Look For Credentials When Hiring

If you’re planning a home remodel and want to hire a professional, then you’ve likely heard some horror stories.

No one wants to be taken advantage of – whether it’s your time, money, and especially not your home. When researching contractors in the area, make sure you look at their credentials just as much as their portfolio online. A pretty picture is nothing without a few testimonials.

Remodeling professionals have the training, experience, skills, and solid references. Homeowners can hire the best remodeler for the job by checking credentials and choosing the most qualified candidate.

Ask about these credentials when hiring a professional remodeler:

Insurance and Licensing

All professional home remodelers should be insured and able to display a certificate proving possession of insurance. While not all states require remodelers to be licensed, the ones that do, contractors are mandated to share proof of licensure. Up-to-date insurance and licensing demonstrate that the remodeling firm is in good standing. 

Education

The most skilled professional remodelers not only have experience on the job but education. There are many ways contractors continue their education and numerous certifications, designations one can hold. Find a professional who continues to invest in professional development to keep their remodeling and business skills sharp and better serves their customers.

References and Reviews

Happy homeowners enjoy sharing their good experiences and appreciation of their newly upgraded space. Take a look at reviews online, or ask friends and neighbors for their referrals. 

Business Skills

Experienced remodelers know how to manage their business, which provides stability and security for their customers. These professionals will provide a written contract for a home remodeling project, a scheduled timeline, and guarantees and warranties for their work. 

Another vital sign of honest business practices from a remodeler is outlining a clear payment schedule and not requiring large amounts of cash upfront. Professional remodelers should also have a good reputation with the Better Business Bureau and a good credit report, indicating stable business operations.

Association Membership

Many successful remodelers are members of trade associations like the National Association of Home Builders because it offers business resources and continuing education. Membership also provides opportunities for professional growth and expanding knowledge of the remodeling industry.

Conduct thorough research when hiring a professional home remodeler so that you hire someone with good credentials. Verifying intelligent business practices and remodeling experts will better ensure that your home remodel will be completed successfully and safely. Remember, it’s always better to be safe than sorry rather than trusting someone’s word.

Must-haves in the Kitchen and Bathroom

Homeowners of the future are not what they used to be!

In a recent study by NAHB, it was found that homebuyer preferences for kitchen and bath features can vary significantly because generations have different needs from one another. 

The study, What Home Buyers Really Want, 2021 Edition, compared what millennials, Gen X, and Boomers find most desirable in the kitchen and bathroom. Keep reading to learn what each generation wants!

Kitchens

The study reviewed different kitchen features, with respondents deeming what was essential in a new home. Millennials and Gen X’s scores were often close, but Boomers have a much different view of what is desirable in the kitchen.

A double island is essential to 53% of Millennials and 55% of Gen X, but only 27% of Boomers. On that same note, 63% of Millennials and 64% of Gen X would prefer a central island with an oven rage, but just 37% of Boomers wanted this. 

More than 50% of Millennials (with Gen X not far behind), also value a steam oven, trash compactor, and wine cooler in the kitchen, while Boomers don’t seem to have strong desire for any of the these features.

Bathrooms

The results for the bathroom yielded similar results, with Millennials and Gen X on the same page, and Boomers looking for other features.

A skylight is one of the most desirable features in the bathroom overall, with 60% of Millennials and Gen X stating it is essential, and 35% of Boomers agreeing. Millennials and Gen X also desire ‘His & Her’ baths, with only 28% of Boomers on board with separate bathrooms. 

Other features looked at in the bathroom were bidets and dual toilets, both of which hovered around 50% for Millennials and Gen X, but between 20-25% for Boomers. 

Do any of these features make your ‘must-have’ list for the kitchen or bathroom? Let us know in the comments!

Am I ready to build a house? 6 Questions to Ask Yourself

Dreaming of having a custom-built house perfectly suited to your family’s needs? Or a house built to your taste with everything totally brand new? 

Building your own home comes with both pros and cons. Here are six questions you should consider before diving in without a plan.

1. Can I decide on a house quickly?

The competition to buy an existing house is incredibly high, with many homes selling in just a few days. The pressure to make such an expensive and important decision, while racing against other buyers, can be overwhelming. If you are someone who takes a while to think things over, and you want to make sure you get exactly what you want from a home, building might be the better option for you.

2. What is the biggest advantage to building a home?

The biggest advantage to building a home is getting a custom-build that perfectly meets the needs of you and your family. Everything in the house will be brand new, and you won’t have to worry about any costly repair jobs or issues that can surprise you in a pre-existing home. Just make sure you find yourself a high-quality, professional contractor who can properly understand your needs and bring your vision to life. We recently wrote a blog on how to find a professional remodeler, and much of the same advice holds true when building a new construction.

