Start Fresh: Buy a New Home

Homebuyers in the Northwest have a lot of options in today’s real estate market. There are plenty of new homes and resale homes available. Why not start fresh in a brand-new home? Depending on what your priorities are, there are several advantages to buying a new home.

Here are some of the top benefits of buying a newly-built home:

Designed for Today

New construction homes are built to satisfy today’s needs. New home builders tap into today’s design trends for flexible, open floor plans, larger kitchens, spacious rooms, outdoor living spaces, and plenty of storage space. They’re also wired for today’s technology, making it easier to outfit your home with the latest smart technology.

Customization

Instead of settling for someone else’s design preferences, you can customize your new home to be a true reflection of your style. Depending on the building stage of a new home, you may be able to select the type of flooring, fixtures, paint colors, and other options to create a unique home tailored for you.

Energy Efficient

Newly built homes are more energy-efficient than resale homes thanks to improved building requirements. Today’s building codes require a tighter-sealed building envelope that prevents air from escaping the house, meaning your home stays cooler during the summer and warmer in the winter months. Additional energy-efficient features include higher-efficiency insulation, doors, windows, and appliances. All of which works together to keep your utility bills lowers and your wallet fuller.

Low Maintenance Living

Today’s new homes offer low-maintenance living in two ways. First, they’re built cutting-edge building materials that require less maintenance, like using composite materials instead of wood that can rot or need repainting. Second, because everything is new, there’s less need for repairs, especially in the first few years of owning the home.

New Home Warranties

A definite advantage of newly built homes is that everything in the house is brand new. Everything in your home is under warranty and since they’re at the start of their lifecycle, you’re ensured many years of problem-free usage before it needs to be repaired. Most builders offer a one-year warranty to cover any needed repairs during the first year in your home, leaving you with one less thing to worry about.

Buy New in the Northwest

If you’re looking to buy a new home in the Northwest, we want to help! Hayden Homes has new home communities throughout the Northwest in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. Reach out today to learn more about what we have to offer.

How to Choose the Right Floor Plan for Your Home

How to Choose the Right Floor Plan for Your HomeThere are a lot of decisions to make when it comes to finding a new home. You’ve probably already decided which neighborhood you want to live in, the type and style of home you prefer, and even the features and amenities you want. Now it’s time to find the right floor plan for your home and your family.

Selecting the right floor plan is important. You can repaint and update the kitchen in the future, but it’s difficult to change the layout. Before committing to a home, ask yourself these questions to make sure you’re choosing the right floor plan for your family’s new home.

What’s your family’s current lifestyle?

Your lifestyle dictates the type of home you’ll gravitate towards. If you have young children, you may prefer to have the bedrooms on the same level. Conversely, if you’re looking for a home you can eventually age in place, you may prefer a single-story home instead of a two-story home. You may want an open-floor plan if you love to entertain. Work from home? Look for a home that offers a flexible space for a home office or other specialty room.

Does the home feel ‘livable?’

While the size of your new home is important, don’t hold fast to a particular measurement. Square footage is just a number; a smartly-designed floor plan can feel much larger than the square footage. Instead of staying committed to a particular size, set a general size range you’d like and focus on finding a home that has the right number and type of rooms for your family. When touring homes, check that the flow makes sense and imagine your daily routine and how your family will move around in the space.

What features do you need that your current home doesn’t have?

How does this home improve on what you have in your current home? Does it have more storage? Larger bedrooms? A dedicated laundry room? Consider what features and amenities your current home lacks and make sure the new home fits those needs.

Does the home fit within your budget?

Buying a home is one of the largest financial purchases you will make in a lifetime. And let’s face it, there is a part of us that may want to have a larger, fancier home than we may need or can afford. So before you get your heart completely set on a floor plan, be sure to talk with your builder about what your costs will be and make sure it aligns within your budget. If you need help on determining what that is, check out our blog on how to budget for a new home.

Will this home fit your family now? In 5 or 10 years?

Each family has its own life-cycle. Consider the current state of your family and think about how your family’s needs may change in the future. Do you anticipate growing your family? Or perhaps having a family member move in? Will your kids be moving out soon? The right home will allow you to comfortably fit your family for several years.

