Torron Group Blog

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


Come See the New Construction in Springfield Commons!!!!


We’re building a new single-family home on Lot 39 in Springfield Commons. Our new home will sit between two nicely designed, traditional style homes near the woods, enabling us to enjoy the wildlife that occasionally strolls out into the open field. All locations in Springfield Commons give neighbors an opportunity to get to know each other while enjoying a relaxing evening, sitting on their front porches. One neighbor in Springfield Commons had the opportunity to watch baby fawns mature into adult deer over the summer.


You may be wondering why we chose to build in Springfield Commons. When we decided to build a new home, we concluded that we wanted to build in a small community that would give us the opportunity to get to know our neighbors. Furthermore, maintenance-free living is very important. We don’t want the worry of shoveling snow and mowing grass.

 Another thing we took into consideration was the school district. We want to live in a district with a reputation for offering a great education. The State College Area School District has received national acknowledgement for balancing academic competitiveness, accreditation, instructional expenditures, and small class sizes. The School District ranked 26th out of 498 Pennsylvania school districts in 2012.

After looking for vacant lots available within the State College Area School District, we came to the conclusion that Springfield Commons offered everything on our wish list.

The hike/bike way is located near our lot, and it leads to the historical town of Boalsburg.

 The Homeowners Association is very active within the community, hosting summer picnics and holiday parties for the residents in the community center. The community center is also available for free to all residents for family reunions, birthday parties and other functions. And there is no need to join a gym as all the equipment is available 24 hours a day, every day in the Community Center.

Being an avid Penn State fan, we love that Beaver Stadium only 15 minutes away by car!

It was also important to us to be able to choose our own builder to construct our dream home. Springfield Commons is open to all builders, so after researching builders, we decided to contact Pinehurst Homes. Why Pinehurst Homes? We chose Pinehurst Homes because they have been building homes for 23 years and have developed a reputation of building quality homes at a fair price.

Check back often to follow the construction of our new home on Lot 39!!! Perhaps this will be your dream home!!!!

Stay tuned for photos and more information! Watch our home go up!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Springfield Commons

“A Neighborhood for Everyone”

Nestled at the foot of Tussey Mountain, Springfield Commons offers you the opportunity for building and living in a community with a friendly, hometown atmosphere. Springfield
Commons is just a 5-minute walk from the historic Boalsburg, and 10-15 minute drive to The Pennsylvania State University and downtown State College.

Springfield Commons was designed to be a Traditional Neighborhood to complement the historic character of Boalsburg. Recognized as the birth place of Memorial Day, the village of Boalsburg dates back to before the revolutionary war.  The main area of the village, known as the “Diamond in Boalsburg,” is surrounded by small shops and the historic restaurant “Duffy’s Tavern,” and was once a stage coach stop.

Springfield Commons has a mix of housing designs including single-family detached Village homes and Carriage Homes (duplexes) to catch the eye of families, empty nesters, and retirees. To maintain the character and integrity of the community, NO two homes will look the same from the street!

The homes will all have front porches, will sit close to the street, and will be clustered together to encourage interaction between neighbors as they walk by on the community sidewalks.


A few of the many features offered at Springfield Commons
    include:
  • A Community Center serves as a gathering place where residents meet and have social functions. Residents have the right to reserve the Community Center for weddings receptions, birthday parties, family reunions, etc. Within the Community Center, there are meeting rooms, fitness center, and a complete kitchen available for residents use.
  • The Homeowner’s Association provides lawn care, snow removal from all private driveways and sidewalks, and maintenance to all common areas and the community center. In addition, the monthly homeowner fee includes; internet, sewer service and maintenance of the community center.
  • All homes will have high quality construction and Energy Star Certification is available.
  • CATA bus services are available from the Torrey Lane, next to the development. County van service is available for seniors.
  • While sitting on your porch, or taking a stroll through the neighborhood, enjoy the visions of wildlife that strolls through the open space in Springfield Commons. During winter months, feed the birds from you back deck while anxiously anticipating the arrival of spring!
  • Choose your own floor plans and builder.
  • For the family with young children, there is a tot lot in the community to take your children to play.
  • With only a limited number of units being built in the development, residents have the opportunity to get to know their neighbors and to become a close knit community that watches out for each other. When raising your family or having your elderly parents retire to a community where everyone knows everyone else, this gives you an added peace of mind, knowing that there is always someone looking over them, an added sense of security when you cannot always be there.

