The Most Popular and Favorite Features In New Home Building
New home construction has come a long way in recent years with a focus on space design, energy efficiency, and environmentally-friendly materials. Here are the latest features in new home construction:
Large Mud Rooms (aka Family Foyers) – Large mud rooms have extended their footprint in new homes. Previously, mud rooms were often limited to just a hallway with a built-in, but now they are taking on a larger role by accommodating seating, sometimes with a desk to pay bills, and drop zone for mail. Think about it as a room to hide all the mess when you or your children walk in the door – there’s a place to drop shoes, coats, backpacks, laptops, papers, mail and even to take a minute to sit and relax before entering the main house. All of this is usually hidden behind a sliding door to create separation and the ability to close off this area from guests seeing the mess.
Heated floors – Heated floors are especially popular in the primary bathroom. Making cold tile warm in the winter is a game changer! Heated floors operate on a timed thermostat so you can program the heat to match your schedule. Waking up and the bathroom is already toasted, no longer cringing when your bare feet hit the cold floor and scrambling to get your slippers on. Once you have them, you’ll never want to be without them.
A Hidden Room – Childhood dreams come true! Having a hidden room to relax and unwind or to safely retreat into if needed, these rooms are being added behind bookshelves just like in the movies! Often found in an office, a walk-in closet, or primary bedroom, hidden rooms can serve a variety of purposes like hiding a prized and valuable collection, a hidden entertainment area, or a reading and relaxing spot. Another example is the understairs space that often goes unused, which can be turned into a hidden fun playroom for kids. We’ve even seen a hidden hatch door in the floor that led to a wine room underground. The possibilities are endless.
Environmentally Friendly – Environmentally-friendly building has become a favorite for energy efficiency, with an attainable and clear ROI and because of increased environmental awareness. Homeowners want to be a better steward of the planet, and this not only saves homeowners money on energy bills, but it also helps to reduce the overall carbon footprint of the home. There are many ways builders are incorporating this into their plans, such as:
● Solar: Your builder can prepare the roof when built for solar panels. Installing mounts and preparing for wiring during construction will save you money for when you do install solar panels in the future.
● EV Ready: Your builder can ensure that your home has enough electrical service in your garage and install chargers during construction.
● Battery Ready: Equipping your home with solar batteries allows you to capture the energy produced with solar (instead of or in addition to sending it back to the grid) and then use it as you need it, either during a power outage or on cloudy days when solar may not be sufficient.
● Geothermal Systems: According to the US Department of Energy, a Geothermal heat pump can mean a 25%-50% reduction in energy consumed compared to a traditional system that uses air. In addition to the electricity savings, geothermal systems are eco-friendly because they don’t burn gas during operation. And because there’s no combustion, there’s no admission of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide or other greenhouse gasses. Because these systems are much quieter to operate, it also saves on noise pollution. If the builder is already digging for a septic for your home, ask about the possibility of adding geothermal during the dig.
There has been a significant shift towards the use of environmentally-friendly building materials. This includes the use of recycled materials, low-VOC (volatile organic compound) paints and finishes. Eco-friendly building materials cut down on greenhouse gas emissions, and conserve natural resources; all while improving water and air quality. Examples are Low-Formaldehyde Insulation, Low-VOC Drywall Adhesives, Low-VOC Paints and Carpets, ENERGY STAR® Low-E Windows, low-flow plumbing fixtures, dual flush toilets and LED lighting packages.
Hidden Outlets – These can be an afterthought, but with planning ahead and smart design, your outlets don’t have to take away from your beautiful kitchen backsplash. Electrical outlets can be placed under the cabinets so they remain hidden from view and still easy to access. There are also countertop pop-up outlets that only appear when needed or removable tile plates that can keep the outlet masked when not in use. With the amount of device charging we need now, consider a charging station drawer. This drawer will have a power strip at the back of it and you can keep unsightly wires and devices out of view while charging. Perfect in the kitchen, bathroom and built-in desk drawers.
Large Kitchen Island – Kitchens are the heart and center of the home. Large kitchen islands serve a multitude of roles, from prep station to homework spot to eating area. Large kitchen islands have an aesthetic impact on the room as well. Popular design trends include the waterfall edge where the countertop continues down the side of the island all the way to the floor or the simpler English cottage style with tongue and groove paneling. Large dramatic hanging light pendants and gorgeous sink hardware help showcase the island as a centerpiece of the kitchen.
