Builder Blog from Integrity Windows and Doors

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Increased Curb Appeal is Increased Value

July 24th, 2015 by Integrity Windows

When thinking of ways to increase a home’s value, many immediately start thinking kitchen remodels. Although this does hold merit, there are things homeowners can do to increase their home’s value other than remodel the kitchen – new surfaces, appliances and cabinets will only get you so far. Both Realtor Mag and the Huffington Post suggest sprucing up your home’s curb appeal when thinking value increasing home improvements.

Small upgrades to a home’s exterior like adding a fresh coat of paint to a front door, installing new landscaping, and adding a new deck easy are ways to increase a home’s value and add curb appeal, states Realtor Mag.

Here are five outdoor home improvement tips to increase the curb appeal of your house as reported by Huffington Post:

  1. A little bit of landscaping goes a long way.
  2. Power washing and window cleaning do wonders.
  3. Replace shutters and/or the front door.
  4. Resurface your driveway.
  5. Clean or sand the deck.

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Processes Every Builder Should Address

July 22nd, 2015 by Integrity Windows

According to Professional Builder, builders have been experiencing a problem of higher sales and lower profit margins. They also state that this phenomenon is predicted to continue through 2016 and possibly further. The following 12 practices can be put into action to help builders combat higher sales and low profit margins.

12 Processes That Must be Addresses by Every Builder as reported by Professional Builder:

  • Land/Lot Selection – Match land and lots to your strengths and market needs.
  • New Community Startup – Land contract through opening the first model.
  • Product Design – Concept through fully detailed working drawings.
  • House Bid Package – Include specifications, options, contracts, and scopes of work.
  • Sales & Marketing – Include options, selections, and design center (if applicable).
  • House Start Package – 100 percent accurate, all details of exactly what goes into each house.
  • Supplier & Trade Development – Secure and sustain top trends and crews at a competitive price.
  • Purchase Order/ Variance Purchase Order Process – Accurate, efficient, responsive, with minimal variance.
  • Building Schedule – Accurate and predidticable for supliers, trades, and customers.
  • Field Constrution and Quality – Include site management, material management, QA, and warranty.
  • Homebuyer Management – From prospect to contract through warranty.
  • Culture / People Development – A great workplace with productive, engaged people.

View the 12 processes in detail at ProBuilder.com.

 



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Integrity Windows and Doors has teamed up with building industry thought leader, Matt Risinger, president of Austin, Texas-based Risinger Homes, to provide insights and best practices to fellow professionals across the country. This is the second post in a six-part series. 


The Southern region of the United States is a particularly harsh climate for windows. We get lots of direct sun and those Ultraviolet (UV) rays can be brutal on a window. In today’s blog post, I want to lay out the pros/cons for the four main types of windows specifically to performance in the South.

 

WOOD

Wood is a terrific frame choice, but it’s not a great choice for the Southern U.S. High humidity and rain are common and wood windows need to be maintained impeccably to keep up resistance to rot. If you like the look of a classic wood window, look for a well-detailed clad product like Marvin’s Next Generation Ultimate Double Hung. That’s a wood window with an extruded aluminum “armor” on the outside. Wood handles the heat well, but an un-clad wood window won’t perform well long term.

 

ALUMINUM

Aluminum is durable choice for the South because it’s impervious to the elements, and handles UV rays well. The big downside of aluminum is that it’s a huge conductor of heat and even with a thermal break it’s on the bottom of the list for efficiency.

 

VINYL

Vinyl is a popular choice in American homes today due to the low price point. It’s a decent window from an efficiency standpoint, but it’s not a good choice for the South. Vinyl expands and contracts at a much higher rate than other materials and our high heat wreaks havoc on a vinyl window in the sun. UV rays are vinyl’s enemy and fading and deterioration are common after only a decade. I recommend against vinyl windows.

 

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FIBERGLASS

This is my favorite choice for a window in the South, which is why I so often choose Integrity’s Ultrex pultruded fiberglass solutions. Fiberglass is particularly suited to our climate zone because it takes the heat and UV rays extremely well. It’s impervious to water and rot, plus it’s a strong frame that doesn’t expand and contract much. In fact, the expansion rate of fiberglass is very similar to the glass in the window. I also like that fiberglass comes factory finished with an acrylic cap stock (similar to your bathtub), but it can accept paint in the future.


 

For more information on windows, visit Matt’s blog at www.MattRisinger.com or his YouTube channel at www.YouTube.com/MattRisinger.



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Evolution of the Home

July 17th, 2015 by Integrity Windows

The standard American home has seen a lot of change throughout the past 20 years. Today there are more bedrooms, fewer fireplaces, greater outdoor features, and it’s a lot more expensive. Reported by Realtor Mag, the average sales price in 1994 was $154,500 compared to the $345,800 average sales prices in 2014.

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Following is a comprehensive infographic from SelfStorage.com which depicts the evolution of the American home. In most instances, comparisons were made between homes built in 1994 and 2014. However, SelfStorage states, in some cases (based on the availability of data), comparisons were made [between] homes built in 2004, 2009 or 2010 and homes built in 2014.
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Hit the Pool!

July 15th, 2015 by Integrity Windows

As we hit mid-July, many across the country are looking to beat the summer heat. What better way to drop rising body temperatures than jumping in the pool?

Although certainly valued throughout the country, you’ll find some cities are a bit more committed. For instance, according to Realtor Mag, in Coral Springs, Fla., pools are practically a must-have amenity. Shelly Lesser, a real estate professional in Coral Springs, told realtor.com® that in her community alone only three out of 550 homes don’t have a pool.

