Daley’s Incredible Mid Century Modern Makeover

Daley’s Incredible Mid Century Modern Makeover

Something special can happen when a builder has enough passion for design that they find inspiration when they’re not looking. This is the case for Graeme Daley of Daley Design + Build. Recently, he began designing a new lifestyle home that is inspired by Mid Century Modern living.

If you don’t know Graeme, he is the president and owner of Daley Design + Build, hence the name of course. The company is relatively new, but he’s not new to building game! He’s been involved in real estate, specifically design and building for the better part of a decade. Recently, he set out on his own with a company that focuses on what he feels like has been missing in custom home: Thoughtful Design.

Fast forward to Fall 2018. Graeme has spent the 1st half of this year working with his architects to design new plans that are truly inspired. They’re as much about as the look and feel as they are function. His most recent market home design is a take on the much loved Mid Century Modern. He’s spent hours trying to perfect the roof pitches and window placements to be sure that Carl Strauss would be happy. When you walk through the home, you’ll have angle ceilings with wide open spaces and light pouring in from the walls to ceilings.

Entrance of Orchard Trail

This specific plan is meant to be built on a lot in Orchard Trail, which is a lifestyle community just off Montgomery Rd near Weller. It’s designed to complement the existing craftsman style homes that have been built by using compatible materials, roof heights and presentations. We’re particularly excited to watch this home take shape and see Graeme carefully revive one of the past few centuries most cherished home designs.

Take a look at the Orchard Trail Web Page and let us know if you’d like to talk with Graeme about designing an incredible home in Orchard Trail or any of his other areas (Madeira, Montgomery or Indian Hill)!

Luxury Townhomes Coming to Oakley

Luxury Townhomes Coming to Oakley

Business Courier Article 9-6-18 by Tom Demeropolis.  Original Article found here

A new luxury townhome development is coming to the heart of Oakley.

PLK Communities LLC plans to build 19 townhomes at the corner of Madison Road and Taylor Avenue, just steps from Oakley Square. The project, known as the Allora on Madison, will have homes starting at $495,000.

Nick Lingenfelter, vice president of development with Sycamore Township-based PLK Communities, said the developer originally was looking at a larger-scale project for the property at 3133 Madison Road.

“After working with community and other partners in the area, it made sense to build residential,” Lingenfelter told me.

Allora on Madison will be built on property that was most recently a Fifth Third Bank branch location. PLK Communities purchased the two-thirds of an acre site from Fortus Group in July 2017 for $1.15 million. Fortus had planned an 82-unit apartment building, parking below grade and street-level commercial space.

Demolition of the former bank branch is expected to start in the next 30 days.

Each townhome will be 1,800 square feet, with three bedrooms, two and a half bathrooms and framed for optional elevators. Other features will include three decks for each townhome, including a private rooftop deck, a two-car garage and yards for several units.

The homes will have high-end finishes throughout, including granite or quartz countertops, nice cabinetry, hardwood floors, 10-foot ceilings on the main floor and 9-foot ceilings on the bedroom floor.

Allora on Madison will be LEED Silver. The project is part of PLK Communities’ Lifestyle Collection, which also includes the Broadway Brownstones in Loveland.

The development will include three buildings with eight units facing Madison Road, six units facing St. Cecilia Catholic Church and five units facing Taylor Avenue.

When designing Allora on Madison, Lingenfelter said he learned a number of lessons from previous projects: Buyers are interested in prime locations, contemporary designs on the interior and exterior and the ability to have a monthly payment all-in under $3,000 with only 10 percent down. Having LEED Silver certification will reduce the taxable value of the townhomes by $400,000 for 15 years, as the city of Cincinnati offers a residential tax abatement.

Lingenfelter said the all-in monthly payment for a townhome at Allora on Madison will be about the same as the monthly payment on an existing $325,000 home in Oakley.

Denis Back & Associates Architects is the architect for Allora on Madison. A contractor is expected to be selected in the coming weeks. PLK Communities selected Build Cincinnati of Coldwell Banker West Shell to list Allora on Madison.

Mike Hines, co-founder of Build Cincinnati, said the location in Oakley gives buyers a walkable neighborhood with suburban conveniences nearby.

“There’s not a single urban neighborhood that has as much to offer as Oakley does,” Hines told me.

The development’s name comes from the Italian word for “then,” or “next.” Allora on Madison is the next project for PLK Communities in Oakley, following its townhome project 2940 @ the Square.

While homes will start at $495,000, pricing is still being finalized on the townhomes. Lingenfelter and Hines expect to have final pricing in the next 30 to 60 days. They also are finalizing interior designs of the townhomes, which will have three distinct options for the finishes.

Allora on Madison is expected to deliver townhomes in early summer 2019.

