The Financial Stability at Charleston Homes

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During a time when many building companies are struggling to stay afloat during the building crunch of the last few years, Charleston Homes has thrived. We couldn’t do it alone though. There are many partners that make Charleston Homes what it is today.

First National Bank has been a great partner with Charleston Homes in the past few years. We pride ourselves in this relationship and are proud to have FNB along with us as we’ve grown. We’ve built a solid reputation with them as being a dependable company.

Banks don’t lend money to just anyone. The fact we have been able to actually increase our borrowing in the last few years shows Charleston Homes is a strong building company with the customer’s best interests at heart. If we weren’t, we wouldn’t have thrived during such a touch time of building.

Come discover what makes both Charleston Homes and First National Bank such a great team. We know you will be happy you did!

We Are Thankful For You As We Look Forward to 2012

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Here at Charleston Homes, we take Thanksgiving very seriously. As we look back on Thanksgiving this year, we wanted to let you know how thankful we are for our customers, contractors and real estate agents. Without you all, we would not be able to do what we do and what we love. So, thanks!

Secondly, we wanted to let you know that we are already taking reservation agreements for move in dates in May, June and July of 2012. Even though you might still be in a turkey coma, we need to get started laying foundations for folks who want to move into their new home come springtime. If you are looking to make a move this spring or summer, get in touch with us today so that we can get your perfect lot reserved.

Also, we do have some completed inventory available right now in several parts of town at various price points. So, if you know a friend or family member who is looking for a new home, please let them know. We are always delighted to work with your referrals, and we promise to treat them like gold!

Again, we hope that you had a great Thanksgiving and are looking forward to the upcoming holiday season with excitement. If we can be of service, please give us a call!

Getting Your Home Ready For Winter in No Time Flat

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Geting your home ready for winter doesn't have to be a big chore.  Many people don't take the proper precautions necessary to make sure that their homes are protected when the cold weather hits. Instead of worrying that winter will wreak havoc on your home, focus on enjoying a warm fireplace and a hot cup of cocoa. Here are some tips to get you started on making sure that your home is ready for those upcoming cold temperatures.

Winterizing your house includes items on the interior and exterior, so it's important to walk around and look for potential issues before the cold temperatures set in.

Inspect all windows to make sure that they are shut tightly and locked.

Look around your patio doors, windows, entry way and garage thresholds to make certain that they are sealed properly.

Check your fireplace to be sure that the pilot light is turned on.  You should also clean the backside of the glass with an ammonia free nonflammable cleaner like Windex.  In addition, carefully remove any webbing or dust from the logs and fireplace area.

You should check your furnace filter on a monthly basis to see if it needs to be replaced.  Make sure to insert your filter with the arrow pointing in line towards the furnace.

In the third year of homeownership, you should have your furnace inspected by an authorized Lennox dealer.

Carbon monoxide leaks can be a deadly problem resulting from improper maintenance of the heating system, so make sure to get it serviced on a regular basis or if you have any questions about the safety of your unit.

As you go into the winter months, make sure that your furnace has a good, working Buss fuse labeled S15.  If not, always make sure to have an extra one on hand.

An easy thing to miss is not having your furnace in the "on" position. If it still isn't working, refer to your warranty manual for trouble shooting solutions.

On the outside of your home, make sure to check your downspout extensions.  Make certain that they are in place about 2 to 3 feet away from the home to divert water.  They should always be placed in the down position.  If they're damaged, you can get a replacement one from your local hardware store.  These are very easy to replace.

If you have a sump pump, there is a discharge pipe outside.  Many people remove it for mowing.  Make sure that it is securely fastened and check throughout the winter.

You have a high-efficiency furnace with an exhaust port outside.  Before using your furnace for the first time of the season, make certain to visually inspect the port to see if there are any insect nests inside. Do not install covers over these because it can obstruct the exhaust and fresh air intakes of the furnace. It is a good idea to clear away drifted snow because that could cause system blockage.

