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Why You Need to Use New Homes Guide to Shop for a Home in the New Year

Posted: January 18, 2018 at 12:10 pm by: NewHomesGuide

Find a New Home in the New Year

There are a lot of resources out there for new home shoppers. So many, in fact, that you might almost feel like you have to spend some time picking which resource to use throughout your home shopping journey.

We’re here to tell you that you don’t have to do that. We want you to spend more time enjoying the best parts of searching for the ideal home and less time worrying about where you can get all the information you need.

Here are the three top reasons why you should use New Homes Guide to help you find the perfect new home in 2018.

You’ll Be Using the Region’s ONLY Complete Resource

New Homes Guide is the Mid-Atlantic’s most comprehensive guide to all of the area’s new home communities. Whether you’re looking in Maryland, DC, Virginia or Delaware, you can shop confidently knowing that you won’t miss any community.

You Can Shop Your Way

Whether you’re just starting your search or you’re already out and about looking at communities and model homes, New Homes Guide can be there every step of the way.

Keep your free copy of our printed guide by your side as you tour communities, or flip through the pages if you just want to get an idea of what’s around. If you’re more digitally inclined, however, you can take our fully responsive mobile site and its powerful search tools with you everywhere you go.

No matter how you want to conduct your new home search, we have the right resource for you.

You Can Get Rewarded

Shopping for and eventually purchasing a new home is one of the most fulfilling experiences many people have in their lifetime. New Homes Guide makes it even more rewarding.

With our Rewards for New Home Shoppers and Rewards for New Home Buyers programs, you can earn free gift cards as you look for and eventually settle on the right new home.

Better yet, these rewards programs are completely free, optional and easy to join!

Ready to get your new home search underway? Start by ordering a free copy of our guide or begin your search on our website now!

You’re Going to Love Coming Home to a New Home from This Prestigious Builder

Posted: January 8, 2018 at 12:38 pm by: NewHomesGuide

Love Coming Home

You can go through all the pages of our latest issue or search through the endless community profiles we feature on our website, but this homebuilder doesn’t just want you to find a new house.

Winchester Homes, one of the Mid-Atlantic region’s most prestigious builders, knows you’re in search of something that’s more than that. Anyone can show you a house — Winchester wants to give you a new home you’ll cherish for years to come.

What separates a new home from all the other houses out there? Winchester Homes believes it’s about lifestyle. It’s about the amenities, a convenient location and peaceful environment. That’s why they build in some of the most sought-after communities across Northern Virginia and Maryland.

Finding the right home is also about discovering that place that makes every day easier. Because between the hustle and bustle of daily life your home and your community should be there to welcome you with open arms. And with single family homes starting from the mid $400’s and townhomes starting from the low $300’s, they’re also making everything easier on your budget, too.

Sure, Winchester Homes wants you to get a house you can be proud to call your own, built responsibly and with high-quality materials. But more than anything, they want to make sure you love coming home every single day.

We believe in that mission, and we think this is the perfect time to explore all of Winchester Homes’ communities and designs. We invite you to take a closer look at what they offer inside our latest issue and on our website. Happy home shopping!

Looking for a New Home in the New Year? Here’s How We Can Help.

Posted: December 27, 2017 at 12:43 pm by: NewHomesGuide

New Homes Guide

It’s that time of year again! People are making resolutions about anything and everything to make sure 2018 is the best year yet.

Some resolutions are bigger than others, and whether your goals for 2018 are big or small, it always helps to have a trusted, go-to resource by your side every step of the way.

If you’re resolved to find your dream home in the new year, we’re here to help you make that happen.

Not all new home shopping resources are created equal. And New Homes Guide is the Mid-Atlantic’s only complete guide to every new home community in the region.

Look inside the pages of our latest issue, and you’ll find information about all the best new homes and learn more about the builders that are constructing them. Our guide is completely free, and it’s a great place to start your search or carry with you as you begin touring communities.

