Am I ready to build a house? 6 Questions to Ask Yourself

Dreaming of having a custom-built house perfectly suited to your family’s needs? Or a house built to your taste with everything totally brand new? 

Building your own home comes with both pros and cons. Here are six questions you should consider before diving in without a plan.

1. Can I decide on a house quickly?

The competition to buy an existing house is incredibly high, with many homes selling in just a few days. The pressure to make such an expensive and important decision, while racing against other buyers, can be overwhelming. If you are someone who takes a while to think things over, and you want to make sure you get exactly what you want from a home, building might be the better option for you.

2. What is the biggest advantage to building a home?

The biggest advantage to building a home is getting a custom-build that perfectly meets the needs of you and your family. Everything in the house will be brand new, and you won’t have to worry about any costly repair jobs or issues that can surprise you in a pre-existing home. Just make sure you find yourself a high-quality, professional contractor who can properly understand your needs and bring your vision to life. We recently wrote a blog on how to find a professional remodeler, and much of the same advice holds true when building a new construction.

3. What is my Budget and how is my Credit?

Your first step is to make sure you fully understand your budget. Meet with a mortgage lender and discuss your options, so you have a firm number whether building or buying. 

The loan process for new builds is a little more complicated than obtaining a mortgage for a pre-existing home. When building a home, typically you begin with a construction loan, and then refinance into a traditional mortgage after construction is complete. In order to do this, you will need good credit and little to no debt. Once you figure out your budget, it is also important to factor in some wiggle room in there for any unforeseen expenses.

4. Do I need this home ASAP?

A new build typically takes up to a year to complete. If you are in a rush to move into a new home, buying a pre-existing home may be the better option for you.

5. Am I ready to put down roots here?

Building a new home is costly and time-consuming. As such, it is not the best option for someone who expects to move around. If you aren’t ready to settle down just yet, then renting or buying an existing property probably makes more sense for you.

6. What are my future needs?

When building a home, it is important to plan for your future and not just your current needs. Do you plan on having children some day? Will your parents move in with you at a certain age? Factor that into your building plan to avoid a costly home addition or stressful move later down the road.

Conclusion:

Taking the big step to build your own home is an important decision that you shouldn’t rush into. Consider the six questions we have listed here, and be sure to do some additional research before you dive into an expensive construction project.

Most and Least Desirable Home Features

Every year, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) conducts a survey to determine what features home buyers look for in a home. 

This year, priorities have shifted as people began to look for more space while adapting to remote working and learning. 

Keep reading for more insights from NAHB’s 2021 What Home Buyers Really Want report. 

Most Essential Home Features

According to the survey, in which 3,000 recent home shoppers and buyers participated in, there is a growing demand for more square footage. As people look to expand their living spaces, here are the features they consider most essential:

Home Feature% Who Consider it Essential
Laundry Room87%
Exterior Lighting87%
Ceiling Fan83%
Energy Star rated windows83%
Patio82%
Double Kitchen Sink (side-by-side)81%
Walk-in Pantry81%
Front Porch81%
Energy Star rated appliances81%
Hardwood Flooring81%
Full Bath on the Main Level80%
Energy-efficient lighting80%

The survey didn’t stop with overall features. Below are top features, broken down by room.

Top Kitchen Features

  1. Double sink (side-by-side)
  2. Walk-in pantry
  3. Table space for eating
  4. Central island
  5. Water filtration

Top Outdoor Features

  1. Exterior lighting
  2. Patio
  3. Front porch
  4. Rear porch
  5. Deck

Top Accessibility Features

  1. Full bath on the main level
  2. Doorways at least 3 feet wide
  3. Hallways at least 4 feet wide
  4. Non-slip floor surfaces
  5. An entrance without steps

Top Technology Features

  1. Programmable thermostat
  2. Security cameras
  3. Video doorbell
  4. Wireless home security system
  5. Multi-zone HVAC system

Least Essential Home Features

In addition to noting what’s most important, buyers also provided input on what they consider turn-offs in a home. Here are the least desirable features in a home or complex:

Home Feature% Who Consider it Least Desirable
Elevator56%
Glass Walls54%
Daycare Center in the Development50%
Wine Cellar48%
Pet Washing Station47%
Roof partially or completely covered by plants46%
Golf Course46%
In-law suite42%
Cork flooring (on the main level)41%
Dual toilets in primary bath40%

What features are a must-have in your next home? 

