5 Benefits of Building a Custom Home

Choosing to build a custom home means you'll gain plenty of benefits. Whether you're deciding to build because you cannot find the right features in an existing home or because you prefer the feeling of a new home, you'll be happy with your decision. Let's look at five of the top benefits you'll gain from building a custom home.

brand new custom home by Powell Custom Homes

Ability to Build Your Dream Home

After choosing the right custom home builder for the project, you'll get to start the design process. During this process, you'll get to choose the fixtures, finishes, layout, upgrades, and other features. You'll actually have the ability to create your dream home when choosing to build a custom home.

Finding the perfect home already on the market for you isn't easy. If you've dreamed of certain features and a certain style, building a custom home might be the only way to get what you truly want.

Everything is Brand New & Under Warranty

When you build a new home with a custom builder, everything will be under warranty. For a homeowner, this is a massive benefit. You won't have to worry about maintenance for the first few years, and with some items, the warranty may cover you up to ten years.

Not only will everything be covered by a warranty, but it will also be brand new. Just like the feeling of buying a brand new car, you'll get a house nobody has ever lived in, not even for a day.

Newest Energy Efficient Features

Existing homes don't offer the best when it comes to energy efficiency unless they've been upgraded. This means you'll likely pay a higher energy bill every month compared to the energy bill of a new home.

When you choose to build a custom home, you'll get the benefit of all the latest energy efficient features. From energy efficient insulation to Energy Star appliances, you'll have a home ready to save you money on that monthly energy bill.

You Choose the Budget

Instead of haggling with a seller, when you build a new home, you choose your budget. If you want to spend more to upgrade specific features, you can. However, if you don't want to spend extra for specific upgrades, you don't have to.

Since the home is fully customizable, you get to choose the budget. You won't need to worry about trying to get the best deal from someone selling their home and you won't need to budget for repairs or renovations, either.

Choose Your Style

Sometimes, it can be hard to find a home fitting the architectural style you prefer. Certain geographical areas don't include specific home styles, which makes it hard to find the perfect home for you.

When you choose to build a custom home, you'll get to choose the style. You won't be stuck with whatever style you can find fitting some of your needs. Instead, you'll get the style you prefer and the ability to fully customize the home.

If you're thinking about buying a new home, but you're not sure you want to choose an existing home, why not build? There are several great benefits of building a custom home and these are just five of the top benefits.

3 Signs You May Need to Remodel Your Concrete Finishes

Sometimes homes need their concrete finishes remodeled and it’s one of those jobs that doesn’t happen very often as a homeowner. The good news is that when it’s finished it will look beautiful with today’s advances in the use of concrete finishes. It’s something that you wouldn’t think would be part of home ownership because it’s such a strong and hard material and it’s what we drive our cars on, but when you start getting cracks in the floor, it may be time to assess it for a remodel.

For others, you may simply want to remodel it for cosmetic reasons and enjoy an aesthetically pleasing look to your home. Take a look at these 3 signs that you may need to remodel your concrete finishes.

Cracking

One sign that it’s time to remodel your concrete finishes is that it’s beginning to crack. While not all cracking is a safety hazard, it doesn’t look great for your home’s design. It could mean there have been some issues that have caused cracking like moisture which you don’t want in the home.

Since the floors don’t bear the weight of the house, you don’t have to worry about it being a structural issue. Look for the type of crack you’re dealing with, whereas a hairline crack shouldn’t be anything to be concerned about and are likely from surface shrinking. If you find perimeter cracks, the concrete floor likely shrunk away from the foundation walls. If you find that the floor has cracked and started to slab upward, then you likely have an issue with soil expansion and this should be addressed immediately.

badly cracked concrete

The good news is that you can simply get colored cement paste and patching materials to fill in most of these cracks and make it solid again, but if you were looking for a change that is more than some paste and an area rug, it may be time to remodel with something else.

Moisture

As mentioned before, moisture can get in the home and affect areas like your concrete floor. If you have a below-grade basement, the moisture may have been moving up from underneath the slab making it damp and damaging it. You can reseal the concrete to avoid poor soil drainage or a leaky gutter, but there also may be better materials to replace it with that will suit your family’s needs better.

It’s not working for your needs

Speaking of your needs, you may find that concrete flooring is not cutting it for your family’s lifestyle or overall design preferences. The hardness of concrete is not forgiving which means that glasses will be broken that fall on it and children may get hurt playing near it.

While a soft rug can help with this problem, you may find that a fresh floor is what your family needs. You can still enjoy a hard surface like a vinyl flooring option, but these won’t be so hard as to hurt someone that falls.

