Patio vs. Deck: 9 Questions to Ask Yourself

Dreaming of an outdoor entertainment space where you can spend the lazy days of summer enjoying some solace in nature, or hanging out with family and friends amidst the smell of burgers being grilled to perfection? 

Not sure whether a patio or deck is the best option to achieve this dream? 

Here are nine questions that you should ask yourself when trying to decide whether a patio or deck is right for you.

Deck at Horton Group’s 66 High Street luxury condos.

1) What is the difference between a patio and a deck?

A patio is level with the ground, while a deck is on a raised platform. Typically patios are made of concrete, but can also be made of brick, pavers, stone, or tile. Decks are usually made of wood, composite wood, or vinyl. Decks are required to have railings while patios often do not have railings.

2) What is my budget?

If you’re on a tight budget, then a patio will typically be your cheaper option. Since patios are level with the ground, there is no added cost to build a platform. However, decks will typically have a higher return-on-investment (averaging 72% in 2020). If you are concerned with the resale value of your house, it is worth considering paying more for the deck.

3) Do I want to DIY it?

For safety and building code reasons, deck construction is better left to the professionals. If you want a DIY project, you’re better off going with the patio, but hiring a professional is still recommended.

4) Is my property sloping or hilly?

If your property is not on level ground, a deck will probably be a better option for you, especially if you want a deck that you can access through an interior living space. If your heart is set on a patio, you can always level out the land – but keep in mind this requires additional time and cost to complete the project.

5) Do I need to get a permit?

In many places, you need a permit in order to build a deck, as you are adding an additional structure to your home that must be safely built up-to-code. It depends on the location, but you often don’t need a permit to build a patio. Always check with your municipality to ensure you are following guidelines. 

Covered patio at Horton Group’s 21 Palms construction.

6) Do I want my outdoor entertainment space attached to my house?

Decks are almost always attached to the house. Patios can be attached or located anywhere on your property. It’s up to your personal preference whether you want a structure attached to your home or something a little farther away.

7) How much maintenance am I willing to do?

Typically there isn’t much maintenance to perform on a patio other than to keep it clean and repair any cracks. The amount of maintenance you will need to perform on a deck is dependent on the material. Vinyl and composite decking are long-lasting and should not need much beyond cleaning. Decks made out of wood will need to be sanded and resealed regularly.

8) What kind of view do I want?

Since decks are raised, they can provide an awesome view of the landscape, but if you do not want any rails blocking your view, a patio might be a better option for you. A patio is also the better option if you prefer your outdoor entertainment space to be immersed in your landscaping, such as surrounded by gardens, fountains, or simply nature.

9) What about a pool?

If you have or want a pool in your outdoor space this will be a huge factor in determining whether a patio or deck makes more sense for you. A patio can easily make a great entertainment space around an inground pool. If you have an above-ground pool, you can build a deck around it.

Conclusion

There are many factors to consider when choosing between a patio or a deck for your home. These include budget, ROI, local building codes, typography, personal preference, and other features that you want to include such as a pool. It’s important to ask yourself these nine questions to make the best decision for you.

Pros and Cons of a Home Addition

Building an addition to your home can be both an exciting and harrowing process. 

If you are considering a home addition, here are some pros and cons that you should be aware of before you start.

Pros of a Home Addition

Your Own Design

When building an addition, you can design it specifically to your needs. A home addition is a custom-tailored solution to an issue with your current home. Perhaps you need more kitchen space, more storage, or maybe an in-law suite. Whatever your needs, with an addition you get exactly what you want.

Increase the Value of Your Home

When done correctly, a home addition can be a financial investment that increases the value of a home. Adding square footage to your home like an extra bedroom or bigger kitchen will make your home more attractive to buyers. However, be sure not to over-improve beyond the average value of your neighborhood. Hire the best contractor you can afford to ensure the new space is sturdily-built and well-designed.

No Stressful Move

Perhaps you have one or two issues with your house, but otherwise you love your home, your neighborhood, and your current life, and you don’t want the stress of uprooting everything for you and your family. If this sounds like you, it’s probably better to consider building an addition rather than moving! 

Save Money

Depending on the scope and budget of your home addition project, it could be cheaper than buying a new home.

Cons of a Home Addition

Cost

Home additions are an investment. Depending on the project, you can expect to pay at least $30k-80k and possibly more. You can often make some of this money back when you sell, but it is not guaranteed, a real estate values are always fluctuating. You should also be wary of over-improving your home beyond that of the average house in your neighborhood, as this can actually devalue your house or make it a tough sell.

Let’s not forget unforeseen additions to the budget that inevitably arise. Projects on your home could uncover previously unknown issues that are costly to fix and delay the process.

Stress

Building a home addition can come with a lot of stress. You have to share your home with a building crew for weeks or months. Sometimes you might even lose access to an important room (such as a kitchen) while construction is underway. Alternatively, you can choose to live off site at a hotel or with family, but this too can be costly and stressful.

Making sure you hire a reputable, professional contractor is an important step in alleviating some of this headache. 

