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Improving Your Home's Energy Rating and IAQ to Boost its Value

Millennials are the single-largest group of home buyers in the United States today. This generation - ranging from 23 to 38 years old - still evaluates homes based on many of the traditional metrics their parents did: neighborhood, amenities, upgrades, location, build year, nearby schools, crime rate, and more. However, younger buyers also have new criteria, including two new ways of thinking about homes: energy-efficiency and indoor air quality.

Tue, Oct 29, 2019
Brandon Philbrick
Access Our Online Library Of Floor Plans  Utilize our library of floor plans to inspire the design for your very own  custom home. We can build you a unique, eco-friendly home that perfectly suits  your family's needs and dreams. REGISTER TO ACCESS FLOOR PLANS

What to Expect When You're Inspecting: A Guide to Visiting an Open House

 

With all the different houses you are researching, visiting and comparing, it’s easy to lose track of what you saw, what you liked, and what you didn’t like.

Wed, Oct 23, 2019
Tina Zimmer

Getting to Know Stephanie Mead: BrightLeaf Sales Advisor

Stephanie Mead is a real estate agent, sales advisor and event planner for BrightLeaf. She grew up in a small town outside of Lansing, Michigan, graduated from Western Michigan University, and made her way into selling real estate as well as holding a few titles in corporate retail for companies like Nordstrom, Joneses Intl., and Amazon.

Tue, Oct 22, 2019
Brandon Philbrick

The New Way of Building: Energy Star Certified New Homes say 'Better is Better'

'Bigger is Better' is a home building mantra of the past. More and more customers of new construction homes know that it's not about the space inside your home, but how effective it is at keeping you and your family safe and healthy. Green building is not only the most economical way to build, but has a ton of lasting benefits. 

Sun, Oct 20, 2019
Brandon Philbrick
Access Our Online Library Of Floor Plans  Utilize our library of floor plans to inspire the design for your very own  custom home. We can build you a unique, eco-friendly home that perfectly suits  your family's needs and dreams. REGISTER TO ACCESS FLOOR PLANS

Understanding the True Cost of Home Ownership

Have you been thinking about buying or building a new home? When you do, what factors are you taking into consideration?

Wed, Oct 16, 2019
Scott Sanders

Featured Chicago Community of the Month: Brookfield

Today, we continue our look at outstanding Chicago area communities with the village of Brookfield. Located roughly 13 miles west of downtown Chicago, the village of Brookfield extends from 47th St. to W. 26th St. between Kemman Ave. and S. 1st Ave.

Sat, Oct 12, 2019
Jarrett Svendsen

Home Renovation Checklist: Everything You Need to Know to Get Started

Many homeowners will undergo a home renovation when they’re trying to boost the value of their home, but there’s no need to wait until you are ready to sell. Instead, find some projects that will boost the quality of life in your living space and try to make it as functional as you can. 

Thu, Oct 10, 2019
Emma B. Joyce
Access Our Online Library Of Floor Plans  Utilize our library of floor plans to inspire the design for your very own  custom home. We can build you a unique, eco-friendly home that perfectly suits  your family's needs and dreams. REGISTER TO ACCESS FLOOR PLANS

Getting To Know Jarrett Svendsen: Realtor, Advisor & Managing Broker at BrightLeaf

Jarrett Svendsen is the Managing Broker of BrightLeaf’s real estate brokerage. With a background first and foremost in real estate, Jarrett watched as BrightLeaf houses began to go up near his community in Brookfield, Illinois. 

Wed, Oct 2, 2019
Brandon Philbrick

Building a High-Quality Home to Connect with Nature

The past few decades of new home construction have embraced certain design assumptions. Bigger is better. Grandeur is desirable. Luxury means overconsumption. It’s about time we flipped these outdated themes on their head

 

Mon, Sep 30, 2019
Brandon Philbrick

Building Your Home With Peace Of Mind? There's An App For That... Buildertrend

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.

Wed, Sep 11, 2019
Jarrett Svendsen
Access Our Online Library Of Floor Plans  Utilize our library of floor plans to inspire the design for your very own  custom home. We can build you a unique, eco-friendly home that perfectly suits  your family's needs and dreams. REGISTER TO ACCESS FLOOR PLANS

Rent Vs. Own: It's Not Just About the Money

There are many reasons why people are hesitant about home ownership. Many might chalk it up to money alone, but there are many reasons why people might wait to seek homeownership or forego learning more about the mortgage process.

