“Matt’s Building Materials” Introduces New Website With Online Estimates & Live Chat


The internet and e-commerce have changed just about every industry. Businesses small and large have embraced this change with varying degrees of success. So how can a local business compete against much larger national companies? “With creativity!” says Nathan Cain, the marketing director of Matt’s Building Materials.

Matt’s Cash & Carry, as most people remember it, is entering its 48th year in business. Over the years they’ve had to change and adapt many times. Today, people expect to be able to go online and find exactly what they are looking for. The building materials industry is no different. Matt’s recognized this and began putting together a plan. Early on, they realized that creating a website that included pictures, prices, and descriptions for all 25,000 of their products would be prohibitively expensive. They had to come up with a way that would give their customers the information they needed and still be able to show a positive return on their investment.

In September of this year, Matt’s Building Materials launched its new website with a specific goal to harness the power of conversation. In addition to a sleek new look, the new website’s key feature is a chat app. “Chatting with customers who visit our website allows us to utilize our most valuable resource—our employees,” explains Nathan.  “We are blessed to have a hardworking staff that is knowledgeable about our products and knows how to use them. When a customer visits our website and does a live chat, we can ask them pertinent questions that help determine what product would work best for their situation, and give them information that even the best e-commerce websites out there can’t. We can provide customers with estimates, and even arrange delivery. Since we started testing the chat feature a few months ago, we have already had hundreds of conversations with customers. It’s very exciting.”

Online live chat services are not new in other industries, but until now, not offered in the Valley by a full-service building materials supplier like Matt’s Building Materials. An eDigital Customer Service Benchmark survey revealed that 73% of customers reported the highest satisfaction levels when contacting a business via live chat, compared to 61% for email and 44% for telephone. A live chat service combines the benefits of phone and email but is far superior in reducing wait time for responding to customer requests.

Matt’s Building Materials has expanded to three locations (Pharr, San Benito, and Palmview, Texas) and with a 48-year history, is the oldest family-owned and operated building materials company in the Rio Grande Valley. The company’s knowledgeable and friendly staff is almost entirely bi-lingual and caters to all types of customers, from Valley natives to Winter Texans. Its addition of a new website and live chat services is one more example of how Matt’s Building Materials’ superior customer service is constantly being improved to better serve all customers.

Go to mattsbuildingmaterials.com to submit your shopping list, get estimates, or ask questions using their live chat services. Matt’s Building Materials has high hopes that customers will find their employees just as helpful online as they do in person.

Las Villas del Rio: South McAllen’s Newest Garden Home Community

Las Villas del Rio is South McAllen’s newest gated community featuring elegant garden homes offering privacy and convenience. Las Villas del Rio’s location, one block south of Expressway 83 on South Taylor Road, is ideal for quick and easy access to all cities in the Valley.

This cozy gated community of only 93 lots will include a common area and a relaxing community pool for residents. Two separate gated entrances are also included for the residents’ convenience. Architectural controls and a Home Owners Association at Las Villas del Rio will insure that the community is well maintained and managed in the future.

Verturo Interests, LLC., an established development, real estate, and construction company, is proud to add Las Villas del Rio to the list of new home communities in which it is building. The company will be designing and building beautiful garden homes in Las Villas del Rio with the unique architectural features and high-quality craftsmanship that Verturo Interests is known for. The new garden home floor plans at Las Villas del Rio promise exciting features like designer ceilings, exotic granite countertops, and striking details throughout the home. Open family areas with lots of outdoor light will add space and ambiance to the home. Verturo Interests invites you to explore the variety of floor plans that are available at Las Villas del Rio. Choose from existing 2-3 bedroom concepts or custom design your own. Whatever your dream, whether you are wanting to stop renting, size down, or need a second home, Verturo Interests has the people, the knowledge, and the experience to help you into a new garden home.

