When you’re in the market for a new home, there are a lot of decisions to make. A common misconception that new homeowners make is comparing homes based on their purchase price.
The problem with this is that the initial costs fail to take into account the quality, your experience, and the true cost of ownership beyond the initial price tag.
Often, these major purchases can cost more than you anticipate. Nerd Wallet does a good job of identifying the hidden costs of owning a home. They explain how taking these hidden costs into account is how we start to break down the true cost of ownership and understand the actual cost - and we agree.
To help paint this picture, we have compared two similar vehicles with significant purchase price differences. Let’s say you come across a 2019 Dodge Grand Caravan and a Toyota Highlander Hybrid. The mini-van is priced at $32,000 and the SUV is priced at $47,500. By examining each vehicle’s cost to own throughout the years, we can more clearly see their true cost of ownership.
Of course, you want a car that you will love but you are also budget conscious. At first glance, the Grand Caravan looks like the best value with an initial price tag of over $15,000 less than the Highlander Hybrid. It appears to be a no-brainer, but you’re a savvy consumer and do some research on the vehicles. You like the sale price of the Caravan, but the Highlander beats it in virtually every category: reliability, owner satisfaction, fuel efficiency, utility, safety, and let’s be honest - it’s a sleeker, more stylish car.
You know all of these things are important to you and your family but how can you justify an additional $15,000 price of this purchase? You dig deeper into your research and discover the concept of true cost of ownership. This takes into account what the vehicle will cost you over the lifetime you own it and not just the amount required to purchase it.
What are the purposes of your home remodel? Are you just trying to update the house, fix some lingering issues or is there a more meaningful purpose to the whole project? Every home requires care and you can use these ‘maintenance’ requirements to evolve your home into something greater - an eco-friendly environment that improves your lifestyle and contributes to the global reduction of the energy/carbon footprint. Here are the fundamentals of eco-friendly home remodel.
Moving into a new place is always stressful, even if you’ve already done this before and know what you’re supposed to be doing. There are so many things you need to take care of and a lot of work you have to invest, but keep in mind that everything you do can go a really long way if you know what you’re doing. Making a plan and sticking to it is vital in these situations, so write down what you need to check, inspect and fix before moving into a new home, and start ticking things off one by one.
People spend most of their time indoors than they do outdoors, so the quality of air they breathe at home is crucial for a healthy lifestyle. However, most people are unaware of the fact that indoor air pollution could have a negative effect on their cardiovascular health.
LEED is a Green Building rating system available for nearly any building or renovation project and is one of the most used forms of energy efficiency assessment tools in the world.
At BrightLeaf Homes, We’re proud to be in the top 1% of builders in the country. We are currently the only housing innovation award winner in Illinois in part because of our mission to create long-lasting, beautiful homes that improve the quality of life and health of those who live in them.
So, you’ve finally found the perfect house and started making plans for the move – congratulations! Still, there are a few more things you need to take into consideration. Many people feel tired after searching for the right property and forget what’s important.
Looking for a new home is very exciting, particularly if it’s your first. But if making a real estate purchase is new to you, you may not be familiar with everything involved. If that’s the case, we’ve prepared this checklist for finding Chicago homes for sale.
When deciding between buying or building a new home, one question we hear often is, How do we finance it? Often people assume that they need a mortgage for their new-build home, and are surprised when we tell them about new home construction loans instead. We asked the experts at Chicago Construction Loans (Associated Bank) to give a primer on everything you need to know about new home construction loans.
We often get asked what our price per square foot is and our answer is “it depends”. This is not a cop-out, it’s the truth. With our model of working towards a fixed price agreement through our integrated design approach, the price per square foot truly depends on what kind of home you want, where you’re building it, when you’re building it, and what the interior and exterior finishes are like, to name a few of the key, often overlooked factors.
Smart homes can be tricky. But, it’s not supposed to be. Here are a few ways to put the smart back in your smart home.
Farmhouses are a picturesque and iconic type of home in American culture that
From using different sustainable techniques to adding eco-friendly furniture, homeowners are embracing the green trend more and more every day. Nowadays, it’s all about mixing green upgrades with other trends in order to create an interior that is both eco-friendly and modern. Designers recommend different tricks you could use just to be sure you do everything right and enrich your home as much as you can. For those who are still struggling with the decision of whether to indulge in an experiment such as this one, as soon as you make one change, you’ll want to add something else. Adopting a new style for your home is never easy, but there are projects suitable for everyone’s style and budget, so you can always introduce something new to your interior.
In a world where air pollution is an everyday fact of life, we are already at a stage where we have basically accepted that, short of a total ban on cars, factories, and other major polluters, cleaning up the outside air is an uphill climb that just gets steeper by the day.
