New Home Buying Guide Part 3: How to choose a builder, lot, and floorplan.

When you are buying a home for the first time, the process can seem overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be—especially since so many professionals who do this all the time are there to help. We’ve put together a New Home Buying Guide Series to ease the process of buying a new construction home for the first time. So far, we’ve covered:

6 Things to Consider When Shopping New Home Communities.

• 6 Professionals Who Will Help You with Your New Home Purchase

Today we’re going to talk about how to choose a lot, builder, and floorplan!

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Choosing a lot. It is time to take a look at lot options. When choosing your home site, you’ll want to factor in:

Neighborhood. At WaterGrass, builders offer particular floorplans within specific neighborhoods. Drive the neighborhood to see if you can imagine your home within it. Consider how near you will be to certain amenities, the on-site school, the privacy or exclusivity of the neighborhood, and other things that may be important to you.

Social vs. Quiet. Whether you like to be in a hot spot or in a private location is a personal choice. Perhaps you like the idea of being near neighbors, surrounded by people, near the playground so you can see your kids out your window, and central within the community or neighborhood. Or maybe you value quiet, and would like to find a lot surrounded by beautiful natural landscaping. Or maybe you can find a lot that seems to be the perfect balance of both.

Views. It’s a great idea when choosing a lot to imagine what you will see when looking out all of the windows when standing in front of your home, and out in your backyard. Some people even choose lots based on direction—where will the sun rise and set? How will sunlight stream through the windows at different times of day? At WaterGrass you are sure to find the perfect lot, as we offer both of these!

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Choosing a builder. When choosing a builder, you are going to want to focus on a few main features:

Budget. Most builders offer homes in a particular price range. You’ll want to find one that falls right in line with your budget. You’ll find your budget may work with builders who have set floorplans, those who offer options and upgrades for a semi-custom home, or those who will do a fully custom home.

Floorplans. It’s a great idea to do some research into available floorplan options (or for fully custom homes, to look at model homes or other homes the builder has completed). Consider available floorplans and how they work with your family and lifestyle.

Reputation. Ask the builder for some references. Homeowners love to talk openly about the new home they built. Speak to people who have built a new home with the builder.

Team. Visit the builder’s model or make an appointment to speak with a representative directly. Understand the personality of the builder, and ask about the process of building your new home. The builder will be able to answer questions about how the homebuying and construction process will work.

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Choosing a floorplan. Once you have chosen your builder and narrowed your home decision to the basics—how many bedrooms and bathrooms you are hoping for, it’s time to decide on a floorplan. You’ll want to consider:

Size. Look at the floorplan’s square footage. Walk through a few model homes to get an idea of how a certain square footage feels.

Rooms. Check out the rooms that are included in the floorplan. Look at the number of bedrooms, and how you will use them. Do you need a private office? Do you want a guest room, playroom, or study? Multiple living or entertainment rooms?

Flow. It’s important to think about how you will move from room to room, and how it works with your lifestyle. Take yourself through a full typical day while looking at the floorplan. Consider the location of the kitchen, and imagine everyday meals within the space. If you like to entertain, will the layout accommodate guests?

Options and upgrades. What are your must-have features? What are your dream features? Can you choose certain options and upgrades to make a floorplan into your dream home?

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New Home Construction vs. Move-In Ready New Construction Home. It’s worth mentioning here that you may want a new construction home, but perhaps the timeline of building from scratch doesn’t work for your plan. You still can have a new home without the wait—consider a move-in ready home! This way you will have a builder warranty (most offer 1-2 year warranties) and manufacturer warranties on appliances. Everything is new, and you don’t have to wait for construction! Walk through the home, sign the contract, and move-in to enjoy your new home!

Would you like to learn more about buying a new home at WaterGrass? Make an appointment to visit today!

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New Home Buying Guide Part 2: 6 Professionals Who Will Help You with Your New Home Purchase

When you are buying a home for the first time, the process can seem overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be—especially since so many professionals who do this all the time are there to help. In our first New Home Buying Guide article, we covered 6 Things to Consider When Shopping New Home Communities. Today we’re going to talk about all of the experts who can be there for you throughout the process, so you can concentrate all your energy on finding the perfect new home!

