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Blog Category - Bucks County Homes

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.

 

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.

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.

5 Parks to Explore in Bucks County

Categories: Bucks County Homes, Things to do in Bucks County | Posted: July 14, 2020

Bucks County, PA, is one of the most scenic places to call home. Within its boundaries are over 70,000 acres of state and local parks that will allow you and your family to head out from your new home in Bucks County and enjoy the open spaces and fresh air.

Hiking trails, crystal-clear lakes, and ample wildlife are just some of the many treasures that await your discovery. We want to share with you our list of the top five best parks in Bucks County to explore.

 

Peace Valley Park

Peace Valley Park encompasses over 1,500 acres and offers multiple recreational opportunities such as children’s playgrounds, hiking trails, and sailboat rentals. It surrounds the 365-acre Lake Galena, which provides visitors with picturesque views, ample wildlife watching opportunities, and several multi-use trails.

The six miles of trails that loop around the lake allow for a quick jog, bike, or relaxing walk. The path itself is flat with no elevation change, and the trees that line the sides of the trail will provide some shade for relief from the warm summer months.

The on-site nature center located at the northeast end of the park offers visitors the chance to learn more about the native plants and wildlife. It’s staffed by park rangers who are more than happy to answer any questions that you might have.

The Moravian Pottery and Tile Works factory is located within park boundaries. This “working history” museum is a National Historic Landmark and takes visitors on a tour of how the tiles and pottery were made in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

 

Nockamixon State Park

At over 5,283 acres, Nockamixon State Park is one of the biggest in the Bucks County park system. It’s centered around beautiful Lake Nockamixon, which is a massive 1,450 acres in size. Four public launching areas allow recreational boaters to take to the water and enjoy the beautiful shoreline scenery.

While recreational water activities are the main focus of the park, Lake Nockamixon offers many other things to do for those who prefer to stay on dry land. Joggers, mountain bikers, and hikers will enjoy the 8 miles of looping trails that meander through a pristine cedar forest. The trails offer a semi-challenging navigation experience over streams, stumps, and switchbacks.

Entrance to the park is free, and once inside, you can take advantage of a wide range of fun and exciting activities such as renting a cabin for an overnight stay, participating in a guided nature walk, or a relaxing pontoon boat tour. There are also some excellent hunting and fishing opportunities.

 

Delaware Canal State Park

The Delaware Canal State Park is both a recreational and historical treasure. Completed in 1832, the sixty-mile-long Delaware Canal helped bring goods and people from the northeastern Pennsylvania area to the cities located on the eastern seaboard.

Today, it is a beautiful state park that meanders along the historic canal. The towpath where horses once worked in unison to pull the coal-laden ships of the 1800s is now used by walkers, joggers, and bicyclists. Adding to the beautiful scenery of the area are eleven beautiful islands that formed naturally out of the silt and sedimentation of the canal.

Visitors to the park can enjoy a wide array of seasonal activities, such as bird watching in the springtime and cross-country skiing in the winter. Fishing opportunities offer anglers the chance to catch striped bass, smallmouth bass, and walleye.

For those looking to gain a deeper understanding of both the natural and man-made history of the area, the State Park offers multiple programs, such as guided walks, evening programs, and hands-on activities.

 

Tyler State Park

Often referred to as an “oasis of nature,” Tyler State Park is a highly scenic area that provides you with multiple ways to enjoy a short afternoon or an entire weekend. Neshaminy creek flows through the entirety of the park and divides it into several different sections.

There are over 25 miles of paved and unpaved trails for you to explore and take in the unspoiled sights, smells, and sounds of nature at its finest. The trails are dog and horse-friendly and will take you on a breathtaking tour of one of the finest gems in the Bucks County park system.

The picnic area is massive and offers ample benches, sitting areas, and playgrounds for the children. Disc and Frisbee golf lovers will enjoy the challenging but fair courses. The bathrooms and other facilities are also clean and very well-maintained.

 

Neshaminy State Park

Situated where Neshaminy Creek joins the Delaware River, Neshaminy State Park offers visitors picturesque views of the Philadelphia skyline along with a wealth of fun and relaxing recreational activities.

While not as geographically big nor ecologically diverse as some of the other parks in the Bucks County park system, Neshaminy does provide visitors with the chance to relax in a scenic outdoor setting. BBQ pits, picnic tables, and a children’s playground make this a perfect park to spend your days.

