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Blog Archive for November, 2015

Build your new home or sell your current home: Which comes first?

Categories: Blog | Posted: November 28, 2015

A first-time homebuyer has it easy in some ways. They don’t have a home they need to sell before purchasing one. If you’re in your own home and thinking about building a new home, you have a big question to ponder.

“Should I sell my home before I build a new one?”

The answer will depend on many things—most importantly, your personality. Are you a worrier or a risk-taker? Do you need a safety net or can you walk the tightrope supported by your confidence that you’re not going to fall?

Less Risk, More Inconvenience

Selling your home in advance of buying a new one is the safest way to ensure you’re not carrying two mortgages at once, but this scenario has certain issues attached.

You might need to find temporary housing, unless your buyers are willing to give you extra time. If you have to move out—and can’t stay with family or friends—you’ll need to find a short-term rental. With school-aged children, you might be required to live within the school district in order for your children to attend their school. Check the regulations before making your decision of when and where to rent.

Pet owners sometimes have difficulty finding a rental that accepts their four-legged family members. You might need to make temporary arrangements for them elsewhere.

Finally, you’ll essentially have to move twice—which means changing your address twice. Initially, you’ll move out of your current home and put your furniture and possessions in storage. Then you’ll move again when your new home is ready.

More Risk, A Simpler Move

Can you afford to two mortgages if your current home is still on the market when you’re ready to close on the new one? If you quality for the additional mortgage, the problem ends there, although no one wants to carry the additional debt.

You could rent your present home once your new home is ready, and use that rental income to cover the mortgage cost. You might also secure a bridge loan to cover you until you sell your current home.

Certainly, homebuilders will offer a contingency option that gives you an “out” if your existing home hasn’t sold, but that means you give up the dreams of this new home—in addition to the time and money already invested. And someone else is going to live in the home you created.

Before you make your decision of whether to build your new home first or sell your existing home, talk to a Realtor about current housing market conditions in your area. How long are comparable homes on the market? This information gives you an estimate to work with. Your home could sell much sooner or take longer.

Tips for building your new home

Categories: Blog | Posted: November 21, 2015

Blue Key and Great House

Tips for building your new home.

Building a new home can seem like an overwhelming task, but there are significant rewards to turning that vision to reality. If you understand the homebuilding process and the potential pitfalls, you can achieve that dream with relative ease.

Here are some tips for building your new home.

Know what you can afford. Just like shopping for a home, you should have a clear figure in mind. Then take the time to get pre-approved to give you peace of mind as you shop for the features in your new home.

Decide on your priorities. Size, number of rooms, chef’s kitchen, spa bathroom, flooring, finished basement, home office, and outdoor living space are a few considerations. What trade-offs are you willing to make? Which features will add lasting value to the resale? Ask friends and family what they love about their homes, and what they wish they could change or add.

Find and interview builders. Choosing a reputable builder who understands your vision and your financial situation is essential to a smooth homebuilding process. Check the local Home Builder’s Association for names; don’t consider anyone who isn’t a member. Ask local Realtors about builders their clients have used. Does the builder have a current license, and sufficient damage and liability insurance? Is he bonded? Will he provide a written home warranty? Does the builder have any building disputes, currently or in the past?

Look at the homes these companies have built. Do they fit your style? Ask for references and interview the homeowners to gauge their satisfaction with the builder and the home itself. If you can, visit the homes and look at the quality.

More builders are offering a Web-based program where you can track the progress on your home, including photos. If this is something you want, be sure to ask about it!

Know what you’re getting. Be clear on what materials and services are included in the price, and what is going to be extra. How much insulation is included? What will be used for constructing the sub-floors? What specific windows, flooring, plumbing, and electrical are figured in the price? Are the building materials eco-friendly?

Your contract should specify the permits that will be required, and who is in charge of obtaining them. You should have a written timeline, price, down payment requirement, and payment schedule. The builder should identify sub-contractors who will be working on your house.

Finally, ask about change orders. If you change your mind on any features, how will it be handled?

Building your new home doesn’t have to be stressful. Stay tuned into the process, keep open communication with the builder, and never be afraid to ask questions!

Decorated Model Opening at Saratoga Farms

Categories: Blog | Posted: November 12, 2015

SaratogaModel_Reminder

This is it!   The moment you have been waiting for is here!  Come join us this weekend, November 15th for our Model Home Grand Opening at Saratoga Farms in Lower Nazareth, PA.  We are excited to open the doors to our beautifully handcrafted and decorated model home.  Our knowledgeable team including the builder will on the scene to show you around and answer any questions that you have.  Join us for a tour and stay for some lite bites and refreshments!

