Written by Spear Builders

How much will it cost to build your home?

Now that you know what type of home you're going to build, the next task is to figure out how much it's going to cost. You'll need a rough cost to determine whether or not the home site and house will fit your budget. The total cost of your home is made up of two components: soft costs and hard costs.

Soft costs are any costs that are not directly related to construction, things like permit fees, impact fees, utilities, taxes, loan interest, and tap fees. Soft costs are found by working with your lender, municipality, and local utility companies. Your bank will give you an estimate of the loan costs and loan interest. The municipality will help you with permit fees, impact fees, and tap fees.

Hard costs are materials and labor to build your home. For example, roofing should be about three percent of the total house cost. These percentages will give you some guidance for putting together your budget. As always, remember prices can vary depending on materials and location. An asphalt roof in Fredericksburg, VA, isn't comparable to a tile roof in Charlottesville, VA. But this should still give you a good standpoint.

For hard costs, you don't want to spend a whole lot of time and money at this point bidding the house out to subcontractors. Instead, there are several decent sources for estimating residential construction based on a square foot.

Take the sales price of a new home similar to the one you want to build and reduce it by twenty percent for land and then another twenty percent for builder profit. This will give you a very rough estimate for the cost of building your home. Keep in mind this is only a rough estimate. The quality of materials and finishes you choose will affect the cost in a big way.

With your rough estimate of the cost of building your home, add your lot price to it to get the actual total rough estimated cost. If this falls within your budget, you're ready to continue. At Spear Builders, we have the best custom home builders in Virginia. Contact us today.

Written by Spear Builders

5 tips for dealing with contractors

So you've succeeded in getting the home of your dreams by working with home builders in Virginia. Now that the crews have packed up and left, that's the end of dealing with contractors, right? Wrong. Inevitably you will have to hire workers for a job in the future, whether it be refreshing a paint job or landscaping your property. How do you ensure that you get your money's worth without a lot of headaches? Here are five tips for dealing with contractors that will make everyone's life a little easier.

1. Do your research to find a contractor

Don't just pick up the Yellow Pages or rely on advice from a neighbor. Do your homework; there are many websites expressly for this purpose (AngiesList.com is one of them). A good source of information is the manager of your local hardware or home improvement store. Above all, make sure your contractor is licensed and insured.

2. Have a plan

Know what you want from the get go, and communicate this clearly to the contractor. Changing directions in the middle of a job can be very time-consuming and costly to you in the long run. Have a vision of the work you want to be completed and impart this to the foreman at the start of the job. Putting it in writing can't hurt.

3. Anticipate mess

Many homeowners are shocked by the amount of dust, fumes or piles of materials that accumulate during a project. You may want to consider staying somewhere else for a few nights while the work is done, particularly if you or a family member suffers from a health problem like asthma.

4. You aren't the center of the universe

Recognize that you are not the contractor's only client, and behave accordingly. Making unrealistic demands will only create resentment and a tense work environment, so be respectful of their time and workload.

5. Get ready to wait

If you spend a lot of time watching the home fixer-upper shows on television, you may be surprised that work is not completed in an hour - or even a day! TV productions fail to show all the assistants behind the scenes and clever editing makes jobs seem effortless. Lots of factors can cause delays, including the contractor's other jobs and weather may have a significant impact on your project.

If you bear in mind these five basic rules, you and your contractor will have a much better working relationship overall.

Written by Spear Builders

3 fantastic reasons to custom build your home in Fredericksburg, VA

Making the journey to new home ownership is one filled with anticipation and excitement. Often times the searching process is the most difficult. Just when you think you have found your dream home, you discover some particular detail that isn’t to your liking. Or maybe the neighborhood is not what you hoped for? The kitchen is not updated to your taste? However, finding the perfect home has never been easier when securing custom home builders in Fredericksburg, VA. Here are three benefits of building a new home that will inspire you to action.

