Homebuying Advice: How to Choose Your Loan Term

Posted: March 17, 2017 at 3:58 pm by: NewHomesGuide


When you’re ready to finance your new home, you’ll need to decide between a fixed-rate and adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) and to decide the length of your loan term. While the majority of borrowers choose fixed-rate mortgages and first-time buyers in particular prefer a 30-year fixed-rate loan, there are some advantages to a shorter loan term and to an ARM. (more…)

Your All-Inclusive Lifestyle Awaits in the Pages of Our Free Supplement

Posted: March 10, 2017 at 10:43 am by: NewHomesGuide

Planned Community LifestyleIf you could live at an all-inclusive resort all year long, would you?

If you answered “yes” to that question, a planned community might be exactly what you’re looking for.

Planned communities come to life when builders and developers work together to create neighborhoods that are filled with popular amenities, such as sports courts, fields, nature trails, pools, open green spaces, community clubhouses, fitness centers and so much more.

Think of choosing a new home at one of these sought-after communities as giving your family an all-access pass to the amenities that surround you. And because many of the area’s top homebuilders choose to build their homes in these resort-style destinations, you can rest assured that you’ll be able to get a stylish new home that fits the needs of your family perfectly.

Sound like the place you’d want to call home? The Planned Community Lifestyle, one of the free supplements you can add to your order of New Homes Guide, can help you get there sooner.

This comprehensive supplement includes the latest information about the features, benefits, pricing and amenities you can expect to find in planned communities where you’re searching. So when you find a planned community that piques your interest, you can dig deeper and learn more about the place you could soon be calling home.

Ready to get your free copies of The Planned Community Lifestyle and New Homes Guide? Simply place your order online now — it’s that easy. Happy home hunting!

Van Metre Homes Looks to the Future of Leesburg on Our New Issue’s Cover

Posted: March 7, 2017 at 5:09 pm by: NewHomesGuide

New Homes Gude issue in hand

“The future of Leesburg is right around the corner,” says Van Metre Homes.

As the largest local independent homebuilder in Northern Virginia, Van Metre Homes would know a thing or two about the future of Leesburg. The builder, which has been building homes across the DC metro area for more than 60 years, is highlighting its two new communities coming to the highly sought-after Leesburg area on the front cover of the latest issue of New Homes Guide.

The communities, Meadowbrook Farms and Lofts at Village Walk, are located just minutes from downtown Leesburg, where you can find an eclectic mix of boutiques, restaurants, recreational opportunities and historic points of interest.

Whether you choose a single-family home like what you’ll find at Meadowbrook Farms or a condominium like those at Lofts at Village Walk, when you choose a new home from Van Metre Homes, you’re building with a homebuilder that has consistently made customer satisfaction a priority. Since its inception, Van Metre Homes has delivered homes with unsurpassed quality and the most desirable features to more than 35,000 homebuyers.

You can find the perfect new home in one of Van Metre Homes’ 20 communities located across the region, as well as homes and communities from other top homebuilders, in the pages of our latest issue and on our website. Reserve your FREE copy of New Homes Guide online now, or pick up our new issue at your local newsbox, Harris Teeter or Safeway today!

Elevation Design: The Basics of What/How and Why It’s Important

Posted: February 26, 2017 at 4:20 pm by: NewHomesGuide

Image Credit: W.C. Ralston Architects LLC

Image Credit: W.C. Ralston Architects LLC

While it is not a term widely used by homeowners, or outside of architecture and construction circles, the elevation is a unique consideration and tool employed in the design of any home. As a drawing, an elevation is a two-dimensional projection perpendicular to the vertical plane – meaning, it is a flat view seen while the “observer” is looking forward.

Most commonly, elevations portray the individual sides of a house. In this sense, they’re an interpretation of a three-dimensional view and are not actually experienced when looking at the house. 

Image Credit: W.C. Ralston Architects LLC

Image Credit: W.C. Ralston Architects LLC

Like other architectural drawings, elevations are a set of instructions. They’re directions for how many, where to position, how to connect the pieces of a puzzle…or house! They’re a means of communicating a connection between inside and outside (where the windows are located and how tall the roof is), but also a glimpse into the design process. 

Image Credit: W.C. Ralston Architects LLC

Image Credit: W.C. Ralston Architects LLC

When an architect or designer is developing a concept for a house, they’ll likely begin by loosely drawing the plan to organize spaces and determine how big it will be. In doing so, they’re considering things like “What room should get the most light?” and “Where is the best view?” or “What rooms need to be concealed for privacy?”. These all work together to establish the house’s footprint, which significantly defines the mass, or shape and scale, of the house. 