In your yard, you will want to purchase a good winterizer so that your grass gets nutrients during those cold winter months.  It should come back greener in the spring.  Also check your landscaping and trim overgrown vegetation as needed.

Make sure to stain or seal your deck.  Wait one full season after moving in.  In spring or summer, or even early fall, seal it.  This will preserve your deck to make it last longer.

Take a look at your driveway to see if any cracks need to be caulked or sealed before weather drops below 50 degrees. Most caulking you can buy at the market needs application temperatures of 50 degrees or higher.

As you can see, these are several things that need to be done in order to make sure that your property is ready for the cold temperatures of winter.  If you follow this checklist, you will take care of anything that may go wrong when the temperatures dip down to the freezing mark.

Waiting To Build Will Cost You Thousands Of Extra Dollars

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Many home buyers have no idea that the cost of construction has historically increased year after year. What does that mean for you? Well, for one thing, it means that delaying your next home build will likely cost you thousands of extra dollars not to mention wasted time.

We've already talked about interest rates and how that can greatly affect whether you should build now or wait. Then, we discussed the scarcity of land and lots here in the Omaha area. Now, we need to talk about how waiting until next year to build will actually end up costing you a lot more money out of your pocket.

Did you know that the U.S. Census Bureau keeps tabs on the cost of construction in the U.S.? In fact, they have been keeping up with those numbers for many years. What they have been able to determine is that over the last 20 years, the average cost of a new home annually has gone up about 2.8% each year. That is mainly due to commodity prices such as wood, lumber, shingles and the price of gas, as well as other factors.

Let's do some figuring: If you take that $200,000 house that you have been longing for and you just wait one year (assuming that the cost of construction only goes up 2.8%), it is going to cost you an additional $5000-$6000 to purchase that same home a year from now. That is not even including the increased cost of land that we discussed earlier or the possible increase in interest rates. When you start adding up all of the numbers, the cost of your beautiful $200,000 dream home can go up astronomically in the next 1, 2 or 3 years.

Don't make the mistake of trying to wait out lower interest rates because the market will fluctuate. No one can guarantee that rates won't increase substantially a year or two from now. Do you really want to sit on the sidelines and let these fantastic rates get away?

You've probably heard the saying that a “bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”. In other words, you don't know what is around the corner, so don't rely on better rates, more land becoming available or building prices going down. We know what history has shown, so make an informed decision now that will benefit you later.

You definitely do not want to look back a year or so from now and wish that you had made the decision to buy a new home when rates were great and building prices were lower. Call or visit us today so we can help you build your next home!

Going…Going…Gone? The Scarcity of Lots in Omaha

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Over the years, there have been a number of lots and home sites available for potential home buyers. As time has gone on this has gradually changed.

No Money

As with all places in the United States, the housing industry in Omaha has been impacted by what’s gone on nationwide. In addition, lenders that once happily loaned money for land development are now no longer willing to lend money for land developers to put in new subdivisions. This means finding a lot to build on is much more difficult than it once was.

Not Enough Lots

Once there was what seemed like countless premium lots in Omaha. Now we are starting to run out of the A+ lots. These lots are much more scarce than they were just a few years ago. With the law of supply of demand, the lots that are left have rapidly rising prices.

Buy Now

If you are considering building a home in the next few years, now is the time to buy the lot. We are anticipating home lot prices to rise in spring 2012. That’s just a few short months away and there’s not much time left to lock in the lower prices we have today.

Omaha’s housing lots are becoming scarce. Once in abundance, the home lots around town are slowly dwindling down. This means prices are going up. Prices are expected to rise in the next few months making now the perfect time to buy a lot for your new home.

Now is the Time: Low Interest Rates Mean More Home for Your Money

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Interest rates have been low for the past decade. But did you know they’re at the lowest they’ve ever been right now?