3. What is my Budget and how is my Credit?

Your first step is to make sure you fully understand your budget. Meet with a mortgage lender and discuss your options, so you have a firm number whether building or buying. 

The loan process for new builds is a little more complicated than obtaining a mortgage for a pre-existing home. When building a home, typically you begin with a construction loan, and then refinance into a traditional mortgage after construction is complete. In order to do this, you will need good credit and little to no debt. Once you figure out your budget, it is also important to factor in some wiggle room in there for any unforeseen expenses.

4. Do I need this home ASAP?

A new build typically takes up to a year to complete. If you are in a rush to move into a new home, buying a pre-existing home may be the better option for you.

5. Am I ready to put down roots here?

Building a new home is costly and time-consuming. As such, it is not the best option for someone who expects to move around. If you aren’t ready to settle down just yet, then renting or buying an existing property probably makes more sense for you.

6. What are my future needs?

When building a home, it is important to plan for your future and not just your current needs. Do you plan on having children some day? Will your parents move in with you at a certain age? Factor that into your building plan to avoid a costly home addition or stressful move later down the road.

Conclusion:

Taking the big step to build your own home is an important decision that you shouldn’t rush into. Consider the six questions we have listed here, and be sure to do some additional research before you dive into an expensive construction project.

Tips for Designing a Multi-Generational Home

Multi-generational living can be challenging. You want everyone to have their privacy and space, all under one roof. If you are currently living with multiple generations in your home, or anticipate this situation in the future, here are some tips to design a living space that works for everyone.

Design Your Home with Accessibility in Mind

With multiple generations under one roof, you’ll want to make sure the living space is accessible to the oldest of the household’s members. 

Make sure you have spaces wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs. Build bedroom suites on the ground floor, so people with mobility challenges won’t need to navigate stairs. If you have a large budget, you can even consider motorized countertops or cabinets that can adjust height to accommodate everyone’s needs.

Design your bathroom with safety in mind. Choose step-in showers, rather than a bathtub  that an elderly person will struggle to climb into. Install handrails or seats in the showers.

Lastly, make sure there is ample lighting in the house for older members who may have trouble seeing. Adjustable lighting is a great option to make everyone happy.

Design Private Spaces and Communal Spaces

There will be times where you’ll want to spend time with your family members, and times where you’ll want some privacy. This can be difficult to achieve in a multigenerational home, but there are solutions. You can build a separate suite in the basement, or even elsewhere on your property like a guest cottage. You can also consider separate entrances into the home, so every generation feels like they have a space of their own.

You’ll want some communal and accessible open-concept spaces, but you’ll also want some separate rooms for privacy. Pocket doors are a great solution to accomplish something in-between open and private. With a lot of people in the house, you’ll also definitely want to make sure your rooms are well-soundproofed.

Maximize Your Indoor and Outdoor Space

With a full house, it’s essential to maximize every inch of your home. Design plenty of creative storage solutions. Lots of people means lots of stuff!

Even if you don’t have extra family members living with you NOW, you can design for your FUTURE needs if you anticipate you will one day have extra members in your household. Design your spare rooms to meet standard bedroom requirements so that they can be used as bedrooms later, even if you’re currently using them as an office or exercise room.

If you have the yard space, designing a spacious, comfortable outdoor courtyard or deck where the whole family can come together for bonding time while having their private spaces indoors is a great way to achieve balance between alone time and social time.

Conclusion:

Living in a multigenerational home can be a challenge, but creating a harmonious living environment starts with the design of your house. It is important to design a space that is physically accessible to every member of the household, and that accommodates both togetherness and privacy.

Need help coming up with a design that fits your multi-generational needs? Get in touch today.

Final Phase at 66 High Street

The Horton Group is now entering our fourth and final phase at The Residences at 66 High Street with the build of The Chittenden!

Since the start of the project, a total of 38 units have been sold, completely selling out the first three buildings: The Mill, Whitfield, and Leete Buildings. 

The Residences at 66 High Street is a luxury condominium community in Guilford, Connecticut. Each unique residence features an open floor plan highlighted by high ceilings, a gourmet kitchen, finely appointed baths, and high-end finishes. 

In addition to masterful craftsmanship, 66 High Street also has an incredible sense of community. Located within walking distance to the Guilford Green, residents enjoy heading to their favorite shops and restaurants and meeting up with neighbors. 

