Tips for Buying a Pet-Friendly Home

Girl petting her dog in front of their new homeFor many of us, our four-legged pets are part of the family. There’s no denying they often hold a special place in our hearts! Just like you consider the needs of each of your family members, it’s important to think about what your pets will need in a new home as well. Here are a few tips to make sure your new home is not only people-friendly, but also pet-friendly!

Consider Your Pet’s Needs

When thinking about the features you need in your next home, don’t forget about your pets! Be sure to consider your needs now and in the future.

  • Flooring. Look for a home that is built with durable flooring. Most homeowners opt for engineered hardwood, tile, or laminate flooring instead of carpet since they are easier to clean and keep cooler during warmer days.
  • Layout. Consider the home’s layout while touring. Make sure your pets will be able to easily move from room to room and that there will be plenty of room for everyone (and their stuff!). Be sure to consider your pet’s age and physical abilities: do you have an elderly dog that may have trouble navigating stairs? If so, a multi-level home may not be the best idea.
  • Yard space. A fenced-in yard is the top feature most homebuyers consider, especially dog-owners. Make sure the fence is sturdy and does not have any gaps that could lead to potential escapes. Also check that the plants are non-toxic.

Research Local Rules and Regulations

Be aware of any local rules and regulations that may restrict the number or types of pets you may have. Just because you own your home doesn’t mean your pets may be welcomed! Be sure to check with your city and state for breed-specific laws and limits. There may be additional requirements for pet owners to follow.

Find a Pet-Friendly Community

You’ll want to make sure your neighborhood is welcoming to pets. When touring homes, check out the neighborhood and see if there are any other pet owners in the area. Seeing other pets in the neighborhood is a good sign that pets are welcomed in the neighborhood. Be sure to notice how much street traffic is occurring as well!

Also take note of any pet services or amenities near your home: are there sidewalks or a dog park where you can safely walk your dog? Are there any veterinarians, pet sitters, groomers, or walkers nearby? How close are pet stores? Knowing if these amenities are close by will make it easier to maintain your pet’s health and happiness.

Find Great Pet-Friendly New Construction Homes

Finding a home that’s comfortable for every member of your family is possible! At Hayden Homes, we build attractive, friendly communities in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. Get in touch with us today to learn more about our brand-new homes for sale in the Pacific Northwest. We can’t wait to help you find your dream home.

5 Simple Ways to Improve Your Credit Score

Person using a calculator to review their finances for 5 Simple Ways to Improve Your Credit ScoreYour credit score is the key to your future home. It can be the difference between being approved or denied a mortgage. It can even determine your interest rate! Wondering how credit scores can affect home buying? Check out this post for more information.

Don’t let a poor credit score keep you from getting the home of your dreams. With some hard work, you can transform your credit score. Just remember, repairing your credit isn’t a quick fix; it can take three to six months before you start to see improvement. Here are five tips to improve your credit score.

Review Your Credit Report

Reviewing your credit report is the first step to improving your credit score. Knowing exactly where you stand financially will allow you to make the right decisions as you rebuild your credit. You can receive a free copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus. When you receive your credit report, make sure the information is accurate and report any incorrect information to the credit bureau to have it removed.

Pay Your Bills on Time

Your payment history is the most influential factor when determining your credit score. Paying your bills on time shows lenders that you’re responsible with credit and is a good indicator that you’ll continue to handle future debts responsibly as well. If you’ve missed payments in the past, get up to date on your payments and stay current.

Reduce Your Debt-to-Income Ratio

Your credit utilization, or the amount of debt you have compared to the amount of credit. Lenders use this ratio to determine if you will be able to make your payments each month. They typically like to see a ratio of 30% or lower.

To calculate your credit utilization ratio, take the total amount of credit used during the month and divide that by your total credit limit. For example, if you have a credit card with a $1,000 credit limit and you spend $300 during the month, your credit utilization ratio is 30%.

If your ratio is higher than 30%, it could indicate that you’re taking on more debt than you can afford. The most effective way to reduce your credit utilization ratio is to keep balances low on credit cards and other revolving credit like personal loans. Don’t just move money around; create a payment plan to pay down your debts.

Keep New Credit Applications to a Minimum

While you’re repairing your credit (or even applying for mortgages) limit the number of new credit applications you submit. Each new line of credit you apply for creates a hard inquiry on your report, which temporarily lowers your score.

Continue to Monitor Your Credit

Keep track of your hard work by continuing to monitor your credit. Don’t worry; you won’t hurt your score by checking your report! When you view your own credit report, it’s considered a “soft inquiry” and doesn’t affect your score.

It’s smart to regularly review your credit report so you can understand how well you’re managing your credit and if you need to make any adjustments. It will also allow you to spot and fix any inaccuracies.

Following these tips will help you establish a healthy relationship with credit and save you money in the long run. If you’re planning to purchase a new home this year, you’ll appreciate the hard work you put in to turn your credit score around.

Buying a Home in 2020? Here’s What You Need to Know

A couple in front of their first new homeWill 2020 finally be the year you buy your first home? After researching and saving, you’re finally ready to take your first steps into the homebuying process. Its always hard to know whether conditions are right, but its important to determine if the conditions are right for you. If you’re ready to make the jump to homeownership, here’s what to expect for the housing market in 2020.

Mortgage rates will remain stable

After mortgage rates steadily declined during 2019 (dropping below 4% for common loan types), mortgage rates are expected to below 4% but don’t expect to see them drop too much further.

Inventory will be tight…

Unfortunately, housing inventory will continue to be tight for much of 2020. There are a lot of factors contributing to the tight inventory, mainly people are staying in their homes for longer than in previous years (the average homeowner is staying in their homes 13 years, up from 8 years in 2010). With homeowners staying in their homes longer, there’s simply less homes available for sale.

New home builders have responded by building more mid-range homes, which may encourage move up buyers to enter the market, freeing up their homes for first-time buyers.

and home prices will rise

Thanks to tight inventory and high demand for homes, prices are expected to grow this year. How much? National Association of REALTORS (NAR) Forecast Summit predicts as 3.6% increase, Zillow predicts a 2.8%, and realtor.com predicts a modest 0.8% rise. Needless to say, competition for available homes will be fierce.

Mid-sized markets will be popular

After moving to urban downtowns, younger generations have turned their eyes back to the suburbs. Mature Millennials, many with young families, have shifted their priorities and now looking for more affordable housing. Buyers are moving to mid-sized cities in search of improved quality of life and homes at a more affordable price point.

New Homes for Sale in the Northwest

If you’re ready to buy your dream home in the Pacific Northwest, we’re ready to help. We build attractive, friendly communities in Idaho, Washington, and Oregon. We have homes for sale you’ll love, and want to be your homebuilder of choice. Contact us today to learn more.

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.