Take a drive out to Las Villas del Rio and see how conveniently close the community is to restaurants, movie theaters, Gold’s Gym, shopping, and hospitals. With Verturo Interests, you’ll get everything you need in a home, and with the ideal location of Las Villas del Rio, you’ll get everything you need nearby.

Lots are few and limited. Call Verturo Interests, LLC at (956) 213-8244 to reserve your lot, or visit www.verturointerests.com for more information. You can also go to Facebook for additional photos and postings.

4 Tips To Choosing The Right Community For Your New Home

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Touring around on a beautiful day to check out local neighborhoods can be a lot of fun, especially if you are considering building or buying a new home. The Rio Grande Valley has dozens of neighborhoods to choose from, each offering houses of different styles and sizes and with many great amenities. Whether you are looking for a starter home in a community with a pool or a large home in a palm-lined community with lots of walking trails, there is a perfect community for you.

Understanding Different New Home Community Types

Is your heart set on a community with beautiful trees, a golf course, and exercise facilities? Do you want a neighborhood with extra security? Or are you looking for something that’s perfect for young families with lots of features for kids? Thankfully, there are neighborhoods in our region that meet all of these needs. Figuring out which one is right for you starts with understanding the different community types available.

New home owners looking for the perfect fit for a family will want to consider selecting a community with basic features like local schools and medical facilities close by. You’ll also want to look for features that were built with kids in mind, such as sidewalks, parks, and even swimming pools. These communities may also offer homeowner associations that organize local activities aimed at children, as well as Neighborhood Watch programs for
added safety.

For older adults, there are active communities with both large and small housing options and locally organized events designed to help you enjoy a lively and full lifestyle. These communities often include social clubs, fitness facilities, and programs aimed at seniors. Some even offer transportation to local cultural events for groups.

Luxury planned communities have even more amenities available exclusively to local homeowners. These can include private lakes for fishing and kayaking, exclusive golf courses, spas, and clubhouses, as well as security features that ensure only those with permission are allowed on the property. You’ll feel safe and pampered inside one of these communities.

Living in a community aimed at your lifestyle means it will be easy to get the most out of your new home. Before you decide which type is right for you, enjoy an afternoon driving around and touring a few. Which ones feel like they match your hopes and needs?

Factors To Consider When Choosing A New Community

Now that you understand the different types of communities, you’ll need to determine which one is the right fit for you. We’ve come up with some tips for how to choose the best neighborhood in which to build your new home.

Tip #1 – Size:
Consider how much space you’ll need—both inside and outside. Some communities offer smaller starter homes or townhouses while others have only larger properties. Think about the house and yard size you and your family will need, and look at communities that offer houses that fit within your current expectations.

Tip #2 – Desired Features:
Which of these amenities would you use and what value you would place on having them nearby? Many new communities are built outside urban areas and provide access to larger parks, nature preserves, golf courses, and water sport areas.

Tip #3 – Location:
What features do you want nearby? If you have children, look at the school zone of a community – does it have the right schools for your kids? Consider whether your new home will be close to your job as well as your favorite shopping, church, and dining options. And don’t forget to do a local search to find out if there are the right hospitals and medical providers such as dentists and clinics for your needs.

Tip #4 – Budget:
How much extra can you spend for amenities?
Living in a planned community may involve paying monthly or annual fees for additional features. Some provide yard upkeep, caretaking for shared outdoor spaces, and management of community features such as fitness facilities and parks. This gives you extra time to spend enjoying time with your family, but it will add to your budget.

Once you have figured out which communities you think would be the best fit, you may want to spend time talking to homeowners who already live there. Get their insights on what it is really like to live there to help you determine if various features offer the value you think they will.

Remember, you are buying more than just a house; you are buying your family’s home and neighborhood. This is where your children will make friends and memories, where you will sit down for dinner every day, and where you will walk down the street to chat with your neighbor. Make sure you choose the perfect community in which to build your
perfect home.

