How can you build a more energy efficient home?

What Exactly Is a HERS Rating?
HERS stands for Home Energy Rating System. A new home can be rated on energy efficiency using the HERS system. It’s like golf, the lower the score the better.

A typical 50 year old home has a HERS score of approximately 140, a 15 year old around 125, and typical new homes around 100. A Synergy Home with a HERS score of 67 is 33% more efficient than a typical new home with a score of 100. That can translate to saving of $500 or more per year on utility bills.

How does a builder achieve such a low score? Synergy Homes, for example, has:

 California Corners
California Corners eliminate pockets without insulation in certain areas of the exterior walls.

Cali Corners2Cali Corners

 Radiant Sheathing Barrier
The area where homes lose the most efficiency is the air flow between the attic and the home. The radiant sheathing barrier can help the attic remain up to 30o cooler in the summer and helps keep your utility bill down.

Radiant Barrier
 More Insulation – R38 Blown Insulation in ceilings and R-15 in walls. Code in SC is R-30 and R-13.
 14 SEER HVAC System (Gas)
 Tankless Water Heaters
 Low E Windows
 CFL Bulbs
 Insulated Garage Doors

For additional information about HERS and how to make a home energy efficient visit http://www.resnet.us/ and to find out if a home is HERS rated visit http://www.resnet.us/public-access-to-resnet-national-registry.

To get a list of builders in the SC midlands building energy efficient email BMHoffman@gmail.com.

10 Common Mistakes To Avoid When Buying New Construction

10 Most Common Mistakes When Buying or Building a New Home
1. Picking The Wrong Builder
Each builder has their own, yet similar, way to build a home. There are production, semi-custom, and custom builders. Quality of the home will vary from builder to builder. Are you looking for a Honda or a Mercedes?
Production builders don’t have a flexible system. You pick and plan to which they usually don’t allow changes, you select from a few color choices and options, and they build it. Think of a production builder as a Chevrolet or Honda-not flashy, not top of the line, but you get a low price.
Custom and semi-custom builders have flexibility to build the home you want the way you want. Most have floor plans to pick from or the choice of having an architect draft a floor plan to your vision. They have flexibility to allow changes to meet your needs. Those changes could be as small as allowing you to pick your own light fixtures or as large as moving walls of an existing floor plan, adding a 3rd garage space, or bumping out exterior walls. Most custom and semi-custom builders are going to have a large range of color choices and options to pick from. A great example of a custom and semi-custom builder is Synergy Homes. Learn more at www.SynergyHomes.com.
2. Judging Only By Price
Many buyers compare products only by price but that can be a huge mistake on such a large investment as a home. If one home is less, stop and ask yourself why it’s less and what corners were cut to arrive at that lower price? Builders don’t build at a loss so they had to arrive at that lower price somehow.
3. Not Getting A Home Inspection and HVAC Inspection
A county inspection is no substitute for your home and HVAC inspector. Many builders demand such low prices that the HVAC companies that installing the units have very little profit margin. To save money they may hire cheap labor, install undersized units, and take shortcuts to save money.
4. Not Registering the AC Unit
The units normally come with a 2 year warranty but by registering the unit with the manufacturers may extend the warranty to 5 years.
5. Settling
A home is a major purchase. If it’s intended to be a long term residence don’t regret your purchase by settling for a home that isn’t what you want.
6. Overspending
A home is a major purchase. Once the budget is determined, stick with it. If you’re building a home, make sure you account for any options and upgrades you add. Don’t be house poor or you may end up hating your home.
7. Picking A Poor Lot
Lots can affect your home’s value. Sloped driveways, poor views, yards that don’t conform to the neighborhood, and flood zones could lead to challenges when reselling as well as how much you enjoy your home.
8. Not Having Proper Representation
If you’re buying a new construction home, you should have an agent that’s familiar with local builders and new construction like The Brandon Hoffman Team at RE/MAX Connected. A savvy buyer may be fine without representation but it doesn’t cost a buyer to have someone in their corner.
9. Not Going Energy Efficient
With all the advances in technology and efficiency as well as the rising cost of electricity, it’s foolish to not consider how efficient a home is. Make sure the builder follows HERS guidelines, or to some degree it defeats the purpose of buying/building a new home.
10. Not Considering Resale Potential
Always have a backup plan. You never know when life is going to happen. You want to buy a home that conforms to the neighborhood. Don’t buy the 2 story vinyl home in a brick patio home community, don’t buy the biggest and most expensive home in the neighborhood, and don’t buy a lot that will a had resell. Nice amenities are a huge plus also.

The Housing Market

Whether you are buying or selling real estate, it is important to know the state of the housing market. This way, each side knows where the advantages lie. For sellers, the market is at its best when there are fewer homes up for grabs. Less competition makes for an easier time getting your property viewed by the right individuals. On the flip-side, buyers will find top deals when there is a saturation of listings. When sellers are competing for your business, you end up the winner!

The housing market can give us a list of relevant information, such as: the number of homes for sale, the average selling price for real estate in the area, and the amount of homes sold during a specific period of time. With this data, both buyers and sellers can formulate a strategy on when to make a move. Perhaps more homes are sold during the summer. Maybe the average cost is lowest at the beginning of the year. Whatever the housing market shows, it is important to take the information into consideration.

Real Estate

Real estate is one purchase that buyers will never regret. The investment always pays off, whether you use or sell it. While you can be sure that land will always be in demand, it will not always be available. That is why we suggest that real estate investors purchase now instead of later. If the supply and demand model of economics teaches us anything it’s that prices rise when supply goes down.

When purchasing real estate, it is important to assess your needs. For example: those that have the intentions of constructing a commercial building will want to select an area that is visible to their target audience. Success begins with the right location, so choose wisely. After all, you wouldn’t want to put luxury condominiums in a rural town.

Those that are in the market for real estate will want a real estate agent by their side. The agent is familiar with every aspect of the area. From the neighborhood’s demographics to its history, there are important factors to take into consideration when selecting real estate. Starting off on the right foot begins with going to those with the experience.

Buying a Home

Buying a home is both an exciting and scary venture. With the status of homeowner comes the costs of maintaining the property you are now tied to. If you are going to take on a lot of added responsibility it is your right to be selective when choosing a home. While your search may start out with enthusiasm, it can quickly grow tiresome as their are so many listings to browse.

Our question would be: why do all of the work when there is someone willing to help? The process goes a lot smoother with more that one set of eyes scouring the housing market for your perfect property. This is where our team truly shines, as we make it our duty to get our clients the keys to their ideal abode! Simply tell us what you are looking for and our superior team of agents will go to work searching through our database of available homes. From there, we will give you a list of residences that most accurately match your requirements. With a list that is narrowed down to a handful of properties, your decision will be much more manageable.

Selling a Home

Selling a home can be a difficult task for even the most seasoned of sellers. There is so much that goes into the process of placing a property on the housing market. First, the owner needs to get the home in condition to present it to potential buyers. From there, taking proper pictures that display your residence in its best light is a must. These are the images that are going to grab the attention of those that are searching through the housing market. Unfortunately, even the best pictures don’t ensure that your property will be seen. After all, you are competing with your neighbors for the attention of a select few.

As with any competition, it is important to find an edge. This is where an experienced realtor can be your ace in the hole. With an extensive list of interested buyers, as well as the knowhow to market your listing to a greater audience, real estate agents make it their mission to get the most money for your property. When you have a team of skilled agents on your side, the competition gets left in the dust!