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LIVING CENTRAL KEYSTONE

HOME BUILDERS ASSOCIATION OF METROPOLITAN HARRISBURG

WINTER 2014

ASK THE EXPERT:

Advice from Professional Electricians

Keeping Up with theJoneses Total Home Automation

New Years

RESOLUTIONS For the Home


Contents

WINTER 2014

Ask the Expert 5 Holiday Lighting Edition

Holiday Cheer 16 Christmas Curb Appeal

Get the Facts 6 Dangerous Deflation 8 Residential Housing

Home Improvement

Stats & Sales

4 New Year’s Home Resolutions 18 Real Estate Mail Bag 19 The Upside of Downsizing

Tips & Trends

20 Heating Season Outlook

10 Keeping Up with the Joneses

22 Remodeling 101—

Total Home Automation

for Homeowners

13 So…Who Really Sets the

Trends in Home Furnishings?

IN EVERY ISSUE…

3 Letter From the President


Letter From the President Central Keystone Living Magazine is owned by the Harrisburg Builders Association of Metropolitan Harrisburg.

T

he Home Builders Association of Metropolitan Harrisburg is ready for a new year, fully equipped with a new Executive Officer and new Board of Directors. I look forward to serving once again as Association President, thirty years after first serving in this position.

Our Mission: Supporting Building Industry Professionals & Serving as a Respected Community Resource.

PRESIDENT Gary Lenker, Donco Construction

In 2015, we will put in place a fresh strategic plan, focused on four main goals: outreach, advocacy, value and strength. A revamped mission statement will keep the Association concentrated on its purpose—Supporting building industry professionals and serving as a respected community resource. Add to the medley a housing market on the rise, and we’ve got one successful year ahead!

VICE PRESIDENT Terry Loughran, Bridlewood Builders

TREASURER Bill Pierce, Fulton Mortgage Company

SECRETARY Steven Cook, UGI Utilities

IMMEDIATE PAST PRESIDENT Robert Fisher, R.J. Fisher & Associates

ASSOCIATE VICE PRESIDENT Wayne Keech, Affiliated Settlement Services Group

BUILDER DIRECTORS Meghann Connor, Connor Design-Build, LLC Russ Goodling, Russell C. Goodling Construction Bobbie Van Buskirk, A.P. Williams, Inc. Bryan Rodriguez, Ryan Homes Sherry Krodel, HOME-TIME Renovation, LLC Paul Hepler, Yingst Homes, Inc.

ASSOCIATE DIRECTORS Ann Marie Haggerty, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Jim Rhoads, Swartz Kitchens & Baths James Pigott, Jr., Pigott Agency Mark Toto, Budget Blinds of Susquehanna Valley

EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT David Sheppard, Jr., CAE, Dave@HarrisburgBuilders.com

ASSISTANT EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT Linda McMasters, Linda@HarrisburgBuilders.com

DIRECTOR OF MEMBER SERVICES Lee Casher, Lee@HarrisburgBuilders.com

DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS/PUBLIC RELATIONS Amanda Kahl, Mandi@HarrisburgBuilders.com

As a homeowner, know that you can use the Home Builders Association (HBA) as a free, local resource when embarking on any home-related project. The latest feature we offer is found online—HBA’s website will connect you to the right expert for the job when you submit a request form describing your project needs. Rather than calling down a list of businesses, you are put in contact with only contractors who fit the criteria of what you’re looking for. If you are a professional in the building industry, feel confident in the support HBA provides. I have long been involved with the Association’s Political Action Committee, and I saw early on the value in numbers. That value provides vital benefits to the bottom line of business, and what affects your business also affects your consumer. Growing confidence among consumers is fueling builders’ optimism, the economy is taking a positive turn and the Home Builders Association of Metropolitan Harrisburg has a new lineup of enthusiastic leaders eager to watch the building industry flourish in 2015. From our house to yours, have a safe and happy holiday season.

Gary Lenker

Donco Construction

ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT (PART TIME) Barb Rowe, HBA@HarrisburgBuilders.com

ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT (PART TIME) Jean Zimmerman, Jean@HarrisburgBuilders.com

FOR ADVERTISING OPPORTUNITIES:

Kay Shuey 717.454.9179

Kay@HoffPubs.com

CONTACT US: Home Builders Association of Metropolitan Harrisburg • 2416 Park Dr, Harrisburg, PA 17110 717-232-5595 or 1-800-281-5539 • Fax: 717-232-5605 • www.harrisburgbuilders.com

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 Metropolitan Harrisburg is forbidden. The placement of paid advertisements does not imply endorsement by the HBA of Metropolitan Harrisburg. Publisher: Hoffmann Publishing Group, Inc.

2921 Windmill Rd, Suite 4, Sinking Spring, PA 19608 610.685.0914

Cover Photo: Farinelli Construction, Inc. This home was featured in PA Street of Dreams and is currently for sale. Fall 2014 Cover Photo: David's Furniture & Interiors.


Home Improvement

New Year’s

[HOME] RESOLUTIONS

N

ew Year’s is a time for self-improvement. Every January, there are flocks of new folks at the gym, a drop in cigarette sales and a surge in health food consumption. But what about home-improvement? Thinking about it? Here are some ideas of New Year’s resolutions for the home.

Cut the Clutter Come January, go room-by-room clearing anything that you don’t use, wear or love and donate it to a local charity such as Salvation Army or Goodwill. They can provide you a donation receipt claimable on your taxes—it’s a win-win. Then, throughout the year, think twice about what you bring in. Stash the useful but not beautiful things, like remotes, DVDs, etc., and clear your countertops of anything that is not used on a daily basis. This home improvement doesn’t cost a dime, but will make a big difference.

