News from David James Homes
When is a tree not just a tree? In addition to being lovely landscape elements, trees can provide unparalleled energy savings and visual drama.
FACT: A tree planted on the west side of a house can reduce net carbon emissions from summertime electricity use by 30 percent over a 100-year period.
Keeping the sun off your home during the summer can save both money and energy. And one of the best ways to do that is by planting shade trees in the right locations so they can block the sun from streaming in the windows and heating up the walls and roofs. “Shade” trees come in all shapes and sizes, for many different climates and planting zones, so there are plenty of options to choose from. Additionally, many of these trees are offer seasonal beauty, such as gorgeous fall leaf color.
- Oaks. These majestic shade trees include more than 60 species native to the United States, so you can find an oak to suit any region of the country. They are versatile, durable and dramatic.
- Lindens. Slow-growing and stately, lindens come in a wide variety of types. The heart-shape leaves provide dense shade, and produce a pale yellow color.
- Maples. These glorious trees are everyone’s favorites for fall color. There are a wide variety of maples which will grow almost anywhere, and which make great shade providers.
- Tulip Trees. One of the largest trees in North America, the tulip tree is named for cup-shape orange, yellow, and green flowers that appear in late spring. And it has a stunning golden fall color.
- Elms. While Dutch elm disease decimated these gracious shade trees in North America from 1930 to the late 1980s, new disease-resistant varieties mean it’s time to start planting them again.
- Hawthorns. These unique trees have white flowers in spring, glossy red fruit in late summer, and leaves that unfurl with a red/purple tint changing to deep green then orange, red or purple in fall.
David James Homes is thrilled to be building at LakeWatch Plantation, a truly special community. From the tranquil setting to the stunning homes, you’ll love living here!
- Eastern Redbuds. This North American native has red buds that open to pink flowers. The dark green, heart-shaped leaves turn yellow in autumn.
- The lifestyle. LakeWatch Plantation is a 479-acre, self-contained Village Center in Franklin County. It offers a wide variety of lifestyle options, commercial services and community activities.
- So many choices. There are waterfront lots, carriage lots, and estate lots available. David James Homes owns 22 carriage lots and 18 estate lots, so take your pick.
- The unique homes. David James Homes has designed four distinctive homes for the narrow carriage lots, including ranch models and a two-story model. Five new models are being designed for the estate lots, which are on ½ to ¾ acre settings.
- The gorgeous details. 9-foot ceiling heights. Oak hardwood floors. Craftsman-style stone columns. Reverse gables with shakes. Cozy porches.
- The kitchens. Our kitchens feature an open floor plan, with a big island, and solid wood custom-built cabinets with crown moulding.
- Customize all you want. At David James Homes, we’re passionate about building you the custom home of your dreams. Not only can we give you what you want, but you won’t pay for what you don’t.
- The lake. LakeWatch is located in Moneta, adjacent to Smith Mountain Lake, a 20,000-acre manmade lake with 500 miles of shoreline.
- The convenience. There are restaurants, a bank, and shops in walking distance. The Franklin County YMCA is within LakeWatch. And there are dozens of shopping, entertainment and recreation opportunities within a mile or two.
- Flexibility. David James Homes can build any house on any lot at LakeWatch whether we own it or not.
If you’d like to visit, LakeWatch Plantation is located on Highway 122, ½ mile east of the Rt. 616 intersection, just 23 miles southeast of Roanoke, and 17 miles northeast of Rocky Mount.
The Crosses have just built a beautiful custom home in Taylor County, West Virginia. And they really enjoyed their David James experience. In fact, we should probably just start sending them out to talk to prospective homeowners!
Here are a few of Rick & Marlee’s thoughts on their experience with us:
“We would like to thank David James Homes for building our beautiful new home. We actually just settled on it this morning!
“The team at David James Homes in Clarksburg, West Virginia, was a pleasure to work with. Starting with Bill and Heather in the design center, all the way to production managers Clark and Earl in the field.
“We also had the pleasure of meeting Merle and Rose. We are so thankful for their work ethic and pride, and the quality that they put into every home they build.
“Everything came together to create absolutely beautiful house. Thank you to the entire staff of David James Homes.”
Since 1995, David James has specialized in building highly customized homes at prices below what tract builders charge. At David James Homes, in all of our dealings with new customers and current homeowners, it becomes very clear that our one driving force, our ultimate goal, is not just building houses – it’s “Bringing Families Home.” For more information contact us at 540-563-5020 or visit us at www.davidjamescustomhomes.com.
