Things to Consider when Deciding where to buy

Family Unpacking Boxes In New Home On Moving Day

Deciding where you want to live is the one of the most, if not the most important decision you will have to make when buying or building your home. If you are buying or building a home, chances are that you plan to be there for a while, so many factors will go into this decision.

First you need to think, are you going to start looking in the city, suburbs or far from either of those? Cities are great, everything is easily accessible, and they offer tons of energy. Suburbs offer family-friendly enclaves. And the country can be a breath of fresh air and offers tons of space. It is simply up to you to decide which ones works best for your lifestyle.

Here is a quick checklist as you sort through your options:

Amenities: What is nearby? Are there nearby parks, open spaces, restaurants, shops, a grocery store? How about things in the community like libraries, community centers, work out facilities? The best way to find out is ask locals or get in your car and check it out for yourself!

Schools: This isn’t just for people with children, if you are newly married or want to have kids at some point in your life that is very important to consider. This may be the single most important factor in choosing where you live. What school district you would like to be in can limit your choices of where you want to live. You will need to check out test scores, class size and school rating of different schools in the area that you want to live in. A helpful website to help you find out this information is http://www.greatschools.org/.

Community services: You will want to get a sense of the community and its current affairs. Reading community blogs and local newspapers will clue you in about issues like traffic, safety and development projects.

Transportation: Do you want to drive everywhere? Be able to bike places? Or go completely car free? These are all things to think about. Check out the local transit system and see if you will be able to get everywhere you might want to go, the times and how close the stops are to where you may want to live.

Commute times: If you plan to get to work by car, determine whether you will be driving residential streets or busy arterials. Drive around at all times of the day, not just one weekends when you are looking at houses. Drive your route during rush hour. It would be unfortunate to move and come to find out your 15-minute commute has now turned into an hour commute both ways.

Ease of access: Are things easy to get to? How much time do you want to spend during a day of errands in the car? How long do you want a simple trip to the grocery store to take? Maybe that more expensive house might be worth it when it comes to how close you are to places you will be visiting frequently.

Safety: You can check online stats or drop by a local precinct to ask how a certain neighborhood is. Bottom line is if you feel safe walking around at night or not.

Economic stability: A healthy mix of residential neighborhoods (property taxes) and businesses (sales and payroll taxes) sets the stage for vibrant, well-funded communities. Cities with colleges and government services are most likely to remain stable.

This list is not completely, but it is a good starting point when thinking about where you want to build or buy. At the end of the day, it is about what means the most to you.

Helpful tips for Hosting Thanksgiving

Family having traditional holiday dinner with stuffed turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, vegetables pumpkin and pecan pie.

Are you hosting your thanksgiving this year for the first time? Or would you consider yourself a veteran party host? Hosting and cooking this great American meal is a big milestone for a cook, but it can also cause anxiety and nerves. Here are some essential tips that will help your day go off without a hitch.

  1. Never turn down help. If your friends and family offer to bring dishes that are vital to the meal then let them! It will help with your stress overall on the day of and they will show off their cooking skills as well.
  2. Make as much ahead as possible. The last-minute rush is one of the most stressful parts of the day. When you are planning your menu, look for dishes that can be made ahead of time. If you are in charge of cooking all of the dishes, start the casserole and pies earlier in the week then cook them the day of.
  3. Don’t experiment with new recipes. Thanksgiving is all about the classics, so stick with the classic recipes. Leave your brain to focus on the turkey.
  4. Start early on the non-food prep. The food isn’t the only thing that needs prepared. You are probably pulling out serving dishes that need to be washed, extra silverware and napkins. Do all of that the week before. Double-check your serving plates and utensils and iron your tablecloth if needed!
  5. Set the table the night before. It will make you feel so much better as you are running around doing the prep work to see a nicely set table. It will give you the peace of mind that when all the food is ready, your table is ready too.
  6. Have the beverages ready to go. Have the wine chilling in the fridge or a premade cocktail ready to be poured. If everyone has a drink in their hand, they won’t care if dinner is served an hour later than planned.
  7. It is okay to buy parts of your meal. Do you have a great bakery? Buy the desserts from it. Do you hate making gravy? Buy some before. There is absolutely nothing wrong with buying a few pieces of the meal especially if you want a more relaxing day before hand.
  8. Relax, have fun and enjoy the holiday. People are there to enjoy a good meal and one another’s company. Do not feel stressed about entertaining. Ask for help, laugh and remember the turkey can rest for an hour while you finish everything else. Find gratitude in the busy, messy, loud and delicious holiday.