Loss of Yard Space

Unless you’re building an addition on top of your current home, you will inevitably lose some yard space. This could be a downside for your family, and is something you will need to take into consideration. 

Conclusion

A home addition is a huge decision and likely one of the costliest a homeowner will ever make. Before beginning a renovation, the pros and cons of such a project should be carefully considered.

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!

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? 

Guide to Building a New Home

With low inventory in real estate markets across the country, many people are considering new construction. Although the process can seem overwhelming from start to finish, working with the right people and knowing what to expect can make the entire process less daunting. 

Keep reading for what you need to know about the home building process before getting started. 

Secure Your Financing First

Most homebuyers use financing when purchasing a home, and the same goes for new construction. If you were previously searching for an existing home and are approved for a mortgage, that won’t carry over to new construction. 

Speak with your lender about obtaining a new construction loan. Like mortgage loans, new construction loans are easier to get if you have a strong credit history. This loan will enable you to pay your contractor as the work is being finished. Once the home is completed, the loan is converted to a mortgage. 

Who You Work with Matters

Once you know you have appropriate financing for new construction, look for a builder who meets your needs. Research and meet with prospective builders to learn more about their style, quality of work, and rates. 

Take the time to learn about the builder’s developments, warranties, reputation, and communication style. You will also want to learn how the builder handles permits and hiring for specific jobs. A builder who understands your vision and communicates throughout every step of the process will ease stress and give you confidence in completing your new home. 

Plan, Plan, Plan

After getting approved for a loan and selecting a contractor, the planning begins! With your builder, you can start to focus on planning your dream home. You’ll discuss the larger picture, including:

  • Style of the home
  • Number of bedrooms
  • Number of bathrooms
  • Floorplan
  • Storage needs
  • Outdoor space

As you review the type of home you want, your contractor will share a projected timeline and completion date. In addition to planning what your new home will look like, be sure to plan where you will live during construction, as well as a backup plan in case the completion date needs an extension.

Purchase Your Lot

Some new construction takes place in a new development, where the builder owns several lots.  In this case, during your planning phase you will select an available lot where your new home will be constructed. If you are not building in an established development, you will need to start looking for land for sale in your desired location. Once you have acquired land, your contractor will clear the lot before construction begins. 

You Get to Choose

The final stages of construction are often the most fun. As you oversee the building process, you’ll discuss what you want to see in the design’s finishing touches. This includes selecting: 

  • Cabinetry
  • Countertops
  • Paint color
  • Light fixtures
  • Appliances
  • Flooring
  • Custom options

Throughout the entire process, stay in communication with your builder to stay updated on the timeline, build, and budget. 

5 Benefits of New Construction

With low inventory in most real estate markets across the country, more buyers are looking at new construction. Whether the home is already being constructed, or you buy a lot and start from scratch, there are many benefits to building a new home.

Move-In Ready

When you buy a previously-lived in property, inevitably, there will be something you want to change. Some homes just need minor improvements, like a fresh coat of paint, while others require a complete gut job. One of the best parts of a new construction home is that it is fully move-in ready. 

You can rest assured that plumbing and electrical are in working order, new appliances are installed and ready for first use, and every room matches your style. The only thing left to do is unpack. 

Designed for You

Starting with the layout, all the way down to countertops and color schemes, new construction is designed for you. 

When building new, you can work with your contractor throughout the entire process to make sure the floorplan meets you and your family’s needs. Open floor plans, high ceilings, and space for a home office, gym, or studio can all be incorporated into your new home.

As construction nears completion, you can select countertops, appliances, colors, light fixtures, and more. Your contractor will guide you through design options while helping you stay within your budget.

Lower Maintenance 

As a homeowner, maintaining your home is essential. With new construction, modern technology keeps maintenance to a minimum. 

Your home will be built to the most up-to-date codes and safety standards, with new plumbing, HVAC, appliances, windows, and roofing. This not only creates less work for you over the years, but maintenance costs will be less as well. 

Energy Efficient

New construction also utilizes green practices for highly efficient homes. Often, a third-party will rate the home’s energy efficiency, ensuring it meets requirements. With proper insulation, high-efficiency appliances and systems, your home will have a low carbon footprint and low utility bills. 

Home Warranty

Builders don’t just walk away after it is completed. A new home comes with a warranty, so you can feel confident about how the construction will hold up over the years. Should any issues arise during the warranty period, the builder will work with you to solve the problem. 

To make the most of these benefits, make sure you find a contractor you like and trust!

Horton Group Project Recap

As the holiday season gets underway, we can’t help but look back on the past year. Amid the challenges and unforeseen circumstances, we’ve witnessed incredible things happening in our community.

Small businesses exceeding expectations to meet the needs of the people they serve. 

Individuals going above and beyond to help others. 


The Horton Group team working together to provide the very best service to our clients. 

Every year, we’re grateful for the work we do, and this year, we feel even more honored to be helping people feel at home. 