Custom creation

When you make the decision to move to a new place, why not have things the way you want them? Work with a custom home builder to create the kitchen that fits your family’s style and needs. You decide the way the rooms are laid out when custom building a home. From the countertops to the bathroom fixtures and everything in between, you choose the colors, textures, and styles you love. You do not simply need to settle for what is already there when you start from scratch.

Save money

Unbelievably, you actually save money when you build your home. Older homes have much more maintenance and upkeep costs than new homes and that continues adding up. On average, a home approximately ten years old costs around 580% more to maintain than a new one. Another factor people may not think about is the time spent taking care of needed repairs and maintenance on an older home. Every hour spent dealing with unforeseen issues is time that could be spent on other things.

Modern conveniences

Today custom-built homes boast many modern features. Updated construction methods and stronger materials used in the fabrication of the home means it lasts longer. Also, many energy efficient options make your home environmentally friendly while saving you money too. According to statistics, new homes increase efficiency by 30% over older homes. Here are just a few of the updated features on new homes:

• More durable trusses on roofs.
• Special house wrap fights mold and mildew.
• Windows with multiple panes keep out the air more effectively.
• Security options are available to protect you and your belongings.

If you are ready to begin the journey of owning your dream home, then custom home builders in Fredericksburg, VA is your answer. Connect with Spear Builders today for more information!

Written by Spear Builders

5 reasons to add a loft to your open floor plan custom home

Open floor plans are still all the rage and for good reason. Large rooms with high ceilings and fewer walls provide a breezy and welcoming atmosphere while remaining flexible enough to use in practically any way. Lofts are a great feature to discuss to your custom home builder in Charlottesville VA for these five reasons.

1. Better climate control

High cathedral ceilings look great, but they can make it harder to stay warm in the winter without big bills. Cutting down the vertical height of at least part of a room by adding a loft traps more heat close to the floor where you can feel it. Many people find the spaces under a loft to be a cozy place to relax or even sleep in the winter.

2. Maximize space use

When you've already completed your custom home design but discover you'd really like another room for a crafting space or a home office, a loft is the most convenient way to add that extra space. It's a very popular renovation project because it's a lot easier and faster than adding onto the structure with an external addition. Cutting one room into two makes the most of the vertical space that would otherwise be wasted.

3. Smaller footprint

Building on a small lot is a challenge when you have a big family or host of a lot of guests. Going vertical is the best option, but extra floors cost a lot too. Lofting a few rooms adds the space you need while keeping the total footprint of the house as compact as possible, including vertically.

4. Higher home value

Since space for new real estate development is at a premium in the UK, loft additions have become one of the highest valued renovation projects because of the demand for new space in existing structures. In high demand areas, a loft renovation adds up to the US equivalent of $25,000 in home value. While your home value varies based on a lot of factors, the extra space of a loft will definitely help your home's future selling price.

5. Simple design

Finally, lofts are easier to build than second and third stories. These structures fit within the existing architecture and rarely require any structural changes, especially when they're added during new construction.

If you're interested in adding a loft to your home, contact Spear Builders today to start the discussion.

Photo: Plastered by humbert15 licensed under Creative commons 2
Written by Spear Builders

5 traits of superior home builders

In the market for a new home? Make sure you choose the right home builders for the task. These five traits should guide your search from beginning to end:

1. Experience

The more familiar your home builder is with homes like your own, the more confident you can be in the final product. While everyone needs to start somewhere, there’s a lot of value in a tried, tested, and true team of home builders. Make sure to look at more than just the number of years in service—look at the reputation and check the references.

2. Professionalism

A home builder shouldn’t be difficult to contact, should never be rude, and shouldn’t show up late to meetings. It may be difficult to make hard promises on timelines, especially if something unexpected occurs—but that doesn’t give a builder cart blanche to make things up and give halfhearted excuses later. You want the people building your home to take their jobs seriously and perform their work earnestly.