Joggers, walkers, or runners who are looking for a quick workout can take advantage of the 4 miles of wooded trails that loop around the park. The public swimming pool and the separate children’s spray park offers visitors a chance to cool off from the warm summer heat.

Neshaminy State Park is a great place to spend a few hours in a peaceful outdoor setting without having to drive several hours into the countryside.

 

Custom Homes in Bucks County

One of the most significant advantages of living in Bucks County is the multiple natural and state parks that provide endless opportunities for recreation and relaxation. At Hallmark Homes Group, we build new homes in highly desirable communities that are located just a short drive from many of these parks. If you’d like to learn more about the new home options in Bucks County, give us a call at (215) 416-0036.

Tips for Settling into Your New Home

Categories: Bucks County Homes, Home Buying Tips, New Homes in Bucks County | Posted: May 27, 2020

Moving into a new home in Bucks County is a fun and exciting time, but figuring out exactly where to begin can sometimes be challenging. As you turn the key and unlock the front door of your new house for the very first time, there are a few things that you may want to take into consideration.

Unpacking the boxes, getting the family situated, and changing your address are just some of the important tasks that lie ahead. We want to share a few tips with you that can help make the move into your new house go as smoothly as possible so that you can focus on starting your new life.

 

1. Change Your Address

Credit cards, bank accounts, and utilities are important areas to make sure you change your address for.

The best place to start is to visit the Post Office website and put in your change of address. This will help ensure that all mail sent to your old address will be automatically forwarded to the new one by the time you arrive. If you can, try to do this before you make the move.

Next, head on over to the DMV website and follow the instructions to change your driver’s license information online.

Finally, make a list of all credit cards, bank accounts, and online shipping websites, such as Amazon. Be sure to check to see if the company will allow you to change your address online—this can save you from having to wait to speak to multiple companies over the phone.

 

2. Keep it Organized

Creating a to-do list of what goes where and which boxes to unpack first can help make life a lot less stressful when moving into your new home. A helpful tip is to organize your list room by room and box by box so you do not get confused.

You can use the list to jot down any notes or ideas that come to mind as you’re unpacking. This will not only help keep you stay organized and on-track, but you’ll also start to feel a sense of accomplishment as the list starts to get smaller.

 

3. Unpack in One Room

The key to a low-stress move is to reduce and minimize clutter as much as possible. You can accomplish this by dedicating a guest room as a temporary unpacking area. Not only will it keep the mess in one location, it will allow you to store things until you’ve decided where they should go.

As the number of boxes in the unpacking room starts to dwindle, you’ll begin to feel like progress is being made. Closing the door once you’re done for the day will help keep the mess out of sight and out of mind.

 

4. Unpack the Most-Used Rooms First

For most people, the kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom are the three most-utilized rooms in a house. Unpacking and setting up these areas first will help make it feel more like a home which will allow you to immediately start your regular routine.

The time of day that you arrive at your new residence can also dictate which rooms to unpack first. For example, if you plan on arriving early in the morning, the kitchen and dining room are the best places to start. This will provide you with a place to eat or take a short break.

If you’re arriving in the late afternoon or early evening, placing priority on setting up the bedrooms and bathrooms will allow you to quickly get settled in, relax, and prepare for the long day ahead.

 

5. Pets and Children

Children will often find it challenging to adjust to life after a move. Attending a new school and making new friends can be a stressful time in their lives. You can help alleviate this stress by taking them to the local community center or pool to meet kids their own age.

When it comes to your pets, some will adjust quicker than others. Dogs tend to adapt a bit better than cats when it comes to moving into a new neighborhood because cats tend to not like change.

The best way to help pets transition into their new home is to keep them confined to one room for the first few days. Slowly let them explore the rest of the house as time goes by to allow them to adjust to their new life at their own pace.

 

6. Meet Your New Neighbors

A great way to get some exercise and de-stress from your move is to take a few minutes every day to walk your neighborhood. You’ll get a feel for the overall area and might even meet a few of your neighbors along the way.

A housewarming party is another great way to introduce yourself to everyone on the block. You don’t have to spend a lot of time planning or preparing for the party—your neighbors will understand that you’ve just moved in and won’t expect an elaborate gathering.

 

7. Go at Your Own Pace

Keep in mind that it will take time to get fully settled into your new home. You’re not being timed, so there’s no pressure to get everything done as soon as possible. By moving at your own pace, you’ll have time to make important decisions as you go along without being rushed.

