Getting the Most Out of Your New-Home Walk-Through

Moving into a new home can be one of the most fulfilling days of your life. But before you settle in, there’s one final, and very important, step to complete: the walk-through.

The walk-through is a chance for you and your builder to tour your new home together, examining it for items in need of correction or adjustment. It’s also an opportunity to learn iStock_000004457844Mediumabout your home and ask questions regarding anything you don’t quite understand.

Often times, new homes have advanced operating systems and special maintenance needs, so many builders use the walk-through to teach the homebuyer how to comfortably navigate the home’s control systems and maintain essential upkeep. To help you get the most of your new-home walk-through, here are a few things to remember:

Make a checklist – Throughout the walk-through process, your construction manager will inspect the home for scratches, chips or other forms of notable damage. While he is examining the house, make an effort to write down everything that needs correction, because cosmetic items usually will not be covered by your warranty after the initial orientation. Don’t forget to examine the exterior of the house as well. Look over the entire yard, ensuring your plants are healthy and the slope of the yard will allow for proper drainage.

Keep notes – During your walk-through you will receive a stack of paperwork, including manufacturers’ instructions for every aspect of your home, from the appliances to the plumbing. This is a great time to take thorough notes, as you might also get a demonstration on how to operate each system within the home.

Slow down – The walk-through is a crucial part of the home-buying process, so remember to slow down and not rush through it. It might be wise to leave the kids at home to avoid distractions. You are essentially meeting your new home for the very first time, so treat the walk-through like a formal introduction and give it the time it deserves.

Choosing a Homebuilder

 You’ve decided to buy a newly built home. Congratulations! Now what? With so many choices available, it’s easy to see how a person could become overwhelmed. Selecting a reputable homebuilder with which to do business is a good first step toward becoming comfortable with the process.

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) counsels prospective homebuyers to shop for a builder as carefully as they shop for a home. The organization offers the Consumersfollowing tips:

Make a list of possible builders: After determining the type of house you want, contact the local homebuilders’ association or search the real estate section of the local newspaper for builders and projects. “Looking through the ads and reading the articles can help you learn which builders are active in your area, the types of homes they are building and the prices you can expect to pay,” according to NAHB experts. Make a list of the builders who build the type of home you’re looking for in your price range.

In addition, find a real estate agent who can help you in your search. Friends and family members may be able to recommend an agent who’s right for you. Ask the agent about their impressions of the builders with whom they’ve done business.

Do your homework: After you’ve compiled a list of builders, start researching the quality of their work. Visit the builder’s recently built neighborhoods. Talk to sales agents and people who live in the communities. Remember to take a notebook with you to record the information you learn and your personal impressions about specific builders and homes. Doing so will allow for easier comparisons later.

At the very least, drive by the new-home neighborhoods to check out the homes’ curb appeal.

Shop for quality and value: Touring the builders’ model homes will give you a feel for how the product might fit your needs and the needs of your family. Look at how the builder uses space. Evaluate the quality of the home’s construction and inspect the types of finishes, such as cabinetry, carpeting and trim.  Ask about home warranty coverage. Keep in mind, there are no dumb questions.

Buying a new home can be an exciting journey. Partnering with the right homebuilder can make the trip all the more enjoyable.

You, too, can buy new

saving-money_lDid you know it’s possible to purchase a more expensive, newer home and achieve the same annual operating costs associated with owning an older, existing home?

That’s the conclusion of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), using data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s 2011 American Housing Survey.

According to the NAHB’s investigation, homes built before 1960 have an average maintenance cost of $564 a year, while a home built after 2008 averages $241. Similarly, operating costs average nearly 5 percent of the home’s value for pre-1960 structures, while they average less than 3 percent in homes built since 2008.

Taxes and mortgage payments also play an important role in factoring the affordability of new and existing homes. Taking into account the year the house was built, purchase price, mortgage payments, annual operating costs and income tax savings, the NAHB compared the first year after-tax cost of ownership for both types of homes. The results indicate a buyer can afford to pay 23 percent more for a new house than for one built before 1960 and still maintain the same amount of first-year annual costs.

True, mortgage payments are bound to be greater due to the higher purchase price of a newly built home. But, the lower operating costs balance out the difference, resulting in annual costs that are about the same as if the buyer had purchased a less expensive, older home with a smaller mortgage payment and higher operating expenses. Other benefits of owning a new home include open floor plans, enhanced storage options and energy-efficient construction that adheres to modern codes and standards.

One of the take-away lessons to be learned from the NAHB’s study is that prospective home buyers shouldn’t be too quick to write off the affordability of owning a newly built home. Taking a moment to look beyond the initial sales price just might prove it’s possible to spend a few more dollars on a new home and still achieve annual operating costs that fit within the budget.    