If you know exactly what you’re looking for, from the number of bedrooms and bathrooms to specific amenities and options, you’ll want to use our website’s powerful search tools. In a matter of seconds, you can pinpoint the ideal community with the help of over 30 search filters. And be sure to check out our wide variety of homebuying resources on our website, too!

When you’re ready to dig deeper into the region’s best communities and learn more about the homebuilders making this area a great place to call home, you’ll want to explore our variety of free supplements. Whether you’re looking for inspiration for your new home’s floorplan or need help choosing the right builder, we have supplemental magazines you won’t want to miss.

With all of the options available and questions that come with shopping for a new home, it’s no surprise that finding a new home can be a bit overwhelming. But with the right guide by your side, we have no doubt you’ll be able to stress less and enjoy the process of finding the home you’ve always dreamed about.

Here’s to happy home shopping and a happy new year ahead!

Buying a New Home? These are the Terms and Definitions You Need to Know.

Posted: December 11, 2017 at 1:30 pm by: NewHomesGuide

Homebuyer's Glossary

Getting ready to purchase a new home?

There’s a lot that goes into the process. Fortunately, you don’t need to get overwhelmed when you start hearing words like “escrow,” “elevation” or “earnest money.” Here are some of the most important and common terms you’ll come across during your new home search and throughout the homebuying process.

Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) – A mortgage loan whose interest rate adjusts according to a market index. This means as the interest rate goes up or down, so does your mortgage payment.

Amortization – A term used to describe the process of paying off a loan over a predetermined period of time at a specific interest rate. The amortization of a loan includes payment of interest and a portion of the outstanding principal balance during each payment cycle.

Appraisal – The amount a professional appraiser determines your home and its property to be worth.

Bridge Loan - A short-term loan collateralized by the buyer’s present home (which is usually for sale) that allows the proceeds to be used for closing on a new house before the present home is sold. Also known as “swing loan.”

Condominium – One unit in a complex of many. When you purchase a condominium, you solely own what is inside your walls and you jointly own the hallways, exterior and common areas. You also pay a monthly fee for the management of these areas.

Closing Costs – The cost required to officially change the ownership of the property. Buyers and sellers have different costs they are responsible for at closing.

Closing – Also called settlement. The signing of documents and payment of funds to legally transfer house and its property from the buyer to the seller.

Credit Rating/Score – The score that tells a borrower how much of a credit risk you will be.

Credit Report – A report detailing a borrowers credit history. A few items shown are the amount of the borrower’s debt, their timelines of making payments and their credit rating.

Deed – The document that legally transfers the title of a property to the purchaser.

Default – Violation of a mortgage contract.

Density – The number of homes that a local jurisdiction allows to be built on a certain acre of land.

Earnest Money – A “good-faith” deposit submitted with a purchase offer to show that the potential home buyer is serious about buying the house.

Elevation – The exterior of a specific model. A floor plan may have multiple elevations for you to choose from, each with varying architectural styles, building materials and exterior treatments.

Equity – What your home is valued at after the balance of what you owe is subtracted.

Fixed-Rate Mortgage – A mortgage that has an interest rate that stays the same for the life of the loan. This means your monthly payment will remain constant.

Good-Faith Estimate – An estimate, given to the borrower by their lender, to show what settlement costs they will be responsible for and how much they will be.

Hazard Insurance – Insurance against damage to your home from vandalism, fire and other hazards. You are required to carry insurance equal to the value of your home.

Home Inspection – A professional inspection of a home to review the condition of the property. The inspection should include an evaluation of the plumbing, heating and cooling systems, roof, wiring, foundation and pest infestation.

Homeowner’s Association – An association that manages the care of common areas of a community. The home owner pays a monthly or quarterly fee to this association for maintenance costs.

Homeowner’s Insurance – Insurance that covers personal liability and hazards for a home and the contents inside of it.

HUD-1 – A final listing of the costs of the mortgage transaction. It provides the sales price, and down payment, as well as the total settlement costs required from the buyer and seller.

Interest – The amount you pay to the lender for borrowing money. A portion of this becomes part of your monthly mortgage payment.

