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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.

 

Should You Remodel Your Home or Build a New One?

Home Renovations Vs. Complete Rebuilds Do you want to improve the look of your current home or wish that it functioned better? If so, you might want to think about remodeling it. During a remodel, you can give your home a much-needed makeover and fall in love with it again. Or, if you don’t want to go that route, you can also consider building a brand new home from scratch. It’ll give you everything on your wish list and deliver the perfect home. So, which is the better option for you? Here are some things that’ll help you decide.

Which is more affordable?

There are some people who would automatically assume that a home remodeling project would be way cheaper than a new build. However, that isn’t always the case! If you think you’ll need to do a major remodel to turn your home into what you want, it could end up costing you as much as it would to build a new home. It all depends on the current condition of your home, the ideas you have, and more. A contractor can talk to you about how much each of your two options could cost.

Which is more convenient?

A new home build will usually take longer to do than a remodel. Therefore, if you’re looking for the quicker fix to your current problem, you might want to go with remodeling. However, you should remember that you’re going to need to live in the middle of a construction zone while your remodel is going on. It could limit your lifestyle for a little bit, which is something you won’t have to worry about when you’re having a new home built elsewhere.

Which will give you what you want?

A home remodel and a new home build can both give you what you want. It really all comes down to how much you like the current location of your home. If you love the area and don’t want to move somewhere else, a remodeling project might work best for you. But if you wouldn’t mind moving or want to get out of the neighborhood you’re in now, a new build might be your best bet. Either way, you can get the home you’ve always dreamed about.

Undoubtedly, there are pros and cons that come along with both home remodels and new home builds. Scott Merle Builders can help you with either option and make sure you love the end result. Call us at 315-409-4124 to set up a consultation.

Is Winter a Good Time to Refinish Your Basement?

Basement Renovations

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Most people tend to think of Buffalo or Erie, Pa., as the nation’s snowiest cities, but the truth is Syracuse is. If you check the Golden Snowball Award page on wikipedia for snowiest city, Syracuse keeps winning that title year-after-year.

During a cold and snowy Syracuse winter, it’s a good time to refinish your basement. Think about it: contractors like Scott Merle Builders don’t do as much exterior work in the winter, so they have time to focus on indoor projects, like your basement. They can replace floors, update lights, reroute plumbing pipes, do some painting, and more. Winter months also offer some discounts on things like appliances, lumber products, windows and cabinet lines since January and February are pretty slow at retail, right? Before Christmas, there are sales. After the Christmas rush, businesses get a little desperate for sales in the winter doldrum months, which can benefit a person even more with “rock bottom prices.”

Also, government agencies don’t have as much to do in the winter months, so you’re likely to obtain necessary work permits faster than other seasons of the year.

What are some reasons to have your basement refinished this winter? How about improved storage, creating more rooms you can use (such as a third bathroom or guest bedroom), adding value to your house (especially if you plan to sell it within the next few years), and getting some energy savings as insulation can be added, cracks can be sealed, etc.

For many people, a basement is wasted space, full of some clutter and not much else. But a basement can be so much more. Turn yours into functional space where things are better organized, the rooms are cleaner, better lit, and more attractive, and, if you want, gain extra “rooms” in your house where you can actually spend time doing things you love– basements make for great movie rooms, man caves, tool workshops and kids’ playrooms.

In Central New York, when you want to work with a company that’ll do a great job refinishing your basement this winter, call Scott Merle Builders of Liverpool at 315-409-4124 or email scott@merlebuilders.com.

The Benefits of Adding Stone Peaks to Your Home

Stone Peaks Are you interested in improving the curb appeal and overall appearance of the exterior of your home? One of the best ways to accomplish that goal is by adding stone peaks to your house. It’ll instantly improve the visual appeal and the functionality of your home as the project is complete. There are many other benefits of adding stone peaks to a home, too. Check out a few of them below.

They make your home more durable.

Stone is one of the most durable building materials on the market today. Any time you use stone on the outside of your home, it’ll make your house resistant to everything from wind and rain to snow and ice, which is ideal for Central New York homes. Stone will also hold up well when it sits in the sun all day long and won’t show signs of fading over time. Additionally, you won’t have to worry about insects doing any damage to stone; it’s just about as durable as it gets.

