Category Archives: Home Buyer Tips

A New House For Your New Family

Keep Children in Mind When Looking For a New Home

Tuesday Tips from a Pittsburgh Custom Home BuilderA new baby brings overwhelming feelings of joy — and sometimes an immediate yearning for more space. Whether you have already welcomed a new family member or are planning to have kids a few years down the road, there are lots of things to consider if you have decided to buy or build a new house.

Overall house size is usually tops on everyone’s list, and there is no question that it’s a biggie.  An extra bedroom or two will be helpful when grandparents come to visit or if one parent is working from home and needs extra office space.  But you should weigh more than just the number of bedrooms and total square footage in a house. Pay attention to features in the house that could affect your ability to keep an eye on your little one or make it harder for you to keep a fast-moving toddler out of trouble.

When you are searching for or designing a house, new or expectant parents might want to look for or include the following:

 

  • An enclosed room or another area on the first floor that can be used as a playroom when your kids are younger and a den or media room when they are older. Open floor plans are appealing as far as giving toddlers room to move around, but it’s good to have a safe spot for them if you need to step away for a moment.
  • Roomy garage or other storage space that makes it easy to store/hide larger kid toys and bikes.
  • Fenced in outdoor space that is free of safety hazards such as standing water and retaining walls that young children could climb.
  • Lots of flexible indoor storage for kids’ toys and other gear. Large closets are essential, but don’t forget about entryway closets and cubbies, laundry room storage, and window seats and other built-ins for fast clean-up in each room.
  • Placement of inside staircases, railings and loft spaces. Look at interior home design through the eyes of a crawling baby. Architectural features that are impossible to baby proof might not be worth the headache and worry, even though the baby/toddler phase seems to fly by.

Whether you are looking at an existing new home or shopping for a lot to build on, one of the best things to consider as far as suitability for your young family is how many other young families you see in the neighborhood. Seeing kids outside in strollers or on bikes means you and your children will not only enjoy the new house, but could make a lot of new friends.

Surviving Your First Night in Your New Home

Tuesday Tips from a Pittsburgh Custom Home BuilderA Checklist to Keep You Sane on Day One

Moving into your new house isn’t quite the same as going on vacation. But having a checklist can make both of those life events come off without a hitch.

After the movers have left,  you don’t want to have to rummage through boxes for toilet paper or pajamas. In addition to having every family member pack an overnight bag for themselves as if they were headed to a hotel, it helps to prepare a few separate boxes with designated essentials that you will need right way.

Here are some items you don’t want to forget.

Food

Move-in day was made for pizza delivery or take-out. But you will still need:

  • Paper plates
  • Napkins
  • Cups
  • Corkscrew, if you are really “celebrating”
  • Cereal or other simple breakfast food, and coffee supplies
  • Food and treats for the family pet

Entertainment

Chances are the adults will be busy getting settled. If you have kids, don’t forget:

  • Books and some basic drawing/art supplies
  • Movies and a DVD player
  • The kids’ favorite dolls, stuffed animal or blanket
  • A night light or flashlight

Essentials

Remembering these basic items will keep you from digging through moving boxes or running to the store:

  • Basic first aid supplies
  • Cleaning products
  • Bedding
  • Garbage bags
  • Basic tools
  • Toiletries and paper products
  • A pair of scissors

Important Papers

In addition to these personal documents, make sure you have the paperwork from the closing on your home, in case you need them.

  • Birth Certificates
  • Social Security cards
  • Health insurance documents
  • Checkbooks and other banking information

How to Finance a New Home Build

Borrowing Basics for Homebuilders

how to finance a custom homeFinancing a new home build is a bit different than taking out a mortgage on an existing home. The process doesn’t have to be difficult – we’ve outlined the borrowing basics of a new home build so you can get started on the fun part: building your dream home!

Cash is king of the land

Typically, lenders are cautious of lending money for the purchase of raw land. This is because if the borrower defaults, the land can be difficult for the lender to resell. As a result, some banks may request a large down payment with a high-interest rate. Land purchase lenders may be difficult to find, but fortunately we have some great ones in Pittsburgh that have made new homes a specialty. They understand the challenges and can often roll everything into one loan for customers to help eliminate this problem.

Putting the bucks behind the blueprint

Simply put, there are two major ways to finance a new home. The construction loan and the end loan. The end loan is more similar to a regular mortgage, where the buyer signs a contract to purchase the home when it’s complete. These types of loans are great for home buyers who don’t have a lot of money to put down or want to buy an already completed new home, the downside is that end loans are generally a lot more expensive than construction loans.

In a construction loan, the bank will set aside a pool of money equal to the total value of the mortgage and disperse money to your builder little by little as the home is complete. Many people will tell you that this means you have to pay your mortgage before you even get to live in the house, but this is somewhat misleading. New home buyers are responsible for interest during the time the home is being constructed, but only on the portion of the loan distributed to date so in general, the payment in a very small percentage of the future mortgage payment for most of the construction period. Essentially, it comes down to affordability. If a new home buyer has the cash to do a new construction loan they will end up paying a lot less in the long run, just like buyers who make larger down payments end up paying much less overall.

