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Smart Projects to Increase the Value of Your Home

Categories: New Homes Madison | Posted: February 17, 2015

Increase Home Value

Trying to sell that tired, outgrown house so you can begin building your new William Ryan Home?  Remodeling Magazine released its annual Cost vs. Value Report that examines the most popular remodel projects. Here are the top items to update when trying to sell your home. (Read full article here.)

  1. Replace your front door.
  2. Add stone veneer to the front façade.
  3. Install a new garage door.
  4. Install new siding.
  5. Build a wood deck.
  6. Give your kitchen a facelift.
  7. Replace your windows.
  8. Renew your roof.

 

Madison home builder, William Ryan Homes is proud to build energy efficient homes from 13 flexible and timeless home designs with over 1,000,000 different finish options. Visit our models today to discover why at William Ryan Homes “We Make it Easy” to build your new home.

Sign a contract before March 31 and receive a free upgrade from Level 1 laminate flooring to Level 2!

Homebuilders Adapt to a Different Time

Categories: New Homes Chicago, New Homes Madison, New Homes Milwaukee, New Homes Phoenix, New Homes Tampa, Uncategorized | Posted: February 9, 2015

sheridan model kitchen 2

Housing starts in the Chicago metropolitan area during 2014 increased 17 percent over 2013 by one measure and 19 percent by another, making builders optimistic that 2015 will be an even better year for this industry, which creates jobs and stimulates local economies.

“The Chicago area was somewhat unique. During 2014 we saw a decline in new-home construction in many markets around the country but the Chicago area’s numbers were up pretty significantly,” said Chris Huecksteadt, regional director for Metrostudy, a housing market research firm based in Elgin. “We recorded 5,708 housing starts in the 12-counties we monitor, compared to 4,865 starts during 2013.”

Dodge Data and Analytics, based in New York, quantifies the increase differently, by dollar volume. It recorded more than $4.29 billion in residential building contracts in a 13-county area around Chicago during 2014, up from $3.6 billion the previous year.

“Much of this is due to the national builders constructing homes on lots that have been written down to a price point that is below their replacement value in places like Pingree Grove, Oswego and Huntley,” Huecksteadt said. “You could not buy a parcel of land and develop it into lots at the price they are selling these lots. They are giving them away in the communities on the fringes of the metropolitan area so that they can redirect their efforts to smaller, infill parcels closer to the city where they can sell homes at a better profit.

“The recession we just experienced, in effect, halted the urban sprawl here — at least for the present time,” he said.

The large, national builders have decided huge developments, which might take ten years to complete, are too risky and are generally redirecting to smaller communities of 50 to 75 houses where they can build and be out in a year or two, Huecksteadt said.

“Caution” is the watchword with buyers, too. The millennial generation, those born in the 1980s and 1990s, are also slow to become first-time buyers.

“There is lots of fence-sitting still going on,” he said. “Many millennials saw what happened to their parents and hesitate to buy a home because of that experience. They are also marrying later and changing jobs every few years, so they seem less inclined to get tied down. Buyers also seem less willing to commit to a long commute in order to get a bigger house.”

Huecksteadt said the industry had gotten away from the old “location-location-location” mantra for awhile and now it is back, with builders “taking another look at the old suburbs and even watching for teardown possibilities, feeling that that option is better than buying a cornfield on the fringes and then hoping the buyers will come.”

So builders are concentrating on buying land in closer-in suburbs like Glen Ellyn, Hawthorn Woods, Naperville, Elgin and Lisle, Huecksteadt said. They believe there’s more demand to build 20 homes in Hawthorn Woods than to build 100 homes in Marengo.

“You need ‘rooftops,’ as they call them, in order to encourage national stores like Walmart and Starbucks to build stores in a community. So when a community attracts new-home construction, the national chains take notice and consider locating there, too. That is one of the ways new homes add to a municipality’s bottom line,” Huecksteadt said.

