Y! MyWeb
Newsletter #223

Building Your Home


Building Your Home

New House Building: Money Saving, Convenience and Healthy House Tips

James Todd
March, 2004
Happy St. Paddy's Day

Beginning with this edition, newsletters will now be archived
online at:



1. Home Security: Keep You and Your Family Safe
2. What You Need to Know About Indoor Air Quality
3. Don't Let Building Your Home Bankrupt You.
4. Useful Links
5. Thought for the Day
6. Subscription Information

Please forward this newsletter to anyone whom you think may be interested!

1. Home Security: Keep You and Your Family Safe
When you're building a home, you're undoubtedly overwhelmed with excitement and ever-changing plans and decisions, making it easy to overlook some of the smaller details. But this is not a time to compromise your family's safety. By determining your family's safety needs early on, you can better equip your new home and ensure you and your family are safe for many years to come.

On the most basic level, a home electronic security system can provide you with protection from break-ins with four important levels of deterrence: yard signs, warning decals, loud sirens and 24-hour monitoring. The right home electronic security system can also save your family from fire, a necessary benefit considering that a home fire occurs every 86 seconds and 8 people die in house fires every 24 hours. Add to this the fact that many electronic home security systems can also detect carbon monoxide and it becomes clear that security systems are something you should strongly consider when planning your new home.

Thanks to advances in technology, homebuilders have a wide variety of systems to choose from. There's the more standard electronic system that includes an alarm and 24-hour monitoring which requires homebuilders to purchase the inexpensive equipment, pay an installation fee, and pay monthly (usually less than $40) for the monitoring. This traditional system is tried and true and remains the backbone of home security systems today because of its ease of use and affordability. ( or ).

Also on the market is automated home security, which resembles something seen previously only in James Bond movies. Using automated systems, homeowners have the luxury of using voice recognition and even seeing inside their home while away via their laptops. Despite their futuristic qualities, adding home automation to an existing home is surprisingly affordable and simple, with many of the products costing less than $40 and requiring no new wires! ( ).

Regardless of which system you prefer, you must consider your own needs before deciding which system is best for you and your family, including:

The style and number of doors and windows in your home
How many floors your home will have
Your children's ages and their bedroom locations
The number and type of pets you have
Your home's location
Does your home have a detached garage?
Are there any gas-fired appliances in the home? (For carbon monoxide detection)
Does the home have a hot tub or gas logs? (For carbon monoxide detection)
  Do you have elderly people living in the home (Critical condition monitoring solutions such as medical assistance)

You can save money on security monitoring services or even monitor for non-traditional security events like water in the laundry room or basement. Additionally, Smarthome products include devices that will allow you to unlock the front door to let friends in or close the garage door from your office via the Web. Remote control thermostats allow you to adjust the temperature from bed at night or even from a cell phone while on your way home (or to your 2nd home!). They can even trigger a notice to you if the temperature gets too low (freezing pipes) or too high (pets, plants, etc.).

Go over your wants and needs for your home security system with your builder. And, it is wise to ask friends and neighbors about their security systems. Find out what kind of system they have, what company they chose and why, and find out if they are pleased with their system. You may also want to ask about their system's ease-of-use, reliability and even costs. Once you have narrowed down the list of companies you want to work with, give them a call and discuss your specific needs. Then, go over your findings with your builder to ensure the system gets installed and is up and running long before you and your family spend your first night in your new home. And last but not least, don't forget to make a quick call to your insurance agent. Your home's new alarm system should save you money on your homeowner's insurance premiums.

We have started a photo gallery of homes built using the Home Building Guide. If you have a photo you would like to share, please contact us at . The first 10 submittals will receive an $80 gift certificate for the purchase of fresh seafood from Charleston Seafood, one of the nets best seafood sites.

2. Homebuilders Take a Deep Breath: What you Need to Know
    About Indoor Air Quality
If you assume that the quality of air in your new home is going to be clean, think again. According to the latest statistics released from the Environmental Protection Agency, indoor air quality is three to five times worse than outdoor air quality.

Considering this, it's easy to see just how making provisions in your home plans to improve your in-home air quality can save you a great deal of time, frustration and money down the road.

To battle the air quality problem, you will have to arm your new home with filtration, and plenty of it. While this will not cost a great deal of extra time or money, it will take some additional planning on your part and some effective communication with your homebuilder.

Homeowners concerned about the air quality circulating in their homes can rely on an arsenal of new, cost-effective tools designed at enhancing cleanliness while serving to eliminate household allergy agents such as dust mites and small dust particles, even moisture build-ups and molds.

Start your crusade to keep your home filled with healthy air with a HEPA filtration system. These filtration systems, which help alleviate pet dander, dust, airborne mold spores, smoke and gas - all of which contribute to allergies and have been fingered as culprits of compromised in-home air quality, are available locally or can be obtained over the Internet. (For more information, log on to ).

The next step to take is to purchase a vacuum cleaner with a similarly effective system. And, if you're building your home, you may even want to incorporate a central vacuum cleaning system into your new home plan. The newer central vacuum cleaner systems, which are actually built-in the walls of each room, automatically introduce clean air into your home while cutting down on the dirt and dust circulated in the air from vacuuming the carpet, furniture, drapes, etc. (For more information on central vacuum cleaning systems, log onto or . Keep in mind, your homebuilder may know of local companies that offer various central cleaning systems. Aside from offering clean air, the central vacuum systems offer unparalleled convenience and make vacuuming a mush easier task.

These tools are further supported by inexpensive gas detection systems, indoor air quality monitors, carbon dioxide detection monitors, leak detectors, oxygen deficiency detectors, even automatic scraper-strainers, all of which are available at local home and hardware stores.

