Choosing Your Master Bedroom Location

The master bedroom is one of the most important rooms a prospective homeowner should consider when buying or building a house. The location of the room is important, and should accommodate your lifestyle needs and personal preferences.

Here are the top things to take into account when thinking about the location of your master bedroom!

Mobility Concerns

According to an AARP study, 87% of adults age 65+ want to stay in their current home and community as they age. This number is 71% among the 50-64 age group. When you consider that four of the top ten states with the highest aging population are New England states – Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Connecticut – these statistics are vital to many of our clients.

How does this relate to the location of the master bedroom? Well, with more homeowners choosing to age-in-place, many seek to build or buy a home with a first-floor master bedroom. That way, they do not have to go up and down the stairs multiple times a day.  The bedroom will also be in close proximity to other rooms that they use daily, like the kitchen, living room, bathroom, or garage. 

Making age-in-place considerations when buying or building a home also increases the resale value, as more and more homeowners are looking for a first-floor master suite.

Horton Group construction at the Residences at 66 High Street.

Lifestyle and Preferences

A homeowner should also consider their lifestyle and personal preferences when choosing the location of the master suite. 

Someone with young children may prefer a second-floor bedroom to be closer to the kids. Or perhaps they prefer to have more quiet and privacy on the first floor away from the children’s bedrooms. Keep in mind, a  first floor bedroom can be noisy if placed too close to the kitchen, living room, or any place with heavy foot traffic.

Someone who values privacy or is a light sleeper will probably want a bedroom located towards the back of the house – away from street lights, noisy roads, and peering neighbors. On the other hand, this might be a bad location for someone who prefers to be closer to the other bedrooms in the house, or wants a view of the front yard.

A first-floor master bedroom can be a money saver if children have moved out of the house and the second floor is largely unused. In this case, homeowners can choose to spend minimal energy heating or cooling the second floor and focus on keeping the first floor comfortable. 

Another factor to consider is access to outdoor space. Do you dream of being able to get out of bed in the morning and stroll right into your garden or step outside for beachside views? Then perhaps you should consider a first-floor bedroom with direct access to your outdoor space. For others, having such easy access to the bedroom from outside could be a safety concern.

Horton Group construction at 77 Palms

Conclusion

The location of the master bedroom is a big decision, and several factors should be considered including mobility, resale value, lifestyle, family size, and personal preference. Depending on all these factors, a homeowner may choose a master bedroom on the first or second floor, towards the front of the home, or the back of the home. 

There is no definitive right or wrong when it comes to choosing a master suite location, but prospective homeowners should consider these pros and cons to make an informed decision they will be content with in the long run.

Ready to discuss your dream master suite with us? Get in touch today.

First Time Homebuyers in the Market for New Construction

Over the past year, the buyer’s market has been extremely competitive in many markets across the US, due in part to low inventory. With a limited number of properties being listed for sale, it makes sense that more buyers are turning toward new construction. 

Take a look at the results from recent surveys from the National Association of Home Builders in regards to new construction and first time home buyers:

First Time Homebuyers considering New Construction

The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) is a monthly survey of the National Association of Home Builder members, designed to rate the market conditions for the sale of new homes and the traffic of prospective buyers of new homes.

The February 2021 survey showed that builders reported an overall average of 43% of new construction sold to first-time home buyers. Sixty-six percent of builders said that more than 20% of their homes were sold to first-time buyers. 

An Upward Trend

The number of first-time buyers who purchase new construction has steadily increased over the past five years. In 2016, an average of 19% of sales of new homes went to first-time home buyers. The number grew to 32% in October 2018 and jumped to 43% in February 2021. This shows that every year, more first-time buyers are considering new construction.

Celebrate New Homes Month

April marks a special one for The Horton Group: not only is it New Homes Month, but two more units at the Residences at 66 High Street recently went under contract, which means there is just one unit left!

This month, we’re taking the time to reflect on the work we do, and share the benefits of new construction!

Rise in Popularity

New construction continues to rise in popularity among home buyers. In fact, 60% of buyers say they prefer new homes, according to a recent survey by the National Association of Home Builders. This is the highest level since 2007.

This year, buyers are turning to new construction even more. With low inventory and multiple offer situations across the nation, buyers are finding it more challenging to find a property that fits their needs. 

Benefits for Buyers

As people have spent more time at home over the past year, many want a home that satisfies their wants and needs. With new construction, buyers can select their preferred floor plan and finish design touches. 

