What to Look for in a New Neighborhood

custom homesIf you’re looking into new custom homes, you have to make sure you’re considering more than just the home and the property you’d be buying. The neighborhood you’d be living in is an important factor to consider before making a purchase. After all, what’s the point of living in an amazing home that’s in a not-so-amazing neighborhood? So consider the following factors when looking for a new neighborhood.

Commute time: No matter how much you love a home, you’re going to quickly regret buying it if you have a two-hour commute to work every day. This is why it’s important to consider commute times before you buy a home. While you certainly don’t have to be living on the same street as your work building, you shouldn’t have a terrible commute either.

Walkability: While you can drive or take public transportation when necessary, it’s nice to live in an area that is near civilization. Walkability is something to consider when looking at neighborhoods — are there local amenities just a few minutes from the new homes you’re considering? If so, this is definitely a positive.

Nearby amenities: Speaking of local amenities, it’s important to consider what kind of amenities and conveniences are nearby. Grocery stores, shopping malls, and entertainment are all things you may want to live near. This way, you don’t have to spend hours in the car to have a day out with the family.

School districts: If you have, or are planning on having, kids, you must consider the school district you’d be living in. Not only is it important to have a good school district for your kids, but the value of custom homes could be impacted by up to 20% based on the quality of the school district they’re in. So make sure you check out the school district and make sure it’s good for your kids and your new house.

Home market: When you’re looking for custom homes, affordability is something that is going to be a major deciding factor. So when you’re looking at neighborhoods, make sure you ask yourself whether or not you truly can afford to live there. So make sure you understand the market trends and property values before you buy.

It’s important to not get so caught up in the home-buying process that you neglect to consider the neighborhood. Keep these few factors in mind and you’re sure to be living in the perfect neighborhood, and home, in no time at all.

Planning Ahead: How To Choose The Right Style For Your Home Plan

modern home plansAccording to data recorded by Zillow, 48% of home buyers are looking for homes that have never been lived in, and the sure way to achieve that is by building a custom home. You’ll have everything tailored to exactly what you want, but sometimes the hardest part is knowing where to begin. First, you will have to sift through the different home floor plans and decide which style you want to be the basis for your home.

Traditional Home Plans

The traditional style is the most commonly built style of home in the United States and Canada as it is suited to all family sizes and stages of life. These homes are typically built as one-story ranches or two-story homes. The exterior design can be based on a wide range of architectural styles throughout history but typically feature simple rooflines, covered entries, and at least one front-facing gable. Functionality is the most important part of a traditional floor plan. As these homes are often catered to family life, the following plans are typical of the traditional style:


  • An open floor plan with a kitchen that overlooks the family room.


  • A great room that serves as a central and functional gathering area.


  • A kitchen with a large meal prep area and walk-in pantry.


  • A home office for the work-at-home parent.


Modern Home Plans

As a response to the styles that were popular during the Industrial Revolution in the late 1800s, modern home plans are usually found between 1900 and 1950. That being said, the modern style contains a wide range of styles and features within it. Key characteristics of the modern style and its subdivisions include:


  • Large windows that create an expansive space and allow plenty of natural light.


  • Simple over ornate styling.


  • A boxy exterior design.


  • Whitewashing the interior and/or exterior surfaces.


  • A strong sense of structure, including using exposed support beams.


  • Using materials such as steel and concrete.

Overall, modern homes are based in minimalism. They value the concept that creating simple looks can be extremely difficult. Modern home plans are focused on order and consistency, so if that reflects your values as a homeowner, a modern style might be right for you.

Contemporary Home Plans

A contemporary home plan is a very flexible design style, as it is based in anything of the present design moment. While it is related to the modern style and born of its innovation, the contemporary style is more forward-thinking and inventive for today’s home needs with these common features:


  • Large windows and high ceilings to let in plenty of natural light, making contemporary similar to modern in this way.


  • Displaying natural materials in windows and ceilings, which distinguishes it from modern styles.


  • Softened elements like a curved ceiling.