As we move into 2021, here are some updates on our current projects:

The Residences at 66 High Street

The Social Redesign is completing a unit at 66 High Street! Nicole White, along with designer Mary Ellen Sullivan and the Horton Group team, is working on completing the newest unit in the Leete Building. The best part? You get a say in the final design of the unit! If you haven’t been following along, visit The Social Redesign on Facebook and Instagram for your chance to vote. 

In addition to new units being completed, outdoor living spaces are also coming to fruition. The pool is in at 66 High Street! Residents will be able to enjoy an inground pool overlooking the Long Island Sound come summer. We can’t wait!

Overland Lofts

The Overland Lofts is now leasing units! This project with Davenport Companies has been an exciting project. From a Willys-Overland factory to residential lofts with commercial space, this historic building is part of the Springfield, Massachusetts revitalization project. The Overland Lofts include 60 market-rate apartments, retail space, and dog park, and more!

Coming in 2021

We’re excited about a new project happening in 2021! Stay tuned for more details on this commercial space in Branford, as well as other residential and commercial development projects.

Open Floor Plan Trends

For the last thirty years, residential architecture has been dominated by open floor plan concepts. The trendy design is accepted due to its ability to join rooms and create more of a social experience within the home. 

 

History 

 

Open floor plans are a relatively new concept in residential home design. Pre-World War II homes were constructed in a basic, one-dimensional layout, often connecting enclosed rooms with a long hallway, positioning the kitchen at the back of the house to be used for service. These configurations were not meant to accommodate modern gatherings. Throughout the 1950s, gatherings were still formal, which means the kitchen was off-limits to guests. 

 

It wasn’t until the post-war years that American families began to change their ways and reform to a more casual form of living. This slowly sculpted the open floor plan in modern construction, allowing families to grow in a spacious environment. By the 1990s, open floor plans became almost the norm for new construction, especially in suburban settings, and that trend holds true today. 

 

Innovation In Construction 

 

An open floor plan in residential architecture refers to a dwelling in which two or more common spaces have been joined to form a larger space by eliminating partition walls. Instead of interior load-bearing walls, heavy-duty beams carry the weight to create a spacious and sound living area. 

 

Simultaneous to American residential reform was the innovation of residential construction. Stronger materials and modern methods allowed open floor plans to be more practical and easier to build. Steel structural beams, central heating systems, drywall, and cinder-block construction made it easier to build larger rooms efficiently. 

 

Floor Plan Configurations 

 

  • Kitchen and dining room: Often, a kitchen and dining area share one common space. Sometimes a kitchen island or peninsula acts as a visual dividing line between the two areas.
  • Dining room and living room: A dining area and living room occupy one shared area. A visual dividing line may be in the form of thoughtfully placed furniture, two different paint colors, stairs leading to a sunken area, or a handrail.
  • Kitchen, dining, and living room: All three areas may be open in a large great room, often with a vaulted ceiling.

 

Advantages of Open Floor Plans

 

  • Better traffic flow. Without doors to open and close and no walls to hinder traffic, people can move through space unhindered.
  • Improved sociability and communication. Without walls, it’s possible to talk to one another across rooms.
  • Shared light. Interior spaces that were once without windows now get natural light from windows in exterior walls.
  • Improved real estate value. In almost every instance, an open floor plan is highly desirable and increases your home’s value to prospective buyers.
  • Easier to watch kids. Parents cooking in the kitchen or setting the dining room table can easily supervise children in the living room.

 

Disadvantages of Open Floor Plans

 

  • Costly to heat and cool. Great rooms with high ceilings are often energy drains, especially when the outer walls are equipped with large windows, as they often are. While traditional floor plans allow you to heat or cool only certain rooms, the entire space must be heated or cooled with an open floor plan.
  • Higher construction cost. Without partition walls, open concepts depend on steel or laminated beams for support. These are costly to install.
  • Poor sound control. Without partition walls to block noise, open concept homes can be very noisy.
  • Lack of privacy. Open floor plans are great for social activity, but they make it hard to find quiet spaces for private reading or study.

How Homebuilding Can Aid Economic Recovery

2020 is a year like no other, where communities must join forces (socially distanced, of course) and make a collective effort to support local businesses in an attempt to keep small-town economies alive. 

A major proponent to flourishing local economies is steady home building. People attract business, and housing attracts people. This year more than ever, the market is experiencing low housing inventory in many suburban communities across the United States. Housing developments create new jobs for citizens and provide desired housing options that attract residents. 

The National Association of Home Builders has tested these economic effects and have divided the economic influx into three phases. 

Phase I

Phase I includes the effects that result directly from construction activity and local industries that contribute to it. This consists of all contracted services, such as electricians, plumbers, architects, and engineers. Phase I also includes related jobs, such as truck drivers, developers, and bankers.

Phase II

Phase II includes the effects that occur as a result from the wages and profits from Phase I being spent in local economies. 

Phase III

Phase III is an ongoing effect that includes property tax payments and local spending by the occupants of the new housing units. 

As shown in the NAHB three-phase economic process, multiple forms of local income can be generated through residential construction. From more basic flows of income, such as workers spending their hourly wages on local goods and services, to more steady streams of income like annual property taxes paid. Local governments prosper from new residencies and more activity within the community. 

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