1. Mortgage Broker. You may have an idea of how much you would like to put down, and you may even have used a mortgage calculator to discover your budget. While you always have the option to shop mortgages on your own, many people choose to work with a mortgage broker to simplify the process. A mortgage broker will look at your finances, find a mortgage that is best for you, lock in rates at the best time, and help you through the process of filing and completing paperwork at the appropriate times. And the best news: you do not have to pay for the services of a mortgage broker, as they earn a commission from the bank you end up using. Find a trustworthy mortgage broker to simplify the financing process!

2. Real Estate Agent. Even when you are purchasing a new construction home, a real estate agent can help you through the home search process. We love working with real estate agents at Highland Woods. They are familiar with how to approach a builder, questions to ask, and what to consider as you choose your lot, builder, and floorplan. A real estate agent is often familiar with listings before anyone else, and throughout your process they will begin to understand your tastes to find the best home match for you. When you are a buyer, you don’t have to pay a real estate agent, so it just makes sense to enlist their services. They are paid through a commission from the seller or builder. It’s in their best interests to understand you and find you your perfect home.

3. Builder Representative. When you are buying a new home, the builder representative is similar to the seller’s agent. They will also work with you to figure out your new home dreams, and they will find the best fit for you. You will work with the builder representative to sign a contract, and then they will help you choose your lot, floorplan, and the fun part—options, selections, and finishes. They will be your contact for the timeline of the building process.

4. Real Estate Lawyer. The lawyer is very helpful for the closing process. They will file all the necessary paperwork for a smooth and seamless closing. The lawyer will be present to help you understand all of the paperwork you are signing as you sign it. They will usually charge you a flat-rate fee for the work involved.

5. Moving Company. Some people choose to call up their friends and family to make a move and pay them in pizza, refreshments, and return favors. Others choose to hire a moving company. While the cost difference between the two options is enormous—one free, the other hundreds to thousands of dollars (depending on how much, how far, and the level of work you are hiring them to do)—many people will go the pro route. Professionals will handle all the heavy lifting with care, take responsibility for the packing and safe moving of the items, and will get the job done in record time. Some people even choose to have the moving company pack and unpack boxes for them—a huge time saver that may be worth the cost.

6. Interior Designer. Once you are in your beautiful new home, you want it to feel like home. An interior designer can do any number of things—take your existing furniture and decor and lay it out or set it up in the best way possible, pick out accessories and artwork, or they can even do a top to bottom selection of furniture and decor. If you plan to hire an interior designer for your new construction home, you may want to bring them in early in the process so they can help you make floorplan, finish, and selection decisions before construction begins.

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New Home Buying Guide Part 1: 6 Things to Consider When Shopping New Home Communities

Looking for a new home for the first time can be a lot of things—exciting, fun, and life changing. And with so many details, it can also be overwhelming. In order to help ease some of the uncertainty that comes with going through this process for the first time, we’ve decided to put together a series of posts to serve as a new home buying guide. In this series, we will offer tips to help you through the process, from initial considerations to selecting your home to the process of buying, building, and closing on your new home.

As the first part of the series, we check out the 6 basic things to consider when shopping new home communities:

Watergrass-2706-11. Location. It’s possible that the decision on where you will look for a home will be the first decision you make. It can be tempting to narrow by town, but you may also want to start with a radius from a certain spot on a map. You need to consider the proximity to work, school, and other activities. Use an online map to show you travel options and traffic or train times from a potential area. You should imagine a typical week and the places you go, and how often you go there. You should also consider the accessibility of highways, trains, and other travel resources. A great location with easy access to school, amenities, and work can be a key to overall happiness!

Watergrass-7545-web-1-1024x6832. Neighborhood. It’s a great idea to spend a little time in neighborhoods you are considering. Park and watch the community activity to get a feel for what it will be like to live there—are the people active? Are there well-kept parks and playgrounds that kids seem to enjoy? Look around to see what your view out your window could be—are homes, lawns, and community landscaping appealing?

WaterGrassElementary-030-1-1024x6423. Schools. Whether you have school-aged children or not, schools are an excellent thing to consider when looking for a home. A great school district can impact the value of your purchase. And if you have school-aged children, the schools can carry a lot of weight. Consider both the quality of the schools your children will attend and the location. It’s wonderful to live where your school is only a short distance away. At WaterGrass, the elementary school is located right within the community!

