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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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.




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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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What do you like to display in your kitchen?

by Greg Dodge 16. November 2012 16:25


Pull-out base cabinet kitchen wastebasket drawer.  Click picture to enlarge image.

The kitchen trash can. It's an eyesore. It's a target for kids and pets. AND IT ALWAYS FULL! How is that?

The humble kitchen wastebasket. With four young children at home, we tried teaching them that not everything went down the garbage disposal-like chicken bones. But with that garbage disposal and the sink plumbing taking up so much room in the sink base cabinet, about all we could fit there was a small (powder-bath size) wastebasket that seemingly overflowed constantly.


Not to be outdone by a wastebasket, I proudly marched to my local home improvement store and bought the big, family-size kitchen wastebasket with its little plastic lid. It did hold more (at least until the dog got into it) but also became the focal point of our kitchen.


A pull-out base cabinet kitchen wastebasket drawer is a true thing of beauty!  Is your kitchen trash can the focal point in your kitchen?



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.



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

2002 - 2012 the Decade of Change! Part II

by Greg Dodge 20. September 2012 14:18


2002 - 2012 the Decade of Change! Part II


In the last decade, home design has undergone amazing change and innovation. Vist Booth 1042 at the Sunbelt Builders Show,Just as you wouldn't get too excited over going to purchase a brand new car and being shown a new 2002 Pontiac Aztek, how excited should prospective buyers be touring a model home from a design that's 10 years old?

So what's different in home design today?


Example--Rear Foyers! As the most often used entrance into the home, coming in from the garage can no longer be viewed primarily as "utilitarian". The front entry foyer is designed to be something special, as much (or more!) attention should be paid to the rear foyer.

  • Storage. Beyond the expected coat closet, what about all the "stuff" you carry in with you? A "drop zone" is ideal for liberating your kitchen from such clutter! So what's a 'Drop Zone'?

  • Convenience. A seat or bench for removing shoes. Insignificant? Buyers don't think so!

  • Special amenities. Do you have pets - cats or dogs? Think about adding a pet zone to the rear foyer.


See examples of drop zones, pet centers, and rear entry foyers.  No longer should you bring people through the laundry room to get to your kitchen.  The rear entry foyer changes the experience when you bring family and friends in from the garage!



Design Trends | Destressing | Plannng | Rear entry foyer | Storage

2002 - 2012 the Decade of Change!

by Greg Dodge 6. September 2012 13:03

Over the next few weeks we will be looking at what has changed over the last 10 years in home design.  Topics will explore the lessons we've learned as well as newer design trends and popular product choices.

In the last decade, home design has undergone amazing change and innovation! Homebuyers want bigger garages, yet the average home being built has gotten smaller.

Narrower lots continue to dominate in many markets. Alley loaded garages are not applicable in most situations. So, how can you keep the garage from overpowering the front elevation?


Garage Placement: Bringing the garage flush with or even recessed from other elements of the front elevation de-emphasize the garage's impact on the home.


Garage Door: Why does everyone default to the same raised 32 panel garage door? An aesthetically pleasing garage door can be a focal point, rather than an eyesore!


Garage Access: Building lots may permit, or even dictate, entering the garage from the side. A newer trend is to combine front- and side-entry garages, minimizing their effect on the home's curb appeal.


Focal points: Adding horizontal fascia lines or a shed roof in a front facing gable over a garage minimizes the visual effect of that gable. Changing the siding pattern and/or the addition of louvers breaks up the massing of a front-facing gable over the garage. The addition of a dormer in a gable roof over the garage takes the eye to the dormer and away from the garage.

Next time, we'll talk about the idea of "flex" spaces.




Design Trends | Garage Design | Products for the Home

FINALLY ABOUT ME® What is your new home personality?

by Greg Dodge 28. August 2012 14:07

You and your friends walk into a model home with a gorgeous fireplace flanked by floor-to-ceiling windows at the back of a tall great room. “Wow!” remarks one of your friends. Another (who actually thinks the room is a bit predictable) is trying to envision a more contemporary fireplace and window grouping. Your best friend is thinking about all of the natural gas it takes to heat that space. And you’re wondering how you would ever clean those 17-foot high windows!