The NAHB survey found that buyers want more bedrooms and bathrooms compared to previous years, noting that an increase in square footage is essential for many. Buyers also want features including a laundry room, energy-efficient features, outdoor living, and walk-in pantries.  

As builders enter the final stages of construction, buyers enjoy selecting finishes, fixtures, flooring, and paint colors. When they move in, there is nothing to change or update because they fulfill their needs from the start. 

Benefits for the Economy

New homes benefit both the homeowner and the economy. The construction of 1,000 single-family homes creates 2,900 full-time jobs across all US industries. Not only does this open up more job opportunities, but also brings in more to federal, state, and local tax revenues. 

Are you interested in seeing new homes in Connecticut? Join us for HBRA’s 2021 Spring Parade of Homes, taking place April 24 and 25!

Buyers’ Search for Energy Efficiency

Over the past year, buyers have been searching for properties with more indoor and outdoor living space, private home offices, and plenty of storage. 

In addition to more space, a recent report by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) shows that buyers are also looking for energy efficiency when looking at new homes.

Top Energy Efficient Features for Buyers

The report surveyed 3,000 homebuyers and was presented during NAHB’s 2021 International Builders’ Show. As buyers search for homes, they are keeping an eye out for eco-friendly design and green features. 

The top three energy-efficient features buyers look for are:

  1. Energy Star rated windows and appliances.
  2. Efficient lighting that uses less energy than traditional light bulbs.
  3. Energy Star rating for the whole house.

Willing to Pay

Since energy-efficient features often result in lower utility costs, buyers consider this when buying a new home. If green features will save homeowners money toward utility bills every month, buyers surveyed said they are willing to spend more money upfront.

On average, buyers said they would pay over $9,000 more upfront for a home if it would lower annual utility costs by $1,000. Buyers are also willing to spend more than $2,000 upfront for a home certified above-code for health and wellness, which includes features such as zone heating and indoor air quality. 

Homeowner Education

It’s not enough to just start installing green features into new homes. Homeowners must also know and understand how the features work. Part of regular home maintenance is ensuring that the green features are serviced and properly working. In addition, homeowners need to know how to use green features to their full potential to gain all the benefits. 

Brandon Bryan, the founder of Red Tree Builders, stated,

“We’ve got to teach people how to live in green homes, how these homes operate, and even before we build to let them know what we could do because a lot of times we could do so much more for their life.” 

What green features are important to have in your home? 

Guide to Building a New Home

With low inventory in real estate markets across the country, many people are considering new construction. Although the process can seem overwhelming from start to finish, working with the right people and knowing what to expect can make the entire process less daunting. 

Keep reading for what you need to know about the home building process before getting started. 

Secure Your Financing First

Most homebuyers use financing when purchasing a home, and the same goes for new construction. If you were previously searching for an existing home and are approved for a mortgage, that won’t carry over to new construction. 

Speak with your lender about obtaining a new construction loan. Like mortgage loans, new construction loans are easier to get if you have a strong credit history. This loan will enable you to pay your contractor as the work is being finished. Once the home is completed, the loan is converted to a mortgage. 

Who You Work with Matters

Once you know you have appropriate financing for new construction, look for a builder who meets your needs. Research and meet with prospective builders to learn more about their style, quality of work, and rates. 

Take the time to learn about the builder’s developments, warranties, reputation, and communication style. You will also want to learn how the builder handles permits and hiring for specific jobs. A builder who understands your vision and communicates throughout every step of the process will ease stress and give you confidence in completing your new home. 

Plan, Plan, Plan

After getting approved for a loan and selecting a contractor, the planning begins! With your builder, you can start to focus on planning your dream home. You’ll discuss the larger picture, including:

  • Style of the home
  • Number of bedrooms
  • Number of bathrooms
  • Floorplan
  • Storage needs
  • Outdoor space

As you review the type of home you want, your contractor will share a projected timeline and completion date. In addition to planning what your new home will look like, be sure to plan where you will live during construction, as well as a backup plan in case the completion date needs an extension.

Purchase Your Lot

Some new construction takes place in a new development, where the builder owns several lots.  In this case, during your planning phase you will select an available lot where your new home will be constructed. If you are not building in an established development, you will need to start looking for land for sale in your desired location. Once you have acquired land, your contractor will clear the lot before construction begins. 

You Get to Choose

The final stages of construction are often the most fun. As you oversee the building process, you’ll discuss what you want to see in the design’s finishing touches. This includes selecting: 

  • Cabinetry
  • Countertops
  • Paint color
  • Light fixtures
  • Appliances
  • Flooring
  • Custom options

Throughout the entire process, stay in communication with your builder to stay updated on the timeline, build, and budget. 

