Tag Archives: new homes

Take Our New Home Buyer Personality Test

redcottage (2) (640x426) New home buyers may have a combination of traits that allow them to live healthy, sociable, satisfied lives. They seek novelty. They are often uninterested in finding a home that was built for and lived in by someone else. Persistence is another trait that helps them find just what they are looking for. They can imagine what the future holds if they try something new. They feel a deep connection to their home and its surroundings.

Take our new home buyer personality test to see if you would be happy moving into someone else’s home or building your own custom home.

Answers range from Strongly Disagree (1) to Strongly Agree (5).

1. Most houses are the same; they just have different exteriors and sizes.

(1) Strongly Disagree (2) Disagree (3) Neutral (4) Agree (5) Strongly Agree


2. High performance construction materials are important to me.

(1) Strongly Disagree (2) Disagree (3) Neutral (4) Agree (5) Strongly Agree


3. I prefer traditional spaces rather than flexible interior environments.

(1) Strongly Disagree (2) Disagree (3) Neutral (4) Agree (5) Strongly Agree


4. I like to explore and enjoy the exterior environment that surrounds me.

(1) Strongly Disagree (2) Disagree (3) Neutral (4) Agree (5) Strongly Agree


5. It’s important to me to achieve my goals.

(1) Strongly Disagree (2) Disagree (3) Neutral (4) Agree (5) Strongly Agree

If you agree or are neutral about statements 1 and 3 above, you are likely to be happy buying an existing home. If you find yourself agreeing with statements 2,4 and 5 above, you are more likely to enjoy building a new custom home in a unique environment. New American Homes’ thoughtfully designed custom houses in its Newport Cove waterfront community, located 30 miles northwest of Chicago on the Chain O’ Lakes, may be the answer for you.

Warren Buffett Bets on Housing Rebound

Famed investor Warren Buffett is betting on housing… literally.

Perhaps replaying a scene from a classic movie, the Berkshire Hathaway CEO has made a Trading-Places-esque $1 bet with former Office of Management and Budget director Peter Orszag that unemployment will fall below 8 percent before the next presidential election due to a strong housing rebound that will breathe life—and jobs—into the economy.

Buffett emphasized that while his bet rests on the job market, the true key is real estate. “I’ve got a bet with [Orszag about unemployment],” he said. “But… that’s because I think housing will come back before that. If I’m wrong about housing, I lose the bet.”

Buffett elaborated on Friday, telling Bloomberg Television that “he sees nothing that indicates any kind of double dip,” adding that he believes the real estate recovery “could begin relatively soon.”

Don’t miss out on your chance to bet with Buffett. Mortgage rates are at all-time lows at Newport Cove, and the only way to avoid losing a lot more than Peter Orszag’s dollar is to lock in those rates now.

Benjamin Moore “Affinity” Color: A Shade of Genius

Hve you ever spent hours trying to coordinate point colors?  We have!  But now, Benjami Moore has come up with a great idea: the Affinity Color Collectives.  It is a sophisticated palette of 144 harmonius hues. Every color in this full rainbow of colors, harmonizes with every other color. So, you can paintthe kitchen “terra bella” and the dining room”seedling” and the master bedroom “serenata” and know that they won’t clash.  Very cool.  Creative genius at work!

Many of the colors would look great in a cottage or coastal-style home, like the ones we are building at Newport Cove, our waterfront development overlooking Bluff Lake, one of the lakes in the Chain O’ Lakes.  Newport Cove combines a vacation lifestyle – boating, fishing, water sports – with a year-round or weekend home – your choice!

To Get the “Look,” Avoid These Mistakes

Want a fresh look for your home, and want to do it yourself? Here are some decorating mistakes to avoid:1. Too many colors. Try to keep the paint colors in your home to a minimum – two or three at most. And, if possible, use one carpet throughout the entire house. A plethora of colors will make your home feel chopped up and stop the visual flow of your spaces.

