Building a Home? Hire an Approved Professional

Building a Home? Hire an Approved Professional

Before you hire someone to help with your home, also known as your largest investment, shouldn’t you use an Approved Professional Builder? Whether building a home or remodeling your current home, hiring the right professional is critical to both a good experience and outcome for your family.

 

Approved Professional Builders are screened by the Home Builders Association of Greenville to ensure that they:

  • Maintain appropriate levels of insurance.
  • Are free of unresolved judgements for at least one year.
  • Offer a warranty.
  • Use a written contract.
  • Have the appropriate licenses.

 

This, of course, is just a starting point in your search for a home builder. You should check references, review a contractor’s previous projects, and talk with their previous clients. In addition, check their online reviews, but consider them in the context of the Internet. You may want to discard one poor comment in a sea of good ones, but several poor reviews should be a red flag.

 

After you have settled on a contractor, a detailed written contract is critical, and regular communication during the project is important as well.

 

What should you avoid? “Special pricing” that is significantly below quotes from other contractors, large up-front deposits, and vague project specifications.

 

But why not get a head start by considering contractors who are approved by the Home Builders Association of Greenville?

 

To learn more about the Approved Professional program at the Home Builders Association of Greenville, visit hbaofgreenville.com/for-consumers/approved-professional-builder. Or visit the Approved Professionals at the Southern Home and Garden Show September 20-22 at the Greenville Convention Center. Visit SouthernHomeandGardenShow.com to see a list of exhibitors.

Tips for Porch and Deck Maintenance

Tips for Porch and Deck Maintenance

Summer provides great weather to enjoy your home’s porch or deck. But like the rest of your home, cleaning and maintenance of your outdoor living spaces will help them last longer and keep them in good shape for optimal comfort. To help you enjoy your outdoor living space, here are some tips for porch or deck maintenance.

Cleaning:  Regularly sweep your deck and remove debris trapped in between your deck boards. A simple spray of water with a garden hose can remove dirt. Bleach will discolor your deck and wire brush can damage wood. To remove mold and mildew, purchase a deck cleaning solution. Some cleaners can be harmful to plants, so make sure your plants are moved or covered before applying a solution.

Repairing: Wear and tear from weather can damage your porch. Conduct a visual inspection for loose boards and nails. Small issues can be repaired by removing the boards, flipping, and refastening them. Splinters in wood can be sanded down. If you see rotting wood under the boards, you may need to consult a professional for repairs. Cracked deck boards is a sign that your deck needs to be sealed, and completely split boards means you will need to replace the entire damaged board.

Staining: After your deck is cleaned and repaired, consider adding a sealer for a refreshed and uniform look, especially if your deck does not repel water easily. You should follow the manufacturer’s directions for any seal you apply. Drying time depends on the temperature and humidity level. Avoid applying any product to your deck or porch in the direct sunlight, which will result in the finish drying too quickly, leading to an early failure of the finish.

Decorating: New patio or deck décor can liven up any outdoor space. Avoid selecting natural fibers such as jute or bamboo. This type of material absorbs moisture and could lead to mildew on your deck or porch. Add rugs and mats made of recycled plastics to maximize longevity and avoid mildew. Select furniture constructed with materials designed to withstand the elements, like cedar or teak, which also are resistant to insect damage. Metallic furniture made from iron, especially with rust-resistant coating, is another durable option. You can top off any style of furniture with pillows and cushions made of synthetic fibers that are resistant to mildew as well as UV-rays from the sun.

You can meet professionals to help you with your outdoor living project at the Southern Home and Garden Show on September 20-22 at the Greenville Convention Center. Visit SouthernHomeandGardenShow.com to see a list of exhibitors.

Housing Trend: Interest in Accessory Dwelling Units Growing

Housing Trend: Interest in Accessory Dwelling Units Growing

Single-family detached homes are the most desired type of dwelling among homebuyers, but alternatives like townhomes are growing in demand.

 

One dwelling in particular, that has a long history of popularity, is becoming popular again: accessory dwelling units (ADUs), also known as “granny flats.” ADUs are ideal for individuals looking for a non-traditional living space in a traditional setting.

 

ADUs are self-contained living units with their own kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom.  They are located adjacent to, and on the same lot as, another dwelling, usually a single-family home.

 

Why are ADUs gaining in popularity?

Autonomous

ADUs are attractive for people who want independence but need occasional support from a neighbor. Aging parents, young adults who are in a housing transition, or a person living with disabilities often desire an ADU.