Finding the right home for your family can be difficult but isn’t impossible! By asking yourself these questions, you’ll be able to find your perfect home.

Explore Hayden Homes Floor Plans

Hayden Homes offers 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. Take a few minutes to review our gallery of floor plans HERE, view a virtual tour and even play with the design features of your new home. Then, when you’re ready to buy a new home in Oregon, Washington, or Idaho, contact us directly. We’re excited to help you find your new dream home.

How to Budget for a New Home

Young couple working on budgeting for their new homeBuying a new home is one of the largest purchases we make in our lifetimes. Since it’s such a huge financial decision, it’s best to do your due diligence to determine how much you can afford before going to your first open house.

Reviewing and adjusting your finances is an important first step towards homeownership. Here are some great tips on how to budget for a new home.

Review your income

The key to creating a budget is knowing how much you have to spend. Add up your after-tax income sources for the month. Use this final number to build your budget around.

Write down current monthly expenses

List all of your monthly expenses so you can see where your dollars go each month, including any debt payments. Once you have your expenses figured out, you can calculate how much you’ll have remaining for housing costs.

List new regular expenses

In addition to your usual household expenses like mortgage and utilities, you’ll be responsible for some additional costs as a homeowner that you weren’t previously.

  • Property taxes and homeowner’s insurance: Check to see if these payments are included in your monthly mortgage payment. If you need to make separate payments, you’ll want to include that into your budget so you’re not surprised when the bill arrives. If they are included with your mortgage payment, be aware that your payment amount may vary by the year due to changes in property taxes and insurance premiums.
  • Homeowners association fees: Homeowners association (HOAs) dues are fees collected to maintain common areas in a neighborhood. Some fees are collected monthly while others are collected yearly. Its best to set some money aside each month so you’re not blindsided by a large payment all at once. Thankfully, Hayden Homes’ communities don’t have homeowners association fees.
  • Home maintenance: If you’re purchasing an existing (or used) home, home maintenance should be top of mind. A good rule of thumb is setting aside 1 to 2% of the value of your home each year for upkeep. One of the benefits of buying a brand new home is not having to worry about typical home maintenance. We offer each Hayden homebuyer one of the most comprehensive homeowner warranty programs. Each Hayden home comes with a one-year builder warranty on our work so the first year in your new home will be worry free!

Make adjustments

Once you have your expenses written down, review them to see if there are any areas you adjust your spending so you can save money or increase your allowable housing costs and/or paying down debt.

Save for a down payment

Many first-time homebuyers find saving for a down payment is typically the biggest challenge to overcome. Find out how much of a down payment you’ll need by getting pre-qualified for a mortgage and then create a savings plan.

Roll with the financial punches

Budgets are living breathing things so it’s okay to revisit your budget and make adjustments as your financial situation changes. Make sure you’re still building an emergency fund (ideally, you’ll have enough set aside to cover three to six months of expenses).

Find your dream home with Hayden Homes

If you have more questions on how to budget for a new home, our team is here to help and are available to get you in touch with a loan officer to go deeper into this topic with you. So when you’re ready to start the homebuying process, we’re ready to help you find your dream home. We have brand new homes for sale in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. Contact us today to learn how we can help you find your new home.

Top Reasons Why We Choose to Move

Top Reasons Why We Choose to MoveAre you planning on moving soon? If so, you’re not alone! On average, Americans move about every five to seven years. From new jobs to changing familial relationships, there are lots of different reasons why people move.

With the summer months coming up, more families will be packing up and moving into a new home. Coincidentally a lot of the moves happen in May, which is why it’s National Moving Month. Here are some of the top five reasons why we choose to move:

For a better home

According to 2017 American Housing Survey, over half of recent homebuyers (55%) moved for a better home. First-time buyers are making the leap from renting to owning and some move-up buyers simply outgrow their “starter home” as their families grow.

Or perhaps you stopped loving (or tolerating) the quirks of your current home. Maybe the street noise turned out to be louder than expected, or you need more storage space. Whatever the reason, sometimes moving to a new and larger home is in order.

For a better neighborhood

46% of homebuyers moved for a better neighborhood. Neighborhoods change over time. Your neighborhood could have been a quiet, sleepy bedroom community when you moved in, but thanks to area development projects, has become too commercial and busy for your liking. Likewise, if you have children (or plan to start a family), you may desire to move to be in a better school district.

