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5 Advantages of Owning a Condo

So you are interested in moving into an apartment, condo, or a new house. Good for you!

So, when I say, “Milwaukee Apartments,” what comes to mind? Probably a few things. A large cramped building with a discolored brick exterior that looks like a page out of the “Industrial Revolution” chapter of a history textbook. On the inside of the apartment, there is a stained carpet that hasn’t been replaced and cabinets that look like they are made of plastic from a distance.  As for the landlord, well if you get a bad one, it is similar to having a bad next door neighbor, except if that neighbor were to have control over your $1200 security deposit that you knew deep down you were not going to get back.

What about when I say “a new home in a metropolitan area.”? Money. Money. Oh and I almost forgot, more money! Let’s not forget about the beautiful Wisconsin winters. As you peacefully wake up one December morning, you are fully prepared to give that big presentation at work that you spent hours working on the night before. When you go to turn on the coffee maker, you see 14 inches of snow swallowing your Honda Civic. 

What about a condo.

Ewww, aren’t condos an expensive way to live near young and obnoxiously loud first-time buyers? That statement is very similar to the Loch Ness Monster or Bigfoot; it is a myth! According to Zillow.com, demographically, the age of a typical condo buyer is between the ages of 40 – 55, is married and has children still at home or in college.

Here is why buying a condo is the right move.

  1. Buying a condo is the right move because you are “buying” a condo.

You are not renting a property anymore. “Goodbye landlord, have fun spending my $1200 security deposit after finding a scratch on the countertop!” So what does that mean? It means that your condo is an asset that can build equity and allows you to take advantage of tax deductions for mortgage interest and property taxes. Some financially savvy people buy condos as an investment. Condos tend to appreciate more slowly than single-family homes, which gives you the opportunity to make a significant profit in the right economic climate.

  1. You cannot buy time, but you can buy a condo.

Do you love shoveling snow, bathing in your own sweat after mowing the lawn, and destroying seven pairs of jeans after painting one side of your house? If you said “of course I do!”, Then I would not want to be in a cage match with someone as crazy as you! However, most of you probably have a slight nauseous feeling sweep over you after you think about those things. Don’t worry though; this stuff only takes up hundreds to thousands of hours over your tenure in your home. What if someone could wave a magic wand and make all of that disappear. Well actually, that is exactly what happens when you buy a condo. The maintenance is handled for you!

  1. Strong community

While this is not a guarantee usually condos, have a very strong community. In fact, many condominiums even have planned social events. Obviously, there aren’t stats to back this up; condos are just generally known to have more of a tight knit community. You can even join your condo association many times, and be seen within your community as a helpful contributor.

  1. Goodies!

Many condos come with included amenities. I am not implying that there will be a private water park in your backyard next to your all inclusive private spa, but many condos do include security, barbecues, clubhouses, golf courses, tennis courts, fitness facilities, and even saunas. See if any local landlords include any of in you are rent bill!

  1. The best (or better) of both worlds

Well if what I said above, then condos have to be exclusively for Bill Gates and Jay-Z, right? Well not according to the University of Minnesota Extensions. They found that condos, on average, are less expensive than renting an apartment or a townhouse!

Let’s add the sprinkles on top of the cake!

At Cobblestone Builders, our process saves the planet, and it saves you even more money! If you have viewed the rest of our website, then you know that we are leaders in the industry when it comes to green building and efficiency. Our process is environmentally friendly, which isn’t a common trait of homebuilders these days. Ok so we like to preserve the natural resources of the earth, that is great but how does that directly affect you financially? Our energy conservation and efficiency methods significantly reduce your utility bill! So have fun kicking back in your new condo while some people are still looking for their Honda Civic in a sea of snow.

Energy Efficiency: Not All Home Builders Are Created Equal

Many potential home buyers, looking to buy new homes in particular, assume that every new home is built equally. When you read articles about energy efficiency of new homes, a home buyer is going to assume that every new home they tour is going to have the same energy benefits as the top energy efficient homes. That’s simply not true.

A recent survey conducted by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) asked home builders how often they build homes that are certified as energy efficient by an independent program run by State or local jurisdiction. Surprisingly, a whopping 48% said they “NEVER/ALMOST NEVER” get their homes certified. That means that over half do certify their homes, right? Wrong. Only 22% “ALWAYS/ALMOST ALWAYS” gets their homes certified.

What this means to you, a potential new home buyer, is that only a quarter of the homes out there are build to energy efficiency standards that you are expecting. These new homes that aren’t certified as energy efficient might look well built, and feature finishes that are impressive on first glance. However, once you move in to your new home and get your first energy bill, you might be surprised to find that you are spending a lot more than you were expecting.

