The Sevier County Home Builders Association (SCHBA) is a professional trade association committed to promoting a standard of quality housing. We are the leaders in providing education for the construction industry. We benefit the public by representing our industry before legislative and regulatory bodies to ensure our continued ability to provide safe, affordable housing.
Our primary goal as the leading authority in the housing industry is to continue to influence the decision making processes which control our industry and thereby our community.
Check complaints against contractors, Contractor’s License and monetary limit along with their original license date at http://www.state.tn.us/commerce/boards/contractors/
To make a complaint against a contractor or check their reputation; write: State of Tennessee, Board for Licensing Contractors
500 James Robertson Parkway Davy Crockett Tower, Suite 110
Nashville, TN 37243-1150
By Kenny Guffey
President, Sevier County Home Builders Association
January 1 is just around the corner and millions of Americans are once again thinking about the resolutions they will make for the New Year. Why not make this year’s resolution one that will last long into the future — long after you’ve stop bothering to set the alarm an hour early to go for a run. Deciding to become a home owner is possibly the best resolution you can make.
According to a 2012 nationwide poll, 96 percent of home owners are happy with their decision to own, and 74 percent say that owning a home is the best long-term investment they can make.
Here are some tips to help you make good decisions for your homeownership resolution.
First, figure out how much you can afford. This depends on factors including your credit rating, your current expenses, cost of a down payment, and interest rates. Don’t forget that you will need a down payment up front and money to make monthly mortgage payments.
Check your credit report carefully. Inaccurate information on your credit report could result in lenders offering you loans with higher-than-market interest rates or denying your application altogether.
Then find a lender you trust and work well with. Ask your friends, family and neighbors who own their homes for recommendations. Work with a qualified lender on getting together a budget and collecting helpful advice before buying a home.
When shopping for a mortgage, consider all of your options. There are many choices in terms of a loan and not everyone is right for every buyer. Don’t forget to research Federal Housing Administration (www.fha.com) programs that offer loans with lower down payments. They are often a good option for first-time buyers.
Keep in mind that there are tax advantages to being a home owner that can help offset costs. Depending on your specific situation, often the closing costs and some other first year costs of purchasing a home are deductible. And the mortgage interest deduction (MID) enables many home owners to reduce their taxable income by the amount of interest paid on their mortgage loan each year. More than 70 percent of home owners with a mortgage are able to claim the MID in a given year.
The U.S. Housing and Urban Development website (portal.hud.gov) has loads of information for home buyers, including tools to help you figure out how much you can afford, how to shop for a loan, information on how to avoid predatory lending and an explanation of the settlement process.
Finally, learn about the neighborhoods where you are interested in buying. Visit areas you are interested in at different hours, talk to people who live there, and find a real estate agent that you trust and knows the neighborhoods you like.
With careful and thorough planning, you will be moving into your new home before you know it. If you have questions about the home buying process, contact us at 865-453-4712 or visit nahb.org/timetobuy.
NAHB has joined the 2013 Small Business Saturday Coalition to show support for our many members who own a small business or work for one.
Small businesses such as those owned by many of our builder and associate members create millions of jobs nationwide and are the backbone of a strong economy and strong communities.
NAHB is encouraging its members to also join the Small Business Saturday initiative, which urges the public to shop at small businesses on Nov. 30, the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
Many people who consider themselves handy with tools think that building their own homes would be a cool thing. It is. Just ask the members of the 210,000+ member National Association of Home Builders. But is it something the average person want to do?
Not including all the preparatory work of acquiring land, putting in sewer and water hook-ups, pouring a foundation or electrical, such as wiring and lighting, on average, you will need the following supplies to build a 2,085 sq ft home:
13,127 board feet of lumber
6,212 sq ft of sheathing
13.97 tons of concrete
2,325 sq ft of exterior siding material
2,427 sq ft of roofing material
3,061 sq ft of insulation
6,144 sq ft of interior wall material
120 linear ft of ducting
13 kitchen cabinets; 2 other cabinets
1 kitchen sink
12 interior doors
5 closet doors
5 exterior doors (4 hinged, 1 sliding)
2 garage doors
3 toilets, 2 bathtubs, 1 shower stall
3 bathroom sinks
2,085 sq ft of flooring material such as carpeting, resilient sheet, resilient tile, ceramic tile or wood plank
1 ea. range, refrigerator, dishwasher, garbage disposal, range hood, washer, dryer
If just trying to choose the tile for the bathroom boggles your mind, leave the home building to the professionals. Check our Builder’s Directory for an updated list of members, visit some neighborhoods, talk to your friends, then choose a professional builder.
