Protect Your Home From Flooding

An unexpected flood can be devastating and damaging to your home. Hurricane Ida has shown us how under-prepared Connecticut truly is. To better protect yourself and your home, here’s our advice on how to keep safe in case of a flood emergency.

Flood Insurance

Repairing your home after a flood can cost up to $25,000 for just an inch of water. A few houses were reported to have water up to your knees after the last hurricane. It is essential to be prepared with flood insurance, especially in a high flood-risk area. Not that flood damage isn’t already included in a regular home insurance plan, but flood insurance should be purchased separately. Only some insurance companies, by name, can better protect you from the destruction caused by a flood.

Invest in a Sump Pump, Flood Sensors, and an Automatic Shut-Off Valve

Invest in protective measures to minimize the damage. A sump pump will pump water out of the basement. Flood sensors will alert you immediately to any water where it shouldn’t be or a cracked pipe, allowing you to respond quickly. An automatic shut-off valve will shut off the main water supply when activated.

Build a Barrier Around Your House

If permitted by your local building codes, consider a floodwall or levee around your home. A temporary solution that can be a tremendous last-minute line of defense is piling a wall of sandbags, 1-foot tall, around your home.

Keep Important Items Safe

If living in a flood-risk area, elevate expensive appliances like your water heater, washer/dryer, and electrical panel off the ground. This includes any electrical appliances that can short circuit in the basement, such as a laundry unit or a second kitchen. You should also keep all your private documents like your passport or birth certificate in a waterproof lockbox on a shelf higher up.

Be Prepared

Be better prepared the next time a hurricane comes flying in. Work out a flood plan beforehand, so you know what you need to do and what essential items are to be fully stocked in case of an emergency. Your emergency kit should include first-aid, medicine, flashlights, and batteries, and sometimes non-perishables.

Conclusion

Some people may not know that they live in flood-risk areas, so you should always make suitable investments to protect your home. Have more questions or need expert assistance building these safeguards into your home?

Look For Credentials When Hiring

If you’re planning a home remodel and want to hire a professional, then you’ve likely heard some horror stories.

No one wants to be taken advantage of – whether it’s your time, money, and especially not your home. When researching contractors in the area, make sure you look at their credentials just as much as their portfolio online. A pretty picture is nothing without a few testimonials.

Remodeling professionals have the training, experience, skills, and solid references. Homeowners can hire the best remodeler for the job by checking credentials and choosing the most qualified candidate.

Ask about these credentials when hiring a professional remodeler:

Insurance and Licensing

All professional home remodelers should be insured and able to display a certificate proving possession of insurance. While not all states require remodelers to be licensed, the ones that do, contractors are mandated to share proof of licensure. Up-to-date insurance and licensing demonstrate that the remodeling firm is in good standing. 

Education

The most skilled professional remodelers not only have experience on the job but education. There are many ways contractors continue their education and numerous certifications, designations one can hold. Find a professional who continues to invest in professional development to keep their remodeling and business skills sharp and better serves their customers.

References and Reviews

Happy homeowners enjoy sharing their good experiences and appreciation of their newly upgraded space. Take a look at reviews online, or ask friends and neighbors for their referrals. 

Business Skills

Experienced remodelers know how to manage their business, which provides stability and security for their customers. These professionals will provide a written contract for a home remodeling project, a scheduled timeline, and guarantees and warranties for their work. 

Another vital sign of honest business practices from a remodeler is outlining a clear payment schedule and not requiring large amounts of cash upfront. Professional remodelers should also have a good reputation with the Better Business Bureau and a good credit report, indicating stable business operations.

Association Membership

Many successful remodelers are members of trade associations like the National Association of Home Builders because it offers business resources and continuing education. Membership also provides opportunities for professional growth and expanding knowledge of the remodeling industry.

Conduct thorough research when hiring a professional home remodeler so that you hire someone with good credentials. Verifying intelligent business practices and remodeling experts will better ensure that your home remodel will be completed successfully and safely. Remember, it’s always better to be safe than sorry rather than trusting someone’s word.

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.

Tips for Designing a Multi-Generational Home

Multi-generational living can be challenging. You want everyone to have their privacy and space, all under one roof. If you are currently living with multiple generations in your home, or anticipate this situation in the future, here are some tips to design a living space that works for everyone.