Lien – The claim against the property that has to be paid off when you sell a property.

Lifetime Payment Cap – The highest or lowest a payment on an Adjustable Rate Mortgage can reach for the life of a loan.

Lock-in Period – The amount of time the lender agrees to lock in an interest rate for the purchaser prior to settlement.

Mortgage Insurance – Insurance needed for mortgages with low down payments (usually less than 20% of the price of the home).

Note – A document that states a debt exists and the repayment terms.

Options – Items you can choose to add on to your new home. Options add to the price of the house, but allow you to personalize your home (e.g., tile floors, fireplace, etc.).

PITI – Principal, Interest, Taxes and Insurance. The four main parts of your monthly mortgage payment.

Planned Community – A community where several builders offer a variety of home styles in many price ranges. There are usually amenities in the community such as recreational facilities and shopping.

Points – A charge by the lender to increase the interest yield on a loan. Each point is 1% of the loan amount.

Prepayment – When you pay part or all of your loan before it’s matured.

Principal – The amount you borrow for your loan. This amount does not include interest.

Punch – List A builder’s list of changes or corrections to be made on a buyer’s home.

Real Estate Broker – A Realtor who has earned a brokers license can employ real estate agents, as well as represent buyers and sellers.

Title – The certificate or deed that proves a person legally owns the property.

Title Insurance - Insurance that protects the lender or the buyer against any loss that comes out of disputes over who owns a property.

Title Search – When title records are searched to make sure the seller is the legal owner of the property. It also checks whether there are any outstanding claims or liens.

Walk-Through - A buyer’s final inspection of the home before settlement to look for any problems that need to be fixed by the seller.

10 Reasons to Buy a New Home Instead of an Existing Home

Posted: December 5, 2017 at 11:22 am by: NewHomesGuide

10 Reasons to Buy New

You’ve made the decision to buy a home. Now, the question you’re probably asking yourself is, “Do I buy a new home or resale home?”

Here’s a list of considerations to make when deciding to buy a new construction home.

1. Personal Taste

A new home reflects your personal tastes, your dream home, your way. You choose everything — the floorplan, cabinets, tile, lighting and all the little details.

2. Low Maintenance

New homes often require less maintenance, less upkeep and less frustration because everything is new — appliances, roof, windows and HVAC.

3. Floorplans

You choose the floorplan, room layout and home style that works for the way you live today and in years to come.

4. Energy Efficiency

New homes today are built to much higher energy-efficiency standards which result in enormous cost savings.

5. Warranty

New homes come with comprehensive builder warranty programs that cover everything from construction materials to your roof and appliances.

6. Built to Last

New homes are built to today’s stricter building codes, giving your home a longer life expectancy.

7. State-of-the-Art Technology

New homes are pre-wired for today’s high-tech lifestyle with state-of-the-art technology to accommodate the way you live, work and play.

8. Location

You pick the location, the community, the homesite, the builder. It’s all about you.

9. Amenities

Enjoy new amenities like parks, walking trails, swimming pools, tennis, shopping and even new schools right in your community.

10. Nothing Beats Brand New

Have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that no one else has ever lived in your home before you and your family.

When it comes down to it, you want to create your own dream home with your own vision, personal taste and a home style that suits you best. A home with impeccable quality, comfort and efficiency. That’s what makes for a carefree lifestyle.

Ready to find the new home of your dreams? Get your search started on our website right now.

Dream Finders Homes Built Your Dream Home. Now Come Find It.

Posted: December 1, 2017 at 3:59 pm by: NewHomesGuide

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Dream Finders Homes has long emphasized its dedication to building the highest quality homes at the most affordable prices. As a privately owned company, this nationally recognized builder is able to maintain its superior level of service and satisfaction for you, the homebuyer, because they answer to their customers, not shareholders.

That’s why we’re so proud to feature Dream Finders Homes on the back cover of our latest issue of New Homes Guide.

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Anchored by its principles of transparency, responsible construction practices and one-on-one customer service, Dream Finders Homes also promises personalization and, most importantly, an unbeatable value in every home they build.

