Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Checklist of Items Needed for Your First Home

Checklist of Items Needed for Your First Home

Whether you're moving from your parents' home for the first time or making that first transition from a rental unit to a home of your own, knowing what you need will make this new beginning an easy one. Too much stuff will just add clutter, while not having what you need may leave you scrambling or stretching your budget to fill in the gaps. Smart planning will provide the essentials you need in your first home.

The Basics
Depending upon the home you're moving into, you may need some large items to set up your first house or apartment. While most rentals include a range and dishwasher, not all will have a refrigerator. Check with your landlord to avoid surprises before you move into your new place. You'll also need, at minimum, a place to sleep and a place to sit, so plan on a bed and linens, table and at least two chairs. If possible, you'll likely want a couch or upholstered chairs and a dresser.

Cleaning Supplies
This is an often-forgotten home essential, particularly if you've never been responsible for daily home upkeep before. You will need a good all-purpose cleaner. Choose one that cleans and disinfects to use in both the kitchen and bath. Add a glass cleaner, a scrubbing powder, dish soap and toilet bowl cleaner. Make sure you have a broom and dustpan, vacuum cleaner, dusting and cleaning cloths and a toilet brush. For convenient storage, tuck your supplies into an inexpensive plastic caddy. Laundry and clothing care essentials include laundry detergent, stain remover, a basket and hangers.

Home Maintenance
Whether you live in a house or an apartment, a few basic tools will help you handle basic home repairs. The most important of these, in everyday terms, is the toilet plunger. You should also have a hammer, flat-head screwdriver, Phillips-head screwdriver and a pair of pliers on hand. Depending upon your rental agreement, you may also want a picture hanging kit or no-residue adhesive strips to hang pictures. Homeowners may find that they need additional tools and supplies for maintenance, without the benefit of a landlord to call.

Kitchen Supplies
Stocking your kitchen will allow you to prepare simple meals at home, save money and stay healthy. You need, at minimum, a saucepan and a skillet, plates, bowls, glasses, silverware and cups. Small appliances, like a coffee pot or toaster, are a good idea if you need or will use them. Include a can opener, at least one good knife, a cutting board and a dish drainer. A few wooden spoons, a spatula, measuring spoons and a colander or strainer are helpful. You'll also want a kitchen trash can and trash bags on hand. In addition, pick up salt, pepper, oil and other pantry essentials right after your move.

The Bathroom
The bathroom has its own list of must-haves. You will need at least two bath towels, plus hand towels and several wash cloths per person in the household. Stock your preferred personal supplies and items, including bar soap, shampoo, feminine hygiene needs and hand soap. When you're planning your move, don't forget the toilet paper. Tuck at least two rolls into the bathroom box or one into an "open immediately" box for your first home.

Let us know if we missed any basics in the comments and good luck in your new 1st home!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Buying Old vs. New