Read My Caps—LED Lighting It’s no secret that incandescent bulbs have a dim future. Fluorescent lighting isn’t much better, casting a sickly glow. There are also halogen bulbs, which burn hot and have the potential to shatter if they’re exposed to hand oils. LEDs, on the other hand, are a beautiful thing, and can be a great addition to your home in the New Year. They’re cool to the touch, thanks to a heat sink in every bulb, and are easily incorporated into trendy upgrades like under-cabinet lighting. You can purchase LED lights in ready-to-mount strips, installable beneath cabinetry. This creates a warm, welcoming element tough to replicate with other décor. Choosing warm white LED bulbs will give you the same soft glow that incandescent bulbs provide, while bright white LEDs create a big-box retailer glare. If you’re installing LED lights under cabinets, choose a bulb with a color temperature ranging between 2,700 and 3,500 Kelvins.

4

Central Keystone Living // WINTER 2014

Make the Easy Upgrades Regular electrical outlets are so 2014. Stay up to date where it’s easy to do so. USB Wall Ports are an affordable must-have—coming in at just under $30. Most are designed specifically to replace ordinary AC sockets. With little to no electrical knowledge, they’re not complicated to install and very handy for charging smartphones, tablets and more.

Clean the Nooks & Crannies It’s a good annual tradition to thoroughly clean certain areas of the home that get overlooked throughout the year. Wash draperies, shampoo carpets, clean baseboards, dust ceiling fans, vacuum under couch cushions and everything in between. Consider it a family bonding activity over winter break—“Spending more time with family” is one of the most common personal New Year’s resolutions anyway.

Go Green While energy efficient tactics are always a good choice (i.e. unplug cell phone chargers when not in use), go green twofold. Add some extra natural décor—plants! They help keep clean air in circulation and are a beautiful addition to home interior.


Q: How many Christmas lights can a typical home  safely handle?

According to Joe Radle from Radle Electic in Camp Hill—

A: Where plugging in Christmas lights, check if you are running on a 15 amp or 20 amp

circuit. Your panel (breaker box) should be labeled to tell you. In most homes there are 15 amp general purpose circuits. A 15 amp circuit can handle 1,800 watts, and it is a good rule of thumb not to use more than 80% of its capacity or 1,440 watts. A 20 amp circuit allows for 2,400 watts or, sticking with the 80% rule, 1,920 watts. The wattage of Christmas lights will be labeled on their packaging. Avoid cheap or counterfeit lights that are unlabeled and unsafe. Simply add up the wattage of all the boxes you’re using and make sure it does not exceed your circuit limit. Don’t forget to be mindful of what else you have on that circuit; odds are it is not a dedicated circuit just for Christmas lights. Lastly, if you want to increase the number of lights your home can handle, consider purchasing LED lights. Not only do LEDs offer savings on your electric bill, they also allow for more lights at a substantially lower wattage.

Brian Samples from York County’s Deer Creek Electric puts it in numbers—

A: A typical home’s 15 amp circuit can safely handle…

205 Old Fashioned C9 Lights

or

3,530 Standard Miniature Lights

or

20,850 LED Christmas Lights

Shine bright this Christmas season. Wishing you a safe and happy holiday from our expert electricians! HarrisburgBuilders.com

5


Get the Facts

By Elliot Eisenberg, Ph.D.

GraphsandLaughs, LLC

O

n the surface deflation sounds wonderful. Rather than rising prices, deflation results in declining prices. In this way, purchasing power rises, effectively giving everyone a pay raise. Better yet, deflation is accompanied by near zero interest rates making borrowing cheap. What on Earth could be better! It turns out, almost anything. When people expect falling prices, they wait as long as possible before making large purchases such as a house because the longer you wait the cheaper the item becomes. Similarly, deflation breeds a strong desire on the part of households and firms to hold cash as it continually appreciates. By contrast, inflation creates an incentive to spend since cash falls in value over time.

Deflation is not simply falling prices, which can be good, but is also characterized by falling wages, not so good. In a deflationary environment, due to a lack of demand for goods and services, firms fight for market share by slashing prices. By doing that, total 6

Central Keystone Living // WINTER 2014

revenue falls, forcing firms to pay workers less. However, since reducing wages of existing employees is hard, companies first hire fewer workers, then lay workers off, which leads to stagnant wages and eventually rising unemployment, which forces workers to accept lower wages. Deflation also creates a reluctance to borrow, since loans have to be repaid in future dollars that are worth more than those borrowed. Think about it—if you have a mortgage payment that is $750/month and inflation is 4%/year and your income keeps up with inflation, your mortgage payment becomes a smaller and smaller percentage of your monthly income. But if deflation is 4%/year and your income falls by that amount each year, that $750 mortgage payment can quickly loom large and dramatically crimp spending. As a result, borrowers find that the real amount of their debts rises over time. In response they save more to compensate and in the process spend less. Of course, lenders are better off, but they do not increase their spending by as much as debtors decrease theirs. As a result, overall spending levels decline more. Exacerbating this problem, in a deflationary economy banks have little incentive to lend, as the only way to entice borrowers is to offer


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negative interest rates. But in this case, the more banks lend, the more they lose. As a result, banks do little lending, firms struggle to grow and many of both fail, causing wages to fall. In the end, consumers buy little more than essentials and everyone holds on to as much cash as possible. Not a pretty picture. Lastly, deflation makes it essentially impossible for central banks to set interest rates low enough to stimulate demand. While central banks can set rates at 0%, it’s hard to get below zero. With inflation of 3%, a zero interest rate is a -3% real interest rate. But with -1% deflation, a central bank would have to offer an interest rate of -2% to achieve the same -3% real interest rate. While theoretically possible it’s impossible in practice. Because of chronic falling wages, reduced spending and limited lending, deflation is something to be avoided. Once it takes hold, it’s inordinately difficult to get rid of. Japan has been struggling with deflation for decades and is now employing desperate measures to eliminate it, with limited success and high costs. We don’t want to wind up like Japan.

