Blanco County News
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So You Want to Build Small
Paragon C&D Builders / Vallone Real Estate
Wednesday, June 15, 2011 • Posted June 17, 2011 5:28 PM

After working the Lavender Festival and talking to more people, small is “IN”. More and more people want to build small; or even coming from the real estate side, I kept hearing “I want to leave or down size from a 3200-4200 square foot home and go into a smaller home”.

This could be because more people are empty nesters, want less of a complicated life style, save money on utilities, save time on cleaning, and the list goes on. 2200 square foot and below seemed to be the popular conversation at the show. Homes the sizes of a guest house were looked at in more details. More people would like time to travel and be outdoors, therefore settling for the smaller home. Of course this did not apply at all to those with family still living at home. They continued to want the larger homes. But most people we talked to wanted to retire to the Hill Country and enjoy life.

There are many advantages to building small. Environmental – use of less resources; and economical – money to build a home, utilities, general up keep, etc.

Let’s talk about environmental. With using less resource, this of course will cut your cost in building. You can build green / sustainable or eco-friendly homes. Eco-friendly home design with their efficient layouts will require less materials and less energy to heat and cool. The orientation of the house on the site, to take advantage of natural features, or to minimize the number of trees that need to be cleared are all factors that need to be considered when you want to build eco-friendly homes. Eco-friendly homes involve every aspect of the design and construction process to minimize the impact of the home on the environment. Building an eco-friendly home can incorporate one, many, or all aspects of green building. Every little bit helps. When building small, you might not need to cut down as many trees, too.

Looking at the economical side of building small or eco-friendly means this type of home could be saving you money. Yes, sometimes using the latest green products could cost a bit more, but there could be alternatives, too. There are recycled products available to use. As time goes on, these products have started to drop in price. Just like everything new on the market, they come out at a higher price initially. Think about building a concrete (ICF – Insulated Concrete Form) home. Concrete might cost a bit more, but the house is safer and more efficient. Building smaller will cut down on the amount you will spend per square foot. It will cut down those utility bills! And think about the amount of time you will have when you don’t have to clean that large home. These homes can be designed where you utilize all your space. No halls, more storage, large open rooms, and more. Don’t forget those large porches to have the additional shade. If using a metal roof, add a rain water collection system. If you want to go all the way, plan your home to be off the grid. By going off the grid, you will be using rain water collection, solar, and septic or composting. Ask a green builder for more details. If you go with a custom home builder, their prices might start at $135 square foot and up, depending on what you are putting into your home. And believe me, there are big differences in using a custom builder and a track (popular) home builder.

It might be worth your time to explore building eco-friendly or a smaller home. Some people are even building smaller homes with a small guest house, or a smaller home with a workshop. Just remember, there are options. Find a builder who is savvy in various builder methods; you will be surprised.

For all your real estate and building needs or questions, call Debbie at 830-833-4249 or 713-818-6658, or send an email to debbie@vallonereal

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