Newlyweds, Part 2 – The Case for an Investment Home

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In the previous installment of this series, we touted the benefits of starting off your journey into home ownership with a so-called starter home. But what if you’re ready to invest in a home that you’ll stay in for even longer?

Why choose a “forever home” vs. a starter home

The home buying process is an extremely subjective and personal one – so what makes sense for some people won’t be practical for others. Here are some reasons you might want to consider building or buying a forever home on your first go-round:

Your “forever home” doesn’t cost that much more than the starter home you’d buy

If the difference is something you can save up within a year, it might be worth renting for just a while longer and holding out for your forever home.

You’re OK with adding on.

If you think you’ll need more space in the future, factor the cost and time for a renovation or addition to your smaller home into your decision.

You don’t plan on changing location.

For the folks that can’t imagine ever moving to a different area, even if your job situation changes, a forever home might make sense if you find something you love in the perfect area. Pay attention to the school system if you plan to have (or already have) children. Some people like the sentimentality of living in one home their entire life and having a place their children always call “home.” Explore our new home communities in the Oklahoma City or Tulsa metro areas.

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You really, really know what you want.

Some people need to learn by trial-and-error – maybe hardwood sounds great, but you end up hating it in the bedroom and living room. But if you’ve done a good bit of renting and/or moving around already and you have a very good idea of what you want, and can afford it, a starter home might be redundant and actually cost you more money in the long run if you have to remodel.

Your current (and future) finances can handle the cost of living.

Handling doesn’t mean scraping by – it means managing with a bit of wiggle room. Don’t forget to add the cost of living to your house payment – including utilities, maintenance fees, and insurance. If you don’t have any (or much) debt and don’t plan to take on any considerable debt in the near future, buying a forever home right now might be doable for your family.

The price is right.

If home prices are good, as well as interest rates low, a home for the future might be the best choice to make right now. Long term, Real Estate prices are always rising, even though they fluctuate short term, and interest rates are at the lowest point in 40 years. A bigger purchase now, may save you money in the long run.

Again, the starter home vs. forever home decision is incredibly subjective – and especially delicate to navigate for first-time buyers! We suggest loving any home you buy – and making sure you wouldn’t mind staying in it for more than a few years. In reality, most home owners move every 5 years, so don’t be afraid to make a decision. You can always move up or down to fit any changing circumstances.

Celebrating the 1889 Oklahoma Land Run

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Map of Oklahoma Land Openings from the Oklahoma Historical Society website at www.okhistory.org

At the stroke of noon on April 22, 1889, an estimated 50,000 settlers flooded into region of Central Oklahoma to claim a piece of the Unassigned Lands. The landscape of Oklahoma has changed drastically since the historical Oklahoma Land Run 125 years ago. From high rise buildings to standalone houses, City Municipalities, city planners, developers, and builders across the state have created communities suited for both commercial and residential purposes.

Home Creations, the largest new home builder in Oklahoma, has built in and developed over 100 communities since 1981 and continues to seek out desirable areas to build more homes for future homeowners. Unlike the days when settlers had to run (and possibly fight each other) to own a plot of land for their families’ homes, the process of becoming a home owner is a lot more pleasant now.

In celebration of this milestone in Oklahoma’s history, we are excited to announce a brand new community appropriately named Independence Valley in Norman. As you can see in the pictures below, it currently has just dirt with streets. Home Creations has 39 homesites ready on this 10-acre development (Section 1) for future homeowners to claim.

Before you saddle up your horses, stock up your wagons, or put on your running shoes, relax. You don’t have to go to this community on April 22 to stake your claim on a homesite. Instead, in this day and age of Internet technology, we are hosting a “land run” online.

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42 homesites ready on this ??-acre development for future homeowners to claim!

Therefore, starting April 22, 2014, power up your computer (with Internet connection of course), pull up a comfortable chair, load a bowl full of pop corn (or any snack of your choice), go to this page (custom link to a page), and stake your claim on a preferred homesite for your future Home Creations home. Upon writing a contract to build your choice of floor plan from our collection, you will receive $2,000 off the cost of the homesite you selected.