The pace of innovation and change is accelerating. Building a new home is a chance to plan everything to the tiniest detail and make your dreams come true. It is always far more costly to integrate future-worthy tech once everything is set up and finished.
Maximizing your energy-efficient space can go a long way in creating and maintaining a long-lasting high performance home. The checklist below offers tips for reducing costly bills and easy ways to get the most out of your energy-efficient home, as well as good guideposts for detecting and addressing at-risk spots, such as under-insulated attics or drafty windows and doors. Use this checklist to help guide your home-building process and maintenance plan, and to help avoid potential issues in the future. Remember, double-checking will save you time, money, and most importantly, your sanity.
You have been dreaming of building your own home for years. Once you decide to make your dream a reality, it is important to partner with a builder that understands what you are looking to do and has the right process as well as the people to get the job done right.
A kitchen can be much more than a lab for culinary experiments. It can serve as a social hub of domestic life, where we can spend quality time as a family. The only problem is that there are so many moving parts to keep a close eye on. Moreover, you need to consider your present and future needs, the age of the children (if any), your stylistic preferences, budget, etc. Through it all, you also must find ways of blending functional and stylish features. Seems like too much ground to cover? Don’t fret-we got your back.
With so many ecological troubles in the world, it’s only natural for all of us to play our role and do our best to minimize or remove dangers that threaten our planet. Although this doesn’t sound enough, it’s still better than doing nothing, and if we all join forces, we can actually make a visible difference in the environment. This is why more and more people are getting interested in eco-friendly remodeling ideas and implementing them into their living spaces, thus elevating the level of sustainability in their homes and helping the environment. If you too are thinking about remodeling your home using some of these energy-efficient innovations, here are a couple of ideas you might find useful.
As the third largest city in the country, Chicago covers 234 square miles. But Chicagoland—the sprawling suburbs and towns surrounding the city—clocks in at 10,857 square miles. That’s a lot of space to cover, and if you’re unfamiliar with the area, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and turned around by the range and difference of suburbs.
What’s the best thing about a new home? That it’s new. You know what you’re getting. No previous use, no unknown and worn out elements that you can’t see. What’s the 2nd best thing about building/purchasing a brand new home? The warranty! Nothing is perfect, and yes, even new things break. But the warranty removes the “jump scare” factor of having to deal with a multi-thousand dollar repair.
As Halloween approaches and the zombies and goblins crawl out of their coffins and holes in the earth we are reminded of the imaginary horrors that fascinate so many of us. But what is just as scary, if not more terrifying, is the unseen. What we can’t see, can often be more horrifying than what we can. Think about how many things there are in your home that could go wrong, that you can’t see when walking through it. We’d like to take a moment to share some “Homeowner Horror” scenarios that have left family and friends with clenched fists, mouths agape, and in fear of the damage to their home and bank account.
We all need to think about taking care of our surroundings, and our homes are the perfect places to start. The two main reasons are saving money on bills and adding more value to your home. No matter what inspired you to think about making a change, here are some helpful tricks to get you going.
When you think of “going green” you’re probably thinking about reducing your impact on the planet. This is a very noble and necessary thing to consider when you know how much our planet has already endured. But if you decide to build yourself an eco-friendly house, you will not only help preserve the environment but will be able to save time and improve your quality of life quite significantly.
When building the custom home of your dreams, you know what you want, and what you don’t. That’s why it’s so important to be sure that everyone involved—from contractor and client manager to construction crew and designer, and of course, you, the client—is on the same page. One miscommunication can lead to an expensive delay, so you want to be sure that your home builder is using the best technology available to stay on task and on budget.
To build the best and build it better and different than anyone else is not a simple undertaking. Planning, coordinating, and scheduling dozens of crew members, to execute every aspect of a new construction home build, takes grit, perseverance, and a positive attitude. Three traits these three embody on a daily basis. Here's a quick introduction to our field team. Making ideas, sketches and dreams, into reality.
A lot of people are attracted by the idea of building an eco-friendly home but believe the green construction costs just don't make it a practical option for them. If you hold such beliefs, it's time to re-examine them.
Buying an older, ready-made house is an excellent option for people like you who are finally in a position to acquire their dream home. However, you might want to consider building a custom home instead. Many would-be homeowners are now leaning towards custom homes for the following reasons:
What is your ideal property? You know you’d like 2 floors and a basement, facing the sunset, with high windows for natural ventilation. But do you have the knowledge and tools to pick the right lot for your green dream home? Building a green home starts with choosing a preferred neighborhood that has all the essential elements of a good home, like a peaceful and safe environment, adequate space, availability of natural resources, sufficient access to water, electricity and communication lines and a collaborative team to survey and prepare your lot for construction.
