Is It Better to Renovate Your Home Or Build a New One?

Is it better to renovate or build a new home? That’s a good question.

If you’re looking at an older home to renovate, you have to consider expenses. Would it be cost effective to renovate the house or would it make more sense to just build a brand new one? What are some of the factors that would influence your decision?

Consider the Foundation

Home's Foundation

First, how’s the foundation? Older homes were built long ago when construction techniques were different than they are today. Therefore, your foundation might not meet the standards of today. If you have a basement, it might need all new wiring, heating and ventilation– and these are just the basics. Oftentimes, the really older homes– from the late 1800s or early 1900s for example– are just so old that it’s more cost effective to build a brand new home and start fresh. However, if it’s a home from, say, the 1950s onward, it might make sense to renovate. One thing to consider in particular is the land the house is built on– is it prone to flooding? Is your foundation cracked or sinking? Are your floors level or not? Sometimes the land a house is built on is just not a “good fit” for a home and it behooves you to move and start over in another location. But, for most people, the land below the house is stable and renovations, if not too expensive, make sense.

Flexibility

Next, if you were to build new, you could pick and choose what you want in your new house. There are cost advantages to this “flexibility.” For instance, if you don’t want or need a garage, then don’t get one. Or perhaps you don’t want a fireplace in the new house… or a pool out back… With constructing a new house you get to customize it with regards to your desires.

What’s the Budget

The budget is usually what ultimately guides the decision on whether to renovate or start new. You have to assess your financial situation and decide how much money you can afford for fixing up an older place versus starting fresh with a brand new one. Costs tend to need a little “wiggle room,” so if the estimate is, say, $10,000 to renovate a part of your home, keep in mind that unforeseen circumstances may require an extra $1,000 or two. This is true with new builds, too. And, of course, there are maintenance costs to be considered as well. If you can, come up with a spreadsheet that is detailed with cost estimates, including potential overruns. Look at the sheets, comparing renovation costs with new build costs to get a clearer picture to help influence your final decision. It’s a good idea to write down your end goal(s) and to get advice from experts about your project. 

Home Renovations Vs. Complete Rebuilds

Duration

Here’s something to consider: time is an issue. Some people don’t want the hassle of living in a home that is being renovated. And sometimes renovations take a long time. Should they move into a hotel temporarily? Or live at home while workers are coming and going, daily? Then again, waiting for a new home to be constructed will probably take even longer!

Personal Preferences

Ask yourself this simple question: “What do I want most?” Can your existing home get up to par with renovations? Or is it impossible to please you, even with potential renovations? Here’s something to think about… some people live in developments where they’re not allowed to make big changes. The homeowners association has a set of rules and regulations. For example, a house in this kind of community might have been built with a one car garage. But the person living there marries, and his spouse wants a two car garage– but that’s not allowed. In this case, it would make sense for the couple to build a new home somewhere else, matching their wants and needs. 

Financial Implications

Budget for Building or Renovating a Home

For those with a mortgage, did you know some mortgages include clauses that deal with whether or not you can tear down your home to make way for a rebuild? Stipulations might be in place about how soon the rebuilding process has to begin, and some lenders will want to be included in the planning process. In some cases, your mortgage could forbid you from demolishing your home!

Energy Efficiency

Finally, if you’re the type of person who wants a more “green” type of house– one that’s more environmentally-friendly, then you’ll be thinking about more energy efficient windows, siding and appliances. Building a new home basically gives you the opportunity to make the greenest of choices with things like high-efficiency insulation and water-saving fixtures. It can be harder to achieve green goals with remodels.

Are you thinking of renovating your house in the Syracuse area? Or do you want to build a brand new house? Either way, Central New York’s Scott Merle Builders can meet your needs. Please call 315-409-4124 today with your questions. 

An Overview of Buying Land to Own a Home

Building a Home on LandDo you have your sights set on buying land and building your dream home on it? Before you get too carried away with making plans for your new home build, you’ll have to go through the process of finding land and putting in a successful offer for it. There are some things you should keep in mind when you’re working your way through this. Learn more about them below.

Make sure you’re able to build on land before buying it.

You might be surprised by how many people buy land without checking to see if there are any zoning issues with it. They purchase the land only to later realize that they’re not allowed to build on it. This can force them to sell the land immediately and put their home-building plans on hold. Avoid this by making sure there aren’t any zoning issues with a piece of land before agreeing to buy it.

Check to see if you’ll be able to hook up utilities to a home built on land.

In addition to making sure you’re able to build a home on a particular piece of property, you should also check to see if you’ll be able to hook up utilities to a home once it’s built on land. If you’re planning on building on a remote parcel of land, you might not have easy access to electrical, gas, or plumbing. This is another thing you should inquire about prior to purchasing land.

