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APRIL 2013 NIA BUILDERS LVA SY

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Home Builders Association of Berks County

BES T IN PUBLIC STATE AT ION

Finding a Super Contractor! Tips & Tools for Making the Right Selection

Property Taxes: A Vexing Problem, A Practical Solution

Insights by Representative Jim Cox

How to Plan & Prepare for a Construction Project


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Contents

Home Bu ilders As sociation of Berks County

NIA BUILDE YLVA RS NS

BEST IN

Features:

4 Finding a Super Contractor:

Finding Contracta Super or!

OCIATION ASS

PEN

APRIL 201 3

PUBL STA ICAT TE ION

Tips & To Right Se ols for Making the lection

Property Taxes: A Ve xing Problem, A

Practical Insights Solution by Repre sentativ e Jim Co x How

to Plan a Constru & Prepare for ction Proje ct

Tips & Tools for Making the Right Selection

Builders, remodelers, and trade contractors will work on your most valuable asset and prized possession...your home. More importantly, they will become your go-to expert and most trusted advisor in their area of specialty.

to Plan & Prepare 6 How for a Construction Project

The pride of property ownership inevitably generates numerous thoughts for potential improvements to a structure.

16 Property Taxes: a

Vexing Problem, a Practical Solution Homeowners of all ages are facing extreme pressure because of school property taxes that relentlessly rise at a rate of more than three times that of inflation.

20 Beyond Energy Efficiency: Replacing Windows & Doors The initial thought of “my windows or doors need to be replaced” can easily become overwhelming when the words R-value, U-factor and Low-E glass are thrown into the conversation.

Angles 8

Construction Financing Options

Which construction loan programs are the best fit for your project?

11 Is Building a New

Home Right for You? Building your “dream” home offers

definitive emotional feelings of pride in a home that is “your baby!”

13

Defining Design: Aging in Place vs. Universal Design Both are focused on making a home more comfortable for individuals of different abilities.

14 Beware of Foreclosure Bargains

Foreclosed homes often sell below market rates, making them “seem” like a bargain to buyers used to the inflated prices of a few years ago.

Departments

28 2

From the President

HBA of Berks County President Cathy Sloan.

Membership pages New and returning members, member to member discount programs, and an overview of all Association-related events from April to June 2013.


2013 HBA Berks

Board of Directors Officers: President Cathy Sloan, CGR, CAPS, CGP Aluminum Associates/Sloan Corporation

First Vice President Patrick Dolan

From the President

What it takes to be a great home builder. plumbers, electricians, painters, and landscapers. The builder must understand all of the home’s complex systems and know enough about each contractor’s trade in order to coordinate this skilled team to build and sell a quality product.

Dolan Construction, Inc. (Reading)

Second Vice President Ed Anewalt Anewalt’s Landscape Contracting (Bernville)

Secretary

Some home builders develop the land of which the homes are built. In this capacity, they act as the land surveyor. They look at a piece of land to determine whether it complies with zoning regulations, local planning laws & environmental restrictions, and whether it is suitable for development. The home builder studies the lot’s topography, searching for rock outcroppings, shallow depth bedrock, shallow groundwater, natural drainage sources and dense vegetation. Landscaping options and erosion control also have to be considered. Once a builder determines that a site is suitable for construction, they must navigate the permitting process.

Chad Camburn, P.E. Bursich Associates, Inc. (Pottstown)

Treasurer John Schmoyer Fulton Mortgage Company (Wyomissing)

Immediate Past President Kevin Kozo, CGP Turnberry Custom Homes (West Reading)

Builder Directors Marco Folino, CGB, CGP Folino Homes, Inc. (Blandon) Daphne Frownfelter, CKD Deer Mountain Kitchens (Robesonia) Diane Salks

Riverview Tree & Landscaping, Inc. (Temple)

Brad Kehres

L A Kehres Building & Remodeling (Leesport)

Eric Keller

Berks Fire & Water Restorations, Inc. (Reading)

Associate Directors Jim Gavin

Masano Bradley Attorneys At Law (Wyomissing)

Bryan Moll

B & G Glass (Reading)

Sherrie Hallowell

T

oday’s new homes reflect changing market preferences while integrating elaborate designs and consumer desires into the floor plans and construction. Plus, successful home builders have the knowledge, organizational skills, and drive to build them.

What does it really take to build a house?

VIST Bank (Wyomissing)

HBA Staff Executive Officer & At Home in Berks Editor-in-Chief

Like a CEO, a home builder relies on a number of workers to get the job done right. A home builder guides dozens of skilled artisans and professionals; including: carpenters, architects, engineers,

Home builders serve as liaisons with their communities and local government officials. They research and study local building codes to determine what can be built in a given location. In most localities, building codes govern building, plumbing, heating and air conditioning, electrical systems and fire safety. After studying the building codes, the builder collects all the required permits from various authorities before proceeding with construction. Once the permits are obtained, the builder will prepare the site and select how the home will be situated on it. The home builder then oversees the entire construction process, which includes—but is certainly not limited to—laying the foundation, erecting the framing, building the walls, installing the plumbing, heating & electrical work, and finishing it off with roofing and siding.

Christian D. Malesic, MBA, IOM

Membership Coordinator/ Office Manager Katie Mauger

The written and visual contents of this magazine are protected by copyright. Reproduction of print or digital articles without written permission from Hoffmann Publishing Group, Inc., and/or the Home Builders Association of Berks County is forbidden. The placement of paid advertisements does not imply endorsement by HBA of Berks County. Publisher: Hoffmann Publishing Group, Inc. I 610.685.0914 2921 Windmill Road, Suite 4, Sinking Spring, PA 19608 Dave Hessen, Director of Creative Operations dave@hoffmannpublishing.com


HBAberks.org I 610.777.8889

A home builder acts as an inspector. The local building department will inspect the construction site for code violations throughout the home’s construction. But, a professional home builder will

make certain the home meets both code and warranty guidelines long before and after the officials show up. Once the house is finished, the builder informs the appropriate municipal departments that it is ready for final inspection and the approval that the home is safe for its new owners to move in. Professional home builders strive to deliver a home that will make their customers happy. To meet this objective, they act as public relations professionals. The builder will discuss the construction process and building schedule with the buyer, and plan times when the buyer can tour the building site and ask questions about the status of their new home. Home builders are also businesspeople who

establish a network of reliable and quality materials suppliers and trade contractors with whom they conduct business on a regular basis.

Home builders are schedulers and record keepers. They must think on their feet, keep complex construction timelines, and tackle multiple tasks simultaneously in order to keep the construction process moving forward to ensure the home is completed on schedule. All in all, home builders must wear many, many hats in order to deliver a home where the new owners can hang their own hats, raise a family and build lifelong memories.

Cathy Sloan Cathy Sloan, CGR, CAPS, CGP Aluminum Associates/Sloan Corp. 2013 HBA President

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FIND A SUPER CONTRACTOR! By Christian D. Malesic, MBA, IOM

S

uper contractors are plentiful and easy to find when you approach the due diligence process with purpose and foresight. The largest ad in the phone book (print or digital), great website, handsome smile, or the cheapest price tell you nothing. Builders, remodelers, and trade contractors will work on your most valuable asset and prized possession -your home. More importantly, they will become your go-to expert and most trusted advisor in their area of specialty. So how do you find the absolute best craftsmen, most trustworthy business, and all-around SUPER contractor?