To form a household

About 39% on homebuyers (and an astounding 61% of first-time buyers) listed forming their own household as the reason why they moved. Whether you’re getting married or having kids, getting a home to call your own was part of the process.

To be closer to family

22% of homebuyers moved so they could be closer to family. This is common as we age; parents desire to be closer to their children and grandchildren, and sometimes grown children move closer to home for the same reasons, especially if they want help taking care of the kids!

To reduce housing costs

19% of homebuyers claimed reducing housing costs as their prime reason for moving. Some are downsizing into a smaller home (which means smaller utility bills, home insurance, and property taxes) or relocating from a location with a higher cost of living location to one with a lower cost of living. Many residents of states with higher costs of living, like California, find they have more buying power in other states like Idaho, Washington and Oregon than they otherwise would. Which means they can afford a much larger home.

Some other reasons for moving also include: a change in household composition (18%), getting a new job (14%), and reducing commute times (12%).

Let Hayden Homes help you with your next move

Whatever your reason for moving to a new home, Hayden Homes is here to help. With new home communities throughout Idaho, Oregon, and Washington, you’ll find plenty of options for quality, affordable homes for every stage in life. View the benefits of buying new to learn what makes a Hayden Home the right new home for both you and the entire Pacific Northwest.

How the Recent Unchanged Federal Reserve Interest Rate Improves Mortgage Rates

Federal-Reserve-announces-they-will-not-increase-interest-rates-good-for-mortgagesA year ago, it was predicted that Federal Reserve Interest Rates (national interest rates) were going to continue to climb all through 2018 and carry into 2019 as the economy showed great signs of improvement. Then, as you may have heard, the Federal Reserve announced that they will hold rates steady for the remainder of the year. This is good news for those looking to purchase a new home. How, you may be wondering? First let’s briefly explain how interest rates affect your purchasing power as a current or future homebuyer.

If you’re going to use a home loan to purchase your new home, the question of how much you can afford can also be called your ‘purchasing power’. Any change in the national interest rates can either improve this power or make it harder for you to buy a home. The higher the interest rates the more expensive your home will become and the higher your monthly mortgage payment in terms of Principal and Interest, (P&I only), will be. This is not factoring in homeowner’s insurance or property taxes, since those vary depending on the home’s location and your personal coverage options.

These lower rates can make a huge impact on home affordability & purchasing power. The difference between 1% in rates on a $250,000 home mortgage can save you nearly $150 per month and over $42,000 in interest over the life of your loan! That’s a lot of money saved in the long run.

Back in November rates we’re higher than we’ve seen since March of 2011. And they are back to the lowest we’ve seen since February of 2018. Since the Federal Reserve announced that they will hold rates steady for the remainder of the year and if you’ve been on the fence about purchasing a home, now is the time to make a move and get into that new home.

Before you start looking at new home communities, make sure you get your pre-approval for a mortgage. This will help you confirm that the amount you think you can pay is in line with what you will qualify for. With new homes throughout Oregon, Washington and Idaho, contact a Community Manager today and we can get you in touch with a Loan Officer to get pre-approved and get started down the path of buying the new home of your dreams.

Freddie Mac Source: http://www.freddiemac.com/pmms/pmms30.html

**Written as of 3/21/2019. Rates may change at any time. Please consult a Loan Officer for specific details on current interest rates and to get pre-approved for a home loan.

