Thursday, December 5, 2013

Three Common Design Mistakes People Make When Planning Their Home

Custom Smart Homes takes home building seriously, that’s why we have so many satisfied customers.  People choose to work with our company for a variety of reasons.  Some want to live in brand new green homes, and others choose us because they heard good things about our services.  It isn’t uncommon for some people to choose Custom Smart Homes because they want to own a modular home.  Since modular homes come in a variety of pre-designed floor plans, our customers know that they won’t get any nasty surprises after construction is over.  Planning and designing a home isn’t easy, and it isn’t uncommon for people who are new to it to make a mistake.  When you’re planning your dream home, make sure you don’t make any of these common design mistakes.

Too much storage
You’ve always dreamed of having a spacious walk-in closet and a two door garage, but depending on the size of the rest of your home you may end up regretting your wish for extra storage space.  Your plot of land may seem large, but once you tack on extra storage space to your floor plan that plot is going to get much smaller.  Your big closets, basement, and garage will eat into space in your home, and your other rooms may have to lose some square feet in order to fit it all.  

Sealing windows
In a state where air conditioners are considered a necessity and not a luxury, it can be easy to take fresh air and air circulation for granted.  Some people choose to have certain windows permanently sealed so that they can avoid robbery attempts.  If you’re truly concerned about safety look into getting a home security system instead of sealing up your home.  Sealed windows pose a significant safety hazard, especially in case of a house fire or a need to evacuate quickly.  

“Specialty” Rooms
There are countless home owners that envision having a sewing room, a home office, a game room, or a workout room, but sometimes those visions don’t turn out the way they want them to.  Unless you’re an avid worker, exerciser, or gamer, you really don’t need an extra room solely devoted to that activity.  It’s more likely for your game room to turn into a storage center for boxes and other possessions than it is to become an actual game room.  Instead of designing a room to server one purpose, leave it open for other possible ideas.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Three Tips For Improving Your Customer Service

When you run a business your customers can make or break you, so it’s crucial for entrepreneurs to try to keep their clients as happy as possible.  There are some people that are just natural people pleasers, and having the urge to make others happy can be a valuable skill for every businessman.  Custom Smart Homes builds homes, but our customer service advice can be applied to any industry.   Wanting to make others happy is an admirable trait, but sometimes it can be easier said than done.  There’s nothing more difficult than trying to stay calm when you’re dealing with an angry and agitated customer, but if you remember to keep a few things in mind you won’t have a problem keeping your cool.

Find common ground

Have you ever heard of the concept of implicit egotism?  In layman’s terms, it’s a psychological concept that states that people generally like other people more if they have something in common.  If you can find a way to relate to your unhappy customer, your empathy can common traits can help you keep a customer.  If you have an unhappy customer that has a family, mention that you understand as a parent and family member how important it is for them to have exemplary products and services.  

Use positive language

“It’s not what you said, it’s the way that you said it.”
How many times have you heard that phrase during a disagreement?  The tone of our voice and our choice of words can profoundly affect how people react to us, so make sure that you keep things positive when you’re dealing with angry customers.  Avoid using words like “don’t”, “can’t”, “won’t”, and other words that have negative connotations.  Instead of saying that you can’t ship a certain product until the end of month, explain to the customer that the soonest that you’ll have the product will be by the end of the month, and that you’d be happy to place an order for them. 

Don’t rush

You obviously want to resolve the customer’s probably as quickly as possible, but if you rush to find a solution your customer may feel like you’re just trying to get them out of your hair.  Never assume that you know exactly what the problem is, even if they mentioned it to you before.  Always let them say whatever they need to say, and respond to their words accordingly.  Also don’t make the mistake of dealing with an upset customer when you’re busy with other tasks.  Even simply taking a call when you’re talking to them can seem disrespectful.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Home Design 101: Three Mistakes People Make When They Plan Their Home

The one thing people love about working with Custom Smart Homes is the fact that they get to design their own modular home.  Nationwide Homes has plenty of floor plans and layouts to choose from, but many people choose to get creative and add their own special features to their home.  We’ve built plenty of homes over the years, and we’ve seen home owners make the same mistakes over and over again.  When you’re designing your new dream home, try to avoid making these design mistakes.

Under estimating the amount of dining room space

The dining room has faded out of popularity in favor of kitchens and eating away from the kitchen table, but plenty of home owners envision having dinner parties in their fabulous new dining rooms.  A lot of people under estimate the amount of space they’re going to need in their dining room.  Think about it: you’ll need room for a long table, chairs, and guests, and all of them need to fit comfortable in the room.  There’s nothing worse than sitting elbow to elbow at a tightly packed table, so do your best to make your dining room as spacious as possible.

Forgetting about cabinet space

When you’re planning your kitchen make sure you have enough cabinets for cookware, glasses, dishes, appliances, and food.  When most people design their kitchen they think about where they want to put major appliance, and not about how they’re going to store their essential kitchen items.  Home builders and interior designers gush about having ample counter space, but if you want to have a functional and good looking kitchen you’re going to need a lot of cabinets for storage. 