Start at the Very Beginning-A Very Good Place to Start Professional trade organizations, like the Home Builders Association of Berks County (HBA), are the best places to begin your search. The criteria for membership in these associations are stringent; therefore, only the most professional and ethical companies 4

AT HOME IN BERKs april 2013

become members. What’s more, education and continuous improvement are in the members’ blood. They know about the latest building materials and gizmos on the market, understand permitting and inspections, and know the difference between a contract, change order, and punch list (and why each legally protects both of you during the course of your project, while keeping communication lines open).

There are many additional professional trade associations for specialty contractors that can also be used to aid in your search. Though the best-of-the-best excavators, plumbers, roofers, landscapers, etc. make it a point of joining their local HBA of Berks County (HBAberks.org), they often are also members of their specialty trade association to gain knowledge specific to their trade. A quick web search for the area you are researching followed by the words “trade association” is a great place to start. Thus, when looking for a kitchen designer, a web search for “kitchen trade association” will reveal the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA). Similarly, a search for “Electrician Trade Association” will

land you at the Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC).

Is Bigger Better or Does Smaller Surpass? Just because a company has a bunch of employees, advertises heavily, or “has done 10 projects in your neighborhood” doesn’t mean that they have quality service or are proficient at the trades. On the other hand, smaller companies are not necessarily more detail-oriented or faster to respond just because they have fewer customers. There are good large companies and good small companies. You must determine which is right for you. As a rule, contractors who are constantly improving themselves and their businesses through continual education, training, and networking often make the best contractors (and their businesses come in all sizes). Let their credentials, experience, and expertise be your guide, not the size of their company. Gravitate toward


HBAberks.org I 610.777.8889

those contractors that are certified experts by outside trade associations or agencies. Consider more seriously those contractors that regularly attend trade shows and conventions in their industry. Education is paramount. Would you want a teacher teaching your children if she had never been to school herself ? Or an accountant without an accounting degree and the letters CPA (Certified Public Accountant) after his name advising you on your finances? Contractors have certifications, designations, and education as well.

Does this mean you should only consider those with letters after their names and education under their belt? Absolutely not! Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg all ran/run incredibly successful businesses without completing their education. They, however, are the exception, not the norm. Give education weight in your decision-making process.

for your ideas and suggest ways to make them work better? • Is customer service emphasized?

• Will they work within your budget constraints? Will they be honest when your budget is way less than the project will require? • Do they seem organized when you discuss the job with them? • Are their business materials neat, professional, and complete (business cards, flyers, website, etc.)? • Do they carry insurance to protect you from claims arising from property damage or job site injuries (get a copy of their insurance certificate, don’t just ask the question)? • Are they registered with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania? Go to www.AttorneyGeneral.gov and see for yourself, don’t just ask the question.

How Do You Interview the Candidates?

• Do they offer a warranty?

Treat your research seriously and prepare for the process. After you build a list of potential contractor candidates,

How to Decide?

• Will they arrange for the construction permit? • Do they specialize in certain projects?

You probably already have a budget in mind, and know how much you are willing to pay. If not, maybe you are planning to “get three quotations and pick the lowest.”

spend time organizing your thoughts & preparing your questions before meeting with the first contractor candidate. At each interview, observe how each candidate reacts and responds. Don’t be afraid to take notes.

Some suggestions to get you thinking:

When you discuss what you’d like to

do, does the contractor show enthusiasm

DO NOT LET PRICE be the main reason you choose one contractor over another! Often the lowest bidder is cutting corners somewhere they shouldn’t. Would you want the lowest paid doctor operating on your child?... or the cheapest lawyer defending you in court? Make your choice based on service, knowledge, ability, and communication; not based solely on price. If you can’t afford to do it right, how can you afford to do it over? When you hire a contractor, you are buying a service and expertise rather than a product. The quality of service the contractor provides will determine the quality of the finished product and your satisfaction with it. Only choose

a contractor who returns your phone calls, answers your questions, and has a trustworthy reputation.

This is not a decision that should be solely based on whom you “like” the most or whom was the “nicest” or had the “best personality.” However, you will be working with the contractor and their team for an extended period of time; so, how you emotionally feel about them should have some weight in your decision-making process. Use your emotions, use your gut... just make sure your research and intellect have a bigger say in your final decision.

If you put as much time into selecting a contractor as you did in selecting and planning your last vacation or choosing if and where you or your children should go to college, you’ll make a good decision in the end. Plan for it. Spend time on it. Debate it with your loved ones. Then trust yourself that you made the right decision. Moreover, trust your contractor and their expert advice.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Christian D. Malesic, MBA, IOM is the Executive Officer of the Home Builders Association of Berks County. He provides insight on construction issues, business operations, marketing, personal finance, and occasionally, on political philosophy/ history. Contact Christian at the HBA of Berks County office: Christian@HBAberks. org or, to receive notice of the newest articles written by Christian, follow him on Twitter @CDMalesic. april 2013 AT HOME IN BERKs

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important in the early stages of planning a construction project that your ideas can be brought to reality in compliance with zoning and building codes within your municipality. The project scope may need to be altered to meet the zoning and building codes. Thus, it is better to know the rules which need to be followed early in the planning stages rather than sometime in the future. Zoning regulations deal with the orderly planning and growth of any municipality. Building codes are instrumental in ensuring that your proposed improvement will be built to provide protection from all types of weather and provide a safe environment for all occupants. Preliminary or conceptual compliance may be obtained from a municipal office. Licensed professionals are also a good source of discerning the viability of a project.

HOW TO PLAN & PREPARE FOR A CONSTRUCTION PROJECT By Timothy M. Heffner

P

roperty owners, whether they are a homeowner or a commercial building owner, are proud of their investment. The pride of property ownership will generate numerous thoughts for potential improvements to a structure. Likewise, improvements to an existing structure may not meet the needs of the property owner for various reasons. So a new building may be required. Or, for many reasons, an owner may desire to build a new home or operate a business venture in a new facility. Whether you are planning to upgrade your home or commercial building or build a new home, office, or commercial building; a construction project is in your future.

Planning Prevails The amount of time and thought devoted to planning a construction project will have a direct effect on the success of the finished product. A thorough and complete evaluation leading up to the first 6

AT HOME IN BERKs april 2013

day of construction will always deliver a finished product that everyone is proud of. Time is valuable to everyone and valuable time devoted to planning is a prerequisite for success. The first step in planning a construction project is to get your ideas transferred to paper. The transferred images can be simple sketches, photos of similar works, or any media which can illustrate your vision to another individual. The quality of the images is not important, but the message needs to be clear in conveying your intent. When you are satisfied that your proposed project can be conveyed to another individual, you are prepared to seek the advice of a licensed professional or building contractor.

Government Hurdle

All building construction is governed by municipal zoning regulations, plus local and state building codes. It is very

Go Pro

It is recommended to engage an architect, professional engineer, or a seasoned building contractor in the early stages of a proposed project. These professionals have the knowledge and experience to assist in the development of a successful finished product. A successful construction project is not developed in one meeting; in fact, multiple planning meetings will be required. Planning meetings are sharing sessions rather than plan review meetings. Every one of your thoughts which should be shared with the design professional. What you may consider to be a minute detail could be a major factor in design and performance. Also, be prepared to compromise your initial ideas as regulations, building functionality, and your first vision are combined into a working plan. You also want to be certain that the design professional is listening to you. The design professional is designing a construction project for you and not for their portfolio. If a design professional is not listening to you, it is in your best interest to pursue another design professional for the ultimate goal of a successful improvement. As mentioned earlier, a finished product that exceeds your expectations is achieved by the building owner and design professional sharing all known details and deciding upon the best approach for the benefit of the end product.


HBAberks.org I 610.777.8889

Money Matters

After the general contractor is selected, the design / build process will begin. The owner will transfer the images of the proposed construction project to the general contractor. The general contractor will determine from the information provided by the owner, if an architect or professional engineer is necessary for design services. After consultation with the owner, a design professional is selected to develop the plans and specifications.

