The news is full of economic woes and horrible housing statistics, however, I ran across an interesting statistic which I found pretty amazing. Taken from the website www.housingpredictor.com; “There are an estimated 78 million homes in the U.S. today, the highest number in history and according to a study by the National Bankers Association more than 40% are paid-off without mortgages.” Wow – according to the local and national news – I thought the majority of people were facing foreclosure.
Additionally, here in Maine, we are one of the two states in the Northeast that has seen a small population growth in the last year. There have been a growing number of new employers that are attracting younger residents, as well as an influx of retirees. Our overall housing market is down only around 4%. While that isn’t good news, it sure beats the worst housing markets across the nation which are down an average of nearly 20%. Comparatively, we’re looking strong and I think our recovery will be relatively quick.
With all the doom and gloom, sometimes it’s just nice to concentrate on the positive – it doesn’t get as much press as the negative which we are bombarded with daily. There are some good things reported, we just need to look harder for them.
Energy tax credits for existing home owners have been extended into 2009. The array of items you can get tax credit for may be a simple as a storm window or new insulation, or it might be full installation of a new geothermal heating system. If you aren’t sure if your renovation is included in the list of available tax credits keep good records and bring them to your tax accountant.
The record for each product should include:
- Name and address of the manufacturer
- Identification of the component
- Make, model or other appropriate identifiers
- Statement that the component meets the 25C standards
- Climate zones for which the criteria are satisfied
- Additional information for storm windows, if applicable
- A declaration that the certification statement is true
Alternatively, the home owner can use the Energy Star certification of the product, if available.
You can read more about the Energy Tax Credits at the Irs.gov website.
We’ve been promoting a combination of Timberframe and System Built technology for quite some time. If you are intrigued with the concept but have a hard time visualizing how it might come together, make sure to watch This Old House for the fall 2008 season. They are going to show you step by step how one couple designed their timberframe home and combined it with system built technology to arrive at a new home with the look and feel of the old house charm. Excellent craftsmanship and state-of-the-art building technologies marry to create a eco-friendly green dream home. Visit This Old House on the internet to see a short video of the process. If it looks like something you would love to build, call one of our Home Specialists to talk about building a dream home for yourself.
Times are tough for everyone and when times are tough, the tough get going. That goes for individuals and for businesses alike. So how do small businesses survive the economic crisis? According to an article written by Dennis Romero, You Can Weather the Economic Storm, posted at msnbc.com, “the core values and goals that inspired entrepreneurs to launch their dreams are the same ones that will carry proprietors through this malaise.”
At Schiavi Home Builders our philosophy is to keep delivering the same quality and service that our reputation has been built on for the last forty nine years. When times get tough, you toughen up, but you don’t take it out on your clients. We’ve pared down any unnecessary costs such as overtime, pay raises and other overhead expenses, while keeping the same customer service and building the same quality homes. All of the employees are committed to giving 100% effort for the benefit of the new home owner-just as they have always. That’s been our core value from day one and we’re sticking to it even when it’s a lot harder to. This is what separates us and makes us shine as the best custom home builder in these tough, tough times.
How can a firm in Oakland, CA be of any consequence to building in rural Maine? Michelle Kaufmann, owner of Michelle Kaufman Designs, Inc. – “a full service architectural design firm that specializes in sustainable, innovative, high quality design” is actively promoting Sustainability Labeling. She has recently released a white paper on her website outlining a proposal that each home has a label, based on the idea of nutrition labels for food, that rates sustainability. Her list of items to be included on this label are:
- the R-value of the roof, floor and wall
- the U-value of the glass
- an efficiency rating of the electrical and plumbing
- an analysis of the resource consumption (materials used to build the home)
- an indoor air quality assessment
The idea is to make certain that people become aware of the actual cost to the environment of their home. According to her white paper Kaufmann says, “Our belief and our hope is that the introduction of sustainability labeling would not only lead to greater demand for sustainably designed homes, but also that the demand eventually grows to such a degree that traditional home construction methods are one day permanently abandoned.” I’d say that would have some effect on Maine building!
To read the entire white paper on sustainability labeling visit the website of Michelle Kaufmann Designs, Inc.