If you are ready to become a homeowner, Independence Valley may be the place to call home! “Stake Your Claim” at Independence Valley starts April 22 and ends April 30, 2014.

Newlyweds, part 1: Should you buy a starter home?

When you’re recently – or about to be – married, it’s natural to want to just do everything on that checklist: buy a house, host a dinner party, fight over the remote, paint something, etc. But when you’re making a significant decision, sometimes it’s nice to have some advice. Case in point: choosing that first home together.

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A starter home means different things to different people. For some, a first home is just a smaller, more minimal home that has enough room for you and your partner, but with no repairs. For others, a starter home is a fixer-upper that requires lots of attention and repair – but makes up for the effort with its crazy-low price.

At Home Creations, we like to think of a starter home as a way to ease yourself into home ownership. You should love any home you buy, and you shouldn’t have to sacrifice your must-have amenities – but there are pros and cons of buying new vs “used,” and sometimes the pros greatly outweigh the cons even if the price is a little more on a new home.

Benefits of choosing a starter home that is new construction

  • More financial stability. With a newly constructed home you’ll be able to start off your journey into home ownership with lower insurance payments since new homes usually cost less to insure, and no unexpected repair or “fixer upper” bills. (And if your home is energy efficient, you’ll benefit from lower utility bills, too!) Lower overall costs will let you save up for your growing family and your next larger home. Learn how a new Home Creations home is energy efficient.
  • Figuring out what you really, really want. You think you would love hardwood in the bedroom…but that “used” home has old carpet. A newly constructed home gives you a chance to try out different options: hardwood vs. carpet, double sinks in the master bath, a backyard, you name it. And you might discover that what you thought you’d like (high-maintenance counter tops, anyone?) is actually not something you want in your forever home. So, when you move up to that next home, you can make those forever decisions from experience.
  • You can move in immediately. If you opt for a starter home that’s brand-new, you don’t have to wait for all those repairs and renovations to be made. Your starter home should be cost-effective for you and your family. As it turns out, many new homeowners prefer the affordability and move-in-ready conditions of a newly constructed home. Also, a new development of newly constructed homes, will probably be rising significantly higher in property values than an older declining area. So, a starter home that is new construction is a wise investment. Learn of the three ways you can own a Home Creations home.

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Choose a starter home that fits your needs – and your budget

Your starter home should be a well-researched, responsible choice on your part. Could you afford your mortgage payments if your partner wasn’t able to work for a while? If not, you might want to start with a smaller new home, get comfortable with your payment and then purchase a “move up” home in a few years. By then you will have built equity and established even better credit.

Home Creations homes allow you to invest in a starter home that’s move-in ready and packed with amenities – so you don’t have to sacrifice comfort or safety to keep your budget in the black. Look at our available homes here – we bet you’ll find something you love.

The Architecture Of A Good Marriage

86517429You vowed to honor and love your significant other in good days and in bad, share your love, dreams and your home. We are no relationship experts or marriage counselors, but the Oklahoma home builders at Home Creations know a thing or two about creating space for a long-lasting union.

Want to grow old together? There is such a thing as architecture that helps make a good marriage!

BathroomThe secret to a happy marriage is a double sink

You want to share everything with your partner: your heart, your hopes and your toothpaste. And that’s where things could potentially go wrong. Two sinks – some people even believe in separate bathrooms – can save your sanity. Imagine a world without passive aggressive comments about long hair in the sink, or openly hostile declarations of war against manly sloppiness. Love can conquer all except cluttered bathroom counters. Make your new bathroom an oasis of love, peace and happiness.

