Desire for New Amenities Remains Top Reason to Remodel

According to remodelers polled in National Association of Home Builder’s Remodeling Market Index (RMI), the number one reason customers remodeled their homes in 2014 was a  “desire for better/newer amenities.” On a scale of 1 to 5 (where 1 indicates never or almost never, and 5 is very often), the average rating on desire for newer amenities was 4.4 in 2014.

In second place with an average rating of 4.2 was a “Need to repair/replace old components”.  A “desire for more space,”  another fairly traditional reason, came in third with an average rating of 3.8;   “To avoid moving or buying another home” was fourth at 3.3.

Desire to be able to age in place” (3.0),  “increasing the value of the home as an investment” (2.8), and “energy efficiency/environmental concerns” (2.6) while significant factors in the remodeling market, were less powerful than the simple desire for new things and need to replace old things.

Do you fall into any of these categories? If so, Chuck Miller Construction Inc. can assist you. Contact us at (208) 229-2553 or by email to chuck@chuckmillerconstruction.com

Are you a savvy homeowner?

Your home is an investment, and the value of that investment is determined by the housing market.  According to the latest American Express Spending & Saving Tracker, nearly two-thirds of homeowners say they will invest in renovation projects this year. You can increase the value of your home as an investment by increasing its energy efficiency. Energy efficiency equates to lower operating costs. Lower operating costs mean savings and that savings makes a home more desirable to potential buyers.

Research shows that eco-friendly homes are selling faster and for more money than traditional homes. In 2010, certified green homes spent an average of 97 days on the market, compared with 123 for traditionally remodeled homes. And although the numbers vary, in general they sell for 8% to 30% more.

Despite the sluggish economy and anxiety about price, “savvy” homeowners that are aware of the benefits of sustainable building solutions are willing to pay for them. Who are the “savvy” homeowners?  Savvy homeowners are the ones who know how to protect their investment. Whether purchasing or improving a home, you should realize you are making an investment with the objective of making a profit — at some point.

In an economy that’s made money a little tighter for everyone, are green improvements really necessary?  The answer to this question is “Yes.”  Homeowners should take note of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) and the impending 2012 residential changes to that code because it is about to have a substantial impact on the value of your investment.

You might have heard of Bill H.R.2454 – American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009.  H.R.2454 contained a provision that would have mandated energy audits and labeling before any home – new or used – was sold. The bill passed in the House of Representatives but stalled in the Senate because it was viewed as too stringent.  Since the “powers that be” cannot agree on how and where to build new energy plants to increase supply or even what types of plants to build, their only option is to decrease consumption.  So predictions are that mandated energy audits and labeling of homes will  eventually pass because of the International Energy Conservation Code and the 30 percent Energy Savings Goal changes to be enacted in 2012.

Regardless of what the federal government might mandate, the Idaho Building Code Act (Title 39 Chapter 41) requires all local governments in the State that issue building permits to adopt the most recent version of the International Building Code by January 1st of the year following its adoption by the Idaho Building Code Board.  And the adoption of the IECC 2012 code changes will eventually force you and other homeowners to incorporate green into your remodel projects or take a loss on your investment.

If you’re like most consumers, you are spending smart and looking for a greater ROI when it comes to home renovation.  Right now, it makes more sense to invest in your home than it does an IRA.  As a National Association of Home Builders Certified Green Professional, a U.S. Department of Energy Building America Builder’s Challenge Partner, and an Energy-Star 100% Builder Partner, I can help you protect your investment.   Call me at (208) 571-0755 or email me at chuck@chuckmillerconstruction.com.

Homeowners Seeking Increased Comfort, Not Increased Resale Value

According to ServiceMagic’s recently released Home Remodeling & Repair Index containing information compiled from 3.1 million service requests received through online marketplace from January to June of this year, as well as results from a survey of homeowners and service professionals conducted in July, homeowners are still looking to invest in home improvement projects that increase their home’s energy efficiency and contribute to better overall living quality.

When asked “Why are energy efficient home improvement projects important to you?” 35% of homeowners cited saving money on energy costs, 25% responded that saving energy helps the environment, and 23% responded it would increase the comfort of their home.

The majority of homeowners, 82%, said they were investing in home improvement projects to increase overall living quality. Only a very small percentage, 13%, were seeking to increase the value of their home. 4% were putting their house on the market and wanted to increase its value and 1% were putting their house on the market and wanted to increase its curb appeal.

