Benefits of Solar Powered Energy

Solar rooftop panels have increased in popularity within the last couple of years largely due to the fact that the price of clean energy has fallen. It has become more of a reasonable option for households to make the switch. The following are five reasons why solar panels are a beneficial option for homes all across America.

Clean Renewable Energy- Solar panels are a 100% clean and renewable source of energy which eliminates the reliance on fossil fuels like natural gas, coal, and oil. Solar energy produces no pollution and there is an unlimited source of energy being obtained from the sun. The panels will not harm the ozone layer but will only help to protect the environment.

Control Over Electricity – Solar panels give home owners the ability to control their electricity because the panels can store a large amount of electricity. For example, your energy is powered by the panels during the day and power by the stored energy at night. If there is an issue occurring for a high demand for electricity like during the summer, homes with solar panels will not experience a lack of electricity.  

Saves Money- Utility bills are increasing every year and installing solar panels can reduce your electric bill dramatically. The sun admits energy on sunny days, cloudy days, and even cold days and therefore rooftop panels store energy year round. Some solar panels even have the possibility to generate more electricity than your home needs. In those cases, your electricity bill can cost you nothing!

Tax Breaks- There are federal, state, and local tax breaks available for households with installed solar rooftop panels. As of 2016, you can claim 30% of the cost of installing panels in your home. This incentive helps reduce the cost of installation and qualifies home owners for tax breaks. In addition, homes with solar-energy systems sold 4.1% more on average than a home without installed energy systems, according to Zillow.

Inexpensive- The cost to install solar panels has decreased throughout the years. In fact, the cost has fallen more than 70% in the last decade. In addition, the cost of home solar batteries has also decreased. Lastly, the cost of maintenance for panels is inexpensive as well.   


How Do New Homes Appreciate in Value?

It is a common misconception that custom homes do not and cannot appreciate in value. Due to the custom features and one-of-a-kind design of the home, it makes the re-sale value of your home less appealing to a buyer whose custom needs were not taken into consideration when constructing the home. The depreciation of a home over time is hard to avoid, especially in a custom home. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to limiting depreciation and maximizing the overall value of your home.

Location- Choosing to build your home in a prime location is imperative. Homes with water access, within a great school district, and a good community can help your home appreciate in value. Building a home in an up and coming community can be daunting. However, if you are savvy enough to find a location in a soon to be popular location, the value of your home will more than likely increase.

Quality- A home built with the highest quality in mind will ensure that it’s value will remain constant. At Dreamcraft we use the highest quality products to ensure that the customer will not need to do renovations in the future because of the home lacking durability. When cheap products are used to build a home, home owners will eventually need to renovate certain areas of the house. Building with quality in mind from the beginning will save you money in the long run.

Updates and Changes- Nonetheless, all renovations do not have to be costly. Making small home improvements over time will ensure your home stays up to date. For example, changing up the paint color or adding additions to a backyard deck can help in the smallest way. Since a custom home is built with your custom needs in mind, small home changes will ensure that the custom features are not too overwhelming for potential new home owners. 

Curb Appeal- The overall curb appeal of your home is essential when listing it on the market. First impressions in real estate is critical as it can either lure potential buyers in, or turn them away from possibly buying the home. Up-to-date landscaping and exterior home care is one of the easiest ways to achieve a great first impression of your home. Although your home is custom, the exterior upkeep and landscaping is not necessarily custom and can attract more potential buyers.   

Inflation- Inflation is inevitable over time in the real estate industry and can benefit the re-sale price of a custom home. When interest rates are low and building/buying a home is more affordable, there is a natural increase in the demand of homes. If that home supply remains constant over time, home prices will increase as a result.

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Pros and Cons of a Finished Basement

When starting the design process for your dream home there is the option to finish the basement along with the rest of the home, or leave it unfinished. It is important to take into consideration your budget and construction time span when deciding between these two options. That is why we put together a list of the pros and the cons of a finished basement.


