True Built Home News & Information

Reflecting on the 2016 revised Washington State Energy Code

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As of July 1, 2016 all Washington State home builders are subject to new energy codes that have resulted in state-wide price increases. In a nutshell, builder receives credits when they use energy saving methods in the home construction process. In the past, the number of credits required for a medium dwelling unit (1501 – 5000 sf.) were 1.5 and could be met in a variety of methods. A hybrid hot water tank could get you 1.5 credits and it still can, but the state has moved the proverbial bar higher and now all builders have to get 3.5 credits for medium dwelling units. How we obtain those credits can be either good or bad for both builders and those desiring to build. How so? It’s imperative that you understand what you are building into your home and that the credits the builder is offering is economical for you, not just the builder. Adding these energy saving items is obviously good for you and the environment in the end. Will you have to purchase additional things for your home to make it comfortable? Let us explain.

Some builders are offering standard ductless units on all their homes to obtain 1.0 credit, and then obtaining the other 2.5 in a variety of means. Ductless units by-the-way were invented as demand for cheap A/C and heat were needed for older homes. It is minimally invasive because it literally is like a wall A/C unit that hung out of the window. They are in demand for retro-homes or remodels. Granted, for homes 1500 square feet and smaller, these units with one head for both heat and cooling may indeed be sufficient. We ourselves take this approach for all of our homes 1500 sf. and smaller. However, on a two story or a large rambler, if you want to get cooling and heat in all areas of the home, more heads are needed. Imagine while ordering your home from other builders and you are told that if you want sufficient cooling and heat in other areas of your 2,500 sf. home, you have to pay an additional $2-3-4k more!  Why would the builder offer the home in such a way? Because it’s their least expensive means to obtain the credits needed. This will put the client in an awkward position if you want even heating and cooling in the whole house. How so?  Because the builder will offer you an upgrade for extra heads for the ductless unit or offer the option/upgrade that True Built Home does standard-the furnace and heat pump! True Built Home has taken a completely different approach.

Ductless units have their place. However, on larger single-story homes and two-story homes, they make little sense. In this regard, True Built Home offers a high efficient electric furnace and heat pump system standard on all homes 1500 square feet and larger. This gives us 1.0 credit, just like a ductless unit, without the additional expense to the homeowner of adding more heads to sufficiently cool and heat the rest of the home. Let that sink in a bit. Because, when company personnel sit down to discuss these very things, some companies think, “how can we make more money”, while we always take the approach, “how can we add value to our homes”.

In the end, don’t be fooled by some who say that ductless are the “only” way to go. They indeed do have a purpose, but not when you have to pay more for some that could have simply been addressed the right way to begin with.

True Built Home – How we purpose to meet the new Washington Energy Codes

  1. High efficient electric furnace package along with high efficient heat pump system
  2. Low-flow Moen faucets-rated #1 JD Powers
  3. R38 under the floor
  4. LowE .28 windows
  5. Heat pump (hybrid) electric water heater

*Where natural gas can be substituted, an additional up-charge will apply for additional venting and piping.

Common Home Building Mistakes

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9-27-16Building a home for the first time can be difficult, but if you avoid these common mistakes that people make when building a home, the process will be so much easier. Follow these tips for a smooth home building experience.

First, always work with a contractor you can trust, and never trust a contractor who doesn’t trust you. Even if the company is legitimate, if the contractor can’t trust you then the professional relations will be less than ideal. If a contractor is asking you to pay upfront for the cost of the entire house, for example, rather than forming a payment plan that is contingent upon certain steps of the construction being completed, then you know that the contractor is either untrustworthy or doesn’t trust you, and trying to work with them will not pan out well.

Finding a trustworthy contractor is much easier when you work with a professional project manager. Many homebuilders make the mistake of trying to go it alone, figuring that with enough research they could perform the job just as well themselves. This is a dangerous way to go, however, as an experienced professional will know who to trust off the bat, while an outsider will be much more likely to fall into a scam.

While it’s important to stick to your budget, situations like this show that you cannot rely on cutting corners to build your home for less money. If you don’t have the money to build your home to the quality you want, you shouldn’t be building. Instead, put the money away and wait until you have a bigger budget to work with. Skimping now will cost you much more down the road in maintenance and repair fees.

Similarly, make sure you know before the final draft of blueprints is drawn out exactly what you want in your home, down to every last detail. Changing something seemingly insignificant could drastically alter the way the home is structured, and doing so after construction has begun will cost you precious time and money. If you don’t understand an aspect of the blueprints or if you aren’t sure what you like, point it out while it’s in the drafting process.