Even after the last box has been unpacked, it might take several weeks to a few months to feel fully moved in. If you have family members who are moving with you, ask them to keep an open line of verbal communication. This will allow them to express any concerns or issues that they might have which will help to reduce their overall stress.

 

Relax and Enjoy Your New Home!

The joy that you’ll feel when you finally settle into your new house is well worth the effort that you’ll put in when moving. This is the beginning of your new life and the above suggestions can significantly help alleviate any challenges that you might face along the way.

Basement Customization Ideas for Your New Home in Bucks County

Categories: Bucks County Homes, Customized homes, DIY Home Projects | Posted: May 13, 2020

The basement of your home can extend beyond a large empty room that’s used to store boxes and paperwork. It’s one of those free-for-all spaces that you can transform in a number of exciting ways to fit your specific needs – a place that you and your entire family can retreat to and enjoy.

When designing the basement level in any of Hallmark Homes Group’s new communities in Bucks County, Hallmark is willing to consider any customization request – so you can let your imagination run wild. A movie theater, play space for the kids, or even a mini pub are just a few ideas that can transform it into an exciting, usable, and enjoyable space reflecting your ultimate lifestyle.

Below are just are a few ideas that can add life to an otherwise dreary space and make designing your new basement a fun and exciting process.

 

The Open Concept Basement

The open concept basement is a popular new trend in home design. Unlike the kitchen, living room, or laundry room, your basement doesn’t have a required purpose. This means you have a blank canvas from the start. Considering how walls are used to separate the various rooms in your home, an open concept basement has a barrier-free environment that can accommodate a number of activities.

You can layout one section as a home gym, add a home movie theater to another corner and dedicate a central gathering area for conversation and relaxation. This concept can integrate a number of activities while allowing friends and family to freely pass from one area to the other.

 

Movie Theater

A home cinema is a popular basement customization because it appeals to a wide range of age groups and interests. It can become a place where family and friends gather to watch the latest movies in stunning high-definition. If you’re into sports, a home cinema can also double as the perfect place for friends and family to gather and cheer on their favorite team.

Best of all, because you’re in the lower level, you don’t have to worry too much about noise levels. You can even customize your ceiling to accommodate the very latest in-home theater projection technology and have all wiring hidden from view.

 

Wine Cellar

Perhaps you have a taste for the finer things in life. A separate room in the lower level of your new residence can be transformed into the perfect place to store your treasured collection of wine. Add custom plumbing and refrigeration features to help ensure the wine stays at the perfect temperature.

A dedicated tasting room with comfortable chairs centered around a wooden table (or empty wine cask) will give you and your friends a place to relax while sipping your favorite vintage. Finishing touches like a wood or gas fireplace, large screen television and authentic stone floors will create the perfect atmosphere for entertaining.

 

Home Gym

With an at-home gym, you won’t have to worry about crowded facilities, wait times to use equipment, dirty machines or other distractions that are sometimes experienced in a public gym. A home gym offers both convenience and privacy that fitness-minded individuals want when they are working out.

In addition to the exercise machines, adding a kitchen, sauna, and shower will provide the ultimate all-in-one workout area. Inspirational sayings written on the walls, full-length mirrors, and an adjustable sound system will help keep you motivated to stay fit and healthy.

Many in-home gyms also have storage cabinets and even a small kitchen and refrigerator for drinks and to make post-workout protein shakes. An air filtration system is also helpful to ventilate potential musty gym smells to the outside environment.

 

Kid’s Playroom

A kid’s room is the perfect way to keep younger family members and their friends entertained at home. Brightly colored walls, ample lighting and shelves to store their favorite games and toys will help transform your basement into a usable, flexible space where younger family members can gather to have fun.

You can get creative with exciting features like a treehouse (without the tree), drawing table, kid-sized furniture, computer stations and more so the kids have an inspiring play space to let their imaginations roam. In rain or cold weather, the lower level provides a dedicated place at home for children to spread out while they wait out bad weather. Best of all, it is a separate space that keeps the messes kids make while they play, hidden from view on the main level.

 

Game Room

Transforming the basement of your new home into a retro arcade or the ultimate gaming area will make a sensational impression on friends and family. With exciting elements like free-standing video game cabinets, pinball machines, a pool table, and ping pong table, a vast basement space can be transformed.

