BUILDING TODAY

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  • 17 Apr 2019 10:14 AM | Rick Cochran (Administrator)

    April showers bring… well, to be honest, flooding.

    Face it, Pennsylvania may be partly landlocked (with apologies to the Lake Erie beaches) but it seems that every year around this time, we seem to take on an abundance of water. With dozens of major rivers and lakes – not to mention the countless streams and other sources, Pennsylvania homeowners must always keep an eye on rising water levels.

    Flood insurance is often misunderstood. Don’t believe the stories that you have heard about how you can’t get insured if you live in a floodplain or a high-flood-risk area OR conversely if you live outside of a floodplain or a low-to-moderate-risk area. Even if your home has been flooded before or if your mortgage company doesn’t require you to be covered, you can still be insured. An insured homeowner will always have peace of mind when the banks begin to spill.

    Whether you have building property coverage as a homeowner or personal property coverage as a renter, it’s important to understand what is and isn’t impacted.

    According to the Pennsylvania Insurance Department, the following items are insured under building property coverage:

    ·         The insured building and its foundation
    ·         The electrical and plumbing systems
    ·         Central air-conditioning equipment, furnaces, and water heaters
    ·         Refrigerators, cooking stoves, and built-in appliances such as dishwashers
    ·         Permanently installed carpeting over an unfinished floor
    ·         Permanently installed paneling, wallboard, bookcases, and cabinets
    ·         Window blinds
    ·         Detached garages (up to 10 percent of building property coverage); detached buildings (other than garages) require a separate building property policy
    ·         Debris removal

    Personal property damage coverage will insure the following:

    ·         Personal belongings such as clothing, furniture, and electronic equipment
    ·         Curtains
    ·         Portable and window air conditioners
    ·         Portable microwave ovens and portable dishwashers
    ·         Carpets not included in building property coverage (see above)
    ·         Clothes washers and dryers
    ·         Food freezers and the food in them
    ·         Certain valuable items such as original artwork and furs (up to $2,500)

    However it is important to also realize that there are things that are NOT covered either by building or personal property insurance. If your home has been damaged by moisture, mildew, or mold that could have been avoided with prior attention, those circumstances normally do not fall under the coverage. Nor are property or belongings outside of the building such as landscaping, walkways, septic systems, pools, or decks.

    Basements can be tricky. While there are some exceptions for coverage in areas below the lowest elevated floor of your home, basement improvements like finished walls, ceilings, and floors as well as personal belongings and furniture kept there may not fall under the protection. If you are using an area under your first floor for storage, any loss connected to flooding will not be covered.

    Flood insurance can be purchased through licensed property and casualty insurance agents in Pennsylvania. It is important to discuss your needs and get a full understanding of what is and is not impacted by your coverage.

    Also, don’t forget that even though you may have a standard homeowner’s or renter’s policy, you are not covered by flood damages.

    For more information on how you can benefit from flood insurance as well as a list of resources, visit the Pennsylvania Department of Insurance at https://www.insurance.pa.gov/Coverage/Pages/Flood.aspx.

    We all love the May flowers that these April showers bring but make sure your days are a whole lot brighter when you have the confidence that your investments are protected. 

    Also be sure to click on the sources below for more assistance

    www.fema.gov/national-flood-insurance-program 

    www.pema.pa.gov/planningandpreparedness/floodplainmanagement/NationalFloodInsuranceProgram/Pages/default.aspx 

    www.nahb.org/en/nahb-priorities/flood-insurance.aspx 

     

  • 08 Mar 2019 12:28 PM | Craig Hoffman (Administrator)

    LOWE'S SPECIAL 10% + 2% DISCOUNT

    Special offer just for NAHB Members March 11th – March 15th

    Limited Time 10% + 2% Discount for our NAHB Members. March 11th – March 15th, print this coupon and save 10% in store when using your Lowe's Account Receivable (LAR) and Lowe's Business Account (LBA).



  • 20 Feb 2019 1:31 PM | Craig Hoffman (Administrator)
    The Winter 2019 Board Meeting Seminar has been scheduled for Friday, March 1 at 2:30 p.m. at the Hotel Hershey. The seminar entitled “Winning Policy Changes: How to be more effective by building relationships with elected officials,” will be moderated by Allison Beresnyak Karakis, Government Relations Manager at FHLBank in Pittsburgh, PA, and will focus on the "how's" and "why's" of building relationships with members of Congress for effective advocacy in the residential housing industry. All PBA board members are invited.  READ MORE 


  • 20 Feb 2019 1:29 PM | Craig Hoffman (Administrator)
    The deadline for registration to the PBA Winter 2019 Board of Directors Meeting is Friday, Feb. 22. The event takes place from Friday, March 1 through Saturday, March 2 at the Hotel Hershey in Hershey, PA. The concluding Board of Directors Meeting is Saturday, March 2 at 10 a.m. The deadline for reservations for the 2019 PBA President’s Installation Banquet and Awards Gala is also Friday, Feb. 22. For more information and registration: CLICK HERE. 