When you want those concrete floors

Some people are looking to start incorporating those concrete floors in the home. Whether you are looking for a fresh concrete floor to remodel an outdated one or you want to add one into your home design, these are going to be a beautiful addition.

They are now considered a luxurious finish because you can enjoy many different kinds of colors and stains, textures with rubber stencils, and it can even mimic other materials like brick, natural stone, and ceramic tiles. In your new construction, you can even add heated floors into your design; the perfect addition to a bathroom or basement.

What’s even better is that these are actually one of the lowest maintenance flooring options because they are durable and easy to care for with a little sweeping and mopping to freshen them up. A trendy option right now is the polished concrete style of flooring in which you get a smooth and more decorative surface than the traditional concrete flooring.

If you have any of these signs going on in your home, it’s time to reassess your current flooring and give your home an update. Use this guide to decide if it’s right for you!

3 Types of Room Additions that can Increase Home Value

Adding onto your home is a great way to revamp a space that isn’t entirely working for you without switching to a new one completely. That’s why many choose to add on space that would make a big difference for their current situation which may not have been needed before or may be needed in the future.

While you may be thinking of turning that extra bedroom into a home office or a children’s play area, you can actually go about investing into a room addition that will expand common spaces like your kitchen. Take a look at the three types of room additions that you should consider to increase your home value.

Expanding your Kitchen

You may have never considered that one of the most common spaces in your home could be made bigger than it is and it’s not tied to the size it is now. This is referring to your kitchen where you spend all of your time feeding your family. Wouldn’t it be nice to have more dinner guests over or have more space to prep food for the week?

You don’t have to continue working with a smaller kitchen; expand your kitchen and you’ll actually add value to your home.  If you’re working with a cramped space that is hard to maneuver through, you’ll find that an expansion is the perfect way to make cooking in the kitchen fun again.

While you may like the look and feel of your kitchen, you’ll never be able to place a larger table in the space, give yourself more prep space, or replace your old appliances with something larger. Adding on to the kitchen will not only help make your daily kitchen needs more comfortable, but it will increase your home value.

Add on Another Bathroom

Don’t you hate how you have to share a bathroom with so many other family members and you can never quite enjoy getting ready each morning in peace?

It might be time for a bathroom add-on. Between the kids getting ready for school and parents getting ready for work, there is already so many trying to use the bathrooms you do have all at once. In addition, when you have house guests or friends stop by, now there are more people fighting for use of that one main bathroom. Adding on a bathroom is going to make a huge difference!

Your bathroom addition will not only resolve these situations, but plenty of bathrooms is also what home buyers are looking for. If you don’t have enough bathrooms currently, you may struggle to find a buyer that is interested in closing. Instead, take the guesswork out by adding on a bathroom and/or updating and remodeling your current one to increase the value and make your living space better functioning for your family.

small home addition - likely a bathroom

Add Another Story

While you may have thought about adding on to current spaces in your home to improve the appeal or function, it’s time to think out the box. What would it look like to add on a second story? This could be either a downstairs living area or it could be an upstairs suite.

This is a huge way to increase your home value and also appeal to potential buyers when it’s time to sell. While this is a huge money investment now, it will increase your home’s square footage, improve appeal for buyers, and give you a whole new outlook on your home’s function. This is a great way to create that master suite you’ve been dreaming or that area for the older kids to get together downstairs.

These three examples of room additions are exactly what you need to bring new life to the home while also increasing your home value in the process.

Where to Get the Most Bang for Your Buck in a Home Remodel

Home remodels are a great way to spruce up a home whether your budget is big or small. A project that renovates a room, an area of the home, or a system in the home will make an impact on the entire home.

home remodel - new cabinets

Sometimes a simple kitchen spruce up or some landscaping work will take an average home to one that feels more like a beautiful space to live and thrive in. You can find the biggest bang for your buck when you choose remodeling jobs such as the ones below.

Painting

What’s better than a fresh coat of paint that changes the whole mood of a room? This is an area worth spending on the higher quality paint products to make sure you get it right the first time. Bring home some paint samples to see what it’s going to look like in different lighting and what mood the room evokes with different shades.

You can brighten the trim up with high-gloss paint in a lighter color to really bring out a fresh look to a room. A good neutral color like gray or white will allow for more decorating varieties in other areas of the room.

Flooring

Another area that is going to change the whole look of a room with one simple change is your flooring. Many older homes have old carpet that reminds you that the home is old. Changing out that old carpet for everything fresh will feel great for your family.

