Archive for Home builders

What Amenities Are Luxury Home Buyers Most Interested In?

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

What amenities are most desired by home buyers who plan to spend more than $500,000 on their home? That was a question recently posed in a National Association of Home Builders’ study. Below is a graphic showing the percentage of buyers who rated each amenity as a strong preference.

What about you? Which of these amenities is most desirable to you? What amenity wasn’t on this list that surprised you? Leave your feedback in the comments section!

Why Sacramento is a Great Place to Call Home

Friday, August 23rd, 2013

Why Sacramento is a Great Place to Call Home

Home prices are rising in many markets all across the United States right now, but few places are seeing as much growth (and resulting attention) as Sacramento.  Long-time Sacramento residents find this no surprise since they’ve long known what a special place their city is. But what are some other reasons for considering this fine city as your home? If you’re considering moving to Sacramento, or you are currently renting here but are considering putting down more permanent roots, what are some reasons why the Greater Sacramento region is such a great choice? Here are a just a few quick takes on why we love this city:

  • Family Fun – Sacramento has a lot of recreational activities to offer the many families living in the region. Between the multitude of parks, museums, sports venues, and other special annual events, there is no shortage of things to do all year long!
  • Parks – Did you know that Sacramento was recently ranked number 2 in the nation for best parks by the Trust for Public Land organization? Sacramento has been praised for its easily accessible, roomy and well-equipped parks. Local favorites include McKinley Park in East Sacramento, William Land Park in the Land Park neighborhood, and downtown’s Capitol Park. Why not visit these parks and see for yourselves why they are so beloved by Sacramento residents?
  • Dining – One of Sacramento’s hidden gems is its restaurant scene, particularly in the downtown area. Our restaurants offer diverse choices for “foodies” and rival larger cities in areas of quality, variety, and price. Sacramento also offers a lot of great options for those that like eating local and organic food.
  • Travel – Sacramento is a great place to live if you like to get away for the weekend – Lake Tahoe, San Francisco, Yosemite, Napa, Monterey, Santa Cruz, and many other great vacation destinations are all within just a few hours’ drive from Sacramento.
  • Education – Sacramento is home to many excellent schools, including some top performers on the Academic Performance Index. The Greater Sacramento area boasts well-regarded universities and colleges, including Sacramento State University and the University of California Davis.    

Even with the current rise in prices, Sacramento is still considered an affordable place to live. And for all the reasons above (and for many more which didn’t even mention), we think Sacramento is a great place to call home!

If you are interested in purchasing a home in Sacramento, we’d be happy to help you in your search. Please let us know how we can help!

Why Choose a New Home?

Monday, July 1st, 2013

Why Choose a New Home?

Earlier this month the Sacramento Bee featured a story detailing home builders’ plans to construct upwards of 10,000 new homes in the Folsom region within the next several years. Just a few days later that same journal ran a story highlighting the forecast for major new home growth all over the Sacramento region. Similar types of stories are popping up in markets all over the nation right now. So it seems it’s now safe to say without hesitation: It’s official – the new home renaissance has begun!

If you’re thinking about purchasing a home right now, you may be wondering whether you should give serious consideration to purchasing a new home instead of a resale home. Since new homes are generally believed to have a slightly higher price tag than resale homes, are the benefits of a new home purchase really worth the extra cost? Here are a few compelling reasons for you to consider a new home purchase:

Customization

This a huge advantage of purchasing a new home vs. a resale home. When you move into an older home, what you see is what you get. While it’s true that you can make simple esthetic changes such as paint schemes, etc., to fit your preferences, doing this is often both costly, time-consuming, and a hassle. And the majority of changes you might be inclined to make will require a lot more than just a simple bucket of paint and a paintbrush. The costs incurred to make significant improvements in the esthetics, layout, or individual features of your home can really add up. By contrast, when you purchase a new home you will be able to make many of these choices before you ever get the keys to your new home in your hands.

Lower utility costs

Older homes have older appliances and older electrical systems. They can often be poorly insulated, leading to higher utility costs. Frequently, when someone buys an older resale home, the first thing they will be advised to do is purchase new windows and newer energy-efficient appliances to keep utility costs under control. New home builders are aware of what a concern high energy costs are to homeowners and they build their homes with careful attention to energy efficiency. The resulting decrease in utility prices can be quite considerable.

