How to be a Good Thanksgiving Guest

Group at holiday table - How to be a Good Thanksgiving GuestMost Thanksgiving guides offer tips for hosting Thanksgiving, but what should guests expect when they’re not the ones cooking? Even though your role on Thanksgiving is smaller, here are some things you can do to be a great Thanksgiving guest.

RSVP!

If you’re lucky enough to be invited to Thanksgiving dinner, be courteous by letting your host know if you’ll be attending right away so they can plan appropriately. Don’t show up with an unexpected guest! Always ask before bringing additional people.

Mention dietary requirements

Vegetarian, keto, gluten-free, vegan, or allergic to something? Let your host know if you have any dietary requirements, and offer to bring a dish that meets your needs that can be shared.

Always ask before you bring a dish

Your host will spend a lot of time thinking about the menu so if you want to contributing a side dish, ask!  If you do bring a dish, be considerate: bring a prepared dish (don’t try to put it together in their kitchen the day of) in its own serving dish and utensils, and if your dish needs to be chilled or warmed up on the stove or in the oven, let your host know ahead of time.

If your host declines, consider bringing a bottle of wine or sparkling juice, making it clear it doesn’t need to be served with the meal, or even flowers for your host as a thank you.

Be timely

It takes a lot of time and coordination to put a Thanksgiving meal on the table, so don’t stress your hosts out by showing up too early or too late. If you do end up running late, or not able to attend, be respectful and let your host know as soon as possible.

Don’t crowd the kitchen

The kitchen is the busiest room on Thanksgiving. The temptation to hang out in the kitchen to maybe get some taste tests before the meal but give the cook some breathing room and space by staying out of their way.

Offer to help clean up

Once the meal is finished, offer to help clean up but don’t insist. Some hosts may have a system in place or would prefer to have their guests relax following the meal. Whether or not the host accepts, simply asking to help is always appreciated.

Don’t linger too long

You don’t want to risk overstaying your welcome.

Give thanks

Thanksgiving is all about being grateful for what we have. Embrace the Thanksgiving spirit and share your gratitude to your hosts for inviting by sending a thank you note.

Wherever you spend your Thanksgiving, we’re sure you can find a lot to be thankful for this year. Do you want to host Thanksgiving next year? Or perhaps you need a larger home so you can invite more guests over. Whatever your reason, we have brand new homes throughout Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. Reach out to us today to learn more about our new homes for sale, and we hope you have a blessed and memorable Thanksgiving holiday!

Simple Ways to Prepare Your Home for Thanksgiving

Photo of a living room - Simple Ways to Prepare Your Home for ThanksgivingThanksgiving is a wonderful holiday. It’s about gathering with your loved ones and celebrating thankfulness. However, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed if you’re hosting Thanksgiving at your new home. Especially when you begin thinking about all the things you need to do before your first guest arrives!

Don’t strive for perfection

The first tip: forget about reaching perfection: a perfectly cooked meal, clean kitchen, happy guests, etc. Sometimes life gets in the way and things go awry so before you begin planning, take a moment to focus on what a happy Thanksgiving would look like for you (it may include happy and full guests and a messy kitchen!) instead.

Deep clean the kitchen

Thanksgiving is the start of heavy kitchen use for many people. Now is a great time to give your kitchen a thorough cleaning. Clean out the fridge and pantry, wipe down countertops and sweep the floor, clean the microwave. Make sure your appliances are in working order. You can do a quick clean of your oven and stove but resist the urge to run the self-cleaning function. The self-clean cycle can be hard on your oven and this is not the time to start having issues with your oven! Save that for another time.

Get your guest room ready

If you’re hosting overnight guests, take time to get the guest rooms ready. Tidy up the guest room by vacuuming and dusting, change the linens, and set out fresh towels and additional blankets.

Prepare the bathroom for guests

Bathrooms are the second most used room during gatherings, so make sure they’re ready to handle a crowd. Give your bathrooms a thorough cleaning, focusing on the toilet, sink, and bathtub. Make sure there’s plenty of soap, the toilet paper and tissues are fully stocked, and put out plenty of fresh towels as well.

