Shenandoah Valley Builders 
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  • 25 Mar 2014 8:25 PM | Michelle Johnson (Administrator)

    In the age of electronic information, the SVBA Home and Garden show brings a new level of importance. If you are thinking of building or renovating your dream home, the Home Show is an essential stop for success. From remodeling, construction, design, to landscaping experts – all the information you need can be found under one roof.  This face to face opportunity allows you to judge character, learn about personality, and interview multiple experts all at one event. You can find information online about construction, but you cannot judge personality or start a personal relationship.

    So whether you are a new homeowner or someone that has lived in your home for years, the home show can give you the successful network needed to build a better home.  From new products to expert advice from the pros, the home show will certainly inspire your next project.

    Attend the Home Show and … 

    • Shop and compare experts at one time.
    • Save time by meeting a wide range of companies under one roof.
    • Discover new ideas and interesting products for your home.
    • Find the best resources in home improvement, landscaping, and design services.
    • Meet face to face and get build a trust before you hire someone.
    • Get advice from the experts and learn the right steps to take for success.
    • Get inspired about the countless possibilities to make your home a dream home.
  • 05 Mar 2014 2:07 PM | Michelle Johnson (Administrator)
    10 Steps to Building your Dream Home

    1.      Establish your budget
    a.      Meet with a loan officer that works with new construction and get a pre-approval letter stating your qualification. Make sure your budget is comfortable  - don’t forget furniture, moving costs, window treatments, taxes, realtor fees…
    2.      Form a team for success
    a.      You should establish a team that you trust, architect, contractor, landscape architect, realtor, banker – all depends on the scope of your project
    3.      Plan your Home
    a.      Design matters – set your goals, establish your program, develop an aesthetic – this is your chance to dream. With good design comes a dream home.
    4.      Select the finishes
    a.      The devil is certainly in the details. From light fixtures to door hardware, there are hundreds of decisions to make along the way.
    5.      Budget
    a.      You need to establish a budget up front and check and double check as decisions are made through the design process. A solid plan in place will reduce unknown issues during construction and keep the project on track. Through the design project pricing should be verified and re-verified to keep things on track.
    6.      Arrange for Financing
    a.      Once plans are done and a budget is established with the contractor – it is time to go back to your banker to finalize loan details.
    7.      Hire your builder
    a.      Budget established, contract negotiated, time to sign on the bottom line with your contractor so construction can begin.
    8.      Pull permits
    a.      The contractor’s first step is to pull a permit which involves a code review by the official having jurisdiction. Once this last review is completed and fees are paid, the dirt starts moving.
    9.      Communicate weekly
    a.      During construction it is prudent to hold weekly or bi-weekly site meetings with the owner, design team, and contractor to make sure the plan is being executed as expected.
    10.   Punch List
    a.      The last step for completion of the home is the final walk through, sometimes called the punch list. This is a time to document any remaining items that need to be completed. 

  • 26 Feb 2014 1:43 PM | Michelle Johnson (Administrator)

    Mother Nature threw us a bone this past weekend with spring-like weather, moving our thoughts away from fire-lit evenings to those of firing up the grill. While now is the time to consider cleaning gutters, pressure washing your siding, and planting grass, how about that one room inside that you blocked off during the holidays. The one that you journeyed guests upstairs and through your bedroom just to avoid? Yes, that outdated bathroom. It is still there, with the peeling linoleum floor, calcium deposits and old-fashioned countertops, just waiting for attention.

    While you may think a bathroom renovation is not in the budget, the good news is small spaces don’t need to cost a fortune to update.  This Old House estimates DIYers can update this space, adding value to your home, for as little as $1,000 depending on the projects you want to undertake.

    To freshen up your space on the cheap, consider the following tips gathered from around the web:

    • 1)     Use tile sparingly, sticking to high-impact areas like the floor, using instead high quality satin-finish paint to avoid mold and mildew, or by incorporating other materials in hidden areas like the shower.
       
    • 2)     If granite is your choice for countertops, widen your color options to save on the expense of this season’s most popular colors or look at imperfect countertops that the sink basin will cover. White is always a classic color choice that goes with everything and gives you freedom to play with paint color or seasonal linen changes.
    • 3)     Update light fixtures, sink faucets, showerheads, towel racks, and drawer pulls. These relatively small investments can provide big bang for their buck. Water-efficient fixtures will help you save money in the long run and are also good for the environment, too.
    • 4)     Pay attention to detail. Updating window treatments, bath linens, re-caulking the tubs or adding a fresh coat of white paint to moldings can make quite a difference.
    • 5)     Make it your own. Be on trend by buying used dressers or overstocked plumbing features from yard sales, flea markets, Etsy, eBay, or your local retailer. You can build your own vanity or construct unique towel racks at a fraction of the cost and make your remodeled space completely you own.
    • 6)     Don’t be afraid of sweat equity. Minor projects can be done over a weekend but remember to call in a professional if structural changes, complicated electrical or plumbing work is required.