Many modern homes are going with hardwood flooring now because of how beautiful it makes a room while also giving the homeowner an easier floor to maintain. Change to a hard floor in your common spaces, carpet in your bedrooms, and tile in your bathrooms for a fresh look and feel.

Bathroom

Whether you’re buying a home or remodeling your own, a bathroom update will make a house feel so much fresher and newer. There are so many great finishes that modern bathrooms are using, from beautiful vanities to luxurious shower tiles.

Sometimes all it takes is a good re-grouting job on your tiles, but it might be time to update that bathroom and incorporate a brand new tub, shower head, vanity, paint, and flooring. You might as well update your towels and bathroom accessories too!

Kitchen

Kitchens can feel like an overwhelming and expensive job, but it’s easy to remodel parts of the room to make this shared space feel so much more welcoming. Putting in new cabinets or painting the ones you have will make a bold statement in the room, just as a new counter top or backsplash would.

If you want to change everything, update appliances, sinks and faucets, hardware, and cabinets. Otherwise, it may be time to add in a kitchen island or touch up one of the mentioned areas for a fresh look.

Energy efficiency

You’ll experience a huge bang for your buck when you update a home with more energy efficiency in mind. Energy efficient upgrades won’t be as noticeable aesthetically as your bathroom and kitchen updates, but you’ll find that your wallet will thank you. You can upgrade the HVAC, windows, water heaters, or even install solar panels. These will all give you a positive return on your investment. 

Basement and attic

If you’ve been putting up finishing your basement or attic, this might be the project that really needs your attention. A finished basement or attic could lead to more common spaces, another bedroom, or another area of the home to work on your favorite hobbies. Many people can convert that basement r attic into a guest room, a wet bar, or a man cave.

Exterior

Lastly, don’t forget how much the exterior affects everyday life. Your landscaping can add color to the home which will be beautiful to look at as you sit on a brand new deck or patio addition. Add some outdoor lights, a fire pit, and a fresh coat of paint to the home and you’ll find you have an area of the home that everyone will want to gather.

These are a few ways that you can get the most bang for your buck in a home remodel.

The Most Common Reasons You May Require a Change Order During Your Build

When you build a home, you may end up with a change order during the building process. This order is an official request for more funds and/or time to complete the revised contractual obligations. There are several reasons a change order may be needed during your build.

Usually, a construction change order is related to about five different issues. They may be a bit of a pain to deal with, but sometimes, a change order is necessary. Here are some of the most common reasons you may need a change order while building your home.

Design Changes

It's rather common for a design change to cause a change order during the building process. Maybe the builder or developer started construction without a completed project scope or something happened to cause a design change to become necessary. This is most common with design-build projects, where the design can be worked on during the building process.

Drawing Errors

When an error or omission happens with the drawing, it could cause a change order. It may be something as simple as an inadequate detail or a failure to have a complete set of drawings created. Errors and omissions happen and they often cause change orders during the building process.

Soil Issues

A less common reason for change orders, but still rather common is a soil issue. This is a bit more unforeseen as it can happen and nobody really expected it to happen. When an inadequate soil study is done, it can lead to challenges builders were not prepared for. This can lead to a necessary change order to ensure the build can be completed properly.

Substitutions

Maybe your home building plan included specific materials that have since become unavailable. When there's a shortage of necessary supplies, a substitution has to be made, which results in a change order. This will include a request for a credit if the cost of the new materials is less than the original materials.

Another type of substitution that could cause a change order is when the owner decides on an upgrade during the construction process. This may cause a larger amount of money to be necessary to cover the cost of the better materials used during the construction process.

Poor Budgets or Schedules

Sometimes, the budget was poorly thought out or the construction schedule wasn't very good. This may cause a change order to be necessary as the work may not be delivered on time or within budget. Of course, delays from weather and unforeseen circumstances can also cause a change order to be necessary.

Change orders can be costly if they are not handled properly. They can lead to more issues if the change order isn't dealt with promptly. Make sure you hire a home builder that knows how to anticipate change orders and handle them quickly so that your project will stay on schedule and get completed on time or close to on time.

3 Tips for Building a Home Office

When it's time to build a custom home, you may be considering building a home office within that home. This is a great time to make sure you get the home office you've been dreaming about and Powell Custom Homes can certainly help.

Even if you're not building a home, you may want a few tips to help with building a home office. Here are a few tips you can use to ensure you get the most out of your new home office, whether adding it to your current home or designing it within your new custom home.

Plenty of Light

Those planning to add a home office to their custom home will want to make sure the office will receive plenty of natural light and plenty of light in general. Design in a few windows or even a skylight to ensure you'll receive plenty of natural light.

