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Blog Category - New Homes in Bucks County

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.

New Homes in Bucks County are Surrounded by a World of Holiday Wonder

Categories: Bucks County, New Homes in Bucks County, Things to do in Bucks County | Posted: December 28, 2020

As wintertime settles in, Bucks County residents look forward to celebrating the season at a variety of exciting, holiday-themed, family-friendly attractions. The festivities kick off in November and continue through the New Year — offering plenty of time to enjoy twinkling lights, fun characters, cozy getaways and much more. Many of these regional destinations are near neighborhoods being built by Hallmark Homes Group, making these holiday wonders just a short drive away.

Get into Character

Everyone’s favorite characters at Sesame Place are hosting A Very Furry Christmas on select dates from November 21st through January 3rd. During this time, the entire park will be decorated with thousands of colorful lights and festive ornaments. Visitors are invited to participate in the sights and sounds of the 1-2-3 Christmas Tree Show featuring an illuminated, pixel-based 30-foot tree. Train rides on the Sesame Place Furry Express are also available to take youngsters through the Twiddlebugs’ Gingerbread Cookie Factory. Plus, guests who prefer to experience the spectacle from the comfort of their own vehicles can opt for the Furry and Bright Christmas Drive-Thru featuring a trip along Candy Cane Lane, Snowflake Way and alongside the Neighborhood Street Party Christmas Parade.

Go North for the Winter

The region’s best seasonal railway adventure is held aboard the North Pole Express Train — taking guests on a holiday journey through the past in restored passenger cars from the early 20th Century. The experience is designed for modern-day coziness, as the refurbished passenger cars now feature the luxury of built-in heating. Passengers are served hot chocolate and fresh cookies — all enjoyed to the sounds of holiday songs. The journey takes guests to Santa’s workshop, where children can hand-deliver letters to St. Nick detailing their Christmas wishes while touring his toy-making factory.

Light Up the Night

Every year, Shady Brook Farm invites residents of new homes in Bucks County to their breathtaking Holiday Light Show. The production features over three million bulbs strung up into creative displays across several acres of farmland. On clear nights, visitors can experience the wonder from an open-air, tractor-drawn wagon ride. Or they can tour the grounds from the comfort of their own vehicles. The adventure features a visit with Santa, a trip down Candy Cane Lane and a chance to snuggle up and toast s’mores over a roaring campfire.

Have a Historic Celebration

Bucks County loves to celebrate famous writers with ties to the area. Every year, artists, decorators and community groups team up to create the Annual Holiday Festival of the Trees at the Pearl S. Buck House in Perkasie — a National Historic Landmark. Visitors can enjoy light displays of spectacular design and decor within the rooms of the house and throughout the property grounds.

Meanwhile, the folks at The Christmas Museum at Byers’ Choice in Chalfont have something special in store for fans of A Christmas Carol, the legendary story by Charles Dickens. They will be broadcasting — via their Vimeo channel — a performance of the work by the author’s great, great grandson, Gerald Dickens. Folks who love this timeless tale can also experience its magic through the legendary Broadway director Michael Arden via streaming video at the Bucks County Playhouse. Broadcasts feature the talents of Tony-winning virtuoso Jefferson Mays and will take place daily from November 28th through January 3rd. Proceeds will benefit the regional theatre community.

Enjoy a Cozy Stay

Bucks County offers the old-world yuletide charm of historic hotels — each with a host of unique features and delights.

  • The rustic charms of the Golden Plough Inn are perfect for a wintertime getaway for the whole family. The hotel features 67 rooms and suites imbued with colonial-era ambiance. Perched in the heart of Peddler’s Village, this location gives visitors immediate access to some of the finest seasonal treats, holiday decorations and shopping experiences in the region — including the Peddler’s Village Grand Illumination (late November through early January).
  • The Inn at Barley Sheaf Farm invites couples to enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of a secluded, romantic setting. This bed and breakfast in New Hope features 16 unique suites situated within the manor house and in the adjacent buildings situated in a 100-acre estate. Visitors can enjoy world-class elegance located near a variety of vineyards, markets and dining destinations.
  • Also located in New Hope, the Logan Inn is one of the oldest continually-operating hotels in the United States. This historic treasure offers an authentic, charming experience amid a property that takes visitors back to a simpler time. Indoor and outdoor dining is available on-site, and the location allows quick access to an array of fine shops, restaurants and breweries.

Wander through Wonderland

Feeney’s Garden Center and Nursery is one of the best resources in Bucks County for decorating a new home for the holidays. The center features 20,000 square feet of retail space that engulfs shoppers in decorative options of every sort, seasonal sparkle and Christmas lore. Holiday adventure-seekers can look forward to touring an array of themed sections, marveling at the model train display and visiting Santa among his crop of Christmas trees in the on-site greenhouse.

Stroll through the Past

Taking a seasonal jaunt through lavishly decorated estates is a great way to celebrate the wintertime holidays. Presented by the Heritage Conservancy, the Aldie Mansion in Doylestown offers tours of the historic English-style country manor. Similarly, the Bolton Mansion in Levittown (built in 1687) hosts the Holiday House — a tour featuring a towering Christmas tree, baked goodies, seasonal music, hot cider, a chance to chat with Santa and more. Meanwhile, Historic Fallingston — aka “the town that time forgot” — offers holiday-themed tours of the grounds located along the Delaware River. Visitors can stroll among the buildings of 18th Century architecture adorned in seasonal decor.