MEET THE EXPERT: Elliot Eisenberg, Ph.D., is President of GraphsandLaughs, LLC and can be reached at Elliot@graphsandlaughs.net. His daily 70 word economics and policy blog can be seen at www.econ70.com. HarrisburgBuilders.com

7


Get the Facts

RESIDENTIAL HOUSING:

STATS &

H

ousing activity statistics provide a nice glimpse of neighborhood trends. It’s great to see where your home fits within the range of homes being bought in your community, and how many days those homes were on the market. It’s a perfect tool if you’ve thought about selling or buying. So we teamed up with the Greater Harrisburg Association of Realtors to bring

SALES

you a snapshot of the regional housing statistics of the areas surrounding Metropolitan Harrisburg. You may be pleasantly surprised by the overview. We invite you to contact your local Realtors Association should you require any additional information on buying or selling your home.

Residential Housing Statistics Monthly Quick Sheet, October 2014

Central Penn Multi-List, Inc. Coverage Area

Cumberland County

Month/Year

Units Sold

Median Price

Average Price

Average Days on Market

Month/Year

Units Sold

Median Price

Average Price

Average Days on Market

Oct. 2008

634

$164,400

$185,417

70

Oct. 2008

220

$174,450

$203,385

62

Oct. 2009

768

$157,000

$173,405

83

Oct. 2009

248

$169,950

$191,859

79

Oct. 2010

504

$156,950

$189,364

98

Oct. 2010

179

$170,900

$208,653

85

Oct. 2011

477

$159,900

$184,496

118

Oct. 2011

170

$188,950

$218,442

114

Oct. 2012

532

$150,000

$175,895

91

Oct. 2012

195

$153,500

$200,405

91

Oct. 2013

678

$159,900

$180,099

92

Oct. 2013

242

$182,700

$216,440

93

Oct. 2014

761

$156,500

$177,885

96

Oct. 2014

303

$175,000

$202,396

85

Perry County

Dauphin County Month/Year

Units Sold

Median Price

Average Price

Average Days on Market

Month/Year

Units Sold

Median Price

Average Price

Average Days on Market

Oct. 2008

241

$154,000

$165,723

72

Oct. 2008

26

$133,250

$168,023

81

Oct. 2009

308

$149,900

$160,895

82

Oct. 2009

27

$113,000

$136,537

91

Oct. 2010

172

$149,900

$174,448

102

Oct. 2010

25

$125,000

$123,302

177

Oct. 2011

156

$135,000

$151,747

118

Oct. 2011

17

$135,000

$135,088

142

Oct. 2012

159

$144,400

$156,130

90

Oct. 2012

21

$134,000

$152,623

83

Oct. 2013

241

$149,000

$154,953

87

Oct. 2013

23

$115,000

$129,833

85

Oct. 2014

229

$138,000

$153,765

93

Oct. 2014

43

$115,000

$123,132

126

*Statistics provided by the Central Penn Multi-List, Inc. The Central Penn Multi-List, Inc., covers Cumberland, Dauphin, Perry, and portions of other counties, including northern York County.

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Central Keystone Living // WINTER 2014


Residential Housing Sales

Chart content provided by the Greater Harrisburg Association of Realtors® and the Central Penn Multi-List, Inc.

By Price Points, October 2014

$199,999 and less

$200,000 – $299,999

Month/Year

Units Sold

Median Price

Average Price

Average Days on Market

Month/Year

Units Sold

Median Price

Average Price

Average Days on Market

Oct. 2008

428

$137,450

$128,041

63

Oct. 2008

129

$242,500

$244,903

84

Oct. 2009

579

$142,000

$131,411

76

Oct. 2009

140

$240,000

$241,454

112

Oct.. 2010

353

$136,000

$126,830

96

Oct. 2010

94

$240,000

$243,230

111

Oct. 2011

320

$131,595

$123,661

116

Oct. 2011

104

$234,250

$242,257

127

Oct. 2012

375

$125,000

$117,568

86

Oct. 2012

93

$239,000

$244,555

109

Oct. 2013

465

$132,500

$120,925

88

Oct. 2013

136

$239,950

$242,528

104

Oct. 2014

529

$128,000

$119,739

101

Oct. 2014

142

$240,000

$244,991

81

$300,000 – $399,999

$400,000 and more

Month/Year

Units Sold

Median Price

Average Price

Average Days on Market

Month/Year

Units Sold

Median Price

Average Price

Average Days on Market

Oct. 2008

50

$356,350

$353,317

87

Oct. 2008

27

$469,018

$499,809

81

Oct. 2009

29

$340,000

$342,731

70

Oct. 2009

20

$455,000

$667,295

112

Oct. 2010

26

$332,290

$339,574

77

Oct. 2010

31

$540,000

$612,137

97

Oct. 2011

34

$335,000

$338,448

140

Oct. 2011

19

$453,317

$617,429

73

Oct. 2012

45

$334,000

$341,446

93

Oct. 2012

19

$490,900

$598,921

107

Oct. 2013

45

$335,000

$339,019

88

Oct. 2013

32

$512,500

$551,164

92

Oct. 2014

51

$339,000

$338,710

84

Oct. 2014

39

$452,800

$511,940

94

DEFINITIONS • Units Sold: number of properties that settled in the month • Median Price: half of all settled properties priced higher, half lower