How to Choose a Builder

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Want the honest, unvarnished truth? Not all homebuilders are created equal. Deciding which builder to hire to build your dream home can easily turn into a nightmare if you don’t do your homework. The current building and buying process for a new home does not make it any easier for homebuyers. Take a look at a short video “If Cars Were Built Like Houses” that illustrates the ridiculous process of how we buy homes. You may think it is funny—but it is no joke. The bad news is that the video depicts what, unfortunately, is the reality for many purchasing a newly constructed home. You may know that many professionals are required to have a license to conduct business: plumbers, electricians, heating and cooling technicians—even a nail manicurist is required to have a license. You may be surprised to know, however, that a builder is not required to have a license. The truth is that in Texas, anyone can be a builder even if they don’t know how to build a home.

The GOOD news is that the process is about to get much better. On September 1, 2016, the new building codes adopted by the State of Texas went into effect and require builders to meet or exceed stricter energy requirements for new homes in the State of Texas. Many building officials in the Valley will begin enforcing these requirements as early as January 1, 2017.

The BEST news for buyers who want to insure that they choose a good builder is that there are “above code” programs here in Texas like Built To Save™ and ENERGY STAR® which certify homes as “high performance.” Homes built by builders who certify their homes in these programs are inspected and tested by third-party, licensed home energy raters who verify that all the strict requirements of the program have been met. The home energy raters have to be registered with the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) and have a licensed Provider who oversees their certifications. Home energy raters perform inspections before the walls are put in and use specialized equipment and software to test the leakiness of the home’s envelope (roof, walls, windows, doors) and ductwork after the home is completed.

While these tests are also used to insure that a home meets minimum code, the operative word is “minimum.” As a homebuyer, you should understand the difference between buying a home built to minimum standards and one built above code requirements. Don’t take anyone’s word that the home is built to “above code standards.” A certified high performance home requires several checklists to be completed by a Home Energy Rater and the builder. Want to be sure you have a home built above code standards?  Ask to see the checklist—ask for proof: a Built To Save™ or ENERGY STAR® certificate. Either of these certificates will distinguish your home as a quality-built high performance home if you decide to sell, and this will result in a higher resale value.

Choose the right builder. Visit www.BuiltToSave.org for more information.

Discover a Hidden Treasure at “Hidden Cove”– a New Home Community in McAllen, Tx

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If you are looking to move up to a high-performance quality home in a fantastically convenient location, you will be happy to discover Hidden Cove. This private, gated community is ideally located off West Nolana in McAllen, Texas, just minutes from the center of town and all the conveniences of city living.

This exclusive community features elegant one and two story homes from Camino Real Builders, an award-winning industry leader recognized by the Rio Grande Valley Builders Association for excellence in design, quality construction, and green building.

Michael Pavon, founder of Camino Real Builders, is proud of his company’s multiple awards received in consecutive years from his peers in the industry.

The community of Hidden Cove offers a quiet and peaceful neighborhood on one street with two gates at the entrance and one exit gate at the end of the street for convenience.  Visit Hidden Cove and tour some of Camino Real’s move-in ready models open weekly from 10am to 6pm and Saturdays 11am to 3pm.  A knowledgeable onsite sales representative is available to answer your questions and help guide you to the home of your dreams.  The company will custom design a home to fit your individual needs and also offers an extensive library of existing floor plans that can be modified to satisfy your desires.

Camino Real Builders is proud to be an energy efficient and green built builder. The company offers upgrades of ENERGY STAR® and BUILT TO SAVE™ certified homes constructed to exceed minimum code requirements.  Greenbuilt RGV certifications are also offered for homebuyers who value sustainable homes.

If you are ready to buy a home, you’ll want to visit Hidden Cove before you make a decision.  At Hidden Cove, you’ll find that every thing you need is just around the corner.

Visit www.CaminoRealBuilders.com for more information on Hidden Cove and other communities that feature the fine quality construction of Camino Real Builders.

Divine Custom Homes Helps Homebuyers Breathe Better, Cleaner Indoor Air.