Low Interest Equals More House for Your Money

Interest rates are running at about 4.0% to 4.25%. Based on a $100,000 home, if the interest rate was to go up just 1%, it would increase your payment by $114 a month. Over the course of 5 years, that would come to $6,000 total interest you would pay. Take it out even further and it won’t take long before your home will cost you $10,000 more just based on the 1% increased interest rate.

Home prices really have hit bottom for the most part. Couple that with great interest rates and you’re looking at a great bargain when it comes to your next home. 

Lowest Interest Rates of Your Lifetime

What does this all add up to? Now is probably the best time to buy as it has been in your lifetime. It sounds extreme but it’s true. The interest rates really are rock bottom because the government has been borrowing at 0% interest. This has worked out to be great for the consumer who is even remotely in the market for a new home.

The question that really begs to be asked is: How long can the federal government continue to borrow at this 0% interest? The answer to that question is they can’t continue borrowing at a non-existent interest rate forever. As a consumer, you need to take advantage of this while it still has the interest rates at these historic lows.

Interest Rates Will Increase Soon

The fact of the matter is interest rates will increase. It is only a matter of when. It may not be long either. We believe the day is probably coming soon. Since the future may hold higher interest rates, today is the best time to take advantage of them. Charleston Homes has a great selection of homes that you can get for a fraction of the price right now before the interest rates jump up. While these interest rates are low, you can afford much more house than you will be able to when they jump back up in a short time.

Has this peaked your curiosity to think about a new home? Visit one of our model homes to see what we offer or set up an appointment to talk with one of our representatives about what your options are. There has never been a time better than right now to think about buying a new home.

Maintenance Tips for Your Exterior Concrete

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We spend a lot of time concerned with the maintenance on the inside of our house. When was the last time you considered the maintenance of the outside of your house? Did you know there are a few simple steps you can take to actually extend the life of your driveway?

Use a Broom & Garden Hose

Keep your driveway clean by sweeping it occasionally. You can also use a garden hose to wash off the concrete when it gets extremely dirty. Many people like to power wash their driveway, particularly during the summer. This can be harmful to the concrete on extremely hot days because the cold water coming from the tap hitting the very hot concrete creates a stress on the concrete and it can cause damage over time.

Wintertime Cleaning

During the winter months in colder climates, salt and brine are scattered on the road to melt the frozen precipitation. This salt and brine are picked up by the car and eventually tracked onto your driveway. Over time, this salt and brine can eat away at the surface of your concrete.  You will want to keep your driveway as clean as possible during the winter months so the solution does not sit on the surface for an extended period of time.

Prevent Spalling

Spalling is a surface failure of the concrete as a result of water penetrating the porous concrete surface during the winter months.  This moisture can then freeze within the concrete below the surface as it penetrates.  As this moisture freezes it expands within the concrete, which causes pressure under the surface.  As this process is repeated several times, the pressure caused by expansion and contraction, can break down the surface of your driveway.  This break down shows up as pit marks in the surface where it looks like the aggregate is exposed.

Keeping your driveway clean can help minimize the severity of spalling. You can also help lessen the chances of spalling occurring by keeping salt and other destructive agents off of your driveway.  Another way to protect the concrete surface is by applying a penetrating sealer. Make sure the sealer follows the concrete institute’s standard, “ASTMC309” for penetrating concrete sealers.

Prevent Driveway Cracking During the Winter

All driveways crack. In fact, we try to help force where your driveway will crack when we trowel in control joints after the concrete is placed.  This cracking occurs because concrete naturally contracts and expands during the life of your driveway.

You want to keep moisture from getting in through these cracks, which can freeze and also cause damage from expansion and contraction. To help minimize any moisture getting into these cracks you can fill them in with a concrete crack filler or sealant, which will also help prolong the life of your driveway.

There are a number of things you can do to maintain your driveway and extend its life. By keeping your driveway clean, sealing the surface, and filling in the cracks in your driveway, you can enjoy your driveway for years to come.

