What are some things you should know about when building a custom home?

How to Pay for a Custom Home
What You’re Paying For
Finding the Right Contractor for Your Custom Home
Designing and Building the House

There are many in the housing market that would rather build a home than purchase a new construction home that has already been built. When you build a home you have all the say from start to finish. There are some things you need to know when building a home. Here are some of them that professionals say are important to know.

How to Pay for a Custom Home

If you are in the market to build a custom home, then you will probably be using a construction loan. This type of loan is a short-term loan that will cover all of your expenses while you are building your home. It is a bit lengthier and stricter than a regular mortgage but is perfect for a custom home build. Many people choose to do a construction to permanent loan. Once your home is built and ready to occupy, your loan turns into a standard mortgage loan. Remember that a construction loan is typically only for 12 – 18 months and the payment process is different from a standard mortgage loan.

What You’re Paying For

Remember there will always be extra expenses when building a custom home. These include plumbing, electrical wiring, lighting, internet configuration, and media hookups. There will also be many different industry professionals who you will also need to pay including plumbers, electricians, city inspectors, land surveyors and structural engineers. All this aside, your builder or contractor will reach out and coordinate with all of the suppliers and laborers.

Another cost that you might incur is by using an architect. If you need to have help with the design of your home, then you will need to hire one. If you do not want to choose a stock plan, then this will be the route you need to go.

Finding the Right Contractor for Your Custom Home

This is very important because they not only need to be a professional in the industry but also need to work with your personality. Choosing the right contractor or builder will make all the difference. To go about choosing one, first, start with word of mouth. A first-hand account is always the best. Before making your decision, interview several different contractors. Keep in mind that you will want them to be able to meet your timeline, agree with your vision and have a positive attitude about your design. As with any other interview, check references, read business reviews and google their name to see what comes up.

Designing and Building the House

This will take a good bit of time because your contractor will want to meet with you for several preconstruction meetings. Remember during these meetings to take notes, keep records and pay attention. This way you will be able to reference the plans that were agreed upon. Put the budget in your forethought as you go through your planning stages. It is very easy to get carried away and spend much more if you do not keep track. Always keep in mind if what you plan is good for resale. This can also affect your decisions. Even though it is a long and tedious process, at the end you will have your dream home.

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Will a new subdivision, proposed to be built along Interstate 12 and Jessikat Lane, be accepted by local residents?
A new subdivision of close to one hundred homes is set to be built in Madisonville and will be part of a development of 450 existing homes. Although there has been some opposition from residents in the area, the St. Tammany Parish Zoning Commission approved the groundwork with a vote 6-4 to rezone a part of the land from commercial to residential.


A new subdivision of close to one hundred homes is set to be built in Madisonville and will be part of a development of 450 existing homes. Although there has been some opposition from residents in the area, the St. Tammany Parish Zoning Commission approved the groundwork with a vote 6-4 to rezone a part of the land from commercial to residential.

The new homes will be built on 19 acres of undeveloped land close to Interstate 12 and Jessikat Lane that recently changed from being zone commercial to residential and 33 acres that are already zone residential. The land is owned by local home developer Paul LaGrange and is under contract to be purchased by Andrew Cahanin with DSLD Homes.

“Had the zoning not changed, the amount of traffic could have been extremely detrimental to the surrounding area. Generally, residential uses generate much less traffic than commercial in a more predictable pattern,” according to commissioner Patrick Fitzmorris.

Residents in the area are concerned because fifty of the existing homes and the new development will share a single access road to get in and out.

“When I look at this piece of property, it needs new access. It’s one way in and out. It’s completely unsatisfactory,” said commissioner Kenneth Ress.

DSDL says this will not be the case. The new home development will not be as dense as the other developments surrounding it. There will be only two homes per acre. There will be a plan to improve Jessikat Lane which is currently a gravel road that runs along the edge of what will be the new development and make it an access point to the new homes.

Residents do not agree because of the traffic backups already that are a hassle on a daily basis. The backups are caused by the narrow roads. Along with the bad traffic flow, flooding and drainage issues are also a battle. The boost in population will just add to both of these issues.

“This area is basically land-locked. Rex (Avenue) is maxxed out. I’ve been on it. And I dodged the kids and the very deep ditches on both sides. It’s a difficult decision at this point, because the access is just not appropriate for any development at this time,” replies commissioner Nelwyn McInnis.

DSLD’s attorney Paul Mayronne says that the rezoning is just the first step in the process. There will be a traffic study and a hydrological analysis.