Chuck Miller GMB   CGB  CGP  CAPS  MIRM   CMP   MCSP   CSP
President / Builder – Chuck Miller Construction Inc.
(208) 229-2553
chuck@chuckmillerconstruction.com

Building material prices continue to rise

Single-family housing starts in 2010 totaled 475,000 – a 7 percent increase over 2009 but still substantially below the 1,256,000 average starts per year from 1995 through 2003.  .Think the decrease in demand for new home construction has resulted in lower prices for building materials.  Think again.

Prices for materials used in construction actually increased 5.4 percent in all of 2010.  Prices increased at double-digit rates over the year for four key construction materials. Diesel fuel prices climbed 28 percent in 2010; steel mill product prices rose 12.5 percent (think rebar, nails, kitchen sinks, appliances, etc.); copper and brass mill shape prices were up 12 percent (think electrical wiring, water supply valves and fittings); and prices for aluminum mill shapes rose 12 percent over the year.  Other items that contributed to the climb included lumber and plywood, 5.7 percent; architectural coatings, primarily paint, 1.5 percent; brick and structural clay tile, 1.0 percent; gypsum products, 3.4 percent; asphalt, 4.6 percent; and insulation materials, 4.4 percent.  The National Association of Home Builders predicts single-family housing starts will increase 21 percent to 575,000 in 2011.  Although the demand for construction in the United States will remain relatively weak, the price increases are likely to intensify in 2011 as global demand for construction materials grows.

Have you been waiting to build your new home or remodel your existing home hoping prices will continue to fall?  You might have already waited too long.

Chuck Miller GMB   CGB  CGP  CAPS  MIRM   CMP   MCSP   CSP

President / Builder – Chuck Miller Construction Inc.

(208) 229-2553

chuck@chuckmillerconstruction.com

May is National Remodeling Month

Did you know that May is National Remodeling Month?  Since the downturn in new residential construction that began in 2007, the media has been focusing on the number of new starts as the key indicator of the health of the residential construction industry.  But focusing on the number of starts ignores an increasingly important component of residential construction – remodeling.

Not only is May National Remodeling Month but, according to David Crowe, Chief Economist for the National Association of Home Builders, depending upon how you measure it, remodeling has taken over first place in total residential construction expenditures.

There are two measures of remodeling activity.  The U.S. Census Bureau measure or residential construction spending only counts improvements to owner-occupied homes.  In January 2010, that component accounted for 48% of all residential construction spending.  Prior to the recent mid-decade construction boom, improvements to owner-occupied homes accounted for approximately 25% of all new-residential construction spending.  During the boom, it fell to 21%.  But improvements to owner-occupied homes have exceeded new-single family construction value since February 2009.

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis which measures the U.S. Gross Domestic Product includes within its residential construction spending accounts for residential remodeling of rental, vacant, and second homes in addition to owner-occupied homes. In 2008, this broader measure of residential improvement expenditures accounted for 42% of all residential construction,  In 2009, it is expected to top 50%. Prior to the mid-decade construction boom, this broader measure of residential improvement expenditures averaged around 30% of all residential construction spending.  It fell to 25%.  But improvements to owner-occupied homes have exceeded new-single family construction value since February 2009.

Professional remodeling activities are concentrated in the 85 million homes that are 25 years old and older.  About one-fifth of the owners of these homes spent and average of $11,400 on professional remodeling in 2007.

There are two primary drivers – the energy tax credits and the Baby-Boomers who are choosing to remain in their existing homes.

Improvement to increase the energy-efficiency of your home and remodeling for Aging-in-Place to allow you to live in your home independently regardless of age or ability are two of our specialties.  To learn more, visit our website www.chuckmillerconstruction.com.

 Chuck Miller GMB   CGB   CGP  MIRM   CMP   MCSP   CSP

President / Builder – Chuck Miller Construction Inc.

(208) 229-2553  (208) 571-0755

chuck@chuckmillerconstruction.com

Construction Worker Rated the 8th Worst Job

The headline read “Construction Worker Rated the 8th Worst Job.”  Being a Builder who started out as construction worker, I just had to investigate further.  Here is what I found.

The headline referred to JobsRated.com’s 2010 Jobs Rated report which the website says “offers a comprehensive analysis of 200 different jobs giving each a unique ranking based on factual analysis and hard data, not guesswork.”

The report compares and contrasts careers across a multitude of industries, skill levels and salary ranges using five key measurement criteria – stress, working environment, physical demands, income and hiring outlook – and sorting them into a definitive list of jobs that can be called “worst” and “best.”  Jobs receive a score in each individual category, and when these are added together, the career with the best overall score is ranked 1st, while the one with the worst overall score is ranked 200th.  They noted that, in compiling the list of highly-ranked jobs for 2010,  researchers sought to find careers that are likely to provide a positive experience for a majority of employees, not just the uniquely talented. The top careers in the report “are the jobs that offer the greatest chance of enjoying a combination of good health, low stress, a pleasant workplace, solid income and strong growth potential.”