• Average Price: average sale price of all properties sold in month • Days on Market: average number of days sold properties were on market

HarrisburgBuilders.com

9


Tips & Trends

Keeping Up

with the

Joneses

Total Home Automation By Amanda Kahl Editor, Central Keystone Living Communications & Public Relations Director, HBA of Metropolitan Harrisburg

T

otal home automation has been dreamt about for years. From the Jetsons’ primetime television series to the Disney Channel Original Movie “Smart House,” the possibilities have entertained us and now they are a reality. Everything in your home can be programmed to work together and controlled from a smartphone, tablet, Mac/PC or touch screen interface. Don’t get confused, there are also various separate apps that can control each electronic component individually, but a home automation system is all encompassing—a smart home’s one stop shop. Surveys show that home buyers expect smart home technologies to be standard features within a decade or so. It’s not a matter of developing the technology anymore, it’s simply a matter of affordability and demand. I checked in with our experts to get a comparison of the ‘good, better, best’ options in home automation.

Here’s what I found…

surveillance videos from anywhere at any time, activate/disable alarms, lock/unlock doors, control temperatures, lighting and more. A basic package starts around $1,000 and includes one lock, thermostat and basic light control. A middle of the line package incorporates the additional features, running between $1,500 and $4,000, depending on the number of devices installed.

Keith Maley at Knight Security Systems recommends Honeywell Total Connect. Local builders McNaughton Homes and Grove Homes incorporated this system into their models at Want all the bells and whistles to go with the 2014 Street of Dreams, where the best in the security aspect of home automation? new home technology was showcased. This According to expert Michael Dobb at Today’s system can give you a live look at your home Home & Leisure Products, the Cadillac of all 10

Central Keystone Living // WINTER 2014

home automation systems is Control4. This interface was also used in the 2014 Street of Dreams by members of the Home Builders Association of Metropolitan Harrisburg, including Farinelli Construction (pictured on cover), Roland Builder Inc. and Fred A. Tiday. Even as a Millennial, I’m completely impressed by this technology and the way that all of the features seamlessly work together. Control4 has all the capabilities of the previously mentioned system, and then some. Picture this: the shades close, lights dim and a movie starts with one tap. Your oven sends you a text message


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when dinner is finished and your laundry room alerts you if a water leak is detected. At the end of the day, lock the doors, close the garage and turn off the fireplace from your bedside. What kind of price tag is attached to this system? The price depends on which feature(s) you want. Quotes can widely range from $1,500 to sky’s the limit. Elaborate automation, as seen at the finest Street of Dreams homes, can cost more than $10,000.

It’s not just the automation system you’ll need, but also compatible components (i.e. electronic blinds, smart locks, etc.). Total home automation can get pricey. When building a new house, taking a once-and-done plunge into automated utilities is the way to go if you can afford it. However, if you’d like your un-automated home to smarten up, you may want to replace things as needed or focus on one room at a time to break up costs. The possibilities are truly endless. Less than ten percent of home owners already have these types of systems, so there is a great deal of potential for growth in this market. Home automation provides a new level of convenience, comfort, energy efficiency and peace of mind. Our great grandchildren won’t believe we survived without it.

MEET OUR EXPERTS:

Keith Maley,

Knight Security Systems, Inc. – Questions about his recommendation? Contact him at KMaley@KnightSecuritySystemsInc.com

Michael Dobb,

Today’s Home & Leisure Products, Inc. – Questions about his recommendation? Contact him at MichaelDobb@THLProducts.com

HarrisburgBuilders.com

11


Tips & Trends

12

Central Keystone Living // WINTER 2014


Who Really Sets the Trends

in Home Furnishings? By Barbara Tabak, CID, WFCP

D

id you ever wonder how trends in fashion, packaging or interior design get started? Those new looks we suddenly see in showrooms and in magazines are often the result of one organization that predicts trends for many industries.

There are three emerging trends that will influence products, packaging, fashion and home furnishings in the near future, he said.

Data Divination

Inspired by webs and concentric circles from “Big Data,” this trend will feature At the recent High Point Furniture Market, interlocking weaves and honeycomb or our company was represented at a presen- hexagonal patterns. Data Divination is about tation by Greg Dunlop, Vice President of interpreting the world around you. WGSN-Homebuildlife, the world’s leading online fashion and trends forecasting service. You will see spinning systems, decorative Their worldwide trend-watchers have been geometrics, symbolic shapes—think math, advising clients representing global brands in science, spiritual, cosmic, and what they a variety of industries for more than 20 years. are calling “divine dust”—the imprints that objects leave behind. You will be drawn to Every year, their trends editors from designs that may represent guiding forces around the world gather and make pre- in your life. sentations for each other on what they are seeing from artisans, local crafts people and Some of the colors you will see in this others in their respective areas. From these, trend are black, dark blue, citron yellow they determine common elements and use and metallics—especially bronze and gold. them to predict upcoming trends in color Continued on page 14 and design.

