Summer-Proofing Your Home


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When it comes to summer readiness, we know Arizonans are pros. From making sure to stay hydrated to loading on the sunblock, Arizonans know exactly how to prepare for all that summer brings. But what about your home?

With June and (monsoon season) right around the corner, we want to make sure our homeowners are prepared, comfortable and save money all year-round. Although Maracay Homes are energy-efficient and designed for maximum comfort and sustainability, there are ways that homeowners can go the extra mile when it comes to having a home that is exceptionally safe, clean and comfy, specifically for summer.

To start, prepare your home from the outside, in. Spend a little time outside patching up or painting any unsightly cracks in the exterior of your home before it gets unbearably hot. Not only are they visually unappealing, but they can cause rotting and allow unwanted heat to get in. For monsoon preparedness, make sure your rain gutters and drains are cleared and ready for flash floods, and trim tree branches so they don’t fall in the event of a storm.

Invest in ceiling and floor fans, if you haven’t already. Cranking up the AC to near-arctic temperatures may sound heavenly, but it will also rack up your energy usage and utility costs. An average residential AC unit running for 12 hours a day can cost more than $150 a month to operate. A ceiling fan costs less than a penny an hour to operate, that's around $3.50 a month!

While fans do their part to create a cooler living space, they pose no match for the 110+ degree weather. During summer, it’s almost impossible not to turn on your air conditioner, but to ensure that you get the most out of your system, make sure to change the air filters regularly. Keeping your air ducts clean and unblocked will not only give your home as much airflow as possible, but also keep your AC system from working on overload and wasting more energy than needed.

Don’t forget to prep the pool! Check the levels, inspect the pumps and change the light bulbs. Do a little upkeep now to make sure everything looks and operates as it should before you jump in later! 

Tri Pointe Group Honored as 2015 Builder of the Year


 

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Smart, successful, innovative. Those are just a few of the adjectives BUILDER Magazine used to describe our parent company, TRI Pointe Group, in presenting it with the 2015 Builder of Year Award earlier this week.

TRI Pointe received BUILDER’s highest yearly honor during the magazine’s annual awards program held on Monday, May 11, at the Housing Leadership Summit in Aventura, Florida. While all awards are great, this one tops the list, as it comes from one of the most trusted sources in the residential construction industry.

Recognized for its excellence in successful business strategy, its numerous achievements and its respected corporate leadership, TRI Pointe also was named the fastest-growing homebuilder in the country by BUILDER, with the most year-over-year growth in home deliveries of any other homebuilding company.

Originally founded as TRI Pointe Homes in 2009 by building veterans Doug Bauer, Tom Mitchell and Mike Grubbs, during one of the building industry’s worst recessions, the company went public in 2013. As growth continued and new markets were added, TRI Pointe purchased Weyerhaeuser’s homebuilding subsidiary, Weyerhaeuser Real Estate Company (“WRECO”), in 2014 – including Maracay Homes.

Additional accomplishments last year included the creation of TRI Pointe Solutions, a suite of homebuyer services that provides end-to-end support throughout the closing process. The suite is made up of “TRI Pointe Connect,” formed as a joint venture with imortgage, which provides mortgage related services, and “TRI Pointe Assurance,” a wholly owned TRI Pointe company, which acts as a title agency for First American Title Insurance Company.

Please join us as we congratulate TRI Pointe Group and look forward to another year of building beautiful Arizona homes tailored to fit every family’s lifestyle. 

Valentine’s Day at Home


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It’s been said that home is where the heart is, and for obvious reasons, we couldn’t agree more. This Valentine’s Day, why not forego the crowds and spend the holiday celebrating the ones you love without ever leaving your house? Stumped for ideas? Not to worry! We’ve channeled our inner Cupid to come up with three suggestions for creating the perfect Valentine’s Day date night.  Whether you’re looking for a romantic night in, family fun time or a Singles Awareness Day celebration with the girls, read on for inspiration.
 
