Home Building with Conscience? We Think So

 

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According to data from the US Environmental Protection Agency, our nation’s buildings account for:

39 percent of total energy use

12 percent of the total water consumption

68 percent of total electricity consumption

38 percent of the carbon dioxide emissions

With statistics like these, it is easy to see why building with conscience is so important.  There are environmental, economic, and social benefits as a result of conscientious, well-planned and designed features in new home construction.

Environmental benefits are those which enhance and protect biodiversity and ecosystems. This is especially important in Anne Arundel County and others in Maryland, where we have increased conservation and water quality considerations.

Economic benefits directly affect new homeowners; reduced operating costs, efficient performance and low maintenance can be anticipated. The value is shown in reduced utility bills, as many new homeowners can attest.

The social benefits, such as increased occupant comfort and health and improved overall quality of life are one of the best reasons to choose new home construction. Products and features are continuously more efficient and improving. Utilizing these puts less strain on local infrastructure and the community as a whole.

We have infinite options to build a beautiful, comfortable, efficient and easy to maintain home. If you would like more information, feel free to email us or comment! Questions?  They are always welcome!

 

First Chance List – How to Live “In Your Know”

We have new parcels of land coming to us almost daily!  Join Palmer Company’s “FIRST CHANCE” email list and receive immediate notice! Contact pennyplack@palmer-company.com, OR click the email contact tab on our website and just use the words “First Chance” in subject line.

Opt to be “in the know” and let us help you find your perfect homesite FIRST!

New-Home Sales Up 18.6 Percent in May- National Association of Home Builders/June 24, 2014

 

new home sales

Sales of newly built, single-family homes rose 18.6 percent, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 504,000 units in May, according to newly released data by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau. This is the highest rate since May 2008.

“This increase is a welcome sign after a slow start to 2014,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “As job creation continues, we can expect further release of pent-up demand and continued gradual growth in the housing recovery.”

Regionally, new-home sales were up across the board. Sales rose 54.5 percent in the Northeast, 34 percent in the West, 14.2 percent in the South and 1.4 percent in the Midwest.

 

 

Benefits of Building Your Custom Home: New Homes are Less Expensive to Maintain.

 

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According to data from the American Housing Survey (AHS), one of the virtues of a newly constructed home is the savings that come from reduced energy and maintenance expenses. This was quantified in analysis of data collected since 2009 and is increasing, thanks to increased focus on energy efficient materials and products.

What does this mean for the new construction homeowner?  Let’s take a look,  first at upkeep costs for homeowners. For routine maintenance expenses, 26% of all homeowners spent $100 or more a month on various upkeep costs. However, only 11% of owners of newly constructed homes spent this amount. In fact, 73% of new homeowners spent less than $25 a month on routine maintenance costs.

Energy and piped gas expenses show similar findings. In 2009, on a median per square foot basis, homeowners spent 78 cents per square foot per year on electricity. Owners of new homes spent 65 cents per square foot per year. In 2011, homeowners spent 81 cents per square foot per year on electricity. Owners of new homes spent less: 68 cents per square foot per year. In 2009, for homes with piped gas, homeowners spent on average 53 cents per square foot per year. Owners of new homes spent 38 cents per square foot per year. In 2011, for homes with piped gas, homeowners spent on average 50 cents per square foot per year. Owners of new homes spent 34 cents per square foot per year.

The 2011 data assessed results for water and trash bills.  For water bills, homeowners averaged 28 cents per square foot per year, while owners of new homes averaged 22 cents. For trash bills, the median for all homeowners was 15 cents per square foot per year, while the median for new construction was 13 cents per square foot per year.

The evidence supports the fact new homes offer substantial savings over the life of ownership. Due to these reduced operating costs, new homes can clearly offer more and better value.   Other savings include lower insurance bills: the median cost for all homeowners of property insurance is 39 cents per square foot, while it is only 31 cents per square foot for owners of new homes.  Future benefit may be an update to our current system of appraisals which could take into consideration a better value placed on new homes.

Thanks to new products and materials designed and manufactured with energy efficient features, we are able to design and build beautiful new homes which offer true value. The proof is in the numbers.

 

What’s New in Custom Homes? What Do You Need?

So, with all the buzz about new home trends, it seems the one consistency is, literally, needs! Thanks to innovation, technology and products that add value to a home, we are better able to build to suit than ever! Questions to be considered include: What do I need to live comfortably in my new home? What is my lifestyle/how do I want to use my home? How do my current needs mesh with my future? At its most basic, clients say they want their home to be easy to maintain, with a practical use for everything and to be easy to live in and enjoy!