If you are a millennial, home buying and settling into a mortgage may not have been a dream in the past. Now, as you grow older, statistics show that you are finally ready to nest and find the perfect home. When is the right time to act on that impulse? According to experts, both nationally and in the Chicago area, you shouldn't wait too long to fulfill your dream.
Many things can stand between you and the home you plan to live in for the rest of your life (and perhaps pass on to your children). But, over time, BrightLeaf Homes has found that the most common thing holding people back is themselves.
The home is where the heart is, so it's best to make sure your home is healthy. How so? Green construction, or energy-efficient home building, is more than just being environmentally conscious and eco-friendly. The materials, technology, and practices used to build green is also healthier for your mind, your body, and your family.
Politics and home construction aren’t often in the same conversation but the latest news of the US enacting steep tariffs on China—where many construction materials and products are manufactured—is affecting all industries, especially solar product companies.
If you're considering building a new home in the future, consider building a certified healthy home. What exactly does “healthy” mean when talking about new construction and eco-friendly homes? Let's take a closer look.
"A whole-building approach to energy efficiency—including improving insulation, heating and cooling systems, lighting and energy-using equipment—can reduce energy costs and support warmer, drier, more comfortable indoor environments. Both outcomes have been linked with direct impacts such as lowered risk of illness and with indirect physical health benefits."
On October 10th, Scott Sanders, our CEO, flew down to Atlanta for the High Performance Home Summit 2017 to accept BrightLeaf’s third Housing Innovation Award from the Department of Energy.
A green and healthy home is the first step towards a happier and better life, but it’s also something you need to work on constantly. Nobody can just wake up and find themselves surrounded by eco-friendliness and sustainability, which is why you must take action and do something to achieve these things. Here are some of the ways to ensure your home is as green and healthy as possible.
Most American's today associate the process of building a new home with feeling overwhelmed and spending more money than they intended, often leading them to scour the real estate market for pre-existing homes. It could take a long time to find the home you're dreaming of, or even worse, settling for one that isn't all you wanted.
Building a house is an exciting and emotional process – as well as one of the biggest decisions in a family’s life. The decisions to be made require both expertise and foresight – something a reputable and industry-leading builder will have no problem providing clients through the building process. The problem lies in builders who cloud the green, sustainable building industry with “greenwashing” a term used to describe when a company, government, or other group promotes green-based environmental issues but operates in an opposite and often more endangering way. Today’s consumers are more aware of sustainable green practices than ever before, but how can people
There are many steps associated with becoming a homeowner and it undoubtedly can seem overwhelming. At BrightLeaf, we focused on our building process specifically from the client experience point of view. We wanted to provide a concise, easily-communicated pre-close process to highlight the necessary steps that take our families from securing a construction loan to breaking ground at the job site. Below is a visual narrative of our pre-close process.
Real estate and buying a home comes with a lot of uncertainty, advice, and general … fear. It will likely be the largest purchase and decision of your life, so those feelings are completely founded. You’ve probably heard most about the cost associated with becoming a homeowner – and just how large of a process (and seemingly impossible) it is to secure the down payment. I’m here to tell you it’s not impossible. Here are some creative ways to save for your forever home’s down payment.
Everyone wants their home to be comfortable. Comfort is walking around your home in bare feet no matter what season it is. Comfort is never needing to plug in a space heater because of an awful cold spot in the home. Comfort is not having to avoid sleeping in that one hot room all summer because it's stuffy temperature is unbearable. Comfort is each level of your home being a consistent temperature, no matter how hot or cold it is outside. Comfort is not constantly adjusting of the thermostat just to make sure everyone in the family is cozy. When it comes to green home solutions, comfort has significance.
You may not be aware that green homes and comfort go hand in hand. Here are just a few environmentally friendly features that can enhance the comfort of any home.
Energy savings from your home can mean an extra night out, a family vacation, or a new toy in your garage. Quality materials, high performance features, and attention to every single detail play a huge role in passing along energy savings to homeowners. Here’s what that means to you.
A big part of what our team does at
Everyone wants to do what they can for the environment. Green choices are often fiscally sound – they save you money by decreasing energy usage – and they let you do your part in preserving a healthy environment for future generations.
The good people over at the Renewable Energy Corporation have made it simple to understand how solar power technology has advanced and the cost has plummeted. If you haven't started considering the benefits of solar energy for your home, maybe it's time you did? Learn about the economic benefits of going solar at home, the performance benefits, and the global benefits.
These days, just about everybody is doing what they can to be more environmentally friendly. Sales of electric cars that use less fossil fuel are on the rise, and everyone's looking for ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle.
Look through the Chicago real estate listings and you'll find pockets of homes that are old and battered down, a handful of over-priced houses in undesirable neighborhoods, and if you're lucky, a few houses that you feel okay about. But when you're looking to buy