The Manuel Builders Blog

 


Path to Your Manuel Builders Presold Home

Categories: Building Process, FAQs, Other | Posted: October 7, 2017

One of the options we offer when building your home in one of our developments is a Presold Home, also known as “Pick Your Lot, Pick Your Plan.” You’re able to find a community in the area you’re looking to live in, select an available lot, then choose your favorite plan from our options on our website. Since you’re starting from scratch, you have the opportunity to make your future space unique to you by selecting paint colors, floors, lighting, granite, and many more finishes. It has many of the perks of a customized home without the hassle of finding and purchasing your own property!

It the flow chart above, we break down the steps of the building process from start to finish. We categorize these steps into 3 main phases: Pre-Construction, Construction and Almost Home.

In Pre-Construction, there are many tasks to complete before construction on your new home can begin. We work together during this stage to ensure that the building process goes smoothly once it starts. Now that selections have been made and paperwork has been finalized, you move into the construction phase, where your home begins to take shape. At this point, no additional changes can be made to your home. Once the plumbing fixtures and appliances are installed, you are moving into the final stretch! After your final orientation, where your project manager walks you through your home to familiarize yourself with the operations of the space, you’ll close on your loan and get the keys to your new home!

Are you interested in the Presold Home Process with Manuel Builders? We invite to take a look at the communities we build in to find the perfect lot and plan that will suit your family’s lifestyle! Shop our communities here.

Fall Backyard Makeover!

Categories: Home Design, Lifestyle, Other | Posted: September 29, 2017

You might be ready for Fall but is your backyard? The weather is cooling down and that makes us all want to enjoy the crisp, fall outdoors by a warm fire. But is your patio in need of a face-lift? Use a few of these ideas to enhance the outside of your Manuel Builder’s home for Autumn!

Being Basic is Old News

First, let’s start with an unexpected color palette – Instead of the typical color scheme of orange and brown, try out modern Autumn colors that will stand out and make a lasting impression on your guests! Let your backyard POP with colors like Cranberry, Mustard, & Sage Green – These trendy colors are not expected for fall yet they can be completely fitting for the season. As for decoration and incorporating your new fall color palette, add some glam to your traditional pumpkins by painting them white with chalk paint and metallic gold for an accent color! Along with gourds, wooden fall signs and fall blooms like chrysanthemums, your backyard will easily become an Autumn escape you’ll love this season.

Light It Up

Create a stunning landscape that you can enjoy during the day and at night with a few of these outdoor lighting ideas. Make your next gathering even more magical with the inviting glow of string lights, which are perfect for spending nights outside in the cool weather. You can find vintage bulbs, globe bulbs or whatever shape that fits your style. Want more of a statement piece? Find a unique chandelier to hang over your table for an elegant focal point or even hook it up in one of your trees to give a nice contrast between glam and garden.  Another option would be to add torches that repel mosquitos because us southerners know the struggle, right?! This helps having family, fun outside more bearable!

Add “Cozy” Texture

Make your outside living space more cozy by adding textured blankets, pillows and rugs to create a comfortable space that makes you forget you’re outside! You can store blankets in a wooden crate or wicker baskets next to the furniture so they’re easy to grab on a chilly fall night. Want to make your guests feel extra comfortable? Add a few outdoor pillows! The good thing about throw pillows is that they allow you to play with colors and patterns that can change with your style without doing an entire patio renovation. Adding an accent rug that complements your outdoor furniture is just another way to enhance your outdoor living space. It will tie everything in together and bring the inside out on your back porch!

Whatever you do, fall in love it. Make it a place that’s not additional, yet an extension to your living areas inside your home. Guests can visit your home for dinner gatherings or football watch parties and feel welcome throughout your entire home!

How much does a set of blueprints cost?

Categories: FAQs, Home Design, Other | Posted: September 15, 2017

That’s a great question!  Blueprints, house plans, floor plans, home designs, and construction documents are all terms that can all be used interchangeably when referring to the set of drawings used to construct your home. Are you willing to begin with an existing plan and make modifications, or are you hoping to design a custom home to meet very specific design requirements?
 