National Association of Home Builders statistics agree. They indicate that for every 100 new single-family homes built, in the first year alone, $21.1 million in local income is generated, as well as $2.2 million in taxes and other revenue for local governments and 324 local jobs.

The annual recurring benefit from building those 100 homes is $3.1 million in local income, $743,000 in taxes and other revenue for local governments, and 53 local jobs.

“The bigger, better concept of housing is no longer leading the charge,” Airhart said. “Size is no longer our buyers’ first question like it was back in 2002 and 2003. Now they are more concerned with amenities, flexibility and if the home is designed to make their lives easier.”

For instance, it used to be that the laundry room and mud room were the same space. Today, buyers are willing to sacrifice bedroom space to get a second-floor laundry room and they want a true mudroom with benches, hooks and charging stations, Airhart said.

“The ergonomics of a house is of primary concern to buyers today. They also aren’t willing to put in a luxury tub that they will never use. They would prefer a nicer shower. Similarly, buyers are no longer willing to drive further west to pick up 1,000 more square feet that they don’t need. They know they will just have to spend more to heat and cool that additional space. Instead, they would rather put in more amenities like hardwood floors throughout the first floor,” he said.

Ryland Homes has always been careful not to put all of its eggs in one basket, said Division President John Carroll. It makes sure it is both geographically diverse and market diverse in terms of whom it tries to attract.

“The reasons those communities were started are still solid. The economy is different and the marketing is different, but the locations will still attract buyers. They are places with good value and good schools where buyers are not pioneering in any way,” Carroll said.

William Ryan Homes “only does what buyers want us to do,” said Debbie Beaver, vice president of operations. “They no longer want to drive a great distance. They want to live in the closer suburbs because their lifestyles are more important to them than their homes are now. Living in the middle of nowhere is no longer appealing,” she said.

In 2015, William Ryan Homes plans to open communities in Hawthorn Woods, Addison, Bartlett, Volo and Romeoville and it recently opened a community in Hampshire. The largest of the communities features 75 lots on which homes remain to be built.

“William Ryan has never taken on huge projects. We never want to get too far ahead of ourselves,” Beaver said. “We gain efficiencies by using the same 13 plans in all of our communities but tailoring our amenities to the location. The same house might have hardwood floors and granite countertops in Barrington, for instance, but vinyl floors and laminate countertops in Elgin. Our core construction is the same everywhere and it is phenomenal.

“We are expecting 2015 to be good and we are budgeting for growth, not through selling more houses per community but through selling a consistent number of homes in more communities,” she said.

By Jean Murphy

Daily Herald  2/7/15

Builder tailors plans for each location

Categories: New Homes Chicago, New Homes Madison, New Homes Milwaukee, New Homes Phoenix, New Homes Tampa | Posted: February 7, 2015
Deb Beaver, VP of Operations for William Ryan Homes says the builder will be opening 5 new suburban communities this year

Deb Beaver, VP of Operations for William Ryan Homes says the builder will be opening 5 new suburban communities this year

The executives at William Ryan Homes believe in finding a niche market where they do well and remaining in that niche. But they are constantly refining, improving and becoming more efficient within that area of expertise.

For William Ryan Homes, that niche is architecturally exciting single-family homes in a variety of styles, prices and locations in desirable communities.

The builder also offers innovative features and programs to maximize the value homebuyers receive, whether they are first-time purchasers or those seeking to move up to a larger home. There are flexible floor plans, science-based building systems and reasonable prices, thanks to operational efficiencies the company has developed over the years, said Debbie Beaver, vice president of operations.

“We gain efficiencies by using the same 13 plans in all of our communities but tailoring our amenities to the location,” Beaver said. “The same house might have hardwood floors and granite countertops in Barrington, for instance, but vinyl floors and laminate countertops in Elgin. Our core construction is the same everywhere and it is phenomenal.”

The homebuilder is now working in Barrington, Elgin, Cary, Naperville, Hampshire and Plainfield. Later this year it plans to open communities in Hawthorn Woods, Addison, Bartlett, Volo and Romeoville.

