News & Events Blog

Why New Homes in Bucks County are Perfect for Families Planning to Move

Categories: Bucks County, Bucks County Homes, New Homes, New Homes in Bucks County | Posted: November 25, 2020

If you are interested in relocating to suburban Pennsylvania, consider a region that is well known for its’ picturesque countryside, family-friendly recreation and quality neighborhoods built by Hallmark Homes Group.

Rich in history, beauty and tradition — this area is ideal for those who value education, culture and community. Recently-built residential properties offer the latest in luxury and style while being conveniently located near travel routes, schools, shopping destinations and major business hubs.

Take it All In

When you arrive in Bucks County, you will be met by stunning landscapes of rolling hills, thick groves of trees, majestic rivers, sweeping farmlands, lush gardens and ripening vineyards. Your new home in the scenic countryside offers a refreshing alternative to the bustle of big cities. Outdoor enthusiasts will be delighted that there are lakes, ponds, streams, hillsides, national parks, campgrounds, barnyards and fields waiting to be explored. Nockamixon State Park is one such place, offering hiking trails, bike paths and fishing spots as well as picnic areas, swimming and ice skating. Outdoor recreation happens all year, and the diverse seasons offer conditions from warm and sunny to cool and breezy, as well as crisp and snowy.

Fun for Kids

Bucks County is a great place to grow up, with something for every child of any age. Castles, characters and educational activities await the younger children at Sesame Place while carousels, arcades and obstacle courses entice explorers at Giggleberry Fair. If climbing up staircases, exploring mazes and sliding through chutes sounds fun, Kids Castle in Doylestown offers great wood-built adventure. Young history buffs can dip into the region’s past at the Mercer Museum and the Michener Art Museum. Meanwhile, artists at Moravian Pottery & Tile Works teach arts and crafts skills to the creatively inclined.

Experience the Finest

Hallmark is renowned for building exceptional, luxury houses within gorgeous, well-maintained communities. Over generations, the company has cultivated a reputation for quality and integrity among long-term buyers and newcomers alike. Their well-planned and spacious layouts are designed to offer residents the tranquility of majestic architecture and expansive lawns. The neighborhoods feature simple, quiet low-traffic loops and cul-de-sacs rather than busy thoroughfares. New homes are built in a variety of styles, allowing newcomers to Buck County to find the property that perfectly fits their tastes and needs with the option to customize.

Discover Regional Treasures

Those interested in history can learn all about George Washington’s role in the Civil War at Washington Crossing Park, and then explore the breaks and banks of the Delaware River in a boat or on foot. Meanwhile, Ringing Rock Park welcomes those who love natural wonders with a rolling field of boulders where visitors can hammer out a wide variety of mysterious sounds. The Silverlake and Churchville nature centers offer hands-on exploration of a variety of habitats through guided tours and equipment rentals for exploring waterways, riverbanks and wooded areas.

Adventures for Adults

Folks can look forward to weekend tours of hotels, restaurants, microbreweries and one-of-a-kind main street boutiques across a network of historic townships. Places like the Washington House Hotel and Restaurant in Sellersville, the Continental Tavern in Yardley and The Landing in New Hope offer quaint dining experiences and world-class cuisine. You can book a night or two at the Hargrave House Bed & Breakfast in Doylestown or the King George II Inn in Bristol and enjoy the offerings of Proper Brewing Company in Quakertown and satisfy your sweet tooth at the Zebra-Striped Whale in Newtown. These vibrant hubs let visitors experience a glimpse of old-time Pennsylvania with a modern, bustling twist. Golfers will relish the fact that Bucks County is home to hundreds of acres of world-class golfing terrain including the renowned Heritage Creek and Fox Hollow clubs.

Learn with the Best

The importance of learning is represented across the region, with a wide variety of learning facilities for people of every age. According to publicschoolreview.com, Bucks County has “one of the highest concentrations of top ranked schools in Pennsylvania.” 14 school districts feature facilities for elementary, middle school and high school education. For college-bound kids, some of the top ten schools in the county are right here — including Quakertown Community High School, Palisades High School and New Hope-Solebury High School. There are also dozens of colleges and universities in the region for anyone seeking continuing education, trade proficiency and four-year degrees.

Get There Fast

Commuting to important centers of business, commerce, entertainment and recreation is convenient and easy for new homeowners in Bucks County. Hallmark neighborhoods are within a few minutes of travel routes to major urban destinations.

New York City – One hour and 30 minutes

Downtown Philadelphia – 45 minutes

Harrisburg – Two hours

Princeton – 30 minutes

Atlantic City – Two hours

Poconos – One hour and 30 minutes

Plus, I-295 cuts diagonally across the southeastern part of the county, offering direct access to Philly via I-95. Meanwhile, route 611 runs north and south through the county with lateral connections to communities across the region. The southwest area of the county provides plenty of access to I-276 heading east and west, and the Pennsylvania Turnpike provides four entry points into the county at Bristol, Feasterville/Trevose, New Hope/Doylestown and Sellersville/Quakertown.

Trek Across Treasured Bridges

One of the most endearing features of this area of Pennsylvania is the network of covered bridges that dot the landscape — hearkening back to the time of horse and buggy travel and the advent of the automobile. These well-preserved structures were built by settlers to get goods and people across waterways. The load-bearing wooden beams were protected from decay by being built with picturesque, barn-like coverings. These bridges make the perfect backdrop for an afternoon picnic or a seasonal family photo.

If you are planning to move into a new home, consider settling in suburban Pennsylvania. Contact us to learn more about luxury living in a quality, family-friendly community.

 

Fall Maintenance Checklist for New Homes

Categories: New Home Tips | Posted: November 10, 2020

With the changing leaves and crisp air comes the beginning of fall. The adjustment from summer to fall can be exciting and grueling all at the same time. As a new homeowner, you may be faced with the challenge of trying to navigate your way through all of the necessary seasonal maintenance that is required to prepare for the winter months. To make the transition easier, we’ve rounded up the ultimate checklist to help you prepare.

