Murphy Homes

Coming up with new ways everyday to be Your Builder

Brrrr….. Freeze Protecting your home!

Murphy Homes

At Murphy Homes we use only the best materials in the homes we build.  One of our favorites is PEX plumbing material for all your water supply lines.  This amazing material is awesome for its ability to expand without breaking.  It has significantly decreased the #1 issue older homes have with freezing temps – BUSTED PIPES! 😦

That being said there are still a few places in your home that will need special attention on those very cold nights!

  • Crawl Space Vents – If you live on a crawl space home, your home will feature crawl space vents that allow your crawl space to breath in warmer months.  Once temperatures get below 30 degrees, it is a good idea to close those babies up.  This will allow the ground temperature to keep your crawl space warmer and keep those pipes flowing.
  • Crawl Space Plumbing – In very cold temps (15 and below) it is a good idea to keep a faucet or two on a slow drip overnight to allow water to move through those pipes – this doesn’t take much – a drop a second is more than enough!
  • Murphy Homes ChristmasHose Bibs – We only use modern “Frost Resistant” Hose Bibs at Murphy Homes!  However, hose bibs are still one of the most susceptible parts of your home to cold temps.  We recommend removing any hoses connected to the bib and adding an insulating cover.  This won’t prevent all freezes but it definitely helps  The most important thing is to check the area around your hose bib after temperatures rise to make sure there are no leaks.
  • Tankless Water Heater – The most efficient way to mount a tankless water heater (such as the Rinnai Water Heaters we use) is in the exterior wall of your home.  This installation is awesome for our climate in North Alabama….  Except about 1 day per Winter.  When that mercury starts to drop, leave one faucet dripping both hot and cold water to slowly cycle water through the water heater – again, about a drip a second is more than enough!
  • Sprinkler Systems – this is a tough one….  Don’t worry about it!  Murphy Homes Sprinkler systems are self draining.  As long as you are not running your system all winter, there will be so little water in the lines that freezes will not exert enough pressure to break any pipes.Street

The rest of your Murphy Home will be worry free!  Sit back and enjoy your super efficient HVAC system pumping that warm air into your incredibly well insulated home.  Maybe start a fire and turn on a movie!

Either way, stay warm and enjoy your home!

62 Autumn Ashe Road - 34


45 Autumn Ashe RD.

We love this project completed in Febuary 2014:


Pre-Drywall Meeting to Closing, Warranty and Beyond

Welcome to Part IV of our “What is Building a New Home?” series.  I know it is has been a while since our last post but we are continuing to grow your author has been spending some additional time in the field.  The work has been hard but building homes is what we love and wow is it FUN!

Today, we will cover the final stages of construction on your new home and what happens after you move in.  Just like our other posts, even if you aren’t building with Murphy Homes, make sure Your Builder has a process similar to this in place.

Summer Day in Greenbrier Woods

Summer Day in Greenbrier Woods

After your Pre-Drywall Orientation (see Pre-Construction Meeting to Pre-Drywall Meeting – Breaking Ground for more info).  We install the drywall which is the first step to creating the finished walls of your home.  Many home owners will have a moment of concern after drywall is complete because the home may feel slightly smaller.  Don’t worry, once the trim carpentry and paint are installed, that feeling usually goes away.  Don’t ask us why this perception exists.  We know a lot about home building but deciphering the intricacies of human nature is way out of our league!

Once the trim carpentry and paint are complete, it is time to install your cabinets.  Some builders will install hard surface flooring (hardwood, tile, etc.) prior to cabinets.  That is fine and we will do it sometimes if the cabinet delivery is delayed.

Here at Murphy Homes, once we confirm your cabinet install date, we set your closing date.  This is usually, 60-45 days in advance.  We will notify your lender and the closing attorney at this time.  We recommend you begin scheduling your move as well.  Now is a great time to notify your movers, friends and family, and anyone who may be working on your home prior to moving in (for example, many of our home owners purchase their blinds separately from us).