“You don’t build a project until you can demonstrate the traffic and drainage will be appropriately handled,” he said. “We believe we can do that, but we can’t prove it until the zoning change.

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According to the data found in the Consumer Expenditure Survey (CES) data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the National Association of Home Builders says that new home buyers and existing home buyers spend thousands of dollars or more on in the first year of owning a home on appliances, furnishings and remodeling. This estimate is derived from the pre-pandemic (2017 – 2019) data collected.

NAHB’s report found that during the first year after the purchase of a new construction home, a homeowner will spend on average over $9,250 on their home over a non-moving home owner, and those that purchased an existing home spent around $5,240 over non-moving homeowners. This shows that a home purchase causes an increase in spending. These expenditures are mostly on things like appliances, furnishings, and remodeling.

New home buyers also spend a lot more on property alterations and repairs.  A typical new home buyer is estimated to spend almost twice as much on these projects ($9,288) compared to a similar household that stays put in a house they already own. When looking closer, the study showed that these expenses were from building outdoor features such as a pool, patio, fences, and landscaping.

When someone moves into a new home, they also want to have some new furnishings. This also triggers bigger spending. It is estimated that a new home buyer spends around $3,000 or more on furnishings during the first year of owning a home and $1,870 on appliances.

If a new home buyer purchases an older home, this price can go up even more. It is estimated that they tend to spend around $5,238 more on remodeling, furnishings and appliances. The majority of the spending is on property repairs, alterations and remodeling projects. Homeowners that do not move will spend around $4,282 in a year on home projects while those that buy existing homes will spend around $7,400 during the first year after closing. The data shows that home buying does spark additional spending.

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New Orleans has a great film production industry so it is no wonder People Who Think, a Mandeville-based advertising agency, is creating a new post-production company. The agency is headed by Republican strategist Jay Connaughton and will call the spin-off production company Cadence Post.

Cadence Post, the new company, has four employees and expects the number to double over the next year. The company is currently run by Rick Nelson.

“The sheer amount of work that has come back to the city in the last two years is outstanding,” Nelson said. “But there hasn’t been a lot of growth on the post-production side of things so we need to respond by building out that infrastructure.”

Currently, Film New Orleans has 11 television and movie productions that will be filmed now through mid-September. This number includes “Queen Sugar” and “Heart of a Lion.” Right now, the film promotion agency will send their raw footage back to Los Angeles or Atlanta to a more traditional filmmaking center. Nelson wants to fill this gap. These can include daily management and “sling shot” services, partnering with Los Angeles or New York as their on-the-ground entity while they’re shooting locally.

Their advertising agency has worked with big brand name campaigns for Coca-Cola, Mellow Mushroom, Welch’s Snack Foods and Chevron. Currently, they are working on an advertising campaign for Rev Broadband and have worked on programs for Outdoor Channel and Lifetime in the past.

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A beautiful spot featured here is this custom courtyard with brick pavers and nice landscaping.

A farmhouse feel in this open floor plan home with a nice custom wood beam and fresh hardwood floors.The hot housing market has changed many things and one thing lenders want to see is appraisal modernization. According to a survey published in May by Fannie Mae, found that mortgage lenders see value in appraisal modernization, specifically in the implementation of non-traditional appraisals and inspection-based appraisal waivers. This was based on a survey conducted on senior mortgage executives. The survey concluded that 188 out of 200 (94%) feel that appraisal modernization will help reduce the loan origination cycle time.

The appraisal process time is one of the biggest obstacles the mortgage industry is facing. Right now, it is causing huge delays and higher costs. There are also fewer appraisers who are experienced in understanding more complex collateral assignments. Currently, the appraisers cannot get to all the houses that need to be appraised. Appraisal costs are going up due to the impact this has on the industry. The modernization will also amplify appraisal capacity and lower borrowing costs.

The survey also shed light on some other issues that are even more important for the lending industry. A digital portal for consumer loan applications was number one or two on many lenders’ lists. There were also concerns mentioned about roadblocks that challenged adapting new modernization tools. These were speed or lack of speed, of integrating these tools with loan originating systems.

The pandemic also has played a hand in the issues the industry is facing when it comes to appraisals. Hybrid appraisals are now allowed under the FHFA (Federal Housing Financing Agency). Appraisers can now conduct them remotely using public records (tax appraisals and listings) for purchase loans. HUD (Department of Housing and Urban Development) extended its timeline on using hybrid appraisals because of the impact from the pandemic.

