styles and roofing materials. Additionally, you will want to use the same landscape aesthetic to help establish even more of a visual flow.

Frank Betz- Custom House Plan

Neighborhood Standards

Beyond creating visual harmony, using like design elements for your outbuilding will fall in-line with any architectural review board or HOA requirements. Specifically, in newer neighborhoods there are strict guidelines put forth by homeowner associations in respect to outbuildings as an effort to uphold property value. This can be true of older communities, as well. Many have requirements to meet the historical standards of residential buildings. It is uncommon to drive through an older neighborhood with traditional architecture to see a modern outbuilding adjacent to one of the homes. Making changes to the existing structure in historical zones is carefully watched. So adding a new building in these neighborhoods is usually followed even more closely and will require design approval before any additions can be made.

Southern Trace- Frank Betz House Plan

Overall Visual Harmony

In addition to continuity and neighborhood standard compliance, coordinating your new outbuilding with your home will just look better. Mismatching these buildings has the possible effect of creating a visual dissonance between the two and will probably effect resale value. Any increase you may have seen by adding this feature to your property could be erased when you go to sell. So do your homework and plan your build accordingly. Designing similarities into your new outbuilding are guaranteed to complement your existing home.

Sweetwater House Plan- Frank Betz

So in review, you should consider a number of factors when planning to build an outbuilding on your property. Assess your home’s exterior design features like materials, shape and color. Make an effort to use the same elements in your new building. Be sure your design is in-line with any neighborhood standards. And finally, from a broad perspective, verify that the new building looks like it belongs. After the project is complete, someone new to your property shouldn’t notice any differences between the two.

Should I have a Design in Mind Before I Find a Builder?

To have, or not to have a home design in mind before finding a builder. That is the question. Regardless of the correct answer, as a person or persons about to take the bold step of building a house, you are probably going to have an idea of what type of house design you’d like. Given those preferences, it is very unlikely that you will approach a builder without at least some of those ideas in mind. That said, there are reasons for and against how defined your home design desires should be when looking for a builder. Here’s a few of them.

Gentry House Plan- Frank Betz

Pros

Having a definite design idea for your new home can be an asset when looking for a builder. It will allow you to focus your search only on builders who are accustomed to building that type of home. For example, you would not want to hire a builder who specializes in building modern homes, if you have your heart set on a farmhouse style. Builders typically have a select range of styles they are familiar with working on. You will want to make sure your style is in that range and preferably go and see examples first hand.

Additionally, with a house design in mind it’s easier to get competitive bids from builders. Having built that style before, they know what to expect from a time and materials perspective. This will provide more accurate bids for your new home to compare with other builders.

Summergrove Floor Plan- Frank Betz

Cons

There are a few downsides to having a predetermined house design, however. For one, your pre-selected house plan may not fit your lot. That may mean working with an architect to create another house plan design or adjusting the present one. This will require more time and expense in the long run.

Some builders tend to have better offers if you use one of their home designs. If your design is much different, you may not benefit from these discounts. Working outside their parameters tends to drive up the cost.

You might also encounter the fact that your desired plan does not fit your future neighborhood’s Home Owner’s Association requirements. Most of the time, an HOA will have its own pre-requisites for home designs. That’s especially true if you want to build in a neighborhood that has a set style. Your design just might not fit in.

Wellstone Place- Frank Betz Associates

Conclusion

Taking into account all the pros and cons, getting bids using your new home design and with builders’ options may be an optimal solution. Either way, being flexible with your design expectations is always suggested. Building a new home is a process. And if you stay fluid, your home’s design will evolve for the better.  Above all, take your time on the front end. Figuring out what you want design-wise, in the middle of a build can not only lead to longer build times, but could negatively effect the end result. In the end, it’s quality that matters the most. So whatever home design you and your builder pursue, attention to craftsmanship should be the ultimate priority.

 

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.

 

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