Indoor Maintenance

  • Deep clean each room in your house: Give each room in your house a thorough cleaning and make sure that everything is working properly. A few key things to remember to do is to change any burnt-out bulbs in the light fixtures, wash the walls and baseboards, empty out the garbage cans, and dust each room.
  • Give the kitchen some extra attention: The kitchen is usually the most used room in the house. Take some extra time to give it a deep clean including wiping out the inside of the oven and microwave, vacuum the refrigerator coils, and degrease the range hood.
  • Schedule a furnace inspection: Before you turn on the heat for the first time this fall, take the proper precautions to make sure your furnace is safe to use. Schedule an appointment to have a professional make sure your furnace is working properly.
  • Clean out the dryer vent: This is commonly missed in new homes, however, it’s essential for your family’s safety. Lint buildup happens fast and will cause your dryer to work less efficiently. It can also cause a fire if it isn’t checked regularly. It’s fairly easy to clean out the vent yourself with a vacuum. If you’d prefer, you can do a quick online search and hire a Bucks County duct cleaning specialist to do it for you. Either way, this item shouldn’t be missed.
  • Test safety detectors: While you’re completing your fall maintenance checklist, it’s the perfect time to make sure that your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working properly. Stock up on batteries while you’re at it so you can easily replace them when needed.
  • Remove A/C units: If you have any window A/C units, remove them or cover the exterior of the unit with insulated wrap.

 Exterior & Outdoor Maintenance

  • Organize the garage: Before you pack away and store all of your summer furniture, tools and supplies, make sure your garage is cleaned out. Sweep and clean all the dirt, mothballs, and dust away. Add a few shelves to your new home so you’ll be able to easily locate all your spring and summer items when you need them.
  • Cover the patio furniture: While you’re cleaning out your garage, make room to store your outdoor furniture set so it’s protected from the elements. If you’d prefer to keep it outdoors, get a protective covering or tarp to avoid any damage. Also, make sure to remove any cushions or pillows and keep in a warm, dry place until you’re ready to pull them out again next spring.
  • Water and fertilize the lawn: Although your grass doesn’t grow as quickly in the fall, your lawn will still need to be watered. This is the perfect time to fertilize as well since it needs water to help soak into the ground. Taking the time to tend to your lawn will help protect it for a beautiful result in the warmer months. Be sure to shut off the water outside and drain your hoses so they do not freeze/get damaged.
  • Tend to your plants, shrubs and trees: Give all of your plants a good trim before winter arrives. This will prevent them from getting damaged from heavy snowfall and avoid any harm to your new home. Clean out your flower beds, remove dead annuals, and mulch your perennials so they’re able to grow back well in the spring.

Pre-Winter Preparation Checklist 

As you check items off your fall maintenance prep list, keep in mind that winter is right around the corner. To make sure your new home is ready for the first snowfall, there are a few additional items that you’ll need to complete so you’re prepared ahead of time.

  • Take inventory of your snow removal supplies: Make sure that your snow shovel, blower and ice scrapers are all working properly before the first snowfall so that you will have time to make any required repairs or purchase new equipment if needed.
  • Have rock salt on hand: The last thing you want to do during a snowstorm is venture outside. If you absolutely need to, have a couple of bags of rock salt on hand to avoid any accidents on slippery surfaces.
  • Stock up on firewood: If you have a fireplace, make sure that you have plenty of firewood to get you through the cold months. You’ll be thankful that you prepared ahead of time, especially on those chilly nights in Bucks County.
  • Consider winter safety: Make sure that your outdoor walkways and stairs are clear of any debris or damage that may be considered hazardous when covered with snow. Also, make sure that your railings are properly secured so they’re easy to hold onto when going up and down the stairs in severe weather conditions.

The changing of the seasons is a perfect time to start anew. If you’ve been on the search for a fresh start, look no further. Hallmark Homes Group builds innovatively designed, Energy Star certified homes and goes the extra mile to take care of clients to make sure they find a place to call home that they can cherish forever. Our Hallmark team is eager to expand your vision and make your dreams a reality.

Eight Tips on Getting a Mortgage for Your New Home

Categories: Bucks County, Bucks County Homes, New Homes, New Homes in Bucks County | Posted: October 28, 2020

If you are shopping for new homes in Bucks County, consider working with professionals who understand every step of the buying process. Hallmark Homes Group is one such company– offering helpful guidance for buyers who are interested in purchasing a new residential property.

Embarking on ownership is an exciting time for a homebuyer, and knowing how mortgages work can help you progress with a clear picture of the steps required, the financial factors involved and exactly where to begin. Securing a home loan in a step-by-step manner is a great way to experience a process that requires preparation, planning and a bit of negotiation.

Know What ‘Mortgage’ Means

Mortgages are loans used to buy real estate. The terms of these loans typically state that the physical property (the house and the land it is built on) will function as collateral. In other words, a financial institution loans out money for buying a home, under the condition that they (the bank) may assume ownership of the house if the borrower defaults on the loan. The bank’s reason for lending (incentive) is to earn money (interest) as the borrower pays back the loan over an extended period of time.

Start Early

Create a schedule based on when you want to buy and when you will be prepared to move into a house. The ideal span of time to begin the mortgage process is two or three months. The timeline may fluctuate depending on your mortgage company, so be sure to check with your builder, real estate professional or mortgage company.

This is the planning stage where important details will need to be addressed such as evaluating your finances, finding the right lender, securing a mortgage and locating the right property. The details may take you time to gather and your mortgage company to process, so ample time is key to ensuring your mortgage is ready for settlement on your new home.

Tighten up your Credit

A good credit score is essential to qualifying for a loan. The higher your credit score, the larger the loan a lender is likely to grant you and the better the rates. A smart approach to home buying is to check your credit report for any errors and make sure it is as clean as possible before you apply for a mortgage. Aiming for a credit score of 760 or greater is ideal, with the highest possible being 850.

Prequalify Before Your Shop

It is important to know how much a lending company will be willing to give you before you search for a home and especially before your sign an agreement to build your home. You have the option to get prequalified by your lender. This is an assessment based on more basic information than the mortgage approval. Although not guaranteed, it can give you a guideline for the amount you can qualify for. Once you know have an idea of the amount, you can then shop for a new home in Bucks County that matches your budget.