Making a home too big

You’ve always envisioned that your dream home would be spacious, but having too much space can backfire on you.  Having space for the sake of space isn’t the most cost effective way to design a home.  You’re essentially going to be paying thousands of dollars for space you’ll never use.  You’ll also have the added problem of trying to maintain a large home.  Imagine spending time mowing a large lawn you never step on, and removing layers of dust from rooms you don’t spend time in.  Plan your home carefully and think about how you’re going to use each square foot.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Three Big Financial Mistakes Home Buyers Make

Custom Smart Homes has good reviews because we know everything there is to know about building homes.  When you’re busy planning to move into a home you designed, it’s naturally to get a little swept up in the excitement.  You’re spending time buying new things for your home, changing your address, and gushing to friends and family members about finally being able to have the home of your dreams.  Buying a new home is very exciting, but it’s also a huge financial commitment.  Purchasing a house is one the biggest financial decisions you’ll ever make, so you want to make sure you do everything right.  If you’re planning on buying a new home, make sure you avoid making these common money mistakes.

Forgetting about added costs

When most people make a budget for buying their home, they usually only factor in costs for the down payment and future mortgage payments.  When you’re buying a home, your money won’t just be going towards the cost of the actually home.  You’ll have to pay for utilities, property taxes, maintenance costs, insurance, and other services.  Talk to utility companies in your area and get an estimate on how much their services will cost.  You could also talk to neighbors and see what they have to say about utility costs.  Regardless of what you do, make sure you set aside funds for other home costs when you’re planning your budget.

Getting caught up in the feeling of “newness”

When some people buy a nice new home, they can get the urge to start buying new things that they may not need.  Your car may be running fine, but you decide to get a new one because the old one just doesn’t look as nice next to your home.  You see a beautiful dining room, and decide to toss out your old dining room furniture so you can get newer and better looking furniture.  Don’t let your finances be dominated novelty and appearance, try to avoid spending money on items you don’t really need once you move.

Putting down a nominal down payment

It may seem like a bargain when your lender says they’ll only require 4% of the total cost as a down payment, but that bargain will come back to haunt you later.  There isn’t anything inherently wrong with paying a cheap down payment, but it’ll leave you with a very small amount of equity in your home.  There’s also the added problem of having to pay for private mortgage insurance.  A lot of home buyers don’t know that many banks classify mortgages with that small of a down payment as “risky”, and to offset that risk banks make the owners pay for insurance in case something happens.  Those insurance payments will last until you have around 20% equity in your home, and that can take years to achieve.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Four Things Home Owners Wish They Had Done Sooner

Custom Smart Homes has built countless houses for people across the great state of Tennessee, and during our decades of business we’ve talked to a lot of families and future home owners.  When you’re planning a home it’s easy to get caught up in the big picture, but you can’t forget to plan and think about the little things that come along with planning and building a home.  Some people spend time focusing on having the right tile for the bathroom and having a big bay window in the living room, and forget about some of the fundamental aspects of planning a home.  They always say hindsight is 20/20, and there are some common things home owners wish they had done during the planning and purchasing process.

Saving sooner

The earlier you start saving for a new home, the better the home buying process will be.  If you wait till the last minute to start saving for your down payment, you could greatly under or overestimate just how much money you can afford to spend on your new home.  Don’t start saving when you decide on your dream home, you should start building your savings as soon as home buying thoughts enter your head.

Shopping around for mortgages

This ties in with the previous point.  If you spend too much time dreaming of your new home and not planning for it, you may not be able to handle the financial aspects of owning your new home.  Ideally you should shop around for everything you own, but this is especially true for people that are looking for a mortgage.  Don’t feel like you have to get a mortgage from the bank you’re currently with.  Check with different banks and even credit unions so that you can compare and contrast prices.  Saving $50 a month on your mortgage may not seem like that big of a difference, but that small savings you got from shopping around could save you thousands of dollars in the future.

Buying furniture before the move in

It may make sense for you to start doing your furniture shopping as soon as you have home to put it in, but you’ll be in a for an unpleasant experience when the only piece of furniture in your home for two weeks is a futon.  Don’t wait until the last minute to start furnishing your home.  Start buying your big items before the move, and opt to have them shipped to your home on moving day.  You’ll be much more comfortable in your new home, and you’ll be able to spend time settling and unpacking.

Thinking about the future

Your two bedroom home can be perfect for just you and your spouse, but if you decide to have kids your spacious two bedroom abode can get very cramped.  Nobody can see into the future, but you should try to anticipate what the next few years of your life will be like when you’re buying a home.   If you’re planning on having children, look for homes that have enough rooms.  If you’re going to be sending your kids to college, think about finding a home with rooms you can easily convert.