Floating vanities – Floating vanities add a contemporary feel and modern look. These shorter base cabinets appear to “float” on the wall instead of sitting directly on the floor. They can make small spaces look larger and open up the room. The downside is less storage space. To add to the floating visual, under-cabinet lighting is a popular added feature, this lighting below the floating cabinetry also adds to the “floating” appearance of the vanity.
Dog Wash Station – Dog owners are spending more and more on their dogs every year. A recent survey cited that one of the main reasons Millennials purchased a home was because of their dogs. So, it’s no surprise that new features specifically for dogs are becoming standard. We’re even seeing dog watering stations with a faucet to refill the water bowl.
Locating a dog bath in a mud room, laundry room ,or garage is a practical solution, especially if your space has exterior access. Putting everything you need right by an exterior entrance; your home will remain better protected from tracked-in dirt. Ideally your wash station has a faucet with a handheld sprayer attachment and drain area. Plus, it’s more versatile than you might think. You can use it not only for your furry friends, it’s also great for washing off muddy kids or dirty shoes.
Built-In Speakers Inside & Out – Bring on the tunes! If you already know where you want to put the sound system and entertainment center, talk to your builder about installing built-in speakers in those rooms. You’ll save yourself valuable floor or wall space and have the luxury of having your house literally filled with music.
Whether you’re building a new home or remodeling an existing one, these trends are worth considering to stay ahead of the curve and to optimize your space in a modern, fashionable way.
Tom’s Top Five Business Books
What was the last book you read? More importantly – what was the last book you read that helped you and your team succeed at work? Being well read doesn’t just help you in your day-to-day activities. Choosing to learn from established experts and authors helps shorten your learning curve so you can bring practical information and methods to your co-workers, colleagues, and clients. While there’s no substitute for learning by doing, there’s a wide gap in knowledge that favors those who take time to read effective business books over those who don’t. Over the years, I’ve read more than a fair share of business books, and some have stood out more than others. That’s why today I am sharing my top five favorite business books that you will wish you had read sooner.
1. “Rich Dad Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki
Written as a narrative story, this is an easy read. I find this book foundational for any new or recently-started investor to understand what it means to have an investor mindset. It helps distinguish what is truly an asset and liability and how to use money as a tool to create wealth. You don’t have to be born rich to become rich. Instead, there’s a path that just about anyone who is willing to take can follow. In 1999, my wife Joanne read this book and I read it shortly after her. It was one of the reasons Joanne decided to leave her teaching career to become a real estate professional just a year later. It’s the reason we bought our first investment property and created goals around real estate investing. I have a lot of gratitude for this book.
2. “Atomic Habits” by James Clear
This book is about breaking bad behaviors and adopting good ones in four steps with small, incremental, everyday routines that compound into massive, positive changes over time. You can truly change your behavior by following these steps. There are some great hacks here on breaking cravings and creating new habits. These include steps about making new routines easy to start, making them obvious, attractive, easy, and satisfying. 1. Make it obvious – Don’t hide your fruits in the fridge, but instead put them on display front and center. 2. Make it attractive – start with the fruit you like the most so you’ll actually want to eat one when you see it. 3. Make it easy – don’t create needless friction by focusing on fruits that are hard to peel. Bananas and apples are super easy to eat, for example. 4. Make it satisfying – if you like the fruit you picked, you’ll love eating it and feel healthier as a result! The book goes into a lot more detail. I highly recommend it as you can apply these little hacks to make your life better and more efficient.
3. “Unlimited Power” by Tony Robbins
This book is a self-help classic that breaks down how Tony Robbins has helped top performers perform at their highest level and how you can use the same mental and physical tactics to accomplish your biggest life goals. “Unlimited Power” connotes your ability to revamp your life and produce every outcome you’ve ever wanted while generating value for the people around you. There is so much packed into this book that I can’t get into everything. It’s a long read, but it’s worth every page. One key idea is to use modeling – how you can model yourself after others who are more successful to get what they have. We’ve used this tactic in our real estate business as well as real estate investing. The difference between successful people and everyone else is that successful people see “failure” as an opportunity to grow and learn. We model, try new things, fail and learn. Also simple hacks to change your mood with body posture and breathing techniques, it works! And lastly emotional intelligence, how you respond to situations and your emotions, your attitude determines a lot of what you can accomplish.
