How a Smart Home Will Increase Your Home Value


Even if you aren’t in the market to sell your home now, there’s no harm in employing measures to increase its value. Installing smart home and home automation equipment can perform double duty – enhancing your quality of life now while increasing the value of your home if you decide or need to sell at a later date. How much? According to Consumer Reports, installing smart home technology can increase your home’s resale value as much as 5 percent. On a $300,000 home, a 5 percent increase translates to $15,000.  That’s huge. Here are just a few key ways that smart home technology can provide value.

Enhanced Security

Lighting systems with motion sensitive features and smart locks protect your family from burglary and home invasion. Carbon monoxide detectors minimize the risk of injury or death from smoke inhalation or faulty circulation.


Insurance companies recognize the value of home security systems; many providers offer significant discounts for homeowners who install home automation and smart home technology. Home-buyers also recognize the benefit of home security systems, often including smart home technology as a must-have.

Increased Energy Efficiency


Three words: lower utility bills. Smart home technology allows you to take advantage of off peak rates offered by utilities for operating power-hungry appliances during periods of lower demand. Likewise, smart home technology allows you to detect sources of waste and correct them, which translates into even bigger utility savings.

More home buyers are seeking homes that offer energy efficiency. Having smart home technology built into your appliances and utilities is a definite selling point.

Greater Accessibility

Smart home technology was not originally designed to enhance accessibility. But with more seniors and disabled individuals striving to retain their independence, greater accessibility is a definite home selling point.  Smart home technology makes it easier for disabled people and seniors to remain in their own homes. Many smart home features can be operated remotely through a Smartphone by someone who has mobility issues. Likewise, pressing an app icon is less challenging for someone who has limited manual dexterity than turning a key to lock a door or twisting a knob to turn an appliance on and off.


For more information on how smart home technology can increase the potential sale value of your home, give us a call today.

Ready to Renovate? Things to Consider

Renovating a home is not a simple process. It’s taking a small idea and nurturing it to life. No two home renovations are alike, and the challenge of crafting a unique and innovative renovation is a process. There is a lot to consider when starting a home re-design. Here are some things it is important to keep in mind:

It’s important to be open to discussing new ideas and solutions with your designer

Have an open mind

Home renovation is not a black and white practice. There are no boiler plates, and home re-design is a collaborative process. It’s important to be open to discussing new ideas and solutions with your designer so that you can have the best possible experience.

Future living

Before you commit to a home re-design, think about how you’re going to be living and existing in your house on a daily basis. What are the necessary and functional features you and your family require in order to be happy in your home? Make a list of your design priorities, and work with your designer to help figure out how to make those goals a reality.


Beyond functionality, the color pallet and themes of your house are integral to your design. A good designer will be able to blend different themes together to help design an aesthetic that speaks to their client’s design aesthetic. They experiment with different elements and styles to figure out the one that best complements your home, and never push for the styles just because they are in vogue. The mission of a good designer is to find the style that fits your lifestyle.


Just as everyone has their own unique style and dream for their home, we all have different communication styles and ways of interpreting our needs. Before a designer starts drawing up the re-design, they should work with you to generate concepts and plans for how you want your space to look & function. A good designer will make communication and staying on the same page as their clients a priority.


Design isn’t just putting pen to paper. It’s a practice that requires physical interaction with your space. Your designer should walk through the house, and discuss how you want elements like sunlight, views, and neighboring homes to come into play with your home re-design. They will contemplate the different angles in your home, and how to best maximize their use.

Renovating your home can make it into the space you always wanted. Considering these elements during the design phase can help make the process quick and easy.

Questions to Ask Before You Design a Custom Home

As you get more and more serious about your custom home design, you should consider the various ways the home design will impact your life. It’s important to cover all of your bases before you jump in. Here are some questions that will inevitably streamline your home design process.

you also need to explore material options that best reflect your lifestyle and your family’s needs

What is my budget for a home design and build?

Everyone has different financial obligations and ways of earning and saving money. For some clients, it’s easier to pay via cash, while for others it makes more sense to use a payment system or credit. It’s important to determine what your budget is, but also what the fee structure of your builder looks like and at what milestones in the project are payments due.

How will the people I share my home with benefit from a home design?

When designing your home, you’re able to consider the needs of all of your family members or housemates. Organize brainstorming sessions with the people who will be sharing your home, so you can make sure you’re all on the same page about what design elements will best meet all of your needs. Those needs will influence your design making decisions, allowing you to create a home that is comfortable for everyone.

What materials and designs are most reflective of my personality and values?

Not only is the aesthetic important to consider when illustrating your home design, but you also need to explore material options that best reflect your lifestyle and your family’s needs. I work with you ever step of the way to pick out materials and designs that best match your budget and vision.

It’s important to thoroughly examine the reasons why a custom-build home is the best choice for you. Most builders and designers have designed protocols to ensure that you are confident and satisfied with your design choices. Having the answers to these questions when you meet with them will help you ensure that you find the right builder for your custom home.

Understanding the Roofing Options for Your Home

Flat versus pitched. That’s an essential roofing decision you need to make when building a home. Your choice of roof should match the style of your home, but quality and longevity are even more important to consider when deciding on a roof.