Increases Resale Value- A finished basement is attractive to prospective buyers because it is considered a “turn-key” home when selling in the future. Especially if other properties in the neighborhood do not have a finished basement, the value of your home will be higher.

Increases Living Area- A finished basement adds more livable square footage in your home without building any additions or bump outs. Finished basements have the space for additional bedrooms, a second family room, a workout space, etc.

Added Private Space- The space in your basement can be used as a quiet area away from the kids and chaos of the rest of the home. Or it can be transformed into a play room for the kids!


Increased Cost of Building- Finishing the basement will increase the final cost to build your home. If you are on a tight budget, a finished basement will be more expensive and therefore an unfinished basement might be the more viable option. 

Time Consuming- Finishing the basement in your home is going to take longer than leaving it unfinished. It could take several more weeks to complete and if you are impatient to move in, this might not be the best option for you.

Higher Utility Bills- Using the extra living space in the basement will require heating, cooling, and lighting. Therefore, the basement will increase the home’s utility bills in the long run.  

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Where Should I Put My Laundry Room?

When designing the layout of your home there are a lot of options where to install appliances and other home necessities. Your laundry room is an essential part of keeping your home clean and tidy. That’s why it is important to weigh the options when deciding where to place the laundry room in your floor plan. We have compiled a list of four common laundry room locations and the pros and cons of each to ensure that your custom home design process runs smoothly.


Placing your laundry room in the basement reduces the noise level when the machines are running, and the room remains out of sight from the main floor. Basements often have extra square footage to put a laundry room so the downstairs location has more storage options, area for tables, and folding stations. The extra space in the basement creates a productive laundry room. However, installing the laundry in the basement and away from where clothes are kept can be a hassle. Making multiple trips up and down the stairs may not be worth it to you. 

Upstairs Near Bedrooms

Installing the laundry room upstairs near the bedrooms is efficient, makes it simple to run frequent loads, and easy to put away clean clothes. In addition, placing the laundry on the upper level keeps any mess away from the main area of your home. However running a load of laundry is noisy, so having it located next to your bedroom might not be worth it for a compromised quiet space upstairs. Another potential issue for this location is a plumbing complication. If a flood occurs in the laundry room, it might affect the entire home.


Keeping your laundry in the hallway has a lot of benefits. Being able to shut the closet door to conceal the room is convenient. In addition, you are able to choose what hallway to install the appliances in. It can be located in the upstairs hallway, a hallway near a bathroom, or in a mudroom on the main floor. However, there might be less room for folding which can create a “traffic jam” situation in the hallway. In addition, there may be potential design limitations due to limited to water lines in the chosen hallway.


Placing your laundry room in the kitchen moves all of the workloads to the main level of the home; the cooking and laundry is done in one place. Water lines are already planned to be installed in the kitchen and the appliances can be hidden seamlessly within matching kitchen cabinetry. However, this can take up kitchen storage and when you fold the laundry it will be done in the same location as your cooking space, which might not be ideal for some home owners.


Custom Home Dictionary

Building a new home can be confusing if you are unfamiliar with the terms used in the construction industry. Builders, agents, and workers alike use a unique language and vocabulary that is not commonly used by the everyday individual. That is why Dreamcraft has put together a “custom home dictionary” with frequently used words to help you better understand the everyday dialogue used during the process of building your dream home.

Aggregate: a type of material used in the foundation of a home that is made up of crushed stone and/or sand. It is most often found in concrete.

Areaway: a sunken area that gives access, light, and air to a basement.

Backfill: filling in the holes and/or trenches left behind from excavation, typically around the foundation of a home.

Build in Reverse: when an existing plan needs to be flipped due to customer desire or structure of lot. For example, the garage was originally planned to be on the left size of the house but will be flipped to the right size of the home when “building in reverse”.

Construction Permanent Financing: type of loan is used to finance the construction of a home. Banks lend the money to customers and when the home is finalized it is converted into a mortgage loan. This is the type of financing Dreamcraft uses.