Work with A Reputable Lender

Mortgage companies and banks are two types of lending companies that you may be familiar with. Talking to a few institutions can give you a sense of the right fit for your specific situation. Another resource may be your builder who can refer you to a financial institution with a good reputation.

Understand Interest Rates

As a borrower, your mortgage payments will be affected by the interest rate you are able to “lock in.” This rate is set by economic trends and can vary from one year to the next. The interest rate affixed to your mortgage is determined, in part, by your credit score — lower interest rates are awarded to those with higher credit ratings.

Also, the size of the down payment you are able to make affects your interest rate. For example, a down payment of 20% or more can typically make you exempt from having to pay private mortgage insurance while giving you access to the lower current interest rates.

Choose Your Mortgage Type

There are two major types of conventional mortgages. A fixed rate mortgage (FRM) has an interest rate that stays the same throughout the duration of the loan. While this offers stability in the form of payments that are always predictable, it also means you would have to refinance your mortgage in order to take advantage of lower interest rates.

Meanwhile, an adjusted rate mortgage (ARM) begins with lower interest rates over the first few years, which can then increase or decrease depending on real estate trends. This type of mortgage can work to your benefit — as you can take advantage of lower interest rates without having to refinance your mortgage. Yet, your loan payment can also be affected in the opposite way by rising interest rates.

Your mortgage type can also be based on the dollar amount of the loan. Large loans are typically arranged in 30-year loan agreements, while smaller amounts can be arranged over 15-year terms. Either way, the shorter the duration of the loan, the larger your monthly payments are and vice versa.

Prepare for Other Costs

The mortgage process involves charges known as closing costs. These should be planned for along with other important factors such as property taxes, homeowner insurance, utilities (electricity, gas, water, cable, internet, etc.) and homeowner’s association dues (depending on your neighborhood). Accounting for the comprehensive array of expenditures can help you close on the property smoothly and start enjoying your new home. Mortgage professionals provide a valuable service which includes financial, legal and clerical expertise to help you keep track while you navigate the process.

Consider Going with Escrow

Your lender may offer the option to open an escrow account, which manages the recurring costs of homeowner’s insurance and property taxes. These expenses are added to your monthly mortgage payment and the funds are held interest free. This measure assures the lender that the comprehensive expenses associated with your mortgage payments are made regularly, while saving you the extra step of making the payments yourself.

Once you understand the basics of mortgages and interest rates, you can look forward to moving into the house of your dreams. Contact us to learn more about how we will work with you every step of the way.

 

Fall Activities Surround Hallmark’s New Homes in Bucks County

Categories: Things to do in Bucks County | Posted: October 19, 2020

Residents who are moving into a new construction community have so much to do, from exploring every detail of their new home to heading out and getting to know the surroundings area.

There are few things in life more satisfying than experiencing the sights, sounds, and smells of autumn as you step out of your new Hallmark Homes Group residence in Bucks County. The weather is cool, leaves are falling, and there are a wealth fun-filled activities in the area for residents to enjoy over the next few weeks.

From family-friendly Halloween events at a local historic farm to taking a driving tour of various haunted houses around the area, there’s something to do for kids and adults of all ages. Below are six favorite fall time activities in Bucks County that will provide hours of entertainment and enjoyment for the entire family.

1. FallFest at Shadybrook Farm

FallFest is a family-friendly event celebrating all things fall and featuring a plethora of fun things to do, such as a 5-acre corn maze, pumpkin picking, and wagon rides. After you and the little ones have worked up an appetite, you can indulge your sweet tooth with spooky snacks such as kettle corn, funnel cake, and many other holiday-themed treats.

For older kids, the Alien Encounter and Barn of Horror offer up ample spooky scenes with ghoulish props (but no worries–no live actors!). There’s also live music on the weekends and bonfire pits where you can roast up some tasty s’mores.

In between the autumn excitement, take time to check out the Farm Market with sumptuous treats that are sure to add an old-fashioned flair to your festive fall season. Homemade nut butters, fresh baked pies, craft made cheeses and fresh milk in glass bottles are just a small part of a long list of local favorites.

2. Haunted Bucks County Driving Tour

Many ghostly tales, myths, and legends have cropped up since Bucks County was established in the year 1682. The Haunted Bucks County Driving Tour is a unique way to learn more about the history of the area and to experience local haunted places first-hand.

This self-driving tour features 20 different haunted locations scattered throughout the county. From Civil War soldiers said to haunt the local inn to tales of green orbs that float across the road at night, there’s no shortage of spooky places and locations that will put a chill down your spine.

The full tour takes around three hours, but you can pick and choose which of the 20 locations you’d like to stop and explore. The best part about this fall fun adventure is that you’ll get a chance be up close while learning about the rich history of Bucks County – of course, with a haunted twist.

3. Scarecrows in the Village

Every fall the popular Bucks County destination, Peddler’s Village, is bustling with a number of autumn-centric activities, one of which stands out for area residents as well as tourists around the world.

The ‘Scarecrows in the Village’ festival celebrates its 41st anniversary this year. Organizations, artists and residents around the Philadelphia area compete in hopes of winning one of many honors in a variety of categories. These creative, crafty scarecrows appear in an array of multi-themed costumes and are positioned throughout the village to thrill, scare and delight visitors at every turn.

Take a break from the fun-filled activities to enjoy local shops and apple-themed food and drinks at all of the Village restaurants along with live entertainment on the weekends.

If time permits, visitors can add a ghostly twist to their visit and join the haunted walking tour to help solve a murder mystery at the ghoulish Homicide and Hauntings event each weekend.

4. Trick or Treat Train

All aboard the Trick or Treat Train at the New Hope Railroad! This 45-minute family-friendly train ride is a blast for kids and adults of all ages. You can choose from first-class or coach seating while your kids will enjoy participating in a live reading of Spookley the Square Pumpkin. They’ll also get the chance to sing along seasonal songs performed by the railroad musicians.

As your children board the train in their costumes, they’ll be given an official railroad trick or treat bag, various holiday-themed trinkets, and candy before you take your seat. This one-of-a-kind event is an excellent way for the entire family to celebrate Halloween while taking a ride on an authentic train!