Saratoga Farms features 55 single family estate style residences on one acre plus premium home sites.  This premier neighborhood is conveniently located in desirable historic Lower Nazareth, part of the highly rated and recognized Nazareth School district.  With convenient access to Rt 191, Rt 33, Rt 78 and Rt 22, in the heart of the Lehigh Valley this new home community offers a luxurious lifestyle complete with an abundance of options for work and play.

With many luxury home designs available to choose from ranging from 2625 – 4000 square feet in size, the home of your dreams can easily be made a reality at Saratoga Farms.  There are many designs to choose from including first floor owner’s suites and ranch style plans.

Saratoga_SneakPeek

All homes at Saratoga Farms come well equipped for luxury living with the following included features:

  • 9’ ceilings on the first floor
  • Gourmet kitchens with built-in GE stainless steel appliances, granite kitchen countertops, kitchen island, maple kitchen cabinets
  • Oak hardwood flooring in foyer, kitchen, nook and powder room
  • 42” Gas fireplace with wood mantel & slate surrounds

Community features also include private access to a community park, sidewalks throughout tree lined streets and underground utilities.  Well-appointed homes in this community will start in the mid $400s.

There is still time to RSVP!  Contact Martha at marthac@tuskeshomes.com or call / text 484-515-5126 for priority information!


 

DRIVING DIRECTIONS:

From New Jersey/ New York via I-78:

Take I-78 W towards Pennsylvania- crossing in to Pennsylvania.  Merge onto PA-33 N via Exit 71 toward US-22/ Stroudsburg.  Take Hecktown Rd. Exit off of Rt 33.  Turn RIGHT onto Hecktown Rd.  Proceed on Hecktown Rd. approx 1.7 miles.  Take right on to Saddle Drive. Turn LEFT onto Eisnehower Drive. Take RIGHT on to Bridle Ct. Model home will be directly ahead of you.

From Allentown/Bethlehem:

Take US-22 E toward Bethlehem.  Take the PA-191/ Nazareth Pike Exit.  Turn RIGHT on to Nazareth Pike/ PA-191.  Head NORTH on Rt 191 approx. 1.1 miles. Turn RIGHT onto Hecktown Rd. Proceed approx. .7 miles. Turn LEFT onto Saddle Drive.  Turn LEFT onto Eisnehower Drive. Take RIGHT on to Bridle Ct. Model home will be directly ahead of you.

From Easton:

Take US-22 W toward Bethlehem.  Take the PA-191/ Nazareth Pike exit.  Merge onto Nazareth Pike/ PA-191. Turn RIGHT on to Nazareth Pike/ PA-191.  Head NORTH on Rt 191 approx. 1.1 miles. Turn RIGHT onto Hecktown Rd. Proceed approx. .7 miles. Turn LEFT onto Saddle Drive.  Turn LEFT onto Eisnehower Drive. Take RIGHT on to Bridle Ct. Model home will be directly ahead of you.

Holiday planning: How to give thanks without getting stressed

Categories: Blog | Posted: November 12, 2015

Every year, Thanksgiving creeps up, bringing thoughts of the family seated around an elegantly festooned table and the aromas of home-cooking. Or maybe you’re recalling nightmares of Thanksgivings past. The turkey fryer that seemed like a clever idea at the time but started a fire that almost burned down your garage. The inevitable family squabbles that arise every year. You somehow once neglected to get the right kind of cranberry sauce and your uncle reminds you every year. The dog ate the pies, and they didn’t sit well with him.

Thanksgiving brings people together, and that’s a good thing. It won’t always go smoothly, but some basic preparation can guide you toward greater success. So, for your holiday planning, here’s how to give thanks without getting stressed—well, not TOO stressed.

Do as much ahead of time as you can. Pace yourself. Don’t leave five days’ worth of preparation to the day before everyone is coming!

The guests.

  • Don’t guess who’s coming to dinner. Write a guest list. You’ll need an accurate tally to buy the right amount of food.
  • Send the Thanksgiving invitation. Some people are happy with a casual invitation, but if you want your holiday to be an event, send a more formal one, either a card in the mail or an evite. Here are some invitation writing tips.
  • Confirm the head count. Since you’ll likely buy the turkey at least five days in advance, contact every guest and confirm if they’re coming and how many people will be joining them.

The food.

