Last week, we shared part one of this two-part series on spring home maintenance in order to protect your dream home. Here are the last steps of exterior maintenance. Your New Echelon Home
1. Check irrigation and sprinkler systems. This step is necessary to save both your landscaping and water. First, run a system sprinkler check by turning on each zone manually. Next, inspect every sprinkler head to make sure that none of the heads are damaged or broken. While the sprinklers are on, determine if any are spraying the house or windows. If so, readjust the positioning of these heads to avoid causing any moisture issues. You may notice some heads spraying into the driveway, sidewalk, street or even your porch. Readjust those heads as well to avoid wasting water. If you are short on time, do not hesitate to contact a sprinkler system professional to perform these tasks on your behalf. The cost is worth the savings you’ll earn on your reduced water bill. Bonus—minimizing water waste helps to protect this very valuable natural resource.
Looks can be deceiving. You may enter a beautiful model home and assume it is energy code compliant, but is it?
At Echelon Home Builders, we take into account the energy efficiency and eco-friendliness of materials and systems we use at each step of the construction process. When you walk through one of our model homes, you can rest assured that it has been built to comply with energy efficiency standards, including minimizing air leakage.
What is air leakage and why is it important?
Air leakage is caused when outside air enters a home and conditioned air escapes through cracks and openings. Air leakage can cause moisture issues that may adversely affect the health of the home’s occupants, and the durability of the structure itself. Openings can cause pipes to freeze and create uncomfortable drafts. Minimizing the amount of air leakage in and out of homes is a cost-effective way to decrease heating and cooling costs. Additionally, it helps sustain the overall structure and create a healthier indoor environment.
The most recent Annual Builder Practices Survey, conducted by Home Innovation, offers insights on which building materials are trending in the new-home construction market. Home Innovation’s annual survey and reports have tracked market shares of building material categories for over three decades.
Here are five findings from the latest survey worth considering if you are planning to build your dream home.
1. Appliances– The heat is on cooktop and wall oven combinations as their popularity grows. These combos account for 24% of the market compared to traditional freestanding ovens at 45%. As foodies demand more high-temperature cooking options, there has been a growing demand for induction cooking. This form of heating uses strong magnets to heat pots in a matter of seconds. Author and chef, Jan D’Atri, commented regarding induction stoves, “I don’t think the technology was there before. Now it is, and it’s a great option.” She also anticipates that more high-end consumers will demand combi ovens which roll steam and convection into one, instead of the common, second oven.
Side-by-side refrigerators that experienced immense growth in recent years have fallen to 28% of the market share. This is due to the growing popularity of freezer-on-bottom refrigerators which had 19% of the market share when the survey was conducted. Traditional freezer-on-top models bottomed out at 13%.
Choosing the right flooring for your dream home may seem overwhelming because there are so many options available. Be sure to choose flooring that reflects your personal aesthetic preferences and meets your maintenance needs.
To help you select an option that is on-trend, we have compiled a list of the top five flooring trends for 2016.
1. Bigger is better. If you’ve visited a flooring showroom or perused home decorating magazines, you have probably already noticed the popularity of large, wide planks. This particular trend is here to stay because their format creates an optical illusion—large planks make the space appear larger and feel more open. If you were to look at a wide plank floor alongside smaller planks, you would immediately see that the large planks create an airy, modern feel while the smaller planks appear outdated and less expensive. Interior design experts agree that this modern style will quickly become a classic one.
Bonus—if you are choosing large floor tiles for your kitchen, mudroom or bathroom, you are decreasing the amount of grout lines that need to be cleaned and maintained over time, so large, wide planks are ideal for those spaces. We recommend opting for large, wide planks because their benefits outweigh those of smaller planks. Note that most grout must be sealed unless it is a high-performance grout.
If you’ve been on the fence about building your dream home, here are three reasons to break ground on a new construction home this year.
1. Prices of existing southeast Michigan homes bounced back at least 20% in the last six years. An analysis of sales data for existing homes from 2009 through most of 2015 performed by the Detroit Free Press shows that housing prices have finally returned to pre-recession 2007 levels across most of Southeast Michigan. Gains were greatest in pockets of Livingston County such as Howell and Gregory.
Real estate experts believe that the increase in the region’s home prices are a result of the state’s improving economy, better consumer confidence, still-low mortgage rates and somewhat tight inventories of move-in-ready homes. This means that if you’ve been hoping to build a new home, but were concerned about maximizing the sale of your existing Southeast Michigan home, there is a high probability that you will sell it for much more today than you could have a few years ago—making the possibility of building of your dream home more within reach than in previous years.
You’ve probably heard about Marie Kondo’s bestselling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and wondered, “How could cleaning possibly be magical?” Over 3 million people have read the book and the consensus is that culling and cleaning can in fact improve your entire life.
Too busy to read the entire book? Here are five tips to tidy-up the KonMari way and create life-changing magic in your dream home.
1. Make a commitment. Committing yourself to tidying up means acknowledging that the benefits will far outweigh your effort and time spent. This should be a once-and-done vs. an ongoing project, so plan to tidy up by category instead of the traditional method of organizing room by room.
The second full month of winter is only a week away. While newly built homes are more efficient and generally require less maintenance than older homes, it is still necessary to take proper precautions indoors and out.
If you have not begun winter maintenance on your newly constructed home, here is a checklist to follow in order to protect your greatest investment.
1. Take cover. It is critical to protect your central air conditioning unit by covering it. If yours has snow on it, simply brush it off and cover it. Air conditioning covers can be purchased online or at home improvement and hardware stores. They usually cost between $40 and $60 and are well worth it.
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