Image Credit: W.C. Ralston Architects LLC

Image Credit: W.C. Ralston Architects LLC

As the house takes shape, details such as the openings and trim are refined. Using the flat plane of an elevation drawing, the architect or designer is able to work through and verify the relationship of pieces that shape the face of the house. A design’s success is measured largely on the balance of its composition – nothing should be added/removed or enlarged/reduced without spoiling it. It should come as no surprise that the adage, “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts” is a mainstay among designers.   

Image Credit: W.C. Ralston Architects LLC

Image Credit: W.C. Ralston Architects LLC

Image Credit: W.C. Ralston Architects LLC

Image Credit: W.C. Ralston Architects LLC

Elevation drawings are emblematic. Unlike floor plans, they’re less abstract and don’t require much translating to comprehend. A well-executed elevation should be both informative and evocative. As basic drawing conventions in the design industry, lines representing building materials (like brick, stone, and siding) are intended to have a tangible quality. Looking at these images, you can recognize characteristics like scale, texture, and reflectiveness as much as you can identify doors, windows, roofs, and columns – even with an “untrained” eye.

Image Credit: W.C. Ralston Architects LLC

Image Credit: W.C. Ralston Architects LLC

This is what makes elevations special. In residential design specifically, people are often drawn to and compelled by familiarity and nostalgia. Your home should be a place of comfort and this can be derived, in part, by association – the bay window off your living room reminds you of days waving back to your family as you left the house. Or, the chimney peaking over your roof makes you think of winters spent in front of the fire. These sentimental qualities are powerful and are rooted in visual memories. When working with an architect or choosing a design from a builder, this type of recognition will resonate with you – it will ensure that you not only understand the home you’re building and that it meets your expectations, but it captivates you as well. 

Guest blog courtesy of W.C. Ralston Architects, an architecture and planning firm that has built an enduring reputation for design excellence in homes, neighborhoods and communities across the Mid-Atlantic region. Learn more at www.wcralston.com.

Find the Ideal Walkable Community with New Homes Guide

Posted: February 16, 2017 at 10:00 am by: NewHomesGuide

Family Walking Along Street With Shopping Bags

When it comes to living in the DC metro area, driving and commuting usually come with the territory. But if enduring a long drive to get to and from work or nearby amenities doesn’t sound enticing, you’ll be glad to know that there are still plenty of options for walkable, accessible living in our area.

In a walkable community, you’ll have unparalleled access to the places that matter most. Shopping, dining, entertainment, recreation, mass transit — it’s all right at your fingertips when you choose a home at one of these accessible destinations.

Because you’ll be spending less time getting to the places you want to go, you’ll get to spend more time actually enjoying them. In some cases, you may even decide owning a car is optional because of all the transportation options that become available to you. That’s why we recommend these communities to young families with tight schedules, busy professionals or people who are just looking for a low-maintenance lifestyle.

Finding a walkable community with the help of New Homes Guide is easy. Many of our featured condo listings come from accessible, urban communities. But you can also pinpoint the exact location and home style you’d like by using our powerful search tools.

Simply visit NewHomesGuide.com and start your search by entering relevant information in the “Search for Your New Home” section at the top of the page. And once you’ve entered the necessary information, select “+ Search Options,” and you’ll be presented with the list below.

Screen Shot 2017-02-06 at 2.10.59 PM

From there, select “Walkable Living” to filter your search results. You can also select “Metro Accessible” or any of the other amenities you’d like to have in your new community to narrow your search further.

There are so many great walkable communities to choose from on our website, and today is the best day to get your search started. And don’t forget, you can always find more information about all of the communities in our area in the latest issue of New Homes Guide.

Find the Perfect Move-In-Now Home with Our New Supplement

Posted: February 7, 2017 at 10:00 am by: NewHomesGuide

Young Couple Moving In To New Home Together

This is the ideal time to be shopping for a new home. Prices and interest rates are at historic lows, and many of the region’s top builders have an incredible selection of Move-In-Now homes to choose from.

With a Move-In-Now home, you don’t have to wait to get the home you’ve been looking for — with all the features, finishes and upgrades you’ve always wanted. And our new supplement, Move In Now, will help you find one of these homes to call your own.

Featuring hundreds of listings organized by geographic area, this new supplement provides a glimpse into the beautiful condos, townhomes and single family homes that are ready right now — from the DC metro area to the Eastern Shore. And when you find the listing that piques your interest, you can visit our website to get an even closer look at the home.