Clean the living areas

Make life easier by focusing on the areas your guests will be in: the living room, dining room, and bathroom. Your cleaning plan is simple: tidy up and clear clutter, dust, and vacuum. Your home will be clean in no time!

Set the table early

Ever rushed through setting the table before your first guest arrive? Instead, take advantage of the calm before the Thanksgiving storm to avoid feeling rushed. You can even plan out your serving dishes by placing food labels in the corresponding serving dish.

Set aside a place for coats and bags

Designate a place in your home to hold guests’ coats and purses. This can be a closet near the front door or in a bedroom

Enjoy the holidays in your new Hayden home!

We hope you enjoy your holidays in your new home by Hayden Homes. One of the best things is being able to spend time with the people who matter most. If you’re thinking of buying a new home (or even your first home), we have homes for sale in Idaho, Washington, and Oregon. We’re looking forward to helping you find your dream home in the Northwest!

Keep Your Home Safe During the Holidays

Keep your home safe for the holidaysThe holidays are a joyous season; with festive parties, gift-giving, and general merriment abounding, the end of the year can be a crazy few weeks! While home safety is a year-round priority for homeowners, keeping your home safe during the holiday season can amp anxieties. Thankfully, with a few simple tips, you can keep your home safe and sound whether you’re traveling for the holidays or staying close to home.

Secure your home

Unsurprisingly, the top tip is to make sure your home is properly secured. Walk through your home to check that every door and window is locked and, if you have one, set your home alarm system before leaving.

If you’re traveling, don’t leave clues that you’re not home. Have your mail and newspaper deliveries placed on hold while you’re away, keep a car parked in the driveway, and use motion sensors for exterior lights around your home.

Keep vacation plans offline

Avoid discussing your travel plans on social media. You don’t want to signal when your home will be unoccupied. Even if you have the highest privacy settings enabled on your social accounts, it’s unwise to share this type of information.

Be smart about gifts and boxes

When you think of the holidays, what do you picture? Perhaps a Christmas tree in front of the window, fully lit and dozens of carefully wrapped presents underneath? While that’s a common sight, it’s also a tempting view for burglars. Keep your home safe by making sure gifts aren’t visible from the outside.

Once gifts are opened, don’t leave the empty boxes outside. Break boxes down so they can fit inside the trash bin so you’re not advertising the new items are now inside your home.

Keep package deliveries safe

Avoid a Grinch-like scene by not having packages sit outside unattended. If possible, have packages delivered to your office or held for pickup. If you’re shopping from an online retailer with a local location, consider having your order shipped to the store for pickup. Most shipping providers may allow you to postpone delivery until you know someone will be home to receive them, or leave directions on where to drop off packages.

Keep your home well-lit

Keeping your home well-lit is an effective way of keeping your home safe. If you’re away, put your lights on a timer so they can turn on in the evening, making it look like someone is home. You can use smart home technology or simple programmable light plugs.

Ask a neighbor to keep watch

Good neighbors look out for each other. Ask trusted neighbor or friend to keep an eye on your home while you’re away. They can contact you if anything happens at your home or even collect your mail if you didn’t place a hold on deliveries.

The holiday season is a busy one but it only takes a few simple steps to keep your home and family safe this season! If a new home is on your wish list this year, Hayden Homes can help! We have new homes for sale throughout Washington, Idaho, Oregon. We’re looking forward to helping you find your dream home!

Host a Spooktacular Halloween Party

Happy Halloween Party TableDoes the thought of hosting a Halloween party leave you horrified? Don’t be afraid! Thankfully you don’t need to be a professional event planner (or even Martha Stewart) to host a spooktacular Halloween party. Plan a great Halloween party with this ultimate guide of tips, tricks, and party planning hacks.

Think of your guest list

Your guest list (along with your theme) will guide how you plan your Halloween party. What kind of party do you want to host? An adult-only affair? A festive bash for your kids? Or a family-friendly event? Figuring this out will make the rest of your planning easier.

