Monthly Archives: September 2017

5 Fall-Ready Home Improvement Tips to Breathe Easy

Cooler weather means closing up windows and spending more time indoors. Add to that seasonal candles, home renovation projects, and cold and flu season, and suddenly indoor air quality can border on hazardous. This fall and winter, create a clean-air haven in your home with these DIY tips.

  1. Start with easy seasonal maintenance, like changing the furnace/HVAC filter to make sure heating appliances are working efficiently. Clean out air ducts and chimneys to minimize dust, lint, and debris.
  2. Control mold and moisture. Start by fixing leaky sinks and faucets, then giving showers and toilets a good scrub to get rid of mildew build-up. After that, be sure to keep bathrooms properly ventilated to prevent future mildew.
  3. If re-varnishing or reupholstering furniture, look for low or no VOC options, and if bringing new furniture and home goods into a space, allow it to off-gas before spending time in the room with it.
  4. Purchase an indoor air purifier like Blue by Blueair, available at The Home Depot. This purifier removes pet dander, dust mites, viruses and odors that are common in the home. Also, with fall DIY home improvement season in full swing, Blueair air purifiers can remove paint VOCs and construction dust. Set them up in the kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, or wherever it’s needed most at home.
  5. Limit use of sneaky air quality offenders like plush pillows, rugs and curtains, seasonal candles, paint, and glue/caulk, which can bring invisible but harmful particles and irritants into the home.

DIY expert Amanda Hendrix from Love & Renovations adds these home improvement tips:

“Our area in Austin is full of cedar, so we keep the house closed down when fall allergens are at their highest and rely heavily on our Blueair air purifier to help ease symptoms. I also do some quick fall maintenance around the house – re-caulk in bathrooms and kitchens, do a walk-through and check for drafty doors and windows. Winter isn’t an ideal time to be crossing these pesky items off the to-do list, so try to take care of these small (but vital!) tasks throughout the fall.”

Original Source:

Original Author: Blueair

Original Date: 9-25-17


Things Needed for New Construction

There are many things that you need to consider when looking into new construction.  First of all it is important to have property in which to get started.  There are various size plots on which to build a new home.  It is crucial that the home is constructed on a plot of land that is an adequate size for the size of the home that is to be constructed.

Once this has been accomplished it is important to make arrangements to find a contractor who will work with you to make your dream a reality.  They can help you make arrangements for materials that are to be used in construction.  You will make arrangements with the contractor for all the things and laborers to be used in the construction of your new construction home.  All of the costs associated with the new construction are calculated by the contractor and told to the homeowner so that they can make proper arrangements.

There are many options available in construction of all types including:

  • Any feature you desire can be added in new construction. Each feature that is added or upgraded from the basic plan initially agreed upon will be an additional cost to the homeowner.
  • A new construction contractor has specific costs that are charged to the homeowner. These charges are the basics that are needed throughout the construction process.
  • The new construction process is time consuming. Homeowners will need to be patient and work in conjunction with the contractor to achieve the smoothest possible build.
  • Contractors will keep you abreast of time constraints and estimates of time in which different process throughout the build will take and when they are expected to be completed.
  • New construction contractors will make arrangements with other contractors who are able to complete the requirements. These are the professionals within the construction industry that specialize in services such as electricians, plumbers, and such.
  • Many experienced contractors in the industry who are ready to work for new construction at any time.
  • It is important to get estimates from these contractors before you begin making your final selections to make sure that you are getting exactly what you want at a price that you can afford.

Some contractors charge more money as compared to others so you must make time to search for a reliable contractor.  When you have found a contractor that you want to move forward with it is time to make arrangements and get things which are to be used then the process of construction will begin.  As you move forward with the build it is important to check in on the progress of the work on your new construction home.

In case you need changes or modifications it is important to contact the contractor that you have hired and they will check the work and make updates as needed.

Learn more about Aspen Construction and the variety of home construction upgrades they provide including: new construction, home additions, bathroom remodeling, kitchen renovations, and finished basements at  To contact one of our home construction specialists call 517.404.2176 today.

New Construction vs. Existing Homes: The Up and Downside for Buyers

If you’re in the market to buy a home in the Charlottesville region, you can find a historic home built in the 1800s or opt for brand new custom-built home — and everything in between. So how do you know whether that new or existing home is the better fit for your family?

Between, Redfin, Trulia, Houzz and the like, you can disappear down a rabbit hole of articles trying to make the new vs. old call. We’ve run that gamut for you and compiled a top 10 list of key factors to consider.

  1. Location. Location. Location. Proximity to jobs, good schools and amenities tend to favor existing homes, but some developers are building the community into their new home projects.
  2. Price. The neighborhood and other factors ultimately determine the price point, but new homes often have a higher sale price.
  3. Timing.  If you’re pre-approved for loan, you can go out and buy an existing home right now. If you’re building a custom home, you have to factor in the months it takes to find the lot, decide on the plan and builder, secure permits, and build. In terms of timing, a production-built new home can fall in between these two options.
  4. Lot size. You tend to get a larger lot and yard with existing homes, especially in more urban areas.
  5. Efficiency. New homes can be 30% more efficient than those built even 5 years ago due to changes in building code and appliance and lighting standards. If you want lower bills and modern comfort, look for a new home or a home that has been upgraded with efficiency in mind.
  6. Character. The features that elicit comments about “charm” and “character” are often the most expensive to build into new homes. But some of the most sought after — built-ins, molding, real wood floors — come with the territory for homes built prior to the 1980s.
  7. Customization. This is a toss up. With new homes you can pick and choose what you want; older homes you can remodel to make more your own.
  8. Maintenance. A well-built new home will usually bring years of maintenance-free living.
  9. Landscaping. Older neighborhoods have mature trees and tree cover whereas plots for new development have often been cleared.
  10. Home size. Newer homes have modern floorplans (e.g., master with a bathroom) and are just larger in general.

The home renovation sector is enjoying growth right now. As cited in the Wall Street Journal, Americans will spend a record $316 billion on home remodeling this year, up from $296 billion in 2016. That’s thanks in large part to older homeowners making “aging in place” upgrades as well as millennials who often scoop up older properties and make modifications over time.

A good real estate agent can help you make the right new-or-not-new decision based on his or her detailed knowledge of the local community and neighborhoods; it’s hard to overstate how important a real estate agent is to finding the right property. It’s also important that buyers are able to prioritize what they’re looking for because buying a home, like many things, can be an exercise in compromise. Buyers can use this list above as a starting point for feature options, but reorder it according to their interests.

If you’re leaning towards buying an older home and upgrading it, this online tool can give you an idea of costs. And companies like Pearl Certification can provide buyers with guidance on improvements that increase comfort and improve indoor air quality, while lowering utility bills. Pearl can also track and certify those improvements over time (like with investment properties) to provide proper documentation that will add to home value at the point of sale.

A case in point: we worked with one Charlottesville buyer who bought a 1950’s home in the City and renovated it in the weeks before he and his family moved in. This was a smart option allowing him to have the best of both worlds. All of the dirty and complicated upgrades were completed prior to move in, and the buyer was able to finance them through the mortgage. His reward was a Pearl Certified home that has all of the efficiency and comfort of a new home, but the character and downtown location of an older property.

Original Source:

Original Author: Cynthia Adams, Pearl Certification

Original Date: Aug 11 2017