Egress: there are laws which require a certain number of exits in a home. An egress is simply a way to exit a home and in most cases it is an “egress window” that is located in the basement. For basement bedrooms, egress windows are required.

Elevation: drawings that show the design of a home and how it will look from different angles.

HVAC: this is an acronym for “heat, ventilation, and air conditioning” and refers to the type of technology used to keep your home warm, cool, and maintain great air quality.

Joists: are used during the framing process, they horizontally span between walls or beams and provide support for the walls or ceiling of the home. We use engineered I-joists to create more stability for your floors and reduce squeaks.

Perc Test: or a percolation test, measures the absorption rate of soil around your lot. This lays out the septic tank plans, infiltration, and the capacity levels. 

Public Sewer: the home’s sewage that is connected to the public sewer system installed by the jurisdiction.

Public Water: the home’s water that is connected to the public water system installed by the jurisdiction.

Rough-in: all of the internal infrastructure of the home that is installed after framing; like plumbing, electrical, and HVAC.

Section: a vertical or “cut through” look at the internal components of the home to show how it is built from foundation through the roof.

Septic Sewer: if there is no public sewer, a septic tank must be installed. Septic sewer installation requires a Perc Test for your lot.

Stud: vertical fundamental pieces of framing that support the walls of the home. They come in either 2X4 or 2X6, and at Dreamcraft we always use 2X6 studs to maintain the highest quality possible in our homes.

Subdivision: the division of land to create multiple lots to build homes on.

Subfloor: the flooring installed prior the main flooring of a home to provide support. At Dreamcraft, we use Advantech Subflooring to maximize durability over time.

Trades: refers to HVAC, plumbing, electrical, and any other speciality contractors.

Truss: pre-made, triangular, wooden structures that support the roof. It helps distribute the weight of the home to the exterior walls and away from the top.

Well Water: if there is not public water, well water is installed.


You Make a Home Custom

It’s not what we think is custom, it’s what YOU think is custom. That is what building a custom home with Dreamcraft is all about. When looking to settle into a new place it is important to keep in mind the idea of designing your own home from scratch. The possibilities are endless when partnering with a custom builder. You are able to design a completely unique space that is functional for you and your family.

One of the biggest customizable changes in your home is the size of rooms. For example, you have a big extended family and you want to ensure that everyone will fit around the dinner table. You can choose the size of your dining space to comfortably fit the whole family.

Also, the layout of your new home can be constructed to meet your specific needs when partnering with Dreamcraft. Whether you want an open concept home or a compartmentalized layout, your design preferences will always be the top priority.

The details within your space are what make your house a home. One of our past blog posts discusses the importance, and the fun, that comes with adding personalized details to your home. Don’t forget to read that post to learn even more about custom home details!

Flooring and cabinetry throughout your home that seamlessly match with your aesthetic are only obtainable through custom home building. Choose any color, layout, design, or brand and Dreamcraft will install them for you.

Even features like the HVAC and electrical layout of the home are valued within our custom home building process. We create a plan with our sub-contractors to create a layout that best works for you. Whether it is dual shower heads, ceiling fans, tubs versus stand up showers, or recessed lighting, the work will be completed to your liking.

Buying a new home from a national builder leaves very little room for changes. A “one-of-a-kind” spec home might be entirely unique, but it is not built with your specific needs in mind. Just because you have never seen the house before, does not mean it is custom. At Dreamcraft we consider ourselves to be “true custom builders” because the exclusive features are built just for you. No one else.


New Zillow Algorithm

Zillow has officially introduced a newly improved Zestimate algorithm after 13 years of the tool being launched online. The technological advances have revised the computer’s ability to better evaluate home prices. The algorithm enables a photo to be analyzed for details and other visual cues to interpret the overall value of the home in a more effective, updated, and accurate way. Read the full article here.