Pick a theme

Just like pumpkins, Halloween comes in different shapes. You can host a cute costume party or go for a creepier bash.  Your chosen theme will influence your decorations, food, and more. Keep your prospective guest list in mind when deciding on a theme; if you’re having younger children or those who scare easily, a lighthearted Halloween theme will be your best bet.

Set the scene

Cast a spell on your home with Halloween decorations! Decorate with pumpkins, cobwebs, spiders, bats, candles…go wild! Set an especially eerie mood by replacing a few lightbulbs with colored bulbs or black lights. Make sure there is enough room for guests to safely move around without bumping into anything, especially if you use candles!

Play scary movies in the background to add to the spooky mood. If your party is more adult, try classic horror films like Rosemary’s Baby, Psycho, or Halloween. For a more lighthearted party, choose a family-friendly flick like The Addams Family, It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, Hocus Pocus, or The Nightmare Before Christmas.

Don’t forget the music! Create a Halloween party playlist with a fun mix of spooky favorites, old school classics, and today’s hits.

Tricks and treats

Provide plenty of savory food options to balance the Halloween sweets. Serve fun finger foods that are easy for guests to enjoy while mingling. If you need some menu inspiration, here are some scary good snacks and desserts your guests will love nibbling.

What’s Halloween without candy? Create a candy buffet so guests can create their own goodie bag to take home. Sure beats trick-or-treating!

Plan activities

Consider having games or activities available for your party guests, especially if you’re hosting children. If you have space, a pumpkin carving station is always fun. If you lack space or would rather avoid extra clean up, set out markers, stickers, and more for pumpkin decorating. Other fun activities include apple bobbing, mock trick-or-treating, even a Halloween-themed scavenger hunt. If you’d like to encourage people to wear costumes, have a costume contest and award prizes.

Enjoy a spooky soiree in your new home

Celebrating the spooky season with friends and family at home is a great way to enjoy the fun and festivities of Halloween. You’ll love hosting everyone in your new Hayden home! If you’re still looking for a new home to haunt, reach out to us today to learn more about our new homes for sale throughout Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.

Debt-to-Income Ratio: What is it and Why it Matters

Young couple discussing finances and debt-to-income ratioDebt-to-income ratio. If you’re in the process of applying for a home mortgage, you may have come across this term but do you understand what it means and how it can affect the loan application process? The debt-to-income ratio is how lenders evaluate your borrowing habits. Here’s what the debt-to-income ratio means and why it’s important.

What’s debt-to-income ratio?

Simply put, the debt-to-income ratio is the total of all your monthly debt payments divided by your gross monthly income; it’s expressed as a percentage). Lenders use this number (along with your credit history) to determine your ability to repay a loan.

Calculating your debt-to-income ratio is simple: add your monthly debt payments – this includes credit card payments, car, personal, or student loans, and housing expenses (i.e. rent or your current mortgage payment if applicable). Next, divide that number by your gross – or pretax – income. Finally, multiply the decimal number by 100 and you’ll end with your ratio percentage.

Why is my debt-to-income ratio important?

Lenders and banks use your ratio to determine your ability to pay back your debts. They use the understanding behind your debt load to determine what their lending limits will be.

What’s a good debt-to-income ratio?

While the maximum debt-to-income ratio varies by lender, the lower your debt-to-income ratio the better. In general, a ratio of 35% or less is ideal. A ratio of 36% to 49% is acceptable but could be improved as your debt load could potentially become unmanageable. A debt-to-income ratio 50% and above will make it difficult to qualify for a loan.

How do I improve my debt-to-income ratio?

Is your debt-to-income ratio a bit higher than 36%? Thankfully it’s possible to reduce it. Here are some options:

  • Increase your monthly debt payments. The extra payments will decrease your total debt.
  • Avoid taking on additional debt. Its time to prioritize your debt. If buying a new home is your priority, avoid taking on additional debts.
  • Postpone large purchase. Hold off on large-ticket items to save money so you don’t have to put the full amount on credit.

