Sunday, August 14, 2011


Once the decision is made to build or buy existing you must get your funding together.  Funds can come from several sources including selling your existing home, personal savings, and getting a bank loan.  In today’s market CASH IS KING!  The more cash you have to put in the deal the better your chances are of getting the deal done.  

Getting enough from the sale of your existing home may be a challenge. With today’s lower property values many homeowners find themselves upside down or not able to get enough from the sale of their existing home to make buying or building a possibility.  If you do have equity in your home this is the perfect source of funds to buy your new home.  With today’s tough lending standards it is important to have a good supply of cash and/or equity to make either buying or building a reality.

Getting a bank loan is much more difficult today.  In an effort to control the lending industry and not have a repeat of what happened during the building boom the government has placed stringent regulations on lenders.  In addition, lenders have experienced massive mortgage defaults over the past several years and are not taking any risk with new loans.  The zero down deals are gone. Banks today are requiring 20% or more equity in a conventional loan situation.  If the property you are purchasing is in an economically challenged area (most of Florida) the bank may require that you have more than 20% equity.  The more cash or other equity (owning your own lot) you have when you go to the bank for a loan the better chance you will have of being approved.

Don’t forget to shop for your money just like you are shopping for your new home.  If you have a banking relationship make that your first call but don’t let it be your last.  Check out the other lending institutions in your area to be sure you are getting the best deal.  This extra step could literally save you thousands of dollars.  Interest rates and points may be your first priority when comparing lenders but be sure to compare closing costs as well.  Many lenders add hundreds of dollars in “junk fees” at closing.  Don’t fall for that.  Lenders are required to give you a closing estimate so be sure to compare each lender’s deal carefully.

If you can qualify for financing and have enough cash or equity to get the deal done there is one more challenge, the appraisal.
Marla Peters is a licensed Florida Certified Building Contractor and Florida Certified Public Accountant, she is Vice President of The Triad Group, Inc. a general contractor building in SW Florida since 1981.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

BUILD OR BUY? -- From a builders perspective

Many are faced with this decision.  Should I buy an existing home that requires remodeling or go for a brand new home with a full warranty, the latest in technology and never lived in?  Most would probably opt for building new if given the choice.  Either way there are challenges to overcome to make either choice a reality.

It is a great time to build a new home.  The price of new construction hasn't been this low in many years and is down by 50% to 60% from 2005 levels.  The cost of land has also gone down dramatically since 2005.  Building new is affordable and can be a reality.  The deals are there to buy new construction, but don’t wait as prices will creep up over the coming months.  We are being notified by suppliers on a daily basis of price increases, from drywall to shingles everything seems to be going up.  In addition, we have seen little to no reduction in soft costs such as permitting, impact fees, and other governmental fees and requirements.  

I also think we have seen the lowest pricing on existing homes.  Many areas are seeing an upward trend in pricing.  Currently there aren't as many foreclosures on the market and the ones the banks do put on the market are being listed at much higher prices than they were a year or two ago.  In many areas supply of existing homes in certain price ranges is very low.  The simple concept of supply and demand applies; strong demand with low supply results in higher prices.  The other consideration when buying existing is the amount of money you must invest to remodel, modernize, or clean up the home you are buying.  Just remember the purchase price may be low but the house may not be move in ready requiring a remodeling process that takes time, energy, and MORE money.

The bottom line is it is a GREAT TIME TO BUY!  Prices are low and I don't think they will get any lower.  Interest rates are low and all the talk is they will only go higher.  Fully investigate your options, do not assume that new construction will not be as big a bang for your buck as buying existing.  Most importantly, DO NOT WAIT, if you do you may miss the opportunity of a lifetime.

Next time--Sources of funding and the appraisal process.

Marla Peters is a licensed Florida Certified Building Contractor and Florida Certified Public Accountant, she is Vice President of The Triad Group, Inc. a general contractor building in SW Florida since 1981.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Energy Efficient Insulation By The Triad Group!!

Aren't we always looking for ways to save money on a daily basis???    

Well here is one way that is directly related to the construction of your home.   

The type of insulation that you use inside your home directly relates to the cost of your electric bill.  So whether your home is insulated with fiberglass or foam may actually be costing you more money every month.

Why choose foam insulation? Compared to standard fiberglass insulation, both cellulose and foam insulation provide superior performance.  Fiberglass tends to leave gaps that reduce its effectiveness.  Fiberglass insulation has a smaller R-value per inch of thickness than both cellulose and foam, but fiberglass is much cheaper than both cellulose and foam.