Homebuying 101: Understanding Credit Scores

Homebuying 101: Understanding Credit ScoresYour credit score is one of the most important numbers of your financial life. This three-digit number can be the difference between getting the loan you need to buy a new home or car, or even qualify for a credit card with a good interest rate. While credit scores play a strong role in our financial life, they’re also a bit misunderstood. Here’s a quick guide to understanding credit scores.
What is a credit score?
Your credit score is the number rating used by banks to determine how likely you are to repay a loan. Each credit bureau has their own way of calculating credit scores, but typically your score is based on the following factors:
  • Payment history
  • Age of credit
  • Credit card utilization (the amount of credit available and how much you’re using)
  • Types of credit (i.e. credit cards, auto, student, personal or mortgage loans, etc.)
  • Hard credit inquiries (credit checks requested by lenders when you apply for credit/loan)
After reviewing your credit history, a three-digit number between 300 and 850 will be assigned. The higher the score on this scale, the better your credit is. It’s common to have a slightly different score at the same time. Each credit bureau uses their own calculation model to determine your credit score, and sometimes lenders don’t report to all three credit bureaus.
What’s a ‘good’ credit score?
Your credit score will fall into one of four categories: Very Poor, Fair, Good, Very Good or Excellent. Here’s the range for scores lenders use (this range is typically for VantageScore, which is used by the 3 major credit bureaus):
  • Very Poor: any credit score under 549
  • Fair: credit score between 550 and 649
  • Good: credit score between 650 and 749
  • Very Good: credit score between 750 and 749
  • Excellent: any credit score 750 and above
How credit scores affect homebuying
Your credit score is the key to buying a new home. When you apply for a mortgage, your lender will review your credit report to determine whether or not to approve you for a loan, but also how much you’ll qualify to borrow, your mortgage rate, the type of loan you can get, and, in some cases, how much private mortgage insurance you’ll pay.
There’s no minimum credit score needed to apply for most loans, there are some mortgage providers, like FHA, have general guidelines for people with lower credit scores.
Not only that, but your credit score also affects your interest rate. Most lenders will provide more favorable interest rates to people with higher credit scores, which can save you thousands of dollars over the life of your mortgage!
Checking your credit score
Not only should you check your credit score before you begin the mortgage process, you should regularly review your credit report to make sure the information is accurate and to check your progress if you’re working to improve your score. Don’t worry: checking your credit report won’t affect your credit score! You can request a free credit report each year or use one a service like CreditKarma.com to check your credit score.

How to Meet Your New Neighbors After Moving

Tips for Meeting Your New Neighbors - Parents holding their young kidsMoving into a new home is a great feeling. Especially once you’ve start to get settled in. The chaos of moving day has subsided, your family has established their new routine, and you’re starting to get the lay of the land. What’s next? Meeting your new neighbors.

Getting to know your neighbors will help you feel connected and welcomed to your new neighborhood. Not only can you be on friendly terms with your neighbors, knowing them creates a safer community where people look out for each other.

While meeting your new neighbors may not be high on your priority list, you’ll appreciate the benefits. Here are some tips you can use to make meeting your new neighbors easier.

Smile and Say Hello
Forming a relationship with your neighbors is all about being friendly to each other. Chances are, your arrival did not go unnoticed. While you may not have much time on moving day to have a full conversation with your neighbors, a simple smile and warm hello will set you up for a follow up greeting once the moving fuss has died down. Use your status as the new family on the block to strike up a conversation and introduce yourself.

Scope Out Your Neighborhood
Check out your neighborhood and see if you can find common things that connect you. Check to see which neighbors have kids or pets (both of which are fantastic ice breakers!) Perhaps someone is an avid gardener or sports fan. Whatever it is, finding common interests make approaching new people easier.

Ask Questions
Your neighbors are a fantastic resource to your new neighborhood. This is especially helpful if you’ve relocated from out of town. As a newcomer, you’ll need help getting the lay of the land as you become familiar with your new community. Your neighbors will appreciate being able to provide helpful tips and insider information about schools, grocery stores, restaurants, and community events.

Be Outside More Often
You can’t meet your neighbors when you stay inside all the time! Make yourself approachable by being seen outside in your yard, whether you’re gardening or just relaxing on the porch. You can also take a walk around your community or visit the local playground or park. Just remember to be open for opportunities to mingle!

Join an Online Community
Check to see if your neighborhood has a social media profile, like a Facebook group page or a NextDoor account. These online communities are a great way to stay up-to-date on neighborhood happenings and a low-pressure way to meet new people. Establishing an online connection can ease the awkwardness of an in-real life meeting.

Whether you’ve moved to a new Hayden home across town or from across the county, these tips will help you get to know your new neighbors and make your new community feel more like home.
If you’re still on the hunt for your dream home, Hayden Homes can help. We have brand new homes for sale in the Northwest, and our home builders are ready to get you moved into your dream home.

Contact us today for more information, whether you’re buying your first home or upgrading to a bigger one.