“Buyers no longer want to drive a great distance. They want to live in the closer suburbs because their lifestyles are more important to them than their homes are now. Living in the middle of nowhere is no longer appealing,” Beaver said.

Wonderful locations were part of the reason the Ryan Building Group, the holding company of William Ryan Homes, started North Shore Builders in 2007. This division caters to a different client with a higher end product and specification levels than offered by William Ryan Homes, Beaver said.

“Bill Ryan started North Shore Builders after he saw his friends wanting to move home to the North Shore, but not being able to find anything under $2 million,” Beaver said. “Yet there were all kinds of teardown lots for which people couldn’t get financing because of the recession. We got the financing, bought the lots when no one else could, and were able to use our plans to build highly upgraded homes in Winnetka and sell them for only $999,990. It was a perfect time.”

While most of the homes that North Shore Builders has built have been on scattered sites around the North Shore communities, it currently is developing a 19-home subdivision on the former site of Kendall College in Evanston. In order to preserve Evanston’s unique character, North Shore Builders is replicating historic homes found elsewhere in Evanston, using modern techniques and materials. Home styles include French Provincials, Tudors and other historic styles.

“We have worked with Evanston’s historic committee to develop these homes that are brand new, but look old,” she said. “We only have seven or eight lots left and it has turned out really well.”

What do you like best about being a builder?

“I enjoy helping people realize the type of home that they want. It is a huge kick to help people achieve the American dream. I particularly enjoy watching them see the colors and floors and other amenities they picked come together to become a home — and then handing them the keys.

“When people build a home, they are experiencing a lifestyle change and, as a builder, you are a part of that. I also enjoy running the operations side of this business because I am a problem-solver.”

What are the biggest changes you have seen in the business over the years?

“Of course, homes have become much more energy-efficient and the energy codes are now starting to mandate things that we have been doing for years. But we are always looking at all sides of building science. Even during the recession we were looking for added value for our buyers. We weren’t necessarily dropping prices, but we were getting our suppliers to add more value for the same price and explaining that to our buyers.”

Can you offer any glimpses into the future of William Ryan Homes in the Chicago area?

“I really feel we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I feel good about 2015 and expect to see a healthy market. We are budgeting for growth, not through selling more houses per community but through selling a consistent number of homes in more communities.

“Our goal is to be in the top ten builders in every market in which we do business around the country: Chicago, Milwaukee, Madison (Wisconsin), Phoenix and Tampa (Florida).”

For more information about William Ryan Homes or North Shore Builders, visit www.WilliamRyanHomes.com.

Source: Jean Murphy; The Daily Herald  February 7th 2015

 

Building in Top Ranked School Districts

Categories: New Homes Madison | Posted: February 6, 2015

West Prairie Village in Sun Prairie, Westbridge in Waunakee, Bishops Bay in Middleton and Scenic Ridge in Verona all are within the top 15 Best Public School Districts in Wisconsin!

Click here for full list and rankings.

Madison home builder, William Ryan Homes is proud to build energy efficient homes from 13 flexible and timeless home designs with over 1,000,000 different finish options. Visit our models today to discover why at William Ryan Homes “We Make it Easy” to build your new home.

50+ Shades of Gray

Categories: New Homes Madison | Posted: February 3, 2015

 

50+ Shades of Gray 50+ Shades of Gray 50+ Shades of Gray 50+ Shades of Gray

Whether you spell it gray or grey, this color has quickly gained momentum in home decorating. Ranging from almost black to almost white and suiting both modern and traditional decors, gray is as versatile in its use as it is in name. It can add warmth, sophistication or serenity to your room and works great as a background for any other color. But gray is not a very dynamic color and can be tricky to decorate with. A room decorated in only gray can start to feel drab and sterile. If you love gray but you’re not sure how to decorate, these general decorating rules should help you create a space that is anything but dull.

