Natelli Homes Blog

ac3f812d-395f-4eaf-eac5-3886f9209ea2If you are currently considering home renovations, or are even considering completely remodeling your home, your homes piping may not be an item that you had previously considered adding to the list of things in your home that need to be renovated. However, your piping is essential in ensuring that the water your family needs will reach, and be distributed throughout, your home. A homes piping is such an integral (and unseen) part of one’s home, that, consequentially, many people do not consider repiping their home, and do not know how they would be able to tell if their home needed to be repiped. Oftentimes older homes will eventually need to be repiped. Luckily for the homeowners though, old pipes will often give off signs that they need to be replaced. While there are many signs that can indicate that a home needs to be repiped, here are a few of the major signs that can indicate repiping may be necessary for your home.

Lack of Water Pressure

If you have noticed a steady decline in the water pressure coming out of your homes sinks and showers it is likely that it is time to repipe your home. In fact, poor water pressure is one of the clearest indicators that something is likely wrong with the pipes in your home.

Water Changes Color

If you begin to notice that either the water coming out of your pipes has a red cast, or that the water coming out of your homes faucets is colored at first and then runs clear, then it is likely time to repipe your home. Colored water is often a sign that the pipes in your home have begun to rust, which is not healthy for you and your family to consume through the water.

Your Homes Water Has an Unpleasant Odor

If you have begun to notice a change in the scent of the water coming out of your homes showers and faucets, this can be a clear indicator that your pipes need to be replaced. Unpleasant smelling water can be an indicator that the pipes in your home are failing and/or deteriorating, and it is vital that you have them looked at by a professional.

Each of us relies on the pipes in our homes to supply us with the water our families need, which is why it is vital to have your home repiped at the first indication that there may be a problem with your homes piping.

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dec0ac87-a6b6-45bf-d294-caec7cbfd312Becoming a victim of an illegitimate contractor is a sad truth for many people who are looking for honesty and legitimacy. Getting burned by an unlicensed and unethical hucksters can really sway how a homeowner feels about a respected business. But because the average person rarely takes on abathroom or kitchen remodeling venture more than a few times in their life, it's difficult to know what to look for.

Here are 3 tips to help you avoid becoming a victim.

1. Keep an eye out during the contract phase

The first interaction that you have with a contractor should be the barometer for shady business. You should feel good about your interaction.

  • Never just accept a contractors word that something will get done. 
  • Never sign the contract because "the price will go up" if you do not. Always get 3 separate quotes.
  • Do not give more than half the money for the job up front. Legitimate contractors will never ask for more than 20-30%.
  • Be very wary of "cash only" offers. Being able to provide payment through check or credit should always be available as payment.
  • If you have an insurance check, do not sign it over to a contractor (they should never ask for that matter). Always pay them from your account.

2. References are important business

Just like with any job, a person's references are important to them gaining employment. Look out for these negative dings when seeking a contractor.

  • Be sure that you can find (and visit) your contractors business address (or website). Those looking to swindle you will never hand this information over easily.
  • Look them up on the BBB's website or on Angie's List. 
  • If they provide references, contact them. Even visit their last job to verify their work. A good contractor will have no problem with this.
  • Look up their licensing information on the state or local level. 

3. Keeping to a schedule is important

Your contractor should be available to work on whatever schedule you can arrange. If they will not agree to any of the following, move on.

  • The schedule needs to include a timeframe, and a contingency clause that outlines what happens if they do not complete the work on time. Legitimate contractors will never fear working on a deadline.
  • Pay by phase. That is, your payment schedule should always be included on your schedule, with each payment arranged by job completed.
  • Make sure that all proper inspections have been completed before each phase, especially before moving on to the next. This is important for payment purposes.

The bottom line is that your experience with a potential contractor should leave you with a feeling of ease and trust. If you are unsure, or have a bad feeling that you may not be hiring the right person, chances are you are correct. Never be pressured or bullied into agreeing that work is done. Remember, you are the employer, not just the customer.

From architectural and design services, to demolition and all the way through completion, we are your complete source for your construction project.