As contemporary home plans differ so much from home to home, it is difficult to pinpoint many common features, but they all are based on a feeling of playfulness. If you aren’t afraid of throwing different and fun elements into your floor plan, then a contemporary home plan may suit your home perfectly.

With the right floor plan, your custom built home will speak to your aesthetic style while also providing the right level of functionality in a new home for your family.

3 Mistakes to Avoid When Building a Custom Home

custom homeBuilding a custom home is a great way to ensure you get exactly what you want in your new home. But building a home is also a long and complex process. Because it can be easy to make mistakes along the way, let’s look at a few common mistakes you should try to avoid.

Thinking short-term: If you’re taking the time, money, and effort to build a custom home, chances are, you’re going to be in this home for quite a long time. If you plan on staying in your new home well into your elderly years, there are some important factors to keep in mind. First off, you should keep mobility in mind. Things like narrow doorways and elevated porches may be a problem in the future. Additionally, it’s important to think about your space requirements long-term. Are you going to have elderly parents moving in with you? Or have a college graduate move back in? These are important things to keep in mind when deciding how many bedrooms, bathrooms, and storage areas you’ll want in your home.

Skipping energy-efficient features: When it comes to choosing appliances and amenities, you should consider choosing energy-efficient models when possible. Energy-efficient features, like fridges and windows, can save homeowners a lot of money over time. So instead of settling for mediocre appliances and amenities right off the bat, why not consider energy-efficient models right away? While they can be a little more expensive upfront, they can help you save a significant amount of money down the line. So not only will you get to enjoy fancy, new appliances, but you’ll be saving energy, and money on energy bills, at the same time.

Not hiring a contractor: One of the biggest mistakes people make when building custom homes is thinking they can handle the project themselves. However, trying to build new custom homes without the help of a contractor can be extremely difficult. Contractors can help with a lot of important tasks, like estimating costs, obtaining permits, and ordering materials. And if you’re like the 34% of recent homebuyers who were looking to avoid renovations and plumbing or electrical issues, then you’re going to need a contractor to help spot potential problems along the way. Overall, hiring a contractor will make the process of building your custom built home go smoothly.

Hopefully, this article helped shed some light on what not to do when building your new home. If you keep these tips in mind, the process of building your home should go as smoothly as possible.

Win Big When You Downsize Your Home

custom homesWhen you begin to consider floor plans and square footage for future custom homes, you may be thinking “the bigger, the better.” But in today’s society, bigger doesn’t always necessarily mean better. This is especially true for homeowners who are looking to save on home expenses or are new empty nesters. So, downsizing may actually be the way to go. There are numerous benefits that downsizing to a smaller home can offer, and this article is going to discuss a few of the most important.

Decreased energy use: When it comes to building and buying new custom homes, many buyers are interested in reducing their energy use and expenses. In fact, 48% of buyers looking at new homes cite “energy-efficiency” as the top feature they’re looking for. Well, one of the great things about downsizing is using less energy. When homeowners switch from big homes to smaller custom built homes, they’ll be able to significantly reduce their carbon footprint and energy costs, especially if they invest in energy-efficient appliances, too. But overall, a smaller space means using less energy to heat and cool the home.

More space optimization: Many people design and build their custom homes with spaces for guests. Whether you have grandchildren, friends, or in-laws in mind, this extra space often results in nothing but extra headaches. Things like guest spaces, entertainment areas, and big dining rooms for holiday meals are often primary thoughts when designing the layout of a home. But what about those day-to-day activities? Homeowners who design their home around other people may find that there are some areas in their home that they rarely use. But when you downsize, you know you’re going to use every inch of your new luxury home. No more wasted space, and no more cleaning unused rooms. Planning for frequent use will allow for the space in the home to be fully, and creatively, optimized.

Closer community: Big homes are often located on big lots of land. And while having land is certainly a desirable luxury, it can make it difficult to get to know your next door neighbors. Now, small houses don’t necessarily have to be on small lots of land. But building on land that puts you closer to your neighbors can be a great way to really be involved in the community. Many homeowners enjoy the presence of their neighbors and become close with the surrounding community. While this is not impossible to do with bigger luxury homes, it may be easier when downsizing to a smaller home.