Behind the Scenes: The Making of a Driveway

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Over Digging the Basement 

We over dig your basement two foot six inches all around the perimeter of the foundation. We do this to allow room for our contractors to work around the foundation when setting their forms and also to water-proof and install drain tile.  The soil is very hard to compact around the foundation in this area.  To combat this problem and to alleviate potential concrete problems, we pack what we can of the soil, water-soak, and then we also pin rebar into the foundation along the garage floor all the way along the over dig section.  This will keep the concrete from moving should the soil below settle out over time.

The Driveway

Have you ever noticed how the area between your garage floor and your driveway is at different heights? The driveway is actually poured at ½” to ¾” below the height of the garage floor. We leave this difference in height to allow the driveway to heave should frost find its way under the front edge of the driveway during the cold winter months.  By pouring it lower initially, we allow room for it to move up without heaving too far above the garage floor although in certain circumstances it is not uncommon for the driveway to heave as much as 1" above the garage floor.  We also install an expansion joint in this gap between the two pours to prevent the two areas of concrete from locking together.  This also provides room for expansion and contraction during the changes in seasons.  Both of these measures help alleviate many future problems you could experience here in the cold winters of Nebraska.

Dowel Rebars in the Driveway 

We also dowel rebar into the foundation where the driveway meets the garage floor.  This rebar sits directly under the driveway and the entire width of the driveway rests on it.  It is not poured into the driveway, which again helps from locking the driveway in place and causing future problems by preventing it from expanding and contracting.  This rebar also helps prevent the driveway from sinking should the soil settle out from under it over time.

Driveways are an important part of the overall appearance and functionality of your home.  With proper planning and installation your new driveway will last you many years to come.

Check us out next time for tips on maintaining concrete.

Our New Home Warranty

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At Charleston Homes we pride ourselves at providing an in-house, 1-year warranty for your home. Because we stand behind every home we build, you can feel confident knowing that your new home was built with quality products and service.

What Does Having an “In-house” Warranty Mean to You?

At Charleston Homes, we stand behind our product, so we will handle any concerns you have with your home for 1-year from when you close. About, 60 days after you’ve settled in your new Charleston Home, we’ll check in with you to answer any questions or take care of any concerns you may have. Then, eleven months after closing, we reiterate our commitment to satisfaction by again taking the time to handle any required warranty work, discuss concerns, or answer any questions that you may have.

How Do I Report a Concern?

Occasionally you might have a concern about something in your new home. Getting in touch with us is easy! In fact, it can all be done online. Just go to Click on the “Warranty Requests” tab. You will fill out the appropriate information, and then submit your request.

If your request is an emergency, which means that your home is unlivable, after your claim is submitted, we will give you a list of contractors with their phone numbers you can contact after hours and on holidays.

Once your request is submitted, it is emailed to a select group of people at Charleston Homes. The Warranty Manager determines how critical the issue is and how quickly a response is needed. We have issues that are classified as emergency and priority that will be taken care of quickly. Then other issues that are not terribly bothersome to you or your home will be classified as a normal warranty issue and can wait until your next warranty evaluation.

So, because we stand behind the quality of our homes, our in-house warranty service is very important.  It’s just one more way we are working to make your home buying experience even better when you build a Charleston Home.

A Great Financial Team at Charleston Homes

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During a time when many building companies are struggling to stay afloat during the building crunch of the last few years, Charleston Homes has thrived. We couldn’t do it alone though. There are many partners that make Charleston Homes what it is today.

First National Bank has been a great partner with Charleston Homes in the past few years. We pride ourselves in this relationship and are proud to have FNB along with us as we’ve grown. We’ve built a solid reputation with them as being a dependable company.

Banks don’t lend money to just anyone. The fact we have been able to actually increase our borrowing in the last few years shows Charleston Homes is a strong building company with the customer’s best interests at heart. If we weren’t, we wouldn’t have thrived during such a touch time of building.