      As warmer weather draws us out of hibernation, spending a little bit of time on your bathroom now will prevent you from detouring guests during summer cookouts, and even better, will be one less thing you have to worry about once the holidays roll around again.

      If your bathroom is an eyesore, share your photos for a chance to win a $1,000 gift certificate to Valley retailer, Randy’s Do It Best Hardware, sponsored by Farmers & Merchants Bank and VBS Mortgage.



      Member FDIC | Equal Housing Lender | NMLS# 414464, 275173

    Visit www.fmbankva.com or www.vbsmortgage.com for complete rules and regulations.
  • 22 Jan 2014 5:29 PM | Michelle Johnson (Administrator)

    The Mercy House Building Supply Store is requesting  that you consider making a tax deductable donation of  your excess building materials to us.  We will be accepting donations of kitchen cabinets, plumbing supplies, doors, windows, sinks, lavatories, tubs, excess lumber, paint, masonry products, roofing, dry wall, fasteners, wire, pipe and more. We will pick up your donations at no cost.

    As new building materials increase in cost the demand for used affordable building materials is skyrocketing.  In addition to greater affordability, putting used and recycled building materials into remodeling/repair projects recycles materials otherwise destined for landfills.  

    The expansion benefits the Mercy House Mission to feed, clothe and house homeless families with dependent children in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County by increasing our revenue stream in a time of uncertainty of other sources of funding such as grants.  This helps to make us more self sufficient, independent and sustainable for the long term.  Another great benefit is providing additional opportunities for employment and training for residents of the Mercy House as they transition from homelessness.  For more information visit www.TheMercyHouse.org.  

  • 02 Oct 2013 1:28 PM | Michelle Johnson (Administrator)

    Our society, as a whole, is at the beginning stages of an awakening. In the last number of years there has been an increase in our collective awareness of the connection between human actions and the impact it is having on the planet upon which we reside. Although there is still debate about the specifics of this planetary impact it seems the majority has agreed our collective actions have created negative results and a new direction is required. Recently, energy costs have risen sharply, which has only fueled this awakening.

     

    Decreasing the energy that is utilized by our homes can be a critical component in our strategy to reduce energy usage. During Presidential political debates we have heard a great deal about re-defining the way we generate energy by utilizing wind power, solar power, clean coal, and other energy sources. While we wait for these macro-strategies to be implemented, the homeowner can do his or her part to reduce energy consumption. Reducing energy in our homes has two major positive impacts; a reduction in the amount of money we spend on utilities, and a reduction in the amount of energy needed by our society as a whole.

    It seems like a forgone conclusion that the fossil fuel era of energy production will give way to a renewable energy generation era. Energy efficiency and conservation will be the bridge during this transition period as renewable energy technologies are developed and produced.

    Home energy efficiency can be improved whether you live in a new or existing home. Improving the energy efficiency of your home usually includes at least one of the following strategies:

    1. Education of the occupants as to energy efficient practices. Occupant behavior is a major influence on energy consumption.
    2. Repairing, adjusting, or replacing energy-using equipment in the home; for example, heating and cooling system, light fixtures, and appliances.
    3. Making thermal improvements to the house shell, including insulation improvement and air sealing.

    A home energy audit can assist homeowners by targeting specific problems in a home which may be contributing to the overuse of energy and develop a strategy to reduce home energy costs. Each individual homeowner who reduces their energy consumption will in turn help our country reduce its dependency on a diminishing supply of fossil fuel. 

