Business Planning: Don’t Forget About Build Out!

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Leasing commercial space is quite different than leasing or renting a residential space such as an apartment.  Depending on the nature of the business that will be occupying the commercial space, there will be improvements that will need to be completed before you can open your doors for business.  If you are just getting started in business, make sure you include space in your budget for the build-out of your new space.  Improvements to a commercial space are the responsibility of the tenant – not the property owner.

Choosing a good contractor to execute your project is essential.  Time is money. The less time it takes to complete your commercial space and open for business, the better it is for your business.   In Montgomery County, the permitting portion of the build-out process can be time-consuming so make sure to take this into consideration for your business plan.  To keep your business plan on schedule, have a contractor like Prevost Construction in mind that has experience in commercial tenant build-outs and has a good reputation.   Getting the ball rolling as soon as you have secured an office space is crucial.  Good contractors are busy and getting on their schedule as soon as you can will help keep your business plan in line.

The overall look of your space should be included as part of your business plan as well.  Your space will speak volumes about your business.  A well-built space is, in and of itself, a marketing tool.

Do not neglect your commercial space design and detail in your business plan.  Obtain a contractor that is ready to help you realize your dreams and get your business off to the best start possible!

Think Outside The Box

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I know what you are thinking…one of two images probably come to mind when considering a modular home; a simple ranch style home or split-level style home.  In the past, these types of homes were generally the most popular styles in the modular industry.

Guess what? Times have changed!  There is such a variety of construction styles and sizes, you can now choose from upwards of seventy floor plan designs.  Ranging from the standard ranch and split level styles, to cape cod, and two-story designs; one can custom design their home using a modular building system.  Many options are also available that will help customize your home to your own personal tastes. Whether you are looking for a 1,000 square foot home or a 4,000 square foot home, a modular building system can meet your needs.  Modular building systems have also become quite popular in multi-family and commercial applications.

I know what else you are thinking…modular homes are of a lower quality than your conventional frame home.  Yes, one of the advantages of purchasing and building a modular home is that you will save money on your new home but this does not mean that the home is “cheap” or of lower quality.  Modular homes are constructed faster thus costs are controlled and kept to a minimum allowing for savings to pass along to you.  In fact, modular homes are designed and constructed in a climate controlled environment meaning no weather ever touches the inside of your new home.  Additionally, new modular homes endure at least 300 quality and third party inspections ascertaining the highest level of quality.  When designing your new home that is engineered using the latest construction technology, you have the ability to choose from high-quality, energy-efficient material, products, and appliances.  Therefore, choosing a modular home will not only save money on the initial construction but you will continue to see savings on your energy bills in the future.

Saving money on high-quality construction is just one of the many advantages to purchasing a modular home. Modular homes are delivered up to 90% complete.  When you use a modular building system to construct your home, you will only have to wait approximately 7 to 9 weeks for it to be completed versus the 7 to 9 months you would generally wait for a conventional frame home.

Looking to enlarge your existing home? Choose from an array of home additions that have been designed to fit your existing home. Remodeling additions range from bedrooms and family rooms to kitchens, sunrooms, and garages.

Before dismissing the possibility of using a modular building system due to outdated generalizations, think outside the box and educate yourself on the many advantages to building a modular home.

Why Modular Homes Are So Popular Among Hurricane Victims…

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Prior to Hurricane Katrina, modular homes weren’t really popular in the South.  Modulars have been popular until now mainly in Northern states with short building seasons and high labor costs.  Now, they are a preferred structure, especially for replacing hurricane-damaged homes.

Why?

First, modular homes are perfect for a quick recovery situation.  When your home has been destroyed, you don’t want to wait a year or more for a new one!  Once the modular units are complete from the factory, the house can be completed within a couple weeks or less.  A traditionally stick-built home would take months.  A systems-built home arrives on site move-in ready, from carpet to curtains already installed!

Second, the modular homes designed for use in the South are built to withstand wind loads of 160 to 175mph.  They are strong, high-quality structures.  Additionally, they are perfect for being set on 11ft tall pilings to comply with flood zone requirements.

Third, they are usually less expensive.  Many hurricane victims are working with a very limited budget.  The structures are generally less expensive and there is not nearly as much labor costs as with a traditional built home.

Modular homes are a quick, high-quality, and a less expensive alternative.  And there are so many options available to customize modular homes, the possibilities are endless.  Don’t forget to consider modular when it’s time to build your custom home!

Number One Question That I Can’t Answer (right away, at least)

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How much would is cost for a 4 bedroom, 2.5 bathroom house?