5. Fall Festival 2020 at Froehlich’s Farm

A massive pick-your-own pumpkin patch and a cow train are just two of the many fun things to do at the Fall Festival 2020 at Froehlich’s Farm. Once you arrive, you’ll find live music, bonfires, and a five-acre corn maze that will amaze and delight. The old-fashioned wagon ride will take you on a tour of the historic 107-acre farm as you take in the sights and smells of fall.

There’s also a local brewery for adults and more fun activities for kids of all ages worth checking out. Kids can discover excitement in every direction from creating their very own scarecrow and pony rides to exploring the hay maze and trying out their climbing skills at the hay pyramid climb. Plus, what better way to capture the thrills of the day with a fall family photo opportunity.

If you’re looking for a fun way to celebrate the fall season on a Saturday or Sunday, Fall Festival 2020 should be at the top of your list.

6. Sesame Place Halloween Spooktacular

Friday through Sunday throughout October, join Big Bird, Grover, Cookie Monster, and the Count as they celebrate All Hallows Eve at the Sesame Place Halloween Spooktacular. Geared primarily towards children, this Halloween-themed event runs from September 26 through November 1. The entire park will be transformed into a spooky (but not scary) family-friendly destination.

Kids can enjoy trick-or-treating around the entire park as their favorite Sesame Street characters pass out individually-wrapped treats. There are also several Halloween-themed shows, rides, and many fun activities such as pumpkin decorating, photo opportunities, and even a float parade!

Fall Fun in Bucks County

No matter what the season, there’s no shortage of fun things to do, which is just one of many reasons why so many people choose to live at Hallmark Homes Group’s well-located communities in Bucks County. Contact us today or stop by our offices to learn more.

In-Law Suites – The Most Popular New Home Customization Trend for 2020

Categories: Bucks County Homes, Home Design Trends | Posted: October 5, 2020

Hallmark Homes Group differs from many builders because we work with each buyer individually to customize their new home to fit their exact lifestyle. Our goal is to not only meet but exceed the expectations of our clients. This is why buyers can create the perfect home that will last for generations to come.

The most popular customization that Hallmark buyers have wanted in 2020 is adding or turning extra space into an in-law suite. Also known as multi-generational homes, they provide a wide range of benefits for all family members living under the same roof. Read on to learn more about in-law suites and how to determine if they’re right for you.

What is an In-Law Suite?

An in-law suite is an apartment-like living space that offers both guests and aging family members the ability to live independently under the same roof as the rest of the family. They’re often located on the first floor and have easy access for individuals with mobility issues.

Some new home buyers take the concept one step further and add a dedicated bathroom, mini-kitchen, and living area. Others are even adding a private entrance that turns it into a fully functional apartment that will allow family members to have a completely independent lifestyle.

Benefits of an In-Law Suite

There are many benefits of adding an in-law suite to your new house in Bucks County. Some people do it for the cost-savings aspect, while others see the immense value of having grandparents living under the same roof. Here are a few benefits that you can expect:

Cost Savings

While the upfront cost of adding an in-law suite may be higher initially, it will actually help save money in the long run. Retirement homes and assisted care living centers in the greater Philadelphia area can cost upwards of $50k per year for a single individual.

Many retirement homes may not meet the personal standards of both the elderly parents and their children. The rooms can be cramped and have a clinical feel to them which can have a negative mental and emotional effect on the residents.

Holiday Celebrations

Getting the entire family together for the holidays can be a logistical challenge, especially if they live out-of-town. An in-law suite allows your extended family members to stay with you right under your roof for the entire duration of their stay—versus having to pick them up and drop them off at a hotel room or the airport.

Guest Space

Many new home buyers who are planning for the future are opting to add in-law suites despite their elderly family members not requiring it just yet. Instead, they’re using them as fully functional guest suites that provide a much higher quality of life than a hotel room.

With the rising costs of tuition and on-campus apartments, many college students are choosing to live at home with mom and dad. An in-law suite offers them a level of comfort and privacy without the added costs and hassles of living in a dormitory.

Comfort

There’s a considerable comfort element for those who live in in-law suites versus the hospital-esque atmosphere of a retirement community. Your aging relatives will be much happier being around their beloved family members versus other older adults whom they barely know.

Elderly relatives will also have quick and easy access to all of the creature comforts that they need to maintain a high quality of life. A big part of that comfort is ease of access, so be sure to keep that in mind when designing the space.

Child-Raising Support

It takes a village to raise a child, and there’s sometimes no better people to help out than grandparents. They can give emotional support and advice while positively influencing the growth and development of your children.

If you and your significant other would like to head out for a night on the town or take a vacation, your elderly relatives are a trustworthy option for service. When the kids get sick, grandparents can offer assistance to nurse them back to health, helping you avoid lost days at work.

Independent Lifestyle

Retirement homes don’t provide as much independence as living at home would, which can impact your loved ones’ quality of life. An in-law suite gives your aging relatives the opportunity to live a completely independent lifestyle

Many new home buyers are opting to create a self-sufficient in-law suite that comes complete with mini-kitchen, bathroom, and living room. A private entryway will help ensure that they can come and go as they please without disturbing the rest of the family.

Having loved ones close-by as they age and eventually may need more care, an in-law suite attached to your home provides you with an easier environment for you when it comes time for their extra care. Planning ahead for this stage in their lives while building your new house can save the hassle of construction down the road.

Is an In-Law Suite Right for You?

Consider the current and future needs of all older adults within your family. Will everyone coexist peacefully? If your elderly relatives aren’t quite ready for it, can you use it for other reasons such as housing for your college-aged kids?

Many people who add in-law suites won’t need them for several years and instead use them as a spare bedroom, music room, or even a home office. There are plenty of benefits of adding a dedicated space that will allow your family members to quickly adapt to any future changes in your lifestyle.

Learn More About In-Law Suites

At Hallmark, we’ve helped countless buyers customize the perfect home that fits their lifestyle. We look forward to answering any questions that you might have and working closely with you to build the home of your dreams. If you have any questions about in-law suites or other potential customization ideas, contact us today or stop by our offices to learn more about the advantages of Hallmark.

