Monthly Archives: April 2016

I wish all remodelers and the industry would change, but won’t | Bedford Real Estate

The majority of remodeling contractors who participate in the remodeling industry are holding the industry back from becoming much more professional and successful. Remodelers continuously complain about what they perceive the government and even what their consumers do to them to make running a business and earning a profit difficult. However in many ways remodelers are their own worst enemies, creating problems for themselves and the industry by both their actions as well as their lack of action. Below are just five things I wish all remodelers and those in the industry would change, but won’t.

Before you check out my list keep this in mind. If you’re a remodeler and you eliminate and or address most of these things in your business you will stand out as different. You will also be more successful, be at much less risk and can also make much more money.

#1: Stop calling them estimates; they are not estimates

Home owners ask for estimates. This doesn’t mean they want your best guess, they instead want a fixed price. Next time a consumer asks for an estimate give them one right away; “That will cost somewhere between an arm and a leg depending on your final product selections.” Then help them discover what it will really take to help them assemble a fixed price for a fixed scope of work that meets their needs. Then let them know how your professional services can help them do so, and what you charge for those services. One way to explain it is your estimates are free; you charge to help develop solutions… (Check out this Design/Build Agreement)

#2: Calling employees Lead Carpenters when they are not

Although most remodelers really don’t know what a true lead carpenter is, many claim they have several on staff. If you don’t believe me, read this job description first, then ask a few to define the difference between a carpenter and a lead carpenter. Giving the title to an employee who is not a true lead carpenter does a disservice to the employee and misleads consumers. It’s like passing off roof cement as a flashing. It’s just not right to do so if you are really a roofer. Becoming a lead carpenter is an accomplishment; let’s reserve the title for those who have earned it.

#3: Claiming to be Design/Builders when they are not

Like Yoda said; “Do or do not, there is no try.” You either are a Design/Builder or you are not. If you allow others to bid on and or build from your plans you are not a Design/Builder; that is something else. Decide what you are or will be. There is a big difference between Design/Build and design-bid. (Design/Build definition) Remember, in a bid situation it’s often the biggest loser who wins! If you hate bidding, become a real Design/Builder. That’s what motivated me to become a Design/Builder when I had my business.

 

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http://www.jlconline.com/business/estimating-job-costing/five-things-i-wish-the-remodeling-industry-would-change_o?utm_source=newsletter&utm_content=Opinion&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=JLC_042416%20(1)&he=e8bfa1f3a4de51077b99729cac2a5d6f27f2dfea

Builder’s Choice Custom Home Design Award-winning projects | Pound Ridge Real Estate

Jeff Goldberg

In honor of Earth Day, Custom Home and BUILDER take a look back at five Builder’s Choice Custom Home Design Award-winning projects that are as environmentally-conscious as they are commendable. These projects, designed with the planet in mind, are dynamic and innovative—some powered by the resources they produce.

The Builder’s Choice Custom Home Design Awards (BCCHDAs) honor excellence and innovation in residential design and construction across 13 categories including project of the year, modular, multi-family, and architectural interiors. With this year’s extended deadline fast approaching—May 2 for early submissions, and May 6 for late submissions—we encourage you to submit your own best work here.

Excerpts from the awards coverage highlighting the projects’ sustainable features are included below. Follow the link in each project’s title to view more photos and information.
Tucson Mountain Retreat, Tucson, Ariz., designed by DUST
The layout is keenly attuned to the Sonoran Desert site. The long side faces south to allow the sun to passively heat the concrete floors, and the building’s deep overhangs and thermal mass keep it cool in the summer. A large kitchen/dining/living space is flanked by an acoustically designed music room/recording studio on one side and two bedrooms on the other. Each volume is fitted with glass walls that dematerialize to take in views and breezes.

Jeff Goldberg

RainShine House , Decatur, Ga., designed by Robert M. Cain, Architect
As an exercise in green design, this LEED Platinum–certified house puts a check in every column: passive solar, active solar, rainwater collection, natural daylighting and ventilation, energy-efficient electrical and mechanical systems, resource-conserving materials, a tight building envelope, low-VOC finishes, and no-irrigation landscaping. What got the attention of our judges, though, was that its environmental ethos also yields a thoroughly pleasing aesthetic experience.

