HER Home Thought of the Day - Best of 2013

by Greg Dodge 30. December 2013 07:40
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Published Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, HER Home’s Thought of the Day is derived from our audience feedback as well as real-life experiences of the Her Home staff. This email series is designed to answer the question -- "I wish I had known about that!" This Monday, Wednesday, Friday email places in your inbox, solutions to common home building questions, design ideas, and insights into products to put into your new home or remodel project.


 

We had some great responses to our topics in 2013.  Here is the 'Best of" for 2013.  

 


Enjoy.  Be safe. See you in 2014.

 

Subscribe to HER Home at Thought of the Day here


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Decade of Change | Design Trends | General

The fallacy of comparing “cost per square foot” when evaluating potential builders for your new home.

by Greg Dodge 5. August 2013 15:05
 

 

 


It may come as a surprise to you that there is no universal method for calculating a home’s square footage.  Discrepancies occur when including (or omitting) porches and screened-in decks, lower levels, attic spaces and garages.  Should the square footage occupied by a staircase be counted once or twice, since it occupies space on both levels? 


Then there’s the question of where the measurement is taken from.  Some homes may only include the space inside the walls.  More often, the calculation is based on taking measurements from outside of the exterior wall framing (which adds the square footage represented in the wall thickness.)  Further increasing square footage calculations, some homes are measured from outside of exterior finish materials.  If the home has brick siding, for example, measuring to the outside of the brick may add 50 or even 100 square feet to the home’s overall size.  This is one reason homes should not be compared solely on the basis of cost-per-square-foot.


Different builders calculate square footage differently.  Homesite costs differ.  The quality of materials used differs by builder, as does the costs charged by the builders’ sub-contractors such as electricians, plumbers and painters.


Design also has a huge bearing on cost.  These 2 homes have exactly the same floorplan, and square footage, but the cost to build is very different.

 

Design Basics home plan #43055 Design Basics home plan #43056
1719 sq. ft., 3-bedroom 1719 sq. ft., 3-bedroom

 

Finally, what’s included in one builder’s bid will vary from what’s included in another builder’s bid.  It’s virtually impossible to get an “apples for apples” comparison between two builders, and even if you could control most variables by having the home design finalized and all products selected, there’s still differences in quality and customer service to be considered.


Beware of comparing two homes solely on the basis of cost per square foot!

Tags: ,

General

All square feet are not created equal!

by Greg Dodge 18. February 2013 08:24

All square feet are not created equal!


It may come as a surprise to you that there is no universal method for calculating a home's square footage. Discrepancies occur when including (or omitting) porches and screened-in decks, lower levels, attic spaces and garages. Should the square footage occupied by a staircase be counted once or twice, since it occupies space on both levels?

 

Then there's the question of where the measurement is taken from. Some homes may only include the space inside the walls. More often, the calculation is based on taking measurements from outside of the exterior wall framing (which adds the square footage represented in the wall thickness.) Further increasing square footage calculations, some homes are measured from outside of exterior finish materials. If the home has brick siding, for example, measuring to the outside of the brick may add 50 or even 100 square feet to the home's overall size. 

 

This is one reason homes should not be compared solely on the basis of cost-per-square-foot.

 

Different builders calculate square footage differently. Home site costs differ. The quality of materials used differs by builder, as does the costs charged by the builders' sub-contractors such as electricians, plumbers and painters.

 

Design also has a huge bearing on cost. These 2 homes have exactly the same  floor plan, and square footage, but the cost to build is very different.

 

 

1755 sq. ft., 3-bedroom

1755 sq. ft., 3-bedroom

1755 sq. ft., 3-bedroom

1755 sq. ft., 3-bedroom

 

Finally, what's included in one builder's bid will vary from what's included in another builder's bid. It's virtually impossible to get an "apples for apples" comparison between two builders, and even if you could control most variables by having the home design finalized and all products selected, there's still differences in quality and customer service to be considered.

 

Beware of comparing two homes solely on the basis of cost per square foot! 

 

Example Plans

  Part I - 1752 the Lancaster

  Part II - 43016 the Bay Hill and 43017 the Saugatuck


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Building cost | General | Plannng

Why Buy New?

by Greg Dodge 26. December 2012 16:33

Why buy new, now?

Historically low interest rates expand your purchasing power significantly. For example, a $200,000 30-year mortgage at a 5% interest rate (APR) is $125 less per month than a 6% APR
mortgage payment. Or, you could opt for a larger home or $20,000 in upgrades and still keep the payments lower than the 6% APR mortgage.

Lower total monthly housing costs.
Land costs have eased as have prices for some building
materials. Stiffer building and energy codes combined with product advancements mean cheaper utility bills and lower homeowner insurance rates.


The financial implications are often the first aspect looked at, but there are lots of other reasons to look at new construction rather than an existing home, including:


Quality of construction.
More stringent building codes are just one of the reasons today’s
homes typically offer superior quality compared to older homes, making your new home more pleasurable to live in.


Design flexibility.
Some things that just aren’t feasible to change with resale homes, like
garage size, basement ceiling heights, wider doors or open, entertaining floorplans.


Product choices, advancements.
When building new, there’s a gamut of products to select
from in making your home uniquely yours, based on what’s important to you—such as quieter and safer products, high technology…healthy alternatives...new construction is a hands-down winner!


Avoid maintenance hassles and cost.


New homes are typically lower maintenance due to
the products used. Composite decking, tilt-in clad windows and laminate flooring, all give you back a little more time. Then there’s the expensive repairs associated with older homes such as replacing worn-out appliances, roof shingles, carpet and furnaces.