Tips for Buying and Selling a Home at the Same Time

Tips-for-Buying-and-Selling-a-home-at-the-same-timeAre you a homeowner looking to move into a new home? Navigating the homebuying process as a second-time homebuyer can be challenging, especially if you have a home you need to sell as well! There’s a lot of logistics you need to coordinate! This home buying guide will walk you through some strategies to keep in mind when you need to buy and sell a home at the same time.

Research your local housing market

The local housing market will play the biggest role in the timing of your home purchase and sale. Before you list your home or start looking for a new one, you’ll want to review your local housing market and see how long it’s been taking to buy and sell homes.

  • Buyer’s Market: a buyer’s market means there are more homes available than buyers looking. This means homes will typically stay on the market longer and buyers have more options to choose from. In a buyer’s market, you’ll have an easier time buying a new home than selling your current one.
  • Seller’s Market: a seller’s market means there are more buyers than homes available. This is a hot market! You’re more likely to sell your home first before you’re able to buy.

Choose an experienced real estate agent

Navigating the ins and outs of home buying and selling can be difficult so it’s helpful to have a professional available to guide you through the process. Hire a trusted real estate agent who understands your housing market. They will be able to advise on the expected market value of your home and the best strategy to buy and sell your home at the simultaneously.

Selling your home first
Selling your current home before buying your new home can be the less stressful option. The benefits of selling first mean you know exactly how much you can spend on your next home and have funds for the down payment. However, you may need to find alternative housing to tide you over until you’re able to move into your new home. Here are some options you can consider if case you sell your current home first:

  • Make an offer with a settlement contingency. Once your home is officially on the market, begin looking for new homes. You’ll want to hold off on making any offers (if possible!) until you’ve accepted an offer on your current home. The settlement contingency means you’ll buy the new home once your current home closes. This method is best in a seller’s market when you’re more likely to receive multiple offers.
  • Get a short-term rental. Secure temporary housing and storage (whether a short-term rental or staying with understanding family) until you’re able to close on a new home.
  • Create a rent-back agreement with the new owners. If the new owners of your current home agree, you can sign a rent-back agreement that will allow you to stay in your home for a set period of time in exchange for rental payments. This will give you some additional breathing room to find your new dream home without the stress of finding temporary housing.

Buying your home first

Sometimes you find your dream home faster than planned. This is great because then you’ll only have to move once, instead of having to find a short-term rental or stay with family in the interim. If you happen to buy your new home before selling, you have a few options:

  • Extend your closing. If you’re sure your home will sell quickly, you can request to extend the closing date of your new home past the typical 30-45 days.
  • Apply for a bridge loan. Bridge loans are short-term loans that cover your down payment until closing. This is an enticing option; however, it can be difficult to qualify for a bridge loan and not every lender offers them, so you’ll want to check if this is available through your lender early in the buying process.
  • Apply for a HELOC. HELOC stands for home equity line of credit. This enables you to use your home as collateral and borrow up to a certain amount.
  • Rent your current home. If you’re financially able to purchase your second home without needing to sell your current home, you can consider turning it into an investment property and rent it out.

Don’t let the process rush you

Whether you buy or sell first, try your best to keep fear from rushing you through the decision process. You may want to create a contingency plan in case you sell your home before you buy. This will help keep some of the anxiety at bay since you already know where you’ll be going next. Conversely, if you buy your home first, don’t feel pressured to accept a less than ideal offer because you’re unable to float two mortgages.

Buying and selling a home certainly has his challenges, but if you’re properly prepared, you can navigate this journey with flying colors.

With new home communities in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington, we offer affordable new homes that fit your needs at any stage in life, backed by our commitment to quality. Visit us online at Hayden-Homes.com to learn what makes a Hayden Home the right new home for both you and the entire Pacific Northwest.

What to Know When Touring Model Homes

What to know when touring a model homeNow that you’re beginning your search for your new home, one of the most important steps you’ll take is touring homes.

Most new home builders have at least one fully decorated model home available for homebuyers to tour. Model homes provide homebuyers the chance to walk through the actual floor plans offered by homebuilders, rather than just viewing them online. They also provide an idea of what it would look like to live in a particular space.

Before you start touring model homes, here are a few things to keep in mind to make the most of your time while touring model homes.