Most importantly, be thankful for the food on the table and the people surrounding you! After all that is what the holidays are about, enjoy!

7 Quick Tips to Improve Your Kitchen’s Look

Large Kitchen Interior with Island, Sink, White Cabinets, Pendant Lights, and Hardwood Floors in New Luxury Home

Your kitchen is used every single day; it is the heart of your home and also a major selling point. Completely remodeling your kitchen is a great way to keep it up to date but also expensive. If you do not have the budget right now, here are a few cheap changes that can transform the look of your kitchen.

  1. Remove, recycle and refresh. If the doors on your cabinets are old and ugly, take them off and create an open shelving option for your kitchen. This is a great opportunity to update the hardware on your drawers and cabinets. What is worn down in the kitchen can usually be painted or refinished to give it a modern look.
  2. Add more storage. Either declutter your space or add more storage. These options include adding hanging racks, open shelves and cabinet organizers to store the essentials.
  3. Change out lighting. Depending on the age of your kitchen, you will most likely have pendant lighting or fluorescent overhead fixtures. To bring your kitchen into the modern age, consider replacing some of those fixtures with recessed alternatives or LED lighting. Even just replacing the bulbs is cheaper, easy to install and saves energy.
  4. Upgrade your faucet. Do you have an old-fashioned faucet? Is it time for a change? Instead of replacing the entire sink, just changing the faucet can give the kitchen a whole new look. Think about energy-efficient alternatives like low-flow faucets to save you money on your water bill, or adjustable, restaurant-style varieties for the chef in the family.
  5. Hide your counters. Old countertops can suffer through the years. If you have worn countertops but don’t have the budget to replace them. Find creature ways to hide their blemishes. Add decorative cutting boards, hide them under appliances or apply a fresh coat of paint.
  6. Paint your cabinets. Painting or refinishing your cabinets is another inexpensive way to change the look of your space. It is less expensive than buying new ones and at the same time it refreshes the appearance of your entire kitchen. Don’t paint them any weird colors though, and avoid bright hues.
  7. Add a backsplash. Backsplashes can be customized based on the color scheme of your kitchen. It is as easy as buying tiles at a local home improvement store and using caulk and grout to install them in the design or style you want.

All of these are simple, inexpensive changes you can make to your space to give it a much needed makeover.

Top Updates for Traditional Homes

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The historical feel of traditional homes has been capturing the hearts of many residents for years. There is something spectacular about being in a space that has the original fixtures and flooring from earlier centuries. While the sophistication of a traditional home is hard to pass up, it can present obstacles, such as updating it to fit your modern lifestyle. If you are thinking about modernizing your traditional home, we have some ideas for you.

Use a clean, natural palette

One of the things often not found in a traditional home is a light, airy, atmosphere. Historically, classically designed homes featured dark flooring, banisters and heavy fixtures or appliances. One simple way to brighten up a room while maintaining the traditional feel is a fresh coat of paint, white paint to be exact. A nice bright color palette allows the room to feel more light and bright. This is welcoming for both residents of the home and guests alike. It can brighten the overall feel of the house and even your mood as the warm weather months approach.

Opt for natural light

Whatever natural light options you have in your home, it’s time to utilize them. Pull the blinds back and let the light shine into your different rooms in the home. if you have has small windows or lacks natural light, consider adding more or larger windows or installing skylights. If you have the space and budget, you can add a sunroom where natural light pours in from all sides. The natural light will improve your mood and save you money on your energy bills. You will have less need for electric lights, which is particularly important if your home is ill-equipped for installing new fixtures.