2. Busy fabrics on large pieces.Think of your sofa and sectional as background. Select simple fabrics for them, preferably without much color or pattern variation. Think of these large furniture pieces as something akin to your “basic black” dress. You can dress them up or dress them down. Save the patterned fabrics for pillows or drapes.  Use accessories – like art, area rugs or throws – to bring the “punch” into your rooms.

3. Layout unbalanced. When arranging your furniture, be careful not to put all the heavy pieces on one side of the room. If you have something tall (like an armoire) on one wall, try to balance it with, for example, a large picture on the opposite wall.

4. Too much stuff. A good rule of thumb is this: Think of everything you want to put into a room, and then cut it in half.
5. No theme. The eclectic look is great, but – for it to be successful – it needs a theme, be it style, topic or color. In our Stillwatermodel home at Newport Cove, our waterfront development on the Chain O’ Lakes, the theme is nautical and color-centered, using a palette of white, blue and tan. This 2,215-square-foot home offers three bedrooms, 2.5 baths, a full basement with nine-foot walls and an optional bonus room over the 2.5-car garage. It is in the community’s Cottages neighborhood, an area where the homeowners’ association takes care of all landscaping maintenance and snow removal.

Should You Buy A House?

Is renting better than purchasing? As home values stagnate, many people seem to think so.
But, before you decide to sign that lease, consider these points:

1. Rent usually goes up. If you have a fixed price mortgage, your payment will be the same for 30 years and – at the end of that time – you will have no house payments whatsoever.

2. A home is an investment. When you pay rent, you are putting money in someone else’s pocket.When you pay a mortgage, part of that money is being invested in your property. Eventually you can own your home free and clear.

3. A lease is short-term. If you have a one- or two-year lease, at the end of the lease a landlord can decide to no longer rent the property. If you own a home, you can live there as long as you like (if you pay the mortgage and taxes).

4. You will pay less income tax. The interest you pay on your mortgage AND your real estate taxes are tax deductible on your federal and state income tax returns. Rent is NOT tax deductible.

5. Real estate tends to increase in value. That fact is difficult to believe in a down-trending market, but in the long term real estate prices have done nothing but go up.

6. Mortgage rates are at historic lows. Because of the low rates, today it is more cost effective to buy a house than to rent one of the same size.

 7. You become part of a community. Homeowners tend to be more invested in their communities, to stay longer in their residences.
8. You have more influence. Municipal officials, whether it is fair or not, tend to pay more attention to property owners than to renters.
Would your landlord like this color?
9. You can plant a garden. With a home usually comes a little land – a place for a garden plot or a swing set.
10. You can paint the walls RED. When you own your home, YOU are the landlord. You can paint, decorate, make the home your own.
Newport Cove, New American Homes’ waterfront community on the Chain O’ Lakes near Antioch, IL, has new homes available for immediate occupancy starting at $395,000.  Or, we can build you a new home starting from $325,000.

A Housing Shortage? You Kidding Me??

Is a housing shortage coming? If you watch TV news or read newspapers, you would say, “Absolutely not!” Yet a few economists are beginning to predict a housing shortage in just a few years. Why? Here’s the story:

 According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, our country forms something north of one million new households each year. In other words, every year we need to add another one million-plus housing units – apartments, condos, single-family homes. During the height of the housing boom, the country was building more new homes than households being formed. (Small wonder there was a housing glut!) But, now, we are building far fewer. Recent housing statistics show that the country is adding around 500,000 units per year, less than half of what is needed.  And, this number does not take into account the obsolete housing units that are torn down annually.
Once the country burns through the excess inventory built in the 2005-2008 era, the supply of housing being produced will not begin to meet the demand. Because so many building material suppliers and construction companies have either cut back or disappeared, it will be difficult to construct the number of units needed. Thus, some economists are beginning to predict not only a housing shortage, but an accompanying increase in housing prices.

Not many people have the courage to buy in a down market. But, historically, smart investors run against the herd. They sell when everyone else is buying and buy when everyone else is selling. With interest rates at record lows and housing prices down from their lofty heights, now might be the best time in a lifetime to buy real estate.

