Say Goodbye to Boring Flooring!

Not that long ago, there were just not that many unique options when it came to flooring. Sure, you could get carpet in a few different weaves and colors, wood floors had a few different species and stains, and tile was either ceramic, basic, and blah or it was super expensive.

Fast forward to today. With the advent of the internet, design and ideas have caused the flooring market to explode. DIYers who were before relegated to the most basic can now browse through online catalogs that were only available to designers previously and demand for unique flooring solutions is driving flooring designers to new designs, new materials, and new applications. Continue reading “Say Goodbye to Boring Flooring!”

Indoor-Outdoor Living Solutions

indoor-outdoor-livingWe live in an area ripe with opportunities to get outside throughout our seasons. We get 300 days of sunshine per year – we should all do a better job of enjoying it!

One way you can incorporate more sunshine into your life without changing your schedule is by embracing indoor-outdoor living. Creating a space that easily transitions between the in and outdoors via large, roll-away full-height windows, inviting covered areas warmed by the fire to ward off any chill, and an outdoor lighting scheme that highlights your outdoor area’s best features, you can spend more time appreciating the outdoors in comfort. Continue reading “Indoor-Outdoor Living Solutions”

Advances in Energy Efficiency = Customized Plans and Options

With years of building energy star certified homes under our belt and having been a pioneer of our local HBA’s Built Green program, it’s fair to say that Devoted Builders has real experience in energy efficient and sustainable home building in the Tri-Cities area; and with this experience comes knowledge. Valuable knowledge that comes from working on different styles of homes, built on different topographies in different areas, for owners with different energy efficiency and sustainability desires and resources. Continue reading “Advances in Energy Efficiency = Customized Plans and Options”

Utilizing the Natural Landscape

natural stone stairwayWhen we build a home, we like to take inspiration from the environment in which the home is being built. We consider the natural slope and topography, curves, and materials when designing a home. We find this is important when creating a harmonious relationship with nature.

We are currently working on finishing up our home, located in Heritage Hills in Richland. The home will be for sale after completion in just a few weeks. As you can see from the photo at the right and in the elevation provided below, keeping the lines, paths and materials harmonious with the environment was a critical extra step we took. This home is a combination of Prairie design and Craftsman, noted for strong horizontal lines that hug the landscape and use of indigenous materials. Continue reading “Utilizing the Natural Landscape”

HOMEOWNERS: The New Carbon Monoxide Detector Law pertains to you!

The State of Washington recently revised RCW 19.27.530 which requires that all single family residences, condominiums, apartments, hotels and motels have working carbon monoxide detectors installed. Single family homes that were occupied before July 26, 2009 are exempt until the home is sold, at which point the seller must install a detector. This new revision requires strict regulation of carbon monoxide detectors in homes, condominiums, apartments, hotels and motels and allows for enforcement to make sure these regulations are being followed.

Carbon monoxide detectors are similar to smoke detectors in their operation. They are designed to save lives by sensing dangerous carbon monoxide levels and sounding an alarm to evacuate when these become too high and unsafe.

Under the past law, new residences must have carbon monoxide alarms installed upon completion. However, this new law applies to any home that is sold.

Why is there such a concern over carbon monoxide? Carbon monoxide is a very dangerous poisonous gas which cannot be seen or smelled. It is so dangerous it can kill a person or an animal in a very short period of time.  Carbon monoxide can quickly build up to fatal levels in either enclosed areas, semi-enclosed areas or non-ventilated areas.

It naturally occurs when fuel is burned. Cars, trucks, small gasoline power equipment like trimmers, chain saws, boat engines, lanterns, burning charcoal and wood, gas ranges, ovens, and furnaces produce carbon monoxide. It is also produced from tobacco smoke.

If you are thinking about selling your property this spring, you need to learn your options now and be prepared to have a detector installed.

And buyers listen up! If you are purchasing a bank-owned property, the property is not exempted from this law. Make sure that the home you are purchasing comes with a carbon monoxide detector.

We are advising our clients to make sure they have their carbon monoxide detector installed by a professional. This is essential for both safety and liability reasons.

If you have any questions about this new law as it might pertain to your personal situation please feel free to give us a call. You can reach Jennifer at (509) 947-5670 or Jessica at (509) 947-2230. We would happy to discuss your options with you.

Housing Affordability in the Tri-Cities

According to the National Association of REALTORS®, 2012 was a record year in terms of housing affordability. The Housing Affordability Index is measured by the relationship between median home price, median family income and average mortgage interest rate. A higher index indicates the more purchasing power buyers have.

An index of 100 is the point at which a median-income household has exactly enough income to purchase a median-priced existing single-family home with a 20% down payment and 25% of gross income allotted for monthly mortgage principle and interest.

December’s Index numbers are not yet available, but at the end of November, it stood at 198.2 while it stood at 194 for the year overall – the most affordable on record since the Index was developed in 1970. This is an increase over 2011 when the index was 186 overall (which was the previous record).

Although the Federal Reserve has promised to keep interest rates low and wages are steady and moderately on the rise, interest rates will likely increase slightly in 2013, and with median home prices increasing, the National Association of REALTORS® has predicated the Housing Affordability Index will average 160 during 2013 –  still the third-most-affordable year on record.

Here in the Tri-Cities, the median home price ending third quarter was $184,700, a 1.9% increase over the previous year. And although we have seen unemployment rates rise locally, the ratio between monthly income and mortgage payment remains better than most markets during the third quarter at 10.1% (nationally this ratio is at 13.8%).

This is still a great time to buy a house if you are a first-time homebuyer, or ready to upgrade to something bigger! With interest rates still low and prices have not increased significantly, buyers have more buying power than almost any other time in history. Couple this with bankers lightening their lending requirements in 2013 and it is a phenomenal time to buy. Give us a call to learn more about just how much home you may be able to afford. You may be surprised! Call us:  Jennifer (509) 947-5670 or Jessica (509) 947-2230.


Tri-Cities Housing Market Update

The National Association of Home Builders/First American released their Improving Markets Index in January, and the Tri-Cities made the Index due to home price appreciation, an increase in employment, and an increase in building activity.

The Index measures improvements from “troughs” in building permits (measured from the U.S. Census Bureau), home prices (measured from Freddie Mac), and employment (measured by the Bureau of Labor Statistics). Each metro area has different trough dates depending on the lowest point in each of those individual areas. Cities that made the Index are those who have shown improvement from their trough over the last six months. Here is how the Kennewick metro area shaped up:

Let’s take a closer look at the new housing permit data from the U.S. Census Bureau. As you can see in the chart below, building permits for each month were higher than the previous month for each month in 2012 with the exception of April of 2012.

Total permits for 2011 were 1598 and increased by 28.84% in 2012 to 2059 (measured from January – November for both 2011 and 2012).

We have  a few more months until spring when the new home construction season starts and we at Devoted Builders and Referred Real Estate are looking forward to being a part of it!

If a move is in your future this spring, we would love to help! Please give us a call – Jessica (509) 947-2230 or Jennifer (509) 947-5670. We would love to get you into the home of your dreams!