What do you think of when you picture the home you'd like to live in? To most people it bears a passing resemblance to the one they grew up in. A traditional Victorian or, perhaps, a brownstone townhouse straight out of a familiar TV show. Then again, maybe that is not what you are looking for. Maybe you'd prefer something newer, something with contemporary style, the latest amenities and a lot less maintenance. When it comes to home buying, one size does not fit all. It really helps to understand the differences when it comes to buying an older house and buying new construction.
Just What You Were Thinking
"We wanted to live in one of those cool, funky neighborhoods like in old Brooklyn, New York but we didn't want to have to renovate. It just made more sense to get into a new place." – Donna M.
A New House Built for You?
If not a custom-built house on its own lot, then most new homes today are built in community developments with a cohesive style. These developments can be as small as the old style cul-de-sac neighborhoods, or they can be as big as a former farm filled with dozens and dozens of homes. These homes are built to the latest planning and zoning codes and standards, they tend to be contemporary in style, energy efficient and are often less expensive than resale homes of a similar size. Sometimes, these types of new home developments can represent a savings over established neighborhoods. Either way, the decision about whether to sacrifice an established community is worth thinking about and taking time to weigh your options. Specific details may vary depending on your circumstances, but consider these pros and cons.
Pros and Cons of New Construction
·         Contemporary style
·         Some flexibility on design during construction phase
·         Cheaper to maintain (new appliances = fewer repairs)
·         Cheaper to operate (energy-efficient construction)
·         Extended warranties
·         Cohesive neighborhood (consistent layout, common areas, amenities)
·         Frequently have a homeowners association (helps protect resale value)
·         It's brand-new!
·         Cookie-cutter design
·         Limited negotiating room on price
·         Most likely homeowners association dues
·         Frequently less character, more than likely identical designs
·         Frequently have a homeowners association (can put limits on how you use your property)
Of course, one home buyer's pro ("No one has lived in it before us, so we won't inherit any problems.") can be another's con ("No one has lived in it before us, so we have no way of knowing about any problems."). Fortunately, there are ways to make sure the house you're buying is really the house you want:
·         Check the builder's track record. What else has the company built? Were previous projects completed on time, on budget and without bad blood between the builder and buyers?
·         Walk the streets. If you live nearby and previous stages of the development are occupied, ask the residents if the builder did quality work and lived up to contractual commitments.
·         Picture your home, not the model home. You can certainly have the granite counters, surround-sound home theater and jetted tub you saw in the model home, but they're not included in the base price. You will pay extra for them.
·         Bring your own agent. If the builder has a real estate agent on site, the agent will be more than happy to help you. But, on-site agents work for the builders who hire them. Their best interests will be for the builder, not you.
Finally, consider the intangibles. Similarly styled homes attract like-minded buyers, and most developments are built with families in mind. Depending on your point of view, the consistency, conformity and kids playing in the street can be a blessing or a curse.
Existing /Resale Homes
Just what you were thinking
"We liked the charm factor of an older home -- even if it meant living in a construction zone for months during our renovation." – Jeffery W.
Old = Character?
With new developments popping up almost overnight, it's obvious that new construction is on the rise. And yet, most people buy an older home; i.e., a home that someone else has lived in but is now on the market again. Call them old if you like — existing home sounds better — but they're the kind of houses that many people would like to call home.
Of course, there are pros and cons with older homes, too. (That cute cottage with the casement windows? It can be mighty drafty come winter.) In general, older homes tend to be more available and less expensive than new homes, but they can also be full of surprises.
The Pros and Cons of Older Homes
·         More choices, more styles to choose from
·         Price may be more negotiable
·         Known issues will be revealed in disclosure documents
·         Established neighborhood
·         Could contain more charm and character
·         More maintenance: Things break or wear out
·         Less energy-efficient: More costly to operate
·         Dated design, older appliances and amenities
·         It's been lived in!
As with new construction, there are ways to make buying a resale home less scary:
·         Have the home inspected. You do not want to find out the foundation is cracked or the roof needs to be replaced after you move in.
·         Consider a counter-offer. If the inspection reveals fixable flaws, propose the seller do the repairs or lower the price.
·         Expect the unexpected. Pipes leak, electrical work becomes outdated and furnaces fail — get used to it.
·         Be honest with yourself. If major repairs are required, you'll either have to do them yourself or bring in the professionals. Some people enjoy D.I.Y. or hiring professionals; others don’t.

The bottom line in older homes is this: Don't buy someone else's problems unless you can handle the issues. Find a house you like, consider its pros and cons — objectively, as well as emotionally — and think about the consequences and sacrifices you may have to make. The more logically you approach buying a house, the more you're going to love your home!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Copper Square – New Community offers First-Class, Carefree, Lifestyle in Beautiful Townhomes and Duplex Residences