If you answered ‘yes’ to starting from a predesigned set of floor plans, your costs could come from online/ magazine-order plan houses, local design firms, and design/build contractors.  With information at your fingertips, you can easily begin your search on the web or pick up the latest home design magazine at the checkout aisle.  Southern Living, ePlans.com, and many others offer various prices for their designs.  Prices can start as low as a few hundred dollars for a single non-reproducible ‘study’ set, which would give you enough detail to get a construction estimate, and up to $1500-$3000 for a set that can be reproduced and customized multiple times to meet your needs for construction.  Customization is usually offered as an additional service.  If you prefer, you can start with local designers.  Madden Home Design offers home designs for $600-$1000 for a set that cannot be modified.  Or you can go to a homebuilder that offers in-house design services, some with varying degrees of customization.  Manuel Builders charges nothing for a full set of construction drawings and allows you to make as many custom changes as you want.
 
If you answered ‘yes’ to the custom home, you are going to look for an architect or designer who can best listen to your needs and bring your ideas to life.  There are many quality local design firms, and each can charge differently for their services. The most popular method is based from construction square footage.  You can expect to pay as little as $0.50/sf to an architecture student doing business on the side to well over $2/sf to an established design firm.  Michael Campbell Design offers custom plan services starting at $1.95/ square foot on the total area under roof (not just living area).  A 4 bedroom, 2 ½ bath house could easily cost more than $5,000.  Again, some homebuilders charge nothing for floor plans, even custom ones.  Before investing in design services, it is a good idea to consult your builder first to see what options they offer.
 
Regardless of whom you get the drawings from, remember that the design is the copyright of the creator of the floor plan.  Intellectual property laws protect house plans, so work with your builder to make sure you are following copyright guidelines.
 
And remember, what appears on paper today will become your lived-in reality in a few months.  I hope you consider all the options and choose the best blueprint to achieve the home of your dreams!

Monthly Maintenance

Categories: FAQs, Warranty | Posted: September 5, 2017

Part of being a new homeowner means having to learn the basics of maintaining your home to prevent larger problems in the future. Below are some of the basic homeowner maintenance items that we encourage all of our new homeowners to perform on a monthly basis.

Monthly tasks:

  • Replacing A/C filters is the most basic, preventative maintenance for your A/C unit, and can be considered one of the most important. When your A/C filter gets clogged, dust and dirt begin to find its way into the air conditioner itself, causing wear and tear on the parts. You probably know what that means.. the more wear and tear on the parts, the sooner they wear out and then you’re dealing with a breakdown. The clogged filter also prevents enough air from flowing through the system to keep it working properly.
  • Clean or replace the dirty filter in your range hood. The same principal applies here as with the A/C filters, except this part doesn’t need to be replaced, simply cleaned. A basic household degreaser and some hot water will do the trick.
  • Freshen and clean sink drains by flushing with hot water and baking soda. No one likes a smelly kitchen! This will also help keep debris from clogging up your drain lines, which could cause water to back up into your fixtures.
  • Check for evidence of leaks around toilets, under sinks and around dishwasher, basically all your wet areas. It is always a good practice to do a quick sweep of all of the water supply areas of your home to check for signs of a leak. Doing so can save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in repairs by catching a leak before it is too late.
  • Clean aerators on faucets regularly, depending upon water hardness.  You may need to use a rust or scale remover to return them to normal condition. Check any water filters and softeners regularly.

To check out the items needed to maintain on a bi-annual and annual basis, check out our main video here.

How to Create an Inviting Dining Room

Categories: Home Design, Lifestyle | Posted: August 24, 2017
Any Louisianan understands the importance of food, where it’s prepared and most importantly, where it disappears – the Dining Room, the place where friends and family come together and fellowship. Our favorite holidays are closer than you know it and it never hurts to get a head-start on setting up the perfect dining area to impress your guests!

 

Play with Seating

Do you have a lot of people coming over that you may not have enough chairs for at the table? Add a rustic bench to your table so you can make a few extra seats and it can also be tucked under the table when not in use. Another option would be to grab a few different chairs from around your house or from an antique market for something fresh. As long as your table decor looks like you did it on purpose, there’s nothing wrong with using an unexpected assortment of chairs. Tired of your seating but need a quicker fix than searching the stores for new chairs? Slipcovers may be the simple solution for changing the look of your upholstered chairs, as well as your entire dining room and can be easily removed to launder.

Multiples Equal Magic

Looking for simple yet effective ways to spruce up your dining table? Purchase affordable sets of placemats and have fun with it! Find a style you like most and get a couple different color options to set on your table in a pattern or change them up by the season. Mirrors double the visual size of a space and reflect light sources. Mount a mirror (or a few) around your dining room to make it feel larger. Bonus:  if you place it on the opposite wall of a window, it doubles the light source for a brighter, larger looking room!

