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.

Buying a home for investment? Let Home Creations walk you through the process.

Part 3 of our series: From the Ground Up: Building Your Home as a Solid Investment.

We’ve talked about the money-saving aspects of buying new for your first home. Finances aside, building your first home or buying it new is a viable option for plenty of other reasons.

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You’ll be knowledgeable about any structural or functional issues with the home.

There shouldn’t be any repair problems with a new home – or hidden surprises by that faulty plumbing in your historic building, or the stairs that squeak when the weather changes. New homes tend to be lower maintenance than their “historic” predecessors.

In addition, your new home insurance is lower, and you can qualify for more with a new home since most lenders recognize the value you will have in “no repairs and lower energy bills.”

  • New homes come with warranties for greater peace of mind. A Home Creations home comes with a one-year builder’s warranty and a ten-year structural warranty. On top of that, all the new appliances come with their own manufacturer’s warranty.
  • There’s nothing like the feeling of a new space – it’s like driving a new car off the lot, except you get to enjoy the novelty for more than 30 minutes at a time! And a new home typically appreciates in value where a used home may be in a declining neighborhood.
  • A kitschy-retro home from the 80s might indeed have character – but that character can rack up huge amounts of money when you decide to renovate. New homes favor clean lines and open spaces, so your home feels classic and contemporary for years to come. Plus, those luxurious touches that you have to add to pre-built homes are standard in new homes.
  • If you decide to sell your home at some point, a new house will almost always fare better than an older one.
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Our team of New Home Consultants will walk with you on your journey towards homeownership!

Most importantly, you’ll have much more support when you buy a new home.

At Home Creations, we’re with you from the beginning to the end. We help you find the best loan with our participating lenders; we’ll be there to help you select the best floor plan, price point, and location for your needs; we’ll be there when you sign the contract; and we’ll be there when you select your home’s colors and upgrades.

Buying your first home is a new experience – but Home Creations will walk you through the process so you’re building equity instead of throwing money away in rent or in a bad investment. Our free home buyer seminars, held regularly throughout the year, give you the tools you need to become knowledgeable about home ownership and financing – and you’ll get answers to all your home-buying questions.

Ready to begin your journey towards homeownership? Click here to start!

Building your first home is no longer out-of-reach.

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Part 2 in our series: From the Ground Up: Building Your First Home as a Rock-Solid Investment

Earlier, we looked at today’s first-time home buyers and what their priorities are when choosing a place to call home. And now, we have to ask: is it possible in today’s market to buy a new home without losing money?

Most of the time, the “buying versus building” first home argument tends to lean toward buying an existing home. Having custom granite countertops and a man cave/wet bar/game room is indulgent and wonderful – but it’s important to make sure your add-ons and splurges are planned out instead of spontaneous.

But owning a new home isn’t all about hype and indulgence – it can actually be a very smart, strategic way to go. There are some significant, measurable benefits to moving into a recently built home:

  • New homes are more energy efficient than older models. The Home Energy Rating System Index (HERS Index), developed by the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET), indicates the energy efficiency of a house. As your MGP tells you about your car’s fuel efficiency, the HERS Index tells you about your home’s energy consumption – and the lower your HERS Index number, the more efficient your home.
  • InsidePage_200px_HERSvsMPGA typical existing home has a HERS Index of 130; and your run-of-the-mill new home has an index of 100. While an ENERGY STAR certified new home has a much lower score of 85 or less, Home Creations goes even further - our homes rate from 60 to 70 on the HERS Index.
  • Having a well-maintained, energy-efficient home will help you build equity. Because new communities are still rising in value, living in a new home means your equity will grow more quickly. Make your mortgage payments on time and you may have a much better credit score for greater buying power when you are ready to move in a few years.

One of the biggest draws of a new home: it’s a blank slate

With some builders, the “add ons” can prove costly and raise your price quickly. At Home Creations, we have included many of the most popular enhanced features in our standard price. You get to personalize your new place so that it suits your needs and color schemes and choose your statement-making details – from the front door to kitchen and bath fixtures. But many of the upgrades that make your house feel like a home do come included. We really make it easy.

In part 3, we’ll talk about more reasons buying new is a smart decision – and why working with Home Creations will help you build your portfolio responsibly.

Ready to begin your journey towards owning a new home, click here to start.

Spotlight on Habitat for Humanity: Building a stronger Oklahoma

COHFH_LogoHome Creations has partnered with Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity (COHFH) for many years now and we’re proud participants of the Home Builders’ Blitz of 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2012. It’s an organization we believe in not just as home builders in Oklahoma, but as community members in the neighborhoods that COHFH improves.

“It feels great giving our expertise back to the community,” said MJ Farzaneh, Home Creations Construction Director, who has been part of most of the Builders Home Blitz events. “And Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity is a great organization.”

COHFH helps families who can’t afford a home on their own but are able to sustain the home. COHFH houses are simple, decent and affordable homes that are attainable to low-income families.

Our team at Home Creations believes that making the dream of homeownership come true is good for all families, but also for the entire community.

“Home ownership really gives a lot of stability to the household and the community. For these children to grow up in their own house with their own backyard, with a playground nearby – it’s huge,” MJ said.

MJ Farzaneh, our Construction Director with a homeowner from the 2012 Home Builders’ Blitz.

Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity has been doing its great work for more than 25 years in Oklahoma. Currently, COHFH volunteers are helping families who lost their homes to the May tornadoes of last year, along with a few other builds in our area. A future Builders Home Blitz is also in the works.

COHFH has more than 1,500 local affiliates in the United States and more than 70 national organizations around the world. The organization has helped to build or repair over 800,000 houses and serve more than 4 million people worldwide.

COHFH has built more than 700 houses in Oklahoma including another 45 houses in 2013. These are homes that many families have dreamed of but never thought they would actually own. Whenever possible, the organization builds sustainable, energy-efficient and healthy housing.

That is also something expert home builder MJ Farzaneh gets excited about.

“Home Creations builds very energy efficient homes – we always go a couple of steps beyond industry standards and this helps the families with heating and utility bills,” he said.

415438_10150838860436856_1105321079_oAs a home builder, he is also impressed by how well organized the COHFH builds are. He recalled watching a home rise from the ground in only five days.

“We had never tried to do that before. We didn’t know it was possible,” he said. “It’s pretty amazing what can happen when all the trades and inspectors work together to get it done.”

Over the years, the Home Creations team helping out with COHFH projects has grown. MJ said “It’s great to see the employees get behind this cause and step up for their community.”

“There is no other way to build a house in five days than with team work,” he said.

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There are many ways for you to get involved with this great organization:

Volunteer: Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity can use all the help they can get on construction sites. Work includes doing new home construction in Oklahoma City’s metro area and beyond, or helping with rehab on existing homes that includes weatherization and minor repairs. COHFH also needs help on committees, with various tasks in the COHFH office, and at the COHFH Renovation Station. To volunteer for group or individual workdays and work on COHFH job sites, please contact Rick Lorg at rick.lorg@cohfh.org for dates.

Donate: Donations are the lifeblood of this nonprofit organization. You can donate as little as a few dollars for nails, or donate land for a build. You can sponsor a house built or you can donate materials and supplies. All Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law and will be acknowledged with a letter you may use for tax purposes. Please call Ann Felton or Christi Roney at 405-232-4828 or donate online!