 By Pamela Brown
      The buzzword in the building industry is customization – getting features in a home that suit your specific lifestyle. Whether you’re a first-time home buyer or an empty nester downsizing from a maintenance-intensive home, you’ll appreciate the opportunity to select the details to create your personal living space. Copper Square is a new community in Bethel, CT featuring beautiful modern townhomes and duplex residences. The townhomes, affordably priced from $299,900, and duplexes from $369,900.00 offer an exceptional value in the Fairfield County marketplace.
      The interiors of the homes at Copper Square are spectacular. Julia Walters of JL Walters Design Associates designed the spaces with a keen knowledge of color, comfort, and livability, integrating thoughtful interior elements into the home plans. “I wanted to create a canvas for the homeowner that would easily compliment their individual style; be it contemporary, transitional, traditional, or even eclectic. It is not just a home – it’s a lifestyle. The most important objective was to design homes which support how families and individuals live and function today,” said Walters. “The homes have open floor plans with expansive kitchen and dining spaces and shared spaces for family members to reconnect at the end of the day. With many companies offering remote work situations to their employees, we offer home office spaces in several of our plans. For those who prefer one-level living, we have first floor master bedrooms and first floor laundry/mudrooms.” For Walters, another important item beneficial to health and well-being is natural sunlight, so window placement and size were an important consideration.
      Copper Square’s award-winning builder RMS Companies leads the region in creating dynamic, state-of-the-art tools that help buyers envision their homes, simplify selections, and enhance the overall home buying experience.   “It’s very important to me that each homeowner become a part of the design process and have a direct hand in selecting the options to create their dream home,” said Walters. Copper Square provides a state-of-the-art Design Studio with a highly professional sales and service staff to assist buyers during all phases of their purchase decision. The user-friendly Studio shows every option available, including colors, materials, fixtures, cabinetry, finishes, and style. Buyers will feel like they’re in the actual home as the Studio provides space to move and be inspired, offering multiple kitchen vignettes showcasing examples in a professionally-curated, experiential way. Buyers can view an actual island with cabinets above or see how a floor color relates to or enhances what they envision for their home. “The options we have curated in the Design Studio allow the homeowner a tremendous amount of design freedom,” she said.  
      Additionally, Copper Square offers Kitchen Options Changer, an online software program. After a tour, when buyers leave the property to consider their new home, they can use this innovative and interactive tool to help them visualize their future home, choose options, make changes, and try different scenarios before making a decision. “We wanted prospective buyers to get that immersive experience, to get involved, to touch everything, and to truly envision their space.  Our aim was to infuse flexibility into the home buying process by giving buyers spaces they can work with and tools to create their ideal living arrangement,” said Randy Salvatore, President of RMS Companies.    
     The townhomes range in size from 1,967 to 2,466 square feet. Three of the townhome designs have two bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, a kitchen with center island or peninsula, a dining room or dining area, a living room with crown molding, and an entertainment room. The fourth and largest townhome has three bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms. This unique plan offers a complete first-floor living area with increased accessibility features, a main second floor living area with an office, and a third floor with a master bedroom suite and an additional bedroom. All townhomes feature one car garages, and master suites with a walk-in closet, oversized shower, and double granite vanity.
            The two and three bedroom duplexes range in size from 1,615 to 2,431 square feet.  All have two story entry floor plan or center hall feel. Two of the duplex designs feature first floor master suites, with two additional bedrooms and a loft area on the second floor.  Two plans also offer a home office/library on the main level. All duplex homes feature two car garages, bluestone patios, gas fireplaces, and luxurious master suites with walk-in closets, soaking tubs, and a separate shower.
      Both townhome and duplex residence come standard with hardwood floors in all main living areas, including stairways, lofts, and upstairs hallways, carpeting in the bedrooms and entertainment rooms, and kitchens with Mastercraft cabinets, stainless steel appliances, and granite countertops.  Central air conditioning, security systems, and separate laundry room areas with connections for laundry equipment are also standard in all homes; washer/dryer appliances are optional. 
        “The individual home is just one part of how the design philosophy incorporates lifestyle,” said Walters. Buyers enjoy membership in the 7,500+ square-foot Club Copper featuring a fireside lounge; a Mac Bar with iPads and iMac computers; a generously-sized kitchen with 20’ ceilings and a bar; a billiards/gaming area; a cappuccino bar with Wi-Fi; a conference loft; a state-of-the-art fitness center; and a sport and screening room featuring a 120” screen, surround sound, and stadium seating. Also, there’s an outdoor bluestone fire pit, a grilling area, and a spa-inspired outdoor heated pool with a sun deck and a bar for entertaining. “All of these elements are seamlessly integrated into the homeowner’s daily lifestyle,” she said.  
     At Copper Square, you can customize your dream home and create the perfect interior living space.  You will also enjoy a carefree lifestyle in which all exterior maintenance, including snow removal, landscaping, and lawn care is provided. Bask in a comfortable, sophisticated, and personalized home and indulge the exceptional amenities offered at this new community. You will discover what Copper Square’s design philosophy and mantra--You’re In Your Element--is all about.
Copper Square is located at 48 Stony Hill Road (Route 6), Bethel CT.  For more information, please visit wwwLiveCopperSquare.com, view the latest photos Instagram.com/livecoppersquare, or call the office at (203)701-7697. The Sales Center and Design Studio is open Monday through Saturday, from 10a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, 11a.m. to 5p.m. Models are Available.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Copper Square – New Community Offers Wonderful Lifestyle in Beautiful Townhome and Duplex Residences  
 By Pamela Brown