Understanding New Construction Contracts

Understanding New Construction Contracts

If you’ve started to interview builders, you’ve likely started to see the difference on how they operate. They each have areas they thrive in and other’s not so much. But no matter their skill set or competitive advantages, you’ll ultimately get to the big step of reviewing and signing a contract with one of them.  Even though this might be months from the first day you meet with them, it’s important to start asking questions early on their contract!

I bring this up because we’ve seen deals fall apart after drawings are finished and bulldozers are at the site because the Buyer or Builder didn’t agree on some facet of the contract. So, don’t wait until your 2nd or 8th meeting with the builder to review the contract, start EARLY!

And when you do, you need to know about the different types of contracts! Forget about the fine print, the overall premise of the contract is what’s most important in the beginning. What I mean by that is, how are you paying your builder? Is it a cost plus contract or a fixed price contract? This is a VERY important item to ask.

Below are the types of contracts and how each works:

Fixed Price Contract – The cost of building a home is essentially the sum of all the parts from foundation to countertops! A fixed cost contract puts the risk on the builder to price out all of the items accurately to be sure he has ample cost and profit in the deal for him. When you execute a Fixed Price Contract, the builder bids out the plan (typically) to all of his vendors and suppliers, adds allowances for items you need to pick, adds his profit margin and then gives you a price. The profit margin might be fixed on his initial pro-forma (which they may or may not share), but ultimately it will slide up and down based on the cost of each non-allowance based item. The spec sheet guides his choices to be sure he doesn’t skimp on anything in the house.


  • The Builder’s responsible for any overruns (not caused by the land).
  • You know your price from Day 1 of contract signing!
  • Your bank can easily give you a loan based on a for sure number (minus allowance overruns)


  • The builder will try to save money where ever they can.  
  • It’s on you to stay in line with your allowances and be sure they’re adequate for your taste.
  • You might not see what your Builder’s profit margin is.

Cost Plus Contract –  The alternative to a fixed priced contract is cost plus where you see each and every item that is needed to build a home. The Builder will get bids for each item and then take on a fee for themselves. This fee can be a cost plus or a management fee. Examples might be a 15% cost plus or $100,000 management fee added to the cost. Sometime it can be both! They can be floating depending on how the scale of the build carries out. The responsibility is on the builder AND the client to review the bids to make sure they’re accurate and there is enough buffer to make sure you’re covered. These contracts can fluctuate in price drastically depending on how things go on the building site and how well your builder priced each of the categories.


  • Full transparency because you can see each of the costs
  • You know exactly what your builder is being paid!
  • You can influence each item if you care to.


  • Builder profit can be tied to how much YOU spend.
  • The builder is less concerned about keeping price under control.
  • The price is always moving – positively or negatively!

As you meet with Builders, be sure to talk with them about how they operate on this regard. If you have a preferred way to go about it, you’ll want to be sure you let the builder know that from the get go! No sense wasting your time if you and the builder can’t agree on the framework for a future deal!!

As a bonus, here are a few questions to ask your builder about their contracts…

  • What is the deposit and when do I give that to you?
  • How long does it take to build a home and will the delivery date be added into the contract)?
  • Ask about their financial capacity to pay subcontractors and how quickly they are paid.
  • If there are issues with construction, timing, execution, how are they handled?
  • Do you finance the construction or do I need a construction loan?

I  know this seems a bit overwhelming, but it’s important!  An as always, feel free to reach out to Build Cincinnati to help guide you through the new construction buying process.

A Millennials Guide To Buying A Home

A Millennials Guide To Buying A Home

It’s not your parent’s real estate market! Not for you Millennial’s, anyways. It a world where all kinds of information is at your disposal, you have to be able to sift through the good and the bad.

What do I mean by that? Well, there’s plenty of fake info out there when searching for a home. Don’t be fulled by the Z-estimate type algorithms that trying to over simplify complex valuations or the one click pre-approval websites.

When starting your search, there are quite a few hacks and tips that we’d like to offer ! These are all meant to make your search and the overall process a little easier…

Use Technology Sparingly! Zillow, Realtor.com, Trulia, SibcyCline.com…they all work great! But keep in mind what’s good about each. Zillow aggregates all sorts of info into one place, Trulia offers a user experience specific to Millenials, Sibcy Cline or ColdwellBanker.com have comprehensive local data and listings, but each of these are really just search tools. Find one or two and stick to them. If you keep switching amongst tools, you won’t become an expert on any of these.

Search Local! In addition to the local brokerage websites, try using the auditor sites or GIS Sites. Hamilton County GIS is one of our favorite (Cagis.org). It allows you to measure parcels, check overlay districts (think Hillside Overlay) and even blend aerial maps and parcel outlines. Also, the auditor’s site should be your best friend when reviewing comps and taxes. Don’t be afraid to lean on your Realtor here. This is where their expertise can shine!