Consider the cost associated with buying land and building on it.

You don’t want to blow your entire budget on land and leave yourself with next to nothing to spend on your new home. Be patient when shopping around for land and look for land that won’t cost much to acquire. It’ll give you more freedom when you’re designing your new home.

Scott Merle Builders specializes in helping people put together custom home plans and designs. We can build a home for you on any land you want and make the entire process of building a home less stressful on you. Call us at 315-409-4124 today to find out more about how we can assist you.

What Are the Steps of Renovating Your Home?

Home RenovationsRenovating your home can be a daunting task if you try to tackle it all at once. Rather than overwhelming yourself with a renovation project, work your way through a series of steps to get your renovation going. Here are the most important steps when renovating a house.

Plan out what you want to do during your renovation and make a budget for it.

Before you do anything else, it’s important for you to figure out exactly what you want to do during your renovation. Are you going to renovate your kitchen? Your kitchen and your bathrooms? Your entire main living area? Planning will give you a clear vision of what you want to do within your home. It’ll also help you create a budget for your renovation.

Find a contractor to head up your renovation.

Once you know what you want to do during your renovation and how much you can afford to spend on it, look for a licensed and insured contractor in your area who specializes in renovating homes. Try to track down a contractor who has a lot of experience and comes highly recommended by others. They’ll be able to take a look at your plans and help you come up with a final design for your renovation.

Obtain the proper permits and materials for your project.

After you have a final design for your project in place, it’ll almost be time to get started on the renovation itself. But before you do, it’s essential for your contractor to pull the proper permits and order the right materials for the job. Work with your contractor to get permits and pick out the materials you want to use.

Do demolition within your home.

At the beginning of the actual renovation process, your contractor will need to do demolition on your home. During demolition, they will rip out anything that you want to get rid of, knock down any walls that won’t be sticking around, and prepare your home for a makeover.

Start putting everything back together the way you want it.

Once demolition is done, your contractor can begin putting your home back together so that it looks amazing once the job is finished. As long as you’ve followed all of the other steps listed here, this should be the fun part of the process. You’ll get to see your home come back to life over the course of a few weeks.

Would you like to renovate your home? Let Scott Merle Builders help you out along the way. We can handle just about any home remodeling and renovation project, no matter how big or small it might be. Call us at 315-409-4124 today to arrange.

Should I build a One-Story or a Two-Story Home?

Building a One or Two-Story Homes Building a home from the ground up is an exciting experience for most people. But before they can break ground, they need to decide whether they want to build a house that’s one story or two stories tall. This is a pretty difficult decision to make since it’ll affect the entire design of their home. Here are some of the pros and cons associated with one-story and two-story homes.

One-story homes

There are lots of benefits that you’ll get to enjoy when you build a one-story home. For starters, one-story homes are usually simpler to design. They’re also easier to maintain once they’re built. And if you’re going to have people living in the home who are either on the younger or older side, they’ll even be safer in most cases. But one of the big downsides of building a one-story home is that you’ll need to invest in more property to give you the same square footage as a two-story home would. You’ll also have less privacy in a one-story home since every room in the home will be on the ground level.

Two-story homes

Just like with one-story houses, there are many benefits that come with building a two-story home. You’ll have more design options when putting the home together. You’ll also be able to give yourself better views in a two-story home and provide your family with more privacy. Additionally, most two-story homes are more secure than one-story homes with a decreased risk of burglary. But you should keep in mind that it can cost more to heat and cool two-story homes. There is also going to be an increased risk of accidents taking place due to the presence of stairs.

Only you can decide whether you want to build a home that’s one story or two stories. Whichever one you pick, Scott Merle Builders will be by your side to bring your dream home to life. We have experience building both one and two-story homes and can talk to you more about the pros and cons associated with each setup. Call us at 315-409-4124 today to get the home-building process underway.

A Look at the Process of Building a Home

The Process of Building a HouseFrom the outside looking in, building a home might seem like a relatively simple and straightforward process. People pick a piece of property, design a home to put on it, and then build it. However, there’s much more to it than that, which is why people really need to hire an experienced builder to get the job done. Here are the steps that must be taken to successfully build a new home from scratch.

A piece of property is purchased and prepared.

Before a home builder can start to put a home into place, a piece of property for it needs to be purchased. Additionally, that property needs to be prepared so that a builder can put a home down on it. The land will often need to be graded before a foundation can be put down for the home. This is arguably the most important part of the process since a strong foundation is a critical aspect of any home.

Plans for a home are fully developed and approved.

While a piece of property is being prepared for a new home, a builder will work with either a developer or the owner of the home that’s being built to map out what it’ll look like. An architect is usually brought in to take the ideas that a developer or homeowner has and bring them to life. Once plans are in place, a home builder will then need to get those plans approved by the city or town in which the home will be located.