The example illustrates how your personality influences your perception of a home. As the Her Home and Woman-Centric Matters! teams at Design Basics identified, women tend to exhibit one of four primary home buyer personas. What’s amazing is just how much of our core personality is shows up in our homes! Once you’ve identified your strongest personality type, you, your builder, or your remodeling contractor can focus on things that will likely be very meaningful to you and avoid wasting time with things that probably aren’t very important. It’s fun…and more than a little revealing into why you like what you like!

We have several articles and a short 5-minute quiz elaborating on Finally About Me and your new home personality.  Read more . . .



Design Trends | Finally About Me

How many people does it take to change a light bulb...

by Greg Dodge 19. July 2012 08:12


How many people does it take to change a light bulb...
Phillips Warm White 8w LED


When the bulb you are changing is at the top of a 17-foot-high ceiling in your great room?  While a few people have mastered the extension pole bulb replacement method, most of us have to get out an extension ladder so it takes at least 2 people to change a light bulb!




Therefore, it only makes sense to specify LED light bulbs that last 20 years or longer on average, for those hard-to-reach light fixtures.  Though more expensive to buy, they'll save money on electricity.  Plus, you won't have to get out the spackle and touch-up paint to repair the drywall nicks from carrying that extension ladder through the house!




The Advantages & Benefits of LED Lighting


Phillips LED Lighting




Lighting, Products for the Home | Products for the Home

10 Things to Consider Before Signing the Dotted Line!

by Greg Dodge 20. June 2012 10:30

Making the decision to build a new home is a thrilling prospect. For many, it is the realization of a dream. But many potential new home owners don’t realize that some of the decisions made after signing a contract would be less expensive and better negotiated if they researched their needs before inking the deal. We spoke to one woman who, in the process of considering her building project, took extra steps to research what she wanted. She ultimately saved thousands of dollars in “up charges” – changes or additions made by the builder once a contract is signed. Here are the ten items she considered before signing, and what she learned in the process:


Pre-qualify for a mortgage. Get credit information in order. Check out several lenders. Review needs for a construction loan or a bridge loan. Understand mortgage products. Review your present home and situation. Are room sizes adequate? What  special needs do you have, such as a blended family or the need for a workshop? What furniture will you keep?


Find a lot. Is it close to schools, church, shopping, health care, pizza delivery? What direction does the lot face? Do you want morning sun? A special view? Do you want a sloping lot for a walkout basement? Study covenant and community restrictions. What is the tax levy? Look around the neighborhood. What do you like? What bothers you?


Find a home plan by asking the following questions:


How do I want to entertain?


How much storage will I need? What kind?


Does the plan have flexibility for special rooms or situations (exercise room, craft area, etc.)?


How does the home help me de-stress? A quiet area for me? Built-in organization like drop zones? Whirpool bath? Sunroom? Porches?


Where do I want the master bedroom?


Is a healthy home important to me?


Select a builder.  Is there a builder attached to the lot you want? If so, interview him/her extensively. If not, interview several builders. Try to find someone with whom you’ll have good chemistry.  Check references of the builder’s former home buyers, subcontractors and vendors. 


Consult with an interior designer for a couple of hours.  Make sure everything flows; coordinate colors, flooring and countertops; and plan placement of outlets. 


Meet with an electrician and electronic specialists to pre-wire the house properly.  Consider Christmas lights, other outdoor lighting, accent lighting, security, stereo surround sound, telephones, ample outlets and their placements, Internet and media rooms.


Talk to people.  Talk to as many people as you can who have been through the building process. Be sure to ask what they would do differently.


Customize your home plan.  Make sure the working drawings are clear and exactly how you want them.


Pack Your Survival Kit. 


Bring a sense of humor


A 12-pack of patience


Drawers of chocolate


Bottles of aspirin


A jump rope for de-stressing




After considering these items you should be ready to sign on the bottom line and get started!


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