The Advantages of Open Floor Plans


If you’ve been looking at inspiration for your new home online, or visiting homes in person, you may have come across an interesting trend.

While two homes may have the exact same square footage, same number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and any number of other similarities on paper, they may feel extremely different in person. Why? What sets one home apart from another when it feels as though they should be the same?

A major difference may be an open floor plan.

Open floor plans have become popular, especially in new construction. Unlike construction of the past that associated with various areas of the home with separate rooms, open floor plans focus on sectioning off various parts of a floor plan with angles, flooring and decor, rather than 4 walls.

Not All Open Floor Plans are Created Equally

While you may understand the difference and be set on an open floor plan, not all open floor plans are created equally. When designing your new home, or looking for an existing home with an open floor plan, consider the following.

Your Desired Use/Layout

How do you plan on using the open space in your new home? Can you picture ways to use furniture and other decorative options to section off these spaces? Think about what matters most to you, and whether a specific plan will make that possible or not.

Target Traffic Flow

When someone enters your home, or you go about your day, how do you envision the open space being used. Do you want someone sitting at the kitchen island enjoying snacks to be able to watch the television? Are you hoping that you can see the kids play while you work in an office space? How will people move throughout your desired space?

Privacy Level

Open floor plans are a great way to keep your family together, to open up various activities to larger groups and to entertain. However, some privacy is still desired. Does the floor plan you have in mind allow for quiet and privacy when needed? Is there a study, office or other space that’s less open than the rest of the home?

Lighting

A floor plan can be extremely open, but, without the right lighting, it can feel smaller than it should. For this reason, window placement and size, along with built-in lighting should be a top focus. Light makes spaces feel larger, which may be what you’re looking for.

Is an open floor plan right for your needs? Maybe. But, remember, not all open spaces are created equally.

Ready to find your dream home? Looking for the open floor plan that meets your needs? Contact me today.

 

Are You Looking for an Energy Efficient Home?


While searching for your new home, you may compare the cost of building a new home against buying an existing home.

This is normal and part of the process, however, what’s below the surface price may be more important than you realize. One of the key advantages of new homes is the level of energy efficiency they can provide.

Check out the image up top from New Home Source’s Start Fresh, Buy New initiative.

As illustrated, the HERS index measures how efficient a given home is. You want this number to be low; a low number means more energy efficiency. While it might seem like a simple “green” trend, energy efficiency is so much more than that.

In fact, newly built homes save an average of  3,449 KWH per year according to New Home Source. With an average cost of $.12 per KWH, this adds up over time. Energy efficient utilities can provide additional savings. For instance, an energy efficient washer could save 7,000 gallons of water a year.

In addition to tangible savings on utilities and other bills, Federal Tax Credits are sometimes available. You can check them out here: https://www.energystar.gov/about/federal_tax_credits.

Energy efficiency isn’t a trend, it’s a cost-saving lifestyle that could make a new home more affordable than you’ve previously thought.

Interested in learning about other benefits of purchasing or building a new home? Contact me today.

Spruce Up Your Landscaping This Summer


It’s in the air: summer is finally on its way. The nights are getting longer, days are getting warmer and it just feels like a good time to get outside.

Why not pay a little extra attention to your landscaping this summer? The following options might be worth your while as you explore options for getting started. Thanks to the National Association of Landscape Professionals for highlighting this year’s hottest trends!

1. Vary the Green.

Dramatic lawns filled with various shades of green are “in.” Consider mixing various shrubs and grasses of different sizes for the most visually pleasing result.

2. Think Sustainability.

Reducing carbon footprints and going “green” in an environmental sense are popular this year. Look for low maintenance grasses that flourish with low water and native flowering plants to contribute to your local ecosystem. Unsure of where to start? Consider stopping by your local nursery for assistance.

3. Welcome the Bees.

While a few campaigns have gone viral recently to save the bees, the best place to start is with native flowers that please the pollinators. Do a little research or ask a local landscaper for input and assistance.

4. Follow What the Danish Do

Think about ways to bring a sense of relaxation to your backyard. Fountains and visually pleasing options may contribute to your overall well-being by providing a sense of quiet and inner peace. If nothing else, they’ll increase your yard’s visual appeal.

5. Outdoor Living is In.

Focus on your outdoor space this year. From outdoor kitchens to comfortable eating spaces, outdoor living has never been more popular.

6. Mix Up the Materials

Hardscaping trends that are worth considering include pebble paths, stone planters and iron gates. Don’t be afraid to mix up the materials for an eye-pleasing final product.

Your yard is something to be proud of, something to put a little extra work in to increase your level of enjoyment. Why not consider the tips above to get started?

 

 

 

 

 

Why Building a New Home is Smart


Many individuals feel as though buying a new home is out of their reach, or something for “later” in life.

It can be easy to leave certain facts out of the equation when looking at numbers alone. In many cases, buying new is just as accessible as buying an existing home.