These are just a few of the many benefits of downsizing to a smaller home. With more space utilization, less energy use, and being able to be part of a tight-knit community, there are very few downsides to downsizing.

3 Smart Tips For Examining A School District Before You Move

new homesHere’s a shocking statistic: the value of a home can be affected as much as 20% based on the quality of the school district. That’s just one reason it’s critical to evaluate the quality of a school district before you move, regardless of whether or not you actually have children. While it’s not always easy to determine the overall quality of any given school district, there are a number of tips you can keep in mind to help make the process easier so you can confirm your move and start looking at new homes. Here are just a few school-smart tips for examining a district before you move.

Look at After School Programs
Since you probably won’t be able to take a walkthrough of any schools within the district themselves, what you can do is look at the quality of their after school programs. This is an important step that can reveal more than you might think about the school’s budget and academic priorities.

“After school programs invite students to participate in a variety of activities after the official school day has ended. In most cases, they are held at the school, but sometimes, activities are held elsewhere, such as a library, park, or community center. Programs often include sports, performing arts, creative arts, academic environment, outdoor education, and financial literacy options,” writes Updater.

Remember That Numbers Don’t Lie
Numbers and statistics aren’t everything, but they certainly carry a lot of weight when it comes to determining school district quality in relation to real estate. Start by looking at the student to teacher ratios in all the schools in the district. Then, look at a public database to get an idea of the district’s standardized test scores. It may seem a bit over the top, but it’s a secret that can really pay off.

Moving can inevitably be a long and drawn out process, so there’s no need to spend too much time checking out the school district. Still, it’s helpful to know that you have more power than you think to choose an area that prioritizes education and helps to raise the value of any new homes you’re considering. For more information about custom built homes or how to find the luxury home of your dreams, contact Stony Brook.

3 Home Floor Plan Mistakes to Avoid

luxury estate homesBuying a new home is an exciting, yet stressful time. If you’re planning your own custom built home, you may be having a difficult time figuring out the perfect floor plan. The floor plan of a home is one of the most important aspects. And with 34% of people who recently bought a new home saying they were looking to avoid renovations and plumbing or electrical problems, having the perfect layout means no future renovations. So how do you decide on the perfect floor plan? To help you get started, let’s talk about a few things not to do.

Not considering your lifestyle: Many homeowners fail to consider their lifestyle when they’re planning the layout of their home. For example, if you’re planning on using the backyard area a lot, make sure it’s easily accessible from a common area in the house. And if you’re someone who likes to entertain on a regular basis, you may want to consider a more open floor plan. It’s important to consider how you’re going to use the house when deciding on a floor plan.

Forgetting about function: Function is key when planning the layout of luxury estate homes. Unfortunately, what looks good on paper doesn’t always work out so well in real life. Because of this, it’s important to consider your daily routines and how you’re going to be using the house. Is the dining room too far away from the kitchen? Do you have a bathroom that will be easily accessible for guests? These are important questions to ask yourself.

Leaving out storage: When people are working on the floor plan for their luxury estate homes, they often leave out one important detail: storage. New homes nowadays often have an uneven distribution of space, meaning there’s too much space used somewhere that doesn’t really need that much space. So instead of allocating space to a great, big corridor, make sure you have enough space for plenty of storage throughout your home. Without storage areas, you won’t have anywhere to put all of your belongings.

New custom homes allow you to design your home to fit your lifestyle and needs. So to avoid having a floor plan you end up hating, make sure you think about how you’ll be able to go about your daily routines in your new home.

Designing a Custom Home: What Really Matters?

new custom homesWhen it comes to designing and building new custom homes, there are a lot of important factors to consider. This is especially true if you’re one of the 32% of people who are looking at buying their first home. Designing a home can be overwhelming and it can be a long process. However, time and patience will pay off in the end. During the planning process, it’s important to understand what truly matters in a home’s design. While aspects like layout and location are what first come to mind, there’s much more that goes into designing a home. This article is going to talk about three key design aspects all homeowners and builders should consider when designing new custom homes.

