Mar 15, 2017

What Is Quality Construction?

First published on Zillow Blog

A friend of mine put me on the spot a few years ago when she asked me over to take a look at the new home she’d just purchased.

“What do you think?” she asked, “It’s good quality construction, isn’t it?”

For what she paid, sure, it was decent quality; it wasn’t in danger of collapse, the doorknobs weren’t falling off, and water wasn’t dripping through a leaky roof – but it wasn’t a showcase of construction skill either.

Feb 15, 2017

Do These Four Easy Things And Your Basement Will Always Be Dry

Water in all its forms is the enemy of every house. Rain, snow, ice, groundwater, and water vapor will take every available opportunity to find a way to appear where you don't want it and damage your house and your belongings.

Almost everyone is familiar with the dreaded wet basement, but few know the causes or know how easy a wet basement is to prevent! Here are a few simple steps you should take to save yourself big money and big headaches:

Jan 20, 2017

How To Get an Architectural Review Board to Approve Your Home Design or Remodeling Project

If you’re planning on building a custom home in a new development or remodeling a home in an older neighborhood, you’ll likely to find your plans subject to design review.

Design review boards go by different names; ARB (Architectural Review Board), DRC (Design Review Committee), ARC (Architectural Review Committee) and others.

They’ve been called less flattering names, too, by homeowners whose proposals don’t get favorable treatment from the board.

Dec 21, 2016

How to Be Sure You're Getting a Fair Price on Your New Home or Remodeling Project

Earlier this year a gentleman stopped by the house to ask if he could give me a quote on trimming the trees in my yard – a fairly frequent event on my street, which has a lot of older trees.

I've been here 26 years, and I've talked to dozens of tree trimmers. So I pretty much knew what to expect as soon as he pulled in the driveway in his spotless pickup truck. The truck with the custom graphics, the chrome wheels, and the boat hitch on the back.

Nov 16, 2016

How To Measure the Area of Your House

One of the most confusing and misleading metrics in the home building and home selling business is area - the "size" of a house.

The problem is that there's no adopted standard - everyone measures it differently. There has been a move in the last few years to create a universal standard like the one architects use (specified in AIA contracts), but it isn't mandatory, and isn't yet widely used.

Many state boards of real estate specify a process to measure house area, but it's a recommendation, not a requirement.  So "house area" means different things to different people. 

The one thing that is always true is that area is never measured from the inside of the walls - the area of a house always includes all wall thicknesses interior and exterior.

Oct 18, 2016

Ready, Set, Stuck - 4 Strategies for Getting Your New Home Past the Dream Stage

So you've been dreaming about your new or remodeled home for a long time now.  You've looked at dozens – maybe hundreds – of house plans online.

You've built up a huge collection of photos on Houzz, or Pinterest, or both.

And yet somehow, you don’t feel any closer to your dream house.  Maybe you even feel a little further away from it.  You thought that by taking your time and collecting ideas and information you’d make progress, but instead, you’re stuck.

Getting stuck at the dream stage is a common problem that I hear about every week from people just like you – here are a few email snippets:

“…we've looked at around thirty home [designs] and still haven't found anything that we like…”

“I have been looking for…house plans and they are mostly horrible!”

“I was able to find one house plan that was close, but needs quite a few modifications…”

“…last night on Houzz, as I was skimming through photos for the 100,000th time…”

“Most of the homes I have found on line etc., did not have interiors to my liking…”

“We have no idea what all this is going to involve as we have never tackled anything like this before.”

“My husband and I have been looking for what seems like forever…”

Do any of those sentiments sound familiar? I have dozens more examples, but you get the idea.