3 Considerations When Buying a Custom Home

custom homesHome ownership is at the very heart of the American dream. Taking a piece of land and making it your own, creating a space where you can raise your family is central to the idea of what it means to be an American.

New custom homes have long been seen as the best possible way to fulfill this dream. In fact, according to Zillow, 48% of home buyers prefer a home that has never been lived in; they want something untouched, something that they can truly shape to their own vision.

If this notion is appealing to you, then we have some tips to help you better realize your vision. We have put together several of the most important considerations for you to keep in mind when search through custom homes.

  1. Green Highlights
    Whether or not you believe in an environmental imperative for sustainable materials and greener appliances, there can be no debate that they are a great way to reduce the cost of your monthly electricity bill.

    Choices as small as a design that emphasizes passive cooling and Energy Star appliances to full out solar panels and geothermal wells, making sustainable choices can greatly improve the energy independence of luxury homes.
  2. Floor Plan
    Do you prefer an open floor plan or do you like each room to have its own identity? While the battle is still being waged on cable real estate shows, if you are looking at new houses, then it is important that you know what sort of layout you might want.

    The best way to make this decision is to consider hosting a party. Do you want a large gathering of people, all chattering and hobnobbing with some music playing in the background? Or do you prefer a more intimate environment, ruled by conversation?
  3. School Districts
    Whether or not you are a parent, the school district you belong to can have a large effect on your experience in a given neighborhood. From taxes to the behavior of your local neighborhood children, schools play an important role in the way a community comes together.

While buying a new home is an exciting and rewarding experience, it can also be difficult if you haven’t thought through your options. Hopefully, this guide will help you when looking for custom homes.

Looking To Buy A Kid-Friendly Home? Keep These Tips In Mind

real estateIf you’re getting ready to buy your first family home, you’re certainly in good company. Realtor.com recently predicted that 61% of homeowners in 2017 will be under the age of 35. Whether you’re a couple planning to raise a family or you’ve already added children to your brood, there are certain considerations to keep in mind when looking at houses for sale. For many, kid-friendly features are a must. Here are a few things to keep in mind to ensure your final real estate purchase will work for your family.

  • It needs to fit your lifestyle
    When it comes to family-friendly real estate, size matters. This is especially true if you may expand your family in the near future or plan to stay in your first home for the long haul. While there are bound to be new homes that offer more space than you might realistically need at present, remember to keep your future requirements in mind. With one or two extra people (even small ones), that charming kitchen might seem a bit too cramped. Having a dedicated room for play and an outdoor space may be of particular importance. So too are having a laundry room, mud room, and storage and closet space for many families. If you’re buying a new home, you don’t want to outgrow it within a year or two. Think of both the present and the future before signing on the dotted line.
  • Your home needs to be safe
    Another primary concern when buying a new home is the safety of your family. Many families prefer an open floor plan that allows them to keep an eye on their children no matter where they are on the first floor. For others, steep stairs, pools, and non-fenced-in yards may present big problems, especially with young children. You should carefully inspect any home you look at and identify potential hazards before ever making an offer. In addition, you’ll want to extend your gaze beyond the property itself: is it in a quiet neighborhood, or are you adjacent to a busy street? Are there lots of other families around? What about the proximity to hospitals, firehouses, and police stations? While you might not immediately think of these factors, they should play a part in your decision-making. Isolated neighborhoods without other kids or in high-traffic areas may not work for your family.
  • The neighborhood should meet your standards
    You can tell a lot from an area from how it makes you feel when you arrive. Aside from traffic and other families, you’ll need to think about location in your real estate search. If you already have kids or plan to, school districts are often a top priority. You may also want to think about how far the home is from reputable day care centers, sports leagues, and other activities you plan to participate in. Finally, you need to examine whether the neighborhood is walkable. If it’s centrally located near shops, restaurants, and entertainment, the area may be able to work for the entire family.

 
Is your family just beginning your search for Hopewell real estate? Stony Brook Estates can provide a sense of community and luxury that may fit all of your needs. For more information, get in touch with us today.

4 Tools To Help Gage a Neighborhood’s Walkability

homeWalkability is an important issue for many first time home buyers. It allows people to stay active and reduce the amount of money spend on transportation costs. It also helps to foster a stronger sense of community and increases local engagement.

But how exactly do you decide whether a neighborhood is walkable when looking for a new home? After all, more than six in ten adults, or 63%, will move into a new community at least once in their lives, oftentimes in pursuit of a job or fresh start. Even the 37% who never leave their hometowns might not be entirely familiar with every neighborhood in town.

If you are looking at a new neighborhood and want to understand if it is a walkable space, then here are some of the key factors to look for.