HarrisburgBuilders.com

13


Tips & Trends Continued… Furniture will feature geometric patterns, triangular shapes, webbing, woven cord and metal. Lighting will be dynamic and mesmerizing. Accessories will be decorative. Upholstered furnishings will have layered patterns, digital patterns, and will be softened with blurred effects. Kids’ rooms will have bright geometrics and be a space that can grow up with them.

Everyday Utopias

This design trend is “an antidote to the hours spent online. It’s for seeking out doses of nature and paradise in the every day,” Dunlop explained. “It celebrates ordinary beauty and puts the purity of material on a pedestal. We look to nature to escape and revitalize.”

FALL 2014

Want to be an Advertiser in the next issue? Connect Your Products & Services to the Right Target Audience

ES PRINCIPL

Publishing Group

14

Kay Shuey

Kay@HoffPubs.com • 717.454.9179

Central Keystone Living // WINTER 2014

RAL K E YS T

of Design

HOME BU

Poaf rade Homes

FOR ADVERTISING INFORMATION & OPPORTUNITIES CONTACT:

HoffmannPublishing.com

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WI NTER

2014

ASK TH

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Advice fr RT: Profess om nal Electricio ians side

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Keeping Up with the Joneses Total Ho me Autom

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New Years RESOLU For the H

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You will see simplicity, furnishings that help you take a breath. Rooms will consist of everyday, ordinary objects with lots of natural materials. Colors, not surprisingly, will be earthy colors, those that we see in nature and make us feel relaxed. Upholstered furniture will have a photographic quality to it with deeply saturated organic colors. A floor lamp may have a post that looks more like a small tree. Accessories and wall art will be made from nature’s materials.

Social Superheroes

“Social issues provide a starting point for designers as they become Social Superheroes,” he said. “Key design features include the use of up-cycled materials that show a patina of time and past use.” Furnishings will promote social messages, either in the material used or literally such as with recycled graffiti. Chairs may have protective shapes so one can wrap up in it. Colors will be bright and may have drawn or painted accents. There will be a Do-ItYourself look to some designs. The Superhero trend will be especially popular with children and teens. It will let them express themselves in more individual ways with urban and playful products. There will be a revival of Legos. So there you have it, right from the company that helps other companies set the trends and create the new items you just must have for your house. Watch for them in the magazines and showrooms.

MEET THE EXPERT: Barbara Tabak owns Decorating Den Interiors in Harrisburg, which is part of North America’s largest in-home decorating service providing window treatments, furniture, lighting, accessories, and wall and floor coverings.

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HarrisburgBuilders.com

15


Holiday Cheer

Christmas Curb Appeal

Choosing The Right Wreath For Your Front Door

R

egardless of the holiday for which you’re decorating, a front door wreath adds that necessary finishing touch on a home. It’s welcoming, elegant and shows personality. The question is, which wreath is the perfect one for your front door? Here are a few coordination tips that will have your home looking picture perfect.

Consider COLOR

Avoid clashes and matches. While non-complementing color clashes are an obvious no, matching colors won’t work either as they make a wreath look washed out (especially from curb-distance). For example, red and green are complementing colors—put a holly berry wreath on a green door or a green pine wreath on a red door—not vice versa, although both look great hanging up in the store.

Consider SIZE

It’s all about proportions. A wreath should take up approximately 2/3 of the top half of your door. Average sized front doors typically fit a 22-24” wreath well, but if your door is larger or smaller than the standard, adjust your wreath size accordingly.

Consider STYLE

What looks great on a snazzy bright colored door won’t suit a rustic dark door. Try not to mix styles and choose a wreath that stays consistent with your home exterior. The material your wreath is made of also falls under this umbrella. See below.

Consider MATERIAL

From natural pine to synthetic, from Christmas balls to candy canes, this area can get pretty creative. Ideally, your wreath will match your style of home—if you have a traditional home, use natural greenery versus a modern arrangement.

HOLIDAY DOORSTEP DECORATING CONTEST: Submit your festive photos to Mandi@HarrisburgBuilders.com to be featured in next year’s winter issue of Central Keystone Living.

16

Central Keystone Living // WINTER 2014


Send us a

picture of your

holiday-festive doorstep, and we’ll feature you in the next issue of

Central Keystone Living! Happy decorating.

HarrisburgBuilders.com

17


Home Improvement

Real Estate

Mail Bag Prospective HOME BUYERS are asking… Q. When is the best time to buy a home? A. Spring and fall are the most popular seasons for house hunting, yet

any time of year is advantageous. When purchasing a home, consider how real estate inventory fluctuates by season. Many houses are listed in the spring and again after summer. More home inventory means more options for buyers, but it also means more competition. Be open minded to extending your search into the fall and winter, when serious sellers may have fewer bids. Work with a real estate agent during any season to help find and negotiate homes in your price point.

Prospective SELLERS are asking… Q. When is the best time to list a home for sale? A. How about now? It’s uncommon for sellers

to list their home right before the holidays or in the middle of winter, but serious, eager buyers don’t care about timing. If you go the conventional route and post your listing during “selling season,” you will see far more competition. If you can sell during the “off season” you may make out better—there will still be serious buyers, but fewer homes for sale. When in doubt, consult a real estate agent who can advise a selling plan to reach your goals.