Take time to recalculate your debt-to-income ratio to see how your work is paying off. Watching your debt-to-income ratio decrease can be very motivating! Keeping your debt-to-income ratio low will help you qualify for a mortgage and keep your monthly payments low.

Ready to Buy a New Home?

Are you ready to buy a new home in Washington, Oregon, or Idaho? There’s a lot to navigate on the path to homeownership and we’re here to help. We invite you to reach out to us to learn more about our simple financing options and preferred lenders.

Tips for Spending the First Night in Your New Home

No matter how well-planned, moving day always ends up being hectic. After such a long day, the last thing you’ll want to worry about is figuring out which box has the towels so you can take a shower or end up sleeping in your clothes overnight.

Navigating the first night in a new home can become trickier when you have kids or pets. Reduce the stress and help make everyone’s transition to your new home smoother by using the tips we put together in this guide, so you can make the first night in your new home more comfortable for everyone.

Pack a ‘first night’ bag

Before your move, put together a bag for each member of the family filled with some essential personal items they’ll need the first few days in your new home. This is especially helpful if you’re moving from out of state and need to wait for the movers to arrive.

Here are some items you should have in your survival kit:

  • Toiletries
  • Medication
  • Pajamas
  • Extra clothes and underwear
  • Device chargers
  • First aid kit
  • Baby supplies (diapers, wipes, bottles, formula/baby food, etc.)
  • Favorite comfort item

Pack a ‘first night’ box

In addition to the first night bag of personal items, put together a box for those home essentials you’ll need the first few days in your new home. Make it simple by putting everything together in a single box and clearly mark it so you’re able to locate it on moving day; a plastic tote is a great way to distinguish it from the rest of your boxes.

Here are some ideas of what you can pack inside this box:

  • Bath towels, shower curtain, and toilet paper
  • Bedding (sheets, blankets, pillows)
  • Toys/entertainment
  • Trash bags
  • Lightbulbs and flashlights
  • Small kitchen appliances like a coffee maker and toaster
  • Snacks and water
  • Selection of kitchen items (utensils, plates, cups, can opener, etc.)
  • Important documents and paperwork relating to your move and new home

Set up the bedrooms and bathrooms

After such a long day, you’ll appreciate being able to shower and get into your bed. Take a few moments during the day to set up the bathroom and bedroom (even if all you can do is put sheets on the mattress).

Reestablish routines

Moving with children can be challenging. If you have young children, getting back to normal helps them begin to acclimate to their new surroundings. Do your best to set up the kids’ rooms first so they have something familiar. Doing so helps reinstate their sense of security and lowers stress and anxiety caused by the big change.

Make dinner plans

Chances are you won’t be cooking the first night. Instead, figure out what you’ll have for dinner, whether you order in or go out to a restaurant.

Make your pets comfortable

Don’t forget your furry family members. If you have pets, make sure you have their necessities like food, a litter box, bedding, etc. Set up their bedding with their favorite toy, and their food and water bowls so they can start settling in.

Enjoy your first night!

When all is said and done, moving into a new home is an exciting moment. As you’re winding down in the evening, take a moment to enjoy spending your first night in your new home. This guide will help make the first night in your new home more pleasurable.

Find your dream home with Hayden Homes

When you’re ready to buy a new home, Hayden Homes is here to help. We offer gorgeous homes that are perfect for every stage in life. With over 30 home plans, you’re bound to find the right home for your family. Visit us online at Hayden-Homes.com to learn more about our new home communities throughout Idaho, Oregon, and Washington!

How to Design a Welcoming Guest Room

Now that we’re heading towards the end of the year, it’s no doubt that many of us will be welcoming family and friends into our homes to stay overnight. While they’re not expecting a luxury, five-star hotel experience, it feels good knowing your guests feel welcomed and comfortable in your home. Here are some simple tips for creating a guest bedroom that will make your guests feel like home.

Fresh linens

Make sure the bedding is fresh and ready for your guests when they arrive. Also, consider having an extra set of bedding in case accidents happen or their visit extends a couple of weeks.  A deep basket is a great way to stash extra guest towels, pillows, and blankets in the room.