Fitted to modern lifestyles

The home features that many homeowners prefer, and often even require, have changed significantly in recent years. Advances in technology, shifting socio-economic factors, and increased urbanization all play a role in determining what kinds of homes modern families are seeking. New homes are built to be more adaptable and more in tune with what the current generation of homeowners need. This can be a powerful factor in determining what kind of home you purchase.

Be the first!

Last but not least, there is the simple, but not insignificant pleasure of being the first to “inaugurate” your new home. There is just something special about owning something as meaningful as your own home right from its very inception. A new home gives you and your family the opportunity to write your own history in every square inch – something that is truly priceless!

The Advantage Group is currently selling homes in a variety of communities in the Greater Sacramento Region. Check out our New Home Communities page for more information!

Builder Spotlight: Premier United Communities

Monday, March 25th, 2013

Builder Spotlight: Premier United Communities

New home builders have faced a rocky road to economic recovery in recent years. Even now, with the housing market in a greatly improved state, builders face many obstacles – diminishing supply of lots and land, shortages of workers and building materials, and a tougher regulatory climate. And yet with all these challenges, new homes are getting built and sold here in Sacramento and are proving a key to our economic recovery.

This week on the blog we’d like to put a spotlight on one local builder making a huge positive impact in Sacramento – Premier United Communities. Premier United currently has two new home communities open in the greater Sacramento region – Stone Harbor in West Sacramento and West Colonial Estates in Roseville. The homes in these communities, and other recently closed communities, have either completely or nearly completely sold out and have done so with remarkable speed. Additionally, Premier United will open other new home communities this year in Carmichael, Granite Bay, and Lincoln.

The key to Premier United’s recent successes is based on more than just great locations and high quality homes. Their approach to building homes is based on a true partnership with the home buyers. Collaboration with buyers, being in tune with what they want out of their homes and communities, is a crucial part of their business. In this, they provide a great reminder for all of us in the real estate community that being in tune with our clients, listening and communicating freely, is absolutely essential to success.

If you’d like to learn more about Premier United Communities, please visit their official site: http://premierunited.com/

Why Should You Get a Home Inspection for a New Home?

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

Why Should You Get a Home Inspection?
Part Three: New Homes

Our previous two blog posts have discussed the value of home inspections for both homebuyers and sellers. Many homebuyers, though, question whether or not a home inspection is really necessary if they are purchasing a new home.

There are a couple of reasons why buyers are tempted to skip an inspection on a new home. They may reason that since the home is brand new, there hasn’t been time for decay to take place. Since everything is brand new, it must be in tip-top shape, right?

Another factor that can come into play when buyers are shopping for any home, but especially a new home, is their desire to save money wherever possible. Many buyers go into the home buying process without knowledge of the many associative costs of a home purchase. They think about down payments, mortgage payments and perhaps about closing costs. For most people, these are not trivial costs. They may have saved for a long time to be in a position to purchase a home and when they are confronted with costs that they didn’t foresee – for instance, appraisal and home inspection fees – there can be a tendency to balk. “Is this really necessary?” they may wonder, particularly when the home in question is a new home.

So what are the valid reasons for getting a home inspection on a new home?

In a word – defects. Just because a home is brand new does not mean it is without defect. Even if it has passed code, significant problems can still be present in a new home. Why?

While a new home may be inspected by a municipal inspector, his inspection will not be as thorough as the kind an independent home inspector performs. Municipal inspectors will be judging a home based primarily on its code compliance, giving little attention to craftsmanship – an area that can cause serious and costly headaches down the road for the home buyer.

Blindly trusting that your home builder did everything just right is a potentially serious mistake. With an investment this important, the relatively small cost of getting a home inspection is well worth it. In short, regardless of when a home was built, a home inspection is always a smart idea.

Next time on our blog we will discuss the final subject of our home inspection series – How Can You Ensure You Get a Quality Home Inspection?

Blog Post: Protecting Yourself from Real Estate Scams

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

Protecting Yourself from Real Estate Scams

In recent years, stories about real estate scams have become all too common. Many people have made the mistake of putting their trust in a so-called expert who turns out to have only their own best interests at heart. The financial and emotional repercussions of falling victim to these scams can be truly disastrous. How can you protect yourself from falling prey to greedy real estate scammers?