            Copper Square is a newly constructed residential community featuring luxury townhome and duplex residences with outstanding amenities and a low-maintenance, carefree lifestyle. Built by RMSCompanies, a leading Fairfield County developer known for award-winning residential communities, luxury homes, and high profile commercial projects, Copper Square is situated on twenty acres bordered by a picturesque nature preserve and a reflecting pond that harkens back to the property’s nostalgic roots. Upon completion, the community will comprise 136 homes featuring eight classically-inspired designs. RMS’s main goal for Copper Square was to make modern, well-appointed homes accessible to individuals and families at a price point that makes it an excellent value in the Fairfield County marketplace.
The homes at Copper Square feature eight multi-level floor plans, each offering a unique blend of traditional and contemporary features, quality craftsmanship, and hand-picked selections to fit any budget and lifestyle. Among the features standard in every home are gorgeous granite countertops, high quality stainless steel appliances, one or two car garages, and beautiful hardwood floors. Many of the plans also feature first floor master bedroom suites with walk-in closets and luxurious baths. The sophisticated interiors are designed by JL Design Associates of Monroe, Connecticut.
All homebuyers know that real estate is all about location, and Copper Square is ideally located on Route 6, just off I-84. This new Bethel community is close to Danbury, a short drive to historic downtown Bethel, and a short commute to Westchester, Norwalk, Stamford, and all of Fairfield County. In addition to unparalleled convenience, Copper Square offers many other delightful features, including walking paths and scenic views of nature.
“We believe that Bethel is the perfect town to call home. Bethel is a family-friendly town with an excellent school system and a diverse population,” said Steve Palmer, Planning & Zoning director, town of Bethel. “It’s a quintessential New England community with an abundance of restaurants and shopping and has convenient access to major highways as well as a train station on the Metro North rail line." Palmer is excited to have a development of the quality of Copper Square in Bethel. "From the well-thought-out design and architecture to its amenities, Copper Square will provide a choice of new and affordable housing opportunities for those seeking the charm of living in a quaint New England town.  Copper Square is unique in providing a mix of housing choices with outstanding amenities in a convenient proximity to transportation while your everyday needs are just steps away,” said Palmer.
Copper Square’s amenities include Club Copper, a magnificent 7,500+ square-foot clubhouse that will boast a fireside lounge, a Mac Bar with iPads and iMac computers; a generously-sized kitchen with soaring 20’ ceilings and a bar; a billiards/gaming area, a cappuccino bar with Wi-Fi; and a sport and screening room featuring a 120” screen, surround sound, and stadium seating. The clubhouse is highly-designed. Everything is generous and convenient, from the state-of-the-art fitness center, to the second floor conference loft for meetings or family gatherings, to the outdoor living venues, including the bluestone fire pit, and an inviting grilling area. There’s also a spa-inspired outdoor heated pool with a sun deck and a bar for entertaining. Randy Salvatore, president of RMS Companies, noted that Club Copper is a true destination where residents will thrive and forge relationships. “That's what builds vibrant neighborhoods and that is what we strive for everyday at RMS.” To facilitate a relaxing, carefree lifestyle, all exterior maintenance, including snow removal, landscaping, and lawn care is provided.
Copper Square has it all – quality craftsmanship, sophisticated interiors, state-of-the-art amenities, a convenient, picturesque location, a vibrant community, and most importantly, a desirable price point. “This neighborhood is the perfect blend of value and luxury. What we've found at RMS, is that by working creatively, we are able to infuse our properties with next-generation finishes, technologies, and ideas at an exceptional, entry price point, something hard to find in Fairfield County,” said Salvatore.