If you know your dream home is somewhere to be had in Maryland, but you’re not sure where to find it, you’ll definitely want to take a look at their new offerings at the Villages of Urbana, a master-planned community featuring countless amenities and over 3,000 homes.

And if you’re looking for a home in Virginia, don’t worry — they’ll be there soon, too!

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Learn more about Dream Finders Homes by checking out their Builder Profile on our website. And get even more information about all the top builders in our area inside the latest issue of New Homes Guide.

How to Create a Tactile Experience in Your New Home

Posted: November 18, 2017 at 12:47 pm by: NewHomesGuide

Humans are born with five natural senses, and the nervous system has a specific sensory organ dedicated to each one.

These senses connect us to the outside world, and although their primary purpose is to keep the body safe and healthy, our natural instincts also allow us to engage with both living and inanimate objects. In this article, we’re going to focus our natural sense of touch(scientifically known as somatosensation – but lucky for you, this is where the science lesson stops).

With the advent of iPhones, iPads, etc., the tactile experience that all consumers are drawn to is extremely limited, causing us to yearn for those materials that engage us on a textural level. This is why it is so important to create a tactile experience in your Model Home. It’ll spark an interest in homebuyers, and keep them engaged and present in the home longer, thus creating a lasting memory.

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The New Castle II model by Van Metre Homes, designed by Builders Design.

Textural surface treatments are influencing all trends happening in regard to your walls, floors, and ceilings. I know what you’re thinking – Floors and ceilings, what happened to the standard hardwood floors and crown molding. To put it in Millennial terms, they are so 1990’s.

Floors and ceilings have become the new focal point of design, as walls are losing space to windows. Natural light is one of the best and most impactful ways to illuminate a space. Even the kitchen backsplash is being used as an opportunity to let the light in by adding a decorative window in lieu of a backsplash.

Architectural details are a great way to embellish the surfaces of your home. A recent trend is taking a classic trim treatment, such as wainscoting or shiplap, and simply modernizing it. Clean lines and painted surfaces will make a shiplap treatment feel fresher, and if wainscoting is simply extended to cover a majority of the walls surface, it’ll streamline the design style.

Trim treatments can also add depth through color. By painting the trim the same color as the walls surface, it creates a tone on tone effect, as seen in the Brookfield Residential – Renwick Model. Not only does the tone on tone trim provide the open floor plan with rich detail, but this popular gridded pattern on repeat elevates the space and creates visual energy.

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The Renwick model by Brookfield Residential, designed by Builders Design.

Attention to ceiling detail was another emerging surface trend this year. Raising sightlines through an unexpected architectural detail on the ceiling creates the illusion of higher walls, as well as a greater perceived value on the home. Examples such as, coffered ceilings, curvilinear trim treatments, or even applying a piece of wood that extends over 3/4 of the ceiling, are just some ways to raise sightlines.Let’s just say if you get a Millennial to look up from their phone for more than 10 seconds, you’ve mastered the trend of ceilings statements.

If you’re looking for ways to add texture, but don’t want the commitment or cost of an architectural built in, wallpaper is a great alternative. Wallpaper not only has texturized options, but they can also give the illusion of texture. Looking into 2018, a specific trend we’re seeing in wallpaper is oversized motifs, especially florals, for added detail and drama.

Tired of tile? I hope not. Tile has always been a popular choice of surface material for its durability, low maintenance, and swoon-worthy designs. Tile design has become so detailed that it can mimic the look of wood, stone, or other natural materials and have most people fooled (outside of the design industry). In addition to graphic patterns and metallic finishes, we’re seeing cultural influences from all over the world in tile design. The New Castle II Model at Brambleton by Van Metre Homes has luxe Moroccan tiles surrounding the bathtub to create a strong memory point in the Master Suite.

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The New Castle II model by Van Metre Homes, designed by Builders Design.

The best advice for decorating surfaces in 2017 and 2018, is to provide consumers with that tactile experience they’re yearning for. Designing with sensory elements will never fail to engage your homebuyers, because naturally we’re drawn to things that evoke our natural sense of, you guessed it, touch.