The holiday season in Bucks County is a special time for wholesome family fun. Contact us to learn more about Hallmark Homes Group — the company building the finest homes across the region.

What to Look for When Shopping for New Homes in Bucks County

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

If you’re looking to buy a new home, the best way to find the right builder is to tour their model homes. This approach allows you to experience the company’s professional craftsmanship firsthand, speak to a company representative and get an idea of how your needs can be met and applied to the design of the new home. 

First, you’ll want to know about the builder’s capabilities and how they can be applied to your situation. Next, you will want to have a few questions prepared about how the company can meet your personal preferences while fulfilling your sense of taste and style.   

Ask About Options

Some builders have a “what you see is what you get” policy — meaning they do not accommodate requests to alter a floor plan. Other companies in Bucks County, however, build new homes based on a layout that best suits the buyer. When touring model homes, it is important to find out if the company is willing to suit your family’s daily routines. Ask the sales representative if the builder will move walls where necessary and customize certain areas for special use. Also, ask to see all current floor plans so that you can explore every available option. 

Make It Yours

One of the biggest advantages to working with Hallmark is that, as a new home buyer, you are encouraged to customize to suit your living needs. This includes much more than requesting a certain color of paint for the kitchen or a specific type of wood for the floors. This company’s unique capability allows you the freedom to imagine just about any configuration of interior space you could possibly need, and lets you turn it into a reality.

Accommodate Your Family

One of the most popular customizations in a Hallmark residence is a welcoming place that your in-laws and other extended family members can call home. You can design the perfect section of the house that allows for daily interaction and personal privacy. The Mill Ridge selection of floor plans and possible options can include a private entrance, connecting interior doorways, separate kitchens and more. 

Build a Custom Home Office

For many professionals, working from home is becoming a necessity. To embrace this trend and excel at your career you can design a fully inclusive professional work suite, complete with a board room, private office, restroom, break room and separate entrance. This way, you can be completely immersed in the elements of your job minus the distractions of home and without the commute. 

Have Some Fun

Another benefit of customization is having the ability to create the ultimate space for entertaining and home recreation. Hallmark’s selection of floor plans includes spaces such as optional bedrooms, basement areas and upstairs lofts that can be pre-wired for surround-sound speakers and extra electrical circuitry to power stereos, computers, monitors, video game consoles and home theater equipment.       

Clarify Standard Features Vs. Upgrades   

A model home may be adorned from floor to ceiling with the finest wall switches, light fixtures, crown molding, surface finishes and appliances. Many times, this is a “staged” setting of custom features which may not be included in the listing price. As you tour the property, be sure to ask the company representative to specify exactly which features are standard and which are upgrades. As you inspect, remember to look closely at the craftsmanship of the countertops, cabinets, hand railings and window ledges. Chances are that your finished home from this builder will look quite similar to what you see in the model. 

Find Out What’s Included

A property that is part of a new neighborhood may come with some incredible amenities such as swimming pool access, health spa, a community gym, tennis courts, walking trails, etc. Be sure to ask what the long-term plans for the neighborhood are and what recreational features are nearby. Also, ask about what the area has to offer that suits your family’s routine demands and long-term needs such as shopping, entertainment and education.  

Have a Close Look at Quality 

When you set out to explore Bucks County, consider having a look at the new homes being built by Hallmark Homes Group. Currently, the Mill Ridge neighborhood in Chalfont is showcasing a variety of gorgeous homes with floor plans designed for growing, busy, dynamic households. Once you make an appointment to tour a model home, you will be able to see and feel the quality and workmanship that is built into the cost of a finished home. 

Take it All In

The fine details in a Hallmark finished home include the highest quality countertops, cabinets, floors, windows, doors, fixtures and much more. You will begin your tour by pulling up to a gorgeous home on an expansive plot within a private cul-de-sac. All around are rolling fields, wooded hillsides and wide stretches of manicured grass. Be sure to take note of the top-rated Energy Star siding across the entire exterior, which is adorned with a dramatic entryway, wood-trimmed eaves and large, first story floor-to-ceiling windows. Next, you will experience the look and feel of a culinary dream kitchen featuring Caesarstone countertops, state-of-the-art appliances, a spacious pantry and elegant wood flooring. Then, you’ll take a stroll through multiple floors of continuous luxury starting in a gigantic family room that leads to spacious bedrooms as well as a huge owner’s suite with an opulent master bath. 

Additionally, it is helpful to note that this community is located within the award-winning Central Bucks School District. Also, quick travel to the important regional hubs of Montgomeryville, Ft. Washington and Doylestown is easily accessed via Routes 611, 309 and 202 — all just minutes away.  

As a future homeowner, understanding what is included in the price of a house and being able to customize are important parts of the buying process. Contact us to schedule a model home tour and learn more about how customization can help you build the home of your dreams.

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

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

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

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

Take it All In

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

Fun for Kids

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

Experience the Finest

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

Discover Regional Treasures

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

Adventures for Adults

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

Learn with the Best

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

Get There Fast

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

New York City – One hour and 30 minutes

Downtown Philadelphia – 45 minutes

Harrisburg – Two hours

Princeton – 30 minutes

Atlantic City – Two hours

Poconos – One hour and 30 minutes

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

Trek Across Treasured Bridges

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

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

 

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!

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