Tips for Buying a New Construction Home

Categories: Bucks County Homes, Home Buying Tips, New Homes in Bucks County | Posted: September 16, 2020

To many buyers looking for a home in Bucks County, new construction offers several distinct advantages, such as energy efficiency, ample customization options, and peace of mind that you won’t run into unexpected and expensive repairs. However, there are a few things that you’ll need to take into consideration when it comes to new construction.

Timing, budget, and levels of customization can all play a role in the building of your new home. For many people, it’s an enjoyable, fun-filled experience that gives them complete and total control over where they live. A brand-new home in a brand-new community with endless possibilities makes it all worthwhile.

Read on to learn more about what you should take into consideration when purchasing a new home.

Determine if New Construction is Right for You

A new construction home is simply one that has not been built yet. You’re given the unique opportunity to design and customize it to suit both your tastes and lifestyle.

However, there are some instances where a builder will sell a brand-new construction home that’s already been built—with a main difference being that you can’t customize it as much.

When it comes to determining if new construction is right for you, take a look at your current lifestyle. For example, perhaps you’ll eventually want your elderly parents to come live with you. Building their bedroom on the ground floor will give them easy access and prevent them from having to walk up a flight of stairs.

Maybe you’re planning on having another child in a few years. Adding an additional bedroom will allow your family to grow into the house and prevent crowding issues.

Also, some new construction neighborhoods have community amenities such walking trails, playgrounds or even pools or a clubhouse. These amenities may or may not appeal to you or your anticipated lifestyle.

Research the Builder and the Community

Many new home builders, such as Hallmark Homes Group, have decades of experience and a proven track record of building high-quality homes in highly desirable communities.

To learn more about the builder, houses, and community, consider visiting and speaking to homeowners in the area. They can give you an idea of what the new house and neighborhood will be like once you move. You might even pick up a few customization ideas along the way.

The community that surrounds your new home is also very important. How close are the schools, grocery stores, shopping amenities, and anything else that allows you to live your lifestyle? You can find many online resources that will provide you with detailed information so that you can make an informed decision.

Model Homes 

When you visit the new community, take a tour of the model home keeping in mind that it’s typically not standard. Beyond what comes included in every home, it usually has extra features designed to show the home’s full potential along with many of the customization options available to you.

As you’re touring it, feel free to ask the agent as many questions as you can think of such as the cost of upgrades that appeal to you or customization options such as moving the master bedroom downstairs or adding additional office space.

Customization

Customization is the most important reason to buy a new construction home. At Hallmark, the possibilities are endless. We work individually with each buyer to create a dream home that you’ll love. For example, you can add or remove walls, expand room sizes, build in custom niche areas, add extra electrical outlets and even change the entire floor plan to suit your individual lifestyle.

You can also take the customization options a step further by adding such accouterments as a custom mantle, wall scones, extra wide trim or wainscoting and even a motorized lift for the hall chandelier. Customize your bathroom with high-end tiles, frameless showers or revise the entire layout as you see fit.

Find a Good Lender

Take some time to find a good lender who’s willing to work with you and give you the best rates. By shopping around, you’ll have a better chance of finding a loan that fits your financial situation.

A great way to make sure that you’re getting the best deal possible is to ask your home builder to provide a few referrals to lenders that they work closely with. This might get you more competitive rates and fees.

Budget for Extra Time

There are a few things that can impact how quickly your new house is built. For example, many homebuyers will opt to have construction start in the fall or wintertime. This timeline allows them to move into their home by the summer.

However, sometimes winter storms or major weather events can cause unforeseen delays in materials getting to the job site. If you absolutely need to move into your new home by a specific date, be sure to let your builder know. They can provide you with an approximate completion date that will allow you to make a more informed decision.

Communicate with Your Builder

You can more accurately set your expectations by communicating regularly with your builder. This will help keep the process transparent and the lines of communication open. Ask your builder how often they will give you updates and to whom you should address any questions or concerns.

At Hallmark, our proven process has been honed over decades of building highly customized homes for our clients. We’ll keep you informed of the progress at every step of the way. We take great pride in our work which is why we have multiple quality assurance/inspections to ensure the integrity of your new home.

Find Your Dream Home Today!

Buying a new home that’s customized to perfectly fit your lifestyle should be an enjoyable process. At Hallmark Homes Group, we go the extra mile to take care of our clients and work hard to ensure that we deliver the custom home that you and your family will cherish forever. Contact us today or stop by our sales center to learn more.

Staging Your Home

Categories: Home Buying Tips, New Homes in Bucks County | Posted: August 26, 2020

Bucks County is a prime location to find your new home and start the next steps in your life. Before you progress along your homebuying journey, you may also be selling your current home.

Although the home selling process may seem daunting, it is important to properly stage it to attract buyers. Research studies indicate that staged homes sell for six to ten percent above asking price and 73 percent faster than non-staged homes. In order to increase your return on investment, you may consider beginning with the following interior and exterior recommendations.

Create Curb Appeal

Whether your home is in suburban Bucks County or the city, your curb appeal must be considered. Buyers want to see a household that has been cared for inside and out. Be sure to mow the lawn, plant flowers and seeds, brush up the paint, fix gutters, replace roofing tiles, and clean siding. Trim trees, shrubs, and grass. Pressure wash the exterior walls, driveway, stone, vinyl fences, decking, and concrete. Furnish the front porch and deck. If you have a backyard perfect for BBQs, keep the grill out to bring that thought to mind for the buyers.

If your outdoor space is perfect for kids, make sure to keep the slide and swing set out, but clean up any miscellaneous toys that might make the yard appear cluttered. Homebuyers frequently drive around and create first impressions based on the outside of the house before deciding whether they would like to tour the inside.

Prioritize Your Energy

Staging your home helps sell your home, but if you are short on time or energy, focus your resources on essential areas first. The master bedroom, bathrooms, living room, and kitchen tend to be the main living spaces buyers look at when house shopping.

