The Home of the Future is Here!

Though we have not reached the level of living like the Jetsons (from the futuristic 1980s cartoon), total home automation is a thing of the present, not the future. Today’s technology is mind boggling – at least to those of us who grew up using telephones with cords. More importantly, its affordable – especially if added to a home during the construction phase.

Home automation can be as simple as cell phone control of thermostats and lights, and as complex as total automation of locks, lights, video, data, and outdoor entertainment. See what is offered by local Blue Speed AV at www.bluespeedav.com, or go by the offices of the Homebuilder’s Association of Greater Tulsa for a full scale demonstration of what Blue Speed AV can do. Be careful though, once you see what’s available, you are going to want it.

Home automation is cool. There is no way of avoiding the wow factor that comes from the range of technologies available. While prudent home buyers may not be interested in investing in cool just for the sake of cool (or just to keep up with the Joneses), having automation increases the value of your home and, when you plan to move, that same cool factor will set your home apart from the rest, tending to both increase your home’s value and to allow you to sell it faster than otherwise. The chances are, if you look to sell your home in the next 5 to 10 years, not having home automation may make your home look like a relic when you list it.

Home automation is convenient. You will never get locked out again if you can let yourself in from any smart phone or computer, or with the touch of your thumb. You will never have to worry about leaving the lights on while away, or you can turn them on and off while away to deter burglars and other criminals. A simple outdoor camera set up does not infringe upon indoor privacy, but does allow you to always know if your package has been delivered, who is at the door, or if the kids next door are having a party in your pool while you’re away. Throw away your remote controls and forget about bulky DVR/blueray/cable box/stereo components (with all of their wires) in every room – home automation allows a greater degree of functionality from a single set of equipment all hidden from view and controlled anywhere you want with an app on your smart phone.

If cool and convenient does not convince you, home automation is “green.” A home that “knows” to set the thermostats for efficiency while you are away and to change to a comfort setting just before you return saves energy and money every day. A home that turns off lights in rooms not being used and which never leaves the porch light on all day saves energy and money every day. A home which automatically closes blinds while no one is home during harsh summer days saves energy and money every day. A home which distributes video, audio and internet from a single location, using a central server minimizes equipment space, equipment acquisition costs and operating costs every day. While the savings from any one of these technologies might be relatively small, the cumulative savings from only a few of these technologies adds up over time, shifting the financial analysis in favor of automation.

All of these smart technologies are here and are affordable. For obvious reasons, home automation should be addressed before the walls go up, not after. Home automation is distinctly personal to homeowners, meaning that homebuilders rarely can incorporate a full range of such options in a home before it is under contract. Until buyers apply their own preferences to a project, it is unrealistic for a homebuilder to guess what the future buyer will want. That’s why Capron Construction pushes for buyers to get involved in the construction process as a custom home, or, if interested in a project already under construction, contact us as soon as possible (i.e. before the walls go up). For a relatively small addition to a buyer’s monthly mortgage, a new home can add massive wow factor, total comfort, energy savings, and, for the nomads among us, maximum resale value.

Curb Appeal, Curb Appeal, Curb Appeal

The value of real estate is undoubtedly reliant upon the old axiom, location, location, location. Though it is difficult to quantify precisely how important, and though the importance is different among individual home owners, an often overlooked but undoubtedly important factor in valuing a home, is curb appeal, curb appeal, curb appeal.

Whether searching for a new home or designing a custom home, the focus tends to be on the neighborhood, comparable sales, calculation of square footage, number of bedrooms, etc. Landscape design is difficult to evaluate from a listing on MLS or Craigslist, but should always be considered. Quality landscaping provides a number of benefits.

First, the curb appeal is the first impression. Whether considered from the perspective of buyers, homeowners, or otherwise, first impressions are important. A quality first impression makes for a stronger sale, a positive addition to a neighborhood, and a greater pride of ownership. Second, well-designed landscaping can have a significant impact on energy efficiency, meaning that landscaping can and should be part of any overall “green” construction plan. Selection and placement of trees and other shrubbery can have a significant impact on direct sunlight, wind break and water consumption. Water consumption is a premium consideration in municipalities like Bixby and Jenks, where water costs are higher than neighboring South Tulsa. Third, landscaping impacts the long term maintenance obligation of a homeowner. The size and placement of bedding impacts the amount of lawn which much be mowed, but comes with an offset maintenance obligation. That maintenance obligation is determined largely by the choice of plants used for filling those beds.