Why the Details Matter

Whether it’s the interior or the exterior of your home, the details can make a significant difference. Dreamcraft Homes makes it simple for the details to be curated for you and your needs while creating uniqueness within your home. What you consider to be custom is what matters… not what we consider to be custom.

Paying attention to details in your home is imperative when it comes to functionality and effective utilization of your space. At Dreamcraft we advise our customers to measure the size of the rooms in the current homes they live in. For example, you want to have more space in your master bedroom for a lounge area in your new home. Measuring the size of your current bedroom and adding extra space to those dimensions ensures the details that matter to you will be included in your custom home. Finding out what size works for you and your necessities is critical. Educating yourself prior to choosing the features you want ensures a smooth process that yields a result that both parties are proud of.

Also, adding details enhances the overall value of your home. Custom or higher quality trim work can elevate the space while tying together other elements within the home. Other details like custom lighting throughout the home, bathroom fixtures, high quality doors, and hardware, increases the value of the home when put on the market in the future.

Your lifestyle is what makes your home custom. Dreamcraft becomes the catalyst for the home but the collaboration between the two parties is what makes the home unique.


The First Day of Summer

Today, Friday June 21st, marks the first day of summer and Maryland has dozens of enjoyable activities to do with friends and family this year. This industry can be stressful and constantly busy however when you have free time, make sure to check out these must see places and events throughout Maryland this summer!

 1) Visit Assateague Island on the Atlantic

Assateague Island is located 8 miles south of Ocean City, Maryland. The legend of the wild horses on the island from the 17th century still lives on today. Relax on the beach, admire the horses from a far, and even take a kayak ride through the marshes.

 2) Columbia Film Festival (June 27th- June 29th)

The Columbia Film Festival has three diverse film categories to watch and enjoy throughout the weekend as well as panels and bonus events. The three-day event costs $55 dollars per person or $35 dollars for a day pass.

 3) Fourth of July Fireworks in the Inner Harbor (July 4th)

Baltimore’s Inner Harbor has one of the best firework displays in Maryland. The U.S. Navy Jazz Band performs at 7pm and then the 18-minute display on the water begins at 9:30pm. The best view of the fireworks is along the Inner Harbor and other surrounding areas downtown!

 4) Visit The Great Falls on the Potomac River

The waterfalls and water rapids on the Potomac is located on the border of Montgomery County, Maryland and Fairfax County, Virginia. Take a hike through the park and enjoy the beautiful scenery and 20 foot waterfalls at Great Falls.

 5) National Aquarium in the Baltimore Harbor

Get inside on a hot summers day by taking a trip to the National Aquarium located right in Maryland’s Baltimore Inner Harbor. Go watch a dolphin show, visit the tropical rainforest, or the Blacktip reef. Tickets range from $30-$40 dollars per person and the experience is second to none.

6) Artscape in Baltimore (July 19th-21st)

Another Baltimore event is America’s largest free arts festival located on Mount Royal Avenue and Charles Street in Baltimore. There is everything from visual, literary, culinary, and performing arts that take place at the event. And the best part… it’s free!

 7) Maryland Food Truck Festival at Kinder Farm Park (July 21st)

Located at Kinder Farm Park in Millersville, you can enjoy 20 different food trucks as well as a kids zone and vender section at the farm. Take a walk around the farm and visit the animals! Tickets are $7 dollars in advance or $10 dollars at the gate.

 8) Visit Deep Creek Lake

Take a trip to Deep Creek in Garrett County, Maryland. Rent a boat or jet skis, go to the inflatable water park at Wisp Resort, take an ATV tour, or just go mini golfing. The lake and surrounding areas have endless activities to do with the family or with friends this summer.

9) White Marlin Open in Ocean City (August 5th-9th)

Go to the World’s Largest Billfish tournament located right in Ocean City, Maryland. This year marks the 46th annual White Marlin Open! Fish weigh-ins occur each day from 4:00-9:15pm and the event is free for the public.

