Front Page - Friday, October 09, 2009
Swafford Construction does green remodeling
As restrictions on home loans get tighter, many would-be buyers are seeking creative ways to improve their current living situations in lieu of seeking new homes. While this trend has contributed to the downtick of home sales, it has also contributed to the increase in business of many builders and remodelers.
Similarly, the idea of remodeling homes is becoming more and more popular among sellers trying to shorten the amount of time their homes are on the market. This trend has been particularly proven locally and, for that, the Remodelers Council of the Home Builders Association of Southern Tennessee is promoting a related campaign.
“There’s a lot of people upgrading in place of moving,” says Tim Swafford, chair of the local Remodelers Council. “So we’ve started a campaign with the Realtors to go in and just introduce ourselves as a council, just to let them know we’re out here to help them sell their homes, when they need an upgrade, to help them sell, to help their buyers or their sellers. If they need a paint job or some new doors or windows … We’ve been marketing ourselves, the council, to the Realtors.”
As president of the Remodelers Council, Swafford supports this initiative and also heads up monthly Remodelers Council meetings at HBAST on the first Thursday of every month. He brings in speakers on a variety of topics, including everything from educational information regarding marketing a remodeling business on the Internet to experts on new products.
While these meetings aim to inform Remodelers Council members about changes and updates within their industry, they also serve as a networking opportunity. For that reason, Swafford encourages all members of the real estate community to attend their meetings whenever possible.
“We’d love to have the Realtors come,” he says. “We would like to help them sell more homes. We can help them with upgrades.”
From inexpensive, easy upgrades to kitchens to new countertops, faucets or floors, Swafford says remodelers have the experience and the knowledge about current products to assist Realtors in sprucing up homes and, therefore, helping their clients buy and sell quicker. And he should know – Swafford has been in the building industry, specializing in remodeling, since 1981.
“I started in architectural technology, right out of high school at Cleveland State,” he says. “(It’s) just the early phases of architectural school. It’s a two-year program, an associate’s degree. I worked with some contractors right after that, did some estimating. And eventually I just started doing my own thing, primarily remodeling.”
From there, Swafford Construction was born, and the majority of the business he landed was remodeling homes on Lookout and Signal Mountains. Since then, Swafford has branched out, though, and now does work all over the Hamilton County area.
“We do whole house remodel and lots of kitchens, baths, a lot of room additions,” he says. “We have eight employees – carpenters, drywallers, painters. We’re full service remodeling. We sub out some plumbing, electrical and mechanical, but we’re full service remodeling.”
A lot has changed in Chattanooga since his business began in the early ‘80s, Swafford says, and it has mostly been for the better. He specifically references the “green” wave that’s sweeping the nation, and points out that he’s educated himself on ways to make homes more energy efficient.
“A lot of people are thinking that way,” he says. “Everybody’s more environmentally conscious with the way they do things, and that’s good. As far as products go, we have the whole shebang.”
In fact, Swafford and two of his staff have earned the Certified Green Professional designation, identifying themselves as builders with knowledge of the best strategies for incorporating green building principles into homes.
Another area in which Swafford Construction has become specialized is Aging In Place.
“We have a CAPS designation for that, too, to enable people to remain in their homes instead of going to nursing homes,” Swafford says. “We can modify showers and baths, kitchens, entryways, widen hallways, doorways, ramps, safety bars, stuff like that just to assist elderly or handicapped and just help them feel more secure in their environment.”
Swafford and his two business partners even started another company a year and a half ago called Independent Living of Tennessee that specializes in Aging in Place. They’ve done work with the VA, assisting recent veterans in returning to their homes, and have worked heavily with insurance companies, altering homes for people injured through worker’s comp.
“I’ve got four employees who are also certified in the Aging in Place,” Swafford says. “They’ve gone through the classes. They’re full-time employees, project managers that are certified Aging in Place, can do home evaluations.”
Like any remodeling job, Swafford says Aging in Place jobs start with consultations, during which clients explain their needs and an evaluation is done of the home. After a budget or cost analysis, Swafford and his team then recommend specific ways the company can make a home better equipped for the client.
Swafford also holds his Certified Graduate Builder designation and his Certified Graduate Remodeler designation. He is an active member of the National Association of Home Builders, as well as HBAST, and was named HBAST’s 2008-2009 Remodeler of the Year.
His company is committed to supporting local businesses, and regularly accesses a list of friends and reliable suppliers. This list includes The Roofing and Supply Company, www.theroofingandsupplyco.com; Interior Trim and Supply, www.interiortrimandsupply.com; Aluma Window, 423-894-6951; Chattanooga Paint and Decorating, 423-843-9286; Hubbuch Glass Co., 423-267-1179; McBryar Lumber, 423-821-7547; Evans Lumber, 423-698-8521; Independent Glass, 423-267-0449; and Tennessee Plywood and Door, 423-265-1002.
For more information about Swafford Construction, visit www.swaffordbuild.com, call 423-710-3147 or visit their new office at 5512 Ringgold Rd., Suite 109, in East Ridge.