Once you decide between a flat or pitched roof, there are even more choices. There are several options of each type, and each has its own pros and cons. Here’s an overview of some of the top roofing options:

Flat TPO roof system

TPO (Thermoplastic polyolefin) is a single-ply roofing membrane method that is energy efficient and resists motion, thermal shock, ozone, and algae. As demand increases for heat reflective and energy efficient roofing systems, TPO single ply roofing provides exceptional resistance to ultraviolet, ozone, and chemical exposure. The material is seamed on your roof with a high heat tool that welds it together, so that it creates a single sheath that covers your entire roof.

Tar and Gravel system

Tar and gravel have been used on flat roofs for decades. This type of roof consists of layers of asphalt and fiberglass mats that are fused together using molten asphalt and covered with gravel. Some of the gravel gets embedded in the asphalt, and some remains loose on the roof surface. With regular maintenance, a tar and gravel roof has a life expectancy of about 15 to 20 years in the New Mexico climate. No matter how durable tar and gravel roofs are, leaks can still occur.

If you already have a tar and gravel roof, it’s possible to modify it to a pitched roof. However, structural changes will need to be made, so you need a skilled professional to do the work.

Pitched Tile Roof

There are a lot of Spanish tile roofs in the Southwest, providing years of longevity. There are many styles to choose, from flat to S curved, and everything in between. Most in this market choose an S-curved tile. The materials also range from clay to concrete. Clay tends to be 3-4 times more expensive than concrete with the same look. Slate is a beautiful look as well, but large roofs can make blending the tile very problematic, making your roof look splotchy. The only way to combat this is to lay all of the roof out on the ground, and try and blend before it goes up. This becomes costly in the install, and product itself is very expensive as well.

The key to natural material for your roof is not to put any maintenance items on your roof, like air conditioners or swamp coolers. As your maintenance/repair folks walk around, your tile will be broken, obviously causing issues. Venting is also a main concern, as the architect needs to provide for plenty of ventilation so that heat can readily escape, so your utility bills are not a problem. Dark roofs can create an oven on your roof if not vented extremely well.

Pitched shingle roof

Flat, rectangular shingles are laid in progression, overlapping the joints below. Shingles can be wood, slate, metal, or asphalt. The pitched nature of a shingle roof allows for water runoff, and these roofs are highly durable. One downside is that storms can cause shingles to loosen or fall off, and leaks can occur. This type of roof might need ongoing repair.

Pitched metal roof

Metal roofs are a more cost-effective and long-lasting pitched roof option. A metal roof will resist cracking, shrinking, and erosion. It can withstand extreme weather conditions, including high heat. Residential metal roofs come in many designs to fit within your home’s style. Some manufacturers give a 50-year life span, which is very attractive to some home owners.

At John Mark Custom Homes, we take pride in educating our home builders every step of the way.

Choosing the Right Stucco for Your Home

Stucco is a classic exterior for homes in the Southwest. If you’re planning to build your dream home in true New Mexican style, opt for stucco.

Even though stucco is usually more expensive than vinyl siding as used in other markets, it can provide a wealth of benefits. Stucco homes are more energy efficient. The concrete shell surrounding the home helps keep it cool in the summer, and warm in the winter, and allows the home to breath. It also helps to block out sound from the outside.

Stucco is a great investment for homeowners. It is long lasting and needs minimal maintenance. It can also save you money on your energy bills.



There are many different kinds of stucco these days. Here’s an overview of each one:

  1. Synthetic

Synthetic stucco is gaining in popularity. It looks like traditional stucco, but it’s installed in a single coat, sometimes over a layer of rigid foam insulation sheathing. The base coat is a blend of Portland cement, fibers, and additives. A lath of asphalt-infused paper with furred chicken wire is laid down over a weather resistant barrier. Next, comes the scratch coat, which is a layer of Portland cement, sand, lime, and water applied in a series on horizontal lines scratched into it. Then comes the brown coat. This layer is applied with a long trowel to make sure the cement is applied evenly. During this process, we add fiberglass strips that will allow your stucco to expand and contract without cracks. There is an added cost here, but this step is critical if you don’t want to repair cracks in your home several years later. Many builders do not use this technique, or leave it out and charge you for it anyway. You need to ask your builder to point out this step – it can be seen in areas before the color coat. The final coat is put on with a hawk and trowel and can be installed with a variety of textures. This is the preferred method that we use for longevity.

  1. Traditional

Traditional stucco is a mix of Portland cement, sand, water, and lime that is applied in four coats over an expanded metal mesh layer that’s attached to sheathing. This is the long-standing method for applying stucco that results in a cladding that is between seven-eighths of an inch and one inch thick. This method is the most time and labor intensive, and it is often costlier. The same method for installation used above for synthetic can also be used for traditional. As synthetic has grown in popularity in the southwest, installers have changed their view on excuses not to use synthetic. The main push back for installers is change itself. Either method works fine, and cracks will be mitigated with use of fiberglass mesh.

At John Mark Custom Homes, we take pride in educating our home builders every step of the way. Have further questions? Don’t hesitate to contact us.