Mon, Aug 26, 2019
Stephanie Mead

Today’s Mortgage Rates Make it the Ideal Time to Buy or Sell

The National Association of Realtors published a report on April 1, 2019, that states consumer confidence is high and the GDP is reporting 10 years of growth. The national unemployment level sits just below 4%. Job growth in Illinois from February of  2018 to 2019 is up 1-2% overall. In a nutshell, consumers are becoming more and more confident and the housing market is taking notice

Fri, Aug 23, 2019
Jarrett Svendsen

Unwanted Moisture: The Enemy of a Healthy Home

One of the most costly issues facing homeowners and the construction industry today is water and moisture problems. Excess or unwanted moisture buildup leads to mold and mildew growth and can damage your home’s foundation and structural materials. 

 

The cost of building or maintaining your home has the potential to increase if you do not have these issues in mind. Green home solutions and energy-efficient plans are simple enough to undertake, and understanding the root causes of potential problems is the first step.

Tue, Aug 20, 2019
Jarrett Svendsen
Access Our Online Library Of Floor Plans  Utilize our library of floor plans to inspire the design for your very own  custom home. We can build you a unique, eco-friendly home that perfectly suits  your family's needs and dreams. REGISTER TO ACCESS FLOOR PLANS

What You Need To Know About Energy Performance Labels

 
In September, NPR released a report that many American Households have trouble paying their energy bills. Although homeowners may not think of them as major expenses, Energy performance can have a major impact on your home.  Energy.gov reports, "Heating and cooling account for about 48% of the energy use in a typical U.S. home, making it the largest energy expense for most homes."
Sat, Aug 17, 2019
Brandon Philbrick

Cream of the Crop: 6 Ways to Decorate with Neutrals

A few things come to mind when people think about decorating with neutrals at home. While some people might think of neutral tones as sterile or boring, there can be a lot of freedom in thinking of a space as a blank canvas.

Tue, Aug 13, 2019
Katie Tejada

Highlights from the Bright Side: What One Client Had To Say About Her Experience Building A Custom Home

Designing your home and taking the steps in building a new construction home might seem like a mighty task. We recently just finished Kristen’s modern farmhouse style home in La Grange this past week, and proved once again, “You really can build your own custom home, and have some fun while you’re doing it.” As a single mother in Chicagoland, she didn’t think that building a new home would be a possibility, but thanks to a “partnership attitude and an open communication process” we were able to make her dreams a reality.

Tue, Jul 23, 2019
Brandon Philbrick
Access Our Online Library Of Floor Plans  Utilize our library of floor plans to inspire the design for your very own  custom home. We can build you a unique, eco-friendly home that perfectly suits  your family's needs and dreams. REGISTER TO ACCESS FLOOR PLANS

Indoor Air Quality: Identifying the Sources and Health Risks in Your Home

The Environmental Protection Agency has consistently ranked indoor air pollution as one of the top five environmental risks to public health. The air inside the average home can have up to five times as many pollutants than outdoor air - sometimes as high as 100 times more - and you and your family may be completely unaware.

Wed, Jul 17, 2019
Jarrett Svendsen

Quick Refresher on Energy Saving Tips And Light Bulbs

 

We've all seen and heard of the varying types of bulbs and how they affect our energy consumption, but its always good to get a refresher on the subject. More importantly, a direct comparison of savings will give you a better look into green home solutions to create an eco friendly, energy-efficient home.

Wed, Jul 10, 2019
Brandon Philbrick

4 Misconceptions About Building an Eco-Friendly Home

There's a lot of misinformation floating around the Internet and elsewhere about eco-friendly homes. We're going to debunk some of the most commonly held misconceptions about building a new construction, green home.

 

Tue, Jul 2, 2019
Jarrett Svendsen
Access Our Online Library Of Floor Plans  Utilize our library of floor plans to inspire the design for your very own  custom home. We can build you a unique, eco-friendly home that perfectly suits  your family's needs and dreams. REGISTER TO ACCESS FLOOR PLANS

The Current State of the Real Estate Market In Chicagoland: Five Assumptions of What's Going on

The National Association of Realtor published a report on April 1, 2019.  In a nutshell, consumer confidence is high, GDP 10 years of growth. Unemployment just below 4%. Job growth in Illinois Feb 2018 to 2019 is 1-2%. Mortgage rates continue to be low around 4.25%.
Mon, Jun 17, 2019
Heather Kinealy

What Stands Between You & Your Custom Dream Home?

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.

Wed, Jun 5, 2019
Jarrett Svendsen

7 Things To Assess When Building A New Home

Building your dream home can be an exercise in compromise. As you work with a builder, you'll run across both practical limitations (it just doesn't make sense to put a bathroom where you want it) and budgetary ones (maybe you can't afford a house of the size you want).