The home is framed and then filled with everything it needs.

After the plans for a new home have been approved, a home builder can start framing the home. The frame of a home will give it its structure and allow everything else associated with it to fall into place. Following framing, a home builder will add other essentials like windows and doors, roofing, siding, electrical and plumbing systems, insulation, drywall, flooring, and trim.

The finishing touches are put on the home.

The new home that’s being built will almost be finished at this point. But before a home builder turns over the keys for a home to a developer or homeowner, they’ll have to add the finishing touches. This includes things like countertops, cabinets, lighting fixtures, and even paint on the walls. It’ll make the home livable.

It’s important to work with the right home builder when you’re building a home. They’ll make sure everything goes according to plan from start to finish. Scott Merle Builders is a company you can trust

for your home-building needs. Call us at 315-409-4124 today to see how we can assist you with custom home plans and designs.

How to Find the Right Builder For Your New Home

Selecting a Home Builder The best way to get the home of your dreams is by building it yourself. You can customize each and every aspect of a home when you build it from scratch. But before you start mapping out a custom home, you need to hire the right builder to help bring your ideas to life. Take a look at some tips for choosing the right builder for your new home below.

Research the options in your area.

You might be surprised by how many different home builders operate in your city or town. You likely have dozens and dozens of options to choose from. Start your search by putting together a list of home builders in your area and learning more about each of them. Read online reviews for the builders and try to speak with those who have worked with them in the past if you can.

Take a look at some of the work builders have done over the years.

Most good home builders have websites set up. They show off the work they’ve done over the years on these sites so that you can get a better idea of what they’re capable of doing. Check out as many examples of past work as you can find for each builder you’re considering. You can also reach out to the builders to speak more with them about specific projects they’ve done.

Make sure you don’t have any issues communicating with a builder.

Once you’ve done your homework and found a builder with a style you like, get in touch with them and talk to them more about the home you want to build. While speaking with them, make sure you feel comfortable with how they communicate. If you hire them, you’re going to spend a lot of time communicating back and forth with them. You want them to be someone that speaks clearly and puts your mind at ease when you express any concerns.

Scott Merle Builders would love to help you build your dream home. We would be more than happy to tell you all about the custom home plans and designs we can put together for you. Call us at 315-409-4124 today to find out more about our home building services.

Don’t Forget These Things When You’re Building a Home

Building a New HomeBuilding a custom home from scratch can be an amazing experience. You can create your dream house and customize it to suit your needs and preferences. Nonetheless, it can be a little bit overwhelming trying to remember all the little details that will make your new house a home that you’ll love for years to come. Here are some things you should try not to forget when building a new home.

More than enough electrical outlets

From smartphones and tablet computers to TVs and gaming consoles, the average American family owns dozens and dozens of gadgets. You’re going to need somewhere to plug all of them in, and there’s nothing worse than realizing you only have one or two outlets in a room full of electronics. Make sure your electrician installs lots of outlets, so you don’t have to go back and add more later.

A drain in your garage floor

Do you want to make sure it’s simple to keep the floor in your garage clean? Install a drain in it that’ll allow you to clean it whenever you want. The drain will also come in handy when you pull your car into the garage in the middle of a thunderstorm or when you experience unexpected flooding in your area.

Heated flooring

There’s nothing worse than stepping out of bed on a freezing-cold winter morning and putting your feet down on a floor that feels like ice. Heated flooring can heat your floors up and make your entire home more comfortable. It can also heat your home more efficiently, which can reduce your energy bills. You won’t mind getting out of bed in the morning anymore when you have heated floors to greet you.

A large embedded safe

Studies conducted over the last few years have revealed that more and more Americans are stashing cash and other valuables in safes in their homes. And while most people can get away with a freestanding safe, you might want to consider embedding a safe in a concrete wall if you plan on putting very valuable items into it. This is something that’ll be pretty easy to do when a home is first being built.

These are just a few of the things that you should remember to install in a custom home. Scott Merle Builders can talk to you about some of the other great features you can add to your dream house. Call us at 315-409-4124 today to hear about how we can help you bring your dreams to life.

What Permits Do You Need for a Kitchen Remodel?

Kitchen Remodel Permits If you’re planning on painting your kitchen, installing new flooring in it, or replacing a faucet, you probably won’t have to worry too much about obtaining permits to do it. However, if you’re going to be taking on a more extensive kitchen remodeling project, you will need to get your hands on the proper permits to avoid facing fines and other penalties in the future. There are some instances in which you could even need to redo work done to your kitchen if you don’t get the right permits before remodeling it.