MEET THE EXPERT: Ann Marie Haggerty, Sales Manager at Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage and member of the Home Builders Association Board of Directors. Have more questions? Send them to AnnMarie.Haggerty@CBmoves.com. 18

Central Keystone Living // WINTER 2014


Home Improvement

The Upside of Downsizing Charter Homes & Neighborhoods

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growing trend among home buyers happens to be downsizing. While downsizing sounds like a loss of space and amenities, Charter Homes & Neighborhoods can list plenty of reasons why it’s something to be excited about. Here are the top five upsides to downsizing:

Less Upkeep—Reduced Stress With less maintenance, you can relax without feeling like you should be working on something around the house. Many communities offer entirely maintenance free living.

Save Energy—Save Money Less space to cool and heat means you have some extra dollars to spend on things that you enjoy.

More Free Time—More Fun Time Use your weekends for getaways rather than keeping up with a list of household chores or enjoy new friends inside of a community full of individuals like yourself.

De-clutter & Organize There is finally a reason to purge unnecessary clutter and start fresh.

Convenience Enjoy home designs with a smaller footprint and first floor master suites that allow for easy aging in place.

Find out more about the neighborhoods across Central Pennsylvania that offer first floor living and home designs that better fit your lifestyle by visiting CharterHomes.com/ CharterActiveLiving. HarrisburgBuilders.com

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Home Improvement

By Michael DeBerdine III

What the experts say about winter energy costs— and how you can save.

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inter is here for home owners and The U.S. Energy Information commercial users. For many of us, Administration (EIA) also issued its Winter that spurs not-so-fond memories Outlook in October—a big deal in our of paying our heating bills during last year’s industry. The media tended to focus on the “Polar Vortex.” With a few months left in the good news from that report; one reporter heating season, there’s still time to gain a noted that costs are expected to be lower this firmer grasp on what we can expect out of this winter, “especially for anyone who relies on winter and some strategies for serious saving. home heating oil.” In my role, I oversee a team that manages supply of heating oil, propane, and natural gas for the Jerome H. Rhoads companies, which include E.G. Smith Inc. and Boyertown Oil & Propane. As part of that year-round job, our team continuously reviews energy research, forecasts, regional usage data, and other information. This article shares some of that data with you—and explains how it can be useful in managing your heating costs. In addition, you’ll find a range of practical tips on how to keep more money in your wallet this winter.

The Data, The Weather, & Your Heating Fuel

In October, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued its official forecast for the season. The good news: there is an equal chance temperatures will be above or below normal this year. That sounds pretty noncommittal; but, it means that the NOAA believes winter temperatures will be closer to average this year—a big improvement over last winter. 20

Central Keystone Living // WINTER 2014

In fact, the EIA predicts that oil heat users will spend 15% less this winter than last, and propane users will spend 13% less. Of course, those savings are averages that vary from region to region depending on several variables; but, still: great news for folks who spent more on heating costs last year. While this winter looks to be better, both in terms of projected weather and fuels costs, home heating is still a major household expense. For example, while oil heat customers may save 15%, they may still spend $1,500, $2,000, or more on heat. Plus, if the winter is colder than forecast, the EIA’s projected savings could be significantly reduced. Regardless of what the remainder of winter brings our way, there are still some things you can do to make your home heating system run more efficiently.

Heat Smarter & Save

No matter what type of fuel you use to heat your home, there are strategies that can save you big.

HEATING OIL: About 30% of the homes in our region use oil heat. These home owners should incorporate regular annual maintenance into their regimen. Why? Because it keeps the system operating at peak efficiency, which can lower oil usage by 10% or more. That adds up quickly, even for the average user. Research also shows that regular maintenance can extend the life of an oil heat system by up to 50%. Another way to save: review available “prebuy” or “capped price” programs. With capped pricing, your cost-per-gallon will never go above a set level. One key: some suppliers, including E.G. Smith Inc. and Boyertown Oil & Propane, will give you the lower cost-per-gallon if heating oil prices wind up falling during the winter. Read the fine print to be sure your provider offers the same guarantee. PROPANE: Based on the EIA predictions, the average home owner using propane will see a decrease of more than $300 from heating costs this winter. Still, a winter’s worth of propane is a significant household expense. Shop pricing among area providers; but, when you do, be sure to ask whether they had problems delivering propane to customers last winter. You want propane from a company that has access to supply and professional management.


NATURAL GAS: With temperatures expected to return to closer-to-normal levels this winter, the EIA projects a 10% decline in residential natural gas consumption. While natural gas homes spend less for heat, home owners should still have their system serviced by an experienced technician. Be sure your tune-up includes filter replacement, combustion gas analysis, and a detailed check on vital components.

Tips For Every Home Owner

• Get a programmable thermostat: The U.S. Energy department reports that, by turning your thermostat back 10° to 15° for eight hours, you can save 5% or more on your heating bill. Plus, some utilities offer rebates on the purchase of a programmable thermostat. • Do a basic home energy assessment: Spend a little time, save a lot on heating. Take time to audit your home’s energy use: finding air leaks, checking insulation, and more. Look for tips and guidelines at Energy.gov and EnergyStar.gov. • Protect yourself—and save: A service plan can safeguard against the significant expense of a major repair. Plans don’t usually cost much more than the included annual maintenance, which you should schedule anyway. Research a plan that will give you the level of coverage you need. For example, plans at E.G. Smith and Boyertown Oil & Propane include covered repairs, 24-hour emergency service and more. • Stretch out your payments: Don’t pay for your winter heating costs in big, unmanageable chunks. Many providers offer a budget plan or payment plan that stretches your costs over several months. Be sure to find a provider who doesn’t charge a fee for this service.