5 Benefits of New Construction

With low inventory in most real estate markets across the country, more buyers are looking at new construction. Whether the home is already being constructed, or you buy a lot and start from scratch, there are many benefits to building a new home.

Move-In Ready

When you buy a previously-lived in property, inevitably, there will be something you want to change. Some homes just need minor improvements, like a fresh coat of paint, while others require a complete gut job. One of the best parts of a new construction home is that it is fully move-in ready. 

You can rest assured that plumbing and electrical are in working order, new appliances are installed and ready for first use, and every room matches your style. The only thing left to do is unpack. 

Designed for You

Starting with the layout, all the way down to countertops and color schemes, new construction is designed for you. 

When building new, you can work with your contractor throughout the entire process to make sure the floorplan meets you and your family’s needs. Open floor plans, high ceilings, and space for a home office, gym, or studio can all be incorporated into your new home.

As construction nears completion, you can select countertops, appliances, colors, light fixtures, and more. Your contractor will guide you through design options while helping you stay within your budget.

Lower Maintenance 

As a homeowner, maintaining your home is essential. With new construction, modern technology keeps maintenance to a minimum. 

Your home will be built to the most up-to-date codes and safety standards, with new plumbing, HVAC, appliances, windows, and roofing. This not only creates less work for you over the years, but maintenance costs will be less as well. 

Energy Efficient

New construction also utilizes green practices for highly efficient homes. Often, a third-party will rate the home’s energy efficiency, ensuring it meets requirements. With proper insulation, high-efficiency appliances and systems, your home will have a low carbon footprint and low utility bills. 

Home Warranty

Builders don’t just walk away after it is completed. A new home comes with a warranty, so you can feel confident about how the construction will hold up over the years. Should any issues arise during the warranty period, the builder will work with you to solve the problem. 

To make the most of these benefits, make sure you find a contractor you like and trust!

Home Maintenance Checklist

Whether you move into a newly constructed home or one previously lived in, home maintenance is must. By staying on top of upkeep, your home will not only look and run more efficiently, but it will also help keep your resale value high.

Each year, plan on saving 1-3% of your home’s value for regular home maintenance. By sticking to a schedule, you protect your biggest investment while maintaining a comfortable living situation. 

Here are monthly and seasonal checklists to help you to keep your home in top shape. 

Monthly

Check the interior and exterior of your home every month. With a quick walkthrough, you can check off these items and help eliminate surprises down the road:

  • Clean HVAC filters and change furnace filters.
  • Clean faucet aerators.
  • Inspect drains and look for leaks.
  • Inspect grout and caulking.
  • Test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Clear indoor and outdoor air vents (including the kitchen vent hood).
  • Check water softener (if applicable).

Fall

When the temperatures are still moderate, get in as much yard clean up as you can, and prepare the home for winter:

  • Schedule another HVAC checkup.  You don’t want to realize there’s an issue after temperatures drop!
  • Inspect and clean the fireplace.
  • Clean gutters (after the leaves fall!).
  • Check the roof for missing shingles.
  • Check weatherstripping on doors and windows.  
  • Winterize exterior plumbing. 
  • Patch and seal driveway.

Winter

During the colder months of winter, pay attention to these interior needs: 

  • Touch up interior paint (as needed).
  • Clean grout in kitchens and bathrooms. 
  • Clean sink, tub, shower, and dishwasher drains.
  • Check the basement for leaks. 
  • Watch the roof for ice dams.
  • Check for drafts.

Spring 

As the weather begins to warm up, many people are eager for some fresh air and spring cleaning. In addition to a deep clean and yard cleanup, make sure you complete these tasks:

  • HVAC checkup by a professional. 
  • Inspect the roof, siding, and outdoor living spaces.  
  • Clean gutters.
  • Inspect driveway and walkways. 
  • Check for air leaks around doors and windows. 
  • Look for rotting wood or insect damage.

Summer

Complete these tasks early in the season so you can fully enjoy your summer:

  • Oil garage door and chain, and all door hinges.
  • Trim plants and hedges near the HVAC system.
  • Power wash exterior of the house.
  • Inspect foundation and crawlspace. 
  • Check sprinklers or lawn irrigation system. 
  • Check the damper in the fireplace.

How Homebuilding Can Aid Economic Recovery

2020 is a year like no other, where communities must join forces (socially distanced, of course) and make a collective effort to support local businesses in an attempt to keep small-town economies alive. 