Bring the Outside in

It’s no doubt that “earthy” is on trend this year. That has us calling for plenty of wood, plants, and natural elements to bring the outside— in. Create a warm and homey feel to your dining area with houseplants. You can try an easy to care for plant like succulents which will last all year long. Do you love the rustic look? Tree slices with candles on top make a beautiful focal point for your table. If you prefer florals, try placing three different vases of floral arrangements to give a more sophisticated and dressier look to your dining room. You can also add to the rustic centerpieces by decorating each place setting with a bamboo charger plate then pair it with greenery, tied with twine to place in the center of each plate. This will have your table always company ready!

Lay, Wash and Re-use

You may have your centerpiece, table settings and chairs all looking the way you imagined it, yet something is still missing. Try searching for a colorful and unique tablecloth or runner! If your room is plain in color, then finding a cloth with a loud, bright print could be just the pop it needs to complete your space. Or you may need more texture to your table where a burlap, lace or crocheted runner could do the trick! Tablecloths and runners can be another piece that’s not permanent to your space. Change them out as the seasons or your mood change! ;0

Warranty Software

Categories: FAQs, Warranty | Posted: July 31, 2017

Your experience with our team at Manuel Builders does not end when you close on your home. We offer warranty services and a helpful online warranty software to aid in this process. Below you’ll find step-by-step instructions on how to login to your homeowner portal and submit a new request.

  • First, open your internet browser and enter manuelbuilders.punchlistmanager.net
  • Here, you will be asked for a username and password. Your username will be the email address you have submitted to Manuel Builders.
    1. Homeowners logging in for the first time will need to create a password. To do this, enter your username, and then click the “Forgot your password” button located under the “Sign In” button.
    2. You will again be asked to enter your username, then click “Email reset link”. You will then need to open your email, find the reset password link sent to you, and follow the instructions on resetting your password.
    3. Once reset, use this new password in combination with your username to log into your homeowner portal.
  • This is the Dashboard of your homeowner service software portal. From here, you can do several things such as submit new warranty requests, view old requests, or even change your personal contact information.
  • To submit a new request, click the “Add New Request” to the left of the page.
  • Next, click the “Add new record” button.
    1. This will open up several drop down menus, in which you can pinpoint the area of your home, and category in which your problem lies.
    2. After selecting your drop down options, there is a text box in which you can add a brief description of your problem.
    3. After adding a brief description, you also have the option to attach a photo to your request. This button is located directly beneath the text box. This can be especially helpful if your request includes any physical damage to your home.
  • Once you have entered all of the necessary information, you will need to click “Save” in order to create this record of your warranty request.
  • The final step, once your warranty request is saved, is to scroll down to the bottom of the page and click “Submit your requests to be processed.” **If you forget this final step, your warranty request will stay saved in your portal, but not be sent to a Manuel Builders warranty representative.**
  • After you click submit, it may take several minutes to process your submission. There is no need to click submit again. Once clicked, simply let the software process for a few minutes, and your submission will be sent.
  • Once you have successfully submitted your request, you will be contacted by a Manuel Builders representative either by phone or email, within 48 hours of your request.

Every builder warrants the following to the owner (exclusions can apply):

  1. One year following the warranty commencement date, the home will be free from any defect due to noncompliance with the building standards or due to other defects in materials or workmanship not regulated by building standards.
  2.  Two years following the warranty commencement date, the plumbing, electrical, heating, cooling, and ventilating systems exclusive of any appliance, fixture, and equipment will be free from any defect due to noncompliance with the building standards or due to other defects in materials or workmanship not regulated by building standards.
  3. Five years following the warranty commencement date, the home will be free from major structural defects due to noncompliance with the building

If you have any further questions about how to use your warranty software or specific concerns of the warranty details listed in your New Home Warranty Act, please contact us so that we can better assist you!

 

Summertime Switch Up!

Categories: Community, Lifestyle | Posted: July 20, 2017

While the kids are out of school for the summer time, take the opportunity to put your heads together and switch up their bedrooms a bit with a fresh & updated look. They are growing which means their personalities and styles are evolving too! Whether they want a decked out Super Hero themed room or maybe something more sophisticated than what they had before, check out these helpful tips on how to accomplish it without spending all of your vacation money!

Add Some Color!