As closing approaches, you will see a lot of work being done to your home.  Generally, our goal is to have the interior of your home complete 2 weeks prior to move in.  When we say “complete” we mean all items installed.  Once the work is complete, we clean your home and a Murphy Homes team member will do a final inspection.  This inspection will result in a “punch list” which will contain items like, “Paint touch-up”, “scratched light fixture in Master Bath”, or “Guest bath toilet running”.  We take about a week to complete these items then we conduct your Home Owner Orientation Tour.  During this meeting, we will discuss the function of many of the items in your home, verify completion/cosmetic condition, and review warranty/maintenance material.  We will use the Home Owner Orientation Agreement to document any punch list items still open at this time or any new items we identify.  A good example of the items that may show up on this punch list would be, “scratched light fixture in master bath to be delivered and installed on or before October 22nd.”  We will take another few days to complete any additional punch list items from this meeting then meet the day before your closing for your Pre-Closing Walk Through.  At this appointment, we will sign off on the condition of your home and document any items that may need to be complete after you move in (for example, let’s say that pesky light fixture delivery got pushed back to November 1st).  Click Here to see a summary of the Murphy Homes Closing 2

The day after our Pre-Closing Walkthrough we will close on your home and hand over the keys!  Here in Alabama, the closing will occur at an attorney’s office.  The attorney is acting as a representative of the lender.  You should budget about an hour for the closing appointment and make sure to stretch your writing arm before arriving – you will be signing quite a few forms at this meeting!  Once you leave the attorney’s office, it is time to move in!  Click here for more information on closing on and moving into Your New Home.

Once you have moved into your home, Your Warranty goes into effect.  Murphy Homes provides you with a 1-year workmanship warranty on all the items in your home, a 2-year systems warranty, and a 10-year structural warranty.  To make sure your home stays in great conditions and any items that arise are taken care of efficiently, we will follow up with you 30 days after moving in to check for any warranty repairs that need to be made.  If any items are present, we will return and make corrections at a time convenient for you.  We will do the same thing at 11-Months.

Your Murphy Home is built to last lifetimes.  What makes us most proud is the fact that with your dreams and our knowledge, we can create a home that will bring joy to you and your family for many, many years to come.  That is what we mean when we say we want to be Your Builder!Extended happy family standing in the park.

Pre-Construction Meeting to Pre-Drywall Meeting – Breaking Ground!

Welcome to Part III of the “What is building a New Home Series?”.  We hope everyone had a great 4th of July!  It rained here in Madison Alabama but the weather is clearing next week and we are looking forward to some great summer home building weather.

Today we will cover the beginning of construction on your home.  After all that work during the Pre-Construction Process, it is time for you to sit back and enjoy the show!  As always, even if you are not building with Murphy Homes, you should make sure Your Builder has systems like this in place.

Clean, Organized Job Site

Clean, Organized Job Site

Once your pre-construction process is complete, Your Builder will take all the work you have done up to that point and begin getting your home ready to start.  Before your home can start, your builder will engineer your floor and roof system, obtain construction loan financing (in some circumstances, you may obtain the construction loan), obtain building permits, draft your final plans, create an estimate and issue Purchase orders.  Phwew! That’s a lot of work!  You should expect anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months between the Pre-Construction Meeting and your footing dig date (here at Murphy Homes we average about 3 weeks).  We know you will be anxious to see something happening on your home site during this period  but it is important for you to remember – this is not “waiting for your home to start,” this is a necessary step in new home construction to ensure your home is built correctly.

As we mentioned in “Purchase Agreement to Pre-Construction Meeting – Time to Pick You Paint!” a professional builder should build your home numerous times on paper before ever turning the first shovel of dirt.

Up next is what most of our home owners get really excited about – The Ground Breaking!  Once we have broken ground, we will start your foundation.  The Foundation for your home will take anywhere from a few days to a few months depending on the type of foundation and your home site.  For instance, a mountain side home site with a basement may take weeks of site prep then several more weeks to form and pour your basement.  However, a slab on a level subdivision home site can sometimes be finished in less than a week.

Once your foundation is complete, your framing will start.  This is one of the most exciting processes in new home construction.  Things will move very fast in this period as your home will go from nothing but a foundation to a complete wood frame structure in as little as a week (depending on size and type of home).  We like to make a joke that, a few hundred years ago, we could call ourselves “done” at this point.

