How Much is ‘Green’ Worth to You?

How Much is ‘Green’ Worth to You?

If you could save $1,000 a year on your utility costs, how much more would you be willing to pay for your next home?

 

According to a survey by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), the average homebuyer is willing to spend an extra $10,700 to save $1,000 a year on their utility bills, $3,000 more than in 2012 when NAHB last conducted the survey.

 

The survey shows that today’s homebuyers have grown more interested in going green and saving on utilities. An investment of that size would pay for itself in 10 years.

 

NAHB asked consumers to rank green features according to desirability. Some of the items included:

  • Energy-Efficient Appliances – Ninety percent of respondents specifically ranked ENERGY STAR appliances as either desirable or essential.
  • Above-Code Insulation – One of the most impactful ways to minimize energy consumption is to install optimal amounts of insulation during initial construction. Not only are heating and cooling costs reduced, but overall comfort is improved.
  • Water-Conserving Features – Dual flush toilets, low-flow faucets, and shower heads that promote water efficiency are very popular. Tankless water heaters, which produce on-demand hot water and eliminate the costs of maintaining a tank of standby hot water, were also desirable green components.
  • Solar-Powered Heating and Cooling – Though ranked last among features listed in the green section of the survey, solar elements were considered to be desirable or essential to 61 percent of consumers who were surveyed.

While most consumers agree that an energy efficient home is important, green features come at a price. In addition, the new homes built by Approved Professional Home Builders represent just one percent of our housing stock. That is why home improvements and remodeling make our existing homes more energy efficient is important as well.

 

You can learn more about making your existing home greener 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 and seminars.

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.

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.

The Rise of Aging-in-Place Remodeling

The Rise of Aging-in-Place Remodeling

A recent poll by the National Association of Home Builders shows that older Americans are choosing to stay in their current homes as they age, rather than downsize or relocate as they have in the past.

That is a major driver in the continued growth of “aging-in-place” remodeling. This technique involves making home modifications — big or small — to help the homeowner live safely in their home as they age and experience changes in their health or mobility.

The “desire for better or newer amenities” and the “need to repair or replace old components” still lead the list of reasons to remodel. As our nation’s population gets older, and in particular as Baby Boomers get older, aging-in-place remodeling has become more popular.

According to the remodelers who were surveyed, some of the aging-in-place remodeling projects that have increased in popularity the most include:

  • Grab bars in showers and near toilets
  • Elevated toilets
  • Curbless entry showers
  • Widened hallways and doorways
  • Additional lighting

 

If you are considering updating your current home or want a new home that better meets your needs as you age, consider an Approved Professional Builder for your project.  Approved Professional Builders are screened by the Home Builders Association of Greenville to ensure that they:

  • Maintain appropriate levels of insurance
  • 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 for your search for a home builder. You should check references and review a contractor’s previous projects, but why not get a head start by considering builders 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.

Three Simple Ways to Boost Your Home’s Curb Appeal

Three Simple Ways to Boost Your Home’s Curb Appeal

Spring is the best time to revitalize your home’s exterior, which means now is the time to give your home some extra attention. Updating your home’s curb appeal is a great home improvement project that also adds value.

 

There are many low-cost updates you can tackle yourself. In fact, home exterior projects can be relatively affordable and simple to complete.

 

Before you dive into your first project, objectively evaluate the appearance of your home. Try looking at the front of your house from a home buyer’s perspective. What characteristics are immediately eye-catching? You will want to highlight the features you first identified.

 

Here are three common exterior improvement ideas to help get you started:

 

Lighting

Determine what type of lighting will enhance the look, and safety, of your home. Common exterior lighting includes pathway, landscaping, porch, and security lights. If you are adding a front porch fixture, make sure the size is proportionate to your space to create a sleek and inviting look. The fixture you select also should provide proper illumination. Also, check the availability of outdoor outlets; you may need to consider solar powered outdoor lighting.

 

Color

Does the paint look faded, chipped, and cracked? Or worse, is the color out of date?  Simply changing the color of the front door, garage door, windows, and trim can refresh the exterior of your home. If your door is weather worn or beyond repair, consider replacing it. While purchasing a new door is an expense, it adds instant curb appeal.

 

Landscaping

A well-manicured lawn can make all the difference in beautifying your home. If your yard needs attention, start with a basic clean-up. Prune trees, trim shrubs, and remove weeds to give your yard a fresh look. Adding new plants and flowers will add more flourish, but select plants carefully to reduce future maintenance. There are plenty of ways to keep your grass healthy and green. Find low-maintenance lawn care tips at TheLawnInstitute.org.

 

If you are considering updating your current home, or want a new home, consider an Approved Professional Builder. Visit HBAofGreenville.com for more information.