Do some research before touring model homes
Before trekking out to a builder’s new home community, check out the builder’s website to see the available floor plans. Most builders will create model homes for their most popular plans so check to see if the plan you are eyeing is available.

Make a list of what your ‘Must Have’ and ‘Nice to Have’ features in your home. You don’t want to wander through model homes without an idea of what you need in your new home. Having a list of what you want in your new home will keep you focused during model home visits and make sure you purchase the right home for your lifestyle.

Ask questions
It’s important that homebuyers understand as much as p for homebuyers to ask questions while touring a model home (or at least keep track of questions you can ask a New Home Specialist once you’ve finished). We welcome (and encourage!) our model home visitors to ask questions. We’re here to help you make the right home purchase for your family.

Take notes
If you’re touring more than one model home, take a notebook along to keep track of what you loved or didn’t love about a home and any questions you had. Its easy to muddle the details when you’re touring multiple homes. You can also take pictures of details you loved as well.

Keeping notes will help you to compare builders and communities and start eliminating floor plans that don’t fit your needs.

Be aware of what’s standard and upgraded
Model homes are created to showcase the best of what the builder is able to provide. They’re often filled with a mix of standard and upgraded features so its important to keep that in mind during your tour. Find out which features come with the home and which are upgrades and their costs.

Explore the community
You get more than just a house when you buy a home. You’re also buying into a community. Either before or after you tour a model home, drive though the community. Is it in an area you’d like to live in? What community amenities are available or nearby? Explore to see how far shopping, dining, schools, and even freeway access are located.

Remember to have fun! The home search process can be overwhelming but it can also be an enjoyable process. Touring model homes is meant to help you find a home that best fits your family’s needs and lifestyle. Hopefully these tips will get your ready for your model home tours!

Hayden Homes is ready to welcome you to any of our communities when you’re ready to start touring model homes! We have several new home communities throughout the Northwest in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho and can’t wait to help you find your dream home.

New Year’s Resolution Ideas for Buying a Home

New Years Resolution Ideas for Buying  a HomeNew Year’s Eve is just around the corner, which means that if you haven’t already started thinking about your New Year’s resolutions, it’s time to get on it! If one of your New Year’s Resolutions is to figure out how to buy a home in the coming year, then make a series of smaller, more manageable resolutions to help you reach the big one. Here are some ideas to help you prepare!

Set a Savings Goal

If you’re buying a new home, you’ll most likely need to make a down payment on that home, and it could be the full 20 percent, or a lesser amount. Most people don’t have the kind of cash lying around without diligently saving for months or years, which means you should start saving now. Even if it’s only a little bit, having a clear picture of your finances and committing to putting away a certain amount each month can help a lot in the long run. Keep in mind that you will most likely be approved for a loan, even if you don’t have the full 20 percent down payment.

Fix Your Credit

Your credit will have an impact on whether or not you get approved for a mortgage loan, and if so, what your mortgage loan interest rate will be. If you have poor credit, you should start working to fix your credit asap. This means putting a plan in action to:

 

    • Pay down your debt;
    • Making all payments on time and in full;
    • Reduce your credit card balances or stop using your credit cards completely; or
    • Consolidate your debt.

 

If you have poor credit, you may be unable to secure a loan, or may get stuck with a high interest rate.

Get Your Documents in Order

Alright – you’ve fixed your credit score, saved up a good chunk of change for a down payment – what’s next? Now you need to start getting all of your mortgage loan documents in order. In order to get pre-approved for a loan, and certainly before the mortgage lender will issue you a loan, you’ll need to provide a variety of documents. These documents will likely include: at least two years’ worth of tax returns, W-2s, employment history, income/bank statements, and proof of assets. The sooner you start organizing these documents, the sooner you’ll know where you fall short and can start taking steps to correct this.

Find the Perfect New Home

Of course, before you can buy your new home, you have to find it first! Take time to explore your options, look at homes in different neighborhoods, determine your budget, and consider whether you want to buy brand new or used. Newer homes often have many benefits that older homes lack, require little maintenance, and can be personalized to fit your style!

Our Home Builders Can Help

At Hayden Homes, we have your dream home for sale! Come see our new homes sprinkled throughout the Northwest, in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. Buying your first home is exciting – let us help!