The next stage of construction is your mechanical roughs.  This will be when the Plumbing, HVAC, gas (if present) and Electrical are installed for your home.

Summer Day in Greenbrier Woods

Summer Day in Greenbrier Woods

Once the rough mechanicals are complete and Your Builder has performed a Pre-Drywall Inspection, it is time for your Pre-Drywall Orientation.  At this meeting, you will meet your builder at your new home and he will show you the function of the mechanical and structural features of your home.  This is also a great opportunity to bring up any questions or issues with your builder.  Here at Murphy Homes, we also like to outline the upcoming steps of the construction process and review your purchase agreement material.

Be sure to check out the additional material in the links above and join us next time for Part IV of the “What is Building a New Home?” series – “Pre-Drywall Orientation to Closing and Beyond”.  We can’t wait to see all those beautiful selections you made in the design center start coming together!

“Purchase Agreement to Pre-Construction Meeting – Time to Choose your Paint!”

Welcome to Part II of “What is ‘Building and New Home’?”!  Today, we will cover the first stage of home building – the Pre-Construction Process.

A thorough Pre-Construction Process helped our customer design this dream kitchen!

A thorough Pre-Construction Process helped our customer design this dream kitchen!

The Pre-Construction Process is THE MOST IMPORTANT part of building a new home.  Most home building companies know how to make things plumb, level and square or they would not be in construction.  The thing that separates professional home builders from amateurs is the ability to take your dreams and desires from an idea in your head to a physical structure for you and your family.  Today, we will go through the process that we use to make sure this happens.  As always with this series, even if you are not building with Murphy Homes you should be sure your builder has a process similar to this in place before you make your decision to build.

*The bullet titles below provide links to samples of the documents being discussed.

  • The Purchase Agreement – Once you have worked with a builder’s sales manager and selected the floor plan and home site that best suites you and your family’s needs, it is time to sign the purchase agreement.  Your Builder should have their own purchase agreement that outlines exactly how that company does business.  The purchase agreement should also clearly outline the builder’s expectations from you, as the buyer, and your expectations from them.  The Purchase Agreement is not the place to document colors, flooring styles, etc.  This should be done on a separate addendum called the Selection Sheet that we will cover below.

    Floor Plan of our popular Franklin Model

    Floor Plan of our popular Franklin Model

  • Plan Addendum – Depending on the level of customization your builder does there may be a plan addendum executed along with the purchase agreement.  At Murphy Homes, we are able to extensively customize our floor plans.  To facilitate this, we use a document titled Exhibit A to document the major architectural changes selected at time of Purchase Agreement.  This will include items such as “3-Car Garage”, “Add Bonus Room” or “Move Bedroom 3 wall 2 feet”.  This document is then used by Murphy Homes to create a set of “Preliminary Plans” that will be used later at your Pre-Construction Meeting.
  • Selection Sheet – After your Purchase Agreement and Plan Addendum are completed, it is time to fill out your selection sheet.  All builders should use some form of a selection sheet.  At Murphy Homes, we have an in house design center (picture below) and professional design coordinator to help you through this process.  The purpose of the selection sheet is to provide a thorough list of all items on the home to make sure that the selections process is complete.
Time to Pick Your Paint

Time to Pick Your Paint

    • Vendor Appointments – At Murphy Homes, we are able to accommodate custom requests far beyond what we are able to display at our design center.  If one of our home owners requests a built in book case in their study, for example, we would schedule an appointment with our cabinet provider (Huntsville-American Cabinets – great folks!).  This would then be included in the selection sheet.
  • Pre-Construction Meeting – Once your Preliminary Plans are complete and you have finished selections, it is time for the Pre-Construction Meeting.  This meeting is where you and Your Builder will sign off on your home plans, with any changes you may have made, and your selection sheet.  Here at Murphy Homes, we take also advantage of the Pre-Construciton Meeting to walk through all the aspects of building your home one more time before construction starts.

    Beautiful Stair Case and a Happy Home Owner - The benefits of a great Pre-Construction Process!