Depending upon the size of your construction project, financing from a lending institution may be desired. If financing is desired, it is highly recommended to contact a lending institution during the planning stages to discuss with the potential lender their interest in providing financing.

No “I” in “Team”

As the plans come into focus, the budget needs to be considered. Affordability is a direct result of the size and the types of materials considered for use in the building project. The funds available must be considered while formulating the conceptual plans. If a budget is not contemplated during the design phase, more times than not, the project will not be built.

Financing is a major component and it is highly suggested to engage a lending institution during the early planning stages. Simultaneous planning will allow a project to begin the construction phase in a shorter span of time.

Design / Build

Construction projects with the highest rate of success are those performed using the design/build concept. The design/ build concept is where the project team is established prior to the building plans being completed. The project team is created by the owner with assistance from the general contractor. The general contractor needs to be a seasoned builder with experience and expertise in producing a similar project. The seasoned builder is found by referrals from neighbors, relatives, trade associates, trade partners, and satisfied customers of the general contractor.

Plumbing, electrical, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning subcontractors will be introduced to the proposed construction during the design phase as the need is determined. Introducing specialty trade subcontractors prior to the completion of the construction documents allows the specialty subcontractors to share their experience and expertise for the benefit of your project. Collaboration of all involved parties during the design phase will place all parties on the same page. A cohesive team will always deliver a finished product which exceeds the initial expectations of the owner. The design/ build contractor will build the project following completion of the design documents and project financing being secured. Property owners do not need to be afraid or suspicious of the design/build process. A seasoned team with integrity will always treat their customers with honesty and respect. If concerns arise, the concerns will be addressed in a manner to reach a resolution agreeable to all members of the team. Construction projects are visions and dreams of a property owner brought to life

with an experienced design/build team. Preparation and planning must be treated as the first phase. Many details need to be considered before turning over the first shovelful of earth or hammering the first nail. Do not be discouraged or try to short circuit the planning process. A thorough and complete planning process will allow the construction phase to be performed with fewer concerns and less delays. The design/build approach will allow you to know the seasoned general contractor prior to the start of the construction phase. The familiarity of the project team will lead to a more successful finished product, since all of the players have a common goal, a completed project that everyone can be proud of.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Timothy M. Heffner is the VicePresident / Senior Project Manager of DESCCO Design & Construction, Inc., serving Eastern PA. Contact Tim at theffner@descco.com or phone (610) 944-0404. PA009228

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planning on building right away, it is possible to include the lot loan purchase in your construction loan program. Most lenders will finance 80-90% loan-to-value of the total acquisition cost (lot value plus construction cost). If you have equity in your lot, it can be used towards the required down payment.

Shopping for your construction financing

Construction Financing Options By John Schmoyer

I

f you have been interested in purchasing a new home and have spent some time shopping around looking for your dream home over the past year, you will find an array of homes available in varying price ranges, styles, and locations throughout Berks County. The adventure of searching for that next home is often time consuming in trying to find that ideal home that has all the features you are looking for. It’s possible the home of your “dreams” is not available. Perhaps your best option is to design and build your dream home.

If you like the idea of customizing a home to meet the needs of your family, meeting with a builder and designing the home of your dreams to your desires and specifications is the best option. If that is the direction you choose, many will face the challenge of securing mortgage financing for the construction of your home. Some of the key components of building 8

AT HOME IN BERKs april 2013

your home and financing the construction are selecting a building lot, choosing your builder, finalizing your construction plans and specifications, and securing your construction mortgage financing.

Required down payment and using your lot equity If you already own your building lot, you can use equity in the lot to serve as your down payment. If you do not own a building lot, you will need to shop for one. Sometimes the builder will have lots available, and other times you may have to search for the lot. Some lenders offer financing programs to finance the purchase of the lot. You will normally need a down payment of 20-25%, depending on the individual lot loan programs. Once again, it is important to shop around for the best suited lot financing program for you. If you are

As you begin the process, it is important to find a builder that you can work with and who shares your visions for your home. In addition, since you may need to arrange mortgage financing for the project, you will want to shop around to see which local lenders offer construction lending programs. Not all lenders offer construction mortgage financing and the lenders who do, have different guidelines for their programs. It is recommended that you contact a minimum of two-to-three lenders to discuss what options they have regarding products and rates, and select the one best suited to your needs. In some cases the builder may have a working relationship with a particular lender. That is a good place to start, but it is highly recommended that you consider shopping around to see what other lenders may offer. As previously mentioned, construction lending programs may vary from one lender to another, and some lenders may not offer construction financing.

Types of construction loan financing Construction loan programs are usually available in two types. The first type, and probably least costly, is the Construction Permanent Financing loan,


HBAberks.org I 610.777.8889

sometimes known as a one-time close construction loan. This loan is a one-time close construction loan that finances the construction of the home in one settlement upfront before any construction begins on the property. The loan then automatically converts into the permanent financing loan at the time the home is completed, generally referred to conversion or modification, without the need for a second settlement or additional settlement fees. The second type of construction financing loan is known as a Construction Only Financing loan, sometimes known as a two-time close construction loan. This loan finances just the construction portion of the project, and requires a second separate mortgage loan to pay off the construction loan at completion of the home. This requires an additional settlement plus the associated fees and costs with a new mortgage for refinancing of the construction loan. This type of financing is the least common, and can require significant additional settlement costs for settlement of the permanent mortgage.

Construction loan interest rates and interest only payments The mortgage interest rates associated with construction loans may vary from the published rates used for a normal home purchase mortgage. Depending on the

Construction loans are generally structured as interest only loans during the construction period. Periodic payments, called disbursements, are made direct to the builder as stages of the construction are completed. Upon completion of the phases, inspections are made by the lender, and upon verification that the work has been completed in that stage, the disbursement is made from the construction account direct to the builder. You would be billed monthly for the interest due on the total funds disbursed from the construction fund, as the work is completed.

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Potential for buy-down of rate at conversion Some construction loan products permit for a one-time buy-down of your interest rate at completion of the home to the current market rate, should it be lower. You will want to ask these questions of your perspective lender while shopping around for construction financing options.

Knowing the Fees Associated with your Loan:

amount of down payment available and/or equity in the lot, the lenders guidelines may provide for a Construction Loan with a fixed interest rate; or an adjustable interest rate. The differences vary between lenders so this is important to consider when shopping for financing.

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It is important to understand the fees associated with construction lending from start to finish. There are additional fees generally associated with construction financing, which might include fees for inspections during construction, potential buy-down fees, etc. Your perspective lenders you speak with should be able to clearly disclose these costs to you for your consideration up front.

Summary Planning and designing your new home can be very exciting and fulfilling. Making sure you do your homework when it comes to your mortgage lending options is critical. Lack of research and shopping for the best construction financing plan to suit your needs, can prove to be very costly and provide unexpected surprises. Remember to ask questions of your prospective lenders. They are there to assist you and should be able to answer all your financing questions and have the experience and knowledge to make the difference in the project. Knowing all your options and proper research in advance, can prevent and limit those surprises so your home building project moves along smoothly without delays, as you build your dream home.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

John Schmoyer, BS Business Administration from Kutztown University, is Vice President – Regional Sales Manager for Fulton Mortgage Company – Great Valley Division serving Berks County. Contact John at jschmoyer@ fultonmortgagecompany.com or (610) 898-8330. december 2012 AT HOME IN BERKS

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Is Building a New Home for You? By Gregory Werner

T

here are many advantages to building a new home. For some buyers, the appeal is starting with a “clean slate.” Building your “dream” home offers tremendous sentimental value, definitive emotional feelings of fulfillment, and pride in a home that is “your baby!”

