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 http://www.dsireusa.org/
We have all heard the horror stories of families building a home and the contractor going WAY over budget, or worse running out of money and not completing the home… How can people building a new home avoid this disastrous situation?
- Don’t go it alone. So many people think that by being the General Contact of their own building project they will save money. In 95% of the cases where customers act as the GC, the project ended up over budget and WAY over schedule. Find a General Contractor with a strong reputation. Use the Better Business Bureau to check potential companies out, as well as customer referrals.
- Build a relationship with your General Contractor. If you don’t trust your GC, find a different one.
- As you go through the sales process, listen carefully! Beware of builders that consistently use estimates and allowances to give you pricing for your project. There is a big difference between estimates and quotes. Estimates are a general best guess of the cost, a quote is a real number based of the perimeter and details in the quote. Example: Estimate for Demolition of existing structure: $4500; Quote for Demolition of existing structure: Excavator for 4 hours $4,200, 1 extra dumpsters for debris and site clean up $1,500, total $5700. As you can see, the quote is higher than the estimate, but which figure is better?
- By Maine law, there must be a construction contract between the homebuyer and the builder. A construction contract is a binding legal document that must include certain details and wording in order to meet Maine State rules & regulations. Maine has provided an example building contract for people to refer to. We recommend printing this document, to help you get a better understanding of what you should expect in the contract with your contractor.
- In the state of Maine, anyone with a hammer can claim to be a builder. Kind of a scary thought! Please Note: Modular Home Builders are required to be licensed through the state. The Maine Attorney Generals office has set up a comprehensive list of items homebuyers should request from potential home builders on their website. Click here for the list.
At this point, I think everyone understands the advantages of solar power. We all know that over time, a home powered by solar energy will cost a homeowner less in energy costs than its grid powered counterpart. However, the cost of the solar energy system has made it cost prohibited for most homeowners. Is this trend starting to change?
A recent article published by Energy Circle indicates that the cost associated with solar energy is decreasing. With the lower cost of the photovoltaic units and the tax rebates in effect until 2016, now is a great time to start researching a solar energy system for your home.
Start your research here: Solar PV Now Cheaper than Grid Electricity
Renovations can reek havoc on families. Upsetting schedules, interrupting the normal flow of family life, and causing inconveniences not planned for. Many homeowners approach home renovations unaware of the stresses involved. Read on for tips to help you weather the renovation upheaval.
1. First and foremost: know your budget! We can’t stress this enough. Develop a budget, then work down from the most important item.
Example: Room to renovate: Living Room
Budget amount: Max figure you are willing to spend on renovation.
Must haves: Deduct from your budget first.
Would likes: Deduct from your budget after must haves are taken care of.
Be as precise as you can be in your budget (if you are putting up new sheetrock, make sure you budget for sheetrock screws). The goal is to spend your budget on paper before you purchase any materials. If you are using a contractor for your renovation, this step maybe a little easier. However, be sure you understand what the contractors quote includes ie: materials, labor, clean-up, etc.
2. As you build your budget, do some window shopping. Consider your decor ideas and compare different materials and products. Maybe the pre-painted white bead board will give you the same look and feel as the clear pine, but will cost 1/2 as much. Be sure to check out lighting options! Fixtures can add up quickly. If you are working with a contractor compare their allowances with the actually cost of the product/materials you want to use.
3. Take a close look at the timeline for the renovation compared to your family schedule. If your kitchen will be unusable for 1 1/2 weeks while new cabinets & counters are installed, how will you deal with feeding your family? Should you start the bathroom remodel after your sister’s wedding? Maybe planning a family camping trip during the refinishing of the living room floors would be a good idea. Always, Always, Always look ahead to the next few weeks after the renovation is supposed to be complete and make some general plans for delays in the process.
These three steps will help to make the renovation much less stressful. For every hour spent preparing, you could be saving yourself two hours of stress!
B4UBUILD.com is a website filled with information regarding residential construction & remodeling. Most of this information is targeted towards site built (stick built) construction. However, I wanted to point out a few links that are great resources for any type of construction. These links are found on the lower left hand corner of the B4UBUILD homepage. The links below will take you directly to the page:
Know what to expect… This page lays out the facts of the overall process. Building a home is a huge undertaking. Building a trusting relationship with your builder is key to having the process go smooth. Here at Schiavi Home Builders we have a saying “Our job is to manage expectations during the sales process and exceed expectations during construction.” In other words, the sales team works with each customer to clearly define what the customer expects in their home, quality, specifications, level of completion, etc. Then it is the construction team’s job to meet or exceed the expectations laid out.
Homebuilding process arm yourself with knowledge! Schiavi Home Builders feels so strongly about educating prospective home buyers, we offer a FREE New Home Planning Workshop.
How much does it cost? I love this page!! We are asked this question everyday, and get very skeptical looks for homebuyers when we say, “Well, that depends on a lot of variables.” You can’t ask your grocer what your groceries will cost before you put anything into your cart…
Construction schedule This schedule is geared towards a site built home, so please keep in mind it would be greatly condensed with modular technology. However, this page is still a great resource to show you the various components involved in this process. Schiavi Home Builders has a clear schedule for each home we build. This schedule is laid out with consideration of all the homes we are building.
Construction contract Read this page carefully! Your construction contract is your protection against fraud. Schedule an appointment with Schiavi Home Builders to discuss our building contract. We have worked diligently to develop a contract that protects the home buyer as well as our business.
This is a document that was presented to the Maine Legislature in March of 2010, in an effort to garner support for Geothermal Heating. This article is written specific to geothermal heat in Maine, using information about our electricity rates as well as cost of oil/propane. Please keep in mind this information was compiled in the Winter of 2010, and may need slight adjustments to current costs.
GeoThermal Systems in Maine