The location of Springfield Commons offers a wide array of entertainment possibilities!
Some of these include:
  • Tussey Mountain, offers a variety of activities in both summer and winter months. During the summer you won’t want to miss the Tussey Mountain “Wingfest” or the State College Brew Expo located at the top of Tussey Mountain with food, live music and over 50 brewers; during winter months get out there and enjoy skiing, sledding and don’t forget tubing down the mountain. All of which is sure to put a smile on the faces of both young and old!
  • Ag Progress Days is Pennsylvania’s biggest agricultural expo, and it is right here in our backyard. Featuring the latest in agricultural, technology and research, great foods, and lots of mighty machines, there is certain to be something for all age groups.
  • The World famous Grange Fair has been a family tradition in Happy Valley for over 100 years. Good food, competitions, games and entertainment, something for everyone!

Are you a Penn State football fan? How about a Spikes fan? Living in Springfield Commons, you will be only 15 minutes from the stadium.

Swimming, State Parks, Golf Courses and so much more, some of which is within walking distance of Springfield Commons! How could you not be happy living in Springfield Commons??

For more information on what Springfield Common has to offer, visit www.springfieldcommons.net.


Stay tuned for some interviews with the residents of Springfield Commons, telling us why they chose to build there!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Budgeting Process!

The primary purpose of creating a budget is for understanding and controlling the cost of building your dream home.

Knowing your spending limits will go a long way toward keeping you out of financial trouble on your project, especially during the preparation of your plans and specifications. Your first budget estimate will give you an indication of whether or not your plans are feasible or if you will need to make some design changes. Your final "working" budget will be developed when you complete the cost estimating process.

The process of constructing your budget begins with determining how much you can afford to spend on your home. Deciding how much home you can afford isn’t all that difficult; lenders use qualifying formulas to determine how much you can afford to pay each month. The formulas will vary from bank to bank but generally they compare your income to your debt payments.


Qualifying Formula

If you take your monthly payments (house payment, car loan, charge cards, etc. - not utilities, food, entertainment) and divide it by the sum of all your monthly income, the number you come up with should not exceed .33 to .36, depending on the percentage of the cost of the home you are planning to borrow (80%, 90%, 95%?).

Another typical guideline is that the total monthly house payment should not exceed 25% of your stable monthly income.

Once you have determined how much home you can afford to build, there are two things that must be taken into consideration when developing a building budget -- hard costs and soft costs. Hard costs include labor and material needed to build your home. Soft costs consist of everything else.

The budget estimate for hard and soft costs below can be considered to be a study of the cost so the potential homebuilder can determine if the style of home you have chosen is feasible.  For the purpose of determining the feasibility of our project, we are going to do our calculations based of a hard cost estimate of $200,000.00.


CONSTRUCTION BUDGET ESTIMATE BY PERCENTAGE OF HARD COSTS


  (Material and Labor only)
PHASES
NOTES
Excavation
3 %
Full Basement
Structural Concrete
7 %
Footer, Walls, Flatwork
Framing
23 %
Floors, Walls, Sheath, Trusses
Roofing
3 %
3-tab asphalt shingles
Windows
4 %
Vinyl to energy code
Plumbing
5 %
Rough and Finish
Electrical
5 %
Rough and Finish
HVAC
5 %
Rough and Finish
Masonry
1 %
Decorative only
Siding
4 %
Walls and Exterior Trim
Insulation
2 %
Floors, Walls, Ceiling
Drywall
5 %
Hang, Tape, Finish, Texture
Sewer Hook-up
1 %
Ditch and Connectors
Water Hook-up
1 %
Ditch and Connectors
Paint/Stain
2 %
Interior and Exterior
Trim Package
12 %
Cabs, Counter, Doors, Millwork
Garage Doors
1 %
2 Doors with Openers
Floor Coverings
7 %
Vinyl and Carpet
Appliances
4 %
Standard Brand in White
Deck
1 %
Structural and Finish
Storm water
1 %
Gutters, Downspouts, Drains
Exterior Concrete
2 %
Garage Apron and Sidewalk
Final Grade
1 %
Machine and Hand Work
100 %



