Breaking Down the Exterior Evolution of New Homes

Posted: September 19, 2017 at 8:56 am by: NewHomesGuide


The Bradbury Model from Toll Brothers

Exterior elements and connection points are among the most popular interior design trends to date. Ironic, isn’t it? Homebuyers are yearning for simplicity more than ever as technology untethers us from traditional spaces, and our natural instincts draw us back to the serene outdoors.

Interior trends are influencing exterior design while exterior features are influencing interior design – Are you still following? Good. They’re essentially breaking down each other’s boundaries so that every square foot is tailored by an uninterrupted flow of design.


Let’s break down the interior walls and talk about the exterior evolution happening in home design:

  • Fit and finishes feature natural elements, but with a modern twist.
  • Interior refinement is moving outdoors with more elegant lighting and new dining hubs.
  • Flooring is breaking the boundaries and extending from the indoors to the outdoors in a seamless fashion.
  • Walls are losing space to windows to provide more natural light.
  • Movable walls are becoming increasingly popular.

Two of the four top macros inspiring home design is converged living and escapism needs. These are the driving factors that are making outdoor spaces so important to homebuyers. Master bedroom balconies, backyard porches, multiple entrances, side yard living and rooftop living are the most desired outdoor connection points according to new consumers.

No acreage? No problem. Rooftop/patio living is a great solution for townhomes and condominiums that have minimal land (As seen in the Bradbury Model by Toll Brothers).

Even more so then just the connection points, outdoor design makes a significant impact on a home buyers decision. These trends can not only make a visual impact but can also increase the overall value of a home:

Poolside Fireplace

What started as a trend in the multifamily industry has now moved to our very own backyard – quite literally. Pools are often the centerpiece of a backyard surrounded by lounge seating, grills, gardens and now fire features. The juxtaposition of fire and water brings a beautiful aesthetic to outdoor spaces and will keep your backyard feeling warm and cozy. Consider a linear style fireplace for a more modern outdoor design.


The Arlington model at Arundel Grove by Craftmark Homes. Designed by Builders Design.

Outdoor Kitchen

According to NAHB (National Association of Home Builders) outdoor kitchens are one of the ‘hottest housing trends’ in the industry and can increase the homes overall value. Much like the interior kitchen, an outdoor kitchen is an entertainment feature where family or friends could gather with guests. Don’t forget the finishing touches when creating your outdoor haven – Establish a living room that extends beyond the kitchen complete with comfortable seating. (As seen in Craftmark Homes, Arundel Mills Model, Design by Builders Design).

Additionally, to not interrupt the flow of design, create a symmetry between the indoor and outdoor kitchen. Use materials that are compatible with the home’s architecture and landscape, pending on their durability (Ask yourself: “Are highly resistant to grease stains? Can the material withstand high temperatures?”). And lastly, increase the function of an outdoor kitchen by incorporating heaters and rain protection to ensure year-around use.

Written by Marnee Duffus, a sales and marketing specialist with Builders Design, this story originally appeared in the September/October issue of New Homes Guide. Order your free copy of New Homes Guide for more tips, advice and trends.

Get the Ultimate Guide to the Area’s Top Planned Communities

Posted: September 14, 2017 at 10:35 am by: NewHomesGuide

planned-comm_cover_so17Could you see yourself living at a resort all year long?

We know, it’s a tough question. But if you answered “yes,” a planned community might be exactly what you’re looking for during your new home search. Read on to learn more about these extraordinary places to call home and how to find them in the DC metro area.

What is a planned community?

Even more than traditional new home communities, planned communities are defined by the exceptional amenities they offer. These all-inclusive destinations often feature sought-after amenities such as pools, sports courts, open spaces and fields, trails, in-community shopping, dining and more.

These popular communities are formed when homebuilders and land developers work together to create amenity-rich neighborhoods that often resemble small towns — all for the benefit of homebuyers.

How to find the perfect planned community.

Make no mistake, not all planned communities are created equal, but you don’t have to rely on a search on the internet to help you find the perfect one to call home.

With The Planned Community Lifestyle, a free supplement we offer in addition to your complimentary copy of New Homes Guide, you can learn more about the features, benefits, pricing and amenities you can expect to find at the best planned communities in Maryland and Virginia. And once one of the communities listed in this free guide catches your eye, you can dig deeper into the details about what makes it such a great place to call home.