 

83590585Lost in space – closet space is more than just storage

How much closet space your partner occupies really stresses couples out. How many pairs of shoes can a woman need? Why does he own 10 near-identical button-down shirts? Why is there a bowling ball sitting in the corner even though nobody has played in years? Newly-weds may think this is silly, but just wait and see how much stuff accumulates in your closets. A fight over territorial dominance is imminent. The Home Creations solution: Walk-in closets big enough to allow for more shoes, more button-downs and more random items that will turn up in the back of the closet under mysterious circumstances, or…dual closets.

 

83815239The garage – the only space left for a man to roam free

The garage is one of the few spaces where a man can still be a man – or so he thought until his beloved’s vehicle took over most of it and the kids’ bikes, toys and other random junk encroached on his space. Home Creation 2 and 3 car garages are big enough for all the extra baggage, and your car too.

 

83590556 A family that plays together stays together

As our first few examples showed, separate spaces are a good thing, but a family needs a comfortable place to be together. Many people prefer open floor plans connecting the kitchen to the family room and dining spaces. This way you can watch the kids play while preparing a meal, entertain friends or have a conversation with your spouse while doing chores.

What’s that special space for you where your family connects? The kitchen? The family room? A game room? The backyard?

Make sure your new home has all the space you need to make happy memories that will last a life time.

City of Moore Adopts New Tornado Safety Building Codes – First in the Nation

Home Creations home builders are already building homes in Oklahoma based on many of the new tornado safety standards

To protect residents from future tornado trauma, the City of Moore implemented a set of new building codes March 17, 2014. The city hopes that homeowners in Moore, OK will have a better chance against the fury of Mother Nature thanks to the city’s adoption of these new residential building codes. However, Home Creations has been building homes under many of these standards for years.

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Photo courtesy of The Oklahoman/OPUBCO Digital Marketing Services
Clean-up efforts in Moore following the tornados that destroyed neighborhoods in Moore

“The added cost to the builder is worth it, even if just one life is saved,” says Jalal Farzaneh, Owner/President of Home Creations. “We will be glad to implement the additional measures as well.”

The Moore City Council voted in February to adopt the new codes based on research and proven engineering technology proposed by civil engineers Chris Ramseyer and Lisa Holliday. City of Moore is the first city in the nation to adopt building codes that focus on the tornado impact on homes.

“We have seen from this tornado, progressive construction techniques that can survive strong winds,” said Mayor Glenn Lewis. “We can learn from this devastating event to build stronger homes and neighborhoods across the United States – and it starts in Moore.”

Moore’s new residential building codes include requiring roof sheathing, hurricane clips or framing anchors, continuous plywood bracing and wind-resistant garage doors. The homes would be built to withstand winds up to 135 miles per hour rather than the accepted standard building requirements of 90 miles per hour.

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Home Creations began formulating new safety standards after a huge tornado ripped through Moore nearly 15 years ago.

“After the May 1999 tornado, Home Creations implemented 3 tornado safety features which have protected their homes over the years from high winds. The added structural integrity from these features have also prevented wall movement, thus making homes have less nail pops, texture cracks and tighter windows. These were added benefits,” says Anita Brown, Director of Sales and Marketing at Home Creations.

Please click here to see the standard measure that Home Creations home builders take to ensure that our homes are as safe as possible and can withstand significant winds.

Melissa Hunt, Moore Planning Commissioner and Executive Director of the American Institute of Architects, Central Oklahoma Chapter said she applauds the City of Moore for taking proactive, yet thoughtful steps to protect its citizens should another major tornado hit the area that was devastating last May by a deadly tornado.

“These steps demonstrate how a community can rebuild stronger through advanced construction techniques with minimal cost impact on the homeowners,” Hunt said.  “As a citizen of Moore, I am extremely pleased that our city leaders saw this as an important step in the rebuilding process and I hope other cities will follow Moore’s lead.”

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Since the May 20 tornados, Home Creations has helped several families rebuild their homes that they lost to the storms including our own Debbie Guidry.  To learn more, please click here.

New to gardening? Try these beginner’s tips and get to planting!