If you’ve been searching for a townhouse or new home in Bethel, or if you’re re-locating to Fairfield County, Newtown, Danbury, or a surrounding area for work, visit Copper Square in Bethel, Connecticut to see all that this community offers. The Sales and Design Studio, now complete, is a destination in and of itself. The highly professional sales and service staff at Copper Square is available to assist you during all phases of your purchase decision, including the selection of options that will help you feel truly at ease in your new Copper Square home.
For those seeking quick occupancy and stylish affordability, Copper Square offers “All Squared Away” townhomes, a program in which buyers can purchase ready-for-occupancy townhomes with modern amenities and many high-end selections at an affordable price of $299,900.  Moving into an “All Squared Away” home is super easy, with no wait.  “This is just one more way RMS works to deliver homes in an innovative way," said Salvatore.  
Take pride in owning your own home at Copper Square. Here, you will relish a laid-back, maintenance-free lifestyle in a gorgeous home, in a friendly and inviting neighborhood. At Copper Square--you will be In Your Element.

Copper Square is located at 48 Stony Hill Road (Route 6), Bethel CTFor more information, please visit wwwLiveCopperSquare.com, view latest photos Instagram.com/livecoppersquare, or call the office at (203)701-7697. The Sales Center and Design Studio is open Monday through Saturday, from 10a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, 11a.m. to 5p.m. Models are now available.  

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

How House #Construction Works

Second in our series on the steps that go into making a new home. You’ve asked yourself some of these questions before. How is a house built? What holds up the ceilings and the walls? What keeps the rain out? What parts go into making a house? How many different people are involved when a house goes up?  Here we focus on site preparation so read on.

Grading and site preparation

Time to "break ground! The first step in the actual #construction of your new home is site preparation. Site preparation consists of clearing away the trees from your building site, doing whatever rough grading (smoothing out the holes, mounds and slopes) that is necessary, and staking the house location in preparation for installation of the footings and foundation.

Before staking, you will need to go over the things that will affect or be affected by the placement of your home on the lot with your contractor. These are;

Setbacks and Easements
Topography (slopes)
The Sun's Exposure
Trees you want to keep
Well and Septic Tank Location
Your Relationship to other houses in the area/neighborhood
Distances you'll have to run utility lines to hook up with municipal services

OK, if you already took all these things into consideration before you did your site plan, do yourself a favor, check them all again - before you begin your site preparation. It's much easier to make changes now . . . BEFORE the concrete if poured!

Clearing the Lot

This involves the removal of trees, roots, and other vegetation from the building site. 

Rough Staking the Home

Here is where to start laying out the home. 

Just be sure to check the new location against setbacks and easements and the required distance to your septic tank drain field. Also be sure to advise your building department and get their OK before going forth with your new location.


If your home will have a basement, it'll need to be dug - excavated. Some builders like to pour the concrete for their driveway at the same time they pour their slab. This makes it a lot easier to build the home, since you can get out of the mud early.

. . . Since there is "Rough" grading, there must also be "Finish" grading! This will be done when the construction on the home is completed and you are ready to tackle the exterior stuff. It's the fine tuning of the drainage patterns around your home and the set up for your landscaping.

Erosion Control

"Erosion control" is really a bit of a misnomer. You won't really control erosion, but you may be required to take special precautions to prevent the runoff from your cleared land from carrying mud to adjacent roads and property. Check with your building department to see what may be required. There are a number of materials/systems used to minimize the problem. They allow water to pass through but screen out fine particles. They can be as simple as bales of hay. 

We’ll will walk through foundation and framing in our next blog so that you can understand what’s involved and start to see the outline of your house come alive. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

How House Construction Works

Have you ever wondered how a house is built? What holds up the ceilings and the walls? What keeps the rain out? What parts go into making a house? How many different people are involved when a house goes up? If you always wanted to know the answers to questions like these, or if you have simply been curious to know all the steps that go into making a new home, then read on. You'll learn how the houses we develop are actually built.

