Thinking About Building A New Home?

»Posted by on Jul 22, 2015 in Blog, Featured, News | 0 comments

NEED SOME GUIDANCE ON WHERE TO BEGIN? This is the one you have been waiting for, right?  Where do you begin?  You’re right in asking this question because if you have not done this before…there is so much that takes place from concept to completion.  Scary, huh? – it doesn’t have to be if you have a knowledgeable instructor!  It’s true that I don’t know the first thing about selling a car (mark up costs, carrier, dealer, lease obligations, etc.), and I’m not a heart surgeon and wouldn’t pretend to be even after a long night with friends – but, when it comes to building a home, I feel pretty confident that I can assist you. This is why I am going to share some of my expertise with you over the next 10 weeks or so — walking you through all the steps — from planning your home concept all the way through to placing the silverware in the kitchen drawer!  Let start with… STEP 1:  Planning- Where do you want to live? This may sound foolish, but it is really not.  Some people spend the least amount of time on this one, when it is really the most critical part.  This ONE question consist of: Can I afford the neighborhood: taxes, insurance, square footage requirements (in some developments) and on and on… Am I getting married, if so, are we planning on having children: how are the public school systems… What style houses go within the area of my choice(s) – you don’t want to over build or settle for something that is not appealing to you – what is my desired living space/square footage? Atmosphere in the area – things to do – quality of life (probably the most important question in Step 1 believe it or not!) What’s my minimum expectation for land/lot size – am I okay with just a small buildable lot size (maybe in close proximity to shared green space or community areas/playgrounds, etc…) or do I want ACRES? Do I want to own livestock? Do I want to live off the grid – times are getting tough… Can I find a house similar to my ‘list’ that might just need slight remodel work vs. a new build– and possibly save thousands (or tens of thousands)? Is this my permanent home or is it for only 5, 6, 8, 10 years? Do I really want to own a home – and do I want the responsibilities that come along with home ownership like landscaping, interior/exterior maintenance, those resulting improvement costs, the never ending ‘to do list’, etc…? Does it still sound scary?  No worries, Craig DiPetrillo is here, to make your decision making process a whole lot easier!  If you have the time, jump in and we’ll look at this one step at a time, together.  This week, let’s focus on getting the answers to the 10 questions above.  In addition to each week’s blog that will consecutively cover each step, we will post a ‘public’ question received with my answer, relative to the last step discussed.  If you have a question on this current step, please email it to Info@DiPetrilloProperties.com.  We will draw one or two from the group to answer. Coming next week, STEP 2:  Planning – selecting a home design, financing, and a contractor. DiPetrillo Properties specializes in home building and renovations.  We have over 25 years of design, construction and investment talent and experience waiting to be utilized on your next project.  Call us today for a free in-house consultation with no obligation....

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»Posted by on Jun 8, 2015 in Blog, Featured, News | 0 comments

This is a very interesting question, especially for my Rhode Island friends… The color mentioned – ‘khaki’, e.g., tan, beige, desert sand, khaki…THE LIGHT BROWNS!!! It is the color family that has dominated the RI home market for decades. Why? Rhode Island has made two things clear: 1. fried calamari should be served tossed in an olive oil/balsamic vinegar with yellow banana peppers and some garlic, and; 2. the raised ranch home is the ideal contractor spec home and should have an exterior vinyl color of “khaki”. Why khaki? When building a spec home (a contractors model home speculated to sell) they want to be certain to stay with the neutral coloring as it has been proven to be the most appealing and calming. Even if the color of ” khaki” is not the first choice of the inquiring and potential home buyer – chances are they will not walk away or lose interest in purchasing the home vs. the houses with a loud finish/exterior color which is more costly to cover up or change if disliked. And, this is the same reason that “bone white” is most often the chosen paint for the interior walls and white for six panel interior doors. This is the leading package that has been sold in Rhode Island for 20 years this coming August! Why are we seeing less of this model/package all of a sudden? Why the change? Simple. Contractors have been choosing to opt out of building spec homes from ground up due to the economy and the slowing (to almost extinction) of the middle class. These very important segments will need to be thriving if we’re to see that “khaki” raised ranch boom again! And in the last five years contractors began to shift gears away from fully gutted flip trend (which is now becoming very scarce) to flips with cosmetic touches. These cosmetic touchups I warn you…be careful. The permitting process is a bit sketchy, as it does not always require attention to: electrical, plumbing and mechanical areas. However, many contractors find these projects to be very lucrative and profitable and there are A LOT out there for sale now. Just a word of warning – if you do not know your contractor, you better investigate them well – I find this “cosmetic” home flip as the #1 cover up complaint in Rhode Island! Craig DiPetrillo – DiPetrillo Properties – Planning, Investments,...

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Building a New Home? Did you receive your estimate as an itemized price list or by the square foot?