Come discover what makes both Charleston Homes and First National Bank such a great team. We know you will be happy you did!

Downsizing: Moving Down to a Villa

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You often hear of “upsizing” when it comes to homes. It’s the old “bigger is better” idea. But, as Baby Boomers approach retirement age many of them will do quite the opposite: they will downsize.

Why Downsize?

Why would someone want to downsize anyway? As the older generation approaches retirement, many of them find the large two story house they used to raise a family in is no longer necessary for their one or two person household.

Which Home Plan is Best?

Which home plan would you want to choose for a villa location? We have two plans that work wonderfully as a villa:

• The Georgia
• The Caroline

These two house plans can be built on villa house lots throughout the Omaha Metro Area. These floor plans are modeled in our Saddlebrook location at 150th and Fort and can be viewed Monday - Thursday 1pm-6pm, Friday- Sunday 12pm-5pm or by appointment.

Villa homes are a single, detatched ranch home with a full basement. As a part of the subdivision, there is no lawn maintenance required, as well as snow removal in the winter. That is already taken care of for you by the HOA (Home Owners Association).

If a smaller, less laborious home is something you’ve been considering, come and check out one of our model homes and see if it will accommodate your unique lifestyle. We think you will be pleasantly surprised by just how affordable and adjustable these villa floor plans are.

Making a Difference: Habitat for Humanity in Omaha

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Building homes is about more than just putting a roof over people’s heads. It’s also about giving back to the
community. Charleston Homes is proud to partner with Habitat for Humanity this year and do just that.

Habitat for Humanity in Omaha

Habitat for Humanity has built over 300 homes in Omaha. That means more than 300 families now own a home that might not have been able to if organizations like Habitat for Humanity were not around.

Habitat Builders Blitz 2011: 7 Homes in 7 Days

Habitat Builders Blitz is an outstanding program that builds homes in record time. This year 7 different builders, mostly commercial companies, teamed up to build 7 homes in 7 days.

Charleston Homes in Habitat Builders Blitz 2011

Charleston Homes was proud to be a new partner with Habitat for Humanity in 2011. It took 6 months of planning to make the house a reality. But the reward of being involved has been outstanding.

In addition, Charleston Homes was a proud to provide the home it built at no cost to Habitat for Humanity. This frees up even more money in the long run for people to own a home who otherwise wouldn't be able to do so.

Being involved with Habitat for Humanity has certainly been a highlight of our year thus far.  We can’t think of anything better than handing over keys to a brand new home to a family who normally wouldn't have the means to afford a home!

Customizing Your Home Couldn’t Be Easier!

Our Saddlebrook and Portal Ridge model homes make customizing your new home SIMPLE. We want each step of your home buying experience to be as comfortable as we know your new home will be.

With many other builders, building a home means going to one place to select lights, another place to pick out paint, and yet another to determine the style of carpet you wanted. We have cut all of those extra steps (and wasted gas!) out of the home building equation.

With Charleston Homes, you can pick all of your custom options for your home in one central location. We know you need and want to spend as much time as possible to pick out what your new home needs. After all, you will be the one who will live in the house for the next few decades. It needs to be exactly what you want.

What you can expect to pick out:

     •    Stone and brick for the outside of the home
     •    Countertop selections
     •    Cabinets
     •    Wood flooring
     •    Lighting
     •    And much, much more!

Many of our samples are also installed in one of our model homes. That means you don’t just have to look at the samples. You can also see what many of the samples you select look like once they are in an actual home.
We have also made the samples very user friendly. This means if you would like to take them down and touch them or compare them to something, you can. You can set them next to each other for a good compare and contrast, too.

Customizing a new home can be a fun part of building a new home. There are a number of decisions that need to be made. Charleston Homes has done all we can to make this part as simple and quick as possible to make your home buying experience one that you will truly enjoy.