Design Your Home with Accessibility in Mind

With multiple generations under one roof, you’ll want to make sure the living space is accessible to the oldest of the household’s members. 

Make sure you have spaces wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs. Build bedroom suites on the ground floor, so people with mobility challenges won’t need to navigate stairs. If you have a large budget, you can even consider motorized countertops or cabinets that can adjust height to accommodate everyone’s needs.

Design your bathroom with safety in mind. Choose step-in showers, rather than a bathtub  that an elderly person will struggle to climb into. Install handrails or seats in the showers.

Lastly, make sure there is ample lighting in the house for older members who may have trouble seeing. Adjustable lighting is a great option to make everyone happy.

Design Private Spaces and Communal Spaces

There will be times where you’ll want to spend time with your family members, and times where you’ll want some privacy. This can be difficult to achieve in a multigenerational home, but there are solutions. You can build a separate suite in the basement, or even elsewhere on your property like a guest cottage. You can also consider separate entrances into the home, so every generation feels like they have a space of their own.

You’ll want some communal and accessible open-concept spaces, but you’ll also want some separate rooms for privacy. Pocket doors are a great solution to accomplish something in-between open and private. With a lot of people in the house, you’ll also definitely want to make sure your rooms are well-soundproofed.

Maximize Your Indoor and Outdoor Space

With a full house, it’s essential to maximize every inch of your home. Design plenty of creative storage solutions. Lots of people means lots of stuff!

Even if you don’t have extra family members living with you NOW, you can design for your FUTURE needs if you anticipate you will one day have extra members in your household. Design your spare rooms to meet standard bedroom requirements so that they can be used as bedrooms later, even if you’re currently using them as an office or exercise room.

If you have the yard space, designing a spacious, comfortable outdoor courtyard or deck where the whole family can come together for bonding time while having their private spaces indoors is a great way to achieve balance between alone time and social time.

Conclusion:

Living in a multigenerational home can be a challenge, but creating a harmonious living environment starts with the design of your house. It is important to design a space that is physically accessible to every member of the household, and that accommodates both togetherness and privacy.

Need help coming up with a design that fits your multi-generational needs? Get in touch today.

Top Locations for a Laundry Room

The laundry room may not be the most glamorous space in a home, but it’s a room that most homeowners want. 

A laundry room appears at the top of the list of NAHB’s 2021 most essential home features. While most people are happy to have dedicated space to do laundry at home, being able to pick the perfect location for a laundry room is even better. 

If you are building or remodeling your home and have the option of where to place your laundry room, we recommend considering the following:

Basement

Often, laundry rooms are found in the basement. This can be a great option for those who prefer a laundry room that is out of the way. You may also find you have more space to dedicate to a laundry room on the lower level of your home, which may be preferred if you have children or pets, or want to create space for sorting, ironing, and folding within the laundry room.

However, some people dislike going up and down the basement stairs for every load of laundry. This is especially true if the basement is unfinished, and the only reason you go downstairs is for laundry. 

Main Level

A laundry room on the main level of the home is another great option. This location is more convenient for those who do not want to go up and downstairs. It also often offers easier access if you are coming inside from the backyard, and want to drop off dirtied clothing without dragging them through the rest of the home. 

There are some downsides to this type of placement as well. If located on the first level, the laundry room is located in close proximity to your main living areas: the kitchen, living room, and dining room. If not tucked away, the laundry room can be noisy or become an eyesore. 

Some people have a dedicated mudroom on the main level where they place their washer and dryer. This is an ideal location, as it is convenient to where you spend your time on the main level, yet far enough away that it is not a distraction. 

Top Level

If you have more than one floor, you can also opt to place a laundry room on the top level of the home, which is generally where the majority of the bedrooms are.  This location is extremely convenient for dropping off dirty items and putting away clean clothes, as you only have to walk a short distance to each room.

On the downside, a laundry room on the top level means you have to go upstairs every time you need to sort or switch out clothing. As most people spend the majority of their time on the main level, this can become cumbersome. In addition, you likely won’t want to start a load at night or early morning, as the noise may interfere with someone’s sleep. 