By Kenny Guffey, President
Sevier County Home Builders Association
A home is often the biggest investment you will make in your lifetime. It is also the place where families will raise children and you will spend many hours making lifelong memories. So it’s important to maintain your home in good condition and make sure it offers a clean, comfortable and safe environment for many years to come.
This checklist contains tasks you should complete at least on an annual basis to keep your home operating efficiently and to protect your investment.
Anytime during the year:
- Check all connections to your electrical system for possible hazards. Check cords and plugs of all electrical appliances for fraying or signs of wear. Repair or replace as necessary. Do not overload extension cords.
- Test your smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detector and radon detector for proper operation. Clean the units with a vacuum or cotton swab and replace batteries and light bulbs if needed.
- Have your heating and air conditioning system(s) inspected and cleaned. If your system(s) has a filter, replace it every three months to keep your unit working efficiently.
- Inspect all doors and windows for proper operation and a tight fit. Clean the window tracks, clean and adjust the door thresholds and check that the weatherstripping hasn’t cracked or torn. Preventing unwanted outside air from leaking into your home will reduce your energy bills.
- Check interior paint and touch up or repaint as needed.
- Inspect the attic insulation. Make sure the entire ceiling area is covered. Check that the insulation has not blocked vents in the eaves to prevent buildup of condensation and to allow proper air circulation. Insulation should also not be touching the underside of the roof sheathing.
- Oil motors of appliances as directed in instruction manuals.
- Periodically check storage areas, closets, and the basement to make sure no oily rags, gas cans, painting supplies or flammable cleaning materials have been stored and forgotten. These items could be a fire hazard and should be discarded.
- Check that the alarm and circuits of your security system are in working order, inspect the sensors one by one, and check primary and backup batteries monthly.
- Inspect your stairs, steps and ladders for damage or broken pieces that could cause someone to fall. Make sure handrails and railings are sturdy and securely attached.
In the spring:
- Check the condition of glazing compound, caulking and exterior paint. Replace or paint as needed.
- Exchange glass and screens in storm doors and/or windows (also in autumn).
- Inspect the roof for snow damage.
- Check for evidence of termites such as sagging floors and ceilings or dry, brown tunnels in the ground near the home’s foundation.
- Seed and feed the lawn and plant annuals, cut back perennials that need pre-growth pruning.
In the autumn:
- Mulch perennials that need protection from winter weather and prune those that should be cut back in the fall.
- Rake and compost leaves.
- Remove hose connections and store hoses to avoid freezing.
There are many more tasks that you can complete throughout the year to keep your home in good working order. For more home building and home care tips, go to nahb.org/forconsumers.
This checklist is adapted from information in the NAHB publication “Your New Home and How to Take Care of It,” available from NAHB members. To find a new home builder in the Sevier County area, review our Builder Directory on this website or call our office — 865-453-4712.
By Kenny Guffey
President, Sevier County Home Builders Association
According to HUD and the U.S. Census Bureau, home owner do-it-yourself (DIY) projects accounted for 37 percent of all home remodeling projects performed nationwide from 2010-2011. While most professional remodelers understand that home owners will do some of their own home repairs or small renovations, after repairing many a DIY gone awry they overwhelmingly believe that many jobs should be left to the pros.
The desire among home owners to tackle repair and remodeling projects has risen with the popularity of Pinterest and design blogs and the prevalence of home improvement stores. Before attempting to recreate the gorgeous bathroom from your Pinterest board in your own home, consider the following before sinking your resources into the project.
Without the proper training and preparation, a DIYer can and has landed in the emergency room. Unfamiliarity with new tools and techniques can lead to life-threatening accidents. Follow product directions and safety procedures and always use proper safety equipment.
A good rule of thumb for any home owner is to avoid projects that require a license. Veteran remodelers advise against doing electrical or plumbing work on your own and avoid making structural changes to walls, roofs and floors. You run the risk of compromising the structural integrity of your home and having a large hole in your roof or floor. Leave this work in the hands of professionals with the proper training.
Even projects that appear simple like laying floor tile can result in you stubbing your toes every time you are in that room if improperly installed.
DIYers often tackle larger projects than they can handle before the holidays so that visiting family can enjoy the updates. But when something goes wrong, there is no one to hold to the deadline. Hiring a professional will ensure that you have a contract with a completion date and that the remodeler will bring in whatever help is necessary to get the job finished on time.
