What are some of the “green” building features that home-owners are requesting?

In this area, homeowners want green features that save money without impairing function or requiring more maintenance. We see the most demand for features like Low-E windows, which reduce energy waste, and low-flow commodes, which conserve water. Either feature will save money over time, but also offer a homeowner a chance to be green without changing their lifestyle. Central lighting control systems, which are now fairly affordable but save energy and simplify daily life, are also in demand.
Jamie Gulick, Gulick Group, Inc.

What factors should be considered when looking for a builder?

Start with the builder who is doing most of the work in your area. This is a reflection of reputation. Remember, all square footage is NOT created equal, so examine the quality and materials of the work. Make sure that you are buying a complete home with features that represent your marketplace. You shouldn’t have to purchase options just to
obtain a well-appointed home.

Neil Puri, The ANV Group

What are the advantages of working with an architect?

Poof!—a beautiful, inspired design you love. That’s the easy part. Your architect not only designs your dream but also makes sure your dream is followed through until you turn the key and walk in. It is during construction that endurance is tested and dreams are challenged. As an architect, stewarding dreams and meeting those challenges is what our clients discover to be indispensable. Today’s biggest dream? Remaining on budget.

Donald Lococo, AIA,
Donald Lococo Architects LLC

Why does working with an architect make financial sense?

In today’s economy, the resale factor is becoming more of a consideration when building a new home. Working with a well-known, local architect who understands regional tastes and preferences and is respected in the community can add value and often result in a quicker sale. Some realtors say this can be as much as 10 to 15 percent. An architect’s involvement during construction can assure that the builder’s charges are reasonable and that appropriate value is being received for money spent. Financially, the architect’s responsibility to the owner starts from day one until the house is accepted by the owner and final payment to the builder is made.

Robert Hammond, AIA, Hammond Wilson Architects

What are some of the latest trends or amenities you are seeing in custom homes?

Recent projects have seen a strong emphasis on green technologies and systems that focus on energy efficiency. In collaborative partnerships with clients and architects, we provide innovative solutions, including the most efficient building envelope possible by utilizing highly efficient windows and doors, spray-foam insulation, air barriers and geothermal heat pump systems. These features provide long-term value on clients’ investments.

Bret Anderson, Pyramid Builders