Permits You’ll Need for a Full Kitchen Remodel

There are a couple of permits you might have to get during a kitchen remodeling job. The first kind of permit is called a trade-specific permit. It’s the type of permit you’ll need if you’re going to be doing any electrical, plumbing, or mechanical work in your kitchen. If you’re adding new electrical components to the space or moving your plumbing around, you’ll need to apply for a trade-specific permit to do it. You can usually get this permit within a matter of just a few days without much of a fuss.

The other kind of permit is called a building permit, and it’ll cover you in the event that you’re going to be taking out or adding walls to your new kitchen. You’ll typically need to provide your city or town with your kitchen remodeling plans before you’re able to get this type of permit. You may also need to obtain both a trade-specific permit and a building permit if you’re going to need to do electrical or plumbing work while putting up or tearing down walls.

As you might imagine, it can be a huge hassle to get permits prior to starting a kitchen remodel. Scott Merle Builders will make things easier on you by getting the right permits for any project you ask us to do. Whether you want us to remodel your kitchen or renovate another part of your home, we’ll make sure we get the proper permits before we begin. Call us at 315-409-4124 today to find out more about our home remodeling and renovating services.

An Overview of Home Insulation

Home InsulationHave the energy bills for your home gone up dramatically over the last year? It could indicate a problem with your HVAC system. It could also be a sign that it’s time to consider replacing your windows and doors. However, more often than not, rising utility costs are closely tied to an issue with a home’s insulation. The insulation in your home might not be doing a good enough job, which is forcing your HVAC system to run all the time to heat or cool your property. Here is a quick overview of home insulation.

What is home insulation?

Insulation is a barrier that’s placed in the walls, ceilings, and floors of homes to prevent both heat loss and heat gain. Insulation can be made using a bunch of different materials, including fiberglass, mineral wool, polystyrene, cellulose, natural fibers, urea-formaldehyde foam, and more.

Why is it important?

Home insulation is important because, without it, air from inside your home will work its way through your walls, ceilings, and floors and end up outside. This will prevent your home from ever getting as hot or cold as it could be when you’re running your HVAC system. You could potentially cut your energy bills by more than 30 percent with the right insulation.

How often does it need to be replaced?

Because home insulation can be made from several materials, there is a chance that your insulation could last anywhere from just a couple years to more than a decade. But it’s important for you to remember that insulation doesn’t last forever. It may wear out over time and stop doing its job. It may also get damaged if it’s ever exposed to moisture and need to be replaced right away.

How can you check your home’s insulation levels?

It’s usually not possible to check the insulation levels in your home’s walls and floors. Nevertheless, you can climb up into your attic to see what kind of condition your insulation is in. Generally speaking, home insulation should be approximately 10 to 16 inches deep for it to function properly. You can also call on a contractor to come out and look at your insulation if you’re unable to do it yourself.

At Scott Merle Builders, we understand the importance of home insulation and strive to provide our clients with the best insulation in the business. Call us at 315-409-4124 today with any questions you might have about insulation or home renovations as a whole.

How to Prepare for a Home Renovation

Home Renovations Scott Merle Builders builds homes in Central New York. The company also handles home renovations.

If you’ve been thinking about having some work done at your home, what are some ways to prepare for a company like Scott Merle Builders to come to your house and make your dream a reality?

Plan for Finances

First, you’ll want to figure out your finances at the moment. What does your budget look like and what can you do to save and/or get more money to “get what you want?” Perhaps you might apply for a home equity loan or a home equity line of credit to help finance the home renovation(s). Other options include taking out a reverse mortgage, dealing with contractor financing, or applying for a FHA Title 1 loan. You might ask a relative, like a parent, for a loan. Or, if you want to save up money over time, commit to putting away a certain percentage of your paycheck toward the home renovation project each week or two… that way you’ve got a goal to work toward to, with the money all in one spot.

Iron Out the Details

Next, you’ll want to figure out what you really want done at your house, down to the details. For example, say you want to have your kitchen remodeled. Ask yourself, “Yeah, but what does that mean for me?” Maybe it’s something simple like, “Well, I just really want brand new granite countertops put in. They should be black and white.” Or it could be more elaborate, as you make a list of wants/needs, and come up with specific details including colors and materials. Do some research online and in stores to see prices for items you’re interested in, such as new lighting, cabinets, and appliances.

Is DIY a Realistic Option?

Okay, here comes the interesting part: what can you do yourself versus what should you hire someone else to do? For some people, the physicality of renovation work is too much– especially if they have bad backs. Others will tell you, “I wish I could but I am clueless about electricity, carpentry, and such– I can’t even read a ruler right!” So depending on how much you can handle, some of the work can be “do-it-yourself,” while other parts of the work should be done by professionals like Scott Merle Builders.

Finally, it’s important to be flexible. Rather than get your mind and heart set on something, it’s best to leave room for “leeway.” Just like life, expect the unexpected and do your best to roll with it.