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”

Summer Air Conditioner Maintenance

 

If you are planning on putting your home on the market, or have purchased a home in the last year, you may want to consider getting your air conditioning unit serviced now rather than waiting.

As the calendar moves from spring to summer, the air conditioner, whether you have a heat pump, swamp cooler, or some other type of cooling unit, will be in-demand in the coming months. So why act preventively? There are two important reasons: Continue reading “Summer Air Conditioner Maintenance”

Newest Custom Home. Rambler with Shop in Pasco WA

image1 (4)Devoted Builder’s really enjoyed working with these great home owners in Pasco WA. The couple owned their own lot and we orchestrated the hook up of all infrastructure including, electrical, water and an engineered septic system.  The owners provided us with a rough plan they had drawn and from there it was fine tuned with our designer. The home is built on a crawl space, with no steps or stairs to enter or exit the home.  The owners chose traditional yet contemporary finishes including durable wood laminate flooring, quartz counter tops, beech wood cabinets and ceramic tile.  For questions or to get an estimate to build a home on your own land/lot in or around the Richland, Kennewick or Pasco, WA area, call Jennifer at 509-947-5670 or Jessica at 509-947-2230. Continue reading “Newest Custom Home. Rambler with Shop in Pasco WA”

Should I Stay or Should I Go? – The Pros and Cons of Renovating

According to the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB), market conditions point to a higher demand for remodeling in the coming months. The NAHB produces their Remodeling Market Index which measures remodeling activity in homes: calls for bids, amount of work committed for the next three months, backlog of jobs and appointments for proposals. The RMI hit an all-time high of 60 in the last quarter of 2014. Continue reading “Should I Stay or Should I Go? – The Pros and Cons of Renovating”

Should I Build a Custom Home?

If you are thinking of buying a home, the thought of purchasing either something new from a production builder or having a builder custom-build a home just for you may have crossed your mind. This can be a very exciting – and possibly scary – time! Usually buyers have a lot of questions about the process which can vary depending on if you are simply buying a home from a builder in a development or if you prefer to have a builder start from scratch on the land of your choice.

In the Tri-Cities, there are currently over 300 homes listed for sale which indicate they were built in either 2012 or 2013. Many of these homes are already finished, but there are several which are available in various stages of completion with some customization still available. Alternatively, there are over 250 pieces of land available to build a single-family home on ranging from property high on the hillsides of Richland to waterfront property along the rivers, to acres of agricultural land and even land bordering a golf course.

When we are working with a buyer who is thinking of building a custom home, we usually recommend they first think about where they want to live and HOW they want to live. For example, a buyer may be thinking of living in a golf course community because they like the access to recreation, yet they may need a three car garage and shop for their “hobbies” which may not be something that a standard lot in that type of development or homeowners association can allow. Furthermore, think about proximity to work, school, and extracurricular activities to determine an ideal radius to be within. This helps create a list of area “must haves” which is essential for beginning the search.

Then we look at new home developments within this to determine if anything that is already-built meets their needs. If the area is right, but the home or property just need a few tweaks in order to be move-in ready for the buyer, this type of new home may be a good fit.

However, if the buyer has specific wants and needs or there don’t seem to be any developments that are the right fit, then it is time to put on some boots and begin looking for the perfect piece of land. By this point, we should also have a list of home “must-haves” so we can find the right piece of land for your home. In the previous example, that buyer needed not only a garage, but also a shop. Depending on the needs of the buyer, we may also look for areas that allow homes to be above a certain height or allow a basketball court to be built in the backyard. Perhaps having some chickens is on the “must-have” list. Every buyer and list of needs is different.

Budget is also top of mind for us throughout the search and the “dreaming” process while we help our buyers find the right land fit and right builder fit. Helping find the right match and helping people live in an environment completely custom-suited to them is one of our favorite parts of our job!

If you have been wondering what it takes to buy a new home in a development, an almost-done home that requires customization, or a brand new home from scratch on your dream lot, give us a call! We are experts in helping our clients find – or build –  the right home for their needs. We are happy to consult with you to help determine the right direction. You can reach Jennifer at (509) 947-5670 or Jessica at (509) 947-2230.

ENERGY STAR® certified homes – leading the way in smart new home construction

Energy Star Logo

You might have heard the term ENERGY STAR® in the context of new home construction and assumed the reference was regarding the appliances or lighting. However, did you know that some builders who are focused on developing more energy-efficient building science are building entire homes that carry the ENERGY STAR® seal of approval? These homes are built to standards which well exceed other homes on the market today. Typically, these homes are more than 30% more energy efficient as compared to an average new home.

In the Tri-Cities, there are 17 ENERGY STAR® “Builder Partners” – builders who are committed to building at least one new ENERGY STAR® certified home every 12 months. Devoted Builders is pleased to be one of those few builders and to have built 79 of the 893 ENERGY STAR® certified homes in the Tri-Cities.

According to the ENERGY STAR® website, www.energystar.gov, ENERGY STAR® certified homes built in 2011 are the equivalent of:

  • Eliminating emissions from 117 vehicles
  • Saving 705,432 lbs of coal
  • Planting 193 acres of trees
  • Saving the environment 1,383,494 pounds of CO2

So what does it take to become an ENERGY STAR® certified home?

  • Specialty Engineering: The engineering of new home systems including heating and cooling, foundation and wall construction undergo scrutiny up front to make the most out of energy efficient advances before the foundation is even poured! ENERGY STAR® building science includes:
      • Complete thermal enclosure system  – an air-tight envelope!
      • Complete heating and cooling system – more comfortable, great air quality, and quiet operation!
      • Complete water management system – both indoors and out!
      • Energy-efficient lighting and appliances – of course!
  • Climate-Specific Recommendations: ENERGY STAR® builder partners work with a ENERGY STAR® Home Energy Rater to determine the specific energy-saving techniques and features that are most effective for each climate. For example, an area whose climate is subject to severe winds (such as ours) would require a different climate-specific energy-saving solution than one that doesn’t have a wind challenge, but extreme temperature extremes.
  • Extensive Inspections: To verify ENERGY STAR® homes meet the stringent energy efficiency requirements, Home Energy Raters conduct inspections of the homes which include a blower door test to check for an air-tight seal, duct blaster test to check for duct leakage, and a wide range of other parameters.

If you have been thinking about shrinking your carbon footprint – or just want a home with cleaner air and lower utility bills, an ENERGY STAR® home may be just what you are looking for.

Come and see the almost-complete newest ENERGY STAR® certified home in Mediterranean Villas (and learn how I.C.F. Construction is paving the way in exciting energy advancements) or come and talk with Devoted Builders and Jessica Johnson and Jennifer Cowgill with Referred Real Estate, as we can help you find the perfect lot for your custom-built ENERGY STAR® certified home.  So whether you fancy a hip urban contemporary pad or a historic-feeling home in the woods, we are a perfect match for your needs. Please give Jessica  a call at (509) 947-2230 or Jennifer at  (509) 947-5670 to learn more about your options.