Archive for June, 2012
We live in a competitive world and we’re tested daily. What is the right thing to do? We ask that question of ourselves at Sterling Custom Homes every day. Notice I didn’t say “What is the easiest solution?” or “Which application would result in the highest profit?” or “What should we tell this client to get the job?” No, the question we ask ourselves every day is “What is the right thing to do?”
A case in point, we were recently asked to bid on a job that required a significant amount of site work. Our bid came in considerably higher than a competitor, largely due to the fact that we wouldn’t agree to use inferior materials to bring the building site up to the required height. Long story short, we didn’t get the job – even though we were clearly the best qualified builder, especially from a technical standpoint.
Now fast-forward three months. After the client had signed the construction contract, the other builder broke the news to the client that the material they had priced is not adequate for that particular project. How this was resolved between builder and client I do not know, but I do know that I am proud to work for a company that places a higher value on honesty and integrity than it does on getting the sale by any means possible.
So to answer the question “Anything to Get the Job?”… Read More→
It’s officially summer in Austin, TX but for many Austinites summer began on May 30th with the first performance at Blues on the Green, presented by 93.3FM KGSR. If you have never been to Blues on the Green, it’s another fantastic opportunity to explore the world surrounding your Austin custom homes. For 22 seasons, KGSR has been filling Zilker Park every other Wednesday with thousands of people for their annual summer concert series. There are many things that make this concert series great: 1) It’s at Zilker Park which boasts a great view of the stage no matter where you are, with the Austin Skyline as a backdrop behind the stage, 2) Big-name artists play in the series like Bob Schneider and Los Lonely Boys, 3) IT’S FREE!
The upcoming dates and acts for this year’s Blues on the Green are as follows: June 27th – Ben Kewller with Amy Cook, July 11th – BoDeans with Sahara Smith, July 25th – Marcia Ball with Nakia, August 8th – ACL Festival Preview Show featuring Quiet Company with The Eastern Sea and Wild Child.
The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reported on June 19th that single family housing starts rose again in May. This is giving Austin custom home builders confidence that the real estate industry is on its way back. Data from the U.S. Census Bureau and HUD show that May had a 3.6 percent rise in single family housing starts and brings this year’s total to 516,000 units. This is the largest rise the housing industry has seen all year. Reports also show that construction permit requests grew in May by 4.0 percent, which is the highest month over month increase since March 2010.
The upswing in new home starts and permit requests shows that consumers believe it is quickly becoming less of a risk to invest in the real estate market again. This causes home builders to become more and more confident that the housing market is in the beginning stages of a comeback. Due to the recession, the cost of labor and materials are low, but as the demand for labor and materials to build custom homes in Austin goes up, the supply for both will go down, driving up the cost of custom homes in Austin. As home builders and vendors anticipate the comeback, the cost of labor and materials will begin to increase in the near future.
In this episode of Sterling’s Best Practices, you will learn about the small but important details that Sterling take into careful consideration when completing custom homes in Austin. We call these little innovations Sterling Finishes.
The first Sterling Finishes discussed in this video are all in the secondary bath. When creating a space for the tub/shower combo, it’s important to make sure the client understands the effects of the furr-down, or the area of lowered ceiling above the tub and shower. When the furr-down is higher, there is more open space above the tub and the shower. When the shower rod and curtain are installed, this allows you to feel less enclosed, and creates a feeling more similar to a stand-alone shower. Vick then goes on to talk about the purpose of the tile wall built up along the front of the tub. The tile on the front wall of the tub matches the rest of the tile used in the shower. The wall built over the front of the tub transforms a standard tub into a built-in tub. It produces a great, finished look at an even better price. To complete the look and feel of the wet area of this bathroom, we installed tile floor-boards. This provides a consistent look, especially with a smooth transition from the tub’s front tile wall to the base-boards around the commode.
As we mentioned in the previous post in the “Custom Home Builders in Austin Have Style” Series, though the terms ‘modern’ and ‘contemporary’ are commonly used synonymously in everyday speak, they are not synonyms. Contemporary refers to the building styles of today, whereas modern refers to architectural styles beginning in the mid-20th century. The shift from modern to contemporary came with a feeling that modern style homes were cold and unfriendly. Postmodernism and deconstructivism contributed to the transition from modern to contemporary.
The modern influence in contemporary remains through the convergence of indoor and outdoor living spaces, and today’s architects try to make a seamless transition from indoor to outdoor living areas. Architects design contemporary homes to bring the homeowner and nature together. This contributes to the rise in outdoor living areas, courtyards, and gardens being integrated into the design of the home verses relying heavily on the traditional back yard. Not only in a physical living sense are architects designing with nature in mind; they are also more keen on designing in environmentally sound ways by utilizing more natural light, and using green methods of construction, making the home much more energy efficient than ever before. Designing with nature in mind sets a theme of harmony and relaxation within the home.