While preparing food in the kitchen, the food preparers may still interact with guests enjoying conversation in the family room without feeling closed off. The feeling of spaciousness in today’s new-home layouts is most times enhanced by higher

Choices, Choices, and more Choices The most obvious advantages are energy efficiency; open, updated floor plans; and the ability to select new, modern appliances, flooring, paint and other design elements. The new home standard for electricity is a 200 amp electric service that will allow for structured wiring packages to accommodate computers, audio/ visual systems, High Definition TV’s, DVR’s and all the advanced technology available to manage your new home; in addition to sophisticated lighting plans and security systems. In most new building scenarios, there will be options when it comes to HVAC systems, such as oil, natural gas, propane, heat pump, or geothermal. Depending on the size of the new home, there may be two heating and cooling systems to maximize efficiency. When building a new home, everything is new and most builders will provide a limited warranty on workmanship. Items such as flooring, windows, cabinetry, HVAC, and roof shingles will provide a limited warranty against defects from the manufacturers as well.

New Home Layouts Builders today are featuring floor plans with more open spaces and rooms with better flow into one another, making it easier to entertain friends and accommodate large family gatherings.

plenty of optional upgrades. Again in this scenario, the builder owns the property until the time of settlement and finances the construction of the home. When adding upgrades, there may be up front non- refundable deposits payable to the builder at the time of selection. When building a new home from the ground up, plan on 5 to 6 months until settlement from the time a buyer signs the agreement of sale to settlement and move in.

3. Scattered Site Custom Build. If a consumer wants to build their dream home from their favorite house plans on land they already own or there is a specific piece of land they want to buy to build on, this is the avenue to make that happen. There is no greater sense of accomplishment and pride than completing a project such as this. If the buyer does not own any land, but has a site in mind to purchase, there are certain lenders who provide construction loans and will roll the land purchase into the construction loan. In this scenario, the buyer is the owner of the land and the new home as it is being built. There is a much higher level of buyer involvement with this process. The buyer makes all the decisions from start to finish! Scattered site custom building could take 6 to 12 months from the concept stage to completion

New Home Financing ceilings and additional windows that bring in more natural light.

Should you decide to build a new home, there are basically three types of new construction:

1. Spec Home. Want to buy a brand new home, but don’ have the time to wait? Look for a new home that’s already built or under construction in a new home community you want to live in. The process for buying is much the same as buying an existing pre-owned home. The builder owns the home until the time of settlement and finances the construction of the home. The total time involved may be 30 to 90 days until settlement.

2. Turn-Key on Builder’s Lot. This is the typical scenario when building a new home in a subdivision. The developer or the builder owns the lots. The buyer selects the home they want to build from the floor plans the builder is offering for that subdivision. The base price of the home to be built usually provides a complete, “move-in ready” home and comes with

Three types of financing are common in today’s market to assist you in funding your new home purchase: 1. Conventional Mortgage. Primarily for Turn Key and Spec Home Purchases. In both of these scenarios, the lender is financing an existing property; so Conventional, FHA, and VA mortgage options are available to the buyer.

2. Construction Loan. The client owns the land and hires a custom home builder to construct the home. Basically, the lender pays the builder in five payments or “draws” at specified intervals throughout the building process. The builder uses this money to buy materials, pay workers, and trade contractors to build your house. Settlement on the loan takes place prior to any work beginning. As the “draws” are paid to the builder, the consumer begins to pay interest on the total of the paid funds. When the home is complete and the final draw is paid, the construction loan converts to a traditional mortgage. Continued on page 12 april 2013 AT HOME IN BERKs

11


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Continued from page 11 3. Land/Construction Loan. This loan is used when a buyer purchases the land and builds a new home in one transaction. The process is the same as a construction loan, with the addition of the land cost.

Assembling Your Dream Team Prior to buying land or beginning the building process, it is very important to build a team of experts to assist you from the beginning to the end! This team will

be very helpful in assisting you in making the right decisions for YOU. The TEAM should consist of four people:

Experienced Real Estate Professional. Choose a Relator with in-depth knowledge and a high level of experience with new home construction. The real estate professional will assist you in locating the right community that fits your needs, assist you in locating the right lot or piece of land, refer you to the right lender for the situation, and refer you to a builder that will accommodate your needs. Mortgage Lender. Identify a lender that specializes in residential construction and land financing and understands the process.

Builder. A quality builder you can trust and a member in good standing of the Home Builders Association of Berks County (HBA). You can look them up at HBAberks.org.

You. Building a new home can be a highly rewarding experience OR it can be your worst nightmare! There is so much to consider that in order to keep your sanity, you need to surround yourself with good, knowledgeable, and experienced professionals. This article is just a broad outline of what to expect. You must completely understand the whole process and have a good idea of what to expect each step of the way in order to realize a great experience. There will always be issues and problems to deal with and decisions to make throughout the process. Having a solid team of professionals on your side will help guide you through them and make building your “dream” home a satisfying and rewarding experience!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Gregory Werner is a full service Realtor at RE/MAX of Reading. Contact Greg at 610.685.3120 or email GWerner@ GoBerksCounty.com.

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Defining Design:

Aging in Place vs. Universal Design By HBA Staff

F

amilies looking to customize their homes for their personal needs and comfort have a wide variety of products and design elements to choose from. Two of these concepts, aging-in-place and universal design, are both focused on making a home more comfortable for individuals of different abilities.

What’s the Difference? Aging-in-place design is most often used for individuals requiring home modifications in order to safely and comfortably

and convenience without compromising the aesthetics.

An additional component of universal design is adaptability. A home being built with universal design might include added blocking inside the shower stall walls so that a grab bar can be easily installed at a future date, a common aging-in-place update.

Who Can Help? Homebuilding and remodeling professionals who have earned the Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS), Certified Graduate Remodeler (CGR), or Graduate Master Remodeler (GMR) designations have received extensive training specific to the remodeling industry, and will be able to advise you on universal design and aging-in-place components to fit your needs. When looking for a remodeler for an aging-in-place or universal design project, be sure to select a contractor who has earned some or all of these important certifications.

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use their home as their physical abilities change over time.

There is a high demand for aging-in-place remodeling, as the more than 76 million people born in the U.S. from 1946 to 1964 are now starting to reach retirement age. Many of these “baby boomers� are looking at remodeling so they can stay in their homes and neighborhoods.

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The design is convenient and comfortable but the modifications may be noticeable. Some examples include installing grab bars in shower stalls and putting in a ramp to replace steps.

Universal design is applicable to all home owners, regardless of age or ability. It is useful to meet the needs of many, from a multigenerational family to first time home owners.

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Universal design augments traditional design by incorporating elements that offer comfort, convenience and ease of use. However, unlike aging-in-place, universal design elements are transparent and not immediately identifiable in a home.

Some examples of universal design include choosing counters with contrasting borders to increase visibility for home owners whose vision may deteriorate over time, making hallways wider to accommodate strollers or relatives who might use a wheelchair, and building a stepless porch entry that will increase access

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BEWARE of FORECLOSURE BARGAINS By HBA Staff

It’s an unfortunate result of the recession-many families haven’t been able to keep up with their mortgage payments and have lost their homes to foreclosure. Foreclosed homes often sell for less than market rates, making them “seem” like a bargain to buyers who are used to the inflated prices of a few years ago.