Setting the Stage

So let's start at the beginning. What is a house? According to Wikipedia, a house is "A building that functions as a home for humans or other creatures, including simple dwellings ranging from rudimentary huts of nomadic tribes and complex structures composed of many systems." I don’t know about the “other creatures” part but you probably have a very specific mental image of the "typical house." It is a structure on its own piece of land, generally with a lawn and plants outside. It has a pitched roof, walls covered in brick or siding, windows and doors. Inside there are rooms like the kitchen, the living room, bedrooms and bathrooms.

I can show you a hundred pictures of houses and they may all be completely different in their specifics, but they will all share those basic characteristics.

Steps to Building a House

One of the amazing things about American homes is that the huge majority of them are built using completely standardized building practices. One reason for this consistency is a set of uniform building codes that apply across the country. Another reason is cost -- the techniques used to build homes produce reliable housing quickly at a low cost (relatively speaking). If you ever watch any house being built, you will find that it goes through about twenty or so steps:

1. Grading and site preparation
2. Foundation construction
3. Framing
4. Installation of windows and doors
5. Roofing
6. Siding
7. Rough electrical
8. Rough plumbing
9. Rough HVAC
10. Insulation
11. Drywall
12. Underlayment
13. Trim
14. Painting
15. Finish electrical
16. Bathroom and kitchen counters and cabinets
17. Finish plumbing
18. Carpet and flooring
19. Finish HVAC
20. Hookup to water main, or well drilling
21. Hookup to sewer or installation of a septic system
22. Punch list

Many of these steps are performed by independent crews known as subcontractors. For example, the framing is generally done by one subcontractor specializing in framing, while the roofing is done by a completely different subcontractor specializing in roofing. Each subcontractor is an independent business. All of the subcontractors are coordinated by a contractor who oversees the job and is responsible for completing the house on time and on budget.

We will walk through some of these various stages in more detail in our upcoming blogs so that you will know what is involved, understand all the steps and learn about the different materials used in the construction process.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Update your Bathroom in a Single Weekend

Does your bathroom need a quick fix-up? Transform your dull, dated bathroom into a stylish, spa-like retreat with these Do-it-Yourself (DIY) projects that you can tackle in a weekend.

Recolor your scheme

Freshen up your color scheme by adding a fresh coat of paint or liven up the walls with a bold, striking wallpaper. Don’t forget the 60-30-10 color rule which says; roughly 60 percent of the given space in the room should be the dominant color. In interior design terms, this color is for walls. Neutrals are the good choice for painting walls. The next 30 percent should represent a secondary color and this color is for the trim. The remaining 10 percent of the color scheme is for accent color. Accent colors should be attractive. Warm vivid colors are good accent colors.

Contain the clutter

Add functional storage to help contain the bathroom mess that makes your space appear cramped and cluttered. A stackable mesh shelving unit above the commode can be an example of how you can store the guest towels and extra soap and shampoo that you’ll need when visitors stay over on the next holiday weekend. Use a covered basket or mini-chest to store magazines and other reading material that can often look messy.

Add texture and charm

A good way to create uniqueness and update material in your bathroom is to use a bead board painted in a neutral color to add texture and charm to your bathroom. You can also use objects like whisk brooms, combs, and sponges to create a textured look when repainting the walls. Wallpaper or textured wallpaper is another good option.

Fix your fixtures

Replace dated light fixtures with new, modern ones. If your style is more diverse, try contrasting your modern fixtures with a vintage chandelier. Change your incandescent bulbs to fluorescent ones. Fluorescent lighting not only distributes light more evenly, it produces brighter light which can make the room look bigger and brighter. Design styles have changed for the better with fluorescent bulbs so no need to worry that uncovered fluorescent bulbs will not be attractive.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Celebrate New Homes Month

RMS Companies celebrates newly built homes every time it launches a new community development, but in April we really like to show our customers just what our new homes and communities are made of!
April is New Homes Month, as proclaimed by the National Association of Home Builders and other industry associations, and we’d like to share with our customers what the big news is. Thousands of home shoppers in dozens of cities across the nation were interviewed by N.A.H.B., including buyers considering both new and used homes.
Here’s what they had to say… today's new homes have five main features and benefits that make them so attractive:
1.    Low cost of ownership — with all-new products (and typically the home itself) under warranty, there's much less chance for unexpected, potentially costly repairs.
2.    Quality construction — today's new homes are highly engineered, comprised of state-of-the-art building materials, and constructed to meet the latest building codes.
3.    Designed for living — with open floor plans with kitchens that merge seamlessly into great rooms, higher ceilings, larger owner's suites and closets, built-in storage and larger master baths.
4.    Energy efficiency — newly built homes, on average, are 30 percent more energy efficient than homes built just 5 to 7 years ago, saving you money as well as energy.
5.    Save money, get more value – home buyers can save 15% on their homeowner’s insurance with a new home and afford to pay 23% more for a new home while achieving the same operating costs as an older home.