Of the 200 different jobs, 22 or 11% were construction related careers.  Here is how they ranked.

Rank Job
33 Civil Engineer
48 Architectural Drafter
71 Mechanical Engineer
86 Architect
110 Construction Foreman
119 HVAC Mechanic
120 Surveyor
141 Glazer
145 Realtor
150 Plumber
153 Electrician
159 Painter
164 Drywall Installer / Finisher
167 Construction Equipment Operator
169 Carpet/Tile Installer
170 Plasterer
171 Carpenter
173 Bricklayer
179 Roofer
187

Sheetmetal Worker

193 Construction Laborer
198 Ironworker

 For the Construction Laborer job which was the topic of the headline, the article listed both the Pros: Good income potential with overtime, opportunity to become an independent contractor and start your own business; and the Cons: Extreme, physically demanding labor in all weather conditions, risk of injury or death, poor hiring outlook in a struggling economy, seasonal layoffs.

In fact, it appeared that the poor hiring outlook was a big factor in most of the construction-related jobs.  Understandable considering that unemployment in the construction industry is currently 23.7%.  But regardless of the current outlook, I believe it is important to note that according to the U.S. Department of Labor, as the economy recovers and construction returns to normal levels, there will be a need for an additional 1.1 million construction trades people.  This figure does not include construction management positions.

What I found interesting were the rankings of some of the non-construction related careers.  Teacher ranked 116. Physician ranked 128.  Commercial Airline Pilot ranked 129.  Senior Corporate Executive ranked 133.  Surgeon ranked 136.

So what was the Top Rated Job? Actuary – someone who interprets statistics to determine probabilities of accidents, sickness, and death, and loss of property from theft and natural disasters.

I think I’ll stick with construction.

Chuck Miller GMB   CGP  CGB   MIRM   CMP   MCSP   CSP

President / Builder – Chuck Miller Construction Inc.

(208) 229-2553

www.chuckmillerconstruction.com

Eco-friendly Construction Leading to Healthier & Asbestos Free Homes

Are you considering purchasing a “fixer-upper” or remodeling your older existing home?  Here is something to consider.

Highly regarded throughout the 20th century, asbestos gained immense popularity because of its reluctance to conduct electricity and fire resistance qualities. Asbestos can appear in roof shingles, dry wall, attic insulation, popcorn ceilings, joint compounds and electrical wires.

Most homes built before 1980 could harvest asbestos or other environmental defected insulation methods. Those involved in home improvement, construction and remodeling scenarios should know that the implementation of eco-sustainable construction, green remodeling and green energy home solutions will play an important role in the transformation to a healthier and sustainable world.

According to the experts, the general rule of thumb is if the asbestos is in good shape, it’s posing no apparent risk. If it’s in bad shape, it could be a problem. In many situations, the best action in dealing with asbestos is no action at all. However, if an inspector deems removal necessary, it must be performed by a licensed abatement contractor who is trained in handling asbestos materials.  They must wear protective equipment such as masks and gloves to avoid any potential exposure.

When asbestos deteriorates and its fibers become airborne, it has the potential of causing severe lung ailments such as mesothelioma and asbestosis. Due to the fact most asbestos-related illness are usually diagnosed in late stages, sometimes 20 to 50 years after exposure, a mesothelioma prognosis is usually poor.

 

When involved in home improvement or remodeling, it is especially important to embark on the proper inspections to insure the safety of your clients, building workers and your reputation. Problems with asbestos in older buildings should be addressed in a rational manner. The removal of asbestos must be done by professional abatement contractors who are trained in handling toxic materials. Although not all asbestos is considered dangerous, it is best to leave any suspected materials un-disturbed until a professional can determine the best course of action.

 

Once the removal is complete, green alternatives should be considered, such as: cotton fiber, lcynene and cellulose. These green options have the same beneficial qualities as asbestos, minus the health deteriorating and toxic components.

 

The Department of Energy concluded that cooling and heating counts for up to 50-70 percent of all energy used in the average home in the U.S. In today’s state, this philosophy can also save natural resources. Using methods of sustainable construction allow for you and your family to live in a healthy and safe home, free of health corroding materials.

Chuck Miller GMB   CGB  CGP   MIRM   CMP   MCSP   CSP

President / Builder – Chuck Miller Construction Inc.

(208) 229-2553

chuck@chuckmillerconstruction.com