Marnee Duffus is a Sales and Marketing Specialist with Builders Design. Visit www.BuidlersDesign.com to learn more.

A Beginner’s Guide to the Homebuilding Process

Posted: November 16, 2017 at 11:49 am by: NewHomesGuide

You’ve finalized your contract with a builder, permits have been obtained, the ground’s thawed (or dried out), and you’re ready to officially begin construction on your new home.

The process that awaits you is truly special – an emotional sequence that is hard to put in words, but is undeniably a memory you’ll preserve for years to come. Watching your home take shape is such a unique transformation, especially as a first-time home buyer.

Use this article as an overview of what to expect as you embark on what is likely an unfamiliar process. You’ll find a succession of the major milestones, individual tasks within each phase, and what you’ll want to take note of as you visit your home during the full extent of construction.

Phase 1. Foundations

photo

Photo Credit: W.C. Ralston Architects

Tasks:

  • Clearing – rocks, trees (where applicable), and debris are removed from the site
  • Excavation – trenches and/or hole(s) dug for walls and footings
  • Footings – base supports for perimeter and bearing walls are installed
  • Utilities – rough-in connections for plumbing and electricity are marked
  • Slab – floor is poured over level ground with holes for utility connections
  • Formwork – wood/metal panel molds are fitted in place and lined with rebar skeleton
  • Pouring – formwork is filled completely with concrete to create walls
  • Curing – concrete hardens in place
  • Waterproofing – formwork is removed from walls and membrane is applied to exposed concrete
  • Backfill – holes surrounding perimeter of foundation are filled with dirt level to existing grade

What you should look for:

  • Walk the perimeter of the house while formwork is in place and before concrete is poured – does the “footprint” match the basement/foundation plan?
  • Does the height of the formwork match the ceiling height in the drawings?
  • Can you identify where basement level plumbing fixtures and sump-pump are located?
  • Are there ledges/shelves to support masonry where required?

Phase 2. Rough Framing

Photo

Photo Credit: W.C. Ralston Architects

Tasks:

  • Floor, Wall, and Roof Systems – wood joists, studs, rafters, and trusses are installed (typically in this order)
  • Steel – metal columns and beams replace temporary supports and are set in place under heaviest framing loads
  • Sheathing – plywood panels are nailed and screwed into place along the exterior side of the walls and roof
  • Air & Moisture Protection – house wrap and tape is applied above sheathing to prevent exterior infiltration
  • Openings – windows and doors are installed

What you should look for:

  • Walk the house with the floor plans in hand and use them as a map – can you identify each room?
  • Before they’re installed, are window and door openings framed in their proper sizes and locations?
  • Is there additional wood framing (blocking) where you’ll be hanging heavy objects or mounting fixtures (like towel bars, handrails, and TVs) to the walls?
  • Does the house wrap and tape overlap the edges of the window and door openings to create a tight seal?
  • Are your eaves (underside of the roof edges) sloped or flat per your design?
  • Are box/tray ceilings framed in the designated rooms?

Phase 3. Trades

Photo Credit: W.C. Ralston Architects

Photo Credit: W.C. Ralston Architects

Tasks:

  • Plumbing – pipes to supply water, remove waste, and ventilate fixtures are installed
  • HVAC – ductwork for heating and air conditioning is run through the floors, ceilings, and walls
  • Electrical – receptacles for outlets, switches, and fixtures are located; then, wiring is run from the breaker panel to/between these items

What you should look for:

  • Before wiring is installed, have you walked the house to confirm that switch and outlet locations work with your furniture and living preferences?
  • Are light fixtures installed symmetrically within common rooms and spaces and in alignment with each other?
  • Do dryer and fireplace vents terminate (exit the house) in low-visibility locations?
  • Where ductwork can’t be hidden in the framing, can bulkheads (framing around the ductwork) be tied into ceiling treatments?
  • Can you confirm that pipe rough-ins correctly correspond to your sink locations (especially in kitchen islands)?