Eliminating risk – tips from the pros

As you can see, putting up the money to build a new home differs from taking out a conventional mortgage. Here are some helpful tips to help save your time, money and sanity:

  • Shop around. Look for lenders that offer combination financing, which may roll together all or at least part of the deal, minimizing costs and paperwork. Every lender is different in their approach, so shop around. If your builder forces you to use their lender in order to get the special pricing, odds are you are not only overpaying for any “freebies” elsewhere in the home, but paying way too much for your loan as well.
  • Budget wisely. The loan amount will be based on a budget you provide and the appraised value of your new home. It’s important to carefully consider and detail all costs of the project, including plan and permit fees, construction costs and loan fees. Many on your lot builders don’t include the full cost of things like utility lines, soil conditions or sewage. Make sure you know ahead of time who is responsible to pay for which items and compare apples to apples. If costs exceed the original budget – your wallet makes up the difference.
  • Be aware of changes in rates and construction costs. This is something we hear all the time, a buyer shops for a home, and decides to save up a little more money in order to put more money down or pay for a larger home. Unfortunately, when they come back the next year, the cost of lumber, concrete or other materials goes up regularly may have risen and eaten up what they saved. Ask your builder and lender if they can be flexible, there is a good chance you can start now when prices are low and if your builder lays things out right, you can add that sunroom or extra garage bay in a year or two.
  • Use these increases to your advantage. Most people know that the future value of your home will be determined by the value of your neighbor’s homes and how well your homes holds up to the bumps and bruises of everyday life. Given that construction material costs are constantly rising, the first half of the new home buyers on a particular street stand to gain much more appreciation than those who wait. It’s likely that the last person to build will end up paying 10% more or higher than if they were the first person who built and when a new buyer comes looking in 10 years, it’s the buyer who acted fast who reaps the extra money.
  • Make sure your home will stand the test of time. Ask a buyer who built with the same builder 5 or 10 years ago how their house is holding up, the internet is full of people who will tell you their experiences. Have they had to put a lot of money into upkeep or did the materials their builder used originally spare them this expense. The same thing is true of new homes that is true of many other products. The item that seems cheaper now might end up costing you more later, and that money can’t be rolled into a mortgage.

Cranberry Township: A Great Place to Raise Kids

Great news for families looking for a new home community near Pittsburgh!

Cranberry Township has recently been named the best area for kids in Pennsylvania in addition to other honors over the years.  At Paragon Homes, we are proud to be a part of the blossoming place to like and are a proud builder in the new Venango Trails community in Marshall where you can commune with nature while also being a hop, skip, and a jump away from Cranberry and Wexford. Visit our new homes with historical charm, today!

Read more about Cranberry and the best places to raise kids here. (via the Pittsburgh Post Gazette)

Learn more about the Venango Trails community, here, and all of the new home communities that Paragon builds, here.

 

 

~~ Ashley Boynes-Shuck

Paragon Homes has been building custom homes in the Pittsburgh area for nearly 25 years.  In that time they have come to be recognized as one of the premier custom home builders in Western Pa.  In fact they have been honored to receive over 25 Housing Excellence Awards from the Builders and Realtors Associations of Metropolitan Pittsburgh and the Washington County Builders Association including several for New Custom Home of the Year designations. You can reach Paragon Homes at 412-787-8807, or visit us online at http://www.visitparagonhomes.com

Ashley Boynes-Shuck is a well-known blogger, author, and social media pro from Pittsburgh, PA. She was voted Best Blogger in Pittsburgh and Who to Follow on Twitter 2010, one of Pittsburgh’s Top 40 Under 40 for 2011, a 2012 Woman of the Year and Athena Young Professional awards candidate, and happily lives in a suburb of Pittsburgh with her husband, pug, frogs, and kitten!  In her free time she focuses on advocacy and volunteer work, as well as rooting on the Pittsburgh Steelers!


New Year, New Home

New Year, New Home

It’s 2013, and there’s no time like a  new year for a fresh start.

 

A new year is a great time to look for a new home. Paragon custom home builders offers many options for families seeking new affordable and comfortable, yet upscale, homes.

 

Whether it is casual elegance, traditional architecture, or a modern, understated vibe, Paragon Homes has the custom home options for you – no matter what style you’re looking for!
We’re in some great areas, too. Pittsburgh is one of the most thriving, up-and-coming, and economically stable cities today, and Paragon Homes has some amazing new home communities in and around the Greater Pittsburgh area. We also build beautiful, quality houses on individually-owned sites.

 

If you are just starting to look at properties, or own a lot already, we can help you. We invite you to meet with us to discuss your community requirements, offer design assistance if needed, and more.

 

No matter your budget, style, or personal tastes, we have an option for you.

 

There’s the lovely Fairacres community in Upper St. Clair, the luxe homesites at Walkers Ridge next door to Nevillewood in Collier Township, and Deerfield Ridge in the much-sought-after area of South Fayette Township.