Award-Winning Luxury Development

Over the years, The Residences at 66 High Street has garnered the attention of residents and builders alike. The development has won numerous awards, including:

2019 HOBI Awards:

  • Best Luxury Condominium Community
  • Best Luxury Condominium

2018 HOBI Awards:

  • Best Condominium Community 
  • Best Condominium Unit
  • Outstanding New Haven County New Commerical for 350 Goose Lane
  • Outstanding Vacation Remodel for 21 Palms, Marathon, FL

2017 HOBI Awards:

  • Best Luxury Condominium Community
  • Outstanding Luxury Condominium
  • Best Luxury Townhouse

2016 HOBI Awards:

  • 2016 Project of the Year
  • Best Condominium Community
  • Best Luxury Condominium Unit
  • Best Historic Rehab Overall

In addition to all HOBI Awards, the Residences at 66 High Street has broken every single New Haven County record for luxury condo sales!

The Final Phase

Now in the final phase, the Horton Group is constructing the final building: The Chittenden Building. With a planned completed date in 2024, this building will have the same level of craftmanship, with individual units tailored to the preferences of residents. 

Are you interested in learning more about The Chittenden Building at 66 High Street?

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.

6 Outdoor Design Ideas You’ll Love

Outdoor living spaces can be designed to fit your needs and style, and remain an important feature for homeowners and buyers alike. From hosting daytime gatherings to relaxing evenings, your property expands your living space and allows you to enjoy the outdoors. 

Here are six design features to take your outdoor living space to the next level:

Patio Doors

Oversized doors leading out to your patio or deck extend your interior living space to the outdoors. French patio doors are easy to open, bifold doors can create a larger entrance, and multi-slide patio doors can extend the length of the wall, with panels that tuck into pockets. Each one of these options opens up your indoor and outdoor living spaces for entertaining or relaxing at home. 

Covered Outdoor Area

A covered space creates more opportunities to be outside, whether the sun is shining so brightly you need shade, or a light rain begins. You can also create separate outdoor spaces, keeping one covered and others uncovered to meet everyone’s preferences. Awnings, gazebos, and screened porches are all options for covered outdoor space. 

Outdoor Kitchen

If you love to entertain, an outdoor kitchen makes it more convenient to prep food and drinks while hosting, but also limits the number of times your guests walk in and out of the house. 

Built-in cooking and prep stations provide everything you need to make meals outside, so you can enjoy your company and the weather. 

Irrigation System

Beautiful landscaping can be admired throughout the warmer months, making your property a serene reatreat. An irrigation system allows you to maintain your landscaping with less maintenance, giving you more time to enjoy the outdoors. 

Privacy

There are numerous ways to create privacy, no matter what type of property you own. Fencing, hedges, and landscaping can all create a private oasis for you to enjoy. 

Fire Pits

An outdoor fire pit is a wonderful way to create ambiance in your outdoor living space. Whether you opt for a built-in or portable fire pit,  you can cozy up on chilly evenings and extend the use of your outdoor space. 

Kitchens at 66 High Street

From the historic Mill Building to brand new Whitfield and Leete Buildings, every kitchen at the Residences at 66 High Street is customized to meet the needs of the owners. 

As the social hub of the home, today’s kitchen is a place that is on display in an open floor plan. To accommodate for both function and style, we’ve worked with incredible interior designers to achieve the goals of each resident. 

Scroll through to take a look at some of the 66 High Street kitchens, and perhaps get some inspiration for your own!

What is your favorite kitchen? Let us know in the comments!

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!

Community Spaces in Development: More Important than Ever

We’re all seeing it: the Zoom calls, car parades, and balcony gatherings. People are supporting local businesses, showing thanks to those on the front lines, and donating to those in need. 

Even though we are physically separated, our communities are growing stronger than ever. It’s made us think about the growing trend we have seen in new developments – one that will likely continue long after this has passed. 

Master Planned Communities

From developments with single-family homes to mixed-use construction, developers have been focusing on incorporating more community spaces over the past few years.

At 66 High Street, the pool, once installed, will be a gathering place in summer. Before the current health crisis, residents often walked downtown together, and met up in each other’s units for a glass of wine and some conversation.  

At Overland Lofts in Springfield, community spaces will be available for residents only. Since the building is mixed-use, there will also be stores, cafes, and restaurants that people from all over downtown can enjoy together. 

Developments all over the country have already started adding in more community spaces. Why? Because it brings people together. Now, more than ever, we see how important connection is. 

What to Watch For

One thing we’ve all learned recently is that connection can still happen when we are separated. While we know developers will continue incorporating spaces for gathering in person, we anticipate that builders will also start thinking about how to integrate technology. Here are some things to watch for in development, according to Best in American Living:

  1. Personalized concierge sales experiences, including a mix of technology and human interaction.
  2. New ways to access amenities so people can gather utilizing technology. 
  3. Tech-enabled events and participation, such as online book clubs, art classes, or movie nights.
  4. Greater integration between homebuilders and community developers throughout real estate transactions, including virtual tours for potential buyers. 
  5. Doubling down on outdoor spaces for walking, biking, and gathering. 

 

What would you like to see in a residential development? Let us know!

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