Tables, comfortable seating and snacks are a must to ensure fun and successful events. Add a full-sized bar complete with draft beer taps and your lower level will quickly become a mini-pub and popular hangout for friends and family. Complete the environment with a mini kitchen to serve up piping hot snacks and keep clean-up all on one level.

 

Home Office

If you have the flexibility to work from home, dedicated space in the lower level can assure both the privacy needed for calls and minimal distractions to help your focus. Of course, a desk, computer and chair are basics to start the design, while the rest will depend on your specific area of work.

When planning the size space, keep equipment in mind (printers, monitors, etc.) as well as storage for paperwork and office essentials. Carefully plan wiring and Wi-Fi connections, both of which will be important for uninterrupted work flow. Adding a wall of built-in cabinetry will provide ample storage and can double as a home library for off hours.

 

Family Room

If you have a growing family or regularly entertain lots of guests, you can turn your new basement into a second family room. High definition television, surround sound system, and a large comfortable wrap-around couch will transform the basement into a cozy place to entertain or unwind. A mini kitchen adds a level of convenience and can help prevent accidental spills as people move from the main kitchen down the stairs into the basement. Don’t forget to make sure that the Wi-Fi reception is good for smartphones and computer access.

 

Basement Customization

We hope we’ve provided you with some great design ideas that will help you create the ultimate custom basement in your new home. Hallmark Homes Group welcomes your most imaginative ideas to totally customize your lower level. If you want to take your new basement to the next level, give us a call at (215) 416-0036 and learn how we can help you design and build the home of your dreams!

Spice Up Your Bathroom with These 2020 Trends

Categories: Bucks County Homes, Custom Homes, Home Design Trends, Luxury homes | Posted: April 15, 2020

The modern bathroom is starting to become less of a utilitarian room and more of an area of tranquility and peace. When designing the bathroom for your new home in Bucks County, there are several things you can do that will help transform it into a place where you can relax and unwind.

Dual themes are prominent in the latest design trends for 2020. The first of these creates a sophisticated, elegant look with the striking contrast of black and white. The second takes a different direction, exuding calmness with the usage of natural tones that can be used alone or with accents of bold color.

Here are a few ideas to jump start your creativity for the perfect escape in your new Bucks County home.

 

Black is Back

In the past, shades of grey had taken over as the popular color scheme of bathrooms. However, a new color is taking the lead this year. The color black has been making appearances in many upscale bathrooms throughout the country. For some, it may be easier to incorporate this dramatic color in simple ways, such as black cabinet hardware, faucets, and accent pieces. To take this new trend a bit further, you can add black accent walls, plumbing fixtures, and deep-hued vanities to your newest Bucks County residence.

The use of black can really make your bathroom pop in terms of and contrast and color. For example, by combining white marble or granite vanity countertops with dark wood grain black cabinetry and white accent hardware, you can create an elegant space filled with complimentary light and dark tones.

 

Natural Tones

If your goal is to create a calming space, subtle natural hues will gently take you there. Another popular trend for 2020 is to add shades of color that remind you of the calming effects of air and water. Think back to the last spa you visited and the feeling of “floating on air”. That relaxed feeling is the reason for the growing popularity in natural tones because you can continuously feel that when you enter your new bathroom.

Neutral shades can also serve to accent the existing shades of the features in your new home. Marble and wood tend to blend very well with a wide spectrum of color palettes. If you wish to add a more modern splash that will help ground the overall look, add a few pops of black throughout the area.

 

Brass and Gold

Gold and brass are beginning to become more commonplace in today’s modern bathrooms, serving as a vintage comeback. These metallics are being used in various areas of the bathroom including mirrors, faucets, handles and cabinetry fixtures. Their warm, glowing tones give dimension and richness to the space. Available in a wide variety of finishes such as matte, satin, and spun gold, brass and gold accents add an upscale touch to any style bathroom.

 

Wood Accents

With warmer tones veering their way through, wooden accents are slowly popping up. Many different shades provide a variety of options that can complement both light and dark color palettes. Even if you envision a modern and trendy bathroom, adding wood will create a hint of traditional style to top it off. With the many different avenues you can take, something as simple as a wooden shelving unit can transform your bathroom.

 

Freestanding Vanities

Free-standing vanities are taking center stage in newly designed bathrooms. They visually open up the look of the overall area by extending the line of sight as the flooring continues underneath. They offer the look and feel of standalone furniture but provide the same storage space and plumbing options of a more traditional one.