B

ut, comparing a new home to a foreclosure on price alone is a mistake. You can’t put a dollar value on your peace of mind, safety, financial reserves, and time-all of which could be in jeopardy if you buy a foreclosed home

may have been put up as collateral on other loans that weren’t paid. You could become liable for tens of thousands of dollars of debt you weren’t aware were attached to the foreclosed home.

Hidden Costs

As soon as you take ownership of a foreclosed home, anything that breaks or any problems that arise are your responsibility. This could cost you additional time and money for which you may not have budgeted.

For example, a foreclosure could have legal issues. Before buying a foreclosed home you will have to do thorough research-or hire a title company or lawyer-to make sure there aren’t any additional financial or legal liabilities attached to the home. There may be liens on the property for unpaid taxes, home owners’ association dues, water or other utility bills. On top of that, the home 14

AT HOME IN BERKs february 2013

Hidden Problems

Foreclosed homes often haven’t been taken care of by former owners who knew they were going to lose the home. In some cases vandals, thieves, or even the owners have


damaged the home, removed appliances, or torn apart walls to remove copper pipes that are valuable as scrap metal.

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A foreclosed home could have been sitting vacant for months or years, and if it wasn’t properly secured, there could be significant damage from water, mold, weather, or pest infestations. It could cost you thousands of dollars and a lot of time to bring a home that was allowed to deteriorate back to a livable condition.

With a foreclosure, you don’t know how many renovations or repairs have been made over the years, or who made them. There could be faulty wiring, weakened structures, or other conditions that could be dangerous and costly to bring up to safe and modern standards.

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New Home Difference New homes have been constructed under a strict set of codes and standards that are updated regualrly, and have to be thoroughly

inspected before the certificate of occupancy is issued and you can close the sale and move in to the home.

With a new home, maintenance won’t be an issue for a while with the brand new appliances and systems. And, if something does go wrong in the first year, Pennsylvania state law ensures the house has a new home warranty that guarantees repair or replacement (some builders’ warranties are even longer). You also don’t have to spend time or money changing someone else’s design preferences with a new home. No tearing down wood paneling, repainting walls, or replacing outdated flooring. Your preferences are included as the home is built, and they are there waiting for you the day you unpack your boxes.

When you are looking for a place to keep your family safe and to build a lifetime of memories, it may be well worth paying a higher upfront cost to get convenience, modern features, and peace of mind-and avoid the potential pitfalls of a foreclosure that could turn your dreams of homeownership into costly, longterm nightmare.

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february 2013 AT HOME IN BERKs 15


HBAberks.org I 610.777.8889

PROPERTY TAXES: A VEXING PROBLEM, A PRACTICAL SOLUTION

F

or more than thirty years the Pennsylvania General Assembly has grappled with the problem of relentlessly rising school property taxes and the damage caused by this inequitable levy with no effective result. Why has it been so difficult to find a resolution? In most instances an incomplete understanding of the depth and breadth of the problem has led to ineffective solutions. In its simplest form, the property tax is a throwback to the Middle Ages when only landowners had the wherewithal to support their governments. This system was imported to Pennsylvania in the early 1800’s during a time when we were an agrarian society and most people earned their living from the land. Since more land holdings generally equaled greater prosperity, the property tax was a reasonable proxy for wealth and landowners were taxed accordingly when there was no other method for the government to determine income.

In today’s society, homesteads are where families live; very few generate income. So why, then, do we still tax homes as if they are producers of wealth? In what way is it equitable to tax a home of 2,000 square feet at a different level from one that is 1,200 square feet? A basic precept of fair taxation is that the tax should reflect a person’s 16

AT HOME IN BERKs december 2012

By Representative Jim Cox & David Baldinger

ability to pay. Pennsylvania’s property tax is an antiquated, subjective system that has outlived its usefulness, a system that does not account in any manner for a person’s income or circumstances.

Modern Day Reality Today, homeowners of all ages are facing extreme pressure because of school property taxes that relentlessly rise at a rate of more than three times that of inflation. Research by grassroots taxpayer groups has found that as many as ten thousand Pennsylvanians lose their homes to property tax sheriff ’s sales each year and that total does not include those who sell their home, sometimes at a loss, to avoid losing their equity through such an event.

Unfortunately, the damage caused to homeowners is only the tip of the property tax iceberg. Eighty percent of non-government jobs in Pennsylvania are provided by small businesses. As the second largest fixed expense for these job creators, the property tax, through its uncertain nature, discourages small business expansion and hinders job growth. On February 29, 2012, the Tax Foundation released a study entitled “Location Matters: A Comparative Analysis of State Tax Costs on Business,”

which examined how business friendly each state was. Pennsylvania was ranked number forty-nine of fifty for new businesses and dead last, at number fifty, for mature, established businesses. Not only is Pennsylvania’s tax burden, which includes the property tax, discouraging new businesses and the jobs they create from locating here, it is also driving existing businesses and jobs from Pennsylvania. Farming – Pennsylvania’s heritage and its lifeblood – is being destroyed by the property tax.

The housing market is virtually at a standstill in Pennsylvania. Polls of real estate professionals have indicated that through the elimination of the school property tax, Pennsylvania’s real estate market would explode with new buyers. Thousands of young families who currently cannot afford their piece of the American Dream could almost immediately become homeowners through the elimination of the school property tax escrow payment. Finally, public school financing needs to be considered. With the downturn in the housing market, many school districts have lost substantial revenue through assessment appeals by both businesses and homeowners. This includes the Wyomissing Area School District where a


HBAberks.org I 610.777.8889

$250,000 annual loss was experienced through a single appeal by a nursing home.

House Bill 76 and Senate Bill 76 are not just about simple property tax “relief ” measures, as some believe, but rather, they are about replacing an inequitable and damaging system of taxation with one that is a reflection of our twenty-first century economic reality. These are two identical measures known as the Property Tax Independence Act. This legislation is simple in concept and tremendously effective in practice. The Property Tax Independence Act will eliminate all school property taxes across the Commonwealth and will replace those taxes with funding from the Personal Income Tax and the Sales & Use Tax.

The most important provision of The Property Tax Independence Act is that it is tax revenue neutral. To provide absolute fairness, the legislation has been meticulously crafted to ensure that the tax swap provision of the plan does not raise one dollar more than is already collected by the school property tax mechanism. The Property Tax Independence Act employs a modernized school funding plan with balanced revenue sources that were carefully considered for their effect on an individual’s ability to pay and for political viability.

The Nuts and Bolts The Property Tax Independence Act utilizes the current sales tax mechanism to fund schools, restoring the original intent of the tax. “The Pennsylvania Education Sales Tax” was enacted in 1953 for this specific purpose and nearly 100% of the revenue from the sales tax is still dedicated to education funding.

The Property Tax Independence Act’s revenue replacement mechanism moderately broadens the base of the state sales tax to include more services and products at a new 7% rate. Pennsylvania has one of the narrowest sales tax bases in the nation and broadening of the base is a powerful key to adequate revenue generation. Life necessities and business-to-business transactions will continue to be exempt from the sales tax.

While the sales tax generates almost two-thirds of The Property Tax Independence Act’s revenue, the remainder of the funding necessary to replace the school property tax is generated by a modest increase in the state personal income tax from 3.07% to 4.34%. Continued on page 18

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Reach the Right Consumers At Home in Berks reaches HBA members and Berks County residents who are business owners, homeowners and associated building trades, services and supply providers who purchase construction-related equipment, materials, supplies and services, and home and property-related goods and services.

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Continued from page 17 These two taxes provide a predictable and stable funding source that automatically increases revenue in sync with economic growth. This is in clear contrast to the school property tax which is not based on economic growth and is subject to much variation, forcing annual increases in the tax to increase revenue. And, these sources are the most desirable because, unlike the property tax that has no relationship to family income, both of these are directly tied to a person’s ability to pay.