Phase 4. Insulation

Photo Credit: W.C. Ralston Architects

Photo Credit: W.C. Ralston Architects

Tasks:

  • Insulation: Batt sheets, blown cellulose (pictured), rigid boards, and/or liquid foam are installed along the exterior envelope – between wall studs, edge of attic or roof, underside of exposed floors, and along basement foundations

What you should look for:

  • Is the insulation applied tight against the framing, limiting the number of “cracks” for heat to pass through?
  • Is your ductwork in the attic properly insulated to reduce seasonal temperature impact and improve performance?

Phase 5. Exterior Finishes

Photo Credit: W.C. Ralston Architects

Photo Credit: W.C. Ralston Architects

Tasks:

  • Masonry – brick, block, and stonearetypically installed first to account for grout curing/settling and reduce staging area required on site
  • Trim – installed first when used with siding to create clean seams between materials
  • Siding – vinyl, wood, or composite planks/shakes installed in vertical and/or horizontal orientation
  • Roofing – shingles, metal panels, or membrane applied over weatherproofing barrier with coping/flashing at edges to prevent water infiltration
  • Exterior Paint/Stain – applied to non-factory finished materials

What you should look for:

  • Do your finish colors match the selections you’ve made with your builder?
  • If the option is available – have you “tested” your trim/accent color(s) against the primary finish of the house? (A mock-up panel can be a great tool to visualize these beforehand)
  • Is the trim installed in the correct orientation, with the proper overhangs/layering of pieces, and consistently around all similar openings?
  • Do horizontal bands align with projections (bays, sills, and cantilevers)?
  • Are soffit and ridge vents properly installed in your roof?
  • Are standing seams on metal roofs oriented to allow water to flow where directed?
  • Do your downspouts align with corners or other inconspicuous locations?

Phase 6. Drywall & Interior Trim

Photo Credit: W.C. Ralston Architects

Photo Credit: W.C. Ralston Architects

Tasks:

  • Sheet hanging – drywall is applied to the framing with holes cut for fixtures, receptacles, and switches
  • Taping – seams between drywall sheets are taped to create flat, continuous, and consistent surface
  • Edging – vinyl or metal angles are installed at corners and edges of openings for straight lines
  • Compound – “mud” is applied overtop of tape and screws/nails for smooth appearance
  • Trim – interior doors, window/door casing, baseboards, crown molding, wainscoting, and stair balusters are installed
  • Primer Coat – base layer of paint is applied, covering tape and compound

What you should look for:

  • Are screws or nails used to fix the drywall sheets to the framing? (Tip: screws are much more resilient and resistant to “popping” out of the framing)
  • Has compound also been applied to trim pieces to cover nail marks?
  • Do door swing directions match your plans and/or make sense with circulation flows?

Phase 7. Flooring

Photo Credit: W.C. Ralston Architects

Photo Credit: W.C. Ralston Architects

Tasks:

  • Underlayment – padding is placed below the finish material
  • Setting – Floor boards and tile are positioned on the floor and fixed into place
  • Grout – Spacers (pictured) are placed between tile intersections to create even seams, which are then filled with a binding compound
  • Molding – “shoe” mold is applied between edge of hardwood flooring and baseboards to cover any uneven boards
  • Carpet – installed last to prevent stains/deterioration from foot traffic

What you should look for:

  • Are hardwood floors oriented in the preferred direction?
  • Is the tile positioned to minimize partial pieces and align with cabinetry, fixtures, and wall edges?
  • Are temporary coverings installed to preserve the quality of finished materials?
  • Where material transitions occur, is there finished edging or trim between them? Does the color of this product correspond to your floor materials?

