General Information

OSB vs. Plywood

OSB vs. Plywood

Posted By on Oct 14, 2013

Lately, a lot of people have been asking whether we use Plywood or OSB Sheathing.  Our answer is both, but this inquiry has caused me to be curious about the benefits of Plywood vs. OSB.

In this video, Matt Risinger discusses the differences between the two products.  He also explains how he uses the products in the homes he builds.  His application is not relevant in our use of modular technology for two reasons: 1) Modular homes have a much shorter window of opportunity for weather exposure before button-up and 2) Modular homes must be built on a crawlspace or foundation not slab on grade.  Even with these two distinct differences in our construction applications, the information Mr. Risinger discusses is valuable.

Link to Video: OSB vs Plywood Sheathing – or Both?

Further Research:

Product Pros and Cons: OSB v. Plywood by Builder Online

OSB vs. Plywood by Int’l Association of Certified Home Inspectors

Read More
A Rebate May be in Your Future….

A Rebate May be in Your Future….

Posted By on Sep 19, 2013

Did you know that you may be able to get a tax rebate or grant or other incentive for the energy updates your home may need?  That’s right!  You may be able to get funds to complete updates and renovations your home already needs.

Check out the Database of State Incentive for Renewables and Efficiency at

Read More

You can feel the energy in the housing market.  There are MANY potential new home builds just on the verge of happening, but customers are waiting…. wondering if now is the right time to build.

Well, all indications are saying there isn’t going to be a better time to build than now!

  1. Home values are increasing with each day that passes.  This means, from the moment you sign your building contract, your home value is appreciating!  You are building equity into your home even as your home is being built.
  2. Building material expenses are going up.  Sign your building contract TODAY, tomorrow it will be more expensive to build your home…
  3. Mortgage rates are stable, but they are slowly creeping up.  The rates are not going down, the best rate is the rate that is available today.

New-home sales rise 2.1 percent in May by Housing Zone.

Housing Market Shrugging Off Rise in Mortgage Rates by New York Times.

Builders and Lumber Dealers Both Report Shortages of Key Materials by NAHB

Read More
Buying vs. Building

Buying vs. Building

Posted By on Jun 27, 2013

How do you decide between purchasing your home or building your home?  It is up to each family to weigh the factors of each option and decide which will be the best for their situation.  This blog has been written to give you a clear understanding of some of the pros and cons of each options, as well as some tips to make either process move smoother.

Buying a Home


  1. Purchasing a home is quicker.  Typically once an offer is accepted by the seller a closing can be scheduled within 2 months.
  2. You can see and touch the home.  Walking through a home is much different than looking at plans.
  3. Landscaping is mature. The lawn is ready for the swing set. The shrubs along the front of the home or edge of the road are full.
  4. The bargain.  Buyers can usually find a great deal, especially in the current market.


  1. Sellers don’t always disclose the full reason they are moving, such as the 2 am train knocks the glasses of the shelves or the neighbors throw wild parties with fireworks every weekend.
  2. Older homes are not as efficient as newer homes.  They are not as well insulated and tend to be harder to heat.
  3. When you buy a 10 year old home, you are also buying 10 year old systems and fixtures.  Appliances, boilers, fixtures and some building materials have an expected lifetime.  Replacement costs can add up quickly and start much sooner than the homebuyer may anticipate.
  4. Many of the homes currently on the market are foreclosed properties.  These properties are not always properly maintained during and after the foreclosure process.  Homes do not withstand neglect well, especially in upper New England.  One winters worth of no maintenance, possibly no heat or electricity, is a lot of wear and tear.

Tips for a smoother buying process:

  1. Higher a reputable home inspector.  This person is worth their weight in gold, if they can inform you of issues before the closing.
  2. Ask your realtor lots of questions about the home you consider.  Age of appliances, systems & fixtures.  How long has the home been empty if it is a foreclosed property.
  3. Require that all systems be operating during the home inspection.

Building a Home


  1. It’s your home.  Your plan, your design choices.
  2. All systems, fixtures, materials & appliances are new.  They meet all current safety and energy standards, and should carry the full warranty.
  3. Lower energy and maintenance cost.  Even if you aren’t building a home specifically designed for high energy efficiency, new homes continue to become more and more efficient as new products and materials become available.
  4. The majority of new homes are being built in developments, this means you may be building with a community of new homes.  Many developments have strict guidelines about the types of homes allowed and what maintenance is expected.  This ensures the homes around you will be of similar value and well maintained helping to keep home values steady.


