What to look for in your last home

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Are you thinking about building a home? Buying a home? Renovating your existing home?

You owe it to yourself to stop and think ahead. What if this were your last home? How would you live in it as you age? Could you navigate the shower? 

As a certified Aging-in-Place Specialist, I appreciate the point of view of financial columnist Liz Weston and her concerns for everyone. And so, I wanted to share her article with you: How to buy the last house you'll ever buy

My mom provided the motivation to seek my Aging-in-Place certification from the National Association of Home Builders. Here's a post from our Solluna blog archive that explains: Universal design

Building Affordability in Austin

Building Affordability in Austin

What does it mean to build affordable homes in Austin?  

  • Does that mean it costs less to build?  
  • Does it mean building homes for an income-sensitive population?
  • What about the investor who wants to offer affordable rents, but also wants appreciation gains on their property?
  • What about the Austin homeowner who needs the long-term rental income an “accessory dwelling unit” can provide?

Lots of questions and not always lots of answers.

I want to share this article I read in the Austin American-Statesman: A home away from home may aid city affordability.

For years, Solluna has tried to balance building homes that are market competitive to own but also affordable to operate. In upcoming blogs, we will talk more about these challenges.

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FAQ from the 2015 Cool House Tour

FAQ from the 2015 Cool House Tour

Once again this year the Solluna team was met with a constant stream of enthusiastic tour-goers visiting our Rosedale Rebuild home during the 19th annual Austin Cool House Tour held on Sunday, June 7. This home also earned 5 stars from the Austin Energy Green Building Program. As always, we had a blast meeting folks on the tour, answering questions, and showing them around. Here are just a few of the questions we answered most often.

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Helmet Time

Helmet Time

While researching for a blog topic this month, I spent some time looking back at all the past articles we’ve written. Do you know we’ve been writing and sending out these newsletters for almost five years? Five years! That’s a lot of material on the same general topic of sustainable home building. But -- as Monty Python would say – now for something completely different.

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Working with the Environment

Working with the Environment

As a follow-up to my blog post Building in a Boom Town, I want to talk a little bit about working with the environment. Now I’m not going to go all Al Gore on you and start preaching about how building green is good for the environment. Nope, I’m going to talk about the specific space where you will be building, or about the house you will be remodeling.

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Building in a Boom Town

Building in a Boom Town

Recent discussions with prospective clients have got me thinking about a problem we face here in Central Texas: a shortage of lots for custom homes. I’ve heard from clients who want to be within walking distance of a certain school. Others want to be located in a certain Austin neighborhood that was built 60 years ago. Others want to build a “tiny house” in a subdivision of McMansions. I get it. These are all nice ideas. We’re still seeing impressive growth in Austin. They tell us 100 to 110 people move to the Austin area every day. Due to this explosive growth, any larger tracts of land are quickly snatched up by developers with deep pockets as soon as the land comes on the market. And do we really need another high-rise condo building?

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Ways to Save Energy, Cut Your Bills

Ways to Save Energy, Cut Your Bills

Last week, we met with representatives from Green Mountain Energy, who asked to tour the net-zero energy home we built in Round Rock a few years back. Their company is the electrical provider for the home. They’re interested in helping their customers find ways to live more sustainably and reduce their energy costs at home, so they asked lots of questions about what motivated the homeowners to invest in energy-efficient features, in the geothermal heating/cooling system, and in solar photovoltaics.

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Why you need this book

Why you need this book

Thinking about building a new home?  Thinking about building a green, energy-efficient home? Just dreaming about it but don’t know what to dream? Let me tell you why I like the new book Green Home Building: Money Savings Strategies for an Affordable, Healthy, High-Performance Homeand why you need it on your bookshelf.

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Are We There Yet?

Are We There Yet?

As I prepare for my much needed vacation, I’m reminded of the times our family would load up the Vista Cruiser station wagon and take off on a road trip. With three boys in the back seat, it quickly became a chorus of “Are we there yet?” So I would like to ask the same question about sustainable home building. “Are we there yet?” The answer is quite simple, “Yes, no, maybe.” Let me throw out a few tidbits to gnaw on while you think about that answer.

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FAQs from the 2014 Cool House Tour

FAQs from the 2014 Cool House Tour

A sizeable, enthusiastic crowd of curious tour-goers visited our Blissful Oaks custom home during the 18th annual Austin Cool House Tour on Sunday, June 8.  This home earned 5 stars from the Austin Energy Green Building Program, and it won the 2014 Max Award for Best Green Home.  As always, we had a blast meeting folks on the tour, answering questions, and showing them around. Here are just a few of the questions we answered most often.

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Universal design

Universal design

What would happen if you broke a leg and had to hobble around on crutches? Stop and imagine: What level of independence can you expect? Can you navigate in your own home? Worse, what if you needed a wheelchair for a while? Can you get from the driveway into your home? Can you fit through the door into your bathroom? How will you use the toilet? Take a shower? Scramble an egg?

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Custom cabinets -- apples to apples

Custom cabinets -- apples to apples

In today’s faster and cheaper world, a lot of the most important decisions are based solely on price and how fast we can get it. Sometimes faster and cheaper is just that. When you’re comparing remote controls, you might stand there for 20 minutes looking at all the options before you decide. You pride yourself on finding the most bang for your buck, and move on. Maybe later you realize that you should have taken a little more time, and bought that one that was $5 more. We all do it, and usually end up buying twice.

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Should you get multiple bids?

Should you get multiple bids?

When planning a new custom home, most folks come to me with their builder already in tow. In fact, I'm surprised when a new client doesn't already have a builder as part of their team. The builder is often the single, most important person who will have the longest, closest contact with homeowners throughout the construction process, possibly even years after construction is done.

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