Phase 8. Cabinetry & Specialties

Photo Credit: W.C. Ralston Architects

Photo Credit: W.C. Ralston Architects

Tasks:

  • Cabinets & vanities – kitchen and bathroom cabinetry are installed
  • Shelving – field-fabricated built-ins and shelving systems for closets are installed
  • Countertops – pre-fabricated counters are set into place with backsplash above
  • Specialties – towel bars, mirrors, shower enclosures, outlet/switch covers, HVAC registers are installed
  • Plumbing fixtures – toilets and sinks are set into positionand connected to supply/drain lines
  • Finishes – final paint and wall surfaces are applied

What you should look for:

  • Are countertop seams spaced evenly or located discreetly?
  • If your cabinets do not sit directly below the ceiling, how are the tops treated? Do they have trim applied directly to the cabinet or is a bulkhead framed above?
  • Are there filler panels installed between operable doors and walls to allow adequate dimension to swing open?

Phase 9. Grading & Landscaping

Photo Credit: W.C. Ralston Architects

Photo Credit: W.C. Ralston Architects

Tasks:

  • Grading – ground is leveled and smoothed into final position by repositioning dirt/earth
  • Driveways & lead walks – asphalt and concrete are laid into place
  • Landscaping – plantings, topsoil, gravel, and sod are all installed

What you should look for:

  • Does the ground slope away from the house around the entire footprint, so water drains properly?
  • Have splash blocks or drain inlets been installed below downspouts?
  • Do you have guardrails where the ground surface is more than 3’-0” below the edges of decks, porches, stoops, and patios?
  • Are there wells provided where grade intersects with basement window openings?
  • If you have steep grade alongside a driveway or lead walk, is it acknowledged with a barrier (such as stones or plantings) along the edge?
  • Can you ensure driveways and lead walks have not been damaged by equipment or disturbed by construction?

Phase 10. Final Walkthrough

Photo Credit: W.C. Ralston Architects

Photo Credit: W.C. Ralston Architects

Tasks:

  • Builder Orientation & Inspection: tour the home with your builder to review warranties, maintenance requirements, and operational explanations of the “inner-workings”

What you should look for:

  • Can you identify any visible damages caused by construction, touch-ups required for blemishes in paint or floors, and fixtures not operating properly?
  • Do you understand how your fixtures, utilities, and systems function?
  • Have you set a schedule for a future walkthrough within the time limits of your warranty to address any repairs that materialize after you move in?

As the homeowner, you possess more responsibility for the duration of construction than you may think. In addition to having a familiarity of the sequence of events during the build, it will serve you well to have a solid comprehension of the design prior to breaking ground. It’s vital that you understand what you’re getting – the translation from drawing to reality can be abstract, so ask questions if you’re unsure what a specific annotation means or what a detail will look like when built. Minimizing changes in the field is the best way to avoid delays (as well as additional costs). Establish a communication system with your builder to get regularly scheduled status updates and walkthroughs together. By staying involved throughout the process, you’ll be in tune with latest progress and understand the implications of factors out of your direct control (i.e. inspections, weather, material deliveries, availability of contractors, etc.).

Adhering to these strategies will make your building experience smoother and even more fulfilling. You should enjoy the process just as you will enjoy your new home!

Article courtesy of Evan Stoddard, an architect wtih W.C. Ralston Architects in Virginia.

Design Trends from the DC Design House

Posted: November 14, 2017 at 2:56 pm by: NewHomesGuide

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Photography by Angie Seckinger

When you purchase a newly built home, you have the joy and the challenge of transforming blank walls into a place that reflects your personality and the way you like to live. While you may want to replicate some of the finishes and décor choices you’ve seen in model homes and magazines or work with a professional at your builder’s design center, another resource is the DC Design House or similar events. An annual fundraiser for Children’s National Health System, this year’s Design House transformed a 27,000-square-foot Potomac, Maryland mansion into a showcase for 23 designers.

While each interior designer faced their own challenges working with a limited budget and the inability to change certain features, each placed their own stamp on their assigned space. Yet even with the variety of styles on display some themes emerged that can help you define your new rooms.

8 trends from the DC Design House

Don’t ignore your ceiling.