You can accent this look and feel with eye-catching tile patterns and shapes or add non-standard sized mirrors and backsplashes made out of recycled wood. In place of large-format or subway tiles, patterns such as Moroccan fish scales, diamond, and even arabesque will help create a bold look when paired with a larger sized vanity.

 

Hidden and Compact Storage Spaces

In this form-follows-function design trend, many people are adding compact or hidden storage spaces to the bathroom that will integrate seamlessly into your new residence. Since bathrooms in 2020 are showing to be spaces of tranquility, messy cabinets and clutter can take away from the relaxed feeling. With hidden storage spaces, your bathroom can maintain the feel of a simpler way of life.

Hidden cabinets and vanity under-space storage areas can help present a sense of organization while visually removing the clutter. This serves to create a clean, open, and relaxing atmosphere that beckons you to enter and unwind.

 

A Splash of Color

As trends are now shifting, a sprinkle of color will pair nicely with any bathroom style. The color you would like to see throughout the bathroom should be consistent with the feel you envision for the space. For example, pops of blue and green can create feelings of balance and harmony. If you’re looking to create a more luxurious feel, the color purple can help promote deep contemplation and feelings of spirituality.

Unique ways to incorporate the color include serene landscape paintings on the wall, multi-colored tiled mosaics, plants, and unique wall fixtures.

 

New Bathroom Trends for 2020

2020 is shaping up to be an exciting year for those people looking to include modern design trends while simultaneously creating a luxurious and tranquil refuge for relaxation after a long day.

If you’re in the market for a new home, Hallmark Homes Group provides buyers with the option to completely customize their new home — including the bathrooms. While we include a high level of luxury features already, if you want to take your new bathroom to the next level, we can add those custom choices that will make it truly personal. Give us a call at (215) 416-0036 to learn how we can help you design and build the home of your dreams!

Highfield Estates Community in Chalfont is SOLD OUT

Categories: Bucks County Homes, Highfield Estates | Posted: March 17, 2020

Hallmark Homes Group is pleased to announce that the distinguished community of Highfield Estates in Chalfont is now sold out!

Although homes in Highfield Estates are no longer available, Hallmark Homes offers prospective homebuyers the opportunity to be a part of one of our other estate home communities in great locations across Montgomery and Bucks Counties.

 

A Glance at Highfield Estates

Located in the 400-year old township of Hilltown, each of the 13 new homes in Chalfont, Bucks County sit on a spectacular 3+ acre lots. Starting in the low $600s, these luxury residential estates feature 11 different styles of our most popular floor plans.

Nestled in a tree-lined picturesque setting in Chalfont, these magnificently appointed luxury homes range in square footage from 2,860 to 4,618 sq-feet. They offer four to five bedrooms with up to 4.5 baths and an opulent master bedroom complete with a luxury master bath.

The two-story foyer provides residents and guests alike with an elegant entrance into the home that opens up to a spacious 9-foot ceiling. Custom wide-plank engineered flooring throughout the first floor accentuates the airy 2-story family room featuring a dramatic wall of windows and a gas fireplace.

The gourmet kitchen and sunroom areas offer ample natural sunlight, which provides a welcoming atmosphere for friends and family to gather together. 42-inch custom maple cabinets, granite countertops, and quality stainless steel appliances help ensure that every meal is a home-cooked one.

 

A Florishing Local Community

Cultural activities, local wineries, and ample nearby shopping opportunities make Highfield Estates the ideal place to reside in a new home in Chalfont, Bucks County. The historic and distinguished township of Hilltown is just minutes away from settings of natural beauty at Peace Valley Park and Lake Galena.

Highfield Estates is conveniently located in the award-winning Penn Ridge School District. In addition, the local area was rated a 92 out of 100 in the Crime Index—which makes it 92% safer than all other U.S. cities. Travel to work or out of town is made easy with close proximity to Routes 313, 202,152, 309, I-46, SEPTA rail lines, and the PA Turnpike.

 

Your Dream Home Awaits

With the ‘SOLD OUT’ sign now on our popular Highfield Estates neighborhood, how can we help you create and build the home of your dreams? Visit our website to view our latest communities in great locations in Bucks County. Keep in mind that that there are quick delivery homes available, plus, we provide our buyers with the ability to completely customize their new homes to suit their individual tastes.

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