Generally, per square foot, new home costs can range anywhere from around $80 to $200.

This is the MOST frequent question I get when it comes to building a new home, and unfortunately, it is the one question I simply cannot answer specifically – right away, that is.

There are so many variables, it is impossible for anyone to answer this question accurately without first asking several additional questions and gathering much more information.

There is one way I can provide a price right away. If the customer is considering a modular home and has already chosen a floor plan from the catalog, I can provide a very general budgetary number rather quickly.  That being said, there are a number of items NOT included in this very general budgetary number.

What’s NOT included?

– The lot/land

– Installation of Well or Septic, Water or Sewer, and associated Municipal and Tap Fees

– Percolation Tests

– Building and sediment control permits and fees

– Impact Fees

– Electrical and Hook up application fees (the cost of running the electricity from road to home)

– Shrubbery, drainpipes, sediment control systems

As you can probably imagine, the above items can add up to a very substantial amount of money depending on the site location and lot size.  It IS impossible to put even a budgetary number on the above items without having all site information.

So you really want to build your new home.  What are the first steps you need to take before even looking for a builder?

When you begin the process of building your new home, the VERY first thing you must do is determine your budget.  That magic number.   Furthermore, there is also an amount that you will have in mind that you actually WANT to spend.  For example, you maybe able to comfortably work with a budget of $250,000 but you would really rather only spend $225,000.

Second, you need to obtain a letter of pre-approval from your lender.   Generally, your budget will be determined by the bank.

Third, you must determine your “needs” for your new home.  How many bedrooms?  How many bathrooms?  Do need home where everything is on the first floor?  Closet space?

Forth, determine your “wants” for your new home.  How would you like the layout of the home?  Positioning of bedrooms and bathrooms?  What kind of countertops in the kitchen?  What types of flooring would you like?

Truthfully, the most realistic approach to determining how much your new home will cost is to simply work backwards. Start by determining how much you can afford to spend, then be realistic about the size of the house you need, and finally, decide what and where you can afford to build.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside… Prevent Frozen Pipes!

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Each winter, on average, a quarter-million families have their homes ruined and their lives disrupted, all because of water pipes that freeze and burst.

Both plastic (PVC) and copper pipes can burst.  A 3 millimeter crack in a pipe can spew up to 250 gallons of water a day.  This is more then your average pinhole leak – a burst pipe can be devastating!

Save yourself the mess, money and aggravation frozen pipes cause.

As the end of the Fall season approaches…

Insulate pipes in your home’s crawl spaces and attic as these exposed pipes are most susceptible to freezing.

Seal leaks that allow cold air inside near where pipes are located.  Air leaks can be found around electrical wiring, dryer vents and pipes. Simply use caulk or insulation to keep the cold out and the heat in.

Heat tape can be used to wrap pipes. Be sure to use products approved by an independent testing organization, such as Underwriters Laboratories Inc., and only for the use intended (exterior or interior).

Disconnect garden hoses and, if at all possible, use an indoor valve to shut off and drain water from pipes leading to outside faucets. This reduces the chance of freezing in the short span of pipe just inside the house.

When the temperatures dip…

A trickle of hot and cold water might be all it takes to keep your pipes from freezing. Let warm water drip overnight, preferably from a faucet on an outside wall.

Open cabinet doors to allow heat to get to uninsulated pipes under sinks and appliances near exterior walls.

Going out of town?

Do not set the thermostat in your house lower than 55°F.

Ask a friend or neighbor to check your house daily to make sure it’s warm enough so that pipes won’t freeze.

OR…

Shut off and drain the water system. Be aware that if you have a fire protection sprinkler system, it will be deactivated when you shut off the water.

EEEK!  Your pipes freeze…

Don’t take chances. If you turn on your faucets and nothing comes out, leave the faucets turned on and call a plumber. If you detect that your water pipes have frozen and burst, turn off the water at the main shut-off valve in the house; leave the water faucets turned on.

****Make sure everyone in your family knows where the water shut-off valve is and how to open and close it.****

Never try to thaw a pipe with a torch or other open flame. Generally, water damage is preferable to burning down your house. You may be able to thaw a frozen pipe with the warm air from a hair dryer. Start by warming the pipe as close to the faucet as possible, working toward the coldest section of pipe. Do not use electrical appliances in areas of standing water because you could be electrocuted.

Cedar Privacy Fence

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Installation of a cedar privacy fence with lattice work for Howard County Customer.

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CCBC Science Building Installation

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Installation of a 35,000 square foot modular building at CCBC.

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Bathroom Addition

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Bathroom Addition for Howard County Customer

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