Preplanning Before Groundbreaking

December 2, 2014 | Newsletter

On time, on budget, and exceeding customer expectations starts with a thorough preconstruction plan.

To finish a complex project on time and within budget, the Merlin Contracting works hard to generate and convey the value of a thoughtful, thorough and well-developed preconstruction. That process can feel like a slow way to start, but the time spent upfront pays off in more ways than some homeowners realize.

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Avoid Costly Mistakes

November 18, 2014 | Newsletter

How professional builders avoid some of the most common and costly construction mistakes.

Most homeowners judge a home by the obvious: a floor plan that’s a joy to live in, a streetscape that wows passers-by, great natural lighting, and lots of storage. The list goes on.

But some less obvious details have as great an impact on the homeowners’ satisfaction over time. While homeowners have little control over these details, a professional builder with a sustainable business will make sure they get done right.

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The High-Performance Home

October 8, 2014 | Newsletter

Many of our buyers are less interested in “green” construction than they are in homes that offer health, comfort, and low ownership costs.

The Merlin Team has been building homes with the “green” concept in mind for 25 years. From the early days when we recommended additional insulation, better performing windows and tighter homes, Merlin’s homes were and are built for generations of families. Both Steve and Bart are Certified Green Builders by the NAHB. Robert Brown (our estimator) has completed the 40 hour HERS training course. Merlin installed Southern Nevada’s first two large custom energy saving “gas fired chillers”, set up numerous solar systems throughout the valley and built two homes completely off the grid. Merlin appreciates that “green” is different for each of our custom homes and works with our homeowners, presenting options, associated costs and, when possible, payback timelines.

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The Homeowner’s Role in the Building Process

September 2, 2014 | Newsletter

Homebuilding has changed significantly over the last hundred years, especially since the 1950s, when the housing industry boomed after World War II. Building a home in a classic, hands-on way is far from standard practice these days, as home construction has evolved from a trade or craft to a systematized process with many moving parts.

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Can I Hire My Own Painter?

August 5, 2014 | Newsletter

Or buy my own carpet… Builders get these questions a lot. Here’s why a Yes answer is seldom in the homeowners’ best interest.

It’s not unusual for new-home clients to ask their builder to use a trade contractor with whom the clients (but not the builder) have an established relationship, or to let them buy their own plumbing fixtures or other items. Most builders won’t agree to this. Sticking to familiar subcontractors is a policy that’s in the best interest of the builder and the homeowners. The reasons have to do with the business relationships between builders, suppliers, and subcontractors.

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The New Home Office

July 1, 2014 | Newsletter

Life and work styles are evolving. Make sure the home office is up to date.

It’s not news that home offices have become mainstream. According to a recent Forbes study, one in five Americans work from home, and that number continues to rise. Technology has made working from home efficient and convenient. The home office now appears in homes of every type, size, style and price range.

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The New Media Room

June 3, 2014 | Newsletter

Thoughtful planning will help homeowners get the most from this popular amenity.

Home theaters were all the rage ten years ago. These rooms were designed for passively watching TV and movies, and were acoustically separated from the rest of the house. While some homeowners still want home theaters, most now opt for a media room that doubles as a game room. Getting the most from these spaces requires careful planning.

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The Role of the Builder

April 1, 2014 | Newsletter

A lot of people don’t understand the sheer complexity of the builder’s job and the systems required to build a house from scratch.

Many analogies have been used to describe the professional builder: the conductor of an orchestra, the captain of a ship, even a general executing a military campaign. The point is that the builder is the one who must coordinate the innumerable players and products needed to transform a set of two-dimensional drawings into a finished home. The builder has to make sure that everything happens just when it’s supposed to, and that the end result is exactly what the clients envisioned.

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How to Check References

March 4, 2014 | Newsletter

Strategies for getting the most from this important step

The vast majority of builders are happy to provide prospective clients with a list of people for whom they have recently built homes. They encourage prospective clients to call these references and ask about their experience and level of satisfaction.

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How long will this take?

February 18, 2014 | Newsletter

Builders hear this question a lot. The answer, as with most such questions, is “It depends.” But on what?

People who haven’t built before often have an unrealistic concept of how long it can take to plan, budget, and build a home. Many variables can affect the timetable. Three that stand out are design, permitting, and site work.

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Why Changes Are Costly

January 7, 2014 | Newsletter

Even small changes made after work begins can have surprising effects on the budget. Here’s why.

Minimizing change orders is one of the most effective things homeowners can do to control costs. The reason is that seemingly small changes can have cost impacts beyond the builder’s control—costs that ultimately are borne by the customer.

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