 10) The Downtown Annapolis Market House

Last but not least, visit the newly renovated Market House in Annapolis, Maryland. Located right in the heart of downtown Annapolis, the Market House serves locally sourced fresh lunch and dinner items. Get your hands on seafood, produce, and even fine olive oils!

Home Feature

This week’s home feature is our newly finished custom home in Annapolis, Maryland. This beautiful home sits on a spacious 18-acre property in a wooded area. The home owners customized every single detail and ultimately created their Dream Home.

Is There a Bad Time of the Year to Begin New Home Construction?

During the summer months, construction for new homes becomes frequent throughout communities across America. The summer weather yields to ideal construction conditions. However, a common misconception in the home building industry is that breaking ground for a new home cannot, and should not, begin during the winter months. This is a question that I myself, Dreamcraft’s summer intern, had within the first couple of weeks working with the company.

I began to think that new home construction could only happen during the warmer spring, summer, and fall seasons. However, the matter of the fact is that winter does not have dramatic affects on new home construction.

Why you ask? For starters, if a customer has acquired a lot in October they are not going to wait to begin construction until the spring time. The cost of waiting is expensive and unnecessary in most cases. As long as the ground is not frozen solid, construction can begin and luckily Maryland does not reach cold enough temperatures long enough to create frequent halts in construction.

However, there are some factors to take into consideration. For instance, daylight hours are shortened and crew members must wear more layers of clothing which can perhaps slow down physical labor.

Nonetheless, Dreamcraft aims to have the home under roof before the winter reaches its harshest point. With the exterior being well underway, we can focus on other areas of construction without the looming pressure of potentially limiting weather. This ensures homes are able to be built in a timely fashion regardless of the season.


Lot Improvement Cost? What’s That?

Find a lot, build your home. Seems pretty simple right? 

For most, that is the easiest process to remember and what most builders will pitch you in a meeting. But the peskiest part of the formula often gets over looked…. Lot Improvement Costs! Lot Improvement Cost? What’s that? 

When searching for the perfect lot to build your dream home on, a handful of factors come into play that are simply overlooked. Picture a beautiful, fully wooded lot in the neighborhood of your dreams. You’re standing in front of the lot envisioning your family enjoying summer barbecues, building snowmen, and hosting parties. In some way, shape, or form builders have to transform that fully wooded lot into the home where you can begin to make those memories. 

So let’s just say we’re considering a lot that costs $100,000 and your dream home will cost around $400,000 to build; which works great because your overall budget comes in right at $500,000! Well, let’s take a step back and recognize that the lot will need engineering done such as survey’s, creation of site plans, grading permit submitted for, etc… And then once the county approves the plans we have to perform all of the work. We need to clear the lot so we can build a home and make sure we’re adhering to all county codes in doing so! So let’s fast forward to the point where we can now have a lot clear of trees in order to dig a hole for your dream home. We just spent about $50,000 to get from a lot full of trees and ready to break ground.. 

With the $50,000 in lot improvement costs, there will be a few options to choose from. The costs will take us over the total budget of $500,000 so we’ll need to look at less expensive lots for $50,000 or we need to build a home for $350,000. The moral of the story is it’s important not to overlook these factors, which is why Dreamcraft Homes provides you with the most expertise in the business. We are experts throughout the entire process from trees to backyard barbecues.


5 Reasons Why You Should Build a Custom Home

Building a custom home is truly one of the most rewarding processes that a prospective homebuyer can be a part of. Being able to imagine the perfect home for you and your family, knowing how you live and how you want to live and then being able to actually execute that vision.  That's what makes it so rewarding, it's the thought behind the home. Your Vision, Your Way! Here are five reasons why you should build a custom home.

1. Your Vision, Your Way

What rooms are most important to you? Where do spend most of your time? Where do you entertain? Where don't you entertain? What is your budget? All questions that everyone needs to answer before beginning their home search and all questions that most homebuyers compromise on when searching for used homes. Why compromise? When building a custom home there will always be a time to sacrifice as with any home purchase on a budget, but what you should never do is sacrifice the rooms that mean most to you and that's where Dreamcraft Homes comes in. We build you a home that fits best with your lifestyle the way you envision it. A custom home isn't what Dreamcraft see's as custom, it's what you and your family see as custom. We work with you as long as necessary to figure out the home that fits your needs and budget. We love what we do and we love to work with you. 