The easiest way to update your kids’ bedroom would be to add a splash of color to spruce up their space. Find out your kids’ favorite color(s) and shop for things that would be easy to switch out depending on what your child likes and what’s on-trend. One fun way to add color and personality into a room would be to print out photographic prints of your family. If you want the photos to compliment a certain color scheme – look for a background that would go well with the theme of your child’s room like a large colored wall, a park or beach, take a few pictures of your family and kids then hang them on the walls for instant fun and personalization!

Let Kids Express Their Style

Whether your child is just now getting into the toddler stages or if they’re not so little anymore, your child’s room should truly feel like their own space. If your little man is an adventurer, then hit the discount stores for a world globe and a fun tent for him to play in. For the bookworm in your family, display their favorite collection of books by installing easy shelving or hanging a wire magazine rack.  If your children love drawing and painting, you can hang a framed chalkboard on their wall so they can create new artwork to display every day!

Timeless Sophistication

In addition to letting your kids have their say in the design of their room, it’s just not practical to over-haul their entire room after they’ve grown out of a stage. Start your design with a general theme that can grow with your child. Go wild with themed accessories, frame and hang artwork, display favorite superheroes but the general design and the furniture should remain the same so you can avoid having to buy expensive furnishings every time your kiddo jumps from one stage to another.

Find Pieces Over Time

The day where kids’ furniture sets absolutely have to match are in the past. The trend today is to mix & match complimentary pieces with one another. Decorate their room with a doll your grandmother played with as a child or a chair that your father bought for you. Scour the antique shops for quality items that would go well with modern décor. Not only is it a great way to save, but it also develops a colorful and eclectic look, layering in the modern with the old. Yes, it takes time and patience but finding meaningful and beautiful pieces gives kids’ rooms character.

While your kids are growing, it’s important to find pieces that are going to grow with your children so you’re not always finding yourself back at the drawing board, revamping their space. Remember to keep it fun and share ideas with your children to create the perfect space!

Building a Home by Yourself

Categories: Building Process, FAQs | Posted: July 20, 2017

 

The first question that comes to mind when you have your own property is whether to self-build or choose to go with a professional home builder. It’s possible to be your own contractor and save money, but you need to first evaluate if you have the time, organizational skills, business expertise, and technical knowledge to get the job done. Or you need to be able and willing to hire the people you need to fill in the gaps in your knowledge to have full confidence that the work is done correctly, the first time.

Pros of being your own contractor

+If all goes according to plan, it can save you money.
+You maintain full control of the project which gives you a better chance of achieving your vision.
+If you hire excellent subcontractors, overall job quality will be great even if you are relatively inexperienced in the field.
+You have pride and satisfaction of designing and building your own home.

Cons of being your own contractor

+Actual savings are usually less than expected due to unanticipated expenses and cost overruns.
+The project will probably take more time and energy than you expect.
+The job will likely have more unexpected problems due to lack of experience.
+Quality of construction may suffer.
+You will be absorbing most of the risk for cost overruns, and for construction problems that occur during the job and after you move in. (In most cases, there will be no one to blame but yourself).
+Obtaining a construction loan may be difficult. 

Interested in being your own contractor, visit here to better understand what it takes and professional advice to help guide you through the process.

What are your hidden costs to build?

Categories: Building Process, FAQs | Posted: July 14, 2017

The “hidden costs to build a new home can be broken down into three basic categories: lot, loan, and living expenses.

The primary hidden costs when building your home come from lot situations or circumstances…How much driveway you need? How much underground utilities? Do you need a sewer plant, culvert, or dirt pad? Things like that. A site evaluation  by your builder can generally clear up a lot of the guesswork on these things!

For financing, most people know about closing costs (which will include things like your appraisal fee, an origination fee, filing expenses, inspection fees, title searches and examinations & a No Work Affidavit). this is the bulk of expenses for both mortgage and construction loans, but there are a few other costs you might want to keep in mind. For construction loans, once you make your first draw you will need to begin making the “interest payment” on the amount you’ve used to dat. This means you will be paying a “mini-house note” during the actual construction. There’s also generally a smaller closing fee that needs to be paid in order to roll your construction loan into your permanent mortgage. Additionally, if you put down less than 20% on your home, you will have to pay PMI (private mortgage insurance) which protects your lender if you were to default on your payments.

After closing, aside from the basic set-up needs like blinds, furniture, and any moving expenses, i.e. truck rental, moving crew, etc.), you will also need to have all of your utilities set up and turned on. Water, electrical, gas and sewer companies all charge a “connection fee” and can even ask for your first month’s payment in advance. Depending on our home location and personal preferences, you might also need to arrange for trash service, alarm installation and landscaping.