  • 04 Feb 2019 11:47 AM | Craig Hoffman (Administrator)

    Spring and summer are high season for home improvements. Winter, especially after the holiday season has passed, seems more like a time to hunker down and get cozy. But the professionals who do home improvements and the suppliers who sell the materials are in business year-round. And during their off-seasons, these businesses will often lower prices to attract more customers. That means home owners may find it’s not only easier to schedule these professionals; they may also get a break on the price.

    Get a new roof

    Depending on how severe your winter weather is, replacing your roof in the winter can make sense.  True, winter weather can get in the way of getting the job done quickly. But on the other hand a roofer with a light schedule will have the flexibility to work around the weather and make adjustments to get the job done right.

    Cold temperatures do present challenges. Materials, especially asphalt shingles, require special handling and in some cases alternative adhesives when it’s cold. Icy surfaces, sleet and snow make work out of the question. And some days may be just too cold. Roofers can work around each of these issues using different techniques and given enough leeway in scheduling the work.

     

    Replace windows

    If your windows could use replacing, winter reminds you every day. Does the temperature drop when you get close to a window to take a look outside? Why not tackle it now? Window replacement companies frequently offer special pricing during the off-season and can schedule your job on shorter notice.

    Installers may take on windows one at a time, putting up barriers and shutting off rooms to minimize the cold air coming into the house. The process might take longer than it would if letting in outdoor air weren’t such a concern, but you’ll feel the results right away and should see lower energy bills once the job is done.

     

    Paint a room

    Spending more time indoors might draw your attention to dingy walls or make you wish for an updated room color. With dry winter air, a window open a crack, and maybe even an exhaust fan in the window, should be more than enough ventilation for a fresh new coat of today’s low volatile compound (VOC) paints. If you don’t want to do the painting yourself, you may find a choice of painting contractors with openings in their calendars.

    Make sure walls are warm enough for paint to stick well. Paint cans will tell you the temperatures for best adhesion. Even though the room is warm, walls can be cooler. You may need to turn up the heat to be sure they present the best conditions for paint to adhere properly.

     

    Refinish wood floors

    Winter is a great time to refinish your hardwood floors. The type of flooring you have doesn’t matter. Recoating a floor can work on solid wood, laminated wood and parquet floors alike. If your floors are older and in a state of disrepair, than sanding away the current layers and starting fresh with bare hardwood is more laborious, but ultimately is often a superior method.

    As with painting, you’ll want to ventilate somewhat, but you can minimize the amount of time you’ll need to open a window or door. Finishes with low VOC ingredients don’t require so much airing out, and winter’s low humidity air speeds up the time it takes to dry.

     ***

    If you feel like any of these projects are above your skill level, then contact a licensed contractor or remodeler at your local builders association.

  • 01 Feb 2019 10:58 AM | Craig Hoffman (Administrator)


    Mortgage interest rates have been inching up, and although rates dropped at the beginning of 2019, most experts predict that rates will continue to rise throughout the year. With the average 30-year-fixed rate nearing 5%, some would-be home buyers may begin to reconsider their purchase plans. However, it’s important to keep today’s rates in perspective and recognize that it’s still a good time to buy.

     For one thing, beyond minor short-term fluctuations, rates are not expected to significantly decrease any time soon. Only a decade ago when the housing market was still flying high, a mortgage rate as low as 5% would have been a better-than-average deal. Go back a little further, when average rates were mostly between 7% and 9%, and it’s quite a bargain. So if you’re ready to buy, go ahead and lock in today’s rate.

    Home prices will continue to rise

    Home prices nationwide are expected to rise by 6.5% over the next 12 months according to Zillow. This forecast was issued in July 2018 and therefore extends into the summer of 2019. Will this trend be seen in Pennsylvania? With the average price of a home in Pennsylvania at $127 per square foot at the end of October 2018, some markets will be hotter than others, but most will stay in the black.

    For example, some of the hottest markets right now are Altoona (12%), Reading (10%), State College (8%), and York-Hanover (6%). Cooling off from their highs earlier in 2018 are Philadelphia (4%), Pittsburgh (3%), and Erie (3%). Nevertheless, Pennsylvania will continue to see overall home price increases to continue to average at least 6% per square foot through 2019.

    Running the Numbers

    If you’re thinking of buying, run the numbers and see where you stand. Many factors influence the cost of a home purchase. Does the difference in payments between an interest rate around 5% and one a couple tenths of a point lower put it your dream home out of reach? Can you tweak other factors to balance the costs and keep the purchase affordable? Consider whether you might:

             Put a bit more down so you can finance less. Is there somewhere you can dig down and find a bit more for a down payment? Maybe look into using some of that IRA savings which you can use penalty-free if you’re a first-time buyer?*

             Consider a shorter-term mortgage. If you can afford the monthly payments, a 15-year mortgage will cost a lot less in interest over the life of the mortgage than a 30-year mortgage.

             Weigh your “must have” factors for a house — are there any that you’re willing to let go of for a lower asking price? Would a smaller house, or the next neighborhood over from your favorite, or one fewer half bath still work for you?