At Cobblestone Builders, we’re proud to be included in this group who build energy efficient homes that are certified. We know that in special climates where weather is a huge factor, like Wisconsin, our clients expect us to build a home that is not only top quality but also not going to come with a huge energy bill.

Green Home Building: The Importance Of Insulation

Ice Dams and Quality InsulationWhen building a home in Wisconsin, it’s incredibly important to think about the weather. With our winter weather dumping piles of snow and dropping temperatures into the negatives, having an energy efficient home is crucial. At Cobblestone Builders, we pride ourselves on building energy efficient “green” homes that help our clients save money and live comfortably during these extreme weather conditions.

One of the most important aspects of building energy efficient “green” homes is insulation. Properly installed, quality home insulation can save money and headaches for homeowners in Wisconsin.

How does energy efficient insulation help?

First and foremost, quality insulation does what you think it does. It insulates. Preventing all that cold air from seeping into your home during the winter, while also keeping all the cool air inside your home during the warmer months. With an estimated 50% of your energy bill coming from heating and cooling, energy efficient insulation will save you money and keep your home at a comfortable temperature. Insulation will also help with lowering noise issues throughout the home.

There are also less commonly known ways that proper insulation can help your home. During the cold months, it’s common to see icicles handing off of homes. While they definitely look nice, icicles are a clear sign that some potential issues exist. Ice dams form when heat from your home escapes through the attic. When the hot air reaches your roof, it begins to melt the snow that has accumulated. If temperatures stay below freezing, this melted snow re-freezes into ice, causing those ice dams and icicles you see. If left untreated, these ice dams will cause water to build up on your roof, seeping into your home. This causes bucking floors, warped windows, and potentially collapsing drywall. Properly sealing around ceiling penetrations and quality insulation can help prevent this warm air from escaping into your attic.

Better air quality is another benefit of proper insulation. Pollen and dust can enter a home that’s not properly insulated. Also, insulation can help prevent the growth of mildew and mold. Your family’s health is incredibly important, and using energy efficient, quality insulation can ensure you have zero worries.

We know the importance of great insulation!

Cobblestone Builders is one of the best green homebuilders in Southeastern Wisconsin. Homes built by our team is 40 – 50% MORE energy efficient than standard new homes. We promise that with a Cobblestone Builders home, you are getting the most energy efficient home you could ask for, built with quality components by building experts!

Want To Remodel Instead Of Buying A New Home? Be Careful!

Home remodeling costs add upWith the rise of home improvement reality TV shows featuring actors and actresses making remodeling look simple, homeowners have romantic notions of remodeling their “fixer upper” to be exactly what they want. The truth is, when these owners buy their home and begin to pull together the costs of making this older home exactly what they want, they begin to realize that it’s really costly and perhaps they bit off more than they can chew. Also, they don’t understand that there is a point in which the money you put in your home will come back to haunt you when you sell.

When Is Remodeling A Bad Thing?

For most people, the “fixer upper” home is not their final home. This is maybe their first home, and down the line, they’ll want to upgrade into something a little bigger or in a better neighborhood. If that’s the case, be cautious with how much you upgrade your home. It’s awfully tempting to put thousands of dollars into remodeling your bathrooms, kitchens, and bedrooms. Maybe you’ve seen TV shows that talk about how doing these projects will lead to a profit when you sell the home down the line. While there’s a little truth to that, that’s definitely not always the case.

The general rule of thumb is to never spend more than 20% of your home’s value on renovations. Why that number? It’s simple. Frankly, you don’t want to have the most expensive home in your neighborhood. When you go to sell this home, your potential buyers are going to compare your listing with those homes in the same area. If they see that your home is way more costly than others, they’re going to use that to negotiate against you. That’s when you see your profits disappear, and suddenly you’re spending more than you got back.

Building A New Home Can Be The Best Investment

When you look at the costs of a new home and think that it’s a little out of your price range, you should think twice. Buying an older home and upgrading it down the line seems like a decent idea, but there’s always things that can affect that. Maybe your projects never get done and you end up living in a home you’re not happy with. Perhaps those projects go vastly over budget, leaving you in debt more than you are comfortable with?

With a new home, you know the costs. You decide what goes into it before you build. You know you’re getting the home of your dreams because you worked with a builder at the beginning and planned it out. Finally, you know that the home you’re building is in a neighborhood with similarly priced homes that will attract buyers willing to spend top dollar to buy your home.