Photo credit:401(K) 2013 / Foter / CC BY-SA

Home Maintenance for Winter

Start preparing your home for the cold temperatures!
[Photo Credit: LGI Homes Blog]

Even though we are not shoveling snow across our driveways and winterizing our pipes like our friends on the East Coast, we are still welcoming the cooler temperatures for our version of “winter.” We don’t have blizzards or icicles to worry about, but slight changes in the temperature can affect home maintenance.

Maracay Homes are built with energy-efficiency and safety already in mind, but there are still a few things desert-dwelling homeowners can do to prep the house for cooler weather that will affect the quality of your home and your energy bill.

Heater Help
Make sure your heater is in tip-top condition before the temperatures dip below the 70’s. You don’t want to figure out that your heater broke while a freeze warning has been announced. For under $100, a technician will inspect all the working parts of a heater to ensure it’s in working condition.

Caution of the Cold
Even though we rarely hit below freezing, Phoenix has been known to have some chilly nights. Be sure to protect your landscape from the damaging freezing temperatures. Drape blankets over desert plants to prevent frost burn if there is a freeze warning in effect. Also, turn off exterior faucets if they aren’t in use. This will prevent pipes from bursting due to expanding ice.

Ceiling Fan Care
Reverse your ceiling fan to run clockwise during winter in order to create an updraft and push hot air down into living areas. According to Energy Star, reversing your ceiling fan rotation may allow you to turn down your thermostat by a degree or two for even more energy savings.

Lighting Up
If you are lighting up the outside of your home for the holidays, you will need to do a little maintenance with older Christmas lights. Make sure there are no signs of wear-and-tear on the wires and that all bulbs are still functioning. We wouldn’t want your yard being lit up from an electrical fire.

To ensure your home is in tip-top shape all year round, check out our Maracay Home Maintenance List.

Fill Our House With Love

As tomorrow begins the holiday season, many of us are surrounded by family, friends and plenty of good fortune as we celebrate another year together. Yet there are many who have not been so fortunate and now, more than ever, rely on the extra support of our communities to make their season bright.

Maracay Homes is proud to announce its annual Fill Our House With Love toy drive to benefit the Starlight Children’s Foundation.

In the spirit of the giving, Maracay Homes is proud to our annual ‘Fill Our House With Love’ Toy Drive, benefiting the Starlight Children’s Foundation. Now through December 21, we are asking our friends to help us spread some holiday cheer by way of toy donations just for chronic and terminally ill children seeking treatment and Arizona pediatric hospitals. Be it board games or Barbies, all gifts are welcome to bring joy to those who need it most. Some donation ideas include:

  • Ages 2-5: Play Doh, Balls, Stuffed Animals, Activity Books
  • Ages 6 to 12: Hot Wheels, Leggos, Craft Sets, Dolls
  • Ages 13 to 18: Sports Equipment, DVDs, Makeup, Games

For nearly 30 years, the Starlight Children’s Foundation has been helping seriously ill children and their families cope with pain and fear by way of entertainment, education and support. Locally, the Foundation serves more than 74,000 children and families throughout the state of Arizona, helping them to manage their illness and enjoy each day.

Last year, we collected more than 13,000 toys and with your help, we can donate even more in 2012! To join us in our mission, please bring your unwrapped gift to the Maracay Homes neighborhood near you or call 480-970-6000 for more information on how you can help us help children in need.

NEWS: Maracay Homes Builds First ENERGY STAR® Home

Maracay Homes teamed with SRP to build first SRP ENERGY STAR® Home, saving owners $1,400 annually.

Do you remember the houses of the future from the 1950’s with talking walls, robot maids, and microwaves that cook meals in minutes? Those haven’t come to fruition (yet), but Maracay Homes and SRP have the next best thing when it comes to innovations in home building – the first SRP ENERGY STAR® Home.

The home belongs to Tamee and George Simbles who’ve recently relocated from Austin, TX to occupy the state-of-the-art home located in the community of Whispering Heights Chandler. The 3,100-square-foot home is the first of its kind and completely fulfilled the desires of the Simbles family, who wanted to downsize to a single-story home with less space to clean, but enough space for her three sons, and energy efficiency.

“Building a sustainable, affordable and greener way of living is a core value at Maracay Homes,” said Andy Warren, President of Maracay Homes. “We are proud to build homes that stand up to SRP’s ENERGY STAR Homes standards. Welcome home, Simbles family.”

In addition to the more manageable size, a few of the energy-efficient benefits of living in an ENERGY STAR® home include:

  • 50 to 60 percent more energy efficiency than most existing homes
  • Savings of $1,400 or more per year compared with most existing homes
  • 20 percent less water usage compared to existing and some new homes

Not only are the homes energy-efficient, but certain features ensure added comfort and health of the homeowners. They are built tight to keep conditioned air in while dirt, pollen and pollutants stay out. The homes are also required to have ventilation systems that filter in fresh air, so families can rest easy knowing that the air inside their home is clean and safe.