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Breakfast Room Area Has Tons of Natural Light.

When residents of any community hear that there will be a manufacturing and logistics project close to home, they often fear what it will do to the environment around them. St. Tammany Parish residents are questioning the rezoning of a part of the Wadsworth property at the intersection of La. 1088 and Interstate 12 close to Mandeville.

John Crosby, a developer, wants to build an 800-plus acre industrial corridor on the site. He assures the St. Tammany Parish that the project will bring good jobs to the area and will not harm the environment. Residents spoke their concerns at the Parish Council at a town hall meeting about the impact on traffic and drainage.

Currently, the land is zoned for a mixture of different residential zones and a planned business campus zoning. Crosby is no stranger to these kinds of projects. His company developed The Sanctuary in Mandeville and has a good reputation for being environmentally friendly.

The plan for the site is to have 15 to 20 sites with the smallest being 25 acres. The buildings will be large and look like office buildings.
He also promised to use surfaces that allow rainwater to reach the underlying soil, such as crushed limestone or pavers with plantings in them, sometimes known as living concrete. Other features will include large swales covered in vegetation. With these steps in place, there will be less runoff and better water quality that does run downstream.

“It will not be a wasteland. It is something you are going to be proud of,” he said.

Target or Office Depot, Amazon, FedEx, or UPS are some of the businesses looking to locate distribution centers at the proposed project. He explains that what they will be using the land for will not be noxious or offensive and will not pollute the air or water.

This is not enough for Nancy Wagner, who fought a high-profile and successful battle against the proposed Medline medical equipment distribution center that was planned to be built near Covington. She does not see how they will keep from destroying the environment such as plastics and paint manufacturing. Deed restrictions can only go so far, and she believes they cannot be relied on to enforce zoning matters.

Residents still questioned the project even with the jobs that could potentially be generated there. Crosby does point out that more people who grew up in the area, will stay in the area if they have jobs to go to. The kind of companies that are in discussion to be part of the project will be companies that will attract and hire college graduates.

“Where are we going to put all those people,” David Jones, a member of Concerned Citizens of St. Tammany asked. “Apartments,” someone in the audience replied.

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This living area boast built-ins and hardwood floors.

Designing your home is a fun task but it can also be overwhelming. The key is to find the right balance of form and function. Here are ideas from the pros when it comes to how to design and decorate your home.

Use Your Wall Space

Many designers today are taking the rug off the floor and adding it to the walls of a home. A beautiful rug can accent the wall behind a sofa giving a living space a warm and colorful design. ELLE Decor designer Sheila Bridges also uses rugs to add color to any space. In her home, she uses an emerald green sheepskin throw rug draped across a bench to add texture and color. Laura Sartori Rimini of Studio Peregalli in Milan uses wallpaper to give a bedroom in a Milan apartment a wow factor. “We created the missing parts—the plinth and the ceiling frame—to depict an Italian capriccio, a fantastical and bucolic landscape with architectural features,” says Sartori. Another designer-inspired idea is to use curtains as a backdrop for art.“Curtains just create a great, calming energy in which you feel very shrouded and comforted, making for a luxurious and restful environment,” says Kelly Framel, creative director, stylist, and founder of online magazine The Glamourai. “And being able to put a really great pop of artwork in front of that textural colored backdrop has a lot of impact.”

Go Bold

A great idea anyone can use is creating a bold gallery on a wall. A gallery of eye-catching artwork can make a bright and bold statement in a room. Adding color to the floor can also brighten a space. A great example would be to use a bright blue rug in a nice all-white living area that looks out onto the ocean. If you have a small space, go bold. Graphic prints can give a small room a major impact. Sara Ruffin, a New Orleans designer uses Ellie Cashman floral wallpaper in a small powder room.

Experiment with patterns

Christene Barberich, former Refinery29 global editor-in-chief, says to layer patterns to create visual interest in a room. She did this by layering patterns in a range of styles and scales in a bedroom. She put black and white pillows with green chevron bedding to add this look. “I think a room balances out better when you have different levels of price and craftsmanship,” she says. “It helps you notice the statement piece more,” Kate Reynolds, co-owner of Studio Four NYC. Emilie Munroe of Studio Munroe says to play with texture. Use shiplap but instead of installing it horizontally, install it vertically in a room with high ceilings.

Use Color in A Hallway

Most of the time, home owner’s choose a neutral color for the hallways of their home. David Hicks used Vigorous Violet, Sherwin-Williams in a small hallway and added an art collection to the walls making it a beautiful space. He recommends using a bold color for a hallway giving the space an unexpected look.