»Posted by on Jun 2, 2015 in Blog, Featured, News | 0 comments

With the economy booming (so I hear), pricing on material is changing almost daily (so it feels). I have had this question asked of me about 10 times in the last 2 weeks: “how much will it cost per square foot to build a home”? You will hear quotes from $125.00 per SF to $225.00 per SF.  My answer: what building material are you using, e.g., stick build or truss and what do you envision for your finish esthetics, e.g., chair rails, raised panels, crown moldings, granite? This is when my client says, “well, I would like some of those finishes, but not all of them are needed”.  Okay then, this is where IF YOU HAD an agreement with the contractor at a price per square foot, it gets a little tricky and starts to fall apart. Once you start removing and adding items it is almost impossible to adjust the square foot price for accuracy. The question now remains: are you actually paying more or less on the square foot for what you are getting. My opinion, price the ACTUAL item, product, and linear footage for accuracy. Have a plan, a physical construction set. Then, if you don’t have a general contractor of choice, price it yourself. Visit at least two local lumberyards for a price on material, and they will give you a labor estimate when asked. Keep in mind though, the labor estimate, if given, may not be the same quality you are looking for, but it is exactly what you need to consider – “labor estimate”.  The reason I believe and know this is the best way to go, is from over 25 years of personal experience. Think about it, if you have a great room side by side with a formal dining room, both without interior walls, how would one believe the square foot (12”x 12”) estimate method is accurate?  It cannot be.  The best way to maintain your budget and accuracy in estimating is spending the time to price nail by nail and a good general contractor (G.C.) that knows quality, who is affordable and a punctual individual with a knack for maintaining their client’s budget.  Do not get into the big no-no after you sign an agreement with a G.C. and decide on upgrading items and changing the design plan!  This is where the budget wanders off course, does not come back (only climbs higher) and the G.C. can now make up for lost money and time if one so decides in order to keep the job moving along.  This warning is usually the one that blows all the budgets – “on-site changes”.  So take it from me; first: take your time in planning, second: invest in what you can afford – not keeping up with the “Jones”, third: monitor and be involved in your construction process.  After all, this is your home.  Happy building and enjoy the summer! Please consider DiPetrillo Properties for YOUR Home Building – we specialize in ground up...

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Are solar panels for residential properties worth it?

»Posted by on May 14, 2015 in Blog, Featured, News | 0 comments

The Answer – “ABSOLUTELY”!  Most people do not realize that it’s not just  the electric company that offers credits for purchase and rebates of renewable energy installations/projects — there are private companies out there that will foot the whole bill and/or you are often able to establish a small payment plan (could be around $100.00 per month) added to your electric bill (directly) each month, as opposed to a large one time expenditure.  The savings alone (approximately 20-30{48370f4c7e8d05e54649e612d3c42fc7fd435ea0d0341dced4441d5061938337} annually) could prove to be greater than the payments/expense for the panels – it will make sense.  On the other hand, if you do not have a large home or a lot of activity going on at your residence (such as a farm), it might not make sense at all, as you will notice when you run your numbers… Residential solar systems, on average, cost about $20,000 to install.  State and Federal subsidies generally cover about half the cost, bringing it down to about $10,000 in out-of-pocket expenses.  This is where those private small companies that you’ve been seeing popping up come in to play to better incentify these potential money saving programs by assisting you with affordable installation and payment. options. What are you getting for the price?  Beyond the actual solar panels, the solar package(s) generally include a new electric meter, installed by the electric utility, that registers credits for the homeowner.  When the solar panels produce more power than is needed, the meter then helps deduct credits when the electric usage exceeds the electricity being produced by the panels. The first and most important question is always “…what is my return”?  Well, after doing the math, the solar systems do add value to the investment! So when measuring the cost of installing solar panels, you must include the value it adds to your property in addition to the savings on your electric bill. Just another option when going green and making your property more efficient. Craig DiPetrillo – DiPetrillo Properties – Planning, Investments,...

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April Showers bring Spring Flowers ..and TO DO LISTs for Upkeep!