This Spring, The Tradition Continues The Pennsylvania Home Show returns. For 41 years, Central PA homeowners have started their projects here, with fresh and innovative ideas from the ultimate showcase in indoor and outdoor living. Expect the best from over 300 professional exhibitors.

Save the Date: March 19–22, 2015 At the State Farm Show Complex, Harrisburg Brought to you by

PaHomeShow.com

Regardless of winter temperatures or the direction of the energy markets, being proactive with your home heating strategy and equipment can save you money this year—and every year.

• Get an estimate: If you’ve had your heating system for 10 years or longer, the American Council for an Energy Efficient MEET THE EXPERT: Economy recommends an evaluation by a Michael DeBerdine III is President and CEO of the Jerome H. Rhoads family of companies, which qualified contractor. Why? Because newer provides comprehensive energy services including heating oil, natural gas, propane, fleet fueling and equipequipment is far more efficient than older ment installation and service. The organization serves Berks County through local subsidiaries including equipment, and that can save you hundreds Boyertown Oil and Propane and E.G. Smith Inc. For information, visit www.boyertownoil.com or www.egsmithinc.com. Contact Michael by email at mike3@egsmithinc.com. in heating costs. HarrisburgBuilders.com

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Home Improvement

Product selections

When meeting with a builder, you need to identify the desired level of construction quality. Finish materials, countertops, kitchen cabinets, appliances, bathroom fixtures, windows, doors and trim all have different price points. By identifying these components early, a builder will be able to prepare an estimate accordingly. Some may give you an allowance, and if you exceed it, you will pay the difference.

Remodeling 101 – For Homeowners By Allison Ong Shreffler, Architect

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re you ready to start a remodeling project? Do you know what your responsibilities will be as the homeowner once you begin this endeavor? Prior to meeting with an architect, an owner must clearly state the project’s objectives, determine a construction schedule and establish a budget. A project wish list may include space requirements such as a family room, kitchen or bathroom. Careful consideration of the preexisting structure should be made to determine the overall design aesthetic and finishes.

Site Plan Analysis

Township approvals often require a zoning permit submission along with the building permit. If you do not have a plot plan of your property, you may have to have the property surveyed to identify boundaries, easements, elevations and storm water remediation

22

Central Keystone Living // WINTER 2014

requirements. A professional land surveyor/ engineer can provide this service. This survey will also be used to determine setbacks, building coverage and impervious coverage requirements that will be reviewed by a zoning official prior to issuing a building permit.

Architect & Design

Once an Architect is selected, they will proceed with the plans and specifications for the project and present them at the different stages of design. The owner is responsible for reviewing these plans, requesting modifications at each phase and then granting approvals prior to the final phase. Making changes during the design phase of the project is much less expensive than during construction. Once a design is determined, preliminary estimates can be obtained from builders to see if the project is within your budget.

While the final plans and specifications are being completed, you can begin to finalize materials selections such as flooring, paint colors, wall finishes, fixtures and lighting. Today’s consumers are very savvy and there is what seems like a myriad of choices available both in stores and online. Keep a list of those selections, costs, store name and lead times. You will want to review your list with your builder, as he may have suggestions and contacts with distributors that offer competitive pricing.

Financing

Simultaneously, you should also be confirming that your financing is in alignment and that you also have an additional 20% contingency available. Construction cost overruns are inevitable, from unforeseen site conditions or preexisting structural deterioration, to those “must-have” designer series upgrades.

Once the plans are completed and bids are solicited, a builder can be chosen, a contract executed and construction permit applications can be submitted. Legally, a township has 30 business days to review applications, but this will vary depending upon the staffing and construction activity of your locale. Builders will also have to submit bonds and insurance certificates prior to the start of construction. Your builder should provide you with a construction schedule after executing the contract. It is the homeowner’s responsibility to review the schedule and be prepared to make provisions as needed to not delay the work.


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Construction

If you intend to occupy part of the building during construction, this may affect the overall cost and time of completion because your builder will need to make sure you have electricity and running water at all times, as well as phase the work around your living areas. If your remodel includes a kitchen or bath, you may need to make temporary arrangements for cooking, bathing and storage. A temporary kitchen is simple enough to set up with a microwave, coffee pot, portable electric stove and outdoor grill. Many people obtain pods to temporarily store their furniture. Large plastic bins are also useful and stack nicely while keeping items dust free. Construction sawdust and sheetrock dust is very fine and inevitably coats every surface even with the most fastidious of contractors. Your existing bathroom will be used by workers, unless you request your builder to provide a port-a-john. Depending upon your own personal comfort and convenience thresholds, moving out may be the better option. Some people rent trailers or move in with family. The remodeling process is both overwhelming and exciting. Enjoy the journey. Hang up inspiration photos or paint chips on the wall. Take photographs along the way to track the progress. Redirecting your attention on the end result is far more enjoyable than focusing on the temporary inconveniences. There are many parts of the equation to completing a successful remodel and being a prepared homeowner will make all the difference.

MEET THE EXPERT: Allison Ong Shreffler runs her own architecture practice here in Central PA. Contact her at 717-884-9808 or visit HarrisburgArchitects.net.