Mon, Jun 3, 2019
Jarrett Svendsen
Access Our Online Library Of Floor Plans  Utilize our library of floor plans to inspire the design for your very own  custom home. We can build you a unique, eco-friendly home that perfectly suits  your family's needs and dreams. REGISTER TO ACCESS FLOOR PLANS

How a New Construction Home Can Improve Your Family's Health

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 equipmentcan 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." 

Fri, May 31, 2019
Rick Thompson

Sustainable Home Ideas to Lower Your Energy Consumption

No matter where you live and how eco-friendly you are, you can still do more and help Mother Earth even further. The best way to do that is by introducing eco-friendly ideas into your household, as that’s a way to save tons of energy and money as well. This is a win-win scenario we have to make the most of, so here are a few ideas you should focus your attention to.

Tue, May 28, 2019
Amelia Atkins

How To Start Planning and Personalizing Your Custom Home Build

 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.

Tue, May 28, 2019
Jarrett Svendsen
Access Our Online Library Of Floor Plans  Utilize our library of floor plans to inspire the design for your very own  custom home. We can build you a unique, eco-friendly home that perfectly suits  your family's needs and dreams. REGISTER TO ACCESS FLOOR PLANS

5 Ways to Introduce Sustainability into Your Home Storage Solutions

Being eco-friendly and trying to save the planet isn’t the easiest thing in the world, but it’s still something you need to do in order to make a difference in your own area. Different people opt for different solutions, but most of us believe that adding eco-friendly solutions to our homes is the way to go.

Fri, May 24, 2019
Amelia Atkins

8 Things You Should Consider Before Building Your Own House

Long before you hire contractors or purchase materials, there are some important things you should consider when building your dream home. By keeping this in mind during the planning process, you can save a lot of time and money, and ensure that your finished home aligns with your initial vision.

Wed, May 22, 2019
Megan Jones

Why All Homes Are Not Created Equal: Breaking Down True Cost of Ownership

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.

Sun, Apr 7, 2019
Rick Thompson
Access Our Online Library Of Floor Plans  Utilize our library of floor plans to inspire the design for your very own  custom home. We can build you a unique, eco-friendly home that perfectly suits  your family's needs and dreams. REGISTER TO ACCESS FLOOR PLANS

The Absolute Pillars of Green Remodeling

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.

Thu, Mar 28, 2019
Amelia Atkins

Things to Inspect and Fix Before Moving into a New Home

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.

Tue, Mar 26, 2019
Emma B. Joyce

6 Vital Steps To Improve The Indoor Air Quality At Home

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.

Sun, Mar 24, 2019
Brandon Philbrick
Access Our Online Library Of Floor Plans  Utilize our library of floor plans to inspire the design for your very own  custom home. We can build you a unique, eco-friendly home that perfectly suits  your family's needs and dreams. REGISTER TO ACCESS FLOOR PLANS

LEED: The Way to a Green Future with Sustainable Building Design

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. 

Wed, Mar 20, 2019
Scott Sanders

Essential Facts That Every New Homeowner Should Know

 

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.

Fri, Mar 1, 2019
Emma B. Joyce

Looking For Real Estate? Your Checklist for Finding a Home in Chicago

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.

Tue, Feb 19, 2019
Jarrett Svendsen
Access Our Online Library Of Floor Plans  Utilize our library of floor plans to inspire the design for your very own  custom home. We can build you a unique, eco-friendly home that perfectly suits  your family's needs and dreams. REGISTER TO ACCESS FLOOR PLANS

Financing Your Forever Home: A Primer on New Construction Home Loans

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.

 

Tue, Jan 22, 2019
Rick Thompson

Understanding Cost Per Square Foot Pricing From Your Custom Home Builder

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.

Thu, Jan 17, 2019
Rick Thompson

Stats and Facts on how Smart Homes are taking over the world

 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.

 

Sat, Jan 12, 2019
Ana Bera
Access Our Online Library Of Floor Plans  Utilize our library of floor plans to inspire the design for your very own  custom home. We can build you a unique, eco-friendly home that perfectly suits  your family's needs and dreams. REGISTER TO ACCESS FLOOR PLANS

7 Elements of a Modern Farmhouse Home Build

Farmhouses are a picturesque and iconic type of home in American culture that bring about feelings of wholesome comfort. However, the old non-energy efficient construction and high costs associated with upkeep often leave prospective home buyers looking for newer alternatives. Urban or modern farmhouse builds have sprung onto the housing scene as that perfect substitute, combining updated yet classic farmhouse design elements with the energy efficiency of a Zero Energy Ready Home.

 

Fri, Dec 28, 2018
Jarrett Svendsen

Green Upgrades that Will Make Your Home more Modern and Sustainable

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.