3. Familiarity with new technology

Modern home building involves a lot of new technology, from the architectural software used in design to the new techniques used to effectively put together energy-efficient homes. While it may be appealing to work with a team of builders who still do things the old-fashioned way, it’s not optimal for your home. You want people who have an old-fashioned work ethic and plenty of experience married with an appreciation of new technology and opportunities to enhance the final home. If your builder doesn’t know what low-e windows are, for example, how efficient will your home really be?

4. Confidence

Or, to put it more bluntly, warranties and guarantees. There’s a lot of advertising and branding value in strongly worded contract-backed promises—any company which hesitates to make those sorts of promises and thus skips on those benefits should be viewed with extreme skepticism. Guarantees make money for good companies and lose money for bad companies—food for thought.

5. Transparency

You should always be able to understand what you’re paying for and what you’re getting—whether you’re buying a candy bar at the store or a custom-built home. Obfuscation of expenses, materials, or any other aspect of the building process should be taken as a bad sign. A good home builder has nothing to hide and will be glad to communicate with you consistently, clearly, and thoroughly.

If you’d like to learn more about this topic or inquire about custom homes, you can contact Spear Builders of Virginia today. As award-winning custom home builders in Virginia, we can answer all of your questions thoroughly and accurately.

Written by Spear Builders

Energy efficiency: the marriage of historic architecture and today’s high-tech features

Custom home builders in Fredericksburg, Virginia, are fortunate to be working in one of the most architecturally historic cities in America. Founded in 1728, Fredericksburg was on the frontier of Virginia’s western expansion. Its substantial historic district pays homage to the beauty of the buildings of its past. Buildings of the past, however, should be valued by more than just their beauty. They teach us that green home design is really nothing new.

Smart, pre-modern architecture

One of the most interesting aspects of pre-modern architecture is just how smart it was. Long before interactive refrigerators and talking toasters, smart home design was just a way of life; it was a necessity for surviving the elements in an off-the-grid world.

Prior to the 20th century, homes were designed to provide utmost efficiency and protection in their local climate. East coast homes were cleverly designed to be as warm as possible in the winter, while being as cool as possible in the summer. They were built with thick walls that stored and dispersed heat slowly and heavy doors and window coverings that kept wind and harsh weather out. Windows were shaped and placed in such a way that would optimize the availability of natural light and fresh air. Spaces were small and sources of heat were cleverly centralized and optimized to circulate effectively throughout the home. The laws of nature were prevalent in early house construction, as were natural and sustainable building materials.

Combining the new and the old

If you’re looking for a custom home builder in the Fredericksburg-Charlottesville area who understands the benefits of historic home renovation and retro-greening, you are looking in the right place. Virginia has more than its share of historic homes. Custom home builders with knowledge and experience in this area can offer great insight on restoring old and unique, hand-crafted wonders to their ultimate state of artistry, efficiency and inherent value, as well as implementing modern and energy efficient technologies.

The best custom home builders in Virginia, while in the business of infusing brand new, state of the art beauties to its historic landscape, also know how to apply the best of current technology and building techniques to treasured historic homes. Contact us today for more information.

Written by Spear Builders

Energy-efficient homes are the way to go – Here are a few reasons why

Constantly we hear on the news or through advertisements that we need to do our part to help improve the environment. From the food we prepare, vehicles we drive to the homes we build or purchase, energy is a major area of concern. With all the talk about being energy efficient, the ways to do so tend to get lost in translation. Here are 5 ways to make your home energy efficient.

1. Energy efficiency keeps money in your pocket

On average, a U.S. household's expenses come to about $5,550/year on energy. However, when you purchase energy-efficient appliances and make energy-efficient home upgrades, combined with energy-saving actions each day, you can save hundreds of dollars in the long run.

Buying ENERGY STAR appliances can save you up to 30% on electricity bills. A new ENERGY STAR-rated refrigerator typically saves you $165 as opposed to a regular model in its lifetime.

Replacing incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient ones, CFLs or LEDs reduces energy bills by 30-80%. This results in annual savings from $50 to more than $100.

Engaging in energy-efficient activities while you’re at home, at work or out and about also saves you money. Washing your clothes in cold water saves up to $63/year, while keeping car tires properly inflated can save $61/year.