Have a fully-stocked nightstand

Nightstands help keep the essentials within easy reach of the bed. Make sure your nightstand is outfitted with a lamp, clock, tissues, and a place for them to charge their devices. You can also place a water pitcher and some glasses so your guests won’t have to try wandering into your kitchen during the middle of the night.

Provide plenty of storage

Most guests don’t need to fully unpack during their stay but, be sure to provide plenty of storage options for their things. An extra chair, ottoman, or bench can be used as a place to put their clothes or suitcase (or you can also place a luggage rack in the room as well). An elevated surface makes it easier for guests to access their bags during their stay. Also, include hangers in the closet for anything they may want to hang.

Keep the essentials on hand

Consider providing travel-sized essentials like soap, lotion, shampoo and conditioner, toothpaste and an extra toothbrush on hand. Guests will appreciate having these necessities, especially if they’ve forgotten something! Another great idea is having the wi-fi password on hand for them as well. Save guests the hassle of asking for the password (and spelling out a complicated one) by printing the information on a card.

Welcome your guests home

You can create a dreamy guest room that even you’ll want to stay in! Do you love hosting overnight guests but don’t have an extra room? Hayden Homes can help. Contact us today and tour one of our model homes in Washington, Idaho, and Oregon. We’re sure you’ll find your dream home with us!

Top 8 Upgrades that Payoff at Resale

Top 8 Upgrades that Payoff at ResaleHome renovations are becoming more commonplace, thanks to the popularity of home improvement properties on HGTV, DIY Network, or Houzz. Renovations can range from months-long transformations to simple updates that can be made over the weekend. However, not all upgrades are created equally, especially when you consider resale value. Here are the top 8 upgrades that won’t cost a lot of money but will reap top benefits when it’s time to sell your home.

Upgrade the garage door

It’s not the most exciting upgrade but replacing your garage door with an upgraded model practically pays for itself, recouping about 97.5% (98.3%) of costs. Choose a garage door made from durable materials like steel, wood composites, and aluminum.

Add stone veneer siding

Adding manufactured stone veneer to your home will seriously upgrade your home’s exterior, helping you to recoup about 94.9% of the costs. Not only does stone veneer look better, but it can also improve your home’s chances of withstanding harsh weather conditions!

Minor kitchen or bathroom remodel

Kitchens and bathrooms remain king when it comes to homebuyers. Upgrading them is usually a sure bet if you want to increase your home’s value. But be smart with your upgrades. Instead of investing in a major renovation, keep it simple by replacing cabinet doors, hardware, and fixtures in the kitchen and updating fixtures, tile, toilet, counters, and lighting in the bathroom. Minor kitchen renovations can recoup about 80.5% of your costs and minor bathroom renovations can recoup about 67.2% of costs.

Deck addition

Outdoor living areas have grown in popularity over the years. Tap into that by adding a new deck or patio. Wood is always a great way to go, typically recouping about 75.6. Alternately, a composite deck or patio will yield an average return of 69.1%.  A 16×20 ft sized deck is the recommended size, however you’ll want to make sure it’s the right size for your home and yard. Be sure to include railings and steps.

Siding replacement

Old and damaged siding is an eyesore. If you’re not a fan of stone veneer, new vinyl siding is a good alternative, allowing homeowners to recoup about 75.6% of costs. Updating the siding will make your home look newer. Be sure to update the trim as well.

Replace existing windows

Replacing your existing windows with Energy Star-rated windows will appeal to energy-conscious homebuyers, since they can lower a home’s energy bill by 7 to 15%. By installing at least 10 vinyl replacement windows, homeowners can get a 73.4% return on value when they sell.

Update the front door

Replacing an existing door with a steel one can reap about 74.9% at resale. Steel doors make a home safer and add curb appeal. Add to the visual appeal by choosing a door with decorative options like glass paneling.