For the Couple
Going out on Valentine’s Day can definitely be a hassle. Between parking challenges and crowded restaurants, the hurried chaos can take away from the romance. This year, take your time, skip the traffic and enjoy a romantic evening at home. Share a candle-lit dinner and pop open some bubbly, dip strawberries and sweet treats in chocolate fondue or go all out and plan a scavenger hunt or outdoor movie theater in the backyard.
 
For the Entire Family
Since Valentine’s Day is the day of love, why not spend it with the entire family? Spend some time making memories and enjoying a few laughs together. Build a pillow fort, cook a meal together or grab your favorite board game. Or if you’re feeling adventurous, grab a giant bag of marshmallows and have a marshmallow gun fight!
 
All the Single Ladies
Celebrating Singles Awareness Day this year? Host a “Galentine’s Day” party! Grab your favorite gal pals and make a night of it. Make some festive “love potion” cocktails, pamper yourself with a DIY spa day or blast Beyoncé and have a dance party! Need additional creative motivation? Check out our Valentine’s ​Day Pinterest Board!

Interested in Arizona New Homes?


Mark Boisclair Photography, Inc.

To say 2014 has been a big year for Maracay Homes would be an understatement. We have already opened seven new communities, joined the Tri Pointe Homes family and have added a few national awards to our portfolio. And we’re only halfway through! As exciting as the first half of the year has been, there is even more to come from Maracay as we prepare for a number of neighborhood openings this fall and into 2015.

Marcay Homes continues to open in the Phoenix and Tucson-area’s most desirable locations, offering new, flexible floor plans to meet the needs of post-recession buyers in well-planned and meaningful ways. From the soon-to-debut Verrado Palisades to our first (and much-anticipated) active adult community, there is a lot to keep up with from this Arizona homebuilder. And to help potential homeowners stay up-to-date with it all, we offer an easy solution.

Our new community interest lists offer a no-hassle way to keep up with the new from the developing neighborhoods on your radar. Simply provide your basic contact information, tell us where you’re looking at and anything we can do to make your impending move as stress-free as possible. As news and developments progress, you’ll be the first alerted so that you can better plan your next step in the home buying process. 

Maracay Homes Joins TRI Pointe Homes


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Not many things please us as much as seeing a family move into their dream home for the very first time. But if anything came close, it might just be the minute we found out our Maracay Homes family was about to get a little bit bigger. 

We are happy to announce today that our parent company, Weyerhaeuser Real Estate Company (WRECO), has merged with TRI Pointe Homes, Inc., an Irvine, Calif.-based homebuilder that offers six quality brands throughout the U.S., to become one of the top 10 largest public homebuilders in the United States by equity market capitalization. The merger, which is valued at approximately $2.8 billion, is expected to provide TRI Pointe with significantly enhanced scale. Our new TRI Pointe Family includes TRI Pointe Homes of Northern and Southern California and Colorado; Pardee Homes of Southern California and Las Vegas, Nevada; Quadrant Homes of Puget Sound region of Washington State; Trendmaker Homes of Houston, Texas; and Winchester Homes of Washington D.C. metro area and Richmond, Virginia.

While our exceptional local executive team will continue leading the Maracay Homes brand, our new TRI Pointe family will give us a newfound financial strength, enabling us to grow our operations in the Arizona market. We will continue building beautiful, energy-efficient single-family homes designed for the way premium homebuyers want to live. Of course, we will still offer our suite of proprietary processes and tools, which include FlexDesign® and LivingSmart®, to deliver comfort, style and sustainability.

For more information on this exciting news, click here get the full story from Inside Tucson Business

Americans Prefer Newly Built Homes


Modern features, customizable options and less maintenance are all among the many reasons most Americans — twice as many to be exact — would prefer purchasing new homes vs existing homes, according to the latest online survey from Trulia, a leading online residential real estate site.