  1. Not being able to see and touch the home during the sales process can be difficult for some prospective homebuyers.
  2. Cost overruns.  Building material prices fluctuate, this can cause the cost of your home to rise during the building process.  There is also the risk that not all materials are accurately reflected during the sales process.  For instance, homebuyers may think they are getting a beautiful dining room light, but the builder put the cost of the dome fixture into the cost.
  3. Delays.  The building process spans over several months with multiple contractors involved.  Without a clear plan, delays are inevitable.

Tips for a smoother building process:

  1. Higher a reputable general contractor to oversee the entire building process.  Having one company responsible for all aspects of the construction from excavation to interior paint, will make the process smoother and eliminate stress on the homeowner.
  2. Ask questions during the sales process!  Visit construction sites, talk with previous customers.
  3. Always get written quotes, never agree to build anything based on an estimate.  Discuss with potential builders what their policy is on cost overruns and construction delays.  Without a clear policy, the cost and completion date of the project will never be met
  4. Read the building contract.  The contract should clearly define who is responsible for all aspects of the building process.

Hopefully this information will help you make the right decision for your family.  For more information check out these links:

Buying vs. Building by AskMen

The Financial Considerations of Building vs. Buying by Investopedia

Building a Home vs. Buying a Pre-Existing Home by

As a final thought, I will leave you with this:  Everyone has heard the old adage “Live and Learn” meaning as you live your life, you learn from your experiences… Now let’s briefly consider homeownership options.  Approximately twice as many first homebuyers buy their home as those that build.  However, with each change in homeownership this ratio decreases with more homeowners choosing to build their second or third homes… Retirees are now one of the largest demographic building their homes.  Food for thought.

Read More
Review and Outlook

Review and Outlook

Posted By on May 31, 2013

I was cleaning out the Drafts folder in the Blog and realized this blog was never posted….

Last January I posted Housing Market Outlook for 2012.  How accurate was I on my assessment of the 2012 Housing Market?

  1. Mortgage rates are still a historic lows.
  2. Unemployment rate is at about 7.5%, which is slightly better than this time last year.
  3. The amount of Foreclosures in the past year, was the lowest amount since 2008
  4. New home builds held steady for us during 2012.
  5. We did see an increase in prospects especially towards the end of the year.

I think my 2012 Outlook was pretty accurate.  Now lets see how I do with the 2013 Outlook

Unemployment and foreclosure rates continue to drop.  They are still high, but the improvement is there.  The appraisal process is still a bit rough; however, as foreclosures are sold out of the market the comparables are getting better.  The election is behind us.

All of these points add up to a decent outlook for 2013.  Unlike in 2012, when I thought we would hold steady, in 2013 I believe we will see an increase in new home builds.  People want to take advantage of the low mortgage rates and are going to be financially comfortable making a commitment to a mortgage.

Here’s what the experts are forecasting for 2013:

A New Housing Boom by CNN Money

Housing Market in 2013: What to Expect by Fox Business

5 Things Consumers Should Expect From the Housing Market in 2013 by Forbes

Housing Outlood 2013: Home Prices Get a Lift by Kiplinger

In the long run, it doesn’t matter what I think, or what experts think, it matters what potential new home buyers think… What are your thoughts?

Read More
Homes for the Millennial Generation

Homes for the Millennial Generation

Posted By on May 20, 2013

Researching for this blog has been a bit more difficult than researching for the previous generations.  The millennial generation were born 1980 to 2000.  This puts the oldest in the generation in their early 30’s and the youngest are just entering their teens.  Many of the older millennials are still either renting of living in their parents home due to the housing bust, high unemployment rates and high college debt.  This is quickly changing as the housing market levels off and employment opportunities increase.  As they do entering the housing market, more information about their expectations, wants and needs are emerging.

  1. While many millennials are do-it-youselfers, they want homes that are move in ready.
  2. While Generation X found smart home technology convenient, millennials find it a necessity.  Being able to connect with and control all aspects of their home from virtually anywhere, may seem over the top to most people, but to the latest homebuying generation it is common sense.
  3. Energy efficiency may not appear on their list of needs/wants, this isn’t because efficiency isn’t important, but rather, efficiency is the norm.  To this generation listing energy efficiency as important would be like listing indoor plumbing as important…
  4. Size does matter!  The millennial generation will NOT pay for a home with extra space they won’t use.  This generation isn’t going to buy a home their family will “grow” into.  Their home will fit their family and lifestyle now, if their family and lifestyle change, their home will change at that time.
  5. Building new is the best option for many people in the millennial generation.  More and more first time homebuyers are immediately entering the homebuilding market to meet their homeownership needs.  This ensures they are getting the most current advancements in energy efficiency, design, and technology.

It will be interesting to see the changes the millennial generation will make to the housing & real estate markets.  One thing is for sure, their expectations are driven by technology, which is ever changing and evolving.

Read More