Once you've designed the home office to take advantage of the sun as much as possible, you want to add in ambient lights. These lights can help to compliment the natural light and give you plenty of light in your home office once the sun has set for the day.

While ambient light is helpful, you really want to ensure your new home office will get plenty of natural light. One study found that workers getting more natural light sleep better, while another found workplaces with natural light provide more productivity. 

Function over Form

When you're designing your new home office, you want to make sure function comes first. While the space should be aesthetically appealing, it has to function in a productive way, as well.

Consider your workflow within the office before you start investing in furniture. You may even want a few built-in shelves or storage solutions if you're designing the office into your new custom home.

While it's always nice to have a home office that looks great, make sure it functions well, too. Consider every piece of furniture and how it will work within your new space.

Consider More than Just a Desk

Your home office certainly needs to be a place to get work done. However, it should also be a place to relax and get some thinking done, when necessary. Sometimes, you just need a place to kick back, do a little reading, or just let your mind wander.

Consider adding space for a comfortable chair and an ottoman. You may also want to add in a table for your beverages and even a lamp to allow you to get some reading done, when necessary.

Whether you need to look over the numbers or read the latest trade journal, adding space for more than just work is important. Your desk is for the day-to-day work, but adding space for a chair will give you a bit of an escape right inside your home office.

There are several things to consider when designing your home office. If you're building a custom home and adding a home office into it, you want to make sure it's just right. Powell Custom Homes can help you design the perfect home office for your specific needs.

home office setting

How to Know When a Room Addition May Be Right for You

Adding onto your home is a solution many homeowners have gone within the past. It’s a great way to add some space, get a designated area for a need you are trying to meet and to increase the home’s value for someday when it’s time to move on.

At the same time, it’s going to be expensive, there may be some building restrictions, and sometimes there are better options. Take a look at this guide to determining the reasons you should choose room addition and when there are times that there may be better solutions.

room addition with vaulted ceiling

The costs involved

The first area to consider is what you are going to spend to complete a project like this. This will vary depending on what kind of room you are trying to add on, with a bedroom or living room being a larger space compared to a bathroom or sunroom which may be less expensive.

It could cost you anywhere between $200 and $600 per square foot as a rough estimate. Some people choose to refinance to cover the cost of the addition while lenders may also offer construction loans if the future property value is going to be great after the improvement.

The average cost of adding a room is $41,000 but you could see a return of up to 49% on a sunroom addition, 63% on a master suite, and 53% on a bathroom addition. You’ll have to get estimates when it comes to things like new flooring, adding windows, support beams, and pouring concrete.

Building restrictions to watch for

In most cases, there are going to be building restrictions you’ll need to be aware of. You’ll have to check with your city and county offices on the specifics of your area. You may not be able to build all of the way to your lot line because some areas will require space for protection during a house fire. You could also run into restrictions with height when adding on.

How to build and who to hire

Another area to consider is how you are going to build on, whether you choose to build up or build out while staying within your restrictions. Building up means that you won’t have to pay for excavation or foundation but it can be complicated and you’ll have to watch for obstructing a neighbor’s view if there are regulations.

Building out can be much simpler, but you’ll have to work with the land you have and the regulations. A build-out of a garage or guesthouse can be a great addition to a home and you have the option to make it detached.

You’ll likely want to hire someone to build this for you, but don’t forget that working with a local architect will also assist if the project is going to be more complicated. They can help you determine how to add onto the second floor with new stairs or how to add a closet to a room without interfering with the rest of the layout. A local contractor can help with the whole project if it’s less complicated such as with adding on a patio, extra room, or sunroom. Or, simply contact Powell Custom Homes and we’ll do it all for you!

How will the construction affect my home life?

In addition to the expense, you’ll also be inconvenienced during the build. It may bring noise into the home, being unable to use that area of the home, and there will be a mess. If you are expanding your kitchen, you may not be able to cook in there until it’s done.

If you are working from home, you may need to find another office space during the noise of the job. Don’t count on your household being able to function just as normal during the build because most likely you’ll need to be flexible and you’ll be inconvenienced. It’s all worth it for the end result.

If these scenarios don’t sound like something you want to sacrifice for, you may consider if it’s more sensible to simply remodel a space you already have, rearrange your home to work with the addition you were hoping for or to move to a house that better suits your needs. It’s going to cost money to add on a room, especially for the labor and the contractor or architect required to make it happen, and it will cost you time rearranging your life to account for the interruption and to get everyone hired and building restrictions accounted for to make this all happen.