Tips for Decorating with Gray

  • All shades of gray can be good, neutral background colors. Use lighter gray colors in place of white and darker gray in place of black.
  • Unless you have quite a bit of experience in decorating, avoid cool gray shades with green undertones. This color can seem institutional unless you know how to use it. Though don’t shy away from warm olive or khaki grays; these shades can make a room feel warm and welcoming.
  • Try mixing gray with a warm color for balance. Gray looks fabulous mixed with orange, yellow or citron green, and color adds a playful contrast to sophisticated gray. If you are trying to achieve a softer look in your space, the right shade of gray can even hold its own next to a warm taupe, ivory or chocolate brown.
  • Make gray cheerful by pairing it with white moldings, chairs and a woven shade. Balance cool hues with warm neutrals introduced through wood tables, cane chairs and woven rugs. Add splashes of dynamic color such as coral or citron. Warm wood furniture and floors support a look that inviting.
  • If you don’t have much natural light in your room, stick with warm shades of gray. But in a room with a lot of natural light, cool grays (or blue grays) can bring a sense of calm to a space.
  • If you plan to paint your walls gray and your room is small, consider painting the ceiling one or two shades lighter than your wall color. This can often create a beautiful effect in a small space. If the wall color is already a light shade of gray, try continuing the color across the molding and ceiling for an elegant, modern look.

So, you can call it ash, charcoal, dove, dusty, gunmetal, heather, iron, lead, mousy, oyster, pearl, powder, silver, slate, smoky, steel, stone, or taupe, today’s gray tones are sophisticated, interesting, and exude a calming, tranquil effect. It the new neutral that goes with everything and makes every room look instantly pulled-together.

Madison home builder, William Ryan Homes is proud to build energy efficient homes from 13 flexible and timeless home designs with over 1,000,000 different finish options. Visit our showroom in Monona today to find your favorite shade of gray and discover why at William Ryan Homes “We Make it Easy” to build your new home.

Granite vs Quartz

Categories: New Homes Madison | Posted: January 27, 2015

William Ryan Homes Blog William Ryan Homes Blog William Ryan Homes Blog William Ryan Homes Blog  William Ryan Homes Blog

Among the several decisions you make when building your William Ryan Home, is the choice between granite and quartz. This is not an easy decision, as the distinction between the two countertop materials isn’t directly apparent. So we’ve compared the two products to help you decide.

  1.  Natural or Man-Made? Both countertop materials are overwhelmingly made of natural product:
    • Granite: 100% natural. Granite counter are literally sliced from quarries, cut to the desired size and then honed until smooth.
    • Quartz: 95% natural. Natural quartz aggregates are mixed with polymer resins (to bind the particles) and pigments (to color the stone). It’s made of natural materials, but manipulated to suite our color needs.
  2. Cost. Prices of both materials continually shift because they are sourced overseas and are container-shipped across the oceans, so prices are highly dependent on petroleum prices. William Ryan Homes is proud to include granite countertops in all their kitchens.
    • Granite: 2cm granite countertops included; upgraded thickness and color choices available.
    • Quartz: An upgrade with several color choices in two price levels.
  3. Maintenance. Both require some maintenance, but one much more than the other.
    • Granite: Needs to be sealed upon installation, and then again on a regular basis. Granite should be wiped dry after cleaning. Avoid using anything acidic or containing vinegar, as both will eat away at the sealant.
    • Quartz: No initial or continued sealing; just wipe with soapy water for daily upkeep. But avoid scouring pads which could dull the surface, and harsh chemicals that could break down the bonds between the quartz and resins.
  4. Durability. Stone, whether natural or engineered, seems like it should be invincible. However, there are some major tolerance variations.
    • Granite: Natural slab granite, all though knows for its beauty, still has flaws and imperfections. Homeowners either love, hate or accept these, as they cannot be completely avoided. Granite is naturally porous, so it can be permanently stained. It is particularly sensitive to red wine.
    • Quartz: Engineered stone means flaws have been removed. You will not find invisible striations waiting to crack open as you do with granite. Quartz is highly stain-resistant, as it is a nonporous material.
  5. Carbon Footprint. Neither one emits significant amounts of radon or volatile organic compounds, but there are some difference.
    • Granite: Produces fewer carbon emissions during production than quartz countertops. It is not a renewable resource, in that colors are limited to the quarry and quantities available.
    • Quartz: Uses waste materials to create rather than quarrying new materials. Because it is non-porous, bacteria will not grow on it.