Add contrast

Unexpected contrasts are a great way to modernized traditional spaces. Try mixing metals in the kitchen and bathrooms. Choose a polished nickel faucet and pair it with chrome drawer pulls for a contemporary vibe. In the kitchen, opt for a copper faucet and sink, but go with iron or dark metal for cabinet and drawer hardware. You can also add contrast by mixing matte and glossy materials. Black and white is always a solid contrast color choice as well. Contrasting materials, metals and colors will help bring a contemporary style without altering its classic construction.

Preparing your home for the Spring Market

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Are you looking to sell your home this spring? If so, it is time to start preparing. To maximize your sale price, stand out from the competition and sell quickly, your home needs to go on the market in tip-top condition. Here are some tips to help you get your home ready.

Inspect

It may seem counterintuitive to spend money on a property inspection, but you need to know about your home’s condition. If there are issues – big or small – you need to address, it is better to be proactive and fix the problems as soon as possible before your home goes on the market. Whether you fix them or ask for a lower asking price as a result of them, it will help you sell your home faster in the long run.

Stash

Start thinking of your home from the buyer’s prospective rather than the sellers. Put away big furniture and personal items. Store items that you won’t be using until you move into your new home. In the kitchen, make space in the cabinets for items you will need to use daily, but will want to put away for showings. This will help save you time when it comes time to move into the new home because you will have a jump start on packing.

Improve

It is common for sellers to make cosmetic improvements before they list. Some suggestions would be having the grout cleaned in the kitchen, fresh paint to anywhere that needs it, getting the carpets cleaned or refinishing hardwood floors. These are in expensive changes that will make a difference for those looking at your home.

Research

Today’s buyers have been researching the markets for months. In our world today, most information can be found with a simple internet search. If there are outstanding issues with your property, a buyer will find it. Verify that property records reflect your home accurately and prepare to fix any discrepancy. Make sure your title report is clean because banks won’t lend if there are any outstanding issues. Doing this will keep you one step ahead of the buyer.

The sale of your home is likely one of your biggest financial transactions. Now is the time to start checking items off your to do list, spring is quickly approaching. This is an important but exciting time!

6 Steps to Creating a New Home

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Building new or renovating an existing structure is an exciting time for everyone. It is all about finding what you want, how you want to live and where you want to be. As you go through the process, it takes time and research to figure out exactly what you want. Let’s take a look at the six initial steps you will want to take when creating a new home.

  1. Set Goals: Creating a new home is all about setting goals and taking the steps to achieve those goals. You’ll want to have answers to questions like: what do you want to achieve, where do you want cost to be, what will this cost, can it really be achieved, does plan A make sense and what’s plan B?
  2. Establish a budget: While you have to keep your budget in mind when setting goals, the budget is such a huge aspect of building or renovating a home that it is its own task. When making your budget, of course you’ll begin with what you can afford and how the cost of your house fits in with the overall plan for your future. Details will include everything that will go into the project: the cost of land, local fees and taxes, design and engineering fees, construction of the home and the furnishing and decorations that go inside. A spreadsheet program such as Excel is a good tool to use, so you can continue to update and modify it as you go.
  3. Finding where you want to build: There is a laundry list of questions that go into this, anywhere from where you want to be, how you want to live, how close it to work is, school districts, weather; everything plays a factor in determining this location.
  4. Assemble a team: An architect and a builder (if not one and the same) are going to be your most important team members. These people will act as your guide, therapist, advocate and counselor throughout the journey and creating the perfect home for you and your loved ones. P&D Builders are a great resource to help you from start to finish of building your dream home.
  5. Plan, plan, plan: When taking on such a large project it is crucial to plan. Things will go differently than you might have imagined but that is okay. You will be faced with a million decisions during this time, so be careful not to sweat the small stuff and all of your hard work will pay off in the end.
  6. Enjoy your new home: You have put in the time and spent your hard earned money to create your new home, so enjoy it as much as possible. It is time to make memories with your loved ones in your new space.