It’s easier than ever to find the ideal planned community in your area — you just have to start your search! Place your order for your free copy today, or start exploring The Planned Community Lifestyle now with our digital edition.

CalAtlantic Homes Headlines the Latest Issue of New Homes Guide

Posted: September 5, 2017 at 12:11 pm by: NewHomesGuide

Cover Image

We’re continuing our tradition of showcasing some of the most accomplished homebuilders on the front cover of the print editions of New Homes Guide. For this issue, new for September 2017, CalAtlantic Homes is in the spotlight, and we couldn’t be more excited to highlight this respected builder.

Formed in 2015 as a merger between Standard Pacific and Ryland Homes — both nationally recognized companies — CalAtlantic Homes now serves 43 major markets around the country, including the DC and Baltimore metro areas. The company’s formation proved beneficial for area new home shoppers, thanks in large part to the combination of more than five decades of land acquisition, development and building expertise.

With more than 30 communities spread across Maryland and Virginia, CalAtlantic Homes offers area new home shoppers extraordinary choice in addition to energy-efficient options and stylish, flexible design options.

CalAtlantic’s focus on quality craftsmanship, an outstanding customer experience and thoughtfully designed communities that appeal to a wide range of interests has helped it earn an exceptional reputation among homebuyers and industry experts alike.

You can get a closer look at all of CalAtlantic Homes’ DC-area and Baltimore-area homes on our website and inside the pages of New Homes Guide. Reserve your free copy now, or pick it up at your local newsbox, Harris Teeter or Safeway today!

What It’s Like to Live in Prince George’s County

Posted: August 23, 2017 at 12:08 pm by: NewHomesGuide


National Harbor is a waterfront resort destination on the banks of the Potomac River.

Prince George’s County, established in 1696 from land in adjacent Calvert and Charles counties, was named for Prince George of Denmark, the husband of Princess Anne, the heir to the throne of England. Today the county, which has a population of more than 900,000, rests in a prime location bordering Washington, D.C. and just 37 miles south of Baltimore.

The nearly 500-square mile county is home to the University of Maryland, Joint Base Andrews Naval Air Facility, the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and numerous federal government agencies including the Census Bureau, the Food and Drug Administration, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Internal Revenue Service.

While many residents of Prince George’s County work in the county, the location is also conducive to commuting into Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Annapolis and to Northern Virginia. A 2015 study by the Census Bureau found that approximately 140,000 people commute daily from the county into D.C., 34 percent by public transportation and 10 percent via carpool. Transportation options are abundant, including access to I-95, the Beltway, Route 1, Route 50 and the Baltimore-Washington Parkway by car and bus. In addition to Metrobus, residents can ride commuter buses, Metrorail, MARC trains and Amtrak.

Prince George’s County is home to National Harbor, a 300.acre waterfront destination along 1.5 miles of Potomac riverfront land minutes from downtown D.C. and Old Town Alexandria in Virginia. National Harbor includes a marina with water taxi service and cruises, the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, several additional hotels, shops, restaurants, a seasonal farmers market and entertainment venues. The Capital Wheel, a 175-foot high Ferris wheel, operates year-round and offers views of the Potomac, the White House, Arlington Cemetery and the National Mall. MGM National Harbor, a resort casino with more than 140 table games and 3,200 slot machines, includes entertainment venues, luxury shops, an upscale hotel and spa and seven restaurants from celebrity chefs including Wolfgang Puck, Jose Andres, the Voltaggio Brothers and Gina & Pat Neely’s BBQ Parlor from the Food Network.


MGM National Harbor is a luxury resort, retail, dining, entertainment and gaming experience.

The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center in College Park offers another venue with approximately 1,000 events in every performing arts discipline including theater, dance and music. (more…)

Understanding Your Homebuying Budget

Posted: August 18, 2017 at 8:50 am by: NewHomesGuide


Financial planning is an essential element of the homebuying process, one that ideally takes place even before you begin shopping for your new home.

Whether you are a first-time homebuyer or are buying a newly constructed home for the first time, you should develop a personal budget so you can make a smart and sustainable decision about your purchase.

While a mortgage lender should be your ally and consultant during the process of buying a new home, keep in mind that your lender won’t know every detail of your finances outside of what appears on your credit report and bank statements. If you want to maintain retirement savings or invest in college savings, make sure you have room in your budget for those expenses.