In our last post, we discussed the various types of custom homes typically available today. From ranch to split-level, tract to total custom, having the opportunity to create the right home for your family is the best part of custom home building.
However, what many home builders don’t realize is that finding the right property to build on is very important, too. Building lots come in various shapes, sizes, and orientations. The first step is determining whether your style of home fits the lot correctly. To do so, you have to understand the different types of lot orientations:
Essentially, a level lot is one that resides on flat ground. The most attractive aspect of considering a level lot is that it will work for any style home.
•Problems with drainage, as there is no elevation change for water to run-off.
•Require sump pumps.which can frequently fail due to power outage during storms.
These lots are the most advantageous for home builders, even if only sloping 2-3 feet from front to back, due to the natural drainage system.
•Allows for daylight basement and walk-out door.
•Solves drainage problem with footer drain to grade.
This style is a case where the home style has to fit the lot, sometimes making customization difficult. These lots work well for split-entry homes, but otherwise require a shelf to be cut out to accommodate other home styles.
Steep down slope Lot (often waterfront)
Since homes need to be built on virgin (unmoved) soil and because of the steep slope, the rear foundation walls are often twice the height of normal, requiring extensive additional concrete. It sometimes even requires a second foundation under the first.
- Energy-efficient materials. All of our homes have high R-value insulation, whole house wrap, vapor barrier and sill sealer.
Developed vs. Undeveloped Lots
In the most basic sense, developed land has been fully prepared for homebuilding while undeveloped land has not. Sometimes, custom home builders are quite eager to build their dream home and, rather than waiting for developed residential areas to open up, they build on larger plots of undeveloped land in rural or semi-rural locations instead.
Though all land requires a certain number of costs (such as driveway construction, hole, water, sewer, electric), other factors can come into play when deciding between developed and undeveloped land. For example, if you’re thinking about building your home on undeveloped land, be sure to consider the additional preparation work and expenses involved, such as permits, clearing of land, well-digging, septic issues, excavation, etc. Most importantly, never, everbuy property without a percolation test, regardless of the property size!
If you have any questions about building lot styles, developed vs. undeveloped land, or any other custom home building issue, feel free to contact us or join our conversation on Facebook.
Thanks for you interest. Our next post will discuss custom home financing.
Welcome to the David James Homes blog, an on-going monthly series designed to share our knowledge and experience by helping you avoid costly mistakes and pitfalls when building your new house.
The wonderful thing about building your very own custom home are the many choices you’ll have available. Most of the time, the decision can come down to desired square footage (SF) verses style. A good rule of thumb to keep in mind is that a 2-story can be the most economical because it affords the lowest price per SF. It’s also worth noting that some of the changes in the way homes are built these days can affect costs as well. But with the right know how, you can get the best of both worlds.
Here are just some of the kinds of houses and things to think about:
Ranch: Highest per SF of finished area, but they bring the advantage of one level living and potential to double finished area in basement.
Cape: Very similar to building a ranch in some aspects. A good thing to know is that years ago, capes were more economical; but since most are built with rafters instead of trusses labor cost are much higher.
Split Level & Split Entry: Becoming very popular again. Advantage is value and equity. Inexpensive to build, because of full windows in lower level. Another point is that the finished area in lower level is considered living area by appraiser (rather than finished basement as in a ranch).
Custom verses Standard Plan:
Tract Homes – Lowest (usually only have 2 – 3 plans with limited options) and unfortunately have limited customization leeway. It can be the lowest because of the way they are built – in an assembly-line fashion where the builder controls the site, location, and building process. The downside is that there is very little “instant equity” and it can be quite challenging to get exactly what you want.
Semi- Custom – this is where you take a builder’s plan and and then make modifications to it yourself. Some builders have few plans and typically allow only minor changes.
Total Custom – Your highest price per SF. These are the houses that have complicated plans (lots of roof lines, “bump-outs”, etc.) and often require the builder to add a “fudge factor” (contingency pricing) for unexpected or unforeseen issues that can arise. Count on adding around a 5 -7% pad in your pricing when going the custom route.
We love questions – so please feel free to reach out and let us know your thoughts. Or you can join our discussion on Facebook.
Thanks again for your interest. Next month we’ll cover building lots and site costs.