Keep Your Home Neutral

When looking for your new home, you may have searched for a place that is homey and enabled you the freedom to express yourself. Your buyers will do the same as this is what transforms a house into a home. Create a blank canvas for your buyers by updating to more neutral paint color pallets that will let them see the potential to suit their unique style.

Use decorations that are neutral and promote a cozy feeling. Gender-neutral accents like landscape paintings and classic vases are also a great starting point for adding the right touches to the home.

Create a Sparkling Clean and Safe Environment

Clear out cluttered closets, basements, and spaces to emphasize every nook and cranny as buyers search for spacious and well-maintained areas. You should also eliminate any potential tripping hazards, such as loose rugs, unstable furniture, or unsecured wires and cords.

Consider hiring a professional cleaner to thoroughly disinfect your house. Begin by searching for an accredited cleaning company that has earned positive testimonials and a Better Business Bureau seal. Your cleaners should clean and disinfect all surfaces of the house to remove mold, fungi, bacteria, viruses, dust mites, and allergens. The cleaners may also take the time to deep clean any fixtures and appliances. Additionally, they may offer an option to purify the air to improve air quality.

Remove Odors

If you have pets or children, odors happen. Be sure and clean out the litter box before a showing and take care of any stains or scents in the house by removing their source – do not try to cover them up with perfume or candles and risk a terrible mix of smells for your potential buyers.

Invest in Updated Fixtures and Paint

If sink faucets or ceiling fans look worn, replace them. This may keep the home’s value up and the buyer’s list of “fix-its” down. If you cannot afford a full revamp of your fixtures, prioritize by updating the most visible fixtures and surfaces, like those in the kitchen and living room.

Define Every Room’s Purpose

Make sure every room has a clear purpose. A bedroom is where your buyer wants to relax, so remove office materials, exercise gear, or other materials that do not promote that feeling of restfulness. Identify a single use for each room and emphasize it with the décor and furnishing.

Although buyers may not use all of your bedrooms, workspaces, or entertainment areas the way that you do, they would like to consider the possibilities of the space. The homebuyers will explore how they can adapt the house to meet their lifestyle preferences and organize their belongings.

Utilize Lighting

A bright home is a welcoming home. Replace burned-out lightbulbs and open blinds to create a cheery well-lit space. Use lighting to evoke inviting feelings in individual rooms. For example, keep the light in the bedroom warm to promote a relaxing feel and the light in the kitchen whiter to mimic daylight. Let the light accentuate the room’s purpose.

Play to the Environment and Time of Day

If you are selling your home in the summer, keep the house fresh and airy. If the weather is becoming colder, turn on your fireplace to create a warm, homey vibe. For a morning showing, open the windows to let in the natural light. If buyers are seeing the house in the evening, highlight the lighting options, and create a calming atmosphere with lightly scented candles.

Choose the Right Finishing Touches

It is essential to add the right finishing touches to any home. Arrange fresh vases of flowers and houseplants to brighten dining rooms, entryways, and bedside tables. These flowers can be a neutral color or add a touch of color. By doing so, you will create a welcoming sensation to the room and show off how well the house is cared for.

As you start the next exciting chapter in your life as a homeowner, take the time to close the last chapter on a high note. By staging your old home well, you may be able to sell your home quickly and for the right price. Visit a Hallmark home near you for ideas as you progress along your homebuying journey.

New Community: The Enclave at Warrington

Categories: Bucks County Homes, Customized homes, New Communities, New Homes in Bucks County | Posted: August 17, 2020

Hallmark Homes Group is pleased to announce the opening of our newest community, The Enclave at Warrington. Located in Warrington Township, these seven luxuriously appointed new homes in Bucks County are just minutes away from numerous dining, shopping, and job opportunities of nearby Doylestown.

Choose from one of our many opulent home designs that range in size from 2,600 to 3,600 sq. ft. The floor plans come with three to five bedrooms and 2.5 to 4.5 baths. The homes sit on sizable ½ acre to 1-acre lots surrounded by pristine woodlands that offer residents uninterrupted views and a sense of privacy.

The Area

Founded in 1734, historic Warrington Township is located approximately 20 miles north of central Philadelphia. It features immaculate open spaces, beautiful parks, and easy access to the multiple trails that run alongside nearby Neshaminy Creek. Museums, outdoor activities, and restaurants allow residents to enjoy ample dining and recreational opportunities.

Centrally located in a quiet suburban setting, The Enclave at Warrington is situated strategically close to RT. 611, 202, and the PA Turnpike. This gives residents convenient access to both work, school, and recreational opportunities in Bucks County

Children living in the community will attend the top-rated Central Bucks School District, which has received high marks and reviews from both educators and parents alike. In addition to the highly rated public K-12 schools, there are many colleges around the local area, including Delaware Valley University, Bucks County Community College, Temple University, and Penn State Abington Campus.

Several indoor and outdoor shopping malls close to The Enclave at Warrington will provide you with a broad realm of shopping opportunities, including the 200,000 square foot Shops at Valley Square, which is a premiere dining, entertainment, and retail destination nearby.

If you enjoy heading out to play a round of golf, a range of prestigious country clubs to choose are nearby that offer world-class golfing, socializing, and networking events.

The local and state parks that surround your new home in Bucks County give you and your family members a chance to head outdoors and enjoy the beautiful scenery of the area.

In the spring and summertime, you and your family members can enjoy exploring the numerous mountain footpaths, attend live music concerts, or participate in one of many different seasonal events, such as wine tasting and the popular Food Truck Festival.

The Floor Plans

The Enclave at Warrington has seven distinct floor plans to choose from. A design catalog with extensive options coupled with the wealth of included features at The Enclave at Warrington will allow you to design your new home in Bucks County with an exceptional level of comfort, lifestyle and luxury. In addition, every home design can be fully customized to meet the individual needs and lifestyles of you and your family.

The included features of each floor plan come with ample amenities, including stainless steel appliances, granite kitchen countertops, a gas fireplace, hardwood floors, and oversized custom trim molding. You can further refine and customize your new home by adding additional rooms and other features above and beyond what’s already available.