4. “First Break All The Rules” by Don Clifton
This book walks you through how to be a better manager and debunks a lot of traditional management methods. I enjoy this book because it resonates with my management style, especially being a part of a small team. We are truly a family. Happy and satisfied employees make the company better and treat clients better. Managers can help employees be happier and more satisfied, it starts with caring about how happy and satisfied they are at work and personally. Intentionally design the atmosphere to encourage self-expression, trust, enjoyment, and productivity. A leader sets the goals, and helps guide but ultimately employees will be happier when they can control and have input in how they reach those goals. If you want to help your team grow, you’ve got to get to know them on a personal level. And if you want to know what standard you should hold everybody to, you need to look at your top performers and spend a lot of time with them. I’d recommend this book to someone who just became a manager and feels overwhelmed, or a seasoned executive that wants to learn and play to their employee’s strengths, or anyone that would like to become a great leader at work.
5. “Five Dysfunctions Of A Team” by Patrick Lencioni
This book will teach you how to have a functional team to be more productive and how to avoid back-channel politics. It’s written in an easy-to-read fable and then breaks it down into practical guidelines on how to overcome each of the five dysfunctions. In hindsight, if I had read this book at the start of my team building career, I could have avoided some drama and probably gotten out of business faster with some people we ultimately ended up parting ways with, but not before they caused damage to the team. it could have possibly helped to fix some bad behavior, but I suspect it would have just highlighted it and caused them to opt out sooner, and maybe I’d have a few less gray hairs.
The next time you are asked what the last book you read was, I hope you think back to one of my five suggestions and are able to apply what you’ve learned in the workplace. True leaders and intelligent thinkers know that they don’t know everything, and they know when to look for outside wisdom and advice to pass along to those who rely on them in the business world. These five reads cover everything from financial responsibility and habit building to team chemistry and unlocking your true potential, and I highly suggest that you check them out.
We Don’t Just Sell Homes, We Build Community
Grand Opening- Thank You!
We wanted to take a moment to thank everyone that came out to support us at our grand opening event on January 25, 2018, those who shared kind words and supported from a far! We could not do this without our amazing clients, vendors and of course our wonderful team!
We had such a wonderful time and hope that everyone that had the chance to celebrate with us did too. We are thankful for our business partners, together we all achieve more. We are grateful to those who took the time to come out and celebrate with us, the best part was having time to relax and enjoys one another’s company.
And for those who couldn’t make it, thank you for watching our video and we look forward to connecting soon. We expect 2018 to be our best year yet and thank you in advance for trusting us with your business and those you refer to us.
Watch the Video Now:
Home Styling | How to “Undecorate”
Home Styling | How to “Undecorate”
As I was packing away decorations after the holidays it occurred to me how similar the task is to home styling. It’s what I like to call “undecorating”. Undecorating is the process of removing personal and specific decorations, leaving behind a more neutral palette. Having a clean palette is important to attract potential buyers. When the slate is clean, buyers can imagine themselves living in the space.
As new year resolutions are made and we vow to get more organized, this is a wonderful time to start preparing your home to beat the spring selling rush. When you’re packing away holiday decorations go ahead and pack up family photos, decor and personal items. Not only will you be de-cluttering, but you’ll also get a jump start on packing items that you’ll have to pack later anyway!
Where Do I Start?
It’s easy to get overwhelmed, so start off easy. Begin with your junk drawers, closets and pantry. Make three separate piles: one that you keep, one for donation, and one that goes straight to the trash.
Closets should be about one third full so that prospective buyers can see the amount storage is available. Pack away clothing that’s not in season. Use storage baskets and containers in drawers, cabinets and the pantry for a simple and tidy look. Once you have tackled the de-cluttering you can focus on larger projects. Keep in mind that as the spring market approaches, the busier contractors get and the longer it takes to get on their schedule.
Use these easy tips and you’ll be able to stick to your New Year’s resolution and be ahead of the spring market!