P&D would love to be there every step of the way to help you build the home of your dreams. Contact us today to get started!

Home Building and Renovation Trends for 2016

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Is building or remodeling a home on your to do list for 2016? Here is a look into the home construction and renovation trends for 2016:

Natural selection: People are stepping away from the super-dark, hand scraped floors. Consider engineered woods with a lighter, more natural finish. Experts believe that white, gray and washed-wood finishes are making a comeback. Think about bleached, limed or fumed woods with matte finishes or sealed-only floors. Engineered products aren’t necessarily cheaper, but you can achieve a more exotic look this way. Stone floors are also showing up in more unexpected places, like master bedrooms.

Clean lines, more open spaces: Experts believe that new construction is going more contemporary. Even those who choose to stick with more traditional exteriors are going with modern, open concepts on the inside. That means fewer hallways and tiny rooms that aren’t being used. Open floor plans mean more usable space; these usually include kitchens that open to the den and possibly dining areas. Homeowners are better understanding that 100% of the space in their home should be completely usable.

Formal reformed: There has been a lot of talk about how the formal living room and dining rooms have been eradicated from the new home, but that is simply not true. These rooms still exist, they just function differently. Many people are choosing to make these rooms multi-functional, they are using them are libraries, offices or even places to entertain. The designated dining room still exists; it is just more open and casual therefore making it more livable.

Go Green: Just like every other trend for the New Year, the home building industry is going green. Energy saving appliances can help you save money and use less energy in your home. P&D Builders can even take it a step further by offering an energy efficient home which makes your home more comfortable and reduces your utility bills.

2016 is going to be a great year, if you are interested in speaking with P&D Builders about building your dream home contact us today! We look forward to hearing from you.

Prepping your Home for Fall and Winter

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The fall season is so beautiful here in Ohio! The trees are turning beautiful shades of red and orange, the air is crisp and the smell of pumpkin is just about everywhere you turn! This time of year also means that the cold winter is just around the corner which means that it is time to start prepping your home. Here is a fall checklist you can follow over the next couple weekends (while the temps are still manageable) to help get your home cozy and ready for the winter.

  • Prep your landscape– The roots in the grass keep growing until the ground gets down to about 40 degrees so it is important to keep it nourished. It is recommended that you apply a high-phosphorus (12-25-12) mix to encourage healthy roots. Come spring time, your grass will be green and vibrant. This is also a great time to trim trees and shrubs.
  • Install outdoor lighting– As the winter months approach the sunset becomes earlier and earlier. It is important that the lighting around your home or garage is adequate should you need to take the trash out late when there is little to no light around. This ensures safety for you and your holiday guests as well.
  •  Freeze-proof exterior faucets– The faucet to your outdoor watering hose is the one faucet that is most susceptible to extremely cold weather. Replace your outdoor hose faucet with a freeze-proof faucet to avoid any freezing of pipes.
  • Weather-proof windows and doors– a door’s weather seals can rip, compress, bend or even wear out over time, leaving small gaps for cold air to come in. Replace any broken or ripped seals, caulk around the windows where there are small gaps. You do not want the heat escaping your home this can become very costly in terms of energy expenses.
  • Have your HVAC systems inspected– Before the cold weather gets here and you find yourself cranking up the heat, make sure to have your furnace inspected. Without this yearly cleaning and inspection, the system can wears itself out quickly, pump deadly carbon monoxide into your home or simply stop working. Also make sure to change your furnace filter. You will see a huge difference in the air quality and it will run more efficiently.
  • Clean your gutters– As the leaves begin to fall you will find a leaf build up in your gutters and it is important to remove any leaves, nests, and other debris that may have accumulated over the year. If your gutters are clogged and rain turns to ice it can begin to weigh heavy on your gutters causing them to fail. If it snows the water will have no where to flow once it melts. Hire a professional or clean them yourself before it gets too cold.
  • Repair any damaged walk areas– It can become very dangerous if your sidewalks and walkways around your home are broken or uneven, especially when the snow and ice come. Make sure to repair any walkways to ensure safety for your family and holiday guests.