2. Character

Character? Yes, character, is an excellent reason to build a custom home. Most will associate character with older homes that have creaking floors and remnants of renovations past but you can most certainly have it in a brand new custom home too! After all, you're building your home based on memories of your childhood and growing up. You get to create the spaces that are most important and special to you without having to deal with maintenance of an older home. Spend your weekends with your family, not up in the attic or basement. 

3. Affordability

Affordability isn't typically the first thing that comes to someones mind when they think about building a custom home. There is a major misconception related to building custom homes and that is that they're significantly more expensive than a resale or even a home built by a national builder. The reality is that we can build a home in any price range. Last year alone we built homes from $250,000 - $3,000,000. Why such a discrepancy? It's because a custom home is what you see as custom. Custom doesn't mean that the builder picks out special features to set it apart from the rest of the pack, that is when prices become inflated. We sit down with you to determine what is most important to you on any budget. Are finishes more important or is space more important? Or are both important? Our vision is to bring a home to you and your family that fit's your lifestyle. 

4. Longevity

New roof? New windows? New hot water heater? New appliances? Yes, please! All of these things are brand new and warrantied. Maintenance goes out of your brand new window because all you have to do is sit back, relax and enjoy the time put in to make your home your dream home. Purchasing a resale is good for so many buyers but not always for the right reasons. Sometimes you buy a resale only because it's easier or because it has "character". Well that home is going to require headaches when you move in that you may not want to deal with. Your roof, most likely needs to be replaced within 10 years, in a new home you typically have a 25-30 year warranty on your roof. Windows? With the way that windows are built in today's world not only could it cost you hundreds of dollars/month in energy usage but it will cost you thousands more to replace them a couple years down the road. Why not move into a home you designed that you won't have to spend your weekends maintaining? 

5. Neighborhood

Many will associate a custom home with "spot lots" or being in the middle of nowhere. So many times there are lots in the neighborhood of your dreams that you may not even realize.  Typically the neighborhood you have your eye on won't have many homes hit the market within the time frame you'd like so you settle for something outside of it. This is because all of the reasons that you love a community, it's current members love it too. So when a home does come on the market it's either not in your price range or what your looking for from a lifestyle perspective. Well, let us take a deeper look into the community to see if we can make space. You'd be surprised what you can find. 

As always we love to be a resource for knowledge in and around our community. Please feel free to reach out with any questions you may have about anything real estate related! Thanks for reading. 

Laying the foundation...

So much work goes into a families home before we get to this point. Literally laying the foundation for their family to make memories in their home for years and years to come. To most this may seem like it's just the beginning of the process but we've been working with this family for months to perfect their design and to make sure we bring their vision to life the way they've dreamt it. We can't wait to show them the finished product but for them, this is a major milestone in seeing their vision come to fruition.

What you see here are the footers being poured for the foundation walls to rest on. This is one of the most important parts of the construction process and requires multiple inspections along the way. Our guys were out there working for two days to simply prep to get ready to pour the footers and once they're ready, it takes FOUR trucks full of concrete to pour the footers. It's a pretty incredible process and as you can see from the video, these guys have it down to a science!


Your Home, Your Way

This is just the beginning.

Follow along with our blog to learn more not only about Dreamcraft Homes but the building process in general. We love what we do and we love sharing it with you.  We've built (pun intended) an expert team that has a wide array of knowledge and experience. From Development, Design, Marketing, Supervising, and Labor we have someone that can answer all of your questions and educate you not only on our process but the process of building a home in general. Do you have a question? Simply call and ask! We love being a resource for you. We've been building in Anne Arundel County for more than 40 years and as a member of the community we want to help the members of our community.