The Finished Product School property tax elimination will be accomplished via a two year phase-out of the tax. In the first fiscal year after enactment, school property taxes will be frozen at their current level; in the second year they will be completely eliminated except for a small portion that will be retained in each school district to retire the individual district’s outstanding long-term debt.

The Property Tax Independence Act works to fully fund all Pennsylvania schools at their current levels. All local school property taxes that are eliminated will be replaced dollar-fordollar in each district with no arcane formulas that redistribute wealth.

In addition, The Property Tax Independence Act completely eliminates the taxing ability of local school boards. The only exception would be a possible local earned income tax or local personal income tax for major projects such as new school construction, and that will be subject to a no-exception taxpayer referendum.

It is important to note that The Property Tax Independence Act imposes NO new mandates of any kind on Pennsylvania school districts. The plan provides replacement funding only and the funding provided by the plan may be used in any manner the school district deems necessary. The Property Tax Independence Act does not interfere in any manner with local school district decisions. Through its enactment this legislation can serve not only to remove an oppressive burden from Pennsylvania homeowners but can also have positive, far-reaching effects on Pennsylvania’s schools, business climate, job growth, and our Commonwealth’s economy in general.

It is also worth mentioning that the Property Tax Independence Act is a collaborative taxpayer and legislative initiative. The legislation was crafted in full partnership with the nonpartisan Pennsylvania Coalition of Taxpayer Associations, a statewide grassroots affiliation of seventy-six grassroots groups that span 18

AT HOME IN BERKs april 2013

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the entire political spectrum, fully support the legislation, and are actively working for its enactment.

Further details of the Property Tax Independence Act are available at www.repjimcox.com or at the Pennsylvania Taxpayers Cyber Coalition website at www.ptcc.us.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Representative Jim Cox (R-129) was elected to the PA House of Representatives in 2006 and first began to serve in 2007. The 129th District covers Adamstown, Bernville, Robesonia, Sinking Spring and the following townships: Bethel, Heidelberg, Jefferson, Lower Heidelberg, Marion, North Heidelberg, and Penn.


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BEYOND ENERGY EFFICIENCY REPLACING WINDOWS By Jessica Whitmore & DOORS

K

ert Sloan, President of Aluminum Associates in Temple, says “most people know it is time to replace windows when they sit in a room and just feel it.” He further describes that feeling as hearing and feeling wind, feeling the heat transfer or seeing sweating on the windows or doors.

R-value, U-factor and Low-E glass are thrown into the conversation. All of these relate to how the window or door functions in terms of energy efficiency, and are taken into consideration in determining how the homeowner wants the windows or doors to perform throughout the different seasons of the year.

The initial thought of “my windows or doors need to be replaced” can easily become overwhelming when the words

However, the selection of replacement windows and doors involves more than just a balancing act of U-factor, R-values and Low-E. It is also a matter of personal preference for the appeal or the look of a window or door. Each of those options have greatly changed as manufacturers provide more colors and options as they compete beyond energy efficiency. “Every type of window and any type of glass exists,” explains Sloan who works directly with Seaway Manufacturing Corp. in Erie. Sloan further explains vinyl windows now come in more individual colors as well as two-tone colors, allowing one color for the interior and another

20

AT HOME IN BERKs april 2013

for the exterior. Grids between the glass panes can also be two-tone colors. Prices can range from $500 installed for a double hung window to $3,000 installed for a garden window. Doors also come in a wide array of colors and stains for the “skin.” Door options include door sizes, custom heights, depthsizes for jambs, sidelites (the windows on


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either or both side of the door), transoms (the rectangular or arched window area above the door), kick plate areas, and pet doors. Sliding glass doors also have the option of blinds in between the glass, which eliminates dusting while keeping the blinds from hitting the glass. Storm doors can also be customized to match the color of the front door. Stow Aways, or retractable screen doors, are also available.

Sloan says the larger the size and fancier the glass in a door, the higher the price of a door, which can range from $1,200 to $6,000, insulation included. Sliding glass doors can range from $2,500 to $3,500, and storm doors are approximately $650 installed. “If you can’t afford it all, do a little less. Only do what you can afford,” recommends

Sloan. He suggests window replacement can be done over an extended time period, such as three to four years instead of all at one time. “Contractors who work with the same manufacturer won’t have issues with windows matching over an extended installation time. We will tell these Continued on page 22 april 2013 AT HOME IN BERKs

21


Tim Bower, Branch Manager at the Douglassville location of J&L Building Materials, agrees that homeowners need to trust their contractor and do their homework on contractors. He suggests homeowners verify a contractor’s HIC number through the Attorney General’s website. Another way homeowners can find contractors is through J&L Building Materials, which has a total of seven locations in Southeastern PA, Delaware and Southern New Jersey. “We will help a homeowner find a contractor if they don’t already have one,” explains Bower, who says each location has a showroom open to homeowners and contractors. Within these showrooms, knowledgeable staff can help answer questions as homeowners ‘touch and operate’ the window and door products they might have initially found through online research. That ‘touch and operate’ includes looking at vinyl windows by Paradigm Windows and Viwinco, which is based in Morgantown as well as wood windows by Marvin and Weather Shield. Uninstalled window prices can vary from a vinyl double hung of $130 to $250 to a wooden double hung of $200 up to $1000 per window with options. Those options can include pre-stained finishes for the exterior and interior as well as options for adding cladding, which is an exterior weather-proof layer.

customers about the changes that could impact the windows they have yet to replace,” explains Sloan. Sloan highlights that regardless of the type of replacement windows or doors, homeowners need to do their homework on potential contractors. Homeowners will want someone they trust; additionally, homeowners need to make sure the company will be there to stand behind a warranty. “If you have problems 10 to 15 years down the line, will they still be there to back up the warranty?” asks Sloan. 22

AT HOME IN BERKs february 2013

“Endless options also exist for entry doors,” shares Bower. The showroom includes doors from ThermaTru and Masonite. Entry doors options can also include the overall design, the amount of glass, and the decorative appeal of the glass through frosting or etching. Uninstalled door prices can range from $300 to $5,000 depending on the options. Bower also highlights the door frame or “the trouble spot of doors due to weather.” In this area of the door, rotting occurs when moisture builds up and destroys the wood. “When wood is rotting, it is best to replace the door


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and frame,” says Bower. One replacement option is the FrameSaver door frame. It is a wood composite material that won’t absorb water and protects the frame from rot and insect damage. This frame replaces the original door frame and can be painted or stained. Deb Kearse, Vice President of Marketing for Kohl Building Products in Reading, is seeing a trend toward darker colors such as forest greens, reds, and blacks for replacement windows. “Before replacement windows were white vinyl. Now, manufacturers jazz it up with more colors and more designs to the exterior. Within the interior, looks can be simulated with a wood finish, anodized metal colors, and hardware options.” She also mentions that windows can be upgraded internally to match cabinets in a home. If a homeowner needs to replace windows in an older home, Kearse explains that “You do not have to compromise. You can maintain the integrity of your home by creating your

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610.929.5049 | riverviewtree.com own grid pattern.” She shares that any manufacturer can replicate any style to find the windows you need or want. When starting the replacement process, Kearse suggests considering your budget, whether you want maintenance or low maintenance, and the style of your home. She also highlights ways to reduce the overall amount of money spent. One option is to take advantage of the Residential Energy Efficiency Tax Credit that is still available for homeowners. The