Any space can become functional for laundry with some planning and organization. Finding a location that is out of the way yet convenient to get to is ideal for a laundry room.

Commercial Construction in 2021

The residential housing market isn’t the only sector of real estate that has transformed over the past year. 

Commercial real estate has undergone a lot of changes, in part because businesses are rethinking how much commercial space they need after many employees have adapted to working from home. 

If you are considering opening a commercial space in the next year, consider the following:

Look for High-Demand Locations

If your business is dependent on consumers, make sure you are keeping your search in locations that are in high-demand. Consumers are already in these places, making your business easy to get to. 

High-demand areas attract other businesses as well, naturally creating more traffic (and business) than areas that are becoming vacant.

Repurposing a Building vs. New Construction

If you are deciding between repurposing an old building and new construction, you’ll need to weigh the pros and cons of each. 

Adaptive reuse projects can often be completed faster and cheaper than building new. Like we stated above, however, you will want to take location into consideration, as well as the needs specific to your business. 

Low Interest Rates

Low interest rates extend into the commercial sector for those who own their commercial building. Low rates equal less interest paid over the course of a loan, saving a significant amount of money. 

New Features

Consider what features are important to your business, your employees, and your clients. Many businesses are finding value in an increase in outdoor air ventilation, more space for distancing, and other measures specific to people’s health. 

Are you looking for a new commercial space?

Final Phase at 66 High Street

The Horton Group is now entering our fourth and final phase at The Residences at 66 High Street with the build of The Chittenden!

Since the start of the project, a total of 38 units have been sold, completely selling out the first three buildings: The Mill, Whitfield, and Leete Buildings. 

The Residences at 66 High Street is a luxury condominium community in Guilford, Connecticut. Each unique residence features an open floor plan highlighted by high ceilings, a gourmet kitchen, finely appointed baths, and high-end finishes. 

In addition to masterful craftsmanship, 66 High Street also has an incredible sense of community. Located within walking distance to the Guilford Green, residents enjoy heading to their favorite shops and restaurants and meeting up with neighbors. 

Award-Winning Luxury Development

Over the years, The Residences at 66 High Street has garnered the attention of residents and builders alike. The development has won numerous awards, including:

2019 HOBI Awards:

  • Best Luxury Condominium Community
  • Best Luxury Condominium

2018 HOBI Awards:

  • Best Condominium Community 
  • Best Condominium Unit
  • Outstanding New Haven County New Commerical for 350 Goose Lane
  • Outstanding Vacation Remodel for 21 Palms, Marathon, FL

2017 HOBI Awards:

  • Best Luxury Condominium Community
  • Outstanding Luxury Condominium
  • Best Luxury Townhouse

2016 HOBI Awards:

  • 2016 Project of the Year
  • Best Condominium Community
  • Best Luxury Condominium Unit
  • Best Historic Rehab Overall

In addition to all HOBI Awards, the Residences at 66 High Street has broken every single New Haven County record for luxury condo sales!

The Final Phase

Now in the final phase, the Horton Group is constructing the final building: The Chittenden Building. With a planned completed date in 2024, this building will have the same level of craftmanship, with individual units tailored to the preferences of residents. 

Are you interested in learning more about The Chittenden Building at 66 High Street?

Choosing Your Master Bedroom Location

The master bedroom is one of the most important rooms a prospective homeowner should consider when buying or building a house. The location of the room is important, and should accommodate your lifestyle needs and personal preferences.

Here are the top things to take into account when thinking about the location of your master bedroom!

Mobility Concerns

According to an AARP study, 87% of adults age 65+ want to stay in their current home and community as they age. This number is 71% among the 50-64 age group. When you consider that four of the top ten states with the highest aging population are New England states – Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Connecticut – these statistics are vital to many of our clients.

How does this relate to the location of the master bedroom? Well, with more homeowners choosing to age-in-place, many seek to build or buy a home with a first-floor master bedroom. That way, they do not have to go up and down the stairs multiple times a day.  The bedroom will also be in close proximity to other rooms that they use daily, like the kitchen, living room, bathroom, or garage. 

Making age-in-place considerations when buying or building a home also increases the resale value, as more and more homeowners are looking for a first-floor master suite.

Horton Group construction at the Residences at 66 High Street.