Lender Budget Requirements

Lenders prefer to approve loans for buyers whose “front-end ratio,” which refers to the monthly housing portion of your expenses compared to your monthly gross household income, is 28 percent or less. For example, if your annual household income is $150,000, your maximum housing payment including principal, interest, taxes and insurance should be $3,500.

Your “back-end ratio,” which compares the minimum payment on all recurring debt and your housing payment with your gross monthly income, should be a maximum of 42 percent. However, if you have excellent credit or significant assets in the bank, your lender may approve a loan with a higher debt-to-income ratio. If your annual household income is $150,000, your housing payments and minimum payments on things like a car loan, a student loan and credit card debt should be a maximum of $5,250. (more…)

New Home Design Details

Posted: August 15, 2017 at 11:23 am by: NewHomesGuide

When it comes to creating an eye-catching home design, the little details are the things that make a big difference. And these are the 11 design elements that are most definitely on trend in new homes right now.

Colorful Kitchen Cabinets


From two tone cabinets to bold colors, colorful cabinetry is trending in new kitchens and remodels. Homeowners are daring to go bold with vibrant colors, over traditional woods and neutral tones.


Tactile Textures in the Kitchen


In addition to the colorful cabinets, kitchens are a great place to play with different textures, finishes and colors. Countertops, backsplashes, hardware, appliances, plumbing, and flooring are just a few of the areas where different textures can create a fun, exciting, yet cohesive look.

Kitchens with Two Islands


Some kitchens just never seem to have enough counter space. Creating two islands in a kitchen allows ample room for prepping and entertainment space.


Whole Tiled Walls


Traditionally, backsplashes stop at the bottom of the upper cabinets. And in bathrooms, the tile stops half-way up the walls or about 18” from the ceiling. A new trend is taking the tile all the way up to the ceiling. This creates a dramatic statement in any room. You can create a clean look with subway tile or something a little more interesting with patterned tile.


Geometric Influences


Nature often influences design. The geometric aspects create a nice modern balance with the other design features while still creating contrast.




We all know how things make a comeback. Brass has made a comeback in a big way. It has influenced everything, included but not limited to: lighting, furniture, hardware, plumbing fixtures, décor accessories, even tile and backsplashes. It’s that little piece of flair that adds some bling to any space.


Voice-Activated Technology


Technology has found its way into the home scene. You can now use products such as the Amazon Echo and the Google Home to turn down the lights, or play your favorite song. “Smart” Homes are being built with this technology integrated into them. You can now also use your phone to turn down the lights, set the temperature, and even lock your doors.


Color Trends – Greenery


“Greenery” is Pantone’s 2017 color of the year. Pantone describes it as, “refreshing, revitalizing, fresh.” Pantone also says that the color “revives, restores, renews and reinvigorates.”


Splurging in Laundry Rooms


Laundry rooms are becoming more glamorous. They are no longer the corner in the basement with a utility sink plopped next to the washer and dryer. Laundry rooms are getting dressed up with upgraded cabinetry and countertops, backsplashes, wallpaper,chandeliers, and the list goes on.


Elaborating on Entryways


The entryway is the first impression people have of the inside of your home. Trends are showing people paying more attention to the entry way and creating a great first impression with the additions of decorative chandeliers, upgraded flooring, and even accented walls and ceilings.


Outdoor-Feeling Indoor Shower


We’ve all heard about the rainfall shower head, and if you haven’t, you’re missing out. Bringing the outdoor-feeling to the shower is trending in bathrooms.

Written by Abby Regis and Leslie Sargent of Design Works Interiors, this story originally appeared in the July/August edition of New Homes Guide. For more trends, stories, how-tos and advice, order your free copy of New Homes Guide today.

The 1100 Block at Ballston Metro: Life on the Inside of Connection

Posted: August 11, 2017 at 9:11 am by: NewHomesGuide


Revered homebuilder Evergreene Homes is once again featured on the back cover of the print edition of New Homes Guide. For the July/August 2017 issue, it’s The 1100 Block at Ballston Metro, one of Evergreene’s newest communities, that’s being showcased.