             Shop and compare mortgage rates, fees and terms. Whatever the going rates, there will differences in rates and fees with different lenders.

    *Please consult an experienced tax or financial professional before using retirement funds for any other purpose.

    For more information on mortgage rates and buying a new home, contact your local builders association at www.pabuilders.org/find-a-local.


  • 30 Jan 2019 7:05 PM | Craig Hoffman (Administrator)

    Congratulations to everyone across the state of Pennsylvania for a successful membership drive in November! 

    Most New Members in November:

    1. Lebanon County Builders Association

    24

    1. York Builders Association

    24

    2. BA of Central Pennsylvania

    21

    3. HBA of Metropolitan Harrisburg

    18

    4. BIA of Lancaster

    14

    5. BA of Metro Pittsburgh

    11

    6. HBA of Bucks & Montgomery Counties

    10

     

    Greatest Net Growth in November:

    BA of Central Pennsylvania

    15%

    Carbon Builders Association

    10%

    Lebanon County Builders Association

    7%

    Central Susquehanna BA

    5%

     

    Most Creative Drive:

    Ashley Fickel from Lebanon offered amazing incentives for their new members and hosted an after party inviting all recruits and their recruiter teams to welcome the new members and introduce the HBA They also took this opportunity to reward the hard work of their members by awarding the recruiters with prizes.

     

  • 29 Jan 2019 6:47 PM | Craig Hoffman (Administrator)

    PBA leadership including 2019 PBA President Maria Coutts, 2018 President Kert Sloan, and PBA CEO Dan Durden recently participated in Berks County Career & Technology Center's student produced HBA Today program. You can view the entire program here: https://vimeo.com/311961823.

  • 10 Jan 2019 3:34 PM | Craig Hoffman (Administrator)

    It’s the New Year, and you’d like to rejuvenate your home. You’re not going to move walls or build an addition. But you’d like to breathe some new life into what you have. Here are a few easy updates you can do to make your house seem instantly new to you.

    Paint a room’s trim.Refresh your main living space by painting the trim. Crisp baseboards and moldings go a long way to revitalizing the whole room. Bright white is a classic color that will complement any décor style.

    Replace or recover a piece of furniture. Even one new living room chair or a reupholstered love seat can refresh a room’s look. A new coffee table or area rug will also help change a room’s appearance and serve as a new focal point. Even without new furnishings or upholstery, rearranging a seating group to face a different direction can breathe new life into the room. Consider hanging a wall mirror to create the sense of additional space around a cozy grouping of furniture.

    Add fresh accessories. Pillows and throws can quickly change a room’s style by adding vibrant colors or calming neutrals, while also enhancing warmth and comfort. Ceiling-to-floor length drapes hung just outside a window’s width seem to expand the room up and out.

    Make your home a little smarter.With a variety of economical smart-home hubs to choose from, it’s easier than ever to take that first step into the world of smart-home living. Look for a hub with do-it-yourself setup and no monthly fees. Download a free app, buy a few compatible light bulbs and a smart outlet strip, and you’ll soon be able to remotely control several appliances within your home. From there, consider a smart deadbolt, garage door opener, home security system and/or thermostat.

    Give a small bathroom a new character.Bright-colored walls or bold wallpaper patterns can really make a small bathroom pop. Colors and patterns that would be overwhelming in a larger room work like a decorative accent in the smaller setting. Or go the other way and make the bathroom an oasis of serenity with light blue-grey walls.

    Look at lighting with new eyes.Is there an area that could use more light? A warmer glow? Add a lamp to a table in a dim corner to open up the room and show off the objects on the table. Pendant lights aren’t just for dining areas — a stylish pendant fixture hanging next to the arm of the sofa or guest bed is an object of interest as well as a source of light. In the kitchen, install LED strip lighting under cabinets where work surfaces below could use a little illumination.

    For more information on remodeling your home, go to our Remodeling Your Home section of the PBA website.

     

  • 04 Jan 2019 12:10 PM | Craig Hoffman (Administrator)

    As home builders prepare to excavate any home site, Pennsylvania state law requires contacting Pennsylvania 811 to alert the utility companies of the intent to dig.

    When home builders use the PA One Call service before digging for the first time each year, they normally pay a $125 fee. For PBA members, that cost is waived. A $125 savings!

    Simply forward your invoice to your local builders association. They will confirm your membership and send your invoice directly to PBA for payment.

    You will not receive an invoice for additional use of the PA One Call System in the same calendar year, regardless of how often you use it. Repeat the same process the first time you dig in the next calendar year!

    ***

    When dialing 8‐1‐1, homeowners and contractors are connected to Pennsylvania 811, the local one call center, which notifies the appropriate utility companies of their intent to dig. Professional underground utility line locators are then sent to the requested digging site to mark the approximate locations of underground lines with flags, paint or both.

    The depth of utility lines can vary for a number of reasons, such as erosion, previous digging projects and uneven surfaces. Utility lines need to be properly marked because even when digging only a few inches, the risk of striking an underground utility line still exists. Pennsylvania 811 encourages area residents to visit www.pa811.org  or www.paonecall.org  for more information about digging safely.

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