Some facts to consider include:

  • The age of the home. Newer homes require less upkeep.
  • The condition of the home. Even an inspection cannot show everything. You can never guarantee a home was maintained appropriately when someone else was living in it.
  • Warranties. New homes are accompanied by new appliances and systems, that often have warranties.
  • Cost of upkeep. It’s a given, a new home will require less upkeep, especially over the first 10 years, then a home that is older, even only by a few years.

I’d love to answer the questions you have about building a new home, and to serve as a resource during your decision-making process.

In the meantime, check out the video below, created by New Home Source.

 

Considering a Fixer-Upper?


Television shows and stories in magazines make fixer-uppers seem like something dreams are made of. For some buyers, this may be the case.

But, before jumping into this large undertaking, it’s best to take an objective look at the facts.

A few questions to consider include:

Are you planning to live in the home while you renovate?

Do you envision your family living in the home while you undergo the renovations? Is this feasible or will there be additional expenses for temporary living during this time? Can you handle the stress and extra costs you may incur?

Do you understand the work involved in the process?

Unless you’re a contractor or builder, you may not be able to foresee the project that lies ahead. Walking through your target fixer-upper with a professional may shed some light on whether the repairs needed are cosmetic or structural. Structural repairs are generally more costly and require more urgency.

Is the project “worth it?”

Are you planning to fix the house to turn it into your dream home, or for a profit? Depending on market conditions in the surrounding area, your plan to flip the home may not work like it does on television and you could find yourself in a troubling financial situation.

Are you able to complete the work?

Will you be working with a professional to get the job done or doing it on your own? If completing the work on your own, do you have the necessary expertise, tools and time? Or, will you be able to get them done while working your regular job and carrying out normal responsibilities?

Can you handle financial surprises?

A home inspection may not show everything. When you start to demolish and dig through certain areas of the home, estimated costs may skyrocket when what’s “beneath the surface,” is brought to light. Certain repairs are not “optional,” as a home must be brought to code during a remodel or renovation; this can add unforeseen expenses to your project.

Is it really your dream home?

If the home requires extensive work to make it your dream home, you must consider whether it’s really your dream home or whether you hope it will be some day. In some cases, it may be more cost-efficient to simply build your dream home then to work from an existing property, depending upon the scope of work and the location of the home.

Deciding to purchase a fixer-upper is a personal decision that no one else can make for you. Before jumping in, it’s best to consider the facts.

Have questions? Searching for your dream home? Contact me today. I’d be happy to discuss options while helping you find the home that’s right for you.

 

Would You Build a Used House?


Considering buying an pre-owned home vs. building a new home? This illustration might resonate with you.

Brought to you by New Home Source, the video brings a few good points to light.

Ready to start the building process? Contact me today. I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have and to provide insight along the way.

 

Is Your Home Priced to Sell?


Your home may be beautiful…it may have all the features you think buyers will be interested in, in the right location and everything. But, if it isn’t priced to sell, the process may be slower than you’d like.

On the contrary; if your home is priced to sell, your listing process may be quick and painless – allowing you to move on to the next phase of your life without trouble!

What’s it take? What goes into pricing a home to sell, anyway?

Working with an Experienced Agent

If you’re dreaming of something bigger, or are hoping to sell your home at a certain price point, you may be slightly biased. This is understandable and a normal part of the process.

However, working with an agent that’s familiar with your area may help in selecting a starting list price that’s appropriate, a price that’s more likely to attract buyers. Industry knowledge and experience cannot be undervalued.

Recent Comps Matter

Markets vary from week to week. Just because your home was priced appropriately a year ago, doesn’t mean it’s value is the same. Sometimes markets are more competitive than others.

Because markets change so quickly, looking at recent comps and pending sales are important factors in assigning a list price.

Interior Features are Important

While trends vary, certain features make a home more valuable in the eyes of buyers than others. Updated homes with new carpet, granite countertops and neutral colors may be “worth” more than those with bright colors, vinyl floors and stained carpets.

A few upgrades inside may be worth it to increase your list price, depending on market conditions.

Renovations Can Add Value – but Not Always

Certain renovations are more valuable than others. Many buyers assume that because a project cost a lot, it had to add a lot of value to their home. This is not always the case. For instance, adding a bathroom or updating a kitchen might add more value than installing a swimming pool or a home office. Again, this depends on where you’re located and what’s happening in the local market.

Your Layout Might Make a Difference

Often, potential sellers look at comps and assume that because the square footage, number of bathrooms and bedrooms, and acreage is the same, the value must be the same as well.

Sometimes other conditions – as identified by your agent – might come into play. An open floorplan or first floor bathroom may change the value. If your yard is open without any visible neighbors, the value may change. Comps give a great starting point, but they are not the be all end all for list prices.

Are you ready to list your home? Have questions about where to start or what an appropriate list price may be? Contact me today. I look forward to working with you!