A major proponent to flourishing local economies is steady home building. People attract business, and housing attracts people. This year more than ever, the market is experiencing low housing inventory in many suburban communities across the United States. Housing developments create new jobs for citizens and provide desired housing options that attract residents. 

The National Association of Home Builders has tested these economic effects and have divided the economic influx into three phases. 

Phase I

Phase I includes the effects that result directly from construction activity and local industries that contribute to it. This consists of all contracted services, such as electricians, plumbers, architects, and engineers. Phase I also includes related jobs, such as truck drivers, developers, and bankers.

Phase II

Phase II includes the effects that occur as a result from the wages and profits from Phase I being spent in local economies. 

Phase III

Phase III is an ongoing effect that includes property tax payments and local spending by the occupants of the new housing units. 

As shown in the NAHB three-phase economic process, multiple forms of local income can be generated through residential construction. From more basic flows of income, such as workers spending their hourly wages on local goods and services, to more steady streams of income like annual property taxes paid. Local governments prosper from new residencies and more activity within the community. 

7 Ways to Improve Indoor Air Quality

We often think of air pollution as something that could affect us outside. However, as Americans spend about 90% of their time indoors, keeping indoor air as clean as possible is essential. 

You can make simple changes to reduce the number and exposure of air pollutants in your home. Here are seven things you can do right away to improve the air quality in your home:

Get Rid of Mold

In bathrooms and kitchens, mold and mildew can easily grow where moisture levels are higher than the rest of your house. Plus, the hot summer months can bring about incredibly humid conditions. Exposure to mold can lead to respiratory issues like allergies and asthma. Invest in a dehumidifier in an HVAC system to reduce humidity levels and create comfortable living conditions in your home. 

Purchase an Air Purifier

Using air purifiers is another effective way to limit air pollutants. There’s a variety of indoor air quality products on the market to combat common indoor pollutants. Place purifiers in the house’s most commonly used areas, including the kitchen, bedroom, and living room. 

Invest in Indoor Plants

Houseplants can detoxify indoor air naturally. Spider plants, Chinese evergreens, snake plants, and aloe vera are all plants that NASA recommends for the best air purification.

Increase Ventilation

Proper airflow and ventilation are crucial for good indoor air quality. Over time, dust and mold can accumulate in your ducts. Opening your windows and cleaning your ducts allows harmful air pollutants and allergens to circulate outside, thereby limiting your exposure to it. 

Clean and Vacuum 

Rugs and carpets can easily trap dust particles in their many fibers. Use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter, strong suction, and rotating brushes to suck up all the dust and dirt. Try to vacuum once or twice a week, and don’t forget about furniture, shades, and sheets. 

Keep it Outside

People can track all sorts of chemicals from the dirt on their shoes. Put a large floor mat at every entrance. By simply wiping your shoes off, you can reduce the amount of dirt and pollutants fin your home. 

With summer nearing an end, many of us will be spending more time indoors. Determine what you need in place to keep your indoor air quality high all winter long. 

 

Builder Confidence Increased in July 2020

News about low inventory and historic low mortgage rates has been garnering a lot of attention in the housing market. While real estate agents have been noticing a recovery in the market for the past couple of months, the latest NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) is also showing an increase in builder confidence. 

 

July 2020 Builder Confidence

 

In July, builder confidence in the market for new single-family homes jumped to 72 points, up from 58 points in June. This is a significant increase from April, when builder confidence plummeted to a low of 30 points, the lowest level since 2012.

 

The HMI is a monthly survey that has been conducted for 30 years. It gathers information about builder perceptions and buyer traffic for single-family homes. Anything above 50 points indicates a positive outlook for the market, and below 50 indicates a negative outlook. 

 

The Appeal of New Construction

 

Buyers are actively searching for homes. With low inventory and the desire for a floorplan to meet needs created by the pandemic (like home offices and outdoor living spaces), builders are seeing more interest from prospective buyers. 

 

“Builders are seeing strong traffic and lots of interest in new construction as existing home inventory remains lean,” said NAHB Chairman Chuck Fowke.  “Moreover, builders in the Northeast and the Midwest are benefiting from demand that was sidelined during lockdowns in the spring. Low interest rates are also fueling demand, and we expect housing to lead an overall economic recovery.”

 

Low mortgage rates aren’t just for existing homes, they extend to new construction. If you are a prospective buyer who isn’t haven’t luck with current inventory, consider building new or looking at new developments.

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