When your home is prepped for the colder months, it can be a lot less of a hassle going into the brutal winter months. This will ensure a peace of mind knowing you have prepared your home for any mishaps that winter can throw your way.

Tips for Moving into Your New Home

new home Moving into your new home is a very rewarding feeling but it can also come with some stress in the beginning when getting settled in.  We want to help make this process a little less stressful for you so that you may be able to enjoy this happy moment. Here are some things you can do before your big move that will help make the transition less stressful for you and your family.

Update Your New Address Before Moving

When you move into a new home you want to make sure that everyone who needs your new address has it. The easiest way to do this is to fill out a change of address form at your local post office. This will ensure that your mail will begin to get delivered to your new home as soon as possible. You will also want to make sure that you update your drivers license, voters registration, insurance, bank information and credit cards to reflect your new address. To further eliminate any stress, have all of your utilities transferred to your new address or set up new accounts if needed. If  you have any subscriptions to magazines or newspapers don’t forget about these too! The post office does forward these types of things but only for a limited amount of time.

Keep Important Documents Somewhere Safe

You know that new big screen TV you just bought or the washing machine you just had to replace? Those probably came with important warranty information and it is crucial that you keep these in a safe place. Remember it all just looks like paper when it is in a big pile and you would hate to throw something important like that away. A good idea is to get some kind of safe deposit box or safe that you can put all of these documents in so that they will not get mixed up with yesterday’s junk mail. Maybe you are moving across the U.S for work and the moving expenses are tax deductible; you do not want to lose your receipts. Make sure to keep these in a safe place as well.

Add Some Security

If your new home is not already equipped with a security system, you may want to consider setting one up. A new home is a new environment and knowing you are protected will give you peace of mind. If you are not moving into a newly built home it is also wise to change your locks so that your key is not the same as the previous owner’s key.

Do a Final Walk Through 

Here at P&D Builders this is a standard practice right before you get your keys. Doing a walk through will ensure that all the necessary repairs and updates were made before taking complete ownership of the home. You can find out more about our White Glove Guarantee here.

Get to Know Your Home 

A new home is a new surrounding, new walls, new floors and usually a whole new setup. That is why you need to take some time and get to know  your new home. P&D makes sure that you know where every outlet is, every light switch and circuit breaker by giving you a thorough walk through of  your home and answering all of your questions for you. Think of it as a ‘New Home Orientation’. It is important that you get all of your warranty information and operating manuals on the new appliances/features of the home. Also this is an important time to create an emergency plan for your and your family in case of a fire or other emergency. Since this is a new home for your kids too, make sure that they are familiarized with everything as well.

Home Owners Association (HOA)

Regardless of how you feel about homeowners associations, if you live in one you will want to make sure you are familiar with the HOA rules. Each community has different rules and regulations. Find out what you can or cannot do if you do live in a homeowners association. This is also a great time to find out what the trash and recycling collection times are and other important “need-to-knows” and events in the community.

Get to Know Your Neighborhood

When you move into your new home you are likely to have neighbors as you are probably living in a community (unless you are moving to a rural location). Don’t wait for your neighbors to come to you, reach out and meet them. It is also good to get to know your neighbors as this can add a sense of security to the community and your home. They can help watch your home when you are away, you can arrange play dates with their kids and most likely end up becoming great friends with one another. Embrace your new community and you will find that it can be a very welcoming experience for you and your family. Once you become more acquainted collect addresses and phone numbers from your neighbors in case of emergencies. Also if you have pets, find out where the veterinarian and pet hospital are located. The more you know about your neighborhood, the more assimilated you will feel.