Home buyers also told the industry how much they enjoyed personalizing their new home by selecting their favorite colors, styles and products in categories such as appliances, cabinets, counter tops, faucets, flooring, lighting and more.
Here are some more reasons buyers prefer new homes;
New home communities offer resort-style community centers that may include a clubhouse, community room, fitness center, cafe, pool, outdoor bar, fireplace, movie screen, rooftop deck, walking, hiking, and biking trails, and much more.
Safety features include security systems, fire-resistant building materials and new materials that use fewer volatile organic compounds (V.O.C.’s) like formaldehyde, scents, and toxicities.
Today’s new homes are made with cutting-edge building products that require less care and maintenance than older homes.
Advanced technology and design; just like a car, the options here are many.

So, what are you waiting for? Celebrate New Homes Month with us by visiting RMS Companies newest model homes and communities!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Home Sweet Home

A house is defined as a building in which people live. A home is defined as a place in which people live.
What one person may see as four walls, you may see as a place, a community, a neighborhood, or a world of memories. It’s those memories that can sometimes make it hard for you to move to a new set of four walls but the place, community, neighborhood and anticipation of new memories often make it easier.

So, while you’re planning for a big (or small) move, instead of dreading the process ahead of you, think of it as a trip down memory lane. Get your family and/or friends together and use it as an opportunity to reflect on all of the good times that you’ve had in that home. Bringing them to see the new neighborhood may generate the excitement you need to deal with it all. Sometimes, the mere fact of moving into a brand new house in a brand new community can ease your trepidation.

Consider leaving some of your memories behind. Perhaps its little Johnny’s carvings on the basement pole that you leave behind or the time capsule that the kid’s buried a decade ago in the backyard. There’s something exciting about the possibility of someone else finding your story and discovering the joys you had at your old home.

Whatever it is that helps you move forward into the house that will become your new home think of it as more than just a house with four walls but as a place that’s near and dear, home sweet home.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Top 10 New Homebuyer Tips

Top 10 Things New Home Buyers Should Know

It’s still a tougher economy these days but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t consider purchasing a new home if you don’t own one already. There are many homes for sale that are being offered at very competitive prices, even new construction. If you’re in the market for a new home, now just may be the perfect time to make your purchase!

1. Understand the responsibilities

This primarily applies to first time home-owners but if you are looking to move to a larger home you need to understand that the responsibilities often increase with size. If you are a first timer, purchasing a new home is not always cut and dry. There are many factors that come into play and much to be considered. Do your homework as research is an important role in buying a new home. Also, enlist the help of a mortgage counselor, lawyer, real estate agent or home builder. Complicated issues often arise when you own your home and the smartest buyers are those who have a thorough understanding of all that goes into a home, as well as your rights as a buyer.

2. Get pre-approved for a loan

The pre-approval process is a more thorough qualification than the pre-qualification.  A pre-qualification simply tells your agent that you are serious about purchasing a new home. It’s not a very detailed process. A pre-approval tells all parties involved that you are financially ready to purchase a new home.

This will give you, the buyer, more purchase power as the seller will be confident that you are financially fit to make such a purchase. This process means that the bank or mortgage lender will be granted access to all your finances – your assets as well as your liabilities and debt, if any. This process will also inform you as to what financing options are available to you in today’s market.

3. Location, Location, Location

Know where you want to be. Think about your lifestyle – will you be in your element in your new environment? What is your lifestyle now and what might it be in 5 10 years? Will you need to commute to a nearby large city? Do you or will you have school aged children? Do you want to live in a neighborhood or in town? Would you prefer to have a smaller home in a more expensive town or a larger home a bit further away from a nearby large city? Do you want to be in a 55 and over community?