What do today’s clients typically seek? Among the most popular: practical design features, like uninterrupted flow between rooms and less places to accumulate clutter. Need for comfort or ease, as less time is available (ironically) to take care of a home. Maintenance-free or low-maintenance products that are longer-lasting and less susceptible to wear and tear. Energy-efficient and practical appliances. Ways to use rooms throughout all stages of life as children grow up and move out (or move back in). Consideration for space for aging parents or visits from family and friends. Maximizing the enjoyment of their property.Use of cell phone or the Internet to control the elements and features.

People are also spending more time in their homes socially and professionally so they want to incorporate their social and professional needs into their home design. The result is increasingly new ways to use the space typically given “traditional” room spaces.

A few examples:

Kitchens are frequently a “hub” for entertaining, sometimes even eliminating the traditional “dining room”. An open floor-planned kitchen with ample counter space, ventilation and appliances can be the centerpiece of the entire house. They also are more “green”, with “recycling centers” which allow convenient ways to streamline a cleanup routine. You can even buy appliances which use an Internet-connected display which gives you access to all controls via Internet or cell phone. Desk and “homework” nooks are also popular additions.

Recent research states 1 in 5 people work from home. In fact, home offices ranked as the fourth most important feature in a new upscale home according to a recent survey by the National Association of Home Builders. These flexible spaces for home offices, also called “household planning/communication centers” are defined work spaces with custom cabinetry and outlets for technology ports.

Today, utility rooms are used for everything from laundry to storage to hobby or craft space, storage for household supplies or even as a mud room. These rooms maximize their potential by designing folding/hanging stations, hard surface flooring and a sink for easy clean-up along with convenient storage.

There are many ways to design for families and the so called “sandwich generation” (those caring for children and parents). One way is to build a common room for children- using “nooks” for storage, open space for activities, and areas for projects are designed with materials which are non-toxic, easy to clean and safety-rated. For retirees or those who have aging concerns, we can utilize features such as remote control movable shelves, wider doorways, or more lighting and control over light levels in rooms.

Understanding the ways homes have evolved from “traditional” to needs-based ensures a home you can live in comfortably and happily for many years to come. Palmer Company will take all your needs into consideration upon design; we will truly give you the home of your dreams (and needs!). Call us today at 410-544-3388 and let us show you how Our Name is our Distinction. Our Reputation is our Guarantee.

Planning Your Home, Inside AND Out

Most real estate experts agree that landscaping can add anywhere from ten to fifteen present to the value of your home.  So, whether you are purchasing or building a new home, or considering renovating your existing home, you need to consider your landscaping as part of the planning process.

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There are quite a few things to consider when it comes to landscape planning. The first thing you want to mull over is how involved you want to be in weekly and seasonal maintenance. If you have a large, landscaped lot, you’re in for a lot of lawn mowing, leaf raking, and mulching…and that’s just the beginning. Some people enjoy that, so it’s not a problem. Others would rather pay someone else to maintain it, and that’s fine, too. But have that that figured out before you start, because that is going to heavily influence your design concepts.

Think about the style that you would like. Some like a formal English garden, with well-defined borders and a tight, tidy appearance, while some prefer a cottage garden, with a undisciplined beauty that comes with letting plants grow with little maintenance. Still others lean towards a standard suburban setting that mixes lawn elements with patches of gardens that are comprised of basic plant cultivars. Keep in mind that here in Anne Arundel County, we enjoy a coastal climate that allows us to grow plants that might struggle in other areas in Maryland. Whatever your preference, again, take into account the maintenance commitment that you are willing to make. What seems manageable in the planning stage may be overwhelming down the road, when it all grows in!

Don’t forget the practical elements of landscaping that should be both beautiful and practical. Shade trees, for example, can significantly lower your electric or gas bill by serving as a windbreak for your home in winter and providing shade in summer. Smaller trees and shrubs are useful as living screens to hide trash cans, HVAC compressors, cable boxes, etc. And ground cover, such as ajuga, can offer a great alternative to a lawn.

The first thing that people see when they visit your home is your landscape. That makes it particularly important to those who are thinking about putting their home on the market, as it will frame the expectations that potential buyers may have for the interior. So don’t leave anything to chance and make your landscape something to talk about!

Tips for a Smooth Move

With children in school and guaranteed warmer weather, summer is the most popular time for most people to move. Following a careful plan, moving can be a fairly easy transition, whether going to an established house or a new custom home, like the ones offered by Palmer Company.