Move In Now is included for free within the latest issue of New Homes Guide, so all you have to do is pick up your copy today at Safeway, Harris Teeter or your local newsbox. And, as always, you can order your free copy online now!

Design Encyclopedia: Know Your Home’s Roof

Posted: January 30, 2017 at 11:54 am by: NewHomesGuide

The roof is one of the most fundamental elements of building. Beyond “keeping the rain out,” it also has a big impact on the appearance and style of your home. We’ve compiled this brief summary outlining the various conventional roof types found in residential construction. Use it as a guide to orient yourself in your next home purchase so that you can better understand how your home performs and achieve the right look for the style you desire.


Image Credit: W.C. Ralston Architects LLC

Image Credit: W.C. Ralston Architects LLC

The gable roof is iconic – beginning with the first illustrations we make of our homes as children, the simple triangular shape is one of the most universal images of “house” we can imagine. In essence, its functional merits also provide a clear visual for the design – a single ridge and sloped sides that shed water and snow, while providing attic space on the inside. The gable is simple and effective, which is one of the main reasons why it is so prolific in residential building. It is also one of the most versatile roof types, in that a slight change in pitch (steepness or slope) can give your home a completely different appearance, denoting a key trademark of a particular architectural style. Here are a few examples:

Photo Credit: Tom Fields Photography

Photo Credit: Tom Fields Photography

Craftsman style homes are often characterized by a wide, single gable with a very low slope. The wide roof overhangs can be traced back to the style’s origins in the western United States, where shading the coastal sun was a key design consideration.

Image Credit: W.C. Ralston Architects LLC

Image Credit: W.C. Ralston Architects LLC

A steeper slope can give your home a more Contemporary flair. In this example, its simplicity makes a bold statement.


Image Credit: W.C. Ralston Architects LLC

Image Credit: W.C. Ralston Architects LLC

Hipped roofs are sloped on all sides, terminating in either a pyramid-like point or a ridge that spans one direction across the house. Like gabled roofs, their simplicity is a key facet of the design – water sheds evenly to all edges of the roof, making it easy to distribute downspouts around your house and control water drainage on your lot. Because of their shape and assembly, hip roofs tend to be lower and, thus, limit available attic space. The hip shape also limits the amount of exterior finish material needed on your house – if you imagine the “triangle” shape of a typical gable roof being replaced with a hip, you can eliminate all of the siding or brick required to cover that wall surface.

Just as with gable roofs, a change in pitch and overhang can alter the character and style of your home. These variations below are classic takes on the hip roof:

Image Credit: W.C. Ralston Architects

Image Credit: W.C. Ralston Architects

Prairie style homes exude low, horizontal lines. Their roots in the flat plains of the central United States are indicative of the solid, grounded feel these homes possess.

Image Credit: W.C. Ralston Architects LLC

Image Credit: W.C. Ralston Architects LLC

Georgian style homes lie on the opposite end of the spectrum with large, sweeping hip roofs. Their height gives the appearance of grandeur and anchors the symmetrical openings on either side of the central front door.


Photo Credit: Maxine Schnitzer Photography

Photo Credit: Maxine Schnitzer Photography

Another variation on the hipped roof is the mansard. Its popular origins are derived from French architecture in the 17th and 18th centuries, when the government levied property taxes based on the number of stories a building had. The mansard roof was born as a response, tucking a habitable attic space under steep “roof” planes (which function more like walls) that cap the top of the building. Now, mansards are found most typically in urban neighborhoods in an evolved form with ornate details categorized under the Second Empire and Chateau styles. These roofs function just like a hip roof, but have two sloped portions with differing pitches on each side of the home.


Image Credit: W.C. Ralston Architects LLC

The most straight-forward and distilled option in roofing vocabulary is the shed. Every component of the design is rooted in a particular function or consideration – from light and heat, to loads and structural assembly, to interior space and acoustics. Shed roofs are ideal for maximizing ceiling height, natural light throughout your home, and the efficiency of your heating/air conditioning system. They can offer the greatest amount of exposure where you want the sun to hit the house and reduce the heat that’s lost through surfaces on the cold, dark side. In terms of style, shed roofs make their appearance in more Contemporary applications, but were originally seen in the earliest, most humble forms of architecture.