These are all important factors you should take into consideration. If you are new to an area you may want to think about renting first for 6 months to a year in order to familiarize yourself with your new location and all that it has to offer. You wouldn’t want to end up with buyer’s remorse after having purchased a home that was not quite right for you. Take the time to really get to know your surroundings. You will be very happy you did in the long run.

4. The man cave

Once you’ve narrowed down where you want to live, you then need to figure out what it is that you want in a new home. Do you want a newly constructed home with all the latest amenities or an older historical one that you can work on and renovate over the years? Do you want a large yard for children and pets, or would you prefer something requiring less maintenance so you won’t have to go out and spend your summer weekends landscaping?

Do you want a porch or a fireplace? How many bathrooms must you have? Do you have young children? Is the house child-friendly? Do you like to entertain? Does the house have a good flow and a guest room? Make a list of all your Must Haves. Most likely you won’t find all of them in one home, but as you look at your potential homes you can start to prioritize which of these Must Haves are truly necessary and which ones you can do without. Be open to suggestions from the professionals.

5. Get off the internet

Once you’ve searched the internet and found some homes that meet your criteria it’s time to get off the internet and see them in person. As with looks, photos can be deceiving.  Many builders and listing agents hire talented photographers who can create images that can make rooms in a home appear larger than in real life.  Often stagers and stylists are brought in to make a home look more inviting. On the flip side, photos may have been taken of the home that just don’t do it justice. The only way to know if a house is right for you is to go out and see it for yourself.

Either go directly to a new home builder or enlist the help of a reputable real estate agent to show you homes that meet your criteria and suit your needs. Professionals will have suggestions that you might not ordinarily have taken into consideration.  Public open houses are a great resource to take advantage of.

6. Don’t judge a house by its cover

Look beyond the staged furnishings or the purple siding.  New home builders often stage their new construction before putting it on the market, but this does not always happen. While staging a home can make a home look fantastic, it is important to look beyond the decor. Look at the structure and the flow of the home. Is it well built? Imagine how your belongings will fit. Will there be enough room? Are the rooms large enough? Are the ceilings tall enough?

Some builders give you the option of choosing your appliances, fixtures, and flooring. Often with new construction, you can add your own personal touches and customizations.

7. Have a back-up plan

It’s important to have a back-up home.  There are a number of things that can happen in new construction or a previously owned home. New home builders make every effort to complete construction on time but unforeseen circumstances may come up during the final stages that may delay the timetable.  It is a good idea to be emotionally leveraged so that if your dream home move in date is not timely, you have a plan B to fall back on.

8. Get as much information on your desired home as you can

If you are not building a new construction, then have a CMA (Comparative Market Analysis) done on the home of your choice through a real estate agent. There are many websites that will give you an estimate on the value of a home, but the comparable information is not always up to date and may not always be accurate. These sites do not know the local market like your builder or agent does.

9. Get to know your neighborhood

If you are relocating from out of town or moving to an unfamiliar area of a large city, it might be worthwhile to visit town hall to find out more.  In the case of an older home, take some time to talk with the building and zoning departments to see what work has been done to the house, and that permits were pulled and a certificate of occupancy was granted.  Building and zoning may also have a survey on file for you.  If a survey has not been created you may want to consider getting your own done. In light of recent weather-related events be sure to check if you are in a flood zone or area frequently hit with hurricanes.

You should find out that the home is in a flood zone, ask whether or not you need an elevation certificate for your insurance company.   If you are planning to do work to the home, you will be able to find out what the town and FEMA require you to do before any additional work is done to the home.  A visit to the tax assessor will also let you know if there are any liens on the property.

10. Keep your cool during the building inspection

Be prepared. Inspectors need to find everything wrong with the house – that is their job.  Many of these issues are small, insignificant things. Others may not be quite so small or insignificant and yet others could potentially be quite grave. After the inspection, make a list of your priorities so that you can decide for yourself what a non-issue is and what could potentially be a large problem. You can always discuss these matters with professionals to give you more information, as well as an estimate of any additional work that may be required.

Happy house hunting and Good Luck!