Expensive Contractor

We had an interesting visit recently from a publisher who stopped by to invite us to advertise in a yearly publication distributed to hotels, offices, and other venues.  He was complimentary about the quality of the ads he has seen from us over the years, and asked what our results had been.  I had to inform him that our “image campaign”, as the process of advertising has been termed by a local professional, has mostly resulted in the interpretation of  our image as being that of an expensive contractor.  He laughed and said that he had assumed that we were quite expensive as well. We have discussed this dilemma among ourselves at various times and come to the conclusion that trying to cheapen our image is not realistic when we keep doing such a great job.  Kidding aside, our portion of the cost that results in those beautiful images is no more expensive than less detailed contractors charge.  We are neither cheap nor expensive.  We do what our clients ask and leave them feeling great about the results.  Your job will LOOK expensive–which is not a bad thing, right?  

Coastal Codes Affect Cost

The hurricanes that the East coast has experienced over the last few years have had a profound impact on building practices for our state. In the aftermath of these events, learning takes place that enables individuals and authorities to make decisions about how to lessen the severity of damages from future such occurrences. In North Carolina, the residential building code specifies minimum requirements for components and installation techniques utilized in high wind zones, such as along the coast. These requirements cover doors and windows, footings, wall and foundation anchorage, wall construction, structural bracing, masonry wall construction, and roof tie downs. For instance, doors and windows used along the coast must carry at least the minimum DP (design pressure) rating specified by the code. The window unit or door must have been tested by the manufacturer and certified to be capable of withstanding at least the wind velocity noted in the code to qualify for the DP rating. These requirements increase construction costs, but are intended to reduce the occurrences of damage, and the severity of damage, from tropical storms and hurricanes.  Inspection departments, engineering and design firms, and insurance companies all contribute data that goes into the research behind wind code requirements and the locales in which they are applied. As a custom home specialist, The Farlow Group is thoroughly versed in code requirements for our coastal area, and best practices for installation of materials and components. Sometimes a client will have an architect from outside the coastal area to design their home or addition, and we are happy to work with those professionals to assist them with any specific information they may need to be certain the plans meet code requirements for permitting.

Target Your Budget Dollars

Few of us have unlimited budgets for any aspect of our lives. How can we know what features in our new space will provide true value in terms of enjoyment or convenience? What you will use most can often be identified by the habits you currently have. Giving thought to how you will actually use each space in your home can help you decide where to put the majority of your budget. Do you enjoy going out to a restaurant to eat most of your meals so that your new restaurant grade appliances will just gather dust, or will you be inspired to become a gourmet yourself? Should part of your budget include high-end cookware? Do you want to display or conceal kitchen items? Do you delight in being among the first people to see a new movie at the cinema, or would that home theater you have dreamed of provide lasting joy? Do you prefer to relax with your tunes by yourself in a private space, or do you want to hear it from everywhere in the house while you do the cleaning? Would that home office be the answer to simplifying your life or would you just feel isolated in there? For privacy, consider locating the office away from public areas of the house. For more connection, get close to the kitchen or family room. Thinking along the lines of what our homes can add to our lifestyle and what is of little importance can be very liberating. Spending our money at home on whatever we will also devote most of our time to is probably money well spent, whether it is cutting edge innovation or old fashion relaxation.

Construction Costs Versus Value

For the homeowner attempting to reconcile future market value of their home versus costs, the calculation can seem daunting.  All living arrangements carry an expense, but we have grown accustomed to expecting others (potential buyers, appraisers, lenders) to share our perspective of our home’s dollar value, even without considering the emotional value that we tend to add on top of the market.  After all, a home is where the experiences of family are most immediate, and we cherish that history.   So how does one account for how much to spend on updating and enhancing structures and interiors when some portion of what we spend may be an expense instead of an investment?  Probably the same way one arrives at any difficult decision—decide on what is most important in your particular situation, gather information, sort options, and then decide.  Having made the best decision you can based on the information available at the time, don’t look back.  You’ll go nuts trying to control the uncontrollable, of which everything that lies in the past is included!  Spend on what is most important to YOU, and save on what you care the least about in terms of your home experience.  For the builder who is carrying on in this business climate, the choices can also be difficult; however, in business a calculation based on emotion may end an enterprise.  If we can’t make a profit that allows us to build our business, then there is little point in being in the building business.  Just turning over dollars to stay busy is operating at a loss, because the liability factor in creating a custom home using thousands of components, any one of which could unexpectedly underperform, carries a risk […]