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f28fbb3c-600f-4f3e-e122-b221d6d09b46Live in a house long enough and eventually you are going to reach a point where the desire of doing some home renovations becomes almost an obsession. In many cases, this obsession (or even just a simple desire) meets up with the roadblock known as a lack of liquidity. One of the nice things about living in a house long enough to reach the point where home renovations transforms from a want to need is that it may also be long enough to build up enough equity to qualify for a loan.

A home equity loan, to be precise. The home equity loan is a very popular method method of borrowing money for renovations, remodeling and home improvements. (Though, despite its name, a home equity loan can be spent any way you like; it doesn't have to be spent on your home.) You even have two different options for structuring the loan: either for a fixed amount or by establishing a line of credit to draw upon as necessary.

It is very much worth noting that despite being known by a different name, a home equity loan is basically just a second mortgage. Which means that you will once again be expected to jump through the very same hoops you jumped through with your first mortgage. That means filling out a loan application, paying closing costs, application fees and points and facing the ultimate penalty of foreclosure if you can't pay the loan back.

Despite those not inconsiderable downsides, there is an upside to taking out a home equity loan to cover the cost of home renovations. In most cases, you may be able to borrow up 80% of the equity you have established in your home. Introductory interests rates can be substantially lower than the rates you were able to get with the first mortgage. Those introductory rates are usually locked in for only six months, after which they will fluctuate relative to the prime rate or some other benchmark percentage. While the that uncertain rise in the interest you will pay is hardly promising, if you plan wisely on the amount you plan to borrow and develop a strategy for paying off as much as you can within that six month locking period, you can potentially exploit the system for pretty significant gains.

The wiser path in some cases may be to lock into a fixed interest rate for the length of the loan. You won't get that low introductory rate, but you also won't get any nasty surprises down the road. If you are going to be borrowing a large amount that you can't possibly pay down by much in six months or if you are borrowing during a time of interest rate instability, this would almost certainly be more advantageous.

Another reason for the popularity of home equity loans is the ability to deduct 100% of that interest. If you aren't used to itemizing your deductions, you should consult a tax professional to make sure you take full advantage of this opportunity. 

And for those aching to get down to business and engage in some serious home renovations, there is one overwhelming benefit to taking out a home equity loan.  In comparison to some other means of borrowing, the home equity loan is a relatively painless and quick means of getting your hands on the liquid assets necessary to make those renovations a reality. 

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altaltThis old fireplace with split face surround really needed some help.  Not only was it unattractive, but the previous builder set the fireplace behind the wood wall.  With a little creativitity and good marble and millwork shops, Natelli made custom extensions on the fireplace surround so the colonial wood mantle would fit properly over the fireplace.  Sometimes big problems have simple solutions.


In the month of September alone, the Windows for Hunger campaign by Natelli Homes raised enough for 4,200 meals through the Capital Area Food Bank. We are so encouraged by the success, Natelli is now offering 3 meals to the CAFB for every person that "likes" Natelli Homes on FaceBook.

Please support the Capital Area Food Bank by contacting Natelli Homes if you are considering new windows or exterior doors. The results of having new quality windows and doors by Natelli Homes speaks for itself, but now you can also help others in the metropolitan area who are in significant need.

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altA new custom home built by Natelli Homes for the Darvish / Fallahi family was recently featured in Bethesda Magazine. The details and character of the home fit the client perfectly. Take note of the spectacular iron railings, the tile-work in the bathroom and the enormous kitchen with stone and marble countertops and WoodMode cabinets.


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In case you missed the New York Times recently, as I did, there was a feature on Marvin Windows that tells the story of this family owned company in our currently challenging economy. The article confirms not only why they are a good employer, but gives me affirmation that their commitment to their employees translates into the exceedingly high quality of their product.


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Natelli Homes is pleased to display one of its newest product lines in Arlington this weekend.  The Ashley model is designed and developed for narrow lots in areas such as Arlington and Bethesda.

altThe original home was demolished in the latter part of 2010 and we are already getting prepared for the Owners to move in their new home.  This hand-crafted home was constructed to the same standards as the ultra-custom homes that Natelli Homes builds throughout the Washington metropoliotan area.  With four finished levels, five full bedrooms and an expansive recreation room and den in the basement, there is a surprising amount of room for families.

Please join us this Sunday, May 15th between 1:00 - 3:00 p.m at 1909 N Quebec St in Arlington, VA.  This will be a one- time opportunity to see the most current new home design and quality from Natelli Homes.