Build Your Dream Home Today

At Cobblestone Builders, we strive to make sure our clients get exactly what they want. We want you to have the home of your dreams now, and not down the line. We don’t want you to stress over looming costly home improvement projects. You deserve the home you’ve always wanted, and Cobblestone Builders is here to help!

Building An Energy-Efficient New Home Is The Smart Choice

Cobblestone Builds Energy-Efficient Homes

When making the decision between building a new home and buying an older home, potential homebuyers will often look at the cost as the deciding factor. They see the possible higher costs of a new build as prohibitive. However, those buyers aren’t taking into account a major difference between new builds and older homes, energy-efficiency. The bottom line is new homes are more energy-efficient.

Older Homes Aren’t Efficient

Older homes come with lots of efficiency questions. Are the windows drafty? Are the appliances older? Is the insulation up to par? Was the house built to efficiency standards? Many buyers will gloss over these questions because the price tag of the home might be less than a new build. Unfortunately, these questions will prove costly over time. In the excitement of moving to a new home, these buyers have no clue they are potentially wasting thousands of dollars a year because they went with an older home.

Why Build A New Home?

Building a new home is, without a doubt, the most energy-efficient solution. From the ground up, your homebuilder can detail exactly what design and products can be installed that will lead to the most energy efficiency. This doesn’t mean that you have to install solar panels and the like to be efficient. No, this goes to using the best installation, quality appliances, windows, and heating/cooling units, which all can save money instantly.

What Savings Can You Expect?

It’s said that an energy-efficient new home can save 3,449 kWh of power per year. What does that mean? That’s enough energy to power your TV for 11 years, your washer for 4 years, and a coffee maker for 32 years. Also, there are monetary benefits outside of savings. There are potential tax deductions and mortgage benefits when building a “green” home. On top of all of this, building an energy-efficient home will also greatly increase your resale value. So, down the line, if you decide to sell your home, you can expect a much higher value than an older home.

Trust The Experts

At Cobblestone Builders, we build the best energy-efficient homes. Period. A home built by us is 40-50% MORE EFFICIENT than a standard new home. When you choose Cobblestone Builders, you are ensuring you get the best quality and most energy-efficient home possible

The Role Of The Building Inspector In Residential New Home Construction

Building a new home is a complex process involving many different trades and engaging a variety of building codes.  One of the building codes that we are governed by in the State of Wisconsin comes from the Department of Safety and Professional Services, Chapter 321, Construction Standards or as it is also known as Comm. 321. 

Comm. 321 has been adopted so that now all new residehome-inspectionntial construction homes throughout the state are compliant with these codes before an occupancy permit will be issued.   It is the role then of the local building inspector to make sure that all new homes are built to these standards or above.

There are very specific times during the process of building a new home that the inspections are made and the work is inspected which then must pass or exceed the building codes.  The first inspection is made is just prior to the footings for the concrete walls being poured.  The next inspection deals with the rough framing of the structure.  Following that is an inspection of the plumbing, HVAC and electrical.  Once the approval of this work is completed the home is ready to insulate.  Approval of how the insulation was installed and how much is in place must occur before the next step of dry walling the interior walls will be allowed.  Lastly at the very end of the home build the inspector comes back to make absolutely sure that everything has been built to code and only when he or she is satisfied that all is correct an occupancy permit is issued allowing the home to receive occupants.

inspection-passed

Obviously, the role of the building inspector is a very important part of the process so that the checks and balances are in place to make sure your new home is built to standards that make it safe and habitable.

Cobblestone Builders Building Better For You!

 

Ranch-style Condos Are Gaining Popularity! Here’s Why!

When many prospective homebuyers think of condos, they think of those large multi-floor walk-ups, or those big buildings with a hundred units. While buyers might like the idea of the easier maintenance of a condo, they write those options off because they want the look of a single-family home, and don’t want to be in a large building. Well now, buyers can have the best of both worlds with side-by-side ranch-style condos from Cobblestone Builders!

Benefits of a Condo Living

For some Southeastern Wisconsin homebuyers, and specifically first time homebuyers, the idea of a large detached house is daunting. The upkeep and maintenance of a single-family home can be overwhelming, even in a brand new build. Condos offer a different experience when it comes to maintenance and upkeep.

Ranch-Style CondoHaving a condo association means there are rules and reserve money, which gives owners a peace of mind that they can’t find in a single-family home. With a small monthly fee, the condo owner now knows that if there’s a problem that needs fixing, it won’t be a huge out of pocket expense. If you’re concerned about the gardening and lawn upkeep, then the condo association has you covered. They hire services that will ensure that your property is in the best shape possible.