Foam insulation is superior to Cellulose due to how well it expands and seals all the small cracks and crevices in your home.  While cellulose is a very dense material that has great sealing capabilities, foam provides slightly better results.

While foam insulation can be almost 2 times more expensive than standard fiberglass insulation, you may see up to a 50% decrease in your energy bill almost immediately.  Not a bad return on your investment!!!

Call The Triad Group to come out for a FREE ESTIMATE, and let us help you figure out more ways to save money every month!!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

How to Save Money Remodeling

It's a Fact: Remodeling Costs money!  The good news is there are lots of simple ways to cut costs.  You can shop the surplus isles at the lumberyard for windows and doors, do your own demolition, reuse materials, and incorporate energy-saving features.  But the real key to saving money is good planning and doing as much as possible with the space you already have.  A good contractor and architect can help with that, and so can federal and state tax incentives.  The first question to ask: HOW LONG DO I PLAN TO LIVE IN THIS HOME?  The answer to this question is your first step toward wise remodeling decisions.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


The thought of hiring a General Contractor for your next big home improvement project can be daunting and overwhelming to say the least.  What you need is someone who does quality work in a reasonable amount of time, and has a thorough understanding of exactly what you are looking for.
Here are a few tips to help you out when selecting a potential Contractor.  Whether it be to remodel a kitchen or bath, or build your next custom home, it is vital that you do the research regarding the contractor and make sure they are top of the line in every aspect possible!

1) Start with Good Candidates

This is by far one of the most important steps when thinking about selecting your General Contractor.  No one wants to pay more than they should for home repair but don’t just open up the phone book and pick the cheapest option.  Price is just one part of the equation so basing your decision on that alone is setting yourself up for failure. Instead get referrals from people that have hired contractors for similar projects and were pleased with the work.  If you don't know anyone who can refer a reputable contractor to help with your project, look for contractors who offer a reference list.  If you don't personally know someone who can vouch for a contractor, it is important to speak with a past customer or client who can.   

2) Get Multiple Estimates
Now that you have a short list of qualified contractors, the next step is to have them check out your specific project and give you an estimate of how much time and money it would take for them to complete it.
Often times we’re eager to get started so if the first bid you get seems reasonable and you like the contractor you may be tempted to just go with the first estimate.  Just remember, it’s in your best interest to take the extra time and get at least two estimates.  Getting multiple bids allows you to not only compare prices, but also a chance to meet a representative of the company first hand.  Are they on time?  Are they knowledgeable?  Is this someone you can potentially see yourself working with in the future months to come?
 NOTE****Make sure when you are comparing your multiple estimates that you are comparing apples to apples.  A lot of times companies will bid the bare minimum in order to win the job and then kill you with change orders down the road.  If something seems too good to be true ... It usually is!
Tip #3 comes in handy here to make sure you ask a lot of questions and know exactly what is being bid.

3) Ask a Lot of Questions 

When the contractors come out to give you an estimate make sure you are present and prepared to ask questions.  The more questions you ask, the better idea you’ll have about how much it will cost, how long it will take, and how much experience they have.

The thing about kitchen remodeling, bathroom renovations, new construction, or any project is that at the beginning you and the contractor probably have a different picture in your head about what the finished product will be.
The more specific you can be, the greater your chances of getting an accurate estimate and something that fits the picture in your head.  Both you and the contractor bring many different assumptions into the project so the more questions you ask the more surprises you can avoid and the more details you can hammer out.

4)  Choose Wisely
  • Communication:Do you feel comfortable asking your prospective Contractor for details? Do you feel the contractor is listening to your wants, ideas and desires for your project? Your home is one of the largest investments you likely will make, and remodels/repairs/upgrades are costly ways to improve functionality and increase your home’s value. It is critical that you feel comfortable talking to your Contractor of choice.
  • Experience:How long has the contractor been in business?  Construction is a very competitive industry and companies are constantly trying to one up each other.  What is most important is that a contractor has successfully been in business for many years.  He has gained the experience of working on many different types of projects over the years and running into an array of complications that are now foreseen and will not be an issue on your project or any other projects saving you time and money.  Another important thing to remember is that a Construction company, or any company for that matter, that is still in business today, has been able to withstand the demise of these very trying economic times, and that really says something about a business!!!
  • Work Ethic:Out of all the Contractors in the area there are probably less than a handful that are really masters of their trade.  Today so many people have started in the construction industry working and managing jobs from behind a desk.  I don't know about you, but I wouldn't want my house being built or major home renovation project being managed by someone who was never actually on the job site.  Make sure to keep this in mind when choosing a contractor, and select a hands-on contractor who will be fully involved with your project and have first hand knowledge regarding your project at all times.