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Blog Category - Home Buying Tips

Why New Construction Homes are More Energy Efficient vs. Older Homes

Categories: Home Buying Tips, New Home Tips | Posted: October 13, 2021

If you are in the market for a new construction energy efficient home in the suburbs north of Philadelphia,, consider the option of a new construction home in Bucks County, PA. Many of these properties are ideal for buyers looking to save money on bills while reducing their carbon footprint.

Houses constructed by highly-respected builders, such as Hallmark Homes Group, offer several advantages over older homes. These newer properties involve the latest techniques for insulation, air flow and climate control while featuring state-of-the-art appliances and eco-friendly energy sources.

Save Money on Energy Costs

Over the last 20 years, manufacturers of building materials have learned what causes a home to leak temperature-treated air to the outside while letting unwanted outdoor air inside. By using the latest building standards, insulating techniques and airtight, multi-pane windows — new homes can be built to resist this. In older houses, inefficient air loss is caused by gaps which gradually develop in the building’s foundation, walls, ceiling and attic. As interior air escapes from these small openings, a vacuum effect is created which draws in air from the outside.

New Homes Have Updated Heating & Cooling

Just like the roof on an old house, heating and cooling systems in older homes can leak temperature-treated air through cracks and holes on aging ductwork. This is especially important in areas with warm summers and cool winters, such as Pennsylvania. New construction homes commonly feature the latest innovations in conduit for heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC). These systems maximize air flow while minimizing leakage, which saves on how much energy is needed to cool and heat your home. Less use of energy can add up to significant savings over time while creating fewer carbon emissions.

Control the Energy in Your New Home Easily

Effectively managing indoor temperatures is another energy efficient feature of newer homes. In an older home, the furnace or AC unit may be inadvertently left running while the house is unoccupied or throughout the night while people are asleep. This consumes unnecessary energy which can contribute to high monthly utility bills. However, thermostats and air conditioning units in newer homes are equipped with smart technology that can reduce energy use by maintaining ideal temperatures only when the home is occupied. Accessible remotely from apps on a smart device, these units can be programmed far in advance to maintain ideal temperatures year round.

Enjoy Modern Energy Efficient Innovations

Another set of factors which makes new homes more energy efficient than older houses are state-of-the-art appliances. Cutting edge builders, such as Hallmark, install dishwashers, refrigerators, laundry units and water heaters in all of their new builds. These features are designed for maximum output while using minimal energy. This can add up to hundreds of dollars in annual savings while lowering household carbon emissions.

Make Energy Saving Upgrades With Ease

There are several simple ways in which residential properties can be optimized for energy efficiency. During the build you can speak to your builder to make upgrades or upgrades can be done as a series after the home is built. These can be implemented with a modest investment — which can be rewarded many times over with long-term savings and eco-friendly benefits:

  1. Additional insulation in attics and crawl spaces
  2. Multi-pane windows
  3. Airtight ductwork
  4. Smart heating and cooling technology
  5. Energy-efficient kitchen and laundry appliances
  6. Solar panels and other alternative energy sources

There are many benefits of choosing a residential property built and designed with state-of-the-art energy efficiency. Contact us to learn more about all the advantages which await you in a newly-built Hallmark home.

How to Determine Wants Vs. Needs in Your New Construction Home

Categories: Home Buying Tips, New Home Tips | Posted: September 15, 2021

As a new homebuyer, you are no doubt considering the most important features and amenities to choose for your new home. Oftentimes, the best way to decide between what you want (but can live without) and what you truly need can be done by listing your top concerns, defining them as either a want or a need and then making your decision from there.

If you’re like most folks preparing to buy a house, some of your top concerns are location, layout, number of bedrooms, kitchen size, essential amenities, master suite options and a home office. Here are a few strategies for putting these features and amenities into perspective so that you can prioritize what you want in relation to what you need.

How Important is the Location of Your New Home?

For many people, buying a house in an ideal location is an essential need — as it is very important to live near work, within top school districts and close to relatives. If these or other similar reasons have you shopping for new construction homes in Bucks County PA, Hallmark Homes Group specializes in high-quality neighborhoods full of gorgeous, newly-built residential properties that you might be interested in.

Open Floor Plan – Want or Need?