The Design House features rooms with dramatic light fixtures, high-gloss robin’s egg blue paint, ceilings that look like an abstract of the night sky and one, by designer Josh Hildreth, was painted to resemble light-stained wood. In a gallery with a double-barrel ceiling, designer Cindy Grossmueller McClure placed subtly sparkly wallpaper on the ceiling and lined the seams of the ceiling with nail studs for an edgy look. The large master bedroom, designed by Denise Guadeloupe Rojas, became a more intimate space with a darker gray ceiling. Changing the color of your ceiling can dramatically impact the feeling of space and light in the room.

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Wallpaper is in again.

Wallpaper in neutrals and bright colors and textures can be used in every room in the house and in unexpected places such as the back of a bookcase to add color to shelves. Technology has improved wallpaper so you can now buy removable wallpaper that peels off without damaging the walls and allows you more freedom to change it on a whim.

Bright colors can be used more often than you think.

While neutral grey and white and beige are found everywhere, the most exciting room included mint, jade and black walls with orange and red fabric designed by Caryn Cramer that surprisingly worked well together. Royal blue velvet chairs made a dramatic statement in a study by designer Lorna Gross and was used for accent pieces in the library designed by Kelley Proxmire.

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Creativity makes a home your own.

While not everyone has a flair for DIY crafts, one of the most eye-catching rooms in the house included a wall of framed colorful Hermes scarves. Designer Marika Meyer purchased them on eBay and placed them in inexpensive frames. Another room, by designer Romain Baty, featured hand-painted “columns” which were really just black paint on white walls to mimic columns. Baty also painted every other egg in the egg-and-dart molding black for a distinctive and yet easy-to-achieve pattern.

Decide on a mood for a room and decorate to create it.

Most designers choose a theme or a mood or an imaginary person and make every design choice in that context. For example, Kiera St. Claire-Bowery’s bedroom with layers of fur and velvet and rugs is a “modern professional’s retreat” that’s both polished and tranquil. The designer even gave her imaginary client the name “Sloane.” In Gross’ study, the room was lightened with a touch of metallic paint and features a few whimsical items to give a serious room a more playful vibe.

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Convert a small space into a “retreat.”

Several small rooms and even closet-like spaces in the Design House were transformed with lighting and color into a space to relax. Now that so many homes have open floor plans where family members spend most of their time, it’s essential to have a reading nook or a quiet upstairs space to be alone.

Turn books into art.

Multiple designers stacked books on tables and in corners to add color and set the theme for a room. One even added a few books to a bar shelf to elevate a cut-glass carafe. Another designer painted old books in complementary shades of blue for a colorful library.

Design a functional and pretty laundry room.

Laundry rooms top the list of essential features buyers require, but at the Design House Paula Grace designed a laundry room that includes open shelving with baskets for each family member’s laundry, space for supplies, an elegant light fixture, a ceiling painted blue to mimic the sky and a speaker for music to liven up laundry day. While Grace didn’t need to add the appliances to the space, she was happy to discover a cool “drying cabinet” to use for hanging delicate clothes in addition to the traditional washer and dryer.

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Incorporating the things you love into your new house can transform the space into a place that welcomes you home every day.

Who Are the Best Homebuilders in the Area? This is the Best Way to Find Out.

Posted: November 9, 2017 at 10:45 am by: NewHomesGuide

Top Builders 2018 Supplement Cover

There are almost too many homebuilders that serve the Mid-Atlantic region to count. Fortunately, we have them all listed on our website. But how can you discern between all the builders and the best builders in our area? We can help you with that, too.

Top Builders 2018, one of our supplemental magazines that we include with your free subscription to New Homes Guide, showcases the absolute best builders in the region.

If quality, value, style and innovation are all important elements in your new home decision, you can rest assured that they are important to all the builders featured in this supplement, too. Throughout its pages, you’ll find more information about each top builder, including what awards they’ve won, the area’s they serve and the price ranges they offer.

We want you to be able to buy your new home with confidence, and this is just another way we’re working to help make you the most informed new home shopper possible.

Let us help you find the perfect homebuilder for your new home. Order your free copy of Top Builders 2018 today — and be sure to check out all of our other great free supplements while you’re at it. Happy home shopping!

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