  • Create your Thanksgiving menu a month in advance. From appetizers and drinks through dessert and coffee, keep a grocery list on your phone. As you see items on sale, buy them. Put the perishables away and freeze the others.
  • Delegate food assignments. Many of your guests will want to bring something. Let them. It makes for a wonderful blend when the meal is prepared by more than one person.
  • Cook and freeze what you can. Many side dishes, including mashed potatoes and soup, can be prepared and frozen.
  • Use hands-free cooking. A slow cooker is a great way to “set it and forget it”. Prepare the ingredients the night before and use the crock pot for mashed potatoes, side dishes, stuffing, hot cider, warm dip, and even pudding cake for dessert..
  • Remind people not to forget. At least three days before Thanksgiving, contact everyone who has offered to bring a dish to confirm that they are still doing so.
  • Get ready to serve. The day before Thanksgiving, set out the serving dish and utensil for every item on the menu, including appetizers. Mark each one with what will fill it. This way, you can be sure you have all the pieces you need, and others can help transfer the food to these dishes at serving time.
  • Prepare your leftover containers. Invest in some storage containers for guests to leave with leftovers so you’re not scurrying to find something to give away that you don’t want to lose forever.

The table.

  • Plan your holiday décor. Like your menu, plan in advance. Decide where you want to add accents. Make a list of what you need to buy, like fresh flowers, a wreath for the door, candles, and gourds. As you gather your bounty, stash the décor in one place, so you can pull them from a box when it’s time to decorate.
  • Inventory your dinnerware. Make sure you have enough dishes, silverware, and glasses for the number of Thanksgiving guests. If you want something different, consider going “eclectic” and purchase plates in different patterns that complement each other (thrift shops are great for this). Whatever you choose, check for chips and cracks. Then wash and set them aside two days ahead.
  • Clean and press the linens. Check your tablecloth and napkins (if you’re using cloth) for stains and tears. Wash, iron, and place them in a clean plastic bin until the night before Thanksgiving.
  • Set the table ahead of time. Don’t leave this job to Thanksgiving day, when you have plenty of other things to do. The evening before, take your time and set the table and the bar as you like. Cover it with a clean sheet.

The fun stuff.

  • Make a playlist. Review your music library and build a playlist of songs. Blend different genres, giving everyone something to enjoy.
  • Plan activities. Certainly, this is optional, but if you have kids coming, come up with ways to entertain them. Visit Pinterest to find creative yet simple games.
  • Make a Thankful Jar. Before dinner, invite every guest to write down at least one thing they’re thankful for and put it in a jar on the table. When you sit down to eat, start by passing the jar around and letting each person pick out one piece of paper and read it.

The un-fun stuff.

  • Create a cleaning list. From dusting the ceiling fans to sweeping the front walk, do an inventory of the household chores. Then delegate them by making a list and assigning family members, with deadlines.
  • Set up trash cans. You’re going to have more garbage than usual. Make it easy by placing a few extra trash cans. They don’t have to be the unsightly 20-gallon variety either. Use smaller ones here and there.

Happy holidays! May you have a stress-free Thanksgiving with the people who matter most to you.

Make your new home more accessible with universal design

Categories: Blog | Posted: November 5, 2015

Young female designer drawing house plan for reconstruction.

Building a new home, versus buying a resale, gives you many advantages. You can customize the layout to your personal taste, incorporate energy-efficient throughout, and move into a home that is fully warrantied.

Another distinct advantage of choosing a new home is that you can incorporate universal design. Also known as “barrier-free design”, this thoughtful approach accommodates details that make your home accessible to anyone. Households with elderly or disabled family members experience challenges that others haven’t considered. Whether you need extra space to maneuver a wheelchair or single-story living to avoid climbing stairs, there are many details that can be easily built into your new home, like wider hallways and doorways, lower countertops and sinks, and ramp access.

Universal design removes barriers and creates free flow throughout the home, for anyone. The goal is to provide functionality, comfort, and convenience, so that no member feels challenged in their own home.

Even if you don’t have the immediate need for universal design features, ask yourself if this new home is where you want to stay. “Aging in place” is a concept that reflects the Baby Boomers’ lifestyle trend of staying in the same house beyond retirement, instead of downsizing to accommodate life changes.

Talk to your home builder about adding these universal design features to your new home:

  • 5-foot clearance space in hallways and 36-inch wide doors
  • Gentle sloping walkway to all entrances
  • Touch lights or rocker switches instead of traditional toggle switches, and placed at the same height as the door handle
  • Walk-in tubs or step-in showers with no threshold (with wider doors) and grab bars and adjustable height shower head
  • Front-loading washer and dryer
  • Ovens and cooktops with controls on the front
  • Bathroom vanities with knee space underneath
  • Lever-style door handles instead of knobs
  • Even floor height, with no thresholds
  • Closets with adjustable rods and racks
  • Kitchen cabinets with varied heights
  • Slip- and trip-resistant flooring
  • Motion light sensors
  • Anti-scald valves

Universaldesign.org provides 10 checklists that cover every space of your home. Most of the universal design features are easy to integrate when building your home. Discuss these adaptations with your builder so you can enjoy many years of comfort in your home.

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