Consider if a room addition is right for your home by looking over these tips and considering your situation. Once you have that added room though, you’ll be relieved to have the space you’ve always dreamed

The Importance of Excavation in the Home Building Process

It doesn't matter how amazing your new custom home is if it was built on a bad foundation. Excavation may be the most important part of the home building process.

Every building site comes with unique characteristics and the site must be prepared for the foundation. Without proper excavating, the foundation of your new home may not be all it needs to be. Here are some of the important things you may go through during the excavation of your home site.

Site Clearing

The first step in the process is often clearing the site. This step will remove any unwanted trees and other plants, along with rocks and boulders. Tree stumps will be removed and vegetation may be cut down to the proper height.

Home Site Staking

Once the site has been cleared, a home site can be staked to show where the foundation will be laid and the home will be built. Usually, this includes placing four markers in the four corners of the future home. Then, a diagonal measurement will be taken and the length and width will be verified.

Layout Design

After staking out the site, often, builders will design the layout of the home including plans for patios, planters, steps, walkways and other structures. This helps to give you a general idea of where everything will go and how it will all fit onto the site.

Preparing the Site for Building

Excavation will also include digging out the areas staked out to ensure vegetation is removed and proper drainage is added. Footers may be placed around the slab of the foundation and other steps may be taken, such as digging a trench below the frost line.

backhoe excavating for a new home

Slab Support Material and Drainage

Laying the proper gravel down will make a difference in the process. Builders will also place drainage pipes and make sure the site is level before laying the foundation.

Digging Sewer Drainage Trenches

Trenches must also be dug for the sewer drainage pipes. This is a vital step in the process as the sewer drainage pipes are very important to the excavation process.

Excavating the Driveway

While the home site must be excavated for the foundation, the driveway space also needs to be excavated. This includes removal of trees, boulders, shrubs, and other plants. Often, gravel will be used to reach the desired height and leveled. In addition, the excavators will ensure the driveway shape is created and drainage is considered.

While the excavation process does include laying the foundation, it's far more intricate than just digging a hole and pouring some concrete. The process involved setting up all the proper drainage, laying sewer pipes and plenty more. It's the most important part of the entire building process as you must have a strong foundation for your home.

If the excavation process isn't properly done, it can lead to future issues. Make sure you choose a home builder willing to ensure the excavation process is done correctly. With a strong foundation, your new home can stand the test of time.

How Best to Communicate with Your Home Builder

When you've made the decision to build a custom home, you'll be filled with excitement, nerves, and maybe feel a bit stressed. It's quite a journey and it's important to ensure you get the home you're picturing when you first start the process.

Choosing the right custom home builder is a great start, but you need to be able to communicate with your builder, too. Without clear communication, you may not get what you want. Here are a few great tips to help you communicate with your home builder.

Custom Home builder holding blueprints envisioning a home

Choose Your Preferred Communication Method

It's best to choose the way you prefer to communicate and let the builder know this is how you will be communicating. Whether you prefer to talk face-to-face, over the phone, or via email, you need to inform your builder so they will be on the same page.

You should also discuss how often you would like to communicate and even meet with your builder. You need to feel comfortable, so make sure you choose a custom home builder willing to communicate in the way you prefer.

Don't be Shy

If you don't speak up, your builder won't know what you want. Make sure you say what you think and communicate your feelings. If you don't like a paint color, say so. If you prefer a specific type of tile for the bathroom, don't be shy, tell your builder.

It's better to speak up than to end up with something you don't like. Ask questions, tell your builder what you're thinking, and make sure you're honest or you could end up with features of your home you really don't like.

Avoid Blaming

When the project has started and something doesn't go quite as planned, it can be easy to want to place blame. It doesn't matter whose fault it was, as long as a solution can be found and the issue can be resolved.

Instead of placing blame, take the time to communicate with your builder to find a solution to the problem. Most issues can easily be solved with the right communication.

Get Regular Status Updates

You should never feel like you're just left out of the process with no clue how far along your custom home is during the building process. You need to know what's going on and regular status updates should be scheduled ahead of time.

Yes, delays happen and things come up, but a weekly email or even a bi-weekly phone call can be a great way to know where your home is in the building process. You need to be an active participant in the process and regular status updates will help to ensure you know what's going on with your new home.

One of the most important parts of guaranteeing you get the home of your dreams is communicating with the builder. It's important to use the tips above and build a great working relationship with your builder to ensure you get the best custom home you could possibly imagine. Contact Powell Custom Homes today for all your home building needs in the Kalamazoo area!