Of the more than 2,000 survey respondents, 41 percent said they’d prefer buying a new home, whereas only 21 percent would choose an existing home.  The remaining 38 Trulia_NewVsExisting_PieChart_5.55.14_v2percent of respondents had no preference.

While the overall numbers are quite convincing that Americans want to buy new, not everyone actually is willing to pay the higher price tag for a new home. According to the latest research from Trulia, new 2013 and 2014 homes cost on average 20 percent more than older homes — a number that seems to deter nearly half of the people who would prefer a new home from actually purchasing a new home, according to the survey results. Combining both the preference and willingness to pay, only 17 percent said they prefer a new home and would pay at least 20 percent more for a new home.

Although home buyers initially may pay higher for a new home, the overall price might not reflect the actual cost in the long run. According to a Census survey, homes built in the last four years cost about $25 less per month for maintenance compared with all homes. The maintenance savings combined with deals from homebuilders looking to move existing new-home inventory could end up saving home buyers more money if they choose new versus old.

While price is certainly a factor, new-home buyers have many other reasons for choosing new rather than an old. According to another Census survey, two-thirds of new-home sales are signed before construction is completed, showing buyers want the option to customize. Additionally, nearly 65 percent of respondents from the Trulia online survey who strongly prefer a new home also want the option to customize, with the same amount of respondents wanting modern features like bigger closets, a kitchen island and open floor plans.

As a homebuilder, these survey results only reinforce what we’re doing at Maracay Homes. We not only provide homes in high-demand areas, but offer FlexDesign® options with features like  spacious great rooms, walk-in kitchen pantries, wrap-around porches, secret passageway from laundry to master closet, bonus rooms, 3-car garages, inviting exteriors and much more, depending on the plan. Not to mention, each home is Energy Star® certified and comes with Maracay Homes’ Living Smart® program for high performance and energy efficiency, providing homeowners with savings for years to come.

In the Neighborhood: May


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So many things to do, so little time. And no, we’re not talking about household chores! May is the month when still-cool evenings and not-too-hot days provide just the right temperature for getting out and exploring your surroundings.  So put aside your to-do list and make some time to take advantage of the fun activities occurring near your Maracay Homes neighborhood.

Here are a few ideas to inspire you:

Cinco de Mayo Fiesta-Tucson Tortilla Festival
10 a.m. – 3 p.m., Sunday, May 4
Presidio San Agustin del Tucson
133 W. Washington St., Tucson
Celebrate the holiday with Mexican folklore, art, music and tortilla sampling. This free event includes tortilla-making tutorials, children’s activities and other family-friendly entertainment. Presented by Tucson Parks and Recreation in partnership with Tucson Meet Yourself.

Gilbert Spring Concert in the Park
7 p.m. – 9 p.m., Thursday, May 8
Freestone Park
1045 E.  Juniper, Gilbert
Need a mid-week break? Bring a blanket or lawn chair and stretch out under the stars to enjoy a concert of country/classic rock tunes from local band Tequila Highway. Free. Sponsored by Town of Gilbert Parks and Recreation.

Queen Creek Peach Festival
May 10-18
Schnepf Farms
24810 S. Rittenhouse Road, Queen Creek
Fresh, juicy locally grown peaches are the star of the show at this annual festival, which includes hayrides, live music, train rides and carnival rides. Now in its 20th year, the event is a must-do for residents from all reaches of the Valley. 

Phoenix Pet Expo
10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Saturday, May 17
WestWorld of Scottsdale
16601 N. Pima Road, Scottsdale
Vendors, demonstrations, low-cost vaccinations, adoptions and a costume contest will make for a busy day at this free, family-friendly event. Pets welcome.

Memorial Day Candlelight Service
7 p.m. – 8 p.m., Monday, May 26
Avondale City Hall Amphitheater
11465 W. Civic Center Dr., Avondale
A night to honor those who served. The free service includes speeches, music and special tributes.

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