Image Credit: Maxine Schnitzer Photography & W.C. Ralston Architects LLC

This classification is actually a bit of a misnomer, as roofs really can’t be “flat” and still effectively function as a means to distribute water off the top of your home. As we’ve explained, roofs rely on a positive slope to prevent the pooling of not only water, but also snow, ice, and leaves. The flat roof is a mainstay of Contemporary architecture, expressing the purest, most minimal way to terminate the walls of a building. In reality though, it is actually one of the most sophisticated roof types in residential construction – requiring multiple complex considerations of the way materials, edges, openings, and loads perform together. In the example above, a small wall around the entire perimeter of the home (parapet) conceals a network of subtle ridges that channel water to several deliberate openings (scuppers) that drain off the roof. The result is a hyper-clean look with only a few carefully curated materials and a shape that is equally bold.

Guest blog courtesy of W.C. Ralston Architects, an architecture and planning firm that has built an enduring reputation for design excellence in homes, neighborhoods and communities across the Mid-Atlantic region. Learn more at www.wcralston.com.

Use New Homes Guide to Find Your New Home This Year

Posted: January 20, 2017 at 9:00 am by: NewHomesGuide

New Homes Guide

The hardest part of a New Year’s resolution is sticking with it and seeing it through to the end. If finding a new home is on your list of resolutions this year, however, it’s a lot easier than you might think — you just have to have the right tools to help you out.       

That’s where New Homes Guide comes in.

With our powerful set of online search tools and, of course, our trusty print guide, we’ve been helping new home shoppers just like you find their dream homes in communities across the Mid-Atlantic region for more than four decades.

No matter what stage of the home shopping process you’re in, and no matter what you’re looking for — a Move-In-Now Home, the perfect condo or even the ideal builder for your new home — we have the resources to help you get the home you want sooner and more confidently. And with a wide variety of additional supplements to choose from, you can get even more focused in your new home search. Here are a few of our free supplements to consider adding to your New Homes Guide order:

  • The Relo Guide — Moving to a new area? We have all the info you need to make a smooth transition.
  • Best Floorplans — Get the inside scoop on the homebuilders designing the best, most innovative floorplans.
  • Interiors — Need some interior design inspiration for your new home? You’ll find it here.
  • Planned Community Lifestyle — Looking for a resort-style community? We’ll help you find the top master-planned community in your area.

We firmly believe that your new home shopping experience should be fun and rewarding, and we think you’ll love earning a gift card while you shop for your home. To learn more, check out our Rewards for Shoppers — it’s easy, and it’s free.

Ready to cross that new home resolution off your list? Start your search on NewHomesGuide.com, or order your free copy of our latest issue online today. Happy house hunting!

Our Cover Builder Wants You to Experience “A Life Well Lived” in 2017

Posted: January 17, 2017 at 11:43 am by: NewHomesGuide


A new year. A new issue. A new cover homebuilder.

We’re excited to unveil our latest issue of New Homes Guide, which features Winchester Homes, one of the area’s most admired homebuilders, on our front cover.

Based in Bethesda, Maryland, Winchester Homes has solidified its status as a premier builder of new homes in the Mid-Atlantic region, in large part due to its emphasis on award-winning craftsmanship and sound environmental building practices.

This year, Winchester Homes wants you to treat yourself to the home and the lifestyle you deserve so that you can experience “A Life Well Lived.” It won’t be hard to design your dream home, either, because Winchester puts extra emphasis on personalization, promising to build Your Home. Your Way.™ This commitment to building homes that truly reflect their homebuyers means that you can get the high-quality home you’ve always imagined.

You can find a beautiful, personalized new home from Winchester Homes at an ideally located community in Maryland or Northern Virginia, as well as homes and communities from other top builders, in the pages of our latest issue. Order your FREE copy of New Homes Guide or pick up our new issue at your local newsbox, Harris Teeter or Safeway today.

Design Forecast: 4 Big Ideas for 2017

Posted: January 3, 2017 at 3:26 pm by: NewHomesGuide

A new year is upon us! As we leave 2016 behind and set our sights forward, we’ve compiled our list of the top residential design concepts that are ready to make an impact in the year ahead.

1. Clean & Modern

When it comes to home exteriors, this sentiment represents the preference of the overwhelming majority of prospective homebuyers. While one’s interpretation of “modern” seems to differ from person to person, this tends to suggest a couple key elements: clean lines and many (often large) openings. As general concepts, these are not exclusive to the contemporary style and can enhance the appearance and quality of any home.


Image Credit: W.C. Ralston Architects LLC

As a prime example, Modern Farmhouse is a prolific style that is inherently both traditional and progressive. With roots derived from humble rural vernacular of the American South, these are simple houses with subtle detailing. The monochrome color palette, minimal trim, corrugated metal roof, dark windows, and mitered siding all give them a refined edge while preserving the qualities of their forebearers.

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