Install smart technology

Smart home technology has becoming popular with younger generations, especially the Millennial generation, who is now the largest buying generation. While not all smart home upgrades are made equally, here are some of the most popular smart technologies that will appeal to this buyer group:

  • Smart lighting
  • Climate control with smart thermostats
  • Smart home security systems and door locks
  • Smart garage door opener
  • Smart appliances
  • Built-in speakers with app control

Move into Your Dream Home

By investing in a few strategic home improvements, you’ll be able to get the most bang for your buck when it’s time to sell. We hope you’ll consider Hayden Homes when you’re ready to buy your next home. We make homebuying simple by offering a wide variety of beautiful and smartly-designed new homes to fit every life stage. To learn more about our new homes in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho, visit us online today!

4 Ways to Personalize Your New Hayden Home

After searching high and low, you’ve finally found your dream home. Now that it’s yours, it’s natural to want to put your personal touch on your new place. One of the best things about a new construction home is that it’s a blank slate for you to personalize as you see fit. Here are some quick and easy ways to make your new house feel more like home.

Hang family photos and display collections

One of the fastest ways to make a home feel like yours is putting up some family photos and displaying your collections. There’s nothing more personal than that! Surrounding your home with items that carry a special significance is a surefire way to make your new house feel more like yours.

Paint a wall (or more)

Most homes are painted in neutral tones so make your mark by painting the walls. You can go simple by brightening a door or window frame with a bold accent color or go big by painting an entire room or two.

Customize smaller details

You’re going to be in your new home for years to come so don’t feel compelled to immediately make all the changes. Instead, think small by swapping out smaller features like hardware and drawer pulls, window treatments, or light fixtures. These small updates can make a big statement.

Landscape the yard

Depending on the season you move in, updating the landscape is a great option for putting your personal stamp on a new property. Plant some flowers and shrubs, add large potted plants, and even some patio furniture like a seating option or a fire pit. These small additions will make your home more inviting.

Enjoy Your New Home!

We hope that you enjoy your new Hayden home for future generations. If you’re still on the hunt for your dream home, we have homes for sale in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. We’d love the opportunity to help you purchase your dream home. Contact us today to learn more!

Prepare your Home for a Successful School Year

a funny child girl doing homework writing and reading at home

It’s ‘Back to School’ season and even if your kids are already in school, it’s still a great time to get your home in order so everyone has a successful school year. Follow these tips to get your home organized and ready for the busy days ahead!

Organize the entryway

Set up the entryway of your home to withstand the morning rush out the door, whether it’s the front door or garage door. Use hooks, cubbies, or a drawer unit to stash your kids’ belongings so you don’t waste time looking for that missing mitten or jacket. Get your kids into the habit of placing their backpacks in their designated places once their homework is finished so they’re ready to go in the morning.

Update your kids’ closets

A new school year usually means a brand-new wardrobe. Make room for their new clothes by going through their closets and purging old clothes they’ve outgrown, are in poor condition, or just don’t get worn anymore. Donate anything that’s still in good condition or passed down to younger siblings. Once you’re finished, organize the closet by clothing type to make getting ready easier in the morning.

Organize the kitchen

If making lunches is your least favorite part of going back to school, a little organization can make that task a breeze. Pick a spot in your kitchen dedicated to lunch construction and set up some containers in the pantry, cabinet or the fridge that holds lunchtime favorites like yogurt, fruit slices or cups, crackers, granola bars, etc. That way all you need to do is grab something from each section and lunch is ready! Or better yet: let your kids put their own lunch together.

Create a family command center

Keep track of everyone’s schedule by creating a family command center. This can be a bulletin board, large calendar, or even just a basket for each child. Use this area to keep important papers, like permission slips, lunch menus, or schedules.

Designate a homework zone

After weeks of homework-less days, getting back into the homework routine can take some time. Make the transition back to completing homework easier by designating a place for homework. Whether it’s the kitchen table, the home office, or their bedrooms, make sure this space is fully stocked with the supplies they’ll need and do your best to limit distractions so your kids can focus on completing their studies.

With a little preparation, you can make sure your home is organized and ready to ace this new school year. At Hayden Homes, we build brand new homes in cities throughout Washington, Idaho, and Oregon that are close to all the things our homeowners prioritize, including great schools. Let us help you find your dream home today!