Comprised of just 12 lavish urban townhomes, this upcoming community is designed to fit seamlessly within one of Arlington, Virginia’s most distinguished neighborhoods. And with spacious floorplans featuring up to 3,675 square feet, rooftop living spaces and optional elevators, these home designs will be distinguished from anything else the area, too.

Evergreene Homes calls this “Life on the Inside of Connection” because The 1100 Block at Ballston Metro is connected to everything that makes Arlington so special and puts residents within just a few blocks of the area’s most popular venues. That means over 70 restaurants, coffee shops, parks, schools, shopping destinations and, of course, the Ballston-MU Metro Station are just steps away. It’s why called the community’s location a “Walker’s Paradise” and gave it a 92/100 walkability score.

These urban townhomes are now selling, and you can put yourself on the inside track for this stylish new community by joining the priority list. And you can also learn more about The 1100 Block at Ballston Metro on our website.

Want to see more new homes and communities from Evergreene Homes? Check out their builder profile now, and order your free copy of New Homes Guide to get a closer look at what Evergreene Homes and other top builders are offering in the area.

5 Ways You Can Save Money When Buying a New Home

Posted: August 9, 2017 at 9:27 am by: NewHomesGuide

Money-Saving Tips

Worried about being able to afford the new home you’ve always wanted? Here are five simple yet powerful tips that can help you save money on your new home now and well into the future.

Set a Budget and Stick to It

You won’t know where to aim if you don’t have a target. That’s why, first and foremost, you should establish your budget. By going into your new home shopping experience with a clear understanding of your personal financial status and goals, you’re less likely to overspend.

Decide How Much Space You Really Need

How big your home needs to be varies greatly based on the size of your family and how you plan to use the space.

Do you need an extra guest room if you don’t plan to have guests stay often? Or a large, formal dining room if you’d rather just share meals in an open kitchen? Weigh the options and consider that just about every homebuilder will work with you to find the perfect design and can adjust the floorplan to meet your needs.

By choosing a stylish, flexible home design that gives you everything you want, you’re well on your way to getting your home at the price you need.

Consider Energy-Efficient Options Carefully

One of the biggest benefits of buying a new home instead of a resale home is the fact that many energy- and money-saving features come built in.

Low-e windows, efficient furnaces and programmable thermostats are included standard in many new homes, but most homebuilders will offer additional efficiency options such as solar panels, high-efficiency water heaters, etc. Although these options will likely add to the total price of the home, the monthly savings incurred can offset the upfront costs and even pay for themselves in the long run.

Have a builder sales agent walk you through the savings and potential tax benefits of each energy-efficient option available and determine which ones fit best in your short- and long-term budgets.

Shop Around for the Right Mortgage

Choose between a fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgage and decide the length of your loan term. Once you do that, you can start shopping around for rates from lenders.

Different lenders will offer different prices, so you’ll want to talk to a variety of them to understand what sort of rates, fees and down payment you can expect. Be ready to negotiate and don’t be afraid to walk away from a lender if the mortgage they offer doesn’t fit within your budget.

Already in the market for a mortgage? Here are some other great tips provided by the Federal Trade Commission.

Shop Around for the Right Builder, Too

You probably have an idea of where you want to live, so do some research to find out which homebuilders offer homes/communities in that area. Each builder is different, and their prices, offers and incentives will often vary greatly throughout the year.

Our online search tools make it easy for you to find all the builders in a given area — just enter your price range, options and desired location to get started!

Why Schools Should Play a Part In Your New Home Search

Posted: July 26, 2017 at 10:16 am by: NewHomesGuide


Decisions about where to purchase a home are driven by numerous considerations such as your commute and preferred community amenities, but among parents with children under age 18, the school district is typically among the highest priorities. In fact, a recent study by Trulia found that for 19 percent of all homebuyers, their dream home would be located in a “great” school district. For parents of school-age children, that number jumped to 35 percent.*

Schools matter whether you have kids or not, because numerous studies have found that homes located in a good school district tend to sell for more money than those with less desirable schools. Homes in good school districts also tend to hold onto their value in every market cycle.

Some analysts say the schools-and-housing values phenomenon is similar to the chicken-or-the-egg question: are schools better because the homes are larger and more expensive and therefore owned by wealthier parents who have the resources to ensure their children get a high quality education? Or are the homes more expensive because the schools are so good?