Once you are all settled in, you have met the neighbors, and have become acquainted with your new home, you will feel much more at ease. This is the point in which  you break out all the necessary items to plan your housewarming party and invite everyone over for a celebration!

 

 

What You Need to Know Before Building a Pool

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There is something about the warm summer days that make most people crave a trip to the pool. Maybe it is to simply cool off from the hot and humid Ohio summer days or just to hang out poolside with friends. Often times if you do not live in a condo or apartment complex you do not have a pool that you can go to free of charge therefore many opt to building their own pools for the convenience and luxury. If you are thinking of building a pool at your home there are a few considerations you should make before you begin the process.

#1 Create a Wishlist & Set a Budget

Research is so important when it comes to investing in something big like a swimming pool because it is permanent! With technology changing all the time it is best to see what new features, techniques, and other innovations are out there, especially if you want the best there is to offer. After you figure out that aspect of it, gather pictures of what you want it to look like, where you might want it to be built in your backyard, and what kind of ambiance you want to create around the pool. Pinterest is a great place to find inspiration! By creating your wish list and vision board it will be easier to explain to the builder exactly what you want. Don’t forget about setting a budget during this period before any commitments are made and contracts drawn up.

#2 Research the Types of Pools

Since you are likely putting a large chunk of money towards this investment it is important to know about the different types of in-ground pools available. Some pools are made of concrete, others are made of fiberglass, and some are even vinyl. Then you have to look into the coping, cleaning systems, filtering systems, and the artistic finishing touches that are available. With so many variations it is important to understand the pros and cons of each type so you and the builder are speaking the same language.

#3 Find A Credible Pool Builder

Again, we cannot stress the importance of research. Read reviews, talk to your neighbors who have a pool and see who they went with or recommend. You can find more in-depth reviews from the Better Business Bureau  It is best to find a pool builder who is seasoned in swimming pool construction. A good pool builder will offer samples of his work, provide references, and answer all of your questions. You will be working with this person for several months so make sure you choose someone you will be comfortable with.

#4 Consider the Weather in Your Area

Weather can dictate certain pool building decisions. People who live in colder climate areas should consider enclosures to prolong the amount of time they can use the pool. If you live in a wetter environment an enclosure would also be beneficial. A pool heater might be necessary if you live in a cooler environment. Also investing in a nice solar pool cover keeps the leaves and debris out while warming the pool with the solar energy. If you are looking to save on energy costs the enclosures, pool covers, pumps, and lighting timers can all pay for themselves in a short amount of time. If you live in Ohio you know we have bitter cold temperatures in the winter so completely shutting your pool down for the winter is the most efficient.

#5 How Will You Use Your Pool?

Is the pool going to be for your kids? For entertaining? Are you building it to add value to your home? Or is it being to built as a relaxing oasis for you and your spouse? Answering these questions will help you determine what kind of pool you should build and what features to add. If you are building for your kids, a pool slide or a shallow area would be perfect. If you are building it as more of a resort-like feel for you and your spouse, think of an infinity pool or using more high-end glass tile finishing. If you are using it for entertaining and want it to be very visually appealing, consider more expensive coping and maybe a built-in water feature. If you have a clear purpose you will be the builder’s best friend.

#6 Getting Permits and Insurance

Of course, we can’t go without saying this one! Even though your pool builder will be able to help you with this part, it is important to know the rules and regulations yourself. Some areas require perimeter fences of a certain height, some require locking fences and some require a fence only around the pool itself. Know what the requirements are in your area. It is important to inquire about restrictions, noise policies, and property tax concerns too! And don’t forget about the insurance. Contact your home owners insurance carrier and find out what differences it will make to your policy. It is always better to be informed instead of being surprised!

Building a pool can add a tremendous value to your home and create lasting memories both inside and outside! Make sure that all of the bases are covered and that you have done the research before beginning the process and beyond everything else always make sure to yell “canon ball’ before jumping in!