The Kennedy

The Kennedy 2-story floor plan comes with four bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, and a 2-car garage. It’s 2,603 square feet in size and offers plenty of living space with an oversized kitchen, breakfast area, a formal dining room, and a spacious vaulted ceiling in the family room.

The Harrison

At a spacious 2,860 square feet, the Harrison floor plan comes with an elegant first-floor owner’s suite. Inside you’ll find a large bathroom with soaking tub, separate shower, private commode, double bowl sinks, and a large walk-in closet.

The Jackson

The Jackson floor plan has 2,936 square feet of opulent first and second-floor living space. This genuinely grand home features a two-story foyer with turned staircase, formal dining and living rooms, spacious family room and stunning master suite. An optional solarium and morning room located outside the kitchen/breakfast area will allow unimpeded views of the nearby forest.

The Madison

The Madison is a 2,793 square foot design that features an inviting two-story foyer and a comfortable family room with a vaulted ceiling. A spacious owner’s suite upstairs is complete with walk-in closets and a luxurious bathroom. Three additional bedrooms and one bathroom will offer abundant living space in your new home in Bucks County for you and your family.

The Jefferson

The Jefferson floor plan has 3,006 square feet of living and entertaining space. The expansive kitchen and breakfast nook open to a two-story family room that features an optional wall of windows that let in plenty of natural light and enable you to take in the breathtaking beauty of the surrounding trees and landscape.

 The Roosevelt

This four-bedroom, 2-1/2 bath home comes with 3,391 square feet of living space and gives you and your family the finest amenities and features under one roof. The spacious island kitchen opens up into the two-story family room and the split stairway flows to a view-inspired great room overlook.

The Monroe

At 3,636 square feet, the Monroe is the biggest floor plan available and has multiple customization options to truly make this your dream home. The expansive kitchen features 42-inch cabinets and a walk-in pantry that connects to a large dining room. An airy two-story family room allows for a dramatic wall of windows” and is accented by a secondary staircase.

Come Home to The Enclave!

The Enclave at Warrington is an exclusive community for those who are looking for the utmost in space, convenience and luxury. Each of the homes come with a stunning view of the nearby pristine woodlands and easy access to nearby amenities.

At Hallmark Homes Group, we look forward to helping you build your dream home and welcoming you to the growing Hallmark family of homeowners. Contact us today or stop by our offices to learn more about these amazing new houses in one of the most exclusive communities in the area.

Stay Safe When Moving into Your New Home in Bucks County

Categories: Bucks County Homes, Home Buying Tips, New Homes in Bucks County | Posted: July 24, 2020

Moving into a new home is an exciting time for many people. A brand-new neighborhood and endless opportunities await as you turn the key and walk through your front door for the very first time.

However, with all of the commotion during a move, there’s a genuine risk of accidentally injuring yourself or others. We want to share with you a few tips on how you can stay safe while moving. When it’s all said and done, you’ll be able to sit back, relax, and start living life to its fullest in your new home.

Create a Game Plan

A move into a new home can be a chaotic experience with people coming and going while carrying heavy boxes and fragile items. Before you start your move, take a few minutes to write down exactly how you plan to move.

Think about both the time spent in preparation and the sequence of events that needs to take place on moving day. For example, consider how much stuff you have and whether it’s worth it to hire a moving company.

If you decide against hiring a mover, take into consideration exactly how you plan on loading the truck. This helps ensure that all of your belongings will fit and saves you spending extra time re-arranging boxes on moving day.

Wear Appropriate Clothing

You’ll want to wear cool, comfortable clothing during your move. Old t-shirts and pants will allow for moving around easily and if they tear or get damaged, it won’t add stress to your day.

Try to avoid loose clothing or wearing shorts. Loose clothing can be hazardous if it gets caught especially while moving large items like furniture, and shorts open up the possibility of bumps and cuts while hustling through the move.

Wearing sensible shoes on moving day is essential. Flip flops and other loose-fitting footwear are open and can encourage a trip or fall while pacing through a long moving day. More important, they don’t offer the support that your body needs when performing physical activities. The soles of your shoes should also have enough grip to avoid accidental slips and falls.

Have the Right Equipment

There are a few tools that can assist in making the move a lot easier. A two or four-wheel furniture dolly enables you to move heavy boxes out of your home and into the new one without straining.

Also, non-stick mats strategically placed throughout high-traffic areas can prevent accidental slips from occurring. Some home goods stores sell furniture pads which allow for overweight boxes and large furniture to be moved with ease. Placed under heavy items, they help you push them forward to their intended destination, preventing you from having to lift them.

Manage Children and Pets

If you’re moving with pets and children, come up with a game plan to keep them safe and out of the way. They can easily get underfoot, which can lead to some serious safety issues. One idea is to have a friend or family member take them for a few hours until the move is complete.

If that’s not an option, you can always dedicate a “safe room” in both your current and new home where both the kids and your four-legged friends can hang out. Some families will have the internet and Wi-Fi turned on a day prior to the move, which will help keep the youngsters occupied and busy.

Use Proper Lifting Techniques

It’s far too easy to injure yourself when moving boxes and other items into your new home. Avoiding injuries from lifting starts with remembering not to overpack boxes and also to never try to lift more than you safely can.

Here are a few proper lifting techniques that you should familiarize yourself with before you start the move:

 

  • Avoid bending over to grab a box and using your back to lift the weight. Instead, squat down and grab the box, then use your leg muscles to return to an upright position.
  • Avoid lifting heavy items above your head level. You could not only pull a muscle but accidentally lose your balance as well.

 

Eat and Stay Hydrated

Moving can be a physically exhausting experience, no matter how fit you are. You’ll expend hundreds or even thousands of calories which will drain your body of the much-needed energy you will need to pace through a rigorous moving day. Healthy snacks, fruits, or granola bars will help provide the energy that your body needs to see the move through to the end.

Be sure to drink lots of water. It keeps you hydrated which prevents you from feeling weak, exhausted, and getting a headache. Try to drink a glass of water every hour or half-hour to keep refreshed.

Know When to Say When

Most moving injuries occur when people are tired and exhausted. If you start to feel too stressed out or are experiencing body pains, it’s a good idea to stop and relax. Listen to your body and know when to slow it down or call it a day.