So which material is better for you? This dilemma can best be tackled by a discussion of the key features of each type of countertop and how each fits your needs and budget. Both types of countertops have their advantages and disadvantages, and different people have different preferences. Your decision to buy a granite or quartz countertop will largely depend on your preference and the basic features each type of countertop has to offer.

Madison home builder, William Ryan Homes is proud to build energy efficient homes from 13 flexible and timeless home designs with over 1,000,000 different finish options, including both quartz and granite. Visit our models today to discover why at William Ryan Homes “We Make it Easy” to build your new home.

US Home Sales Rise in December

Categories: New Homes Madison | Posted: January 23, 2015

Home sales were higher in December, but the total sales slipped in 2014 as first-time buyers struggled to find houses.

Only 29 percent of sales went to first-time buyers last month, compared to a historic average of 40 percent. With relatively few homes on the market, William Ryan Homes says “if you can’t find a home, build it!”

Read full article here.

Madison home builder, William Ryan Homes is proud to build energy efficient homes from 13 flexible and timeless home designs with over 1,000,000 different finish options. Visit our Sheridan model in Sun Prairie or our Jericho model in Verona. Discover why at William Ryan Homes “We Make it Easy” to build your new home.

Farewell to 2014, Cheers to 2015!

Categories: New Homes Chicago, New Homes Madison, New Homes Milwaukee, New Homes Phoenix, New Homes Tampa | Posted: December 30, 2014

Happy New Year from William Ryan Homes

Have a safe and joyful 2015 from your friends at William Ryan Homes!

Seasons Greetings!

Categories: New Homes Chicago, New Homes Madison, New Homes Milwaukee, New Homes Phoenix, New Homes Tampa | Posted: December 23, 2014

Happy Holidays from William Ryan Homes

Happy Holidays from our family to yours!

 

Snow Blower Safety

Categories: New Homes Madison | Posted: December 12, 2014

Snow Blower Safety from William Ryan Homes

Winter in Wisconsin means snow…and lots of it! Many find snow blowers to be very advantageous to dealing with the several inches of accumulation, but they do come with risks. Here are some tips to keep you safe when using a snow blower.

 

  • Follow all manufacturers’ instructions.
  • Always turn off the engine before clearing a clog at the auger or discharge chute. Use a clearing tool, never your hand or foot, to remove the clog.
  • Protect yourself from carbon-monoxide poisoning by starting and running any gas powered machine outside instead of in your garage, shed or warehouse.
  • Don’t wear loose pants, jackets, scarves or other clothing which could get caught in the various moving parts.
  •  Never refuel while the snow blower is running. If you have an electric model, use an outdoor extension cord and outlet with a ground-fault circuit interrupter protection. Be sure to keep the cord safely away from the spinning auger while working.
  • Take precautions for cold weather activities like stay hydrated, keep warm, dress in layers, cover your face and hands, take frequent breaks, and wear slip protection.

 

Madison home builder, William Ryan Homes is proud to build energy efficient homes from 13 flexible and timeless home designs with over 1,000,000 different finish options. Visit our models today to discover why at William Ryan Homes “We Make it Easy” to build your new home. Right now, sign a contract by January 1 and receive a free fireplace to keep you warm throughout these chilly Wisconsin winters.*

*Free fireplace includes Level 1 corner, side or rear fireplace with painted white OSB mantle and your color choice of granite facing.
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