January 2008 Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Take Control Take Control

In December, I attended a brokers open in the Washington, D.C., suburbs. The home for sale, a brand-new spec priced at around $2 million, is, as you might expect, beautiful. Spacious, lots of natural light, lovely finishes, top-of-the-line appliances and fixtures, custom cabinetry. It's in a terrific, well-established neighborhood, close in, with great schools. Basically, it has everything a buyer in this price range would want. And the agents and brokers I spoke with there agreed. I asked one of them what she thought of the house. She said it was wonderful, a great house, and she had a client who was interested. So would they be writing a contract? “No,” she said with more than a hint of resignation in her voice. “He's waiting for the market to crash.” Read more

Come On In

You hear it all the time: an attractive front entrance can increase the perceived market value of a home (by as much as $24,000, according to one study commissioned by Maumee, Ohio–based Therma-Tru Doors). Of course, no one knows just how much a buyer will actually pay for it, but one thing is certain—a beautiful entrance adds to a home's overall curb appeal. Read more

That's a Wrap

Let's face it, housewrap—the thin sheet of material that goes between the sheathing and the siding—won't save you money or help you sell houses. In fact, if you ditched the housewrap you'd probably save yourself some cash up front. But omitting the product would be a really bad idea, because that thin layer is one of the most important things protecting your house from moisture—and you from unnecessary headaches or, worse, potential legal problems. Read more

Sustainability Parts and Labor

ONE MAN'S TEARDOWN IS another man's treasure. At least that's how Mark Foster is rephrasing the saying. Four years ago, the Baltimore native left the restaurant development business to create Second Chance, a nonprofit that rescues reusable building materials from soon-to-be-demolished homes and resells the goods in warehouses around the city. Read more

Environmental Barriers Measure for Measure

A LAND-USE BILL THAT went into effect in Oregon on Dec. 8 shouldn't have a major impact on residential development there. But in a state where land is a “theological” issue, no measure can ever completely settle the debate about its use. Read more

House Blend: January 2008

- Economic impact report on the foreclosure crisis predicts sharp losses in GDP growth and projects economic output losses for 361 metro areas in 2008. - Bureau of Labor Statistics data show a decline in construction productivity over the past four decades. - Holcim Awards for Sustainable Construction now accepting entries for building projects of all types. - U.S. Green Building Council's new Web site, www.greenhomeguide.org, helps builders and home buyers make homes healthy and environmentally friendly. Read more

Bad Risk? Fha Reform Bad Risk?

The rift between HUD and Congress over modernizing the FHA deepened in recent weeks as HUD moved forward with plans to charge riskier borrowers a higher premium, starting as soon as Jan. 2, 2008. Read more

States Take Charge Immigration Policy States Take Charge

The failure of Congress to pass meaningful immigration reform is starting to hurt some home builders, especially in states with strict new laws such as Arizona and Oklahoma. Read more

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