Many people find that their move takes a lot longer than they originally anticipated. This can be due to over-estimating their physical and mental capabilities. Try to dedicate one room in your home as a rest area.

Know When to Call in the Professionals

Consider hiring professional movers if you have a big move ahead of you. Not only does it take less time, but they have the experience to make it go a lot smoother and safer. They have the right equipment to move fragile items such as big screen TV’s, bulky furniture, and other fragile items while transporting them safely.

In addition to significantly reducing stress on moving day, hiring a moving company is a much safer alternative because the movers are highly trained and will eliminate much of the physical strain for both you, your family members and your friends. They also offer additional services that can reduce stress such as packing, wrapping, and providing storage options.

Work Smarter, Not Harder!

We hope we’ve given you some great tips that will allow you to stay safe when moving into a new home. At Hallmark Homes Group, we’re here to help provide you with the support that you need to ensure that your move goes as smoothly as possible.

Tips for Selling Your Current Home

Categories: Home Buying Tips, New Homes in Bucks County | Posted: July 15, 2020

If you’re looking to buy a new home in Bucks County, getting your current one ready for sale is an essential first step. Deep cleaning, prep work, and staging are just some of the many things that you can do to ensure the best chances of success. Here are a few tips that will help reduce stress and make the overall selling process go a lot smoother.

 

Determine Your “Why?”

Before putting your home on the market, take some time to determine precisely why you want to move. There are many valid reasons why you would need to sell your home:

 

  • You have a growing family and need more space.
  • The kids just moved out, and you’re looking to downsize.
  • Job relocation.
  • You want to build a new dream home.

 

By doing so, it will provide you with the right motivation and enable you to make the best decisions every step of the way.

 

Set a Realistic Timeline

Creating a realistic timeline can help alleviate the stress that’s sometimes associated with selling a house. This allows you to quickly re-adjust if something doesn’t go according to plan — such as the timeframe you think that it might take for someone to make an acceptable offer.

A calendar also helps break up large tasks, such as boxing up each room, down into manageable smaller ones. This will not only enable you to make noticeable progress but also serve as a psychological booster.

 

Know Your Price

Before you list your home on the market, you should determine a monetary amount that you’re willing to accept. By doing so, it might help prevent it from sitting on the market for longer than you’d like.

You can perform a competitive market analysis by visiting real-estate listing websites to see what other nearby houses have sold for in the recent past. A little research will help you make a more informed pricing decision.

Keep in mind that there are many different variables that affect what a buyer is willing to pay, such as market conditions, needed repairs and comparable sales.

 

Prep Your Home

Now comes the most critical step of selling your home: the prep work. The amount of time, effort, and money that you put into it will have a significant impact on how quickly it sells and whether or not you’ll get an acceptable offer. Here are a few ideas to help make the overall process go a lot smoother:

 

Declutter – Cleaning out all of the clutter and de-personalizing your house makes it more presentable. Prospective buyers are then able to imagine what living there would be like as they perform their walkthrough.

Instead of storing your clutter inside the garage or in the basement, consider renting a storage unit. Clean, organized areas help sell a house better than one that’s filled with tons of boxes and other items. Decluttering your home will also give you a head start in cleaning out your home for when it’s time to move.

 

Fresh Paint – If your current paint is old or chipping, it might cause buyers to subconsciously focus on that particular aspect as they tour your house. A fresh coat of a neutral-colored interior paint helps make it more appealing to the largest number of buyers.

A new paint job for the outside will also have an immediate impact and effect upon the curb appeal of your home. It helps set the stage and makes a great first impression when a prospective buyer walks up to your front door.

 

Roof Damage – Your roof is one of the first things that people see when they pull up to your driveway. Warped or missing tiles, mismatched colors, or other signs of visible deterioration detracts from the potential buyer’s first impression of the home.

Pay close attention to your rain gutters as well. If they’re broken or cracked, it might cause prospective home buyers to wonder if there’s any water damage that’s occurred to the roof or foundation of your home.

 

Clean Inside and Outside – Driveways with unsightly oil stains, backyards with overgrown areas, and trash strewn about can all negatively influence a buyer’s perception of your home. Put yourself in the shoes of a buyer and walk the front, side, and back yards. This will allow you to figure out where you need to start.

When it comes to deep cleaning the interior of your home, focus on the kitchen counters, windowsills, the blades of ceiling fans, and pretty much anywhere dust can collect. Pay special attention to your carpets too, as they not only retain dirt but certain odors from pets or accidental spills.

If you don’t have the time to clean, consider hiring a professional cleaning service. There are many companies out there who specialize in deep cleaning the interior of homes.

 

Staging – One of the most important steps in selling your home is the staging process. This involves arranging your furniture and interior décor to make your house bright, airy, and inviting to prospective buyers.

If staging isn’t quite your thing, you can always hire a professional stager who will bring in temporary furniture and decorations. Their years of interior design experience allows them to stage your home in such a way that it accentuates the positive aspects of it.

 

Putting on the Finishing Touches

Prepping your home for sale is all about creating a great experience that enables the prospective buyer to imagine themselves living there. After you’ve decluttered, cleaned, and staged the house, it’s now time to put on the finishing touches.

Start by opening up the curtains, windows, and shades to let in natural light from the outside. A few strategically placed mirrors will help reflect it throughout the rooms. This will help smaller rooms appear much bigger in size.

The smell of your home is one of the first things that people notice when they walk through the front door. Pop some brownies into the oven an hour before the open house to create a more inviting atmosphere.

If you don’t have the time or requisite baking skills, you can always add a few lightly scented candles. Be careful not to overwhelm people with the heavily perfumed scents, for it might lead the buyer to think that you’re trying to hide something, such as a persistent musty odor.

 

Improve the Chances of Selling Your Home!

We hope that we’ve provided you with some great tips that will allow you to sell your home and help get you ready to move into your new one. From selling to buying, at Hallmark Homes Group, we’re ready to guide you through every step of the process. If you’re ready to start building your dream home, give us a call at (215) 416-0036 to learn more!

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