In short, like most construction concepts, there is no such thing as one size fits all. Consideration of curb appeal and landscaping is an often underestimated concept that should be given serious thought, whether for new home construction or remodeling. The Remodel & Landscape Show at the Cox Business Center this weekend was a welcomed reminder of the importance of landscaping, as well as a refreshing presentation of the newest and best options available for landscaping. For further and more specific thoughts on your landscaping issues, give us a call or send us an email.

ADVANTAGES & APPLICATIONS OF POST-TENSIONING

Post Tension Forms Set
Post Tension Forms Set

Post Tension, which is a form of prestressing, has several advantages over standard reinforcing steel (rebars):

• It reduces or eliminates shrinkage cracking-therefore no joints, or fewer joints, are needed
• Cracks that do form are held tightly together
• It allows slabs and other structural members to be thinner
• It allows us to build slabs on expansive or soft soils
• It lets us design longer spans in elevated members, like floors or beams

Post tension can be used in a variety of applications, ranging from building foundations, to bridges to structural beams. For new home construction, Capron Construction, Inc. always uses post-tension in slabs. The soil in South Tulsa and Bixby commonly contains large amounts of clay and is subject to freezing. Both circumstances result in movement called heaving. Protecting from this movement requires the structural integrity provided by post tension.

For more information, call or email. You can reach me at 918.381.5554 or by email at hal@capronconstruction.com.

green

Thinking of Going Green?

One of the most frequently addressed issues is the balance between energy efficient construction, so-called “green” construction, and value. The most frequently used green construction devises Capron Construction utilizes are:

  • Solar Panels / Photovoltaic Panels
  • Spray Foam Insulation
  • Low E Windows / Low Emissivity Windows
  • Passive Solar Design

Each option carries a unique set of costs and benefits. For example, passive solar design generally involves minimal additional cost to a construction plan and is always incorporated into any construction plan. Conversely, a solar panel array may add $20,000 to your 30 year mortgage. However, after tax credits offset the initial layout, the remaining addition to your mortgage may add as little as $67 to your monthly mortgage. Energy production from such an array can save more than $67 per month on your energy bills, making your cumulative monthly payments go down. Similarly, spray foam insulation increases construction costs on an average home approximately $8,000, but tax credits offset much of that cost, and the need for substantially smaller air conditioning units represents a hidden offset not often considered.

We use green construction as often as possible in custom homes, but we realize that it is not for everyone. In the end, the right choice for you must take into consideration your unique interests, location and finances. Let us form a plan that suits your particular needs.

Meet The Blogger!

Hello everyone. I’m Hal Capron, and this is my blog. As a first time blogger, I thought I would let you know a little bit about me for those of you tuning in to this site.

I am a home builder in South Tulsa, Bixby and Jenks, primarily. I have been in the real estate business for nearly 50 years. In that time, I have bought, sold, developed, constructed, re-constructed, financed, and re-financed all types of property, including residential, rural (farm and agricultural), and commercial real estate. I am currently President and CEO of Capron Construction, Inc. (sometimes just “CCI”), a company which builds high quality residential homes in the greater Tulsa area. CCI, as we call it, is a proud member of the Homebuilders Association of Greater Tulsa, and I personally am a licensed Realtor and Mortgage Broker. You can see more about Capron Construction, Inc. and me at www.capronconstruction.com, www.facebook.com, www.linkedin.com, or e-mail me directly at hal@capronconstruction.com.

I am new to blogging, so I intend to keep this informal. I always enjoy discussing the new home construction process, and I enjoy hearing from others about their experiences, their likes and their dislikes. I hope you will enjoy reading what we have to offer, and I hope you will feel free to jump into the conversation. If you have questions that you don’t want published for the whole world to see, don’t hesitate to run an idea by me more privately by email or just pick up the phone and call.