 

If you’d rather be closer to Wexford or Cranberry, we invite you to check out Venango Trails, and if you prefer the luxury and tradition of the Sewickley area, one of the fabulous off site lots nearby may be more your style.

 

If you work or play near the hustle-and-bustle of Robinson Township and North Fayette, we have many options for you: there are fabulous wooded 2 acre lots for single-family homes in Paragon Place and level lots perfect for a walk out life style in Chartiers Landing, both of Robinson Township.

 

There are so many more Paragon communities and home sites in and around Pittsburgh, too!

 

Learn more about ALL of them, here … and Happy New Year!

 

 


~~ Ashley Boynes-Shuck

Paragon Homes has been building custom homes in the Pittsburgh area for nearly 25 years.  In that time they have come to be recognized as one of the premier custom home builders in Western Pa.  In fact they have been honored to receive over 25 Housing Excellence Awards from the Builders and Realtors Associations of Metropolitan Pittsburgh and the Washington County Builders Association including several for New Custom Home of the Year designations. You can reach Paragon Homes at 412-787-8807, or visit us online at http://www.visitparagonhomes.com

Ashley Boynes-Shuck is a well-known blogger, author, and social media pro from Pittsburgh, PA. She was voted Best Blogger in Pittsburgh and Who to Follow on Twitter 2010, one of Pittsburgh’s Top 40 Under 40 for 2011, a 2012 Woman of the Year and Athena Young Professional awards candidate, and happily lives in a suburb of Pittsburgh with her husband, pug, frogs, and kitten!  In her free time she focuses on advocacy and volunteer work, as well as rooting on the Pittsburgh Steelers!

Pittsburgh housing market improves for seventh month in a row

The National Association of Home Builders just released the latest edition of their Improving Housing Markets Index and anyone who is considering new homes in Pittsburgh got more good news. For the 7th month in a row Pittsburgh has been on the list, tied for the longest tenure of any new home market.

You can read the full article on the Home Builders Association website. http://www.nahb.org/news_details.aspx?sectionID=2223&newsID=15104

 

Paragon Homes has been building new homes in the Pittsburgh area for over 25 years. In that time they have come to be recognized as one of the premier custom home builders in Western Pa. In fact they have been honored to receive over 25 Housing Excellence Awards from the Builders and Realtors Associations of Metropolitan Pittsburgh and the Washington County Builders Association including several for New Custom Home of the Year designations. Communities are currently available in Robinson, Collier, South Fayette and Peters as well as offsite or your lot.

New statistics show Pittsburgh home sales on the rise

2012 could be the rebound year for Pittsburgh home sales as they rose 4.6% so far this year, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

This news comes as a stark contrast to the decline in Pittsburgh home salesfor the past seven years, and these new figures show that the fall may be flat-lining and even reversing in some areas.

Pittsburgh home sales

Pittsburgh home sales are up 4.6% in 2012

Are you a potential home buyer worried about a change in price due to these statistics? Worry not as the median home price for Pittsburgh home sales has remained unchanged at $115,000.

Are you looking to buy a new home? Why not check out Walkers Ridge, Paragon Place or  Deerfield Ridge on their website?

To see the full article on Pittsburgh home sales, click here.

Pittsburgh Housing Market Stays Strong and is Set to Improve

We at Paragon Homes know that a nice house is nothing without 2 things: the people who inhabit it, and the community that surrounds it.

That’s why we’re pleased to read this recent study regarding the housing market. It’s great news for those looking to purchase one of our custom built homes in the coming year.

Veros Real Estate Solutions (Veros), an “industry leader in enterprise risk management and collateral valuation services”, has announced the real estate market forecast for the 12-month period ending September 1, 2012…and Pittsburgh, PA placed in the Top 5 Projected Strongest Markets at 1.9% appreciation. You can read the original study, here. According to the VERO Forecast, “Pittsburgh, Washington D.C. and Boston remain as the strongest big city markets, with visible strength being seen returning to the Denver housing market.”

This positive news show that, particularly in the Pittsburgh area, if there ever were a perfect time to buy, the time is now!

Paragon Homes has been building custom homes in the Pittsburgh area for nearly 25 years. Founded on the basis of outstanding customer service before during and most importantly after construction they have come to be recognized as one of the premier custom home builders in the region. In fact they have been honored to receive over 25 Housing Excellence Awards from the Builders and Realtors Associations of Metropolitan Pittsburgh and the Washington County Builders Association including several for New Custom Home of the Year designations.


Ashley Boynes-Shuck is a blogger, aspiring author, and social media pro from Pittsburgh, PA. She was voted Best Blogger in Pittsburgh and Who to Follow on Twitter 2010 and happily lives with her husband, pug, frogs, and kitten!  In her free time she focuses on advocacy and volunteer work, as well as rooting on the Pittsburgh Steelers! Ashley was recently honored as one of Pittsburgh’s Top 40 Under 40.