 

Affordable

In most cases, an ADU positivity impacts both the home owner and the occupant. Individuals living in an ADU find affordability, and the property owner receives income they often need to stay in their home. In fact, it is not uncommon for the landlord to live in the ADU and rent the main house in order to remain in their neighborhood when their housing needs change.

 

Accommodating

ADUs generally fit seamlessly with the character of the neighborhood. They often come in the form of a converted garage or other structure already on the property. And they don’t require new infrastructure to support them.

 

Environmental

ADUs are usually small and an environmentally-friendly way to add housing to meet growing demand.

 

Unfortunately, ADUs are only permitted in the unzoned areas of Greenville County. We know many exist without permission and it is time for our local officials to respond to a changing housing market and permit ADUs because they are part of the solution to address high housing costs.

You can meet professionals to help you with your housing project at the Southern Home and Garden Show September 20-22 at the Greenville Convention Center. Visit SouthernHomeandGardenShow.com to see a list of exhibitors.

Four Things to Know About Home Water Use

Four Things to Know About Home Water Use

You probably don’t spend much time thinking about your home’s water consumption. You take a shower in the morning and water the lawn, but you probably use far more water in your home than you realize.

  1. Indoor Water Use

The majority of the water used in your home is in the bathroom. Toilets and showers are the biggest users.  Each flush use 1-6 gallons, depending on the age of your toilets. After the bathroom, the laundry room is in second place.

A recent study by the National Association of Home Builders found that single-family homes built after the 1990s have an average of 3.1 toilets, 2.6 showers, and 2.3 bathtubs. Luckily, innovations in water-saving technology for showers and toilets have resulted in greater water efficiency in the home.

  1. Leaks Are Your Enemy

After bathrooms and the laundry room, leaks are the third highest consumer of indoor household water. Just one dripping faucet wastes gallons of expensive water each day.  Make sure you are not throwing money down the drain and hire a professional to fix leaks, even when they seem minor.

  1. Kitchens Are Actually Pretty Efficient

You might be surprised to learn that when it comes to water use, kitchens are low on the list of consumers. Modern dishwashers are very efficient and effective. You can save water, and time, by not prewashing the dishes. Hand washing dishes tends to waste a lot of water.

  1. Lawns, Gardens, and Swimming Pools

The average home uses 276 gallons of water per day, and half is used outside the home.

Watering the lawn is obvious, but more and more homes have swimming pools that also contribute to high rates of outdoor water use.

Knowing more about how and where your home uses water will not only give you a better understanding of your monthly water bill, but it also can help you prioritize water usage and save money.

Find professionals to help you with your home’s water usage by visiting HBAofGreenville.com. You can also meet the professionals by attending the Southern Home and Garden Show September 20-22 at the Greenville Convention Center. Visit SouthernHomeandGardenShow.com to see a list of exhibitors.

Affordable Rooftop Solar Can Boost Your Home’s Value

Affordable Rooftop Solar Can Boost Your Home’s Value

The sun is high and bright in the sky. Did you know the sun can save you money? Once considered expensive and desired only by the most committed environmentalists, rooftop solar is gaining popularity among value-conscious home owners.

 

Today, 1.3 million homes and businesses have solar systems, and solar is the top source for new electric generating capacity in the U.S.

 

The cost of solar panel systems has decreased dramatically. Tax incentives and Energy-Efficient Mortgages help make investing in solar more attractive financially.

 

As a result, homebuyers are adding solar to their new home wish list and appraisers are incorporating the value of green features into their appraisals. This means that installing solar panels will not only help you save on your electric bill now, but it may make your home more marketable when you are ready to sell.

 

And, if you don’t like the look of traditional solar arrays, solar-powered rooftop shingles that blend seamlessly into your existing roof are a great option.

 

Here are a few things to keep in mind when shopping solar for your home:

  • Calculate how much energy your household uses now – and will use in the future.
  • You will still receive a bill from your power company. Even the most energy-efficient homes will still draw energy from the grid at various times during the year.
  • Check out the incentives, tax credits, and grant programs available at www.dsireusa.org. Your installer will be knowledgeable on incentives as well.
  • Protect your solar power investment. Be sure to learn about warranty coverage both by the panel manufacturer and the panel installer. Be sure to tell your home insurance provider about your new system as well. It is important to understand who is responsible for the various components of the system.

Once you have made the decision to go with solar, find an installer who is a member of the Home Builders Association of Greenville by visiting HBAofGreenville.com. You also can visit with solar installers by attending the Southern Home and Garden Show September 20-22 at the Greenville Convention Center. Visit SouthernHomeandGardenShow.com to see a list of exhibitors.