Like with all big like changes, moving into a new home comes down to “wants” and “needs.” Just figure out what absolutely needs to be done and then add the rest gradually as you can! At the end of the day, you have to ask yourself, will you really mind waiting to get that perfect patio furniture for the first couple months when you’re in your brand new, gorgeous home??

Top 5 Home Decor Trends in 2017

Categories: Community, Home Design, Lifestyle, Other | Posted: June 5, 2017

Ready for a home décor refresh? Don’t run to the shops before you’ve done your research and identified the top emerging trends. As we look to Summer 2017 in home design, we’re seeing more organic patterns, textures, and styles with a simplistic approach to living. We’ve compiled a list of the top 5 Home Décor Trends that you’ll love to include in your home this year.

Bring On The Green

Greenery is Pantone’s color of the year so there’s no doubt that we’ll be seeing many shades of the earthy tone this summer. In addition to the obvious ways of incorporating this trendy color into your home, i.e. Repurposing old furniture, wall hangings, throw pillows, etc., you can also accent with bold plant prints in your décor. Take it one step further by bringing in on-trend live plants such as succulents or cacti for bohemian/desert decor, a monstera plant for a tropical feel and climbing plants like English ivy to hang from your ceiling. Luckily, you don’t need the greenest of thumbs to keep these plants alive around your house. They’ve even been proven to lighten your mood and encourage better sleep, so we hope you’re inspired to let these greenies flourish in your home!

Don’t Be Afraid To Mix Styles

There was a time when you could only use furniture pieces that were from the same era, or at least the same style but home décor has officially evolved and we’re not tied to these restrictions anymore. Joanna Gaines from HGTV’s Fixer Upper has made the farmhouse-inspired interior popular and this summer we’re seeing the ripples from her creativity but with a modern twist. If you’re looking for a change to your style this year, consider Modern Farmhouse. This look takes the inviting and relaxed feel of rustic, the sophistication of minimalism, and just a touch of industrial to create the most inviting and elegant style to date! An example of mixing styles in your dining room would be to pick up a wooden farm table from a local antique shop and place industrial metal chairs around it then decorate the walls with modern art pieces like a geometric mirror or abstract art. The great thing about this style, is that it’s very flexible and can be unique to you and your family: It can be as rustic or modern as you decide it to be.

Try Faux Marble Finishes

Are you looking to add glamourous and luxurious details to your home? Look no further than Faux Marble. There’s no surprise as to why this lovely stone pattern is making an extended appearance in the trends over the past few years. By adding a few marble decorations, you can incorporate a contemporary and minimalistic feel to your home. From side tables and accent walls to coasters and picture frames, marble is making an impression on the décor scene. Decorate your kitchen with a marble serving platter, cutting board, or even a clock with this modern finish. If you’re looking to modernize your home on a budget, faux marble is your go-to decoration.

Get Cozy With Hygge

Hygge (pronounced hue-gah) is a quality of coziness and comfortable living that creates a feeling of contentment or well-being. This Danish way of life pursues happier living and focuses on comfort, connection and simplicity. The first thing you should do when trying to achieve the Hygge feeling is to tidy up your space: your home is your retreat, it’s where you should center your attention on what makes you happy. That’s why clearing clutter will simplify your life and make you feel more at ease. As for décor, you can incorporate Hygge into your space by adding comforting textures like a heavy-knit throw blanket, velvet pillows, a faux fur rug, or linen curtains. Lighting has a lot to do with how we feel throughout the day: Change out your harsh, bright lights with a lower wattage bulb and when you can, light a few candles to create a warm flickering glow in your home. And lastly but the greatest of them all, we encourage you to invite those closest to you for a casual outdoor get-together, complete with fresh flowers, string lights, and comfort food because Hygge is best experienced with loved ones.

Give Your Walls Some Love

It’s true what they say, everything old is new again, including wall art. This decade, it comes with an upgrade. If you’re looking for a quick makeover for your walls, look into removable wall art: geometric patterns, murals, small decals that are all easily applied and removed. Create an accent wall with adhesive stripes that you can easily manipulate, change up, and remove whenever you’ve decided that you’re ready for a change. Do you have a little princess that insists she needs flowers on her walls? Done and done. You can get adhesive wall art that is easily modified as your child grows into new styles.

 

Whether you choose to try all of these trends or stick with just one, it’s always a great idea to refresh your home décor with something new and innovative that doesn’t require an entire room over-haul.