The Top 3 Tips for Building Your Kit Home, Part 3: Plan for the Future

man with the future in a thought bubble

As we rapidly approach the end of the 2020 building season, we wanted to give a jump-start to those who are looking to start the process in order to build in 2021. This is the third of three posts addressing the issues of Setting a Realistic Budget, Getting (and Staying) Organized, and Planning for the Future.

It is a law of the universe that time stops for nobody. Try as we might, there is no way to hold back the tide of the ticking clock and the turning calendar. This constant marching of time need not always be negative – for many, 2020 cannot end soon enough. Regardless of your outlook, it is undeniable that the progress of time leads to change. This change will inevitably affect your living space, as you will spend a good portion of your life in your home. These factors may include things like maintenance and energy costs, changes in life stages and space requirements, or simply the process of getting older. This post will highlight some of the key future considerations that will affect the design and options for your new kit home.

Energy Efficiency in a Changing World

The energy required to run your home is not cheap. Nationwide, the average cost of energy has matched or slightly outpaced the rate of inflation over the last 15 years. In California, the increase in energy prices has exceeded the rate of inflation by roughly 50%. The effect of this increase is that we are spending a greater share of our income on energy every year. If you follow the news about the big energy companies in California, you know that energy prices in the future are likely to remain volatile for some time.

Another factor in the energy equation is regulation. California already has a solar requirement for all new buildings, and many other states are not far behind. The 2019 update to the California Building Code also mandated that solid wood corners and channels be used, increasing the energy efficiency of new construction. Just as with energy prices, it is likely that these regulations will only become more stringent as added energy efficiency becomes standard in all new residential construction over the coming years.

The short story is this: even if your new home will meet all the current energy codes, the cost to power your home will continue to cost you more money. Energy efficient upgrades, though an investment up front, will continue to increase in value over time. A PMHI panelized home kit comes with a few of those upgrades as standard features. Our roof truss systems are PV solar panel ready. Our standard exterior walls are 2x6, allowing for more efficient insulation. Our standard windows are the Milgard Tuscany line with Low-E SunCoat®, with the option of SunCoatMAX®. All these little features add up to a more energy-efficient home that will save you money in the long run.

Space Needs for a Changing Life

Whether you live alone, in a house with kids, or with live-in parents or grandparents, there is one thing that is certain: you guessed it – Change! While no one can perfectly predict what the future holds, here are a few considerations that you should keep in mind as you look at building your own home. If you are looking to face the changes in your life without having to change your house, consider the following:

  • Upkeep: As time passes, will the maintenance of this home become too much to manage? Are there features that would be nice now that would become a nuisance later?
  • Layout: How many bedrooms and bathrooms do I need now? In 5 years? 10 years? 20 years? Are there ways that I can design broad-purpose rooms, going from office to bedroom to den/guestroom?
  • ADUs: Does an ADU (accessory dwelling unit) make sense as a rental or granny unit now, eventually becoming the primary residence? (This option makes a lot of sense for those who have a strong desire to stay in the same place. The ADU is added as a rental property. You can later use the ADU as a Granny Unit if you have live-in parents of grandparents. Eventually, when you no longer need the space of the larger main house, you move in to the ADU and have the larger house as rental income).

No matter what stage of life you are in right now, or what stage you will be in 15 years from now, PMHI panelized home kits provide you with endless options. We can modify any of our Pre-Engineered plans, or we can build a completely custom house. Whatever changes lie in your future, PMHI can help you prepare.

The “Missing Middle” of American Seniors

Back in July, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) published an article entitled “Addressing the Needs of Middle Income Seniors”. This article focused on seniors that “have too much income to qualify for public assistance, but they are not affluent enough to access different housing choices or personal services.” Because the number of Americans over the age of 65 is expected to double by 2029 (to 100 million), this group will have a major impact on home buying (and building) in the coming years. If you are in this demographic, or if you will be soon, it is never too soon to consider the design of your home and how it will complement your future lifestyle.

The NAHB lists a handful of features that are a necessity for senior living. Among these are:

  • Single story
  • In-unit washers and dryers
  • Wide doorways and turnarounds
  • Accessibility (limited or no threshold)
  • Small size
  • Attached garages (particularly in cold climates)

PMHI is not new to this kind of thinking. Since 2011 we have offered Transitional Home Environment (T.H.E.) pre-engineered plans and optional features. These plans and features include:

  • Stepless Entries
  • 3’ wide doors and hallways
  • Structural backing in hallways (for future handrail installation)
  • Casement Windows (with mechanisms on the bottom instead of the middle)
  • Accessible furnace filters
  • Alternate lighting plans (for increased illumination)
  • Accessible electrical design
  • Accessible kitchen design

The T.H.E. designs are also economical in size and price. With efficient use of a small footprint, simple layout, and a simple roofline, our T.H.E. designs pack a lot of value and features into a comfortable space. Panelized construction also reduces cost and build time, making it easy to build The Last Home You’ll Ever Need to Build.

We hope you enjoyed this blog series on the Top 3 Tips for Building Your Kit Home. If you have any questions about any of the topics we discussed (Budget, Organization, Planning), please fill out the form below or contact your local PMHI Dealer.

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