According to a 2013 study by Redfin brokerage, people pay an average of $50 more per square foot for a home located in a top-ranked school district compared to an average-ranked school district. This debunks the idea that all the houses in that top-ranked district are bigger or sit on a larger lot, but it also proves something most people already know: schools matter. *


What It’s Like to Live in Fairfax County

Posted: July 21, 2017 at 8:59 am by: NewHomesGuide


Fairfax County is a diverse and thriving urban county. The population exceeds that of eight states and the District of Columbia. The median household income is one of the highest in the nation and over half of its adult residents have four-year college degrees or more educational attainment.

Fairfax County is celebrating its 275th birthday this year. The county was officially given its name in 1742, but the land in this county was under the control of Lord Fairfax and the Fairfax family of England as early as 1690. William Fairfax built the Belvoir Mansion, now part of the U.S. Army’s Fort Belvoir, in 1741. The county has an abundance of historic sites, including perhaps the most famous house in America: Mount Vernon, where George Washington first moved to live with his brother in 1748. The county was primarily agricultural until the early twentieth century, when the railroad and electric trolley lines connected the county to Alexandria and to Washington, D.C. The county underwent a growth spurt during World War II along with rest of the D.C. region and continues to be an employment center for government contractors and tech companies as well as a desirable suburb of the capitol.

Today, more than 1,139,000 people live in Fairfax County, which has a reputation for having one of the most highly educated populations in the country. More than 31 percent of adult residents of the county over age 25 have a bachelor’s degree and more than 29 percent have an advanced degree such as a master’s degree, a PhD, a law degree or a medical degree. That highly educated population is also highly compensated: Fairfax County is among the counties with the highest median household income in the country, estimated at $113,208 in 2016.

While many residents drive or take buses or Metrorail into Washington, D.C., 55 percent of Fairfax County residents work in the county in business locations such as Tysons Corner and Reston. Major employers in the county include Inova Health Systems, Booz Allen Hamilton, Freddie Mac, General Dynamics, Capitol One, Hilton Worldwide, Northrop Grumman and SAIC, all of which have their headquarters in the county.

Fairfax County offers diverse neighborhoods and attractions from the Mosaic District in Merrifield, which has a mix of interesting shops and restaurants, to the Eden Center in Falls Church, which offers an array of Vietnamese shops and restaurants, to quaint historic towns like Herndon and Clifton. Reston is one of the country’s first planned communities and includes a range of housing, myriad recreational amenities and a vibrant town center with shops and restaurants and summer concerts. Some of the most expensive homes in the D.C. region can be found in McLean and Great Falls, both areas within a relatively short commuting distance to the city that are popular with politicians, lobbyists, broadcast journalists and lawyers.


Tysons Corner Center is home to over 300 specialty and department stores, restaurants, eateries and entertainment options.

Tysons Corner, known mostly as a central commercial area for businesses and shops, is undergoing redevelopment into a walkable community for residents as well as employees in the area. A recent expansion of the Metrorail system’s Silver Line added stops in Tysons Corner and currently extends to Reston. Construction is underway to link the system to Dulles International Airport.

A wide range of homes can be found in Fairfax County, from condos and townhouses in urban-style walkable neighborhoods to single family homes of all sizes on small lots to acres of land. The median sales price of homes in April 2017 was $505,000, an increase of 5.4 percent over April 2016.

Fairfax County is known for its highly rated school system and its abundance of cultural and recreational facilities. The county owns 427 parks on more than 23,000 acres of land, eight public golf courses, multiple lakes and nine indoor recreation centers with numerous classes and activities. Sports leagues are available for children and adults and public tennis courts and skate parks are also readily available.


Great Falls Park has many opportunities to explore history and nature, only 15 miles from the nation’s capital.

The Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts features well-known performers all summer. The Barns at Wolf Trap and George Mason University’s Center for the Arts, as well as numerous community theaters throughout the county keep active performance schedules all year. Festivals are held on most spring and fall weekends in a variety of locations in the county and include performances, rides and art shows.


Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts is a performing arts center located on 117 acres of national park land in Fairfax County.

The abundance of activities in this county make living here attractive to people who work locally and those who commute into Washington, D.C.

Written by Michele Lerner, this story originally appeared in the July/August 2017 issue of New Homes Guide. Reserve your free copy of New Homes Guide todayfor additional stories, area highlights and more.

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