2. Being in an energy-efficient home improves the economy

Savings of billions: Overall, energy efficiency saves the American government, its populace and businesses more than $500 billion a year in energy costs.

Job creation: While saving money, energy-efficiency projects (building improvements and infrastructure repairs) generate jobs. In the year 2010, energy efficiency was responsible for more than 830,000 jobs nationwide.

Fostering innovation: Industry leaders create energy-efficient innovations and policies leading to breakthroughs among manufacturers. In 2012, new standards required light bulbs to be at least 25% more energy-efficient than traditional bulbs spawning a myriad of new lighting products. From LED streetlights to flame-shaped, dimmable candelabra CFLs, energy-efficient lights are barely noticeable but use far less energy.

3. Better life quality

Insulated homes keep air conditioning inside during the summer and heat in during the winter. This leads to you being more comfortable all year round and to more money in your pocket as you don't have to run the AC or heat at higher levels. 16% of all greenhouse gases created in the United States come from residential domiciles; by living energy efficient, those gases are beneficial instead of harmful. Energy-efficient homes typically have longer lifespans, lower maintenance costs, and reduced operation costs.

The benefits of energy-efficient homes sell themselves. If you're interested in building your new home in an energy-efficient way, contact Spear Builders. We're one of the most respected, local home builders in Virginia, so call us today to discuss your energy-efficient home building options and reap the rewards.

Written by Spear Builders

4 reasons to choose Low-E windows for your custom home

When building your dream home from the ground up, it's easy to optimize the energy efficiency and use of natural light with the right windows. Low-E (also known as low emissions) windows are designed to control what's coming through the glass to keep your home comfortable with less energy use. Find out why Low-E windows are the best choice for a new custom home.

Control Fading

Tired of having your wallpaper, flooring, and furniture fade just because you chose a wall of glass look? Low-E glass limits the amount of UV rays coming into the room, resulting in vibrant colors over the years with far less fading.

Prevent Skin Damage

The same blocking of UV rays that protects your furnishings and decor also protects you and your family from skin damage. Repeated exposure to UVA and UVB rays can result in premature wrinkling, sun spots, and skin cancer. With Low-E windows, you can relax by a window in full sunlight to warm up in the winter without worrying about exposing yourself to dangerous UV rays.

Minimize Heat Gain

Aside from controlling the amount of light in the UV spectrum entering your home, Low-E windows installed by custom home builders in Fredericksburg VA also target infrared light as well. This is the part of the spectrum that transfers that most heat, which is why your home heats up in the summer when a lot of direct light is coming in through normal windows. You can leave your blinds up and curtains open all summer long and enjoy that amazing light when you have Low-E windows because the glass is treated to prevent the majority of heat from transferring into the interior of your home. It's still possible to sit in the sunlight and warm up a little because not all infrared light is blocked, but it's a strong enough effect that you'll notice much lower cooling bills in the summer.

Enjoy Full Amount of Light

Finally, Low-E glass accomplishes all of this while blocking almost no visible light. This makes it a better alternative to blinds, curtains, or tinting products that all limit the illumination value of a window.

If you're interested in implementing Low-E windows for your new home build, contact Spear Builders, local home builders in Virginia, today to discuss further.

Photo: Windows by ntm1909 licensed under Creative commons 2
Custom built home by Spear Builders of Virginia Inc.
Written by Spear Builders

Custom Home Builder or Production Home Builder?

Finding a place to call your own is one of the biggest decisions person will make life. Whether you’re moving to a new city, starting a new job, or starting a new family, finding a place to call home is the first step. There are two options available when looking for a new place to live: Choosing from custom built houses or production houses . Both have their advantages and disadvantages, and understanding the difference between the two can help you pick the perfect option for your new home.