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Here are 10 tips to help:

  1. Move Yourself or Go Pro. Consider your lifestyle, household size, budget and amount of time you have to determine whether the move is one you can make yourself or have a professional company handle. Either way, be sure to get written quotes from truck rental companies or from licensed moving companies. An online packing calculator makes it easier to determine the number of boxes and packing materials you’ll need.
  2. Plan Your Unpacking Strategy. Tour your new home while it’s still empty and take photos of each room to determine furniture and appliance placement. Note which major items should go where and list major pieces that need assembly. Keep the list with you on moving day and cross off each item on your list as it’s placed. Once you start packing boxes, mark them with the room name and a number. Keep a separate list of the box numbers and all of the contents of each so that it’s easy to find stuff you need in your new home even before all the boxes are unpacked.
  3. Start Early. As soon as you know that you’re moving, begin to pare down clutter, donate items, and hold a yard sale. This is a great time to recycle, give away or trash all the piles in your basement, garage and attic! Also, take the time to complete USPS change of address forms and notify the utility and cable companies.
  4. Care for Children. Plan ahead for childcare on moving day, or if that’s not possible, set up safe places for kids to play in their new home that’s safely away from the movers.
  5. Protect Your Pets. Moving is stressful for our four-legged friends so consider a one-day stay at a pet daycare or ask a friend to take them for a long walk while the movers are around.
  6. Keep Track of the Little Things. If certain pieces of furniture or appliances need to be taken apart, keep all the screws and small parts in separate, clearly marked mini zip-top bags for easy identification at your new home. Don’t try to tape anything to the furniture or it may get lost.
  7. Know Your Electronics. Before unplugging TVs, DVRs, home theater systems and computers, take photos of the connections, print them out and write instructions on them. Keep all loose wires in clearly marked mini zip-top bags or boxes and personally carry them on moving day.
  8. Keep Your Cleaning Products Safe. Detergents, pesticides and paint are heavy, so if you plan to move them, consider double-boxing them for extra protection and mark them as hazardous. If you choose to dispose of them, be eco-friendly by contacting your city’s waste disposal department for assistance on the appropriate course of action.
  9. Protect Your Valuables. Plan to spend a little extra to get full value insurance protection for your peace of mind. This means that if you have lost, stolen or damaged articles, you’ll be compensated at current market value, regardless of its age.
  10. Know Your Rights. If you choose to use a professional mover, research your rights ahead of time to know what rights you have in case of loss, accidents, withheld property or other legal situations. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) handles interstate moves, while the corresponding state agency oversees moves within the same state. If you get into a difficult situation, contact the local law enforcement or Better Business Bureau (BBB) if a moving company threatens to hold your belongings.

With a little planning, moving day stress can be reduced so you and your family can concentrate on the excitement of your new home!

Custom Home Designs Fit Your Life

When choosing a custom home, the obvious advantage is getting everything exactly as you need it to fit your lifestyle. Palmer Company will work with you every step of the way to ensure the end result is a beautiful home that perfectly suits the way you and your family live.

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But if you need some ideas to get you started, check out some of these favorite options (of course, local coding always prevails):

KITCHEN

  • a second sink in the kitchen
  • pot filler
  • in-counter trash receptacle
  • an instant hot faucet at the main sink
  • walk-in pantry
  • under-cabinet outlets and lighting
  • sponge storage under the sink
  • lower drawers instead of traditional base cabinets
  • universal controls for electronics and lighting

LIVING/FAMILY ROOM

  • built-in shelving units
  • wall-mounted television

STORAGE AND UTILITIES

  • magnetic door switches (the light comes on as the door opens)
  • built-in dirty laundry bin or laundry chute
  • in-drawer or in-closet ironing board
  • extra shoe storage

BEDROOM

  • built-in wall sconces
  • bedroom light switch next to the bed
  • window seat

BATHROOM

  • hand-held showers
  • multi-level jets in showers
  • jetted tubs
  • radiant floor heating
  • towel warms
  • dimmable glass

SYSTEMS

  • alarm systems for fire, carbon monoxide, theft
  • tankless hot water heater
  • wireless speaker system
  • central vacuum system
  • graywater system to capture rainwater for non-drinking usage

This list just scratches the surface of the endless possibilities when designing a custom home or renovating your current one. Many of these features aren’t just luxuries but will save you time and money. Call Palmer Company today at 410-544-3388 for a free consultation!