Monthly Archives: May 2011

Sterling Custom Homes Develops Unique Driveway Application

Sterling Custom Homes has been dedicated to developing and refining its custom home processes for more than 20 years. The attention to detail put forth by the Austin home builder has most recently led to a new technique that gives driveways a beautiful and unified finishing touch.

“So many times it doesn’t cost any more to implement a change like the driveway/garage apron improvement,” said Vick Pope, vice president of construction at Sterling Custom Homes. “It only requires the desire to constantly improve, and the mindset that never accepts things as the way they’ve always been done.”

In other methods of construction, driveway material is poured only to the exterior of the garage apron. leaving an exposed joint where the driveway meets this foundation. The driveway and foundation are often made with two different finishes, which throws off the driveway’s continuity. This exposed joint is seen when the garage door is closed.

Sterling Custom Homes’ new and improved process leaves garages and driveways with a seamless flow from the driveway to the foundation of the Austin luxury real estate.

During this process, the builder drops the foundation at the garage apron and allows the finished layer of driveway material to end where the garage door meets the concrete. This method gives the two a seamless flow and a professionally finished look.

Sterling Custom Homes understands the importance that new home buyers place on detail, and demonstrates the level of care it takes to design custom homes to suit individuals’ needs. The builder offers design solutions for all buyers from site selection all the way down to details like driveway construction.

For more information about Sterling Custom Homes, visit their website.

Sterling Builds New Homes Thriving City

Although some U.S. cities are feeling the negative effects of the economy, Austin, Texas is flourishing. Just look at the statistics: the U.S. Census Bureau released that the population in Austin is up 20.4 percent since 2000; the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that unemployment is under the national average; and Austin’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is a whopping $78.4 billion according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. So, what does that mean for home buyers? The city is a viable location for those looking to purchase Austin luxury real estate.

Not only is Austin faring better than most cities during the economic crisis, but it’s also a great location for those looking to add a little culture into their lives. The city is known for its unique local art and music scenes, history, picturesque landscapes and luxury homes.

If you’re ready to make Austin the location for your next home, then visit Sterling Custom Homes. For more than 20 years, the Austin home builders have been known for their cutting-edge, custom home designs and distinctive floor plans.

You can find Sterling’s homes at many communities throughout Austin including Escavera at Flintrock Falls, Lakeway, Village of the Hills, Rough Hollow, Caslano, Seven Oaks, Barton Creek, Mirador Drive, River Place and Spanish Oaks.

For more information, visit the Sterling Custom Homes website.

Chicago Rental Residence Achieves Green

More Chicago real estate is striving to be eco-friendly these days, and one of the latest parcels to achieve the green certification happens to be an apartment building.

215 West, located at 215 W. Washington St. in downtown Chicago, is the first rental residence to be built in the Loop in the last 15 years and is one of the city’s only high-rise apartment buildings to be developed for LEED certification.

The 50-story tower was constructed with energy, lighting, water and material use in mind. As a result, residents will see lower utility bills while leaving a smaller carbon footprint on the neighborhood.

The pet-friendly building has amenities as well, with a fourteenth floor that rivals country-club living.

The building was recently awarded the LEED Certification by the U.S. Green Building Council and the Green Building Certification Institute.

Want to learn more about 215 West and its amenities? Check out our stories at

Loop Chicago Real Estate Designated Green

Green High Rise in the Loop Ready for Renters and Their Furry Friends

In the latter, you’ll find out upon what historic site 215 West was developed.

Metro Wallworks Recycled Paint Debuts in California

You buy it in excess because you don’t want to be caught without it in the middle of a home improvement project. You have cans of it sitting in your garage for touchups or because it’s a “limited edition.” What is it you ask? Latex paint.

Americans consume more than 1 billion gallons of paint every year, and in many cases, the leftover paint from projects is still usable. Recycling this latex paint is now an affordable and sustainable alternative to sending it off to a landfill. It’s also the hottest new green design trend.

Specializing in fine wall finishes, California-based Metro Wallworks is the first company to launch a line of recycled paint. The new line of recycled paint consists of 15 colors and holds many advantages over buying virgin paint. In fact, using one gallon of recycled paint is the equivalent of saving 100 kilowatt hours of energy that would otherwise have gone into producing virgin paint. Recycled paint is generally acknowledged to be much cheaper than buying new latex paint.

But how is the paint recycled and is it of the same quality as what you buy from the store?

In order to begin recycling, filterable solids are removed from the paint. Most paint is then mixed with new standard paint, creating a 1:1 ratio of recycled to new paint. However, some paint is completely recycled without adding new paint. Pigments are then added to create the new color and the pH is adjusted. This new recycled paint is the same quality as virgin paint, just more environmentally conscious.

To learn more about Metro Wallworks line of recycled paint, visit their web site.

Fed Issues Foreclosure Requirements

foreclosures and green housesNo doubt, the mortgage industry has been in turmoil for the past several years. The numbers of foreclosures have finally peaked, but in response to the  many fiascos and scandals over the last couple of years, the Feds recently issued requirements for lenders.  These requirements detail the steps that must be taken by well-known mortgage lenders, including Bank of America, Citibank, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo to improve communication, oversight and more related to foreclosures.

According to Ilyce Glink, real estate expert at the

Equifax Personal Finance Blog,  the requirements were issued by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency or OCC. Her recent article, “

Foreclosure Guidelines: OCC Takes Action,” talks about how the OCC is mandating that the banks improve their communication – both formal and informal – to make sure borrowers understand what’s gong on and that they receive the information they need when they need it.

Furthermore, lenders may no longer “dual-track.” That is, if a borrower goes into a loan modification program, the lender cannot continue to pursue foreclosure.

How will we know the banks are doing what they’re supposed to be doing? They must hire independent auditing firms to review their foreclosures from the problem timeframe – January 1, 2009, through December 31, 2010.

If you were among those who lost a home in an unfair foreclosure process, you’ll want to look at Glink’s article at the

Equifax Personal Finance Blog.  OCC has set up a restitution process and you can appeal. Check out the full information now and pass it along to those who have recently been affected by foreclosure.