Paul Hultberg Photography

Sustainable Steel Home , San Diego, designed by Macy Architecture/
Jensen & Macy Architects
The home’s footprint allows for plenty of natural ventilation, and it also connects the interiors with the outside in true mid-century spirit. The house maximizes its infill location by providing city and water views to the main rooms, which all occupy the second floor. Photovoltaics produce on-site power, and rainwater harvesting meets the site’s irrigation needs. Lots of glass, both transparent and translucent, helps with daylighting and passive solar.

Scot Conti

GREENville House, Greenville, N.C., designed by Tonic Design
The owners of this new LEED Silver-rated residence did their sustainability homework in advance. “They knew about solar and geothermal from the beginning,” says project designer Katherine Hogan. That head start allowed Hogan and principal designer Vincent Petrarca to weave green features into the fabric of the building, rather than tack them on as options after the fact.

Todd Lanning

Green Lantern , San Antonio, Texas, designed by John Grable Architects
In one of San Antonio’s, oldest neighborhoods, architect and developer John Grable, FAIA, salvaged 45 percent of a 1948 house because of his client’s commitment to conservation and green building. At the same time, a contemporary home was the aim.

Dror Baldinger, AIA

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http://www.ecobuildingpulse.com/projects/five-award-winning-sustainable-homes-from-the-builders-choice-custom-home-design-awards_s?utm_source=newsletter&utm_content=Article&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=EBP_042616%20(1)&he=bd1fdc24fd8e2adb3989dffba484790dcdb46483

Mortgage rates average 3.58% | Bedford Corners Real Estate

Freddie Mac (OTCQB: FMCC) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing mortgage rates declining slightly from the previous week to reach a new low for the year.

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.58 percent with an average 0.5 point for the week ending April 14, 2016, down from last week when they averaged 3.59 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.67 percent.
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 2.86 percent with an average 0.5 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.88 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 2.94 percent.
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.84 percent this week with an average 0.4 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.82 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 2.88 percent.

Average commitment rates should be reported along with average fees and points to reflect the total upfront cost of obtaining the mortgage. Visit the following link for theDefinitions. Borrowers may still pay closing costs which are not included in the survey.

Quote
Attributed to Sean Becketti, chief economist, Freddie Mac.

“Demand for Treasuries remained high this week, driving yields to their lowest point since February. In response, the 30-year mortgage rate fell 1 basis point to 3.58 percent. This rate represents yet another low for 2016 and the lowest mark since May 2013.”

Mortgage rates average 3.59% | Chappaqua Real Estate

Freddie Mac (OTCQB: FMCC) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing mortgage rates declining from the previous week and reaching their lowest level since February of last year.

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.59 percent with an average 0.5 point for the week ending April 7, 2016, down from last week when they averaged 3.71 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.66 percent.
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 2.88 percent with an average 0.4 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.98 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 2.93 percent.
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.82 percent this week with an average 0.5 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.90 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 2.83 percent.

Average commitment rates should be reported along with average fees and points to reflect the total upfront cost of obtaining the mortgage. Visit the following link for theDefinitions. Borrowers may still pay closing costs which are not included in the survey.

Quote
Attributed to Sean Becketti, chief economist, Freddie Mac.

“Mortgage rates this week registered the delayed impact of last week’s sharp drop in Treasury yields as the 30-year mortgage rate fell 12 basis points to 3.59 percent. This rate marks a new low for 2016 and matches last year’s low in February 2015. Low mortgage rates and a positive employment outlook should support a strong housing market in the second quarter of 2016.”

Home Price Index Continued Steady Climb | Armonk Real Estate

Home prices in the United States climbed again at the start of the year, adding to pressure on buyers in a sellers’ market. Americans are feeling more confident this month, another report released on Tuesday showed, as a rebounding stock market brightened their outlook.

In January, the Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index rose 5.7 percent from a year earlier, a slight increase from the 5.6 percent annual increase in December.

“The pace of U.S. home value growth has been picking up bit by bit over the past few months, driven in large part by stubbornly low inventory in most markets that creates competition and drives up prices for those homes that are available,” said Svenja Gudell, chief economist at the real estate firm Zillow.

Home values have risen at a faster pace than average hourly wages, which have improved just 2.2 percent, according to a government report this month. Tight supplies of homes on the market have propelled much of the price growth, as low mortgage rates and steady hiring have increased demand.

Denver, Portland, San Francisco and Seattle each registered double-digit annual price increases. Home values rose in all 20 metro area markets, which account for roughly half of the housing stock in the country.