When you finally have a yard of your own, it’s natural to daydream about just what you’ll do with it. And many new homeowners want to take advantage of the space with a sprawling, prolific garden.

Like most things worth working for, creating your first garden takes a bit of time and a lot of planning on the front end – but your efforts will be rewarded plenty of times over!  Here are some of our tips for beginning gardeners.

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Start small. When we start on new projects, our tendency is to jump in feet-first. But gardening takes practice, and you’ll probably be better off keeping your volume low for your first attempt. Choose a few hardy plants, and focus on establishing a routine and a working knowledge of your own space.

Choose the right plants. When you choose your seeds (or starter plants), try to think about their place in the context of your garden as a whole – and how successful you’ll be trying to grow them. Also, try to pick things you know you’ll use. (Green beans are easy to grow, but if you don’t enjoy eating them, what’s the point?) Some of the best edible plants for beginners include salad greens, peppers, tomatoes, herbs, and potatoes.

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Be realistic about your time. There are times to talk yourself up (see: the dreaded “weakness” question in an interview), and there are times to be brutally honest about the way you work. When you’re planning a garden, it’s the latter. If you have minimal time to devote to your garden and tend to be out and about most of the day, you’ll need to schedule your maintenance time. You’ll also want to choose low-maintenance plants like hosta, marigolds, daylilies, and wave petunias – all of these can be watered when you water your lawn and do well.

Invest in some good, basic tools. Just like you need a few hard-working tools in your kitchen, even the greenest gardener needs some durable basic tools in his or her shed. Start with a spade, a garden hose, a wheelbarrow (or container to transport soil in), a trowel – and a big floppy hat to keep from getting completely sunburned!

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Soil also counts as a tool – make sure you pick a good blend, or fortify your existing soil with compost. We stick with the soil prep tips from the long-trusted Old Farmer’s Almanac. (If your soil isn’t very hospitable, a raised bed garden can be a good solution – and it can travel with you!)

And perhaps the most important thing to remember: enjoy your garden and learn from it. You might not get a perfect crop every time, but you’ll certainly come away with some good stories – and some time well spent.

Invest Your Tax Refund Into A New Home

The countdown to April 15 – tax day- is on, and if you are expecting a tax refund you are probably already mentally spending the cash influx that’s on its way. Last year, the average tax refund was roughly $2,700, according to the IRS.

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If you are considering buying a home in 2014 this money could pave your way into a new home. A sizeable refund might be enough to get you an FHA loan which requires a down payment of as little as 3.5%. An average Home Creations home cost $155,000 – which means a down payment of $5,425 is needed. So you may almost be there once the tax refund money hits your account.

Even better, if you already have some money saved it could be enough to put you over the 20% threshold so that you can avoid paying for private mortgage insurance (PMI). If so, that’s a great use of your money because again, you’ll reap savings over the entire life of your loan. Learn what makes up a house payment.

Those who may not need a down payment such as people who are eligible for RD loans, VA loans, or have a gift trust from parents, could use their tax refund for fees such as closing costs – or much more fun – upgrades to finishes or interior. Also, with Home Creations, we can help you get all your closing costs paid with our participating lender. So, in some cases, people can move in with as little as $500 for their earnest money deposit.

If you are considering making this big investment in your family’s future, you are in good company. According to a new TD Ameritrade survey of 1,000 investors (multiple responses were allowed in the survey), 61% of Americans, say they will save or invest their refunds this year, while 21% plan to pay off debt. Another 18% will spend the money on necessities. Only 19% of respondents said they expect to make non-essential purchases with their refunds.

HC_Tax2In turn, the tax refund that you are investing in a new home could help you save money on your taxes next year. Homeownership comes with a number of tax advantages such as the mortgage interest deduction and property taxes. Homeownership is still rewarded by Uncle Sam. Interest rates are still low but home prices are rising, so make your move now.

To learn more attend one of our Free Home Buyer Seminars.

To start shopping for your new home, click here.