    By Benjamin Meredith with Building Knowledge

  • 24 Sep 2013 1:47 PM | Michelle Johnson (Administrator)
    Thanks in large part to NAHB efforts, remodelers this year are able to take advantage of the Existing Home Retrofit Tax Credit (25C). The 25C tax credit provides consumers a tax credit of up to $500 for the purchase of qualifying energy-efficient products. The 25C tax credit supported almost 140,000 jobs in remodeling in 2009. Government data indicates that the tax credit will support an estimated $4.08 billion of remodeling in 2013 with a typical energy-efficient remodeling project costing a little more than $2,800. NAHB estimates that nearly 18% of these remodeling projects would not have occurred without the credit. Thus, the extension of the 25C credit for 2013 will result in an additional $727 million in remodeling for the industry. Following a year-end push by NAHB, the 25C tax credit was retroactively renewed by Congress through 2012 and extended through the end of this year. Read about how NAHB actions on the 25C tax credit will support 140,000 remodeling jobs and other ways that your NAHB membership pays you dividends right here.
  • 06 Jun 2013 2:40 PM | Michelle Johnson (Administrator)

    We’ve all seen a stunning hillside mansion and dreamed what it would be like to raise our families there. Or envied the amazing renovation makeovers depicted on television shows that give the home owners a sense of pride and accomplishment. But how does your dream home compare to what home buyers across the country are looking for in their new home?

    A recent study from the National Association of Homes Builders, What Home Buyers Really Want, shared the results of a survey of the preferences of thousands of home buyers. On average, home buyers are looking for a home that is 17 percent larger than their current home, a median of 2,226 square feet. But, likely as a result of the ongoing challenges of the economic downturn, that size is 13 percent smaller than the average size of homes started in 2012.

    The layout of the home is more important than the location to most buyers. Living space and number of rooms was ranked the most influential characteristic by 65 percent of buyers, while only 33 percent ranked proximity to locations they need to go as tops. A sense of open space continues to be popular, with about three-quarters of home buyers wanting a kitchen that is open to the family room, and nearly two-thirds looking for ceilings on the first floor that are 9 feet or more tall.

    Some of the most wanted features in a home involve saving energy. Energy Star-rated appliances were rated as essential or desirable by 94 percent of respondents, and 91 percent wanted an Energy Star rating for the whole home. In fact, nine out of ten buyers would rather buy a home with energy-efficient features and permanently lower utility bills than one without those features that costs 2 percent to 3 percent less.

    Convenient organization and storage is another home buyer favorite. More than 80 percent of the respondents said they wanted walk-in pantries and pull-out shelves in the kitchen, a laundry room and storage in the garage.

    Today’s home buyers want the latest technology. While only 15 percent of home owners currently have a wireless home security system, 50 percent want one. Similar gaps in “have” versus “want” occur with security cameras, lighting control and wireless audio systems, and multi-zone HVACs.

    The most unwanted home features include elevators, a location in a golf course, high density or gated community, and having only a shower stall and no tub in the master bath.

    So whether you’re planning or dreaming about what your next new home will look like, or you’re making renovations to your current home so that it will appeal to its next owner, keep these home buyer preferences in mind!

  • 22 May 2013 10:00 AM | Michelle Johnson (Administrator)

    As summer approaches and people shed their layers of clothing from the cooler months, many want to also lighten the load their homes are carrying or at least make it look neater. Before you toss the tools in a garage corner or stuff the down jackets into a box and toss it in the attic, why not evaluate your needs and make your storage both effective and attractive?

     

    The first thing you should do is make a list of everything you want to store. This list will both help you determine how much storage space you need and ensure that nothing gets lost once you start putting things away.

     

    Shelving is one of the easiest ways to create more storage. It can be portable in the form of free-standing units, or permanent that is attached to your walls. Easy-to-install, heavy-duty shelving can be purchased at just about any major home supply store. Many of these units are designed so that you can leave as much room between the shelves as you like, making it easy to get larger and smaller items onto the same unit and saving you space. 

     

    Heavy winter clothing can take up lots of closet space, leaving you with little room for your entire four-season wardrobe. One solution for storing out-of-season clothing is under the bed. Under-the-bed storage containers come in a variety of sizes and styles, including ones with wheels for easy access and to protect hardwood floors from scratches when you pull them out. You can also buy simple risers that elevate your bed off the floor additional inches to create even more space.

     

    Garage storage has also gotten much more efficient. You can get built-in storage cabinets with doors so the space looks clean and orderly. There are also modular systems that enable you to choose what features are best for your needs; including hanging racks for sports equipment, hooks for tools, and more.

     

    Most garages have pitched roofs to keep rainwater or snow from collecting on top, and this space is ideal for items you don’t use on a daily or weekly basis. Store these things on platforms or racks that lower and raise either electronically at the touch of a button, or with an easy-to-use pulley system.

     

    In newer or renovated homes, a mudroom or drop zone is a popular feature. This area often has built-in benches, hooks and bins to neatly tuck away boots, jackets, gardening equipment and other items your family uses frequently.

