Tips for Working With Your Home Builder’s Design Center

Categories: Blog, Homeowner Tips | Posted: March 8, 2018

Your new home plans are finalized, and now it’s time to choose the details—colors, flooring, countertops, cabinetry hardware, lighting, door knobs, and so much more. It can be a bit overwhelming if you’re unprepared, so follow these tips for working with your home builder’s design center to get the look you’re going to love for many years.

Set a budget for upgrades. You can select choices among the standard features that your home builder offers—type of color of flooring, wall colors, cabinets, lighting and plumbing fixtures, to name just a few. These are included in the price of your home. However, you will also be presented with choices for upgrades. Maybe you want granite or quartz countertops instead of a solid surface, or different doors for your kitchen cabinets. Before you walk into the design center where you will be tempted with shopping made so easy, determine how much you can afford for adding upgrades to your new home. Be sure your design center professional understands you have a limit and provides you with cost of each upgrade.

Determine your priorities. Along with coming to the builder’s design center with a budget, be clear about how you want to use those funds. Think in advance—before all those shiny choices are staring you in the face—what’s more important. For example, can you live with certain fixtures in your powder room in order to upgrade the light fixture in the foyer? Consider which details will deliver more satisfaction in the long run—and stick with that decision.

Bring pictures and swatches. You probably have ideas in mind for your interiors. Maybe you’ve pinned photos on Pinterest, torn pages out of magazines, and collected fabric and paint swatches. Bring everything you’ve gathered so you can share it with the designer. Snap photos of furniture you’ll have in your new home, with measurements, too. You’ll be able to better envision your new space when you have all these details together.

Describe your lifestyle. When you meet with your selections coordinator at the design center, talk about the way you’re going to live in your new home. Offer details like how often you entertain, the age of your children (and whether your home is the “fun place”), and where you like to eat your daily meals. Are there bottleneck places in your home, like the bathroom or kitchen? How often do you do laundry, and do you fold it in the laundry room? The more you share, the better this pro can guide you toward smart choices.

Take your time. The decisions you make at the design center will have a lasting impact on your new home. Don’t rush through them. It might be helpful to ponder some of the choices for a few days before you commit. Borrow the swatches and samples you need, look at them at different times of the day (bearing in mind it might be different in your new home), and then return to finalize the design details on your new home.

Tips for House-Hunting in the Winter

Categories: Blog | Posted: February 22, 2018

There’s no need to postpone the search for a new home just because it’s winter. While you’re hibernating, you could be missing out on the home of your dreams. You probably start your new home search online, browsing real estate listings in the warmth of your cozy home. Once you have narrowed down your list of homes to see, follow these tips for house-hunting in the winter.

Consider the accessibility. Seeing a home in the winter gives you valuable insight into features like the way the roads are maintained. Are the streets and driveway plowed well? Think about coming home here on a wintry night. Will you be able to access drive up your street and driveway to get home? As you walk to the front entry, do you find slippery spots?

Look at the curb appeal when it’s not pristine. When the garden, shrubs, and trees are in full bloom, you might not get the true picture of the home’s exterior. Without the leaves on the trees, will you have privacy here? How does the foundation look? Seeing the home in the dead of winter is like looking in the mirror first thing in the morning.

Check for leaks and drafts. You’ll feel the cold air seeping in from the outside a lot more in the winter than on a spring day when the windows or open or during the summer with the air conditioning running. As you walk through the home, place your hand on the window sills and frames, the door jamb, and wall outlets. Do you feel drafts? These issues are tips about the home’s maintenance as well as the leaks. If you find drafts, you should also look into frozen pipes, roof leaks, and the quality of the insulation.

Gauge the natural light. The days are shorter in the winter. By touring a new home during the afternoon, you will see how much sunlight streams into your home. Is it sun-drenched or dark and dreary? Sunlight provides vitamin D, which is essential to maintaining a happy mood through the short days. Will this home replenish you?

Sniff out odors. When a home is closed up, you’re more likely to notice odors, like mold and mildew or pet odors. If the home has carpet, take a deep breath.

Get an accurate figure for the heating bill. It’s easy to forget how much you paid to heat your home when you’re enjoying the low bills of summertime. During a winter viewing, those heating costs are fresh in the memory of the homeowner, so you’re more likely to gauge more correctly what it will cost to heat this home.

Ask for a spring inspection. You might need to check features like the sprinkler system and swimming pool for yourself, and it’s not possible during winter. If you have time to wait, make your purchase contingent on an inspection after the snow has melted and the ground has thawed. You can also ask for escrowed funds to cover possible repair of specific items that are unable to be inspected during the winter.

Give yourself a break from the winter doldrums and start looking for a new home during the winter, when there is less competition and motivated sellers.

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