The soft costs are even more difficult to estimate because they are in proportion to the hard costs. A review of the following items will provide a general guide for what you must take into consideration for soft costs. Assign a cost to these items based on their percentage of the total hard cost estimate.

With a projected hard cost estimate of $200,000.00, your soft costs would increase the project budget by an additional 50% (or $100,000.00). The total cost of your construction project including hard costs and soft costs would be $300,000.00.


CONSTRUCTION BUDGET ESTIMATE BY PERCENTAGE OF SOFT COSTS


1.
All Permits (may differ)
8 %
(depending on your state)
2.
Builder's Overhead and Profit
10 %
(may vary greatly)
3.
Site Survey
1 %
4.
Off-site Utilities
10%
5.
Clean-up and Recycle/Refuse
1 %
6.
State Sales Tax (may differ)
8 %
(depending on your state)
7.
Landscaping
2 %
8.
Architect/Designer's Fee
10 %
(may vary greatly)
50%


Also included in the cost of your home is the builder’s overhead and profit. The following chart will give you an idea of the breakdown of these costs. . The breakdown is based on a 10% fee of the $200,000.00 total hard cost estimate. For example, let's again assume your estimate of total hard costs will be $200,000.00. With Builder's Overhead and Profit at 10% the amount would be $20,000.00.


BUILDER'S OVERHEAD AND PROFIT BREAKDOWN


1.
Phone, Fax, Mail
5%
2.
Outdoor Toilet
5%
3.
Office Equipment, Supplies
5%
4.
Rental Equipment, Tools
5%
5.
Automobile Gas, Maintenance
5%
6.
Temporary Heat, Power
5%
7.
Builder's Bond/Liability Insurance
5%
8.
Miscellaneous Hardware
5%
9.
Job Shack
5%
10.
Overhead Labor
10%
11.
Bid/Negotiations
5%
12.
Superintendent
20%
13.
Profit
20%
100%

The next chart breaks down the Designer’s Fee. This breakdown is based on 10% of the $200,000.00 hard cost estimate.  With Designer’s fees at 10%, that amount would be $20,000.00.


ARCHITECT/DESIGNER'S FEE BREAKDOWN


1.
Schematic Design
15%
2.
Design Development
20%
3.
Contract Documents
40%
4.
Bid/Negotiations
5%
5.
Construction Observation
20%
100%

Based on our budget estimator, to build a $200,000.00 home, you will be looking at a final cost of approximately $340,000.00.

Keep in mind that this Budget is just an approximation. It's a way for you to better understand how money may be proportioned into different categories. Most contractors have their own standards for distributing the cost of all the different categories.
If the cost estimate is more then what you can afford, you should review the budgeting process:

  1. Identify priorities: If you know there is something you absolutely cannot live without, then put that item on your list of priorities.
  2. Recognize trade-offs: If an item on your “must have” list is more expensive than you determined it to be, what you would trade off in order to keep this item. For example, if you really must have imported marble tile in your kitchen, you might sacrifice a second fireplace in the downstairs.
  3. Do a cost/benefit analysis: What are the features you want to add to your family’s life or the appearance of your home? Determine if they are worth the cost.
  4. Revise cost estimates: Take your changes into consideration to determine if your vision for your new home is feasible.

Remember, a budget for a new home is a planning guide! Actual figures will come when the design is finished and a cost estimate is done from the actual labor and materials "takeoff."

Stay tuned for our next blog featuring: “Why we would chose to build in Springfield Commons”!