Feel free to contact me with any questions at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

It is late Wednesday morning, the day before Thanksgiving, a very quiet business day, many people are traveling to their families for the holiday and we plan to close the office early so our employees can get some extra time at home.  This is one of those days when you can catch up on all the busy work without interruption - even e-mail traffic is slow.

Then I get the call.  Not one of those calls about an accident or an emergency regarding someone's health, but an emergency call nonetheless.  A client calls about a sink in a granite top that has an issue and they can't use the sink.  My immediate thoughts wander through the true urgency of the call, but the more I listen the more I understand this could affect the pending Thankskgiving holiday for our client.  But it is close to 11:00, late in the morning, the day before a long holiday weekend - how in the world can I realistically help?

All I can do is call Greg, the supervisor who built the home, and see if he can put a band-aid on the problem, enough at least to get them through to Monday.  Greg is probably having the same day as I am, things progressing in order, somewhat quiet and many discussions about the weekend plans, football games and time with family.  I hate making the call to Greg, but what choice do I have?  The problem with this client's sink could effect their whole Thanksgiving weekend.

Within 4 hours of making that call on Wednesday before Thanksgiving, Greg had the sink repaired and the house ready for the holidays for our client.  Greg could have easily said, "this is impossible - it's the afternoon of the day before Thanksgiving and I don't have any of the subcontactors at any of my jobs that can fix this problem".  But without any hesitation, Greg rallied the necessary vendors, dropped what he was doing and got  the sink repaired.  Credit also goes to the team at R. Bratti & Associates, who did the same as Greg, recognized the nature of the situation, knew the value of our clients and dropped what they were doing to fix the sink.

Looking back over that afternoon, I realize that I all did was call Greg.  I did not demand anything of Greg except to inform him of the call I just received.  I don't know what Greg did, how R. Bratti pulled crews off of other jobs and what hurdles everyone did to help our client.  What I do know is this:  what took place was engrained in Greg, his assistant, Luis, R. Bratti's employees and anyone else who lent a hand.  Our client's situation was most important - our client called with an urgent issue and our employees and vendors reacted approproately.  Not one person questioned if this was warranty work, something caused by the homeowner or simply not our problem.  The timing of the problem could not have been worse; it was the afternoon before a holiday and things were going pretty well otherwise.

I have a lot of these stories over the years.  Ron and Pete help a client when a storm drain overfows in hurricane like rainfall, Bob comes down from Hagerstown in over 24" of snow to ensure our client has access to their home during a renovation and Tom and John often help clients on weekends or evenings when the call comes to them. 

From an employer's viewpoint, I am very blessed.  Not only because I have such a great team on my side, but because my team knows the value of our clients.  We many not be able to pull off the miracle that Greg did on the afternoon before Thanksgiving, but we know how important our clients are and that we should always try to assist when we can regardless of the timing, ease or responsibility.

Thanks for reading.  I can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit our website at www.NatelliHomes.com

Arlington, Virginia is such a great location for anyone in the metro DC area.  Quick access to downtown Washington, great neighborhoods, interesting regional restaurants and an abundance of good schools make this one of the most desired places to live in D.C.  Unfortunately the age of the housing stock makes it more difficult for a family to find exactly the right fit for a home.

One of the many strengths of Natelli Homes is the ability to provide exceptional value without sacrificing quality.  Builders have many way to cut costs during construction, but our standards are not going to change whether we are building a custom home for millions of dollars or a home for a client with lower budget.  In fact, many of the vendors and subcontractors used on projects at both ends of the price spectrum are often the same.

altEspecially in Arlington and Bethesda, we work with clients to evaluate the potential to renovate verses the possibility of tearing down an existing home and building new.  Building new does not mean building expensive; one just has to be smart about making the right choices.

altThis home will have  engineered floor systems spaced at 16" on center, not 24" on center just to meet the minimum code requirements, clad aluminum windows with Low-E high performance glass, hot water recirculating water lines and many other features that are always included in a Natelli home.  The home even incorporates a split zone heating and air conditioning system to address the needs of particular rooms when needed, not just blast air throughout the home when the fan comes on.

We will keep you posted about the progress and features of this fine new home in future posts.  Feel free to contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit our website at www.NatelliHomes.com