PA # 005859

2013 amount is up to $200 for windows and up to $500 for doors. However, if an energy tax credit was used between 2006 and 2012, the tax credit is not available to the homeowner again. Another option is replacing portions of a window instead of the entire window. One option is a Tilt Pack that replaces only the sash on a wooden window. Kearse explains that almost every wood window Continued on page 24 february 2013 AT HOME IN BERKs

23


HBAberks.org I 610.777.8889

Continued from page 23 manufacturer has this option, including the Andersen and Weather Shield windows sold by Kohl Building Products. Glass pack replacements are also available to replace only the glass in windows. Kearse also highlights a more recent window and door option involving a partnership between Andersen Corporation and Honeywell Security for Verilock. This product includes a system of wireless security sensors installed directly on Eagle brand windows and patio doors. These sensors can then be accessed from a smartphone to check whether the windows and doors are locked or unlocked as well as open or closed. “Consumers are savvier now and shop at home,” shares Kearse, who highlights how homeowners can design their own doors before they even walk into a showroom. Therma-Tru’s website has a “Browse and Build” option that allows you to build your own door by collection, height, configuration, glass style, and options such as sidelites or a transom. You can then print, share in social media outlets, or save

your door design. ProVia has a “Visualizer” tab on its website that lets you design your own door through configuration, style, glass, color, and hardware options including handle, mail slot, and kick plates. You can also pay an additional $15 to upload a photo of your current door area and have their experts create a new look based on your interests.

1047 Old Bernville Rd Reading, PA 19605 (Off Rt. 183N) www.kohlbp.com

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Once a window or a door has been replaced, be sure to not neglect the interior treatments. That is where Doris Lefever, Window Treatment Specialist at Martin’s Flooring with locations in Lancaster, Harrisburg and Ephrata, steps in with her knowledge of the Hunter Douglas line. “People found a way to get the basics in the tough times and

now want to finish it off for more of a cozy, homey feel & look,” she shares as she sees more people adding soft treatments, such as panels, drapes and valances, to their hard treatments of shutters and blinds. Lefever says soft treatments through Martin’s Flooring are all locally custommade. The costs for these treatments can start at $150 and continue to increase depending on the fabric and design. “You can bring in fabric from your furniture and we can accent it with ready–made items. If you have a fabric you want to use, bring it in and we’ll work with creating a custom soft treatment,” explains Lefever, who invites homeowners to visit their showroom of soft and hard treatments.

Reference websites Aluminum Associates: aluminumassociatessloancorp.com J & L Building Materials: jlbuilding.com Kohl’s Building Products: kohlbp.com Martin’s flooring: martinsflooring.com Attorney General’s contractor verification: hicsearch.attorneygeneral.gov ProVia “Visualizer:” proviaproducts.com/visualizer Therma-Tru “Browse and Build:” thermatru.com


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Building A, Suite 2, 1st Floor

Walks out to ground level, opposite Penn Ave. side of building Square Footage: 867 (Can be combined with Suite 1 for 2,374 Sq. ft.)

Building A, Suite 6, 2nd Floor

Walks out to ground level, Penn Ave. side of building Square Footage: 688 (Can be combined with Suite 9 for 1,394 Sq. ft.)

Building A, Suite 9, 2nd Floor

Walks out to ground level, Penn Ave. side of building Square Footage: 706 (Can be combined with Suite 6 for 1,394 Sq. ft.)

Building A, Suite 12, 3rd Floor

2nd floor from ground level Penn Ave. side of building Square Footage: 557

Call the HBA for a tour: 610.777.8889 26

AT HOME IN BERKs february 2013


HBAberks.org I 610.777.8889

What’s HOT ON

HBAberks

Health Care Reform offers an opportunity

channel

for employers to rethink how health care benefits should be designed and delivered. – Mark Kunkle

Cooking with Chef Andrea: Pan-seared Scallops in Green Apple Jus Celebrity Chef Andrea Heinly serves up one of her signature dishes in a how-to fashion to a live audience of over 75 in Berks County, PA. This video details every step with complete narration and close-ups to allow you to re-create this gourmet seafood specialty in your own kitchen! It can be served as an entrée, appetizer, or hors d’oeuvre. The Home Builders Association of Berks County proudly presented Andrea Heinly, Executive Chef of Jimmie Kramer’s Peanut Bar Restaurant and 3rd Place Finalist of Fox’s popular TV show Hell’s Kitchen in its 5th season, to an enthusiastic audience at the Habitat for Humanity of Berks County ReStore in Temple, PA, USA. (Length: 16:31)

There will be dramatic changes in the future of the employee benefits landscape. Is your company prepared and complying with new regulations? What do you need to know? What plan do you have in place? Are you heading in the right direction?

We’re experts at benefits consulting. We’ll perform a Health Care Reform Readiness Analysis for your organization.

Contact us today. We’ve gained the confidence of over 450 local employers.

• We’ll review your existing benefit programs and determine which will be affected by the health care reform provisions now and in the future. • We’ll determine the financial impact of healthcare reform to your organization. We’ll steer you in the right direction and help you implement your company’s health care reform strategy.

610-685-1790 | www.pkbenefits.com | 999 Berkshire Blvd., Wyomissing L e a d e r s h i p

Hire Right: Managing Employees

S u p p o r t

|

S o l u t i o n s

Custom Deck Specialists 

What is a Contract? (Offer+Acceptance) This video defines “contract” and “consideration” in terms anyone can understand. It also details the offer and acceptance steps of reaching an agreement and discusses counter-offers. As part of an on-going educational series of business topics, Executive Officer Christian D. Malesic, MBA, IOM presented “PA HICPA & Contracts in Plain English” to a live audience of HBA members. (Length: 9:20)

|

  

Inspect Repair Design Build

PA 010620

610-376-8086 BreyerConstruction.com

The cost of prevention is much less than the cost of defense. Planning & due diligence will lead to hiring the right employee the first time making your firm more productive and saving hard-earned cash. As part of an on-going educational series of business topics, Richard Holland, SPHR, CCP, Vice President of Tompkins Insurance, presented “Managing Employees” to a live audience of HBA members. (Length: 7:27)

Spider Mites: Gardening 101 The Home Builders Association of Berks County presents: CEO of Riverview Tree & Landscaping, Inc. and Master Gardener, Diane Salks, explaining spider mites and how to rid your plants of them to an enthusiastic audience at the Habitat for Humanity of Berks County ReStore in Temple, PA, USA. (Length: 4:20)

Insulation Types: Energy Efficiency 101 The Home Builders Association of Berks County presents: President of East Penn Energy Solutions, David Wallace, comparing & contrasting open cell vs. closed cell spray foam insulation and batted insulation to a live audience at the Habitat for Humanity of Berks County ReStore in Temple, PA, USA. (Length: 3:10)

Gilbertsville (610) 367.2036

Pottstown (610) 327.1120

admoyer.com

24-7 ELECTRIC LLC Rocco E. Cipolla

Owner

Phone: 610-898-0411 Mobile: 484-638-4575 415 Martins Road Sinking Spring, PA 19608 #PA011222 rocco247electric@gmail.com april 2013 AT HOME IN BERKs

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HBAberks.org I 610.777.8889

Membership happenings 2013 Upcoming Events...

apr 11

apr 25

may 13

may 18

may 22

june 4-8

june 13

Legislative Luncheon

A

s one of the many benefits of membership in the Home Builders Association of Berks County (HBA), the following members are offering the discounts listed to HBA members only. If you would like to join the HBA or offer a Member 2 Member Discount, contact the HBA office: 610.777.8889.