»Posted by on May 1, 2015 in Blog, Featured, News | 0 comments

Finally, NO MORE SNOW! Now it’s time to prepare a calendar for your “To Do List”, those items that you have to keep up with every year and those that you just didn’t tackle last year…here is another chance. 1.  First step – Prioritize. I find it simple and most efficient to place the things on top of the list that don’t need to be done by you and that might need some time to prepare for – like getting landscape quotes for larger projects, etc…  Reaching out to contractors and requesting quotes in January/February might seem like the best idea but I find it is often more beneficial if you can wait until March/April which then allows the landscape companies to really see what their work load looks like. This is a great way to get the best price – if they’re very busy already, you can sometimes avoid the higher price-tag (quotes) and if they’re too slow – you will see that right in the estimate! Obviously, lawn care companies and landscape contractors are the ones I always try to get referrals for and usually use the ‘ones’ I know or that someone I know knows. But, regardless…always get (3) estimates! 2. Step 2 — How’s the outside of the building looking? Are all those old seams stuck together or are they separating? Take a really close look at the exterior/siding, you would be surprised at how often houses may look great from a distance, but stand 12”-16” away and you begin to see it from a new light. Good from afar, far from good! All those paint cracks on the trim, which allow rain and moisture in need to be sealed (caulked). This is the FIRST ENEMY that attacks the un-protected areas of your home. As that happens, don’t be surprised as time passes if you see ants living within the moldings and corners… 3. Step 3 — Check the sill of the foundation. Does it look good? Sometimes that foam you originally used to seal and protect becomes too brittle as it is so close to the ground/surface, creating an opportunity for moisture to get in. 4.  Step 4 — Walk around the foundation and see how the finish grade shifted. You may need to take a rake (or shovel) to it, and once again slope it away from the house. Allowing it to puddle against the foundation is only inviting water in. This is something most people just do not think of checking until their carpet is soaked in the family room located in the basement. 5.  Step 5 – Roofline and chimney. Having a good set of binoculars on hand is always a good idea to skim the exterior roof line and chimney! 6.  Step 6 — How’s the driveway? Sealing and filling those cracks are important to promote longevity of the asphalt/concrete. If you plan on seal coating the asphalt, that is great but the rule is to not to over do it, every other year should be sufficient. Having too much will cause flaking and contribute to cracking.   Craig DiPetrillo – DiPetrillo Properties – Planning, Investments,...

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If I want to go green, what size home should I build?

»Posted by on Apr 7, 2015 in Blog, Featured, News | 0 comments

I see everything going green today:  companies, cars, coffee, and so on.  Though, when it comes to your home, what is your real motivation to go green?  Is it a concern for the environment?  As defined on the EPA’s website,http://www.epa.gov/greenbuilding/pubs/about.htm  – Green building is the practice of creating structures and using processes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building’s life-cycle from siting to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation and deconstruction. “Green is money saved”, we say – but what about the environment?  In my opinion they go hand to hand.  As we continue to see new technology being utilized in Green building practices, I often think about how we do not know yet what the usage of it will add to emissions and/or what toxins are being added to the environment?  What type of waves do Z-waves really cause?  Any health risks?  The answer is NO, at least none that we know about yet.  This is life though, isn’t it?  We so often don’t know what harm things cause until later…  It has been this way since the beginning of time I am sure.  Unfortunately of course, we even sometimes ignore the warnings – such as those labeled right on the side of the item and we take the risk anyway! So, back to the point at hand, when someone asks me what size home to buy because they want to go green, I ask, “Do you really?”  The concept of green building isn’t new as our great-grandparents built climate-appropriate homes, mostly with materials right on the property!  Does ‘what’s old is new again’ sound familiar?  Today’s green homes integrate not only climatic thinking but are resource and energy efficient, safer for occupants, and often much less expensive to maintain.  Most of all a lot smaller than we’ve gotten used to building.  Most new homes never need much of what we have been installing that requires a power source (even when we are not using it)! So what does go into a green home?  Some key components of a green home include: 1.  Energy-efficient features:  appliances, windows, water/heating systems, light bulbs; 2.  Water-efficient features: showerheads, faucets, toilets, dishwashers, washing machines, irrigation systems, rainwater collection system, wastewater treatment systems, hot water circulation systems; 3.  Resource-efficient features: home orientation on lot, floor plan layout, natural light design, wood species such as bamboo, recycled materials in carpets, tiles, concrete; 4.  Indoor Air Quality features: The heating, air conditioning and ventilation system (HVAC) must be properly sized for an accurate and properly ventilated home.  Using fans inside will cycle fresh air and release stale air.  Low-VOC paints and finishes and wallpapers should be used as well.  If you are unfamiliar with Low-VOC material, you may reference this site for more information http://home.howstuffworks.com/home-improvement/construction/materials/low-voc-paint.htm ; 5.  Outside the Home features: take care in preserving trees and other vegetation, proper plant selections for climate (Rhody Natives are a great choice, here’s their site to reference http://rinhs.org/who-we-are-what-we-do/programs-projects/rhody-native-home/ ) and watered as needed, driveways and other impervious surfaces should be reduced – use gravel, pavers, other permeable systems. Bottom line – going green is not only a decision that needs to be made by the consumer, but the homebuilder must have a clear understanding of the homeowner’s desires, budget and expectations as well.  These are the many “shades of green” and spending the time together (contractor and homeowner) without being rushed along in the process will ultimately accomplish an environmentally friendly, safe, and cost efficient...

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