Display Collectables and Antiques

Using collectibles and antiques can give your room a perfect look. Every room can benefit from accessories with a history. Showcasing your collectibles on a table instead of a shelf will maintain a sense of balance in your display. In order to make sure your display does not look kitschy, group your pieces by color according to Rebecca Robertson of RR Interiors. Another great designer tip by Kathryn M. Ireland, a textiles and interior designer, is to “mix things up with old and new.” “Bringing a touch of the old world into the mix creates a home that will never feel dated,” designer Alex Papachristidis explains of the art-studded Manhattan apartment he designed for a family friend. Acclaimed chef Ludovic “Ludo” Lefebvre’s home a designer used floor-to-ceiling shelving to hold his collection of over one thousand cookbooks. Floor-to-ceiling shelving never fails to add character to a room.

Designing your space can be done as many times as you want. Remember to invest where it matters and do your homework if purchasing an antique piece for your home.  A good rule of thumb is to maybe switch out a couple of pieces with new pieces once a year.

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The painted kitchen island is in a different color from the remaining kitchen cabinets.According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) there was a 1% rise in private residential construction spending from February’s 0.7%. Total private residential construction spending was 18.4% higher than it was a year ago and spending was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $882 billion.

The rise is the result of the strong growth of spending on improvements and single-family. Single-family construction spending was up 1.3% over February estimates with an increase to $472.6 billion. This is great news since the home building industry is still facing supply chain issues and labor shortages.

There was a decrease however in the private nonresidential construction spending to a seasonally annual rate of $497.6 billion which was down 1.2% from February estimates. This still is not bad since it is 8.5% higher than a year ago. The highest increase in this category was in manufacturing at $22.7 billion.

The National Association of Home Builder’s construction spending index shows a great rebound back to pre-COVID-19 numbers. The NAHB construction spending index illustrates the solid growth in single-family construction and home improvement from the second half of 2019 to February 2020.

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The Gloriette, the new restaurant in the Southern Hotel in Covington, opened just after Mardi Gras. Amy and Jeffrey Hansell, who owns the Thorny Oyster, in Mississippi, opened the Gloriette which takes the place of Oxlot 9. The restaurant glorifies local Louisiana cuisine and offers drinks at the bar, Cypress Bar which is connected to the restaurant.

The new restaurant has a “theme of garden verdure” which compliments the old oaks outside of the hotel. Hence the name the Gloriette which means a garden pavilion in French. Patrons can view these oaks through the dining room that is lined with windows. The restaurant has white tile floors with baby blue walls and lattices. Among the walls are murals of blooms and garden scenes.

A veteran of the local culinary scene, executive chef Steven Marsella has an amazing way of creating dishes from local French cuisine. Marsella is from Providence, Rhode Island where he completed culinary school and began his career “at one of the city’s most ambitious seafood restaurants.” In New Orleans, he helped open Emeril’s Restaurant and recently was the corporate chef for Creole Cuisine Restaurant Concepts.

The French-inspired menu has many dishes that the chef himself created. Dishes include pork and clams Alentejana, crab gumbo, oyster stew, steak tartare and steamed mussels with Calvados, fried oysters with brie fondue, and a crawfish tagliatelle and lank of flounder thickly encrusted with crab and torn morsels of brioche. There are also fabulous desserts at the St. Tammany restaurant. These include apple galette and strawberry trifle.

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The kitchen in this home leads into the family room.

Springtime is a time when many home buyers come into the housing market. This spring, the housing market is still going strong with tons of competition. If a homebuyer finds a home they like, there is no time to think if you want to compete for an accepted offer. Here are two important things you should take action on before purchasing a home.

Bulk Up Your Credit Score

A homebuyer’s credit score can either hinder or boost your chances of purchasing a home. Credit scores determine whether a homebuyer can get approved for a loan. Before starting the home buying process, a homebuyer needs to make sure their credit score is 650 or higher.

Lower Your Debt-To-Income Ratio

A homeowner’s debt-to-income ratio is very important. It can not only affect getting a mortgage but can also affect the price of a home a homebuyer can purchase. A good debt-to-income ratio is less than 43% according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. For example, if a homebuyer’s monthly income is $5,000 and monthly expenses are $1,000, then the debt-to-income-ration is 20%.

If you are considering purchasing a home, make sure to not only follow these two things but also contact a Realtor. A Realtor can help you with the process from start to finish. They will find the perfect home for the perfect price.

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