Arizona and Florida boast the highest number of residential pools nation wide, but that probably doesn’t come as a huge surprise as they also experience some of the hottest weather in the country. Even so, realtor.com® reminds us that having a pool doesn’t necessarily boost your home’s value. In fact, it can be a turnoff for buyers with young children, as they can pose a health hazard. Other homeowners just don’t like the idea of messy and expensive upkeep. Still, when temperatures climb, having a pool is hard to argue.

Top 10 medium to large cities with the highest percentage of backyard pools as reported by realtor.com®:

  1. Coral Springs, Fla.: 66%
  2. Scottsdale, Ariz.: 62%
  3. Tempe, Ariz.: 46%
  4. Chandler, Ariz.: 40%
  5. Glendale, Ariz.: 37%
  6. Gilbert, Ariz.: 37%
  7. Clearwater, Fla.: 32%
  8. Clovis, Calif.: 32%
  9. Mesa, Ariz.: 31%
  10. Plano, Texas: 31%

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Neighboring Landfill’s Affect on Home Values

July 10th, 2015 by Integrity Windows

It’s probably safe to assume that the landfill just blocks away from your potential home is going to deplete your house’s overall value, right? Actually, according to Realtor Mag, a recent study discredits this very assumption.

As claimed by research conducted by Montana State University professor, Richard Ready, that appeared in the Journal of Real Estate Research, it is true that high-volume landfills can reduce home values, but lower-volume landfills were found to not negatively effect the value of home prices, reports Realtor Mag. In fact, Ready found that about one-quarter of the landfills that process less than 500 tons of waste a day do not negatively impact the surrounding home values.

The article further states that low-volume landfills drop adjacent property values by 2.7 percent. Prices rise by 1.3 percent with each additional mile a house is located from a landfill, the study finds. Yet, high-volume landfills, which at least have 500 tons of waste a day, cause nearby property values to plunge by 13.7 percent on average. The pricing impact drops by 5.9 percent a mile.

Although analyzing waste volume of the landfills for the impact to home values makes sense because it can correlate to the landfill’s truck traffic, physical footprint, and visibility – which is what the study does – this doesn’t take into consideration the potential eyesore any given landfill poses. A landfill’s aesthetic prominence could have additional impact on neighboring house values – naturally.

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The Shift in Solar

July 8th, 2015 by Integrity Windows

Candidly stated in an article published by Shelton Group, a sustainable energy marketing firm, “In 2008, solar owners were rich conservatives (mostly in California) who were tired of blackouts and the soaring prices triggered by deregulation.” This isn’t the case in 2015.

According to Shelton group, and as reported by Professional Builder, solar panels continue to become more mainstream, especially as PV panel costs declined 20% in both 2011 and 2012. The increase in affordability and accessibility has presented homeowners with a practical, energy-efficient home improvement. Panels are popping up on traditional brick ranchers and three-bedroom, vinyl starters – not just McMansions.

Even though the target population for solar has greatly shifted and expanded, Shelton Group reports, “the underlying purchase drivers (control and independence) remain the same and connect with two closely related, cultural macro-trends: the on-demand economy and self-reliance.

 

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Hot Home Trends

July 1st, 2015 by Berit Griffin

Homebuyer’s preferences are always changing – a fact that can be particularly challenging for builders looking to meet buyers needs. In order to stay ahead of the game, executive director of KTGY, Nick Lehnert, believes that builders should treat housing trends as somewhat of a checklist when designing new homes, reports ConstructionDIVE.

A typical challenge for builders is incorporating relevant trending items, which are easily applied to the luxury home market, and modifying them for generally more affordable homes.

Eight of the top new home design trends for 2015 from KTGY, and as reported by ConstructionDIVE:

  1. Personalization/”Idea spaces”
  2. Super kitchens
  3. Pet amenities
  4. Spa-like master baths
  5. Larger media areas
  6. Smaller homes
  7. Better indoor/outdoor connectivity
  8. Larger garages

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New-Home Sales on the Rise

June 26th, 2015 by Integrity Windows

The new-construction market continues to gain ground this year, and new home sales have to risen to the highest rate since February 2008. In fact, according to a report from the Commerce Department, and as reported by Realtor Mag, sales of newly built single-family homes increased 2.2 percent, reaching a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 546,000 units.

Sales are nearly 20 percent higher than the pace in May 2014. New-home inventories remain tight at 206,000, a 4.5-month supply at the current sales pace. That’s pushed the average sales price of a new home sold in May to $337,000, states Realtor Mag.

A release of new home sales further demonstrates that sales pace has been generally picking up since last July, with dips in November 2014 and March 2015.

 

New home sales numbers (annualized, seasonally adjusted), as reported by Forbes:

May 2015: 546,000

April 2015: 534,000

March 2015: 494,000

February 2015: 545,000

January 2015: 521,000

December 2014: 495,000

November 2014: 449,000

October 2014: 472,000

September 2014: 459,000

August 2014: 454,000

July 2014: 403,000

June 2014: 408,000

May 2014: 457,000

 

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Baby Boomers Looking to Downsize

June 24th, 2015 by Integrity Windows

Although millenials are currently leading the multifamily housing, baby boomers looking to downsize are expected to drive apartment growth in the forthcoming years, according to a study by the Kansas City Federal Reserve, and as reported by Realtor Mag. In fact, the downsizing to apartments is an ever-increasing trend with older Americans.

Realtor Mag also states that downsizing activity generally occurs around the age of 70 and is becoming increasingly prominent by age 75. Looking at Census Bureau numbers, Americans aged 70 and older will increase by more than 20 million in the next 15 years – which, if downsizing remains a trend, will undoubtedly lead to a need for additional multi-family housing.

In a report from Kansas City Fed senior economist, Jordan Rappaport, he states that builders will need to adapt to the changing trends because while millenials are fine living in compact city spaces, older buyers tend to want more space and amenities – even when downsizing.

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