Watergrass-7465-web-1-1024x5644. Community Amenities. A great community can improve your entire lifestyle. Consider amenities that could be available right outside your door, and how that might affect your day-to-day activity. Are there great places to walk, play, and enjoy the outdoors? If you choose a clubhouse community like WaterGrass, you could have access to a fitness center and kids play area all year, tennis and basketball courts, neighborhood parks and playgrounds, and incredible pools where you can relax or splash the day away.

Screen-Shot-2016-07-20-at-1.59.01-PM5. Builder Options. If you are building a new home, you want to find a builder who matches your style. You also want to find a builder with a great reputation—you want to know that other people love their homes by this builder. If you are building a home from scratch, you want the building process to have a great reputation as well. It is a big commitment to work with a builder, and you want to know the experience will be as smooth as possible. At WaterGrass, we’ve done the hard work of narrowing down builders to only the best for you so you can take the time to choose the builder whose style suits your dream and budget.

WaterGrass-Park2-16. Budget. You will need to figure out your overall budget for a home. You should factor in the mortgage payment, property tax, as well as additional expenses. If you are buying a resale home, consider the cost of replacing items that may need to be replaced for wear and tear. If you are buying a new home, everything is new and you will have warranties, so that is not a concern. You also should consider the cost of furniture, window treatments, and other essentials.

All of the above items should help you narrow your initial search! Then you can start the fun job of choosing a builder and floorplan, and moving closer to purchasing your new home!

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Tampa Named #1 New Hot Spot Where Americans Are Moving

Realtor.com recently took a close look at where people are moving when they move from one metropolitan area to another, and we were excited to see Tampa listed as the Number One location! This comes as no surprise to us—sales have been strong at WaterGrass in Wesley Chapel, Florida, which is just over 30 minutes from Tampa.

Realtor.com took a look at Census Bureau migration data from 2009-2013 tracking people’s metropolitan moves, cross-metro moving requests on moving.com, and cross-metro search traffic on realtor.com to find Tampa as the top city where people are flocking.

Why do people love the area? Realtor.com cites:

  • Unusually strong job creation, as the unemployment rate in Tampa currently stands at a low 4.4 percent
  • Affordable home prices
  • Florida has no income tax, a huge perk of moving here

And we are proud to be in Wesley Chapel, which is a New Tampa city seeing incredibly rapid growth. Just minutes from I-75 and I-275, WaterGrass is surrounded by incredible shopping, restaurants, and businesses, with many new ones opening all the time. This is in addition to the recent openings of Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel, Pasco Hernando State College Wesley Chapel campus, and the new Tampa Premium Outlets.

It’s exciting to be a new construction clubhouse community in such a growing metro area! WaterGrass offers beautiful homes the upper $100s to over $1 million from hand-selected builders, as well as resort-style amenities including our newly expanded clubhouse, Junior Olympic pool, children’s splash park, resort-style pool, state-of-the-art fitness center, social rooms and more.

Would you like to live at WaterGrass? Make an appointment to visit today!

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2016 Looks Like a Great Year to Buy New Construction

Business Insider recently put together a great list of predictions for the housing market for 2016, and we can’t help but to be excited at their outlook. They narrowed data to a list of 10 trends to look for in the coming year—and we are sure that after reading you will agree that 2016 is a great time to buy a new construction home. Highlights of their list include:

  • Home prices will rise, but moderately.
  • There will be only a small increase in mortgage interest rates.
  • Credit will become more flexible.
  • It will continue to be cheaper to buy than rent. (Buying is 36 percent cheaper than renting nationwide for millenials, and Trulia says now is the best time to buy since 2012!)
  • The suburbs will make a comeback.
  • Buyers want greener, more efficient, smarter homes.
  • New home construction will come back big time. New home sales grew 15 percent in 2015, and are predicted to jump 26 percent in 2016!

Check out the complete list and full picture on Business Insider. We are looking forward to a great 2016 at WaterGrass, where we have new construction, in the suburbs, with efficient and smart homes galore!

Make an appointment to visit to find your new home today!