     

    Finally, if your family is as tied to their portable internet and communications devices as many modern families, get rid of the tangle of charger cords on your counters by buying or building a home charging station with multiple outlets and pockets for storing and charging cell phones, tablets, laptops and more.

     

    For more information about home maintenance or design trends, visit nahb.org/forconsumers or contact info@valleybuilders.org.   

  • 21 May 2013 2:55 PM | Michelle Johnson (Administrator)

    Q: Shouldn’t I wait until home prices go even lower to buy?

    A: No. Just as no one can accurately predict the peaks and valleys of the stock market (name one person who sold their tech portfolio in April of 2000), the same holds true for housing. If you wait for what you think is the absolute best deal, you could end up waiting for years. All the market fundamentals show that now is a good time to buy – prices are down, interest rates near historically low levels, and there are lots of homes to choose from.

    If you buy now, you will not only be in the driver’s seat during the buying process, you will also reap the gains of price appreciation. Remember, those who purchased homes in the early 1990s during the last big economic and housing downturn came out as big winners.

    Q: Doesn’t it make sense to wait out the market until can I get the same price on my home that my neighbor got when he sold a couple years ago?

    A: No. It’s always better to trade up in a buyer’s market. While the value of your house has fallen, the prices of higher-end homes have also dropped. Here’s an example:

    Your neighbor sold for $300,000. Let’s say values in your area have dropped 10 percent, so you could get only $270,000 for your home today. You have your eye on a move-up home that previously sold for $500,000, but now is selling for $450,000. If you sold your home today for $270,000 and purchased the larger house for $450,000, the difference in price would be $180,000.

    But if you waited to recoup the 10 percent value on your home and sold it at $300,000, chances are the move-up home would also increase in price 10 percent to $500,000. That’s a $200,000 price difference. So by selling today, you would actually save $20,000.

    Q: Interest rates might go down. Shouldn’t I wait to see if they’ll go lower before I buy a home?

    A: Interest rates for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages are extremely favorable for buyers. In fact, they are currently hovering near 30-year lows. But waiting to time the market is a dangerous game. Even those who follow the market for a living can’t figure out when interest rates will bottom out. If they could, they would all be multi-millionaires.

    And home prices don’t necessarily move in unison with interest rates. So, if you decided to wait to purchase a home and the price dropped $10,000 from where it is today, you could still end up losing money. How? If interest rates were to move up by a half-a-point during this period, the savings on the reduced home price would be more than offset by the higher monthly payment you would be making over the life of the loan. v3-13 - 2 -

    Q: I’m a first-time buyer and still can’t afford the type of home that I want. Is it best to wait, keep renting, and hope that prices will get even lower?

    A: If you continue to wait, you may never be able to afford to get into the housing market. Even as home prices are currently moderating in your area, depending on where you live, rents are likely continuing to climb. When you buy a home, you are also purchasing price stability, knowing that you will pay the same monthly payment for the life of your 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage.

    And don’t forget the tax incentives. In most instances, all of the mortgage interest and property taxes you pay in a given year can be fully deducted from your gross income to reduce your taxable income. These deductions can result in thousands of dollars of tax savings, especially in the early years of the mortgage when interest makes up most of the payment. You will also begin to build equity in your property.

    Your best strategy may be to scale back expectations for your dream starter-home. After a few years, you can use those equity gains to sell your starter home and move into a bigger house. The sooner you make the jump from renter to home owner, the quicker you begin to create and build up wealth for your family.

  • 09 Apr 2013 3:30 PM | Michelle Johnson (Administrator)

    Classic Kitchen and Bath is a small business that wants to make a big difference in the community. Their services include offering materials and designs for interior spaces. They love to be active and give back to the local community. Classic Kitchen and Bath pride themselves on their involvement and reputation they have built based off their actions.  They are willing to do anything from a small laundry room to brand new large construction project. Customer service is their main focus and they want to be able to help design dream spaces for their clients.


    Classic Kitchen and Bath is unique in that they are a small business that is interested in getting into strong, lasting relationships with their clients. The biggest enjoyment all of the employees at Classic Kitchen and Bath is helping making clients dreams a reality. One of the employees, Gabby, has a client that she still keeps in touch with although her kitchen remodel was finished. This was just one fulfilling experience that many employees at Classic Kitchen and Bath share with their clients.


    Be sure to check them out at the Home and Garden show only three days away on April 12th at Rockingham County Fairgrounds at 4:00pm!

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