Sat, Dec 22, 2018
Emma B. Joyce

Reasons You Should Be Mindful of the Air Quality in your Home

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.

Wed, Dec 19, 2018
Stephanie Gordon
Access Our Online Library Of Floor Plans  Utilize our library of floor plans to inspire the design for your very own  custom home. We can build you a unique, eco-friendly home that perfectly suits  your family's needs and dreams. REGISTER TO ACCESS FLOOR PLANS

How to Prepare Your Home For the Future

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.

Fri, Dec 7, 2018
Robert Clayton

HOME ENERGY IMPROVEMENT CHECKLIST

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. 

Wed, Dec 5, 2018
Jarrett Svendsen

Guide to Making Your First Home Build Smooth and Easy

 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.

Tue, Dec 4, 2018
Amanda Lee
Access Our Online Library Of Floor Plans  Utilize our library of floor plans to inspire the design for your very own  custom home. We can build you a unique, eco-friendly home that perfectly suits  your family's needs and dreams. REGISTER TO ACCESS FLOOR PLANS

Fresh Design Solutions for a Stylish and Functional Family Kitchen

 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.

Fri, Nov 30, 2018
Lillian Connors

Ideas to Start Your Green Remodeling Project

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.

Mon, Nov 26, 2018
Emma B. Joyce

Choosing Your Neighborhood in Chicagoland: Western Suburbs

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.

Fri, Nov 9, 2018
Jarrett Svendsen
Access Our Online Library Of Floor Plans  Utilize our library of floor plans to inspire the design for your very own  custom home. We can build you a unique, eco-friendly home that perfectly suits  your family's needs and dreams. REGISTER TO ACCESS FLOOR PLANS

Homeowner Horrors... Don't be the victim of an old home

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.

Fri, Oct 26, 2018
Brandon Philbrick

Eco Friendly Upgrades To IMplement in Your Home

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.

Wed, Oct 24, 2018
Emma B. Joyce

The Benefits of Eco-Friendly Sustainable Houses

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.

Tue, Oct 2, 2018
Jarrett Svendsen
Access Our Online Library Of Floor Plans  Utilize our library of floor plans to inspire the design for your very own  custom home. We can build you a unique, eco-friendly home that perfectly suits  your family's needs and dreams. REGISTER TO ACCESS FLOOR PLANS

Meet the team: Your Quality Control Crew aka the Construction Guys

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. 

Thu, Sep 27, 2018
Brandon Philbrick

The Real Costs of Building a Green Home in Chicago

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.

Wed, Sep 5, 2018
Jarrett Svendsen

Reasons to Build A Custom Home [infographic]

 

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:

 
Thu, Aug 23, 2018
Rick Thompson
Access Our Online Library Of Floor Plans  Utilize our library of floor plans to inspire the design for your very own  custom home. We can build you a unique, eco-friendly home that perfectly suits  your family's needs and dreams. REGISTER TO ACCESS FLOOR PLANS

The 150 Day Build Process with BrightLeaf (Infographic)

At BrightLeaf , our build process focuses on simplicity - but an intentional and effective simplicity. Our processes are intended to be transparent and straight forward with communication being the common theme woven through each thread of every step. Once the pre-close process is completed, it's time to get the home built. Our four distinct build phases provide clients with comfort and clear understanding of what they can expect once their project is up and running.

Wed, Aug 15, 2018
Jarrett Svendsen

HOW TO PICK THE RIGHT LOT FOR YOUR GREEN HOME

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.

Tue, Aug 14, 2018
Amanda Shaffer

Who's Buying Houses Now? A Look at Chicago's Generations of Buyers

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.

Fri, Jul 27, 2018
Jarrett Svendsen
Access Our Online Library Of Floor Plans  Utilize our library of floor plans to inspire the design for your very own  custom home. We can build you a unique, eco-friendly home that perfectly suits  your family's needs and dreams. REGISTER TO ACCESS FLOOR PLANS

The Health Benefits of a Certified-Green Custom Home

The home is where the heart is, so it's best to make sure your home is healthy. How so? Energy-efficient green construction 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. 

 

Building a new construction homes in the Chicago area gives you the opportunity to not only design the home of your dreams, but to prove the health of your home and your family while staying on budget and on schedule. 

Tue, May 15, 2018
Scott Sanders

Black Hole Sun: What Recent Solar Panel Tariffs Mean for Green Building

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.

Thu, Apr 12, 2018
Scott Sanders

Illinois' only 2017 Department of Energy Housing Innovation Award Winner

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.  