“There are so many features that are on this home that have not been in our previous homes, like the radiant barrier in our attic, improved windows, plus energy-efficient light bulbs, a programmable thermostat and motion sensors so the kids can’t leave lights on anymore,” Tamee said. “Not to mention the nearly 50% savings on our electric bill alone.”

Like any house, the building started with the laying of the foundation, plumbing and putting up the walls, but SRP employed some serious solar magic when adding the roof and with other eco-touches, such as the ventilation system and water features. Check back soon for a timelapse video featuring the entire build!

For more information on this ENERGY STAR® program or ways to save energy in your existing home, visit our Energy Ease page.

What’s In A Warranty?

The Maracay Homes industry leading home warranty program goes above and beyond, ensuring our relationship with our buyers doesn’t end after closing. Rather than the typical one-year Limited Warranty many home builders offer, all  Maracay homes come with two stages of warranty protection: a full Door-to-Door Warranty that covers almost every part of the new home for the first two years, plus a 10-year Structural Warranty that kicks in during years three through 10. In addition, each home comes with dozens of manufacturers’ warranties covering everything from air conditioning and appliances to doors and windows for a specific time period.

As the name implies, the Two Year Door-to-Door Warranty offers an enhanced level of coverage that includes the following opportunities for service: a scheduled 60-day follow-up assessment to care for items that require repair or adjustment; emergency service; and an optional one-time service call to touch up paint, stucco, drywall and grout during the first two years of homeownership. The extended 10-Year Structural Warranty, provided through the nationally respected Residential Warranty Corporation (RWC), continues to deliver first-rate protection for the third through 10th years of the home’s life.

Each of these warranties is fully transferrable and effective from the original owner’s close of escrow date. In other words, all of the warranties stay with the house if sold and are transferred to the future owners for the remainder of the warranty term.  Of course, certain coverage exclusions and restrictions apply. More details can be found in the Homeowner’s Warranty Manual and “The Maracay Way: A Customer Experience Guide”.

NEWS: High-end Housing Recovery

The Arizona Republic turned an eye to the housing market this past Saturday, reporting that high-end homes are seeing a comeback and that the demand for new homes continues to soar.

“Demand for new homes in metro Phoenix has doubled since last year. Builders are starting new developments, again,” reported Catherine Reagor, real estate reporter for The Arizona Republic.

The article highlights the recent opening of Maracay Homes’ newest community, Montelena, which debuted in Queen Creek earlier this month. The neighborhood boasts six brand new floorplans ranging from nearly 3,000 to just over 5,000 square feet, starting from the low $300,000′s.

The opening of Montelena serves to aide in the demand for new homes in Phoenix, a market that has, in many ways, been serving as the nation’s barometer for real estate on the rise. With U.S. housing starts hitting a 4 year high in September, Phoenix new homes communities will continue to develop, including those from Maracay Homes as we serve to meet the needs of our turn-around town.

Maracay Homes President Honored by Greater Phoenix Economic Council

Congratulations are in order for Maracay Homes‘ President Andy Warren who was honored last night with the Distinguished Service Award for his leadership in the Greater Phoenix Economic Council! Andy was recognized for his outstanding achievements in spearheading GPEC’s resource development efforts, including a new focus on a multi-year commitments. Under his guidance, GPEC will secure 50% of private investment for the next three to five years which will ensure a continued sustainability in key strategic initiatives, as well as the ability to advance progress in areas such as science, technology and innovation.

“I think there is this responsibility we have as leaders in the private sector to be involved, to give back to the community, to look for the best interest of the broader community. A thriving economy is a good thing for all of us and this is just a great way to get involved and  help create that environment,” explained Andy of his involvement in GPEC.

For more, check out this video as Andy reflects on the importance of leadership and GPEC:

Join us in congratulating Andy on a very well-deserved honor!

Dow Jones Recognizes The World’s Most Sustainable Companies

We are proud to announce that the parent company of Marcay Homes, Weyerhaeuser, has been named to the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI), again! Lauded as the most desirable and credible recognition of a company’s sustainability performance, an inclusion in the DJSI is truly a badge of honor.

Weyerhaeuser was named to both the North American and World Indexes, an accomplishment only achieved by 10 percent of each sector. While the company has graced the North American Index since inception in 2005, this year marks the second consecutive appointment to the World Index, making Weyerhaeuser one of only two companies named to both indexes in the real estate category.

Accounting for issues such as corporate governance, risk management, branding, climate change, supply chain standards, and labor practices, the annual review of the DJSI is based on a thorough assessment of corporate economic, environmental and social performance. While Maracay Homes lives the Weyerhaeuser model of sustainable efforts locally through LivingSmart and other initiatives, these indexes serve as valid indicators about how sustainability is being both defined and practiced in the global marketplace.

Click here for more on this exciting honor and the eco-efforts of our parent company.