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April Showers bring May Flowers...Is your backyard ready?

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For many of us, we are about to turn the corner into Spring...the weather will be warm once again and everyone will want to enjoy their evenings outdoors.  Whether it's a relaxing dip in the pool or maybe it's sitting around an outdoor fireplace, nothing else can soothe the soul after a long day filled with stress.  The evening setting allows for this rejuvenation and more people are investing in the balance to life.

Avalon Lighting Design has worked hand-in-hand with Landmark Builders to create these serene spaces.  Mark Carlson, Owner and lighting designer with Avalon believes a successful project comes from team unity and an overall commitment to your craft - it's an art-form.  This approach to every job is what I really appreciate about John Caulfield - we both have a driving passion to do our best.  Mark says, "I've known John for years and have had the distinct pleasure to work with him...in fact, he has been my all-time favorite builder to work with.  John is serious about his craft and always puts his client above all else and that is why his projects are always successful."

The beauty of outdoor lighting is that it allows us the opportunity to bring cohesion between the interior of a home and the exterior of the surrounding landscape - this expansion of one's living space allows for year round pleasure.  Warmer months offer the use and enjoyment of these spaces, whereas, the cooler months offer artistic viewing from windows.

Avalon Lighting Design specializes in making every setting unique and special to the individual client.  Lighting can directly impact our emotional state and has the ability to stimulate the mind with the visual play of light and shadow.  Lighting allows us a safe and comfortable transition between these living zones and it has the ability to direct our movement through these spaces.

Please take a moment to visit Mark's Website. Now is the time to get your backyard ready for outdoor living at it's best!


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Top 5 Questions: Builder References

You just left an impressive presentation with a professional homebuilder, one among the few you're considering for your new home project.

In addition to a brochure about his business and highlights of his recent work and the communities in which he builds, he provided you with a list of recent homebuyers for you to call or email to ask about his quality, ethics, skill, and professionalism.

Now the ball's in your court to actually reach out to those references and gain some valuable inside knowledge about your builder before you consider negotiating and signing a contract for your project.

But what to ask? For many prospective homebuyers, we suggest a few questions to solicit the kind of information that will help them make an informed and confident decision. Of course, you may have your own agenda and priorities, which we encourage; if you need them, these questions just may help get the conversation going.

1. Was the company easy to work with? Ask how the builder managed communication with the buyers before and during construction, ideally through one point of contact (typically the site supervisor) with the authority to make or negotiate decisions as opposed to a bureaucratic quagmire that is frustrating and confusing.

2. Was the jobsite clean? The best builders leave the job site clean at the end of each day. They sweep and haul their trash away, store or take their tools, and stack their materials. Not only does the jobsite look good (as good as anything can under construction), but also is one that's safer should the owners want to check out the progress of the job on their own after work.

3. Did they finish on time? Finishing on time reveals the builder's commitment and organizational skills. If the answer is "no," dig a little deeper into why; it may be that the owner made changes that caused some delays, or that bad weather was an unavoidable factor.

4. Did they finish on budget? Like finishing on time (or within the owner's expectations), finishing on budget indicates a builder's organizational and business acumen, specifically his cost-estimating skills. If the answer is "no," ask why and look for clues about change or special orders by the owners that may have been outside the scope of the original budget, or if the builder neglected to calculate a cost and tried to make the owners pay for it at closing.

5. Did they disappear after move-in? Perhaps a new-home owner's biggest worry is what happens after they close escrow and move in. A builder who has been available to answer questions and respond to reasonable warranty issues is an important indicator of a builder's long-term commitment to the quality of his homes and the ultimate satisfaction of their owners.

This handful of questions probably does not satisfy all of your needs, but it's a start and often will inspire more questions that further reveal whether the builder you're considering is one you can trust and rely on to do the job right.

Warm Regards,

John P. Caulfield, Jr.
Landmark Builders
4120 Douglas Blvd., #306-215
Granite Bay, CA 95746
(916)783-0356 Phone
(916)783-1837 Fax

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