Thu, Feb 22, 2018
Rick Thompson
Access Our Online Library Of Floor Plans  Utilize our library of floor plans to inspire the design for your very own  custom home. We can build you a unique, eco-friendly home that perfectly suits  your family's needs and dreams. REGISTER TO ACCESS FLOOR PLANS

How to Make Sure Your Home is Green and Healthy

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.

Fri, Dec 8, 2017
Catherine Collins

Building a Home Should be Exciting, Not Exhausting

Most Americans 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.

Fri, Dec 1, 2017
Rick Thompson

What Does Green Actually Mean & What Are the Certifications All About?

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 looking to build or buy a “green” house be assured they get what they pay for?

Wed, Nov 29, 2017
Rick Thompson
Access Our Online Library Of Floor Plans  Utilize our library of floor plans to inspire the design for your very own  custom home. We can build you a unique, eco-friendly home that perfectly suits  your family's needs and dreams. REGISTER TO ACCESS FLOOR PLANS

The Pre-Close Building Process With BrightLeaf (Infographic)

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.

Fri, Nov 24, 2017
Rick Thompson

Seven Creative Ways to Save for a Down Payment

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.

Mon, Nov 20, 2017
Rick Thompson

Green Terminology: What Is 'Comfort' & How Does It Relate To A Home?

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.

Wed, Nov 15, 2017
Rick Thompson
Access Our Online Library Of Floor Plans  Utilize our library of floor plans to inspire the design for your very own  custom home. We can build you a unique, eco-friendly home that perfectly suits  your family's needs and dreams. REGISTER TO ACCESS FLOOR PLANS

Understanding HOME ENERGY RATING SYSTEMS (HERS) INDEX & Home Energy Savings

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.

Mon, Nov 13, 2017
Rick Thompson

How Building with BrightLeaf is Different (Infographic)

A big part of what our team does at BrightLeaf  is the general education of not only the homebuilding industry overall but how our company and process is different from standard builders. There's a lot of misconception about building houses because people have either had poor experiences or heard horror stories from someone who did. We see this as an opportunity to share our remedies to what commonly ails  people during the homebuilding process. Here's a quick visual of the areas of concern people typically have, and how we alleviate the pain for our clients.

Sun, Nov 12, 2017
Rick Thompson

A Guide to a Greener Chicago

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.

Mon, Nov 6, 2017
Scott Sanders
Access Our Online Library Of Floor Plans  Utilize our library of floor plans to inspire the design for your very own  custom home. We can build you a unique, eco-friendly home that perfectly suits  your family's needs and dreams. REGISTER TO ACCESS FLOOR PLANS

THE MANY BENEFITS OF GOING SOLAR AT HOME

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. 

Thu, Oct 26, 2017
Rick Thompson

Green Terminology: What Is 'Durable' & How Does It Relate To A Home?

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.

Wed, Oct 4, 2017
Rick Thompson

How a Shortage of Homes for Sale in Chicago Benefits You

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 your forever home, you're not looking for a home that makes you feel “okay.” You want a spectacular home that makes you feel great every time you walk through the door - it's what you and your family deserve.

Fri, Jun 23, 2017
Rick Thompson
Access Our Online Library Of Floor Plans  Utilize our library of floor plans to inspire the design for your very own  custom home. We can build you a unique, eco-friendly home that perfectly suits  your family's needs and dreams. REGISTER TO ACCESS FLOOR PLANS

Chicago Community of the Month: La Grange

The Chicago area boasts many outstanding neighborhoods and suburbs, each with its own character and appeal. Today, we are going to take a closer look at La Grange, the community we call home.

Mon, Jun 19, 2017
Scott Sanders

What is a Gut Rehab & Should You Consider One?

You may discover a property in an excellent location, or that it's the size you always dreamed of. There's only one problem - everything else about the house needs to be changed. A gut rehab removes everything but the "bones" of the house. You end up with an empty canvas for your home, allowing you to modernize older buildings or fix widespread problems. This type of rehab can be worth it, but you have a few things to keep in mind. 
 
Thu, Jun 15, 2017
Alex Thompson

2017: How to Buy a House in a Seller's Market

If you're searching for a home in Chicago this summer, you're going to run into competition. It's a seller's market around here, with Curbed reporting a 9.3 percent increase in houses sold and the prices going up by 12.4 percent compared to last year. Here's what to look for and know about buying a house in the current market.
Mon, Jun 5, 2017
Rick Thompson
Access Our Online Library Of Floor Plans  Utilize our library of floor plans to inspire the design for your very own  custom home. We can build you a unique, eco-friendly home that perfectly suits  your family's needs and dreams. REGISTER TO ACCESS FLOOR PLANS
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