Toscani Events by ViVA` 11:45 am – 1:45 pm

Remodelers Council Mixer Riverview Tree & Landscaping, Inc. 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Spring Golf Outing Reading Country Club 11:30 am - 5:00 pm

Member 2 Member Discount Program

Open to the Public

See ad on p. 26

HBA Spring Clean-Up HBA Property

Aluminum Associates / Sloan Corporation Contact: Kert E. Sloan 610.921.2201

5% discount on all services

AmeriGas Propane Contact: Jim Scheaffer 800.533.3537

Free tank set & 5 cent per gallon discount on propane (Some restrictions apply)

Berks Transfer Contact: Bob Quinn 610.926.7626

$50 off 1st can order to new customers

Quality Floors Inc. Contact: Chuck Smith 800.446.6035

8:00 am – 12:00 noon

10% off any order

Reading Fightin Phils Game

Geoff Penske Buick GMC Contact: Victor Popescu 610.777.1300

First Energy Stadium 6:35 pm - 9:30 pm

Spring NAHB Board of Directors Meeting

(Not valid with any other offers or prior purchases)

GM affinity program & partnership with HBA (Call Victor for more details on how you can save)

Martin’s Flooring, Inc. Contact: Richie Zook 877.445.7799

10% off materials only (Ask about our contractor referral program)

Washington, DC All Day

Welcome New Members!

Wind Down Thursday

John Rozzi Home Improvement Co., Inc.

Lord’s Lounge at Stokesay Castle

John Rozzi. 3534 Kutztown Road, Laureldale, PA 19605 Phone (610) 929-1702 / grozzi@aol.com Work Type: Home Improvements / Sponsor: Kert Sloan

5:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Lehigh Valley Contractors Association Jack James. 1414 Millard Street, Bethlehem, PA 18018 (610) 691-1414 / jhj1042@yahoo.com Work Type: Association / Sponsor: Mark Kunkle

ProSource of Reading Sean Stites. 4634 Penn Avenue, Sinking Spring, PA 19608 (610) 374-1141 / Allwein@allweincarpetone.com Work Type: Flooring / Sponsor: Cathy Sloan

Stankiewicz & Sons Roofing & General Contracting Rich Stankiewicz. 35 Blair Avenue, Reading, PA 19601 (610) 587-5485 Work Type: Roofing Contractors / Sponsor: Gregg Bogia

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AT HOME IN BERKs april 2013


HBAberks.org I 610.777.8889

2013 Foundation Club Members: (alphabetically by company name)

22, 2013 April 1 thru April

Daphne Frownfelter Deer Mountain Kitchens, LLC

Patrick Dolan Dolan Construction, Inc.

Steve Bright E J B Paving & Materials Co.

John Schmoyer Fulton Mortgage Company

Grande Construction Greater Reading Economic Partnership Terry Maenza Pennsylvania American Water

James Gaspari PMJ Properties, LLC Call the HBA office at 610.777.8889 to learn how to become a member of the FOUNDATION CLUB. These members understand the important role legislation plays in their businesses and the importance of electing and supporting legislators who are sensitive to the issues affecting the building industry.

50% 10%

g n i r p S SALE Pick Your Own Discount &

Receive 25% 5%-50% OFF 5% Materials Only When You Select Your Flooring & Pop a Balloon in Our Store.

• CARPET • VINYL • HARDWOOD • LAMINATE • CERAMIC TILE

Every Saturday, Events & Prize Drawings FREE ESTIMATE Shop at Home Service

Thank You to renewing members of the Home Builders Association of Berks (HBA) Centerton Nursery Environmental Design Service, Inc. All Green Lawn & Tree Care Inc. Fromm Electric Supply Aritec, LLC MRD Lumber Co., Inc. D & S Elite Construction, Inc. Sherwin-Williams Company/ Eisenhauer Nissan Duron Paints/MAB Paints Hollenbach Construction, Inc. 16-20 years Lester Water Taylor Wiseman & Taylor Blankenbiller Plumbing Elite Home Builders, Inc. 2-5 years Reading Muhlenberg Career & Technology Center Bechtel Kitchens Roland Stock, LLC Down to Earth Hardscapes VIST Bank Fromm Electric Supply – Whitegate Contracting Jon Gerhart (Affiliate) 21-25 years Riverview Tree & Landscaping, Inc. Southern Berks Land Company, LP Aluminum Building Products Wilson Home Improvement CTCE FCU Wise Signs Holt’s Remodeling Quality Roofing Supply Co., Inc. 6-10 years Security First, Inc. A P Merkel Inc. 26-30 years Barwis Construction, LLC Maidencreek TV & Appliance Inc. Berks Transfer Trade Masters, Inc. Dino A. Colamarino Contracting

1st Year Anniversary

Celebrating 90 Years of Excellence in Service & Installation

*Orrdders must *Orders *Ord m stt be be placed plac l edd during durin uring ig sale dates. Not valid with any other offers or prior purchases. Labor not included.

3020 Kutztown Rd. Laureldale, PA 19605 610-921-2088 • www.boyersflooring.com

FUDEMAN

Greater Reading Economic Partnership 31 + years Install America Aluminum Associates Kohl Building Products – Erik Berks Products Seuring (Affiliate) Culligan Water Conditioning McElderry Drywall, Inc. Fronheiser Pools NJB Partners, LLP Kohl Building Products RE/MAX of Reading – Greg Werner LeRoy Schannauer Plumbing & Heating, Inc. To volunteer or donate please 11-15 years North Temple Builders, Inc. Plasterer Equipment Co., Inc. visit FudemanForJudge.com Berks Fire Water Restorations, Inc. or info@fudemanforjudge.com Shank Door Company Blatt Construction, Inc.

Judge

The Experience We Need, For The Justice We Deserve. President and Shareholder, Essig, Valeriano and Fudeman, P.C. Former Prosector, 11th Judicial Circuit of Florida, serving under then Assistant State Attorney Janet Reno Board of Directors, Berks County Bar Association (BCBA) Chairperson, BCBA Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee Founding Member and Past President, Justice William Strong American Inns of Court First Women President, Endlich Law Club Court Appointed Receiver and Conservator, Berks County Judges Judicial Evaluation Commission Member, PA Bar Assn.

Commitment to Community Board of Directors, Prospectus Berco Former Board Director, Mary's Shelter (over 10 years) Women of Distinction Selection Committee Member, Girl Scouts Great Valley Television-WSVN Miami, FL, covering high-profile trials and other law related stories including the U.S. vs Noriega Radio-WNWS, Miami FL, legal programs producer Paid for by committee to elect Fudeman judge

february 2013 AT HOME IN BERKs

29


Nature has something to tell you.

“ I fire up and test every furnace before it comes off the line.”

Thanks. The more efficient a system, the less energy it uses, and the better it is for the environment. The York Affinity™ Conditioners Heat Pumps meet or beat the One reason York Series Heating Air and Air Conditioning and Systems are so ®

government’s energy efficiency standards with SEERthem ratings updo. to From 18. Plus, Affinity models are reliable is because our people “own” beforeofyou the assembly line to your home, they take personal ownership of all Affinity models are available with eco-friendly refrigerant that is safer for the ozone layer. And each “outdoor and every neighbors” part they are will responsible That’s whatone’s we running. With Affinity, so quiet, you and your hardly for. know when mean when we say: Built right. Built by York. Visit us at York.com efficiency comes naturally.

The eco-friendly York Affinity Series Air Conditioners and Heat Pumps. Heating & Air Conditioning

866-307-7625

610-845-2261

610-926-4200 610-378-9616

610-670-1000

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At Home in Berks Spring 2013  

The Official Publication of the Home Builders Association of Berks County

At Home in Berks Spring 2013  

The Official Publication of the Home Builders Association of Berks County

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