Keep up with what’s new at the HBA of Metro Harrisburg

@HarrisburgBuilders

Call For

Editorial Submissions Central Keystone Living is a homeowner magazine designed to provide useful ideas, tips and information regarding every area of home ownership, from home design, construction and renovations, to interior design, outdoor living spaces and maintenance. Articles cover new trends and timeless winners in building and remodeling; home décor and fashion accessories; outdoor living and landscaping; and much more.

If you would like to submit ideas for future editorial stories we invite you to forward your ideas to:

Home Builders Association of Metro Harrisburg

@HBAmh

@HBAmh

Home Builders Association of Metro Harrisburg

AMANDA KAHL Editor, Central Keystone Living Magazine mandi@harrisburgbuilders.com Preference for submissions is given to HBA members and timely topics. @HBAmh

HarrisburgBuilders.com

23


Wynton Marsalis

Yolanda Adams

Incognito

James Hunter Six

April 10-19, 2015 Reading, PA

Dave Koz

Terell Stafford

Spend 10 jazz- and blues-filled days and nights in the Greater Reading area! Over 120 scheduled events, plus great shopping and dining in one area, make the 25th annual Boscov’s Berks Jazz Fest your perfect spring getaway. For tickets, call Ticketmaster toll free at 1-800-745-3000 or visit www.ticketmaster.com to order online.

Boney James

Brian Culbertson

JAZZ AT LINCOLN CENTER ORCHESTRA WITH WYNTON MARSALIS • DAVE KOZ • INCOGNITO • BRIAN CULBERTSON • DIANNE REEVES • BONEY JAMES • PIECES OF A DREAM MINDI ABAIR & THE BONESHAKERS WITH SWEETPEA ATKINSON • THE SOUL OF JAZZ FEATURING JEFFREY OSBORNE, NAJEE, MAYSA, NICK COLIONNE, GERALD VEASLEY, BRIAN SIMPSON NEW YORK VOICES AND THE READING POPS ORCHESTRA • BILLY COBHAM ‘SPECTRUM 40’ BAND FEATURING DEAN BROWN, GARY HUSBAND, RIC FIERABRACCI • GERALD ALBRIGHT GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JAZZ CELEBRATION: KIRK WHALUM, YOLANDA ADAMS, KEVIN WHALUM, JOHN STODDART AND THE DOXA GOSPEL ENSEMBLE • MARC ANTOINE • ALEX BUGNON STRINGS ATTACHED FEATURING LARRY CORYELL, JIMMY BRUNO, VIC JURIS, JACK WILKINS, JOE COHN • PHILADELPHIA JAZZ ORCHESTRA DIRECTED BY TERELL STAFFORD REMEMBERING JOE SAMPLE: BOBBY LYLE, WILTON FELDER, RAY PARKER JR., JEFF BRADSHAW, NICHOLAS SAMPLE, LIONEL CORDEW, LIZ HOGUE • BRIAN BROMBERG NICK COLIONNE • JAZZ ATTACK: RICK BRAUN, PETER WHITE, EUGE GROOVE, ELLIOTT YAMIN • MARION MEADOWS • PAUL TAYLOR • JAZZ FUNK SOUL: CHUCK LOEB, JEFF LORBER, EVERETTE HARP • FOURPLAY: BOB JAMES, NATHAN EAST, HARVEY MASON, CHUCK LOEB • KIND OF NEW: JASON MILES, INGRID JENSEN, RAY RODRIGUEZ, MIKE CLARK, JERRY BROOKS PLUS SPECIAL GUESTS LIONEL LOUEKE, GARY BARTZ • PAT MARTINO TRIO WITH PAT BIANCHI, CARMEN INTORRE • LIVE AT THE FILLMORE: TRIBUTE TO THE ORIGINAL ALLMAN BROTHERS • URBAN JAZZ COALITION • TOMMY KATONA & TEXAS FLOOD • FRANK VIGNOLA & VINNY RANIOLO • THE JOST PROJECT: TONY MICELI, PAUL JOST, KEVIN MACCONNELL, ANWAR MARSHALL • ROYAL SOUTHERN BROTHERHOOD FEATURING DEVON ALLMAN, CYRILL NEVILLE, CHARLIE WOOTEN, YONRICO SCOTT, BART WALKER • JAMES HUNTER SIX • MIKEY JUNIOR BAND • ANDREW NEU WITH CAROL RIDDICK, DAVID P STEVENS • DANCE HALL DOCS FEATURING BRENT CARTER • THE UPTOWN BAND FEATURING ERICH CAWALLA & JENIFER KINDER GREG HATZA & TIM PRICE ORGAN QUARTET • PAT TRAVERS BAND • CRAIG THATCHER BAND • THE ORIGINAL GROOVEMASTERS • REGGIE BROWN AND BUNCH A FUNK THE ROYAL SCAM • DJANGOHOLICS ANONYMOUS: JOSH TAYLOR,CHRIS HESLOP, BILL NIXON, MICHAEL NIKOLIDAKIS, TREY LARUE • SAX SUMMIT: NATHAN BELLOTT, SETH EBERSOLE, ANDY MOHLER, GREG WILSON • RANDY HANSEN • CELEBRATE SINATRA: LOU DOTTOLI AND THE SOUNDS OF SUNNYBROOK DANCE BAND • U.S. ARMY JAZZ AMBASSADORS AND MORE!*

berksjazzfest.com * LINEUP AS OF 11/26/14. SUBJECT TO CHANGE

PROUD SPONSOR OF THE BOSCOV’S BERKS JAZZ FEST

Follow us on Twitter @berksjazzfest

Central Keystone Living Winter 2014  
Central Keystone Living Winter 2014