Tag: new house

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.

 

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.

NEW INNOVATIONS IN PROTECTING YOUR HOUSE FROM A STORM

Your home is a place of refuge. A place where you and your family should be able to feel safe from the outside world. Part of feeling safe is the protection your home provides from inclement weather. It is shelter in its truest form. In the following post, we’ll discus home building methods and materials to help protect your home and family in the event of a strong storm.

Woodlwan Floor Plan- Frank Betz

When it comes to stories, less is best.

To begin with, a one story home is more storm resistant than two to three story homes. Being father from the ground puts these homes at greater risk to damage from high winds. Wind damage accounts for a large percentage of weather related incidents. Of course, your home’s exterior materials weigh heavily on their level of protection. A brick home will offer more protection than a wood or siding exterior home.

And if budget is not an issue, reinforced concrete structures are the most storm resistant.

Kensington Creek- Frank Betz

The roof over your head.

Another major factor in a home’s storm protection capability can be found in the roof. Like one storied homes, moderately pitched roofs have less exposure to wind. They reduce uplift and help reduce wind drag. When it comes to roof types, a hip roof is a better choice than a gable roof. Hip roofs have performed better in wind tunnel tests and can even garner an insurance discount. Regardless of the roof type, there are new and better methods of securing the roof to the structure of your home. These include, galvanized-steel hurricane clips, structural straps, ties, and joist hangers.

 

 

Impact resistant windows

In a storm with high winds, home damage can result from flying objects. Wind-borne objects can reach speeds of well over 100 mph. Windows are one of the most vulnerable to these projectiles. It’s recommended to install impact resistant windows that break and hold their fragments rather than sending glass through the house. Wood slatted shutters are also a preferred way to protect these areas of your home.

 

Gramercy Floor Plan- Frank Betz

Strong garage doors

Often overlooked, the garage door is a home feature frequently damaged by a storm. Typical two-car garage doors are subject to fail in storms with high winds due to their large size and relatively weak materials. Though they may cost a little extra, there are many storm resistant garage doors on the market.

 

Keep the water out

Powerful storms bring a large amount of rain with them. This wind driven rain can penetrate a home at points from the roof to the foundation. Properly sealing the roof, windows and doors, as well as ample ground drainage go a long way in protecting your home from water intrusion.

 

Swinging doors

Keeping doors closed during the high winds of a storm should also be a priority when building a storm resistant home. Doors that swing outwards were shown to drastically out perform the normal in-swing door set up. Doors that fail during storms can result in water damage and even create change in your home’s internal air pressure. This air pressure disruption contributes to the possibility of roof uplift and internal structural damage.

Mahogany Springs Floor Plan- Frank Betz

Extreme weather is always a cause for concern when it comes to safety in your home. Current building innovations can be used to strengthen potential weak points to protect your home and more importantly, the people inside it.

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.

 

WHAT TO EXPECT BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER CHOOSING AN ARCHITECT/DESIGNER

You’ve made the decision to build a new home. That was the easy part. Now’s the time to find and choose an architectural firm. If you have a home design style in mind, and you should, you will want to look for a firm that has experience designing that same kind of home. You can compile a list of firm options by asking the owners of local homes you admire or searching architecture firm websites in your area. Once you have identified a number of candidates, you will want to set up in-person meetings. By meeting first hand with the perspective firms, you will be able to get more information and gauge the working chemistry. You’re about to begin an intensive working relationship that will last months, so feeling comfortable with your architect or architects is highly suggested.

Design Phase
Once you have chosen your architect, you are ready for the initial design meeting. It’s a good idea to bring a house design wish list of wants and needs including photos and/or material samples. This will help your architect or designer get a feeling for your style vision. After this first meeting, the architect will compile the information and use it to create a preliminary home design with floor plans and elevations. A follow up meeting or meetings is advised to allow for your feedback and enable the architect to make the needed design updates.

Embry Hills House Plan- Frank Betz Associates

Documentation Phase

With your custom home design nailed down, the architect can move on to develop the working drawings. These are the drawings needed to obtain a development permit. Once approved, a structural design is then created to include your selections for exterior materials and finishes. Solidifying the floor plan, materials and finishes will also help the architect calculate a more accurate, overall project budget.

Frank Betz Material Workbook

Permitting Phase

After completing the documentation phase, your architect can now get a development permit. That permit allows them to create site plans and drawings needed for a building permit. These new drawings include more detailed floor plans, exterior elevations, exterior and interior details, sections, roof and electrical plans. After acquiring a building permit, the builder now has a green light to proceed with the construction process.

Heritage Pointe House Plan- Frank Betz Associates

Construction Phase

During this final and increasingly active phase, your architect/designer should still be available to oversee various aspects of your home’s construction. Being there throughout the construction process to make sure the home design is built according to the plans, can be very advantageous. A competent architect should also serve as a consultant on interior details like lighting, plumbing, hardware, glass and finishes.

If you are new to the home building process, choosing the right architect can make everything go more smoothly. An experienced architect will help you through every phase of the home building process. From taking your ideas and creating a design concept, to properly documenting the house design for the needed permits and finally getting through construction to the finish line, an architect will be one of the most important members of your home building team. Take the time to vet the right person or firm. Your new home and your sanity will be better off.

 

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.

 

Getting reference for New home construction through online industry reports and home shows

As you approach the new home building process, there a number of ways to gain a base knowledge of construction that will help in the long run. A quick search online can lead you to applicable reference materials and various industry reports. Visiting local home shows are another beneficial method. Gathering as much information about the industry will help increase your building knowledge and thus be better prepared to start this quite big undertaking. You’ll get a broader, non-biased view of home building trends in your desired area, find information on credentialed builders and know what questions to ask going forward.

Frank Betz Farmhouse Plan- Hemlock Falls

Before you get the keys to your dream home, there’s a long road ahead. As a first step, it is advised to research the topic on various online construction reporting websites. These sites include www.contructionmonitor.com, www.rakenapp.com, www.nahb.org. While these sites are directed toward industry professionals, the content can be useful to someone looking to build a new home for the first time. By familiarizing yourself with industry terminology and processes, you’ll better understand what’s going on, as it’s going on. You’ll also get to see the major players, popular vendors and construction techniques in your area.

Frank Betz Farmhouse Plan- Tanglewood

Most of these sites focus on building permit data as the key resource to gauge market trends and activity.
Building professionals use this information to find new business opportunities, source general contractors, subcontractors and vendors, but you’ll be able to get a feel for who’s doing what and where, as well. Because these are sites for professionals, you’ll also be able to verify the credentials of your perspective builder and vendors. Additionally, they frequently have updates on the latest happenings in the building industry like vendor expos and home shows.

Frank Betz Farmhouse Plan- Hickory Flat

Home shows feature exhibits, product demonstrations and seminars on a variety of home building topics.
Anything and everything having to do with the home can be found at a decent sized home show. Here you’ll find info on house plans, building materials, landscaping and lawn care, kitchen appliances, fixtures, flooring, roofing, siding, concrete, windows, heating and air conditioning, patios, insulation, and more. If you’re interested in building a green home, there are many shows that travel the U.S., specifically geared to that topic. There you’ll learn about green building methods and products that include the latest insulation, radiant floor heating, energy efficient appliances, zero VOC paint and green roofs. And no green home show would be complete without clean energy alternatives like solar panels and wind power.

Frank Betz Farmhouse Plan- Gulfport

Doing your new home, homework ahead of time, will get you better prepared for your building adventure. Knowing the process, the players and building language, will be a major advantage as you move forward. Spend some time online and attending a home show or two. It’s a great way to get ideas, get inspired and most importantly, get educated.

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