Storage: While many homeowners spend a lot of time thinking about each and every room of their home, they sometimes forget to incorporate storage space into their design plans. One of the best things about custom built homes is that homeowners are truly in control of how they use space. So it’s important to talk to your home builder about utilizing empty space for storage and how much storage area you want in each room. This will come in handy when it’s time to order cabinets, vanities, and dressers.

Functionality: Luxury homes should have a design that maximizes functionality. Functionality plays a key role in being able to enjoy your home for years to come. Deciding what you like or don’t like about how homes are designed is a great way to ensure you’ll be living comfortably in your new home. Things like the proximity of the dining room to the kitchen and the number of bathrooms in relation to how many people are living in the house are all key functionality decisions that need to be made carefully.

Lighting: Natural lighting is one aspect of designing new custom homes that people often forget about. While artificial lighting can provide light and aesthetics to a home, there’s nothing quite like natural lighting. Because of this, it’s important to think about where you want the most lighting in the house. The kitchen, living room, and bedrooms are all great places to incorporate natural lighting into the design.

Hopefully, this article gave you some insight into important design aspects you should consider when planning your future home. With the right layout and functionality, your new home will be comfortable and enjoyable for many years.

Choosing a Home Builder: Where to Start

custom built homesAccording to Zillow, 48% of homebuyers look for new homes that have no previous owners. Because of this, custom built homes are becoming more and more popular choices. A custom home is a great way to ensure your home is exactly what you need and want. And to make this happen, you need to find a reputable builder to take on the project. This article is going to discuss a few ways to choose a home builder.
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Custom Home Market Continuing to Expand

luxury homesIf you’re considering building or buying a home this year, custom seems to be the way to go. According to Builder Magazine, the market for custom homes is continuing to expand. Despite a recent focus on entry-level homes throughout the housing industry, demand for custom luxury homes has been steady in recent years. Both owners and contractors are continuing to invest in property that allows them to build a custom design.

Custom luxury homes can offer homeowners immense benefits. From being a cost-effective solution to allowing homeowners to choose every detail, custom homes are being more and more popular. If you do decide to go the custom home route, there are a few things you should determine before making a final decision. Let’s take a look at a few things homeowners should think about in order to decide if a custom home is the right choice.

Do you have the right budget? Before you even begin planning a new home, you need to create a budget. In doing this, you can ensure you’ll be able to afford the home you want. Additionally, a budget will allow you to be able to pay for any unforeseen emergencies during the home building process. Many homeowners get too excited and go through their available funds too fast. It’s important to determine your financial situation before making a final decision.

Where do you want your new home to be located? There are a lot of factors to consider when determining your desired location. Unfortunately, 52% of homebuyers say that finding the right property is the most difficult aspect when buying a home. While it may be difficult, it’s important to not settle for something you don’t want. The neighborhood, school district, and daily commute can all be contributing factors to your final decision.

Do you have the time and patience needed to build a custom home? Custom built homes are a big commitment. You need to be ready to dedicate a lot of time to plan every aspect of the home. Additionally, custom luxury homes have a slower building process to make sure the house is constructed to your exact wants and needs. If you don’t have the patience or time to wait for a custom home, it might not be right for you.

If you do decide a custom home is the right option for you, it’s important you work with qualified, experienced contractors. Custom homes require a lot of planning and you want a contractor who will take the time to understand your wants and needs and give you a home you can truly be happy with.

Looking to Buy a New Home? Make Sure You Implement Energy Efficient Features

luxury homeWhen it comes time to look for a new home, more and more people are choosing custom luxury homes. With all of the options a custom home offers, buyers can ensure their new home has the features that mean the most to them. One popular feature people look for in a new home is environmentally friendly options. In fact, 48% of buyers looking at new luxury homes cite “energy-efficient” as their most desired quality. If you’re looking for a new home, this article is going to discuss a few reasons why you should consider energy efficient features.
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