Lifestyle and Preferences

A homeowner should also consider their lifestyle and personal preferences when choosing the location of the master suite. 

Someone with young children may prefer a second-floor bedroom to be closer to the kids. Or perhaps they prefer to have more quiet and privacy on the first floor away from the children’s bedrooms. Keep in mind, a  first floor bedroom can be noisy if placed too close to the kitchen, living room, or any place with heavy foot traffic.

Someone who values privacy or is a light sleeper will probably want a bedroom located towards the back of the house – away from street lights, noisy roads, and peering neighbors. On the other hand, this might be a bad location for someone who prefers to be closer to the other bedrooms in the house, or wants a view of the front yard.

A first-floor master bedroom can be a money saver if children have moved out of the house and the second floor is largely unused. In this case, homeowners can choose to spend minimal energy heating or cooling the second floor and focus on keeping the first floor comfortable. 

Another factor to consider is access to outdoor space. Do you dream of being able to get out of bed in the morning and stroll right into your garden or step outside for beachside views? Then perhaps you should consider a first-floor bedroom with direct access to your outdoor space. For others, having such easy access to the bedroom from outside could be a safety concern.

Horton Group construction at 77 Palms

Conclusion

The location of the master bedroom is a big decision, and several factors should be considered including mobility, resale value, lifestyle, family size, and personal preference. Depending on all these factors, a homeowner may choose a master bedroom on the first or second floor, towards the front of the home, or the back of the home. 

There is no definitive right or wrong when it comes to choosing a master suite location, but prospective homeowners should consider these pros and cons to make an informed decision they will be content with in the long run.

Ready to discuss your dream master suite with us? Get in touch today.

First Time Homebuyers in the Market for New Construction

Over the past year, the buyer’s market has been extremely competitive in many markets across the US, due in part to low inventory. With a limited number of properties being listed for sale, it makes sense that more buyers are turning toward new construction. 

Take a look at the results from recent surveys from the National Association of Home Builders in regards to new construction and first time home buyers:

First Time Homebuyers considering New Construction

The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) is a monthly survey of the National Association of Home Builder members, designed to rate the market conditions for the sale of new homes and the traffic of prospective buyers of new homes.

The February 2021 survey showed that builders reported an overall average of 43% of new construction sold to first-time home buyers. Sixty-six percent of builders said that more than 20% of their homes were sold to first-time buyers. 

An Upward Trend

The number of first-time buyers who purchase new construction has steadily increased over the past five years. In 2016, an average of 19% of sales of new homes went to first-time home buyers. The number grew to 32% in October 2018 and jumped to 43% in February 2021. This shows that every year, more first-time buyers are considering new construction.

Celebrate New Homes Month

April marks a special one for The Horton Group: not only is it New Homes Month, but two more units at the Residences at 66 High Street recently went under contract, which means there is just one unit left!

This month, we’re taking the time to reflect on the work we do, and share the benefits of new construction!

Rise in Popularity

New construction continues to rise in popularity among home buyers. In fact, 60% of buyers say they prefer new homes, according to a recent survey by the National Association of Home Builders. This is the highest level since 2007.

This year, buyers are turning to new construction even more. With low inventory and multiple offer situations across the nation, buyers are finding it more challenging to find a property that fits their needs. 

Benefits for Buyers

As people have spent more time at home over the past year, many want a home that satisfies their wants and needs. With new construction, buyers can select their preferred floor plan and finish design touches. 

The NAHB survey found that buyers want more bedrooms and bathrooms compared to previous years, noting that an increase in square footage is essential for many. Buyers also want features including a laundry room, energy-efficient features, outdoor living, and walk-in pantries.  

As builders enter the final stages of construction, buyers enjoy selecting finishes, fixtures, flooring, and paint colors. When they move in, there is nothing to change or update because they fulfill their needs from the start. 

Benefits for the Economy

New homes benefit both the homeowner and the economy. The construction of 1,000 single-family homes creates 2,900 full-time jobs across all US industries. Not only does this open up more job opportunities, but also brings in more to federal, state, and local tax revenues. 

Are you interested in seeing new homes in Connecticut? Join us for HBRA’s 2021 Spring Parade of Homes, taking place April 24 and 25!

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