Jonathan Hillert’s Tips for Building a Custom Home (Part 2 of 2)

Our first two tips from Mr. Hillert covered liquidity and where to build a custom home. Below, we finish our coverage of his advice.

3. Spend lots of time with your architect. An extra $5,000 spent on designing every detail of your home, from the hinges to the cabinet knobs, can save a great deal of time and money later on in the process.

4. Be flexible. During the build, you may have to make decisions quickly. Be sure that you and your spouse work out a framework for decision-making ahead of time, so that nobody gets caught by surprise if the construction process takes an unexpected turn.

About Jonathan Hillert:

Mr. Hillert serves as President of L&T Development, a construction company that focuses on custom single-family homes. He handles numerous duties for the business, including coordinating construction, scheduling contractors, and handling permitting. In the past, he has completed custom homes in as little as three months.


Jonathan Hillert’s Tips for Building a Custom Home (Part 1 of 2)

Building a custom home can be extremely satisfying, but only if you go into the process knowing what to expect and what to avoid. We recently caught up with construction executive Jonathan Hillert to get a few tips for people thinking about putting up a custom home:

1. Make sure you have enough cash. Some property owners think that if they own a fully paid off property, it will help them get a loan. That is often untrue. Banks maintain liquidity and reserve requirements for construction loans, and equity does not count toward either.

2. Build in the right neighborhood. If you build an expensive home in a modest neighborhood, you may have trouble getting the price you want for it when it comes time to sell. Conversely, if you plan to build an inexpensive home in a wealthy neighborhood, you may end up overpaying for the property.

Cancer Statistics among Americans

Construction and real estate executive Jonathan Hillert is president of L&T Development, LLC. In his spare time, Jonathan Hillert supports community organizations that build awareness about cancer.

The risk of cancer progressively increases with age. People most susceptible to the disease are those who smoke or are surrounded by smokers as well as individuals that have a family history of cancer. As of January 2012, the number of Americans with a family history of cancer stood at 13.7 million people, of which some are living cancer-free, while others show evidence of or are undergoing treatment for the illness.

In 2014 alone, more than 1.6 million new cancer cases are expected to be diagnosed. This estimate does not include patients who are battling noninvasive and basal cell cancers. Of this number, more than half a million are expected to be fatal cases.

Unfortunately, the cost of treatment remains at an all-time high. The National Institutes of Health reports that the expense of cancer in 2009 was $216.6 billion. Total health expenditures made up $86.6 billion in direct medical fees, while the remainder was used for indirect mortality costs.

Houston Construction Market Among Nation’s Strongest, Fastest Growing

Based in Houston, Texas, Jonathan Hillert earned degrees in architecture before entering the design and construction industry. Today, Jonathan R. Hillert serves as president of L&T Development, LLC, a full-service custom designer and builder of single-family residences. At L&T Development, Jon Hillert serves the entire Harris County area and oversees all facets of the projects he takes on, including planning, design, bidding, and management. Jonathan Hillert is also working to establish a nonprofit that will focus on increasing low-income housing within Harris County.

The Houston metro area continues to experience one of the strongest new construction booms in the country. Relatively unaffected by the recession, the region’s market has now kicked into high gear. In 2013, Houston boasted more new home starts than the entire state of California. This year, experts predict that home prices will increase roughly 5 percent, followed by a 4 percent climb in 2015. Analysts also predict the growth in new-home starts to increase 13 percent annually until 2016.

Earlier this year, Forbes magazine named Houston as the third strongest construction market in the U.S., behind New York City and Dallas. According to the business publication, approximately $4.8 million in new construction occurred in Houston from January to June. That represents an 8 percent increase over the previous year.

How American Men Can Reduce Their Cancer Risk By Jonathan Hillert

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) collects important information about cancer deaths in men as well as prevention methods. The CDC reports that American men die more often from lung cancer than any other form of cancer; nine out of 10 of these deaths occur from smoking. Men can prevent lung cancer by eliminating smoking, reducing their exposure to secondhand smoke, and testing for excessive radon in their indoor environments. Prostate cancer represents the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in men. Risks for prostate cancer increase with age, if you are of African-American descent, and if you have a family history of the disease. Men must decide when benefits outweigh the risks of prostate screening. Colon cancer ranks third among cancer-related deaths in men; colonoscopy screenings can help reduce the fatality of the disease. Finally, men can prevent skin cancer, the most common cancer in America, by staying in the shade; wearing protective clothing, hats, and sunglasses; and using sunscreen.

The University of Texas ( provides excellent cancer information specifically for Texans.

About the Author

A contributor to cancer-awareness programs, Jon Hillert established and operates Houston-based L&T Development, LLC, a company that designs and builds family homes.

Producing Biodiesel Fuel

In his role as president and owner of Houston-based L&T Development, LLC, Jonathan Hillert performs a range of duties, including accounting, scheduling contractors, and accumulating the necessary permits for such construction projects as custom homes and low-income housing. Jonathan Hillert’s activities include starting a non-profit organization to serve low-income housing needs in Harris County. Jon Hillert has also expressed an interest in starting a company to produce affordable biodiesel fuel for farmers.

Made from seeds that contain oil, biodiesel fuel essentially comes from raw vegetable oil. Crops that produce seeds used in biodiesel fuel include canola and soy beans in the United States and palm and jatropha in tropical regions of the world. Animal fats and cooking oil also serve as ingredients in biodiesel fuel. The oilseeds undergo a process called transesterification, a chemical process that separates glycerin from the seeds, leaving components called methyl esters, also known as biodiesel. In addition to biodiesel fuel, this process also produces the glycerin used in soaps and high-protein meal for animal feed.

Although U.S. law defines biodiesel as products derived from plant or animal matter, other organic materials can make renewable diesel through different production methods than those used for oilseeds. Researchers continue to investigate alternatives involving algae and municipal waste.

Jonathan Hillert: New Housing Construction Slowly Improving

As President of L&T Development, LLC, in Houston, Jonathan Hillert leads the organization in the design and construction of custom single-family homes. With more than two decades of experience in the real estate industry as an architect, developer, and builder, Jonathan Hillert has completed many multimillion-dollar projects through their full lifecycles. He regularly monitors industry developments and economic indicators such as housing starts.

On an annualized basis, new home construction declined in May 2012, a drop that one source attributes to a decrease in the number of apartments being built. However, builders requested a greater number of permits for new home construction as compared with prior months. The number of permits requested, adjusted to an annual rate, rose to the highest level since September 2008. Permits specifically for single-family homes increased to the greatest number since March 2010.

Overall, the rate for permits requested and new home sites remains roughly half of what economists would like to see for a “healthy” recovery. Still, the increases indicate a gradual improvement in housing starts.