Certain aspects of your home’s layout can be defined as necessities, such as the number of bedrooms for each family member and having enough overall space for the size of your family. If a large great room for gatherings and daily activities is important to you, an open-concept floor plan, which combines all of the shared areas into one dynamic space could be considered a need as well. Additional features such as vaulted ceilings and a basement rec room could be classified as “wants” if you know you’ll be fine without them.

Larger Kitchen – Want or Need?

If preparing numerous daily meals and having family dinner every night is important to you, a large kitchen with plenty of counter space and room to move around is certainly a need. This feature is common in open-concept designs, especially those offered by Hallmark. Many of our new construction home designs feature spacious kitchens which overlap into the great room and dining areas — offering plenty of room for cooking, gathering and quality group time.

Owners Suite – Want or Need?

Many buyers look forward to purchasing a home that will reward all of their hard work with a quiet, private place for some true relaxation. If this is you, a lavish owner’s suite is definitely a need rather than a want. If you suppose you might enjoy a spa-like master bath, private sitting room and plenty of square footage for relaxation — but you are pretty sure you can do without all of that — this amenity is more of a want than a need.

Home Office – Want or Need?

If you are an independent business owner, an entrepreneur or working in any number of careers which allow you to work from home, a home office should be considered a need. If you work outside the home but you think a study might be nice for nights and weekends, this feature could be considered more of a want.

Think it Over

Essential amenities and extra features can require some practical decision making. For example, a two-car garage, laundry room, dishwasher and walk-in pantry could be considered needs. Meanwhile, a lavish owner’s suite, patio hot tub, vaulted ceilings and walk-in closets may fall more under the “I want it but I can live without it” category. These decisions may require a family discussion, but in some cases, you may be able to get all the features you desire.

Hallmark Can Help you Have Everything You Want and Need in Your New Home

Deciding what features and amenities your future home will include is an important part of the buying process. Contact us to learn more about properties which can include every feature you need, as well as the amenities you want.

Tips to Choose a Good Floor Plan for Your Lifestyle

Categories: Floor Plans, Home Buying Tips | Posted: August 25, 2021

There are more options today than ever before when it comes to home designs and layouts. Depending on the size of your family, future plans, individual needs, personal preferences and your unique sense of style, you can fine-tune your home’s floor plan to perfection.

Take Into Account the Size of Your Family

If you are raising children and have more on the way, a large, multi-story floor plan with plenty of bedrooms could be the right choice for you. Hallmark Homes Group specializes in expansive layouts that can include up to three or four rooms on the bedroom level. These areas of the floor plans also include two, three and even four bathrooms so that everyone in the family can enjoy convenience along with plenty of privacy. Plus, many of these modern layouts feature a main level study which can be customized into a guest suite for visiting family, friends or older kids who are home from school.

Enjoy Luxury at Home

As a hardworking homeowner, you can choose a floor plan with a luxurious master suite that is designed as a private retreat from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. These in-home amenities include large, spa-like bathrooms, walk-in closets, linen storage, dual vanity sinks, large showers and bathtubs, spacious sleeping quarters and areas with tray ceilings. Additionally, if you are shopping for new homes in Bucks County, you could opt to customize your master bedroom on the first floor with a private owner’s suite sitting area that overlooks a scenic outdoor space.

Have Your Master Bedroom on the Ground Floor

Another layout option for the owner’s quarters (that cater to privacy) is to choose a floor plan with a first floor master suite. This option is especially useful if you do not wish to walk up and down the stairs every day. With this layout option, you can have immediate access to your sleeping area while the second level contains the kids bedrooms and any other particular type of household noise. In the case of the Harrison side entry model at Mill Ridge, this option dedicates an entire wing of the ground floor to the master quarters and includes a huge walk-in closet, a large luxury bath and a private study suite.

Should You Opt for an In-Law Suite?

As baby boomers age, many families choose to have other members of the extended family move in with them rather than into an assisted living facility. This is especially true with large, close knit families who want their kids to be able to bond with the older generation. A first floor master suite can be designed as living quarters for your in-laws or a beloved aunt or uncle. Customizations can include special bathroom safety features, plenty of walk-in closet space and a bay window for a serene view of the backyard.

How Often Are You Entertaining Guests?

Depending on your recreational choices and home entertainment preferences, you can choose a layout with plenty of shared spaces for family movie nights and larger gatherings of guests for special events. Some of Hallmark’s floor plans include an open-concept layout which have overlapping areas on the first floor. This option blends the dining area, family room, kitchen and foyer into one extended space with a spacious feel that truly maximizes the interior square footage with useful areas rather than an unnecessary wall that takes up space and hinders verbal communication. Plus, these layouts include first floor dining areas and living rooms which can be customized and reimagined into private screening rooms, gaming areas or arts and crafts spaces.

Choosing the floor plan that is right for your family and lifestyle is an important part of the home buying process. Contact us to learn more about modern layouts and designs which can be tailored for your families specific needs.

Top Four Reasons to Move to Bucks County, PA

Categories: Bucks County, Home Buying Tips, New Homes in Bucks County, Things to do in Bucks County | Posted: May 7, 2021

If you are thinking of relocating to southeastern Pennsylvania, consider the many advantages of living in the suburbs north of Philadelphia in beautiful Bucks County!

This semi-rural region offers a variety of benefits and advantages for busy families and working professionals. The area is ideal for folks who want to be near the city for business but prefer to live far enough away to experience the outdoors. Residents can explore the many historical and cultural attractions while enjoying plenty of modern amenities such as dining, shopping and entertainment.

Commute to Philadelphia With Ease

Growing neighborhoods in this area are being built by renowned companies such as Hallmark Homes Group and are becoming some of the best places to live in Bucks County, PA. These emerging communities are located near major travel routes, so residents of new homes in Bucks County can easily commute to Philadelphia — which is only a hop, skip and a jump away.

Not only will your commute be a breeze, but you will be so close to so much else! The Delaware River and other surrounding areas offer excellent fishing, kayaking and other water related fun. You will never be far from the Poconos if you want to hit the slopes. And, let’s not forget, you won’t be too far from the exquisite beauty of the New Jersey Shore.

There is a lot of Great Things to do in Bucks County PA

Many of the Hallmark neighborhoods are being built near open space areas which are specifically designed for the enjoyment of residents. Folks who cherish their daily stroll through nature may find this one of the best reasons to move to Bucks County, PA. The Peace Valley Nature Center offers birdwatching, springtime flower blooms and observation of wildlife habitats. Meanwhile, dozens of hiking trails and picnicking areas are available at Nockamixon State Park, throughout the Bucks County Parks and Recreation Department and many other local destinations.

Discover Bucks County Destinations,  Yesterday and Today

This part of Pennsylvania is rich with historical and cultural attractions. People with an interest in the heritage of the region can travel back in time by visiting places such as the Davis Library of the American Revolution, the Mercer Museum, Fonthill Castle and many more. Meanwhile the Michener Museum celebrates a world-class collection of paintings, sculptures and photography and right outside Bucks County in neighboring Montgomery County, the Wings of Freedom Aviation Museum tells the story of winged flight from inception to modern times.

Enjoy World Class Entertainment & Dining Right in Your Backyard

Although the region features plenty of room to roam and breathe, every modern amenity is within a few minutes of each Hallmark community. Residents can enjoy world class entertainment such as events at the Bucks County Symphony Orchestra and the Bristol Riverside Theater. A variety of dining destinations present diverse cuisine including Chinese, Italian, American, Seafood and Japanese and a large collection of local microbreweries offer the local take on a time-tested endeavor. Plus, shopaholics will love the wide array of shopping centers, factory outlets and quaint boutiques along small town main streets.

Moving is an exciting time when families can enjoy the many benefits of an ideal neighborhood. Contact us to learn more about new homes in an area of Pennsylvania that truly has it all.

8 Important Steps to Take When Buying a New Home in Bucks County

Categories: Bucks County, Bucks County Homes, Home Buying Tips, New Homes in Bucks County | Posted: January 15, 2021

For many homebuyers, purchasing a new home is a big event. As you begin looking for a builder and thinking about the perfect design, there are several steps to familiarize yourself with so that you are ready for this exciting adventure.

 

As a future homeowner, it is good to know a few things about modern floor plans, interior design terms, project timelines and financial planning. It is also important to choose a trusted, reputable company to work with such as Hallmark Homes Group. Once you are set in these areas, you can look forward to customizing the layout of your house and planning a finished product that will fulfill all of your living needs.

1. See the Big Picture

At this phase, you will need to get specific about what sort of a home you are looking for in terms of how many bedrooms and bathrooms, kitchen size, whether you want lots of “shared” family areas, recreation rooms, guest quarters, luxury features for the master suite, outdoor deck, home office, finished basement and more. An ideal builder will have a diverse array of layouts and floor plans and they will be flexible if you wish to alter certain design aspects to better suit your needs. Once you find a suitable floor plan and an accommodating builder, you can then fine tune the layout to perfection.

2. Clarify the Features

A reputable builder will have model homes which you can tour in order to experience the layout and get an idea of what your finished house will feel like. At this phase, you can clarify which features in the model home are standard and which are upgrades. These can vary in appearance and aesthetic and include things such as appliances, countertops, flooring, plumbing fixtures, lighting fixtures, security hardware, electronic components, luxury master suite details and more. Your preferences may determine the overall price of the finished home — so it is important to discuss the fine details with the company representative.

3. Question Quality

When shopping for a Bucks County new home builder, you will want to look into the types of  materials being used by each company. You should be aware of the top-rated names in components such as flooring, countertops, roofing materials, plumbing fixtures and appliances. Also, quality materials play an important role in energy efficiency. These components include exterior doors, windows and insulation materials. A discussion with a company representative can give you valuable insight into the quality of the finished product.

4. Understand Scheduling

Just as the ideal company should accommodate your custom floor plan, you should also be flexible when it comes to the timeline of your build. The reason for this is that building new homes in Bucks County, just like everywhere else, involves numerous teams of specialized tradespeople, company representatives and building inspectors. Each phase of the construction process depends on the current team finishing their work and being approved before the next step can begin. This process is susceptible to delays due to bad weather, materials being held up in shipping and personnel issues.

5. Add it All Up

When working out your current finances and buying budget, it is essential to take an “all-inclusive” approach. This involves accounting for all of your routine expenditures so that you can comfortably make your monthly mortgage payments while fulfilling other financial obligations. It is essential to note that in addition to your mortgage, there are likely to be other recurring fees such as homeowner’s association (HOA) dues, insurance, quarterly property taxes and utility bills. At this phase, you should be aware that there are many types of financing available depending on your financial profile. You may qualify for creative financing through your builder’s preferred lenders from programs sponsored by the FDA, USDA and/or the VA.

6. Know Your Builder

When purchasing a new construction home, it is a good idea to look into the company, their previous work and their reputation among the community at large. A top-rated company, such as Hallmark, will have plenty of model homes to tour, company representatives to meet with and glowing reviews on their website. When researching the company, be sure to read the testimonials from satisfied customers, scroll through the suite of gorgeous floor plans and to look over their series of breathtaking neighborhoods.

7. Fine Tune the Finish

Once you have partnered with the right team of building professionals, it is time to determine the fine details and exact specifications of how your new home will look and feel. This can be based on your personal preferences in style and design, and on what you determined which features are standards, which are upgrades and what your budget will accommodate. Features to think about here are paint color (different schemes in each room or a consistent theme throughout the house), built-in shelves, wood beam ceiling trim, appliances, cabinets, molding, flooring, luxury bathroom upgrades, etc.

8. Walk Through and Approve

The final phases of your building project will require a hands-on, teamwork approach between you and your company representative. As your unique selection of custom features are being installed, you can inspect the work at the separate phases of completion of the walls, floors, lighting, windows, doors, cabinets, countertops, tiled areas, and plumbing fixtures. Also, this phase will require that you review the exterior characteristics which you may have requested to be customized such as landscaping, driveways and sidewalks. At this time, you will also have the opportunity to point out any minor details you would like fixed, changed or fine-tuned. These are then written out on a “punch list” and given to the builder to complete before you move in. At this point, you have reached what is known as “substantial completion,” and you can look forward to closing on the property.

 

Knowing the numerous phases of the homebuying process can help you have a successful, smooth experience. Contact us to learn more about building your ideal custom home.

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.

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!

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.

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