Be careful who you trust
It has been reported that a large percentage of real estate scams are perpetrated by the victim’s family members, friends, or long-time business associates. With this fact in mind, it is important to be objective when considering any business proposition. This is not to say you need to become overly suspicious of every person in your life who may want to do business with you. What it does mean is that you need to carefully evaluate every business offer, regardless of who is approaching you with the offer. Don’t allow blind trust or fear of hurting someone’s feelings lead you into making a bad decision.

Do not easily part with personal information, goods
Many mortgage scams require borrowers to pay advance fees for whatever services are being offered. Be wary of any requests to pay fees before any services have been performed. Also, NEVER give out personal information, such as bank account information, social security numbers, etc., until you know exactly who will be receiving the information, how it will be used and who it will be shared with.

Trust your gut
The old adage, “If it’s too good to be true, it probably is,” is never more true than in reference to real estate scams. When considering a real estate transaction, ask yourself these questions: Do I fully understand the details that are involved in this transaction? Does it seem too simple, too easy? On a gut level, any real estate or mortgage deal you’re thinking of making should fundamentally make sense. If it doesn’t, that may be a strong indication that something is not right.

But don’t just trust your gut
Our intuition can be wrong sometimes. That’s why it is absolutely imperative that you speak to a lawyer or financial advisor if you are considering a real estate decision. A home is probably the largest investment you’ll make in your life. Be vigilant about protecting it. Don’t let things fall to chance. The time and expense of speaking to a professional before making an important decision regarding your investments is vital.

Although these are examples of simple ways to avoid getting cheated, don’t underestimate their importance! Oftentimes, it’s the simplest precautions that protect us the most – from any kind of scam.

Home Sellers – How Can You Make Your Home More Appealing to Buyers?

If you are anything like me, when you’re expecting guests at your home you spend the hours, sometimes days, prior to their arrival trying to make your home as presentable and pleasant as possible. You probably even fret about tiny details that your guests are unlikely to ever notice (unless you feel compelled to point it out to them, something I am frequently guilty of doing.)

Most people are willing to go to great lengths to present a welcoming environment for their friends. The same should be true if you are trying to sell your home. How can you ensure that potential buyers will see your house as their potential home?

Sweat the Small Stuff – Of course, it goes without saying that we want our homes to be clean and tidy when potential buyers visit. But we can sometimes be oblivious to certain aspects of our own surroundings, including in our own home. Maybe it’s those cobwebs in the corners or the hole in the screen door or the burnt out light bulbs we haven’t gotten around to replacing. We may not be inclined to think those little details are such a big deal, but potential buyers will be carefully scrutinizing everything they see and may come away with an unpleasant impression if we fail to address the “small” things.

Set the Stage – You might think that since potential home buyers are interested in buying your house and not your belongings that the appearance of furniture and the like are not important. Actually the general appearance of your home will factor greatly into a visiting buyer’s overall opinion of it. Before you begin showing your home, think about arranging furniture and other items in a way that leaves your home uncluttered and appealing. If you’re not sure where to start, ask a friend for advice. Oftentimes just a few simple changes can make a world of difference.

Be Invisible – While a few personal touches can add to a home’s warmth and appeal, these should be kept very limited and not showy. The more a potential home buyer see pictures of your family everywhere they turn or your kid’s water color paintings stuck to the refrigerator, the more difficult it will be for them to start visualizing the home as theirs. Make it easy for visitors to see your home as potentially becoming their own.

No, Really…Be Invisible – Of course, the best way to make yourself invisible is to actually be invisible. You might think a potential buyer would find it valuable to have the homeowner following them every step of the way as they tour a home so they can tell them all sorts of details they might not otherwise know. More often than not, this plan backfires completely. Someone who is considering buying your home wants to be able to speak with freedom to their spouse or real estate agent about things they may not like about your home; something they’d likely be uncomfortable doing in your presence. Hard as it might be for your ego to accept this, the truth is the vast majority of potential home buyers will be much more comfortable if you as the homeowner make yourself scarce when they tour your home.

Go Pro – Of course, many potential buyers will get their first impression of your home from pictures they see online. Those pictures may determine whether or not they will want to tour your home at all. Consider having a professional photographer, perhaps one who specializes in real estate photography, come in and take a few shots of your home. Many home sellers have found that having professional photographs of their home for advertising purposes is well worth the extra expense.