Hot Water Heaters

When the time comes to replace your old water heater, you’ll want to choose an energy-efficient water heater unit that will provide enough water for your household. Ultimately, water heaters provide a fast, effective method for getting hot water instantly to faucets and fixtures. If you are looking to buy a new water heater for your home and wondering what your options are, this guide walks you through the most popular types. 

 

Tank Water Heater 

A traditional tank water heater uses insulated storage tanks to hold large amounts of water, keeping it hot until needed, then releasing it through the pipes. They’re powered by natural gas, electricity, or propane, and the water always stays heated. Tank water heaters are the most popular because they are easier to maintain and repair and less expensive than tankless water heaters. 

 

Tankless Water Heater

Tankless gas water heaters or electric tankless water heaters are also called instantaneous or on-demand units. In replacement of a storage tank, the water circulates through a coil system that heats the water as needed. It saves energy by only working while you’re using hot water. Since they don’t have storage tanks, they’re usually smaller than storage water heaters. 

 

Condensing Water Heater

Condensing water heaters have a tank like a conventional storage-tank water heater, but they capture the extra gas fumes that would generally be expelled from home out of the flue. Condensing water heaters are a highly efficient water heater for homes with natural gas and are an energy-efficient option. This type of heater is also suitable for a household that requires around 55 gallons of hot water or more. 

 

Solar Water Heaters

A water heater that is solar powered draws its energy from the sun and is practical in any climate. This type of water heater features two parts: a solar collector and an insulated storage tank. The unit can be installed on the roof or even in the yard. 

 

Heat Pump Water Heater

Also known as hybrid water heaters, this design captures heat from the air and transfers it to the water. Although they are pricier than standard electric heaters, they use about 60% less energy. However, keep in mind the heat pump is placed on top of the water heater. Factor in around 8-feet of open space from the floor to your ceiling.

 

 

 

Living in Guilford

A small coastal community, Guilford, Connecticut, is both quaint and lively. From the minute you enter the town border, you know you’re somewhere special. Conveniently located on the Connecticut shoreline and a suburb of New Haven, residents say Guilford is unlike any other place in Connecticut. 

With a rich history of dating back to 1639, walking amongst the historic buildings is a key reason visitors flock to this town. From beautiful beaches to a flourishing downtown, we’ve compiled what makes Guilford a special place to live:

Heart of the Town 

In Guilford, the Guilford Green is a central hub of activity in the community. With nearly 12 acres of green, on a typical day, you’ll find children riding their bikes, people walking their dogs, and families tossing a frisbee. The Shoreline Chamber of Commerce maintains a calendar of events from virtual workshops to fundraisers. There are also a wide variety of summer events hosted by the Guilford Parks and Recreation Center, including fitness classes, game nights, and concerts. 

Shops, Restaurants, and More!

In addition to all of the special events, locally-owned boutiques, restaurants, the Guilford Free Library, and four churches all surround the Town Green. Guilford is proud to represent a variety of small businesses unique to the shoreline town. The Residences at 66 High Street are walking distance to the Guilford Green and many shops and restaurants. Residents love being close to the action of downtown! 

Historic Sights

A town with a widespread and legendary history comes with a variety of historic sites and museums. The Henry Whitfield State House, the oldest house in Connecticut, and the late 19th century Dudley Farm are just a few of the must-see sites in Guilford. If you prefer, simply enjoy a stroll through downtown gazing at the third largest collection of historic New England homes

Parks and Beaches

Whether you’re relaxing at Jacob’s Beach and enjoying the view of the Long Island Sound, taking a swim at Lake Quonnipaug, or boating at the local yacht club, the shore is an important part of the town’s culture. Guilford maintains multiple parks and sports fields for use by teams, clubs, groups, and some cases for private use. Here are a list of parks and fields: 

The Commute

Located midway between Boston and New York, Guilford has easy access to the Northeast’s major cities via I-95 or the Coastal Rail Line. Shoreline East, the local train station, has a commuter line with five trains on weekdays. The ride to New Haven’s State Street station only takes 22 minutes, but the Shore Line trains go as far as Stamford. 

