Home 2.0 Blog Archive

Wednesday, June 20, 2018


Architect & Developer: A Guide to Self-Initiating Projects

This time last year when construction on the Oakley Home 2.0 project was kicking off, I was contacted by an Architect in New York named James Petty who was in the process of researching and conducting a series of interviews with Architect-Developers around the country for a book he was planning to write as guide to help architects initiate their own development projects. We Skyped for about an hour discussing my experience with the Home 2.0 project and the larger topic of Architect as Developer. Fast forward a year later. The book, Architect & Developer: A Guide to Self-Initiating Projects has been published, the Architect & Developer website has been launched, and James is moderating a sold-out round-table discussion with several other Architect-Developers at the AIA National Convention coming up later this week.
Reading through the book, I'm extremely impressed with how well researched and applicable the book is and there have been a lot of useful takeaways from the various chapters and interviews with other architect-developers that I look forward to implementing in my development projects moving forward.
Here is a link to my interview on the Architect & Developer website, which is also featured in the book.

Saturday, June 16, 2018


Property Acquisition Prospects

After closing on the Oakley Home 2.0 project and taking a week off to relax and reflect on that experience, I got back to business last week by beginning to look for land to develop for the next Home 2.0 project. In an effort to systematize this property acquisition phase, I created a master Google Sheets spreadsheet tracking the following databases in different tabs:
  • Database of Hamilton County Residential Vacant Land
  • Upcoming Hamilton County Sheriff Delinquent Tax Sales 
  • Buildings Ordered To Be Kept Vacant By The City Of Cincinnati
  • Hamilton County Land Bank Properties
  • Hazardous Building Abatement List
  • Active MLS Listings
While helpful to have all of these lists compiled in one place, the result is a spreadsheet with thousands of properties, so the challenge is filtering that number down to a handful of prospects that can be analyzed further to determine if they are worth making an offer on, and at what price.

At this stage one of my absolute favorite resources is the Cincinnati Area Geographic Information System (CAGIS) mapping service that integrates Hamilton County Auditor data, Property and Zoning Maps, and Satellite images all in a single location to help me quickly separate the contenders from the pretenders.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018


LEED Gold Certificate

When a home is Officially LEED Certified, you get an Official looking Certificate signed by the President & CEO of the US Green Building Council. Below is the LEED Gold Certficate for The Oakley Home 2.0 project that arrived in my inbox earlier today.

Saturday, June 9, 2018


The New and Improved MBenkert.com

With the vast majority of website views now coming from mobile devices rather than computers, it only made sense that I get with the times and refresh the look of my primary MBenkert.com website so that it is 100% mobile-friendly. I'm still in the process of updating the content, but I really like the look and feel of the site so far. The new site is now live for those that would like to check it out.

Friday, June 8, 2018


Flashback to LEED Gold Certification

This flashback goes all the way back to yesterday when I received confirmation that the USGBC had reviewed the final LEED Checklist and supplemental documentation submitted by Green Building Consulting for the Oakley Home 2.0 project and awarded the project LEED Gold Certification. How did the project get to Gold you might ask? Below is the Golden Checklist showing all the pre-requisites and points obtained that got the project well over the 77-point threshold for Gold, all the way up to 84-points.

Thursday, June 7, 2018


Flashback to Smart Lock and Monitoring

After having a lever style handle on the exterior of the front door for several months and seeing it come loose from all the use it got, I decided to switch it out with a more stable and stylish thumb latch door handle, which also made for better integration with the Smart Lock and Security Monitoring System installed in the home. Eliminating the secondary manual lock from the door, leaving only the Smart Deadbolt Lock remaining with the new handle, allows for the front door to be locked, unlocked and monitored remotely from an app downloadable to the homeowner's phone. The app also lets the owner arm and disarm the security system remotely while monitoring the various other doors and motion detectors throughout the home.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018


Flashback to Obtaining the Final Certificate of Occupancy

While the Oakley Home 2.0 project was legally able to be occupied after being granted a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy back in February, I was told by the City at that time a Final Certificate of Occupancy could not be granted until after the landscaping was installed. Fast forward a couple months later to when the landscaping was in, I contacted the City about getting said Final C of O, only to be informed by the inspector that in addition to the landscaping, I would also need to get an Engineering Change approved by the city in order to obtain the Final C of O because I added a new french drain along the side property line to divert water runoff and that was not shown on the original approved plans. Fortunately, being an architect, it was pretty quick and easy for me to produce the drawing below that was requested for the Engineering Change and get that submitted back to the Building Department for review.
It took about a week for the plans examiner at the City to get around to approving the Engineering Change, but once that was signed-off on I was able to immediately set-up a meeting on site with the inspector to show him the approved change in the field along with finished landscaping. The inspector was good with what he saw, and a couple days later I was able to pick-up the Final Certificate of Occupancy shown below.