If you're serious about keeping the air inside your home clean, you should also consider tackling moisture build-up, a problem that can be costly and troublesome. Recently, a panel has emerged that is designed for interior use and has proven to be both moisture- and mold-resistant and can even help hamper the growth of mold. The panels are easily installed and finished in a traditional manner without the need for skim coating or other steps that require additional labor, according to the manufacturer, United States Gypsum Corporation. ( )

While the use of moisture-resistant gypsum panels can help minimize the chances for mold to grow, they are just one part of controlling the problem. The most effective and economical strategy is to protect building materials and equipment from exposure to moisture during storage, construction and after completion of the building envelope, according to United States Gypsum Corp. This should be discussed in detail with your builder to ensure sound design, installation, maintenance and inspection practices are followed throughout the home building process.

How big of a house are you going to build?? $100,000, $250,000, $500,000 - Find out what you qualify for. IndyMac Bank is your best online source for home mortgages. Online applications, quick approvals.

Don't miss House-N-Home-Building's greatly expanded Links Directory. It contains more than 20 categories with links to hundreds of related quality sites. House Building Links Directory .

Don't let your credit history become a headache in your new home building process. Check your credit. Get your free credit report today .

Considering a Hot Tub in your new Home?? Look no further. ThermoSpas Hot Tubs are offering up to $900.00 in cost savings discounts for House-N-Home-Building visitors .

One of the best sites on the internet to find a stock house plan is at Cool House Plans is an Internet stock house plan provider with a current inventory of over 13,000 house plans. House-N-Home Building subscribers will receive an additional 5% discount by using the above link.

Building a new house and being your OWN GC is not for most people. But for the small subset of readers who do have the time and experience for such an undertaking we have some good news. The good news is in the form of a company called .

3. Don't Let Building Your Home Bankrupt You!
    Do Your Homework Now and Reap the Benefits Later.
Personalizing your home beyond the basics calls for custom building, which enables you to determine layout, size and all the special requirements and unique features you desire. While the final costs to build your custom-designed home will be driven by your specifications, there are steps you can take to keep these costs down, while ensuring your home meets your special needs.

Obviously, some home features cost more than others, with the bathrooms and kitchen generally being the most expensive areas in the home. Look for closeout bargains on fixtures and lighting in these rooms. You may even want to look for specialty items for these rooms on the Internet. For instance, eBay ( has name-brand hardware and fixtures that can be purchased for a fraction of the retail cost if you are willing to bid on the items.

It's also important to realize that small details in the design of your home can make a big difference in price. To cap costs in this area, begin estimating construction expenses before you select your final blueprints. In doing so, consider this:

Site Preparation: Preparing the site for your home can be costly. Building on flat lots cost less. Hauling in dirt, clearing trees, blasting through rock, etc. adds up quick and can make a huge difference in costs associated with site preparation.

Home Size: Oddly enough, when building a home, it's best to work with even numbers. Round your home size up or down to increments of two feet. This will help reduce wasted materials. It's also more economical to build a home that is no deeper than 32 feet. If the depth exceeds 32 feet, your new home's roof trusses may need to be specially designed, hence costing a great deal more.

Home Shape: Rectangular- and boxed-shaped homes cost less to build. The more angles and corners in a home, the higher the costs because of the additional labor and materials needed.

Cost Overruns: In most cases, the finished home cost more than the original price. The goal here should be to keep this gap from widening to the point that it causes your hardship or distress. To do this, try to minimize changes to the plans and tackle unpredicted problems as efficiently as possible. Planning is the key here. But even with the best planning, it is best to allow and additional 10% to cover unexpected costs.

Inflation, Economy: Home building costs generally rise 3% to 6% annually. If you are planning now and expect to build later, remember to factor this in.

A full array of tools are available online to help with this process. Homebuilders can go get up-to-date construction costs from some of the largest construction databases on the Web. Using this site, homebuilders can get current material prices, man hours and crew rates, even make use of the site's calculators to figure out quantities for bearing walls, joists systems, concrete walls and more.

Another online tool worthy of viewing is at , where homebuilders will find home builder scheduling software, home builder contracts and spec writing software, project management software, competitive bid tracking software, subcontractor insurance software, equipment tracking software, builder management software and more.

Want other useful money savings tips for building your new home? Purchase the House Building Guide today. Learn how to save thousands without being the GC. It comes with a 100%, lifetime, money back guarantee.

4. Useful Links
The following are useful links relating to the housing industry and the topics covered in this newsletter and may be of interest.

ADT Home Security Services

Honeywell Security and Home Electronics

Home Automation Products

HEPA Air Filtration Systems

Central Vacuum Systems for Your Home

Central Vaccuum Systems from Broan Nutone

Manufacturers FIBEROCK® Brand AQUA-TOUGH™ Interior Panels

Goldenseal Home Builder Software

Find out How Much it will Cost to Build on Your Lot

5. Thought for the Day - Character
Character is not made in a crisis, it is only exhibited. –Robert Freeman.

6. Subscription Information
Was this newsletter forwarded to you?
To subscribe, just send a blank e-mail to this address with the word "Subscribe" in the subject line. Your address won't be shared with anyone else.

To unsubscribe send an email to the above address and put "Remove" in the subject line.

Do you have tips or suggestions you would like to share with others? Please email these to

House-n-Home is a division of Todd, Michael and James, Inc.
4620 Derby Lane   
t Doylestown, PA 18901
215-965-4332 (P)   
t 215/766-2887 (F)    t
© Copyright, 2001-2004, Todd, Michael & James, Inc.,  All rights reserved

|   Privacy Policy   |   Links   |   Affiliates   |   Newsletter   |   Testimonials   |   Photo Album   |   Site Map   |   Order   |