Make sure to check out Guilford’s website for updates and news of the city’s re-opening. What do you love most about Guilford? Let us know! 

Tips for an Eco-friendly Bathroom

Bathroom remodels are one of the most sought after renovations. A simple update can make a home feel more luxurious. 

Although small in size, the bathroom can also waste more water and energy than other areas of the house. When the time comes to renovate your bathroom, follow these tips, so it is eco-friendly, as well as visually appealing. 

Be Water Conscious

It’s no secret that a lot of water is wasted in the bathroom. Flushing the toilet, taking a shower, drawing a bath, and using the sink each day adds up. Inefficient water fixtures can add up to hundreds of gallons of wasted water each day. Some people are opting to ditch a tub altogether and use the extra space for a beautiful walk-in shower. When selecting new items for the bathroom, pay attention to:

  • Toilets. A conventional toilet uses 1.6 gallons for every flush, but an old model could be using up to 7 gallons per flush, according to the EPA. A low-flow toilet works with less water and has dual flushing options. One button flushes liquids, using under one gallon of water per flush. The second button flushes solid waste, using the full 1.6 gallons per flush.
  • Faucets. Many people leave the water running when brushing their teeth, washing their hands, or washing their face at the sink. Consider motion-sensor faucets to cut back on water waste.
  • Showerheads. When installing a new shower, select an environmentally friendly low-flow showerhead to reduce water usage. Look for the EPA WaterSense Label to be certain you are purchasing water-efficient products. 

Install an Efficient Water Heater

A lot of energy is used to heat water in the home. Replacing the water heater can aid in making your showers and baths more eco-friendly. There are several options to choose from: heat pump water heaters, tankless water heaters, solar water heaters, and condensing storage water heaters can all help to save energy. ENERGY STAR ratings can help you determine which equipment is most efficient.

Choose Eco-Friendly Materials

Eco-friendly materials are not only sustainable, meaning they last a long time, but they also do not harm the environment. Often, eco-friendly materials are renewable or recyclable. Many tile options are eco-friendly. Other eco-friendly materials include glass, metal, bamboo, and cork. You can take it a step further than flooring and cabinetry and opt for eco-friendly towels and shower curtains. 

Install LED Lighting

If you have not brought in LED lighting to your home yet, it’s time to make the switch. ENERGY STAR LED lights use up to 90% less energy than standard bulbs and last at least 15 times longer. 

Opt for VOC-free Supplies

Volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, emit gasses and chemicals into the air. If you have ever gotten a headache from the smell of your cleaner, chances are it was filled with VOCs. Select paint and cleaners that are VOC-free. 

Do you have more tips for becoming more eco-friendly in the bathroom? Let us know in the comments!

 

Welcome to The Horton Standard!

Founded in 2000 and based on the Connecticut shoreline, Horton Group LLC is an award-winning real estate development and construction management firm with residential and commercial properties throughout the northeastern United States. While actively engaged in the acquisition and development of residential and commercial properties, Horton Group also operates as a construction management firm with three subsidiaries providing full-service construction, general contracting and facilities maintenance.

At Horton Group, we care. We have the proven experience, skill and craftsmanship to undertake the most challenging projects and make them a reality. From restoring historic buildings to developing and building new properties, we aim to provide quality services on every job, every step of the way.

It is with much excitement that we announce the beginning of our new blog, The Horton Standard.  Much of the content will touch upon our five core principles: Vision, Value, Quality, Relationships, and Results.

We look forward to beginning this journey and providing a more in-depth, behind-the-scenes look at the Horton Group and the high standards to which we hold ourselves.

 

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