    Beautiful Stair Case and a Happy Home Owner – The benefits of a great Pre-Construction Process!

The goal of all these steps is to provide you and Your Builder with a thorough record of the home you have asked to have built.  If Your Builder has done this properly, you will have an enjoyable, stress free home building process that results in you moving into exactly the home you want.

Next week we will cover the first part of construction “Pre-Construction Meeting to Pre-Drywall Meeting – Breaking Ground!”

7 Questions to ask “Your Builder”

Part I of the “What is ‘Building a New Home’?” Series.

The seven questions below is a list of questions we feel all home buyer should ask before choosing a home builder.  This is a “Best Practice” check list that you can use to eliminate less professional home builders.  Any professional home builder should be able to answer these questions – maybe not quite as well as we can though :).

7 Questions to ask Your Builder – Handout

  1. Does your builder have a track record in our community?
    • Murphy Homes has been building homes in Huntsville/Madison County for over 35 Years.
  2. Is your builder in good standing with the Better Business Bureau?
    • Murphy Homes has been a member since 1986 and has no complaints filed with an A+ Rating.
  3. Does Your Builder develop their own land?
    • Murphy Homes develops land in house so that we are able to control quality, literally from the ground up.  Our homes are designed to fit our lots.
  4. Does your builder custom draw a set of plans for each home they build?
    • Murphy Homes custom draws each set of plans to match our home owner’s customizations and selections.
  5. Does your builder have a design center in house with a professional decorator?
    • Murphy Homes has a design center in our office where our home owners meet with our professional designer who will help them make the most of their new home.
  6. Does your builder have a systematized communication procedure during construction?
    • At Murphy Homes we have several formal meetings during the building process as well as a Weekly Update that is sent to our home owners.
  7. Does your builder have a system in place to provide stress free warranty and closing?
    • Murphy Homes conducts a thorough final inspection 7 days prior to the home owner’s orientation to make sure each home is as close to perfect as possible.  Once our home owners move in, we have regular warranty follow ups at 30 Days and 11 Months as well as a  user-friendly reporting system.
Clean, Organized Job Site

Clean, Organized Job Site

Stay tuned for next week – Part II of the What is ‘Building a New Home’? series “Purchase Agreement to Pre-Construction Meeting – Time to Choose your Paint!”

What is “Building a New Home”?

One of our favorite parts of what we do here at Murphy Homes is working with our prospective new home owners.  The questions we are asked allow us to become educators about the industry we love and work with you to build your dream home.  It is always a challenging, fun and rewarding process.

A few of us were talking last weekend about the questions that our prospective home owners ask and we decided that most of the early questions boil down to the deceptively simple, “What is ‘Building a New Home’?”  This often implied, seldom directly asked, question should be at the heart of you choosing Your Builder.

With that question in mind, we will be posting a four part series on “What is ‘Building a New Home’?”

Picture of our Greenbrier Woods community.

Picture of our Greenbrier Woods community.

  1. 7 Questions to Ask your Builder – this is a handout we keep stocked in our office and model home that covers the basics of what a Home Builder should do for their Home Owners.
  2. Purchase Agreement to Preconstruction Meeting – We will go into detail here about the events that take place related to Your Home from your Purchase Agreement to your Preconstruction Meeting (aka, Time to Pick you Paint!)
  3. Preconstruction Meeting to Pre-Drywall Meeting We will cover the basics of new home construction along with what you should expect during this phase of construction.
  4. Pre-Drywall Meeting to Closing, Warranty and Beyond We will cover the completion process and warranty.

Please stay tuned as this series is posted and let us know if you have any questions.  As I said above, we love the opportunity to educate people about home buying, building and owning!

Thank You,

Charlie Murphy

Owner, Murphy Homes

Welcome to the Murphy Homes Blog!

We would like to welcome you to the Murphy Homes blog.  Our goal with this blog is to relate timely information about new home ownership and enjoyment.  With this goal, we will be able to address a wide range of issues from getting your yard ready for spring, to throwing the perfect fall football party, to information about our community.  Please stay tuned.  We hope this will be an informative and entertaining addition to your web life!

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