A custom-built home is a reflection of who you are as a person, and construction isn’t even started until the homebuyer is lined up. Because every last detail is customizable, you can have the house built where you want it, and how. If you want to house out in the middle of a field, it can be done. Perhaps you want to be up to watch the sunrise if your kitchen window, that’s possible too. With custom-built houses you get to have direct input on where every last brick goes. That level of customization comes at a cost. It takes longer and costs more. This is owing to the unique design of each construction. When it comes time to sell, customized homes lose their value faster than production homes. This can be credited to the level of customization in the home. If you’re looking to stay in your home for that at least the next few decades, then customization is perfect.

A production house is the most common option. These houses are built anticipating the need, not necessarily waiting for the future homeowner to be knocking on the door. Years of research and design going to making these houses that are generic, but still pleasing. They cost less and having a custom house built and take less time because the majority of decisions have already been made. Because the decisions have already been made, however, the building construction team will not be as responsive to questions as on customized jobs. If you’re looking for a place to call your own, and don’t need to customize every last detail during construction, then this is the best option. Production homes also reduce the stress of moving. When uprooting a life there are already 100 decisions to be made every day. Buying a production home minimizes the number of decisions that need to be made before moving in.

Buying a home is one of the biggest decisions in a person’s life. Whether to choose a production house, and decorate the inside to your style, or a custom built dream, is a matter of price, time, and preference. If you’re looking to choose every last detail, to bring a dream into reality, then a custom house is the way to go. No matter which you choose, your home is waiting to welcome you and we are ready to build it!

Overhead photo of the metal roof
Written by Spear Builders

5 Reasons Metal Roofs Last Longer Than Asphalt Shingles

Your dream home needs a new roof, and has needed one for a while. As the weather gets warmer, and winter snowstorms are followed by spring windstorms, and summer thunderstorms, a little problem today is going to cost exponentially more the longer you wait. If you’re going to invest your money and time in getting a new roof, it’s imperative you get the best roof for your house. For decades many thought metal roofs are now perfect for residential homes too!. Here are five reasons that your house will be better off all around if it has a metal roof.

  • Metal roofs last longer: On average, asphalt shingles are meant to last a maximum of 25 years. Because of how they are manufactured, they will begin deteriorating almost immediately. The shingle is made of paper, fiberglass, and oil. This is not a durable combination. Metal roofs have been shown to last for at least forty years, and often fifty or longer. When you buy a metal roof, you are investing in the long-term value of your house.

 

  • Price: At first glance, metal roofs are far more expensive than traditional asphalt or wood shingles. In some cases, metal roofs are two to three times as expensive as their asphalt counterparts. However, this price is significantly offset by two factors. The sheer durability of metal roofs means that you will pay for asphalt replacements two or three times before you even need to consider replacing metal shingles. Metal roofs may also lower your home owner’s insurance payment, in some cases up to 30%. This means your roof will pay for itself over time.

 

  • Aesthetic: When most people think of a metal roof, they picture warehouses with hot, ugly sheets of metal on top. This is no longer the case, as metal shingles can be designed in dozens of different styles and colors. You no longer need to sacrifice good looks for durability. With a metal roof, you can have both. There are so many benefits for choosing a metal roof over shingles.

 

  • Environmental impact: Once a shingle is off of the roof, it can’t be used for anything else. Tons of shingles end up in landfills every year, waiting for the asphalt and fiberglass to decompose. Metal roofs reduce waste both in the manufacturing process, and by outlasting their traditional shingle counterparts.
Log Home Slanted Metal Roof

This log home has a slanted L shaped metal roof traditional to the homes of its era.

Maintenance: Metal roofs are the ultimate example of low maintenance home improvement. There’s no need to replace split tiles, as would be necessary if you had wood shingles. There is no need to replace the shingles that fall apart, as would be necessary with asphalt. The only concern is mixing metals. If you have a roof with mixed metal shingles, there may be corrosion. This is fixed by keeping the same type of metal throughout the roof. Metal shingles go up, and stay up. With nothing to adjust, or replace, your house will continue to be looking good for decades to come. Here is a link to a some of the pro and cons of owning a home with a metal roof instead of asphalt shingles.

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