Even professional remodelers sometimes need extra time on projects when they find surprises behind walls. Troubleshooting these issues often takes more time and expertise than originally planned. If timing is a priority for your weekend warrior, call a professional remodeler to get your project completed.
Purchasing new tools is exciting but; consider the price of all the specialty tools used for a one-time project when they are sitting untouched in your garage for a few years.
Additionally, many of the products purchased for the DIY market, although designated by a name brand, are not always the same quality available to contractors. It is also important to verify the terms of the product warranty. Many warranties become void by improper installation.
Robert Criner, GMR, CAPS, CGP of Criner Remodeling in Yorktown, Va. cautions all motivated DIYers, “Does it really pay to do the job twice when you can pay a professional to do it once?”
There are some home projects that professional remodelers believe can be tackled by determined DIYers such as hanging pictures, interior painting, caulking, changing door knobs and cabinet pulls, and some aesthetic work (depending on skill level) such as installing crown molding. Just consider the safety risks, time and cost involved in a DIY project of any size.
Still think you can tackle a big remodeling project? Just remember, DIY projects should be fun and suit your skill level. If they’re not, then consider hiring a professional.
For information about hiring a remodeler, contact Sevier County Home Builders Association and its affiliated remodelers council. Search the Directory of Professional Remodelers (www.nahb.org/remodelerdirectory) to find a professional remodeler in your area. Visit www.nahb.org/remodel for more information on remodeling.
By: Kenny Guffey
President, Sevier County Home Builders
Green building, where new homes are built using materials that conserve energy and environmental resources, is one of the fastest-growing segments of the home building industry today. But for the owners of the millions of existing homes in the United States, remodeling is the only way to incorporate green.
NAHB Remodelers offers the following suggestions to home owners who want to increase their home’s efficiency, decrease costs, and take advantage of the other benefits that green offers:
1. Install maximum insulation.
Forty percent of the energy consumed in a typical house goes to heating and cooling. Adding insulation is an easy way to increase efficiency. Insulation is rated by its ability to resist heat flow, known as “R-value.” The higher the R-value, the more effectively the insulation resists heatflow. Adding insulation will help save energy costs, increase comfort by better controlling temperature, and improve indoor air quality by eliminating gaps through which dirt, dust, and other impurities can enter.
2. Install high-efficiency windows.
Ordinary window glass transmits ultraviolet heat rays from the sun, which can increase your air conditioning bill dramatically. ENERGY STAR windows can help control this effect. These windows may have two or more panes of glass, warm-edge spacers between the panes, improved framing materials, and microscopically thin metal or metallic oxide layers deposited on windows to reduce radiative heat flow.
3. Seal exterior penetrations.
You can reduce cold air drafts and heat loss by inspecting your home from the inside and outside and plugging cracks or openings. Be sure to check the areas where window frames meet the structure or siding of the house. Use caulking to seal small cracks on non-moving surfaces and install weather stripping on windows, doors and other movable parts of the home.
4. Purchase ENERGY STAR-rated appliances.
ENERGY STAR -rated appliances, ranging from dishwashers and refrigerators to computers and televisions, meet strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the EPA and U.S. Department of Energy. Qualified refrigerators, dishwashers and vent fans incorporate advanced technologies that use 10 to 50 percent less energy and water than standard models, more than making up for the slightly higher cost of these products.
5. Install low-flow water plumbing fixtures.
In the average home, flushing toilets accounts for some 30 percent of water usage. By using low-flow plumbing fixtures such as toilets, faucet aerators and showerheads, you can save up to 25 percent of that water compared to conventional fixtures while providing the same utility.
6. Upgrade to an ENERGY STAR-rated or tankless water heater.
Tankless water heaters provide hot water on demand at a preset temperature rather than storing it. Replacing an electric water heater with a solar model can reduce costs by up to 80 percent a year. Over its 20-year lifespan a solar heater will prevent more than 50 tons of carbon dioxide emissions. A low-cost option is to wrap insulation around your heater, which can reduce standby heat loss by 25 to 45 percent.
7. Purchase the highest efficiency HVAC system you can afford.
Over a ten year period, the average home owner spends more than $10,000 for heating and cooling. Installing high efficiency HVAC equipment can reduce costs on average by 10 to 30 percent over minimum efficiency equipment. It also can improve home comfort with better heating and cooling and a quieter operation, and often features higher quality components that result in longer equipment life.