Also, what about those pesky neighbors that never mow their lawns or keep their Christmas lights up all year? With a condo association, you have the rules that prevent neighbors from potentially ruining your property value by not maintaining their own homes.

The worry-free living that condos offer can be the perfect fit for those busy families who can’t constantly worry about those unwanted surprises associated with owning a home.

Ranch-style Condos

So, we know that living in a condo can be a great fit for many families, but what about those who want the look and feel of a single-family home? Ranch-style condominiums offer the look and feel of a single-story detached home, with the conveniences of a condo.

Ranch Style side-by-side condoTo the untrained eye, it’s hard to even notice that the unit is even attached to another. Inside the home, you are going to have a lovely open floor plan, with all the conveniences of a single-family home. No cramped living to be found in these units. Your friends and family will be amazed when they see your home, and you don’t have to worry about a building full of neighbors with all that noise.

Floor Plans and More Info

If you’re considering buying a new home, you owe it to yourself to consider a ranch-style condominium. The cost-savings, convenience, and peace of mind are perfect for many Southeastern Wisconsin families. Contact Cobblestone Builders today to learn more!

Cobblestone Builders Fills Need by Constructing Healthy Family Homes

A Mother’s Need for Green

Milwaukee, WI, September 13, 2016:   Creating a safe, healthy environment for children can seem like a daunting task considering existing homes today are often full of toxins and poor air quality. Because of this, more and more mothers are digging in and insisting on a truly green home – and they’re doing their homework.  One local contractor is happy to help educate.

“Mom’s today are less concerned with closet space and more concerned about proper ventilation, contaminate free materials, and the overall health of a home.  As a parent, the health of your children is the highest priority.  Mothers are taking a much more active role in the building process to ensure their entire home is safe,” said Dirk Wildt, President of Cobblestone Builders in Menomonee Falls.

According to greenandhealthyhomes.org, “nearly six million households live with moderate to severe home health hazards, which place them at-risk for illnesses and injuries including asthma, lead poisoning, slips and falls and respiratory illnesses.” So how does green building minimize these risks and can all families afford to go green?

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency defines green building as “the process which encapsulates creating structures in an environmentally friendly and efficient way.” In layman’s terms, green building means causing little damage to the environment with high performing homes.

The best way to determine how safe your home is, is to familiarize yourself with LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification.  This set of standards holds your builder accountable for everything from using recycled or earth-friendly materials, causing little to no environmental damage during construction and conserving water to being energy efficient and remaining clean over time.

For the penny pinching mom, does the cost really make sense? When you consider the billions of dollars spent annually on housing-related healthcare costs from children’s doctor visits to prescription drugs needed because of an unhealthy home, lost productivity from missing work to care for ill children, and lack of energy-efficiency in homes which can cause chronic breathing problems to lowered immune systems, the upfront costs of building a green home are minimal.

“A few years ago, building green may have meant you’d be spending a notably higher amount than traditional construction.  Today, we’ve gotten green building and energy efficiency built into our homes at little cost to the consumer. This gives parents peace of financial mind and allows them to trust us with the health and safety of their most precious gift – their children,” added Dirk.

About Cobblestone Builders

Cobblestone Builders has been building high-quality, cost-efficient homes and condos since 1990.  Recognized as one of Southeastern Wisconsin’s premier home and condominium designers, denoted by their use of superior materials, customer service and attention to detail.  Cobblestone is committed to providing customers with American Made products and safe, energy-efficient, green built homes.

EIFS AS A Alternative Siding Material

EIFS is an acronym for exterior insulation finish system that is yet another method for finishing the exterior of a new residential home or a commercial building.

EIFS System

Unlike most exterior siding products EIFS provides a stucco like appearance along with superior thermal performance further insulating your new home.  The application of EIFS over the top of the exterior sheathing is done in multiple processes in order to achieve an underlying barrier which prevents water from penetrating the substrate plus achieving a high performance top coat that will remain beautiful for years to come.

The application process starts with a liquid water resistive barrier applied to the entire surface behind the areas that will be finished.  Next the installation provides for a drainage plane which is created allowing water that would get behind the finished product to drain out keeping the substrate dry.  Then over the top of the drainage plane a layer of foam is mechanically fastened or with adhesive glued in place, to which then mesh is applied.  This mesh provides a surface for the water resistive base coat to adhere to and serves as the weather barrier.  The final coat is a colored layer of acrylic polymer which is troweled creating the unique and beautiful final coat. 

If you are looking for a home exterior option that is truly energy efficient and stunning, EIFS could be your solution.

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