Remember, making your home appealing to home buyers does not need be a stressful, expensive process. Oftentimes, just a little simple preparation can be the difference between a house that lingers on the market and one that generates quick and solid offers.

What advice would you give to a home seller about making their home appealing to buyers? Please leave a reply in the comments section to share your thoughts.

Blog Post: Making Your New House a Home

Monday, June 25th, 2012

Making Your New House a Home: 10 Tips for Home Buyers

So you’ve recently purchased a home, now what? There are several things home buyers should keep in mind as they prepare to make their new house a home. On the June 2nd broadcast of the show Eye on Real Estate, Dottie Herman, President and CEO of Elliman, interviewed author and real estate expert, Eric Tyson, asking him to discuss tips for those who have recently become home owners. This list originally came from Tyson’s books, Home Buying for Dummies and Real Estate Investing for Dummies. Here are some highlights from their conversation:

Beware of solicitors – Once you buy a home, solicitors will to try to sell you products and services. For example, it is common for insurance providers to claim to pay off mortgage loans if something happens to you or you lose your job, in exchange for a new or increased insurance policy. Be wary of these offers and investigate completely.

Refinancing – Many people consider refinancing because interest rates are low, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good option for everyone. Tyson states: “Historically, the motivation to refinance comes from the ability to save money, and refinancing always costs you money, so what you have to look at is how many years is it going to take me to re-coop the financing cost and is this a worthwhile trade-off?”

Electronic payments –Automated payments are definitely the best option for mortgage repayment. Automated payments guarantee on-time payments, which will protect your interest rate and avoid unnecessary fees.

Set aside cash – Dottie asked Tyson, “Is there a standard rule of thumb for emergency funds? How much is enough?” Tyson answered easily: “I think for most people at a minimum they want to have 3 months’ worth of living expenses.”

Mortgage insurance – Buy a classic life insurance policy as opposed to a mortgage insurance policy.

Protest Tax Assessments – Homeowners should watch their property tax figures carefully, especially if they live in an area where taxes are reassessed periodically or if their home value is based on current market values. “Sometimes local towns and municipalities get it wrong,” says Tyson.

Home receipts – Keeping accurate records is imperative if you really want to minimize capital gains tax should you sell the home at a profit. Keep these documents carefully organized and in a safe place.

Take time to smell the roses – In his book, Tyson relates this old adage to buyer’s remorse. For most people, buying a home is one of the biggest decisions they’ll ever make. It’s important to not only buy something within your comfort zone, but also to practice self-preservation in the buying process.

Blog Post

Friday, July 15th, 2011

Options for Homeowners of All Ages

Recently, the Sacramento Bee featured an article about the increase in senior co-housing in and around the Sacramento Area. Co-housing communities allow seniors to own their own homes but share common areas with their neighbors.

What’s behind the increased interest in senior co-housing? Simply put, older adults are looking to take control of their own housing situation. While acknowledging their changing needs, they also want to retain their freedom and independence. This is just one more reason why the work that Livable Design by Eskaton is doing is so valuable to today’s homebuyers.

The Livable Design program provides home builders the opportunity to offer homes that have the flexibility and adaptability buyers are looking for, without having to compromise on aesthetic appeal. And the benefits are enjoyed not only by older adults but individuals of any age who want a home that can adapt with them as changes occur in their lives. Design elements like wider doorways and hallways and step-less entryways make life easier for both older adults and families with young children or members with special needs.

Clearly, as homebuyers of all ages continue to play a more active role in choosing accommodations that fit their needs, programs like Livable Design will increase in relevance. Are home builders in your community using this valuable tool?

Visit Livable Design’s website to find out more about their unique vision: http://livabledesign.com/

Livable Design

Friday, February 18th, 2011

Livable Design

“We continue to have great response to our involvement with the Livable Design Certification program with Homebuilders,” says Kevin Coates, President of The Advantage Group. ”We are setting up even more private guided tours than expected for interested Homebuilders. This truly easy, but revolutionary construction guideline simply makes a house more ‘livable’ for all ages! The house that doesn’t hurt you! Who wouldn’t want wider doors and wider halls just to name a few of the benefits. The time is right to offer new product opportunities to homebuyers!”

Go to http://livabledesign.com/ for more information on the Livable Design program