The index remains more than 11 percent below its mid-2006 peak, when subprime mortgages pushed the market to heights that set off the recession in late 2007.

Existing homes sold at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.08 million in February, the National Association of Realtors said this month. Sales dipped 7.1 percent from a relatively healthy pace in January, but an increase in the number of signed contracts to buy houses indicates that purchases should rebound in March.

Despite the demand, listings in February declined 1.1 percent from a year ago. Many homeowners are reluctant to sell, because they lack the equity to cover the down payment for upgrading to a new house.

“The low inventory of homes for sale — currently about a five-month supply — means that would-be sellers seeking to trade up are having a hard time finding a new, larger home,” said David Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices.

In a separate report, the Conference Board said that its consumer confidence index rose to 96.2 this month, after tumbling to a revised 94 in February.

Consumers’ assessment of current economic conditions has dipped. But their outlook for the future has improved modestly.

United States markets got off to a dismal start in 2016, driven by fears of economic weakness overseas and plunging oil prices, but they have since recovered most of those losses. This month, 28.7 percent of consumers said they expected stocks to rise over the next year. That was up from 26.9 percent in February, the lowest share since July 2012.

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AP

DIY spring cleaning guide | North Salem Real Estate

Do you have a closet you’re terrified to open? Do sweaters, paperwork, and random Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issues from the last millennium clog up every drawer? If so, then there’s a very high likelihood you’re overdue for some serious spring-cleaning.

But what’s that you say: Lying on the couch bingeing on the latest season of “House of Cards” sounds way more enticing? Then you’ll love our first installment of the Lazy Homeowner’s Guide: a collection of hacks and shortcuts that make decluttering a breeze.

Try a few of these tips to whip your place into shape with minimal time and effort. Honest, you’ll barely work up a sweat

Trick yourself into tossing things

If you know you have a problem parting with things, Jennifer Adams, celebrity interior designer and lifestyle expert, advises taking on your separation anxiety literally. Get two large boxes; label one “repair/clean” and the other “not sure.” Box up the latter items, and date the box.

“If you haven’t opened the box in a year, donate it,” she says. Same goes for the “repair/clean” box. Stick them in the trunk of your car, and drive thyself to the nearest Salvation Army or other charitable organization.

“Face it: You’re not that committed to those items if you haven’t repaired, cleaned, or looked at them within a month or two,” Adams says.

Turn castoffs into cash

Maybe extra moolah is the prime incentive you need to help you clean out cluttered spaces. If selling your unwanted stuff on eBay is too complicated, try the simple-to-use app OfferUp, the largest mobile marketplace for local buyers and sellers. Take a snap of your unwanted items, and post it on the site—and you’ll instantly be connected to buyers in your neighborhood.

Curb your clothes

Your closets are likely full of clothes you don’t wear and are ripe for purging. What should you chuck?

“Focus on clothes that don’t fit, are out of style, require expensive tailoring, that don’t look good on you, or are duplicates,” says Cynthia Kienzle, aka New York’s The Clutter Whisperer. You could end up eliminating a large swath of your wardrobe, yet feel you have more clothes since everything you pull out is something you’ll actually wear!

Save space in your closet

After purging, set up simple systems and maintain them. One of Kienzle’s favorite inexpensive closet organizing tools is Ikea’s $5 hanging shoe bags. She calls them “the best organizing bargain around.” She also likes the Container Store’s Elfa door rack system—secured inside of closet doors—to hold scarves, gloves, and belts. For about $75, it’s an “inexpensive investment relative to the enormous value they provide. And they look so nice!” Finally, skinny Huggable hangers can triple your closet space, plus the felt keeps clothes from sliding off.

Purge paperwork

It’s time to unload those old catalogs, coupons, junk mail, and tax support documents (after all, you don’t need to keep your tax documents forever—for most states it’s only the past seven years). If you need to shred but dread the prospect of feeding a small home shredder all weekend, she recommends using Staples or FedEx Office shredding services. Easier still, you can hire a shredding truck to come to your apartment building or home.

 

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http://www.realtor.com/advice/home-improvement/lazy-guide-to-spring-cleaning/?identityID=563634a60b124c77df02b110&MID=2016_0318_WeeklyNL-ctl&RID=3397440202&cid=eml-2016-0318-WeeklyNL-blog_2_lazyguide-blogs_trends