Appraisal Know-How

In today’s turbulent real estate market, an appraisal can make or break the sale of your home. Yet, appraising is far from an exacting profession. Here are a few things to know about appraisals so that the house you are buying or selling is valued properly:

1. An appraisal is one person’s opinion. During our 25 years in business, New American Homes has found that appraisals on the same property can vary greatly. The opinion of one appraiser does not necessarily match the opinion of another.

2. Qualify your appraiser. When the appraiser calls to make an appointment to view your property, ask if he or she is familiar with your neighborhood. If not, call the lender and ask that an appraiser with “geographic competency” value your home.

3. Be proactive with your appraiser. Be prepared to give the appraiser favorable comparables (or “comps”) from your neighborhood. Point out properties that have sold recently and compare well with your property. Tell the appraiser how these comps are better or worse than your property – for example, does your home have more bedrooms, an updated kitchen, a finished basement, more square footage, a preferred location?

4. Identify foreclosures.  Be sure that, if an appraiser is using a foreclosed property as a comp, this fact is properly noted and the condition of the foreclosed property is known.  (Many foreclosed properties are “stripped” before they are sold, and the recorded sale prices do not take into consideration the cost of bringing the properties back to a livable condition.)

The following link from AOL’s real estate blog, “Inside the Mind of an Appraiser,” is an excellent short video on how an appraiser looks at a home:  Inside the Mind of an Appraiser

Homes Can Grow With You

Within the next 25 years, one in five Americans will be age 65 and older. If you are remodeling your home or building a new one, ask yourself this question: Will your house appeal to this changing population? It’s a question all homeowners should answer.

A little forethought and small design changes can make a big difference in making a house user-friendly for a longer time period. If it’s a two-story, stacking closets one above the other can create a spot for a future elevator. “Blocking” – adding extra support wood behind bath and shower walls – provides a place to anchor future grab bars. Trading a front door with sidelights for an extra-wide door can make access (as well as such mundane events as moving a sofa) easier. Being sure each room has three levels of lighting – natural, ambient and task lighting – ensures that weaker eyes can see better.

Helping customers create home environments that are usable by all people is a service offered by New American Homes, Inc. and its Newport Cove development, a planned waterfront community on the Chain O’ Lakes in Chicagoland. An example of a universally designed home, the LIFEhouse™ concept home, designed in conjunction with the internationally renowned IDEA Center at the University of Buffalo, State University of New York, will be opening soon.

 A bath in the home, pictured here, illustrates several universally designed features, including a bench located across from the shower.

The Changing “Shape” of New Homes. . .

Home sizes in the U.S. are declining. Is it because of recession, energy conservation or an aging population that wants to spend less time caring for homes?

The average square footage for new homes in the United States dropped signficantly in 2009 for the first time in nearly 30 years, according to figures just released by the U.S. Census Bureau.

New homes in 2009 averaged 2,438 square feet, down from 2,519 square feet in 2008. The average peaked in 2007 at 2,521 square feet. American house sizes have been trending upward since averages were first calculated in 1973, when homes were an average of 1,660 square feet.

The Census figures show the trend in smaller homes visible in other ways. Only 36 percent of new homes in 2009 had four or more bedrooms, down from 40 percent the previous years and the lowest percentage since 1997. And, the number of single-story homes increased from 44 percent to 47 percent.

These trends seem to be confirmed at our Newport Cove waterfront community on the Chain O’ Lakes near Antioch where customer “hot buttons” are moving toward the quality rather than quantity of space, fewer bedrooms, ranch-style homes or – at minimum – first-floor masters, easy-care materials and energy-conserving construction.

April Home Prices Are UP!

Home prices and sales rose in April, and that’s good news for home owners and home sellers.
The National Association of Realtors said yesterday that the nation’s sales of previously owned homes rose a surprising 7.6 percent last month. This is the best showing in five months and far better than what economists had predicted. The Midwest did even better than most of the country. Sales here rose 9.9 percent.
The increase in sales sparked a rise in home prices. The median price for homes sold rose to $173,100, up 4 percent from a year ago