For more tips on how to avoid common home building pitfalls, read this helpful article from StyleAtHome:

When building with True Built Home, you can rest assured that your home is in good hands. Visit us and see how we can help you through each step of the homebuilding process at:

Ye Merrie Greenwood Faire

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9-22-16This is one fair you don’t want to miss!

‘Tis that time of year again, when the Greenwood Players come to Columbia Park in Kennewick, Washington, for Ye Merrie Greenwood Faire! Don’t miss your chance to participate in this fun and educational event:

Love Kennewick? Why not move into your own custom-built home in the heart of Kennewick, or anywhere in the Tri-Cities area? Visit us at True Built Home to learn more:

Building Vs. Renovating: Our Tips to Help You Decide

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Whether you’re seeing the signs of deterioration in a home you’ve known for years, or have just bought a “fixer-upper” home in poor condition, it can be very difficult to decide whether to rebuild or to renovate your home. The state of your home, the location, and the size of your budget are all major factors in whether you should build or renovate. The decision isn’t always cut and dry, but asking yourself these 3 simple questions should help you decide.

1.  Where is the home? One of the first factors you should consider when deciding whether to rebuild or to renovate is your location. A lot of neighborhoods may have strict zoning policies that will not let you rebuild your home, while more spacious areas, or conversely areas with little vacant land, are almost always going to be better suited for rebuilding a home.

2. What are your lifestyle needs? Keep in mind when choosing whether to rebuild or remodel that your decision should reflect your lifestyle. Would rebuilding your home give you a chance to include a feature that particularly suits your interests? Do you have a demanding job, young children, or any other impediment that would keep you from being able to commit to living in a home while it is being remodeled? If you find yourself wanting to wash your hands of a home until it is completed, building is often the best choice, as you can opt for a turn-key solution.

3. What is your budget? This may seem like an obvious question to ask, but make sure you are answering fully. In some cases, it may cost you less upfront to remodel a home than to rebuild, but which option will better suit your long-term budget? New homes are built with conservation in mind, saving you money and allowing you to live a healthier life. Even if you outfit an older home with green appliances, it may not reach the same level of energy efficiency as a new home. Newer homes will also cost less in maintenance costs. At the end of the day, you may find that building a new home is the most financially sound choice.

For more tips on deciding whether to rebuild or renovate an older home, read:

Looking for help building a home from the ground up in the Pacific Northeast? With offices in Tacoma, Arlington, Spokane, Vancouver, Yakima, and Salem Oregon, True Built Home has been successfully helping families create their dream homes across the state of Washington and in parts of Oregon since 2008. For more information and to see if True Built Home is the right builder for your project, contact us today.

Decorating Tips to Make Guests Green with Envy

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For unique and elegant decor, why not go green?

Green is such a versatile color, and so often overlooked when decorating a home. Bring a unique pop of color to your decor with these clever tips: If you enjoy unique and refined decor, there is no better place to show off your creative side than in your own new home. Visit True Built Home to see how we can help you build your dream home at:

Decorating with green

Red Green: “I’m Not Old, I’m Ripe!”

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9-8-16Red Green is coming to Spokane this Monday!

Ever find yourself missing the simple humor of Possum Lodge and the Red Green Show? Grab a friend and head on down to The Bing in Spokane this Monday, September 12, for Red Green’s one man show, “I’m Not Old, I’m Ripe!

Spokane is a beautiful city, with interesting events like this happening every day. At True Built Home, we can help you move into a brand new Spokane home custom built to your lifestyle needs. Visit us for more information at:

Best Things to do in Portland, Oregon

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Portland OregonThe best that Portland has to offer

Whether you’re hiking on Mount Hood, walking the halls of the historic Pittock Mansion, or simply strolling through the gorgeous Washington Park, there is always something to explore in Portland, Oregon. Check out more details on these and more classic Portland attractions at:

This summer saw the opening of True Built Home’s newest office in Vancouver, Washington, serving the Portland area and beyond. If you’re looking to build a home in or around Portland, visit True Built Home and watch your dream become a reality:

Washington State Fair

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Mark your calendars for the Washington State Fair!

The Washington State Fair is coming to town tomorrow, September 2, and staying until the 25th! Don’t miss out on this celebration of everything Washington has to offer: Make the trip to Puyallup this September and you won’t want to leave. If you’re looking to move to Washington, visit True Built Home and see how we can help you build a home to fit your needs:

Washington State Fair

The Third Annual Grilled Cheese Fest

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Grilled Cheese

Don’t miss the Grilled Cheese Fest!

This Saturday, August 27, is the 3rd Annual Grilled Cheese Fest in Portland, Oregon! Proceeds from the Grilled Cheese Fest will benefit the Portland Women’s Crisis Line; you don’t want to miss out on this fun, delicious charity event: Dreaming of building a home near Portland, Oregon? We at True Built Home can help that dream become a reality: