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Blog Category - New Homes in Bucks County

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.

 

Tips for Buying a New Construction Home

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

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

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

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

Determine if New Construction is Right for You

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

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

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

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

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

Research the Builder and the Community

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

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

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

Model Homes 

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

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

Customization

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

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

Find a Good Lender

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

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

Budget for Extra Time

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

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

Communicate with Your Builder

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

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

Find Your Dream Home Today!

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

Staging Your Home

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

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

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

Create Curb Appeal

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

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

Prioritize Your Energy

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

Keep Your Home Neutral

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

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

Create a Sparkling Clean and Safe Environment

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

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

Remove Odors

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

Invest in Updated Fixtures and Paint

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

Define Every Room’s Purpose

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

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

Utilize Lighting

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

Play to the Environment and Time of Day

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

Choose the Right Finishing Touches

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

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

New Community: The Enclave at Warrington

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

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

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

The Area

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Floor Plans

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

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

The Kennedy

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

The Harrison

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

The Jackson

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

The Madison

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

The Jefferson

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

 The Roosevelt

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

The Monroe

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

Come Home to The Enclave!

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

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

Stay Safe When Moving into Your New Home in Bucks County

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

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

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

Create a Game Plan

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

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

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

Wear Appropriate Clothing

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

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

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

Have the Right Equipment

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

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

Manage Children and Pets

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

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

Use Proper Lifting Techniques

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

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

 

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

 

Eat and Stay Hydrated

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

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

Know When to Say When

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

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

Know When to Call in the Professionals

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

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

Work Smarter, Not Harder!

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

Tips for Selling Your Current Home

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

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

 

Determine Your “Why?”

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

 

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

 

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

 

Set a Realistic Timeline

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

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

 

Know Your Price

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

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

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

 

Prep Your Home

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

Putting on the Finishing Touches

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

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

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

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

 

Improve the Chances of Selling Your Home!

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

How to Choose Where You Want to Live

Categories: Bucks County, New Homes in Bucks County | Posted: June 17, 2020

When it comes to buying a new home in Bucks County, researching the area is an important step before making this big lifestyle change. There’s a lot to take into consideration including overall cost of living, job opportunities and education.

Whether you’re moving due to starting a new job here, upsizing for family needs, or just looking for a fresh start, we want to share a few tips with you on how to select an area that will best fit your lifestyle.

 

Affordability

Overall affordability is one of the most important things you should think about when looking to move to a new neighborhood. Moving encompasses a wide range of expenses, such as utilities, consumable goods and other miscellaneous costs that allow you to live life to its fullest.

Taxes are another important consideration. In addition to state income taxes, also look at local income tax and sales tax as well as any exemptions, allowed write-offs, and tax credits that you may be eligible for when relocating to a new area.

 

Employment Opportunities

Employment opportunities and the cost of living often go hand in hand. Some areas have higher concentrations of available jobs in certain industries and the rate of pay can also vary from state to state.

Carefully research and compare the job markets in the areas within Bucks County. This will allow you to find the best location within your field and enable you to maintain a good standard of life.

 

Real Estate Market

Your new home is one of the biggest investments that you’ll make. Look at the real estate market of those areas that you’re considering to determine a long-term value estimate. Websites such as Zillow and Trulia can give you a good idea of the history of housing prices in that area and allow you to intelligently gauge the future market.

If the area you’re considering has new housing and ample commercial development, this is a good sign that it’s a growing community. It could mean that the real estate market will continue to remain attractive to homebuyers for many years to come.

 

Safety

Safety should be another top priority when it comes to choosing where you want to live. Start by researching crime statistics in the local town or city you are considering in Bucks County on Google and go through the search results. If you are not satisfied with the information you find, or want to learn more, you can always pick up the phone and contact the police department for clarification. It may be the best source for safety information, especially if you are looking for specifics.

Another way to get an overall feel for the safety of a neighborhood is to visit and take a walk around the block. Pay close attention to your feelings while you’re there. Do you feel safe and secure or are you noticing certain things that cause a little bit of uneasiness?

 

Education System

If you are a parent or plan to have children, finding an ideal school district plays a huge role in the decision of where to move. Searching online to view the quality and reputation of schools is the easiest way to check if your child will receive an exceptional education. Many states will also post test results online which allows you to view how well their overall performance is.

If you or a family member will be attending college locally, look at how geographically close those institutions are to your new home. Is public transportation available, or will you have to drive to get to campus? If your children will be attending an out of state college, how close will you be to the airport?

 

Culture/Lifestyle

Each city has its own unique culture and lifestyle. Find one that best suits your personality and interests. A great way to do so is to check out the local community website or newspaper for information on events and other activities to give yourself an idea of what life is like in the community surrounding your new home.

Look at the nearby recreational activities that you and your family members will enjoy as well. For example, if you love the great outdoors, select an area that is within a reasonable driving distance to parks and hiking destinations. If you’re more into opera and the arts, look for a neighborhood in close proximity to a city with a vibrant downtown nightlife and art scene.

 

Healthcare

Excellent healthcare is essential, no matter where you live. However, if you have a family member who requires frequent healthcare visits, you might want to take a closer look at the available healthcare options in the area.

For example, families with young children who need more frequent checkups, or elderly adults in the household who require specialized care, might consider a new home that is in close proximity to the office or specialty services they visit. This will help cut down on stress and prevent long drives to appointments.

 

City Size

Do you like getting to know your neighbors? The size of the city that you choose can have an impact on your life. Generally speaking, people tend to take the time to get to know their neighbors in smaller sized cities and close-knit towns, whereas living in a large one can sometimes make you feel a bit more anonymous.

The commute time to your job or your kids’ school is another important consideration. Research how long it will take to get to both from your new home by going to Google Maps. This will help to ensure drive times are within your expectations.

 

Food

Do you enjoy eating out and taking your tastebuds on a proverbial tour of the world? If so, choose an area that has ample restaurants that offer a variety of ethnic cuisines.

If you are a gourmet chef and enjoy creating your masterpieces at home, stop in at the closest grocery store to get a feel for the produce and specialty ingredients they stock. For families who prefer fresh, organic foods, check out he area for local Farmers’ Markets and what types of foods they sell.

 

Choosing Your New Home

When it comes to choosing the perfect community for you and your family members, it’s important to learn what the area has to offer such as food options, lifestyle, culture and nearby amenities. This will help you select an area that will have the greatest impact on your quality of your life.

Stop in for a tour of any of Hallmark Homes Groups’ communities and while you’re here, take a drive to discover all of the exciting amenities that surround them.

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.

New Homes in Bucks County Offer Luxury, Location and Lifestyle

Categories: Bucks County, Luxury homes, Mill Ridge, New Communities, New Home Community, New Homes, New Homes in Bucks County | Posted: April 30, 2020

If you’re considering moving to a residential property in Chalfont, PA, Hallmark Homes Group is presenting a unique opportunity to move into a community of newly-built luxury homes. This highly-respected regional builder is known for breathtaking, spacious home designs constructed of high quality, energy-efficient materials.

Mill Ridge is a 56-acre community of 12 exclusive home sites arranged for maximum privacy and stunning views of surrounding wooded areas and preserved, natural lands. Buyers can choose from a total of seven modern home designs featuring the luxuries of state-of-the-art amenities. Plus, a number of floor plans are designed for growing families who need plenty of bedrooms, bathrooms and shared living areas.

This flourishing new Bucks County neighborhood offers the tranquility of a relaxed suburban setting that is conveniently located near major centers of commerce and industry. Better yet, nearby are school districts with award-winning facilities for all grade levels and state parks that are perfect for family-friendly outdoor fun.

This community is built along the guidelines of The Hallmark Advantage, which states, “Every home and every community that Hallmark Homes builds is of the highest quality in materials, products, design, construction, and energy-efficiency. Like our reputation for customization, our quality is a hallmark of the Hallmark name. For that reason, we use only the finest materials and finishes from the most trusted manufacturers in the industry.”

 

Move Into Excellence

Hallmark’s properties are known for their classic architectural designs built with eco-friendly expertise. Each of the Mill Ridge homes are Energy Star certified — passing a rigorous set of airtight finishing guidelines — assuring that treated warm air and conditioned cool air stays within the home during the winter and summer months, respectively.

These exquisite homes range from 2,860 to 4,371 square feet, include 2.5 to 4.5 bathrooms and are priced starting in the low $800,000s. The floor plans feature sprawling open concepts, elegant owner’s suites with walk-in closets & spacious, spa-like master bathrooms, multi-car garages, along with a list of unmatched included luxury amenities. Other features can include a two-story foyer, vaulted ceilings, a private study, optional additional bedrooms, a spacious kitchen, large windows that frame the outside scenery and upstairs laundry facilities located amid a series of well-proportioned bedrooms. Other modern features include walk-in pantry, kitchen breakfast bar, tray ceilings, double doors and more!

 

Enjoy a Tranquil Setting

The Mill Ridge neighborhood is an exclusive series of new homes for those who appreciate a serene environment, houses built with the privacy of the residents in mind, and a cohesive arrangement of lots that provide an overall sense of community. Each home sits on ample acreage for the enjoyment of open space while the surrounding wooded areas provide a nature-inspired rural environment uniting the elements in harmony.

The homes are positioned so that, from an inside perspective, residents can enjoy breathtaking vistas of the area’s diverse habitat. The neighborhood is served by a single street that ends in a cul-de-sac which provides a quiet, lightly travelled street with no bothersome daily flow of traffic. Moving into a newly-built property as unique as Mill Ridge also allows you to be one of the first families to live in the neighborhood — providing a rare opportunity to help shape your community’s unique culture.

 

Tailor to Your Tastes

Hallmark also offers a high level of customization in your new home so that the features of your home’s interior reflect your personal preferences while fulfilling your lifestyle needs. You can choose wood ceiling beams to reflect your chosen hue of hardwood flooring. Built-in shelves and nooks for books, family photos, chinaware & keepsakes and non-load-bearing walls between the kitchen can also be added. Your new home is a blank palette ready for your creative ideas.

From adding a media room or wine cellar to moving walls, Hallmark Homes Group will consider any request. Your kitchen can be equipped with your choice of modern, stainless steel appliances while the walls can feature elegant custom light fixtures. Stairway railings and second floor banisters can be topped with custom wood trim of your choosing and you can even opt for motorized chandeliers to easily change bulbs and fit your light setting of choice.

 

Commute with Convenience

These new Bucks County homes at are located near major travel routes for quick commutes to Doylestown, Ft. Washington and Montgomery Township, while Philadelphia is just under an hour away. This community allows for quick access to routes 202, 309, and 611, providing easy travel to regional shopping destinations, business centers, dining districts and healthcare facilities. You can meet all of your buying needs for groceries, clothing and houseware by skipping the big city with easy trips to nearby malls. The area is also abundant with entertainment and recreational options — including golf courses, theatres, children’s entertainment facilities and theme parks.

 

Attain Exceptional Education

This new community of homes is located within the award-winning Central Bucks and Pennridge School Districts — which offer top-tier learning for all grades including elementary, middle school and high school. Residents seeking continuing education can choose from four nearby colleges and universities specializing in a wide range of undergraduate, graduate and credit certificate programs.

 

Make Use of Additional Amenities

Families who love to enjoy the great outdoors can do so in the adequate surrounding of the properties in Mill Ridge. Bucks County is home to two exceptional state parks which offer a wide array of activities.

One of the most popular parks in southeast Pennsylvania, Lake Nockamixon State Park, features over 5,000 acres of smoke-free, kid-friendly space for hiking, fishing, camping, bicycling, horseback riding and disc golf playing, as well an as array of wintertime activities including snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, sledding, ice skating and more. Meanwhile, the nearby Peace Valley park offers 1,500 acres surrounding a large lake that is perfect for folks who love hiking, sailing, boating, fishing and more.

Moving into new Hallmark community luxury homes presents a wide array of advantages. Contact us to learn more about this one-of-a-kind residential neighborhood.

 

New Homes Enable Savings and Conservation through Energy Certified Features

Categories: Hallmark Homes Group, New Homes in Bucks County, New Homes in Montgomery County | Posted: February 15, 2019

Energy efficiency is a growing concern among homebuyers — inspiring quality builders to build homes that conserve power, save money and benefit the environment.

If you are interested in a residential property that is designed to reduce utility costs, enhance personal comfort and contribute to sustainability — consider one of the many new Hallmark homes in Bucks County and Montgomery County.

This establish homebuilder has recently achieved a new level of excellence — every newly-built homes in these communities will be Energy Star Certified. This means that these homes can save you up to 30% on monthly bills — allowing you to add up your savings while cutting down on greenhouse gas emissions.

Going Beyond Efficiency

An Energy Star Certified Hallmark home meets or exceeds the efficiency requirements established by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Every energy-based facet of construction including thermal enclosure, insulation, temperature control, water management, lighting fixtures and household appliances are verified to be in compliance by an independent testing agency.

Now, you can move into a new home in Bucks Countyor Montgomery County that has been meticulously constructed and professionally verified to provide the best in comfortable cost-effective living.

Eliminate Air Loss

The thermal enclosure of a home is the overall airtightness of every window, door and fitting that is connected to the outside air. Together, the integrity of how these components are installed preserves the indoor climate regardless of outdoor temperature. During the various stages of construction in an energy efficient house, specific methods are used to achieve an airtight structure.

Segments of ductwork for heating and cooling are installed with faultless connections, while entry points for electrical and plumbing conduit are sealed tight. Plus, high-performance windows and doors are properly anchored and set with caulking. These specialized features have built-in thermal breaks which keep the temperature outside from being conducted to the building’s interior.

Get Third Party Verification

Once the sheetrock is hung onto the framing studs and painted over, it is difficult for a buyer to determine whether or not that wall contains the proper level of insulation. An Energy Star home is inspected during construction to ensure this, and tested upon finishing to confirm.

This dynamic is achieved with partnership with an independent Home Energy Rater. Hallmark is building new homes in Bucks County and Montgomery County that are tested and verified by Energy Star. In addition to walls, this step also monitors and verifies proper insulation in floor-based power outlets, arm-level light switches and electrical junction boxes.

Breathe Clean Air

The quality of indoor air in a home is determined by the caliber of heating and air conditioning units installed by the builder. Air conditioners and furnaces draw in air from outside, treat it accordingly and distribute it throughout a structure via ductwork.

High-efficiency heating and cooling units use advanced filters to remove elements such as dust, pollen, allergens and other pollutants before sending the air throughout the home.

These modern systems are highly efficient and feature reduced levels of noise and energy use while maintaining premium performance with extended warranty coverage. Energy Star tests, rates and approves top brands that are manufactured specifically for efficiency.

Then, these units are properly installed by trained HVAC (Heating Ventilation Air Conditioning) professionals according to best practices established by leading equipment manufacturers. The result is clean, refreshing air that is affordably maintained at optimum temperatures at all times.

Avoid Moisture Damage

An integral component of an energy efficient home is a comprehensive water protection system. Not only can water damage be caused by outdoor elements such as rain, snow and irrigation — it can also occur from within the house from poorly insulated plumbing pipes and improperly installed water heaters.

All new homes in Bucks County and Montgomery County built by Hallmark feature top moisture damage prevention ratings from Energy Star.

  • Protect from Within

This energy efficient step in the building process offers the peace of mind that comes from knowing that precipitation stays outside, and when it goes from the roofing shingles to the downspouts and finally into the yard, seepage is avoided into the below-ground walls or the foundation — because they have been treated with damp-proof coating.

  • Take Preventive Measures

As plumbing is being installed, each phase of the process includes inspections from an Energy Star professional to ensure that all couplings and plumbing fixtures are securely in place. To prevent broken pipes from freezing temperatures, all conduit below ground and in contact with exterior walls are checked for proper insulation.

Also, a state-of-the-art water heater with modern energy saving features will be approved and tested once installed.

Save Money on Lighting and Appliances

Efficiency-approved fixtures, bulbs and appliances offer immediate value through modern appeal and superior performance. These features also offer long-term benefits by requiring less energy to operate which translates to a reduced carbon footprint and greater savings on monthly bills.

You can customize your new home in Bucks Countywith elegance and style by choosing lights and appliances that speak to your personal sense of design.

  • Flip the Switch

Efficiency certified fixtures and bulbs use up to 90 percent less energy than their traditional counterparts. These components can last 15 times longer than incandescent models while emitting the same amount of light from units that are hum-free.

  • Get More, Use Less

Modernizing your home with Energy Star approved refrigerators, dishwashers, ceiling fans and laundry units allows you to enjoy appliances that outperform older models while reducing energy use by up to 50 percent.

Join the Modern Age

Houses designed to use less energy while providing a superior living experience are the choice for people looking to benefit the environment and save money. Contact us to learn more about moving into a newly customized, Energy Star Certified home.

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