Energy efficiency and environmental responsibility.
Homes built today are as much as
60% more energy efficient than homes built 20 years ago, contributing to a more comfortable home. Your energy efficient new home can help prevent the release of tons (yes, TONS!) of greenhouse gasses per year, while helping conserve our energy resources. Advanced building products such as engineered wood and recycled product choices such as carpet made from discarded plastic water bottles further help protect our environment.


Don’t settle for less.
Finally, one of the most important reasons for buying new is getting
exactly what you want in your new home.

 

 

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Decade of Change | Design Trends | General

Build a Christmas tradition!

by Greg Dodge 24. December 2012 08:40

For a few years now my family has been building a Christmas Eve tradition. While not nearly as elaborate as the picture to the right, my family builds a ginger-bread house. It is a sticky, gooey process. My wife bakes the walls and roof pieces. I build the house. My daughters take glee in all the trimmings laid out before them. We all love decorating the house with all the sugary trimmings.

 
The house never really turns out the way I think it should. It's not really that square. It leans a bit. The kids argue over where the trimmings should go and then giggle with delight when they sneak some trimmings to eat.


In the end, we've all had a great time. We've made some memories we'll share for years. We've spent some time together in one place at the same time.


It's like a miracle. Here are some really "Over-the-Top Gingerbread Houses"


From the staff at Design Basics and HER Home Magazine, have a safe and Merry Christmas!


Greg Dodge
Vice President.

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General

Do you remember these homes from your favorite TV families?

by Greg Dodge 26. November 2012 13:53

From the Brady's to the Simpsons. You've seen these TV homes. Take a look at some of America's most popular TV family homes and learn about the American building process from TV's favorite 70's architect Mike Brady.

 

 

 

Click to enlarge

 

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Take a look your favorite TV family's home and learn about the American building process from TV's favorite 70's architect Mike Brady.

 

Take a look your favorite TV family's home and learn about the American building process from TV's favorite 70's architect Mike Brady.

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General

2002 - 2012 the Decade of Change! Part III

by Greg Dodge 9. October 2012 10:39

 

In the last decade, home design has undergone amazing change and innovation! Entertaining has taken on a new priority, but entertaining preferences are highly individualized.  Builders need to  understand your entertaining style.  And you need to make sure your builder gets your style.

 

We've refer to homeowners who enjoy formal entertaining as "Claires". Sophisticated finishes and open layouts are preferred, but Claires look for a sense of room definition. Outdoor spaces are often considered an extension of the indoor socializing, so the indoor/outdoor connection is key.

 

"Elise" is the name we've given to traditional buyers whose entertaining style tends to focus on family get-togethers or having a few close friends over. Conversation is key, as is getting everyone together. Flexible, free-flowing eating areas which can expand by adding another table are favored (think big, family Thanksgiving dinner gatherings.)

 

Fun-loving, "Maggie's" entertaining style revolves around "doing". It could be movie night at her home, or cards or pool. It could be a scrapbooking party or other type of "girls' night out". Maggies may have trouble seeing themselves in your home until they know where the big TV goes. Then there's her kids' entertaining space to consider. When she's got friends over, where will her kids go if their friends are over, too?

From lighting to soundproofing issues, entertaining influences design more than most people realize.

To learn more about the buyer profile described in this post, read about Finally About Me and take the quiz to learn your buyer profile.

 

Tags:

Design Trends | Finally About Me | General | Decade of Change

Tandem Garages - the new flex space?

by Greg Dodge 7. June 2012 14:36

While the debate rages on over garage size and placement (see this month's White Paper for solutions), an emerging concept is to design a tandem 3rd stall and show an option for finishing off that space. That way, buyers can understand the trade-offs: more storage or additional living space!

 

We would love to hear your feedback on a new plan we're developing, the Windsor Cottage, which illustrates this very concept.


Please send your comments to  otb@designbasics.com or post them here!

 

Without moving exterior walls, what would you design differently (for example, add window(s) in the dining/living room)?



 

 

 

 

 

 

Tags:

Design Trends | General

What's your cost per square foot...

by Greg Dodge 27. April 2012 08:51

 

...is common in resale homes, but can be a very misleading question in new construction!  Why?

 

 

 

Different builders calculate square footage differently.  An identical home with brick exterior walls will measure more square feet than the identical home with traditional siding.

 

What square footage was included in the sq. ft. figure?  Basements?  Attics?  Were staircases counted once or twice?  Porches/decks/patios?  The garage?

 

 

 

What's included in the square footage price you were told?  Builder's included features vary widely.  Wood floors and stone countertops make a home cost more per square foot than the same design with vinyl flooring and laminate tops.

 

 

 

Your choices have a huge impact on your cost per square foot.  You will probably make many selections for your home.  Iron staircase spindles and expensive appliances don't add to a home's square footage but do add to it's cost per square foot.

 

 

 

Land costs are a BIG component in a cost per square foot number.  Was the homesite included in the cost per sq. ft. price quoted?  A "premium" homesite will increase the cost per square foot (if land costs are included) compared with a "standard" lot.


When evaluating potential home builders, be sure you are comparing bids based on similar grounds.  Don't get fooled by a low cost per square foot up front.  And then pay for it later when you close on your new home.

 

Tags:

General

Dual owner's suites

by Greg Dodge 9. April 2012 12:26

The popularity of homes with two master suites is growing rapidly.  Buyer profiles vary from households with aging parents or adult children sharing the home with you.  We recently spoke with an individual looking for a home with three master suites for three widows/widowers who wanted companionship and the advantages of home ownership!
 

 

Especially in homes designed for a basement foundation, or homes which can have additional bedrooms upstairs, expect to be seeing more dual-master suite homes coming to the market!

Example dual owner's suite home plans:

29354 the Welker
29353 the Sadie

 

 

Tags:

Design Trends | Flexible Living Options | General