They last for a long time.

Because stone is so durable, you won’t have to think about replacing it anytime soon once it goes into place. Unlike vinyl siding and some of your other options, your stone will hold up for many years to come. In fact, there’s a good chance you won’t ever have to change up the exterior of your home when you decide to go with stone since it’s been known to last for decades and decades on end.

They can help increase the value of your home.

Stone has become a very attractive selling feature for homeowners in recent years. Many are finding ways to incorporate more stone into the interior and exterior of their homes because of it. Stone will make a good first impression on home buyers if you ever decide to sell your home.

If you’re thinking about adding stone peaks to your home, Scott Merle Builders can talk to you about the different ways you can do it. Call us at 315-409-4124 today to set up a consultation for any home renovations you want to do.

Renovation Ideas for a Growing Family

Home Renovations for Young Families Is your home starting to feel too small for your growing family? You could put it up for sale and start looking around for something bigger. However, if you really love your house and don’t want to move, you also have the option of renovating it to fit your needs. Check out some great renovation ideas that will benefit your growing family and allow you to stay where you are most comfortable.

Find a place to put a new bathroom.

As your family grows, it’s going to get harder and harder to find a free bathroom in your home. Rather than spending your mornings yelling “Hurry up!” as you wait outside the bathroom, try to find an area where you can put a new bathroom in your home. It might seem like a small renovation to make, but it’ll make a big difference for your growing family.

Open up your living area.

Does your living area feel extremely cramped when your family sits down to watch a movie or just hang out? See if you can knock down a few walls to make your living space more open. It would be great if your entire main floor could be one open area where everyone can see one another without being on top of each other. It’ll give your family to chance to spend quality time without forcing them to pile into a small living room.

Finish off the basement.

If you have an unfinished basement, now might be the time to finish it like you said you were going to do when you first bought your home. You can add a bathroom to a finished basement, put in a couple more bedrooms, and even create a large play area for your kids to enjoy.

Add an addition and create more square footage.

In some cases, adding a bathroom or opening up an existing living area just isn’t going to cut it. If you need additional square footage to make your home big enough for your growing family, an addition might be exactly what you’re looking for. You can add more rooms to your home and make your home large enough for your family to stay in it.

Regardless of which renovation ideas sound best to you, Scott Merle Builders can handle home remodeling and renovating for your family. Call us at 315-409-4124 today to speak with someone about your renovation options.

Mistakes to Avoid When Determining Room Layouts

Room Layouts Are you going to be renovating your home or putting an addition onto it soon? If so, you’re going to have to come up with the perfect layout for the portion of your home that you’re going to be changing. It’ll allow your home to function in a whole new way. Nevertheless, before you create a new layout, there are some common layout mistakes you should aim to avoid. Take a look at them below.

Creating pockets of space with no clear purpose.

There is nothing worse than having a room in your home that has a pocket of space without a clear purpose. That wasted space will cut into your home’s square footage without offering anything in return. When you are coming up with a layout for a room, make sure you identify what each part of the room will be used for. It’ll allow you to avoid creating space that won’t serve any purpose later.

Failing to work enough storage into the mix.

Every room in your home could always benefit from additional storage. It doesn’t matter if you’re mapping out a bedroom, a living space, or a kitchen. Find as many ways to incorporate storage as you can. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to install new closets. However, it might mean working a bench or another feature that can double as storage into your plans.

Forgetting to consider where your furniture will go.

Your home’s furniture will undoubtedly change over the years. Therefore, you don’t want to plan an entire living area around your oversized sectional. Nevertheless, you should obviously keep it in mind and plan out where you’re going to put it. The last thing you want to do is complete a bunch of home renovations only to find that some of your furniture looks out of place within the new layout.

These are just some of the room layout mistakes that homeowners make. Scott Merle Builders can help you steer clear of them and talk to you about other layout mistakes. Call us at 315-409-4124 today for all your renovation needs.