A Center
Whether it is your small town main street, city hall, or public space such as a park or other venue, a walkable town should extend from an epicenter. This can be tricky, as some towns will have a main street that is not really the center of the town. In order to determine this one, ask yourself: does this feel like the town is growing out of this point, or is development scattered between several disconnected points.

People AND Businesses
This might seem obvious, but without enough people to keep businesses growing, then there won’t be enough to support a walking community. It is also important to notice that a healthy mix of people from a number of backgrounds is also an important factor in walkability.

Public Spaces
If the only places available for people to gather and relax are businesses, then the neighborhood will be less likely geared towards community and walkability. Public spaces allow residents to gather regardless of income and situation.

Pedestrian Friendly Design
Again, some of this is obvious: if there are no sidewalks, then the neighborhood is not safely walkable. But other parts are subtle. While driving through a neighborhood look to see where the parking lots are located. If the buildings are set back from the street with the lot in front, then drivers are clearly the neighborhood’s priority.

When buying a new home, walkability is an important factor to remember. Many luxury houses and tracks are constructed in areas that, while beautiful, require a car to travel to even the most mundane destinations.

Stony Brook Estates offer the most walkability for any Princeton new homes for sale. Contact us today to learn more.

Should You Rent Or Buy a New Home?

luxury homesA new house is the desire of many Americans it seems, with Zillow reporting that nearly half (48%) of buyers are looking for homes that have never been lived in. New houses may be the most desired in real estate unless you’re eyeing one of many luxury homes. But you don’t need to browse luxury homes to find a good one, there are all sorts of real estate options.

Instead of buying a home, consider renting one. Renting may seem less desirable than owning a home of your own, but there are a lot of benefits. One of which being that renting doesn’t require a down payment, just a security deposit. You also don’t have to worry about real estate taxes, or maintenance costs and repair bills.

Each one of these benefits has a tremendous upside, especially since they save you money in the long term. The lack of a mortgage on top of paying taxes on your property, and all the costs that go into keeping a home in good shape, all pay off.

But what about the reverse?

Owning a home is a great investment. Homes can appreciate in value with the more work you put into them. Adding things like a new roof, siding, doors, and other general improvements to the structure give a significant return on investment over the homes life-time. In fact, real estate is one of the many suggested paths people take when they have enough money to invest because renting out properties nets a good return.

There’s also the benefit of that home being yours to do with as you please. You can change all the aspects of the home, with no need to ask a landlord or to ask about restrictions. Do you want to add a new HVAC system? Go ahead. New bathroom? You can, it’s your home. Your property. You can’t do the same with a rented home, not without the homeowners express permission.

So while renting a home definitely has its benefits, so too does owning one. You don’t need to have a luxury home to have a home, you just need to make the one you do decide on feel like a home.

If you have any questions about renting versus owning a home, or just questions about real estate in general, contact us. We’ll be happy to help.

3 Critical Questions To Ask Yourself Before Buying A Home

homeWhen it comes to the idea of buying a new home, many people are not sure if it’s the right move for them. Buying a home is a huge investment. That being said, it’s critical to make sure you’re ready to take on such a challenge. And while most estate sales last for three days, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, estate sales are not usually the best method to buy a home. If you’re considering taking the leap to buy a home, here are some important questions to ask yourself.

  1. If you bought a home, would you stay for at least five years?
    Buying is often the most efficient option if you plan to stay in your home for at least five years. Experts say that five years is the average time that makes you more likely to regain what you paid in transaction costs in addition to generating a return on your investment.
  2. Can you cover the extra expenses of owning?
    Many people miscalculate the actual cost of purchasing a home. Most banks want a 20% down payment, and while the down payment will inevitably be your biggest expense, it’s important to keep in mind that you’ll also need to cover 5% to 6% for commissions and another 1% for closing costs. On top of that, maintenance costs are recurring and can hit you with some hefty bills. This can be difficult to manage, especially if the costs are last-minute and unexpected, but experts estimate an annual maintenance cost of between 1% and 4% of your home’s value, depending on the age of your home.
  3. How secure is your job?
    Before you start looking for new homes, it’s critical to examine your current employment situation. How long have you been there? Is your current salary enough to afford a home? Is there any chance that you could lose your job due to the company going bankrupt or being sold? Are you planning on looking for a new job anytime soon? These are all critical questions to ask yourself before you make the plunge and buy a home. Because a home isn’t something you buy at the store and can simply return if you don’t like it. Once you buy it, it’s yours.

Ultimately, buying a home is one of the biggest decisions you’ll ever make in your life, and it’s crucial to do all the research you can. For more information about luxury real estate, contact Stony Brook.