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    Country Side Homes
    8236 W. River Dr.
    Novelty, OH 44072

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We went on the green homes tour

A few local builders put on a “green homes tour” over the past weekend. It showcased some energy saving features and techniques utilized in a few homes, as well as some environmentally friendly building practices.

The first home was built utilizing wood from trees cut at the homesite. The wood was used in the flooring, cabinetry, and trim. There isn’t a cost savings, and it takes 1.5 years from cutting to installation, but it was a novel idea. They also used geothermal heating/cooling, and were in the process of installing solar panels. The solar was an especially interesting idea because most information I’d read had said they aren’t really cost effective. However, there are some pretty sizable state and federal grants available which bring the cost down to a point where it can actually pay for itself within a reasonable time.

There were a couple of odd things about the home though. For one, there were a TON of windows. Literally some of the walls had windows from floor to ceiling, and the ceiling was as high as a 2-story home. So 20 feet of windows on some walls. It doesn’t matter how thick those things are, they leak a lot of energy and it seemed a little at odds with the overall theme of ‘green.’ Another thing was more minor, but the garage was detached, and there wasn’t a covered walkway to the home. Very odd in a home that probably cost close to $1m. However, this home wasn’t for sale, it was built for a customer. To each his own.

The second home was a much more practical design, and actually won the “most green” award of the homes on the tour. It featured geothermal heating and cooling, spray foam insulation, and ICFs used for the entire frame. Very expensive, but high quality.

Overall it was well worth the trip out to see what some of the various vendors and builders are incorporating into their designs for people who want maximum energy efficiency, and are willing to pay for it. As with all ‘green’ tech, you have to actually do the math and calculate what the cost of the product is, and the potential energy savings to see if it actually saves money. If it’s close, or it doesn’t, then the product is aimed at those who are environmentally conscious, and don’t necessarily mind paying a premium to help the environment.

Lastly, if you get a chance, check out my friend’s site if you get a chance: www.skepticalmind.com. It has nothing to do with homes, but it’s a great resource for those of you who like to read using a Kindle.


The 3 Types of Home Builders in Cleveland Ohio

Generally, in almost any city, you have 3 types of builders– Production, High-end Custom, Hands-on Custom. What we describe here is not applicable 100% to each type of builder, and some builders overlap into multiple categories, but it is generally accurate.

Production Builderscookie cutter house

These are the national chain builders that you see advertised everywhere. If you visit their website, they have locations throughout the nation. Much like a factory, each person in the organization has a specialized role and during the building process you will deal with multiple people, from salesmen to secretaries to project managers. They usually have decent offices with multiple model homes.

Pros – Inexpensive, homes are sometimes already available to buy or being built

Cons – Mediocre quality (due to bidding out jobs to lowest bidder, and high volume of homes built), many major features are “extras” (such as a garage, fireplace, basement), limited number of options/customizations, if problems occur you deal with multiple people and corporate offices which are usually inflexible, many websites with complaints from upset homeowners, “cookie cutter” homes

High-end Custom Buildersmarble house

These are the builders who build very nice homes at not-so-nice prices. They typically have large offices or showrooms, multiple model homes, and a large team of employees. They focus on the clientele for whom cost is no object, and as such finding any mention of a price for their homes on their website is like playing a game of Where’s Waldo. In return for paying a premium, you get a very high quality home by experienced professionals.

Pros – High quality (working with the same tradesmen, not lowest bidder), showroom simplifies shopping for finishings, model homes allow you to see quality in person, flexible with floor plans and changes

Cons – High cost (due to high overhead and premium charged), may be multiple people in charge of your home (ie. project manager, foreman, owner, etc…), typically builds a higher volume of homes which may mean less attention on yours

Hands-on Custom BuildersOur home

This describes Country Side Homes, and so therefore we’re just a little biased in thinking that this is the best type of builder for many people. Typically you’ll find these builders charge a fair price for a high quality home. They’re usually local professionals that build a small volume of homes each year and take pride in their work. Offices are usually small and/or unimpressive with 1 model home or possibly none.

Pros – High quality (working with the same tradesmen, not lowest bidder), one or two points of contact for everything involved with your home, can scale your project to fit your budget (capable of modest 2,000 sq ft home to luxury 5,000+ sq ft), low overhead translates to savings for homeowner with no loss in quality, flexible with changes to home or floor plan, low volume built = high attention to your home

Cons – No showroom (homeowner must shop for finishings), no model homes

Cleveland Home Builders – Choosing the Right One

The first two Youtube videos are up now on the Educate Yourself page. The first focuses on ways to keep the costs down on your home when choosing which type of design you’d like to build.  The second one talks about things you should look for when choosing a builder in Northeast Ohio.  I try to add a little humor in the video where possible since I think almost everyone would rather be entertained while they’re learning things than not 🙂

Lastly, the Lots page is re-done to link you to a ReMax real estate site with a searchable map of lots in Northeast Ohio. There are hundreds of lots listed there and you can sort them by price and location. Very simple and convenient.