How bulky is that savings account? Lets change gears to your dinero! Buying a home often comes with a hefty downpayment. BUT, there are special financing products that allow you to put less down. Open up that online bank account and take a look at where you stand. This will be helpful information to pass on to your loan officer so you can talk intelligently about your best options. Side Note: We wouldn’t recommend loan website’s like Rocket Mortgage or Quicken Loans. Most times, they don’t offer the best products because they can’t really get to know you by just answering a few questions!

Get Help! Unless you’ve bought a home before, we strongly encourage you to find a Real Estate agent to trust! Buyer’s agents typically get paid by the Seller of a property. Their commission is built into the list price so hiring your own Realtor is a VERY good idea. You need someone to explain the process and go to bat for you so you don’t make a bad decision.

To understand how to get started in general, you can download Build Cincinnati’s Millennial Guide to Buying a Home.  [download id=”2310″ template=”First Time Buyer”]It’s short, sweet and right to the point.

Wire Fraud – In a day and age where everything can be done online, we most cautious when wiring funds. We’re jumping ahead quite a bit since wiring funds doesn’t normally happen until the closing, but it’s important to mention. Wire Fraud is prevalent and you need to be careful. NEVER wire funds before you call the title company to verify the wiring instructions. You’ll want to confirm all of the details because emails can be hacked!!
Buy for today, but think of tomorrow!

Lastly, think about how long you’re planning to live in your home. If it’s a 2-5 year time frame, the size of the home and the mortgage product should match. Maybe you go with an adjustable rate loan for a condo that you only plan to be in for a few years. However, if it’s your “forever” home, maybe you should look at something for your future, growing family with a 30 year fixed loan to go along with it!

So, as you get started, don’t just jump in. It never hurts to keep an eye on new listings of course, but have a plan for buying. Whether you’re looking to build, buy or renovate, a plan will keep you from making any rash decisions. And, when in doubt, call an expert. Pick their brain and verify with the 100s of tech tools and websites at your disposal!

Why It’s The Wild West In Cincy’s Rough n’ Tumble Housing Market

Why It’s The Wild West In Cincy’s Rough n’ Tumble Housing Market

How many homes are on the market in Cincinnati? About 4,000.

In other words, not many. And housing inventory—that’s what that’s called—is falling fast. This time last year there were 15 percent more homes on the market than there are today.

Here’s what that means if you’re thinking about dipping into the housing market: The buying windows are smaller, the prices are rising, and more than any time in recent memory you should consider building one yourself.

As to that last part—the whole resale vs. new construction debate—we’ve got a few words of wisdom to get you started:


Upfront/long-term costs: Generally the cost to acquire a lot and build on it is higher than buying an existing home. The thing to keep in mind here is maintenance costs, which are reliably lower in new homes—at least in the time frames we’re talking about (20-30 years).

Build it now: Rising interest rates are increasing the cost of homeownership, whether new build or resale. But new build prices are also sensitive to commodity prices—lumber, steel, roofing, etc. And commodity prices are rising too, meaning if you want to build new, you should do it soon.

Hot neighborhoods: The myth about new homes is you can’t find lots in hot neighborhoods—Madeira, Hyde Park, Downtown, et al. But that’s not true. Whether through subdivision or tear down, lots are available in these communities, and you can get ahold of them today.

Exactly yours: File this one under the category of “super obvious things,” but when you build a new home, you get to make it exactly what you want. That includes the floor plan, materials, interior design… everything you can afford, you can have. It really will be the house of your dreams.


Character: Like a broken-in baseball glove, an existing home is aged and polished in all the right places. It has strange intricacies, lovable imperfections, and a certain way of getting better the more you get to know it. You don’t get that with new build.

Maintenance costs: The thing people underestimate most about owning a home is the constant work it requires. Well, that work gets more expensive as a house ages. Yes, this is the downside of the whole “character” thing; it’s all fun and games until you need a new boiler.

Walk-in ready: Build new and you could be waiting for more than a year to move in. Buy a home that’s already built and, well, “here are the keys.” All you need to do is arrange the furniture, and your life immediately gets simpler.

The market is about to heat up: Think it’s difficult finding a house you love now? Wait until it really gets warm out—May and June. That’s when home sales go into overdrive. It’s also when things tend to go on and off the market in a matter of days, if not hours. So you should strike before the iron gets hot; that is, get looking now.

…and when you do decide to get looking, there’s not a better team out there than our friends at Build Cincinnati. With them you get the best of both words—a diverse portfolio of resale homes in hot communities, and a better understanding of new construction than any other realtor group in the area.

as featured in Cincinnati Refined (in partnership with Local 12 News).

Written by Brian Penlap: http://cincinnatirefined.com/arts-design/cincinnati-housing-market-build-cincinnati-coldwell-banker-west-shell-local-real-estate-team