Cool New Products at 2013 Builder’s Show

October 23, 2013

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 Two new innovative products showcased at the Southeast Builder’s Conference last month caused quite a stir.

 Encore Stone Products debuted its recycled granite pavers made from the granite waste created by countertop fabricators. Owner Brett Maugerihas found a way to turn that granite into 100% recycled granite pavers, interior tiles, and fire pits.

BRZ Brands displayed the BRZ Floor Guards, a product creating a specially-developed film covering for the bottom of your shoes that provides protection for carpet, tile, and hardwood floors. All you do is step into the “feet,” and you’re ready to go.

The BRZ Floor Guard is crafted from recycled plastic, features a recyclable film and has a low cost per use.

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A Summer of Rental Discontent

June 21, 2012

 A slow down in apartment construction, coupled with low vacancy rates and a rising millennial demographic will continue to fuel a rise in apartment rents this summer.

According to Trulia, a company that tracks rents and home prices, it now costs more to rent than to own a home in 98 of the top 100 U.S. metropolitan areas.

Moody Analytics reports that demographics has become a leading factor in more people renting then buying, and “demand for rent will remain solid over the next two years.”  While the overall rental rate is 35%, the renter rate for those between the ages of 25-29 is nearly 65%, and for those under 24 years old, it is 77 percent, according to the Census Bureau.

On the single-family home stage, the rental craze has made it frustrating for the homebuyer. Inventory of “decent” homes is being depleted as investors snatch up single-family homes for the purpose of renting them out. Those left on the market are receiving multiple offers, resulting in bidding wars.  And prospective buyers with FHA loans are finding out that their loans may require sellers to do more home repairs than other loans. Subsequently, if a seller receives multiple offers, they may avoid the ones with FHA loans.

Prospective buyers are also losing homes to cash buyers and bidders with bigger down payments.

This is all playing into the hands of investors who surmised a couple of years ago:  “Accumulate hundreds or thousands of homes, rent to the 99% and make a killing when they dump them back on a property-starved market in three to five years,” according to Personal Real Estate & Investor.


Miss Your Basement?

March 26, 2012

A new kind of home has opened in Florida: It’s theTransformation House in Harmony Transformation House and it comes with its own Spacement©, a flex space like no other, especially if you miss that basement you had up north.

By opening a door and stepping up to the Spacement©, you find space that can be used for air-conditioned storage (Florida basement), a bonus area (grandchildren’s space), bedroom(s), bathroom(s) or a mixture of all. This flexible space can include one or two baths and two or three flex rooms.  And no matter what configuration the homeowner selects, the static mechanical, plumbing and electrical design coincides.

 Built in the town of Harmony by Wetherington Builders, the 2,500 square-foot, energy-efficient home is being certified by Tracy DeCarlo of One Stop Green Home Certification.

For more information, visit http://www.homebuildinglessons.com/TDBlog/2012/02/20/transformation-house-energy-efficient-flexible-green-and-accessible-3/

 


Luxury Home Market is Silver Lining Today

October 11, 2011

In every economic downturn there is a silver lining. And in housing, it continues to be the luxury home market.

But you need to move fast if you want a deal. Foreign buyers have been busy doling out cash on discounted properties brought on by the housing crash and the deals on a piece of luxury won’t last.

In Manhattan, a shrinking inventory means if you want a place to live for under $1 million, it will need some renovation. In Miami, prices are starting to rise as the economy slowly recovers and luxury properties are selling quickly. Realtors in Scottsdale, Arizona, and Malibu, California, report inventory on luxury homes is dropping, although prices continue to be stable.

From March 2010 to March 2011, the National Association of Realtors found that international buyers bought more than $82 billion in real estate, up 24% from the previous year.


Milestones

July 15, 2011

Last weekend, Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees achieved a milestone only 27 other major league baseball players have ever done in more than 100 years of America’s Pastime — 3,000 career base hits. And he did it with a home run.  We saw the excitement in his face as he rounded the bases and, we were just as excited for him.

We are a society of milestone lovers, whether personal or otherwise. When we decide to lose 20 pounds, and we reach that plateau, we relish in that feeling of accomplishment. We also love seeing someone else succeed — Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition is a pretty riveting show.

And it does not have to be just about numerals. It can be firsts, or lasts, the latter of which we are collectively celebrating right now as the last Space Shuttle — Atlantis — completes its mission. Quite a milestone.

Other milestones have nothing to do with numerals or rankings: getting married, having a baby, buying your first home, graduating from anything. These events and others sprinkled throughout our lives make us feel good, special.  

No doubt, milestones are one of the keys to happiness. We are happy when we reach them; we are happy when others do.  

So relish those milestones. Derek Jeter did. And so did we.


Happy Mother’s Day

May 13, 2011

On Mother’s Day morning, 2011, a man on our quiet neighborhood street took his own life on his back patio. A chilling morning for many to say the least, but a more devastating one for his mom, to be sure. 

Reasons are not important, nor how it all went down. The reality is the lives of his survivors were changed forever in a single instant.  

Since Sunday, two things have weighed on my mind that should be food for thought for all of us. 

First, more of us need to watch closely for depression in our fellow man before it is too late. According to WebMD,

more than 90% of people who die by suicide have clinical depression or another diagnosable mental disorder.

And second, guns do kill people. In 2007, 34,598 people killed themselves, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Half of them used a firearm.


Giving the Gifts Of Gardening and Fitness

December 7, 2010

 

Volunteers from Get Active Orlando (GAO), the organization that acts as the City of Orlando’s link to health and fitness initiatives, announce the debut of three new community gardens in the Orlando area. Utilizing grant monies from the Blue Foundation, this year GAO funded five school- and youth-based gardens designed to teach children the importance of healthy eating.

Sunrise_Elementary_Garden
Sunrise Elementary Garden

 

The new gardens –the New Image Youth Center Garden, 

Reeves Terrace Recreation Complex Community Garden and the Sunrise  

Elementary School Garden — also promote physical activity. 

“It’s a special feeling to have these gardens up and running at a time of the year associated with bountiful feasts and giving thanks,” notes GAO Chair Leah Nash. She says two other gardens — the Fern Creek School and Community Garden and the Orlando Day Nursery Garden — are scheduled to open by the end of the year. 

 For more information or to become involved with GAO, please visit www.getactiveorlando.com.