Should homeowners be concerned about breathing in dust, mold, radon, carbon monoxide, and other potentially toxic pollutants inside their homes? Of course they should. Having a healthy indoor air quality when moving into a new home is something we all assume we will get, but that may not always be the case. Studies performed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reveal that many indoor air pollutants can be two to four times higher than outdoor levels. And since we spend most of our time indoors, insuring good indoor air quality should be of utmost importance. For individuals with a history of respiratory problems such as asthma, allergies, and chronic sinusitis, there is one sure way reduce the risk of poor indoor air when you are shopping for a new home—look for the EPA’s Indoor airPLUS label.

Indoor airPlus logo - 24v5

The good news for the Rio Grande Valley is that the Indoor airPLUS certification is now available–introduced in our market by Divine Custom Homes, who incorporates the Indoor airPlus program into every home they build. To earn the Indoor airPlus label, a home is required to comply with strict construction practices and product specifications which reduce exposure to indoor pollutants and harmful contaminants, and this can only be awarded to an ENERGY STAR® qualified home. Olga Treviño, founder of Divine Custom Homes, has been an ENERGY STAR® partner for many years. “We build all of our homes 100% ENERGY STAR®, or we won’t build it,” she said. “If we build your home, you are guaranteed a home of unparalleled quality, energy efficiency, and comfort. And that’s not just me saying that—it’s our inspectors. With a Divine home, you can rest assured that you and your family will breathe easier with your homebuying decision—literally.”

With so many new homes on the market today, it makes sense to narrow your search by only looking for homes that have earned the ENERGY STAR® and Indoor airPLUS labels. You will be guaranteed “above code” energy efficiency, comfort, durability, good indoor air quality, and, more importantly, peace of mind that you made an excellent choice.
Visit www.epa.gov/indoorairplus for more information.


Rafael Munguia and daughters, Camila Alessandra (standing); Maria Elise (sitting).

Not long ago, the RGV New Homes Guide featured Caribella Homes on its cover, spotlighting the company as “The Valley’s Luxury, Eco-Friendly Builder.”  Rafael Munguia, President and CEO of Caribella Homes, was—and still is—on the leading edge of sustainable design, also known as “green-building.”  At that time, Munguia expressed his dream of one day building the first “net zero green” home in the Valley—a sustainable home that produces as much energy as it consumes. With Caribella Homes recently receiving a distinguished certification of one of its homes as a “U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Zero Energy Ready Home,” you can say Rafael Munguia is on track to fulfill
his dream.

A home certified in the DOE Zero Energy Ready Home program means the home has achieved an “ULTRA” energy efficiency status by taking the requirements of the EPA’s ENERGY STAR® and Indoor airPLUS programs to higher levels, which can mean up to 40-50% or more savings on utilities over a typical new home. The Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR® and Indoor airPLUS certifications are both prerequisites for a “Zero Energy Ready Home” certification. The comprehensive package of requirements needs to comply with all of the programs and address all levels of energy efficiency, comfort, indoor air quality, durability, and value. This “whole-house and all-systems” approach of the “Zero Energy Ready Home” certification gives buyers a guarantee that their homes will outlast similar homes and attain superior levels of performance.

There are only a few select builders across the country that have committed to building Zero Energy Ready Homes. These homes have been called the homes of the future, but the future is now, and a Zero Energy Ready Home is available in the Valley today from Caribella Homes, who builds not just a high performance home but a superior performance home.

“Our hearts may drive our architectural and interior design,” said Munguia of his team, “but our minds are driven by efficient engineering.” The minimum energy code laws go into effect on September 1, 2016, in the State of Texas; these laws set the bar for the bare minimum needed to comply with the legal requirements of constructing a home. While many home builders and home buyers will be content with a home built to minimum standards, it’s a good feeling to know that there are builders in our market who are more concerned about setting the bar for superior excellence in construction and sustainable living for the sake of our future generations. Go to energy.gov and search DOE Zero Energy Ready Homes or visit caribellahomes.com for more information.