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!

Tips for Getting Preapproved for a Home Purchase

Tips for getting preapproved for a home loanBefore you can make an offer on a new home, and sometimes, before a realtor will even take you to see a new home, you must have a preapproval letter from a qualified lender. Getting preapproved means preparation and an understanding of what lenders are looking for. Here are some tips to help you along the way!
What Is a Home Loan Preapproval Letter?
A mortgage pre-qualification or preapproval is an estimate of how much home you can afford based on an estimate of how much a lender is willing to give you. It’s important to remember that a preapproval is not always 100 percent accurate. For example, if you get preapproved for $300,000, the bank may end up only giving you $279,000 as more granular details about your financial situation are uncovered. However, a preapproval is important because it will allow you to start looking at homes in your price range – or at least within the ballpark.
What Goes Into a Home Loan Preapproval?
While the preapproval process is not as comprehensive as the loan underwriting process, it will take into account numerous different factors. Some things that a mortgage lender will likely consider before pre-qualifying you include:
  • Proof of income – Understandably so, your lender will want some sort of proof of income, such as W2s, tax statements, or pay stubs.
  • Knowledge of existing debts – You’ll also need to provide your lender with any information about existing debts that you have, including car payments, credit card debt, student loan debt, existing mortgages, and other financial obligations that you might have.
  • Your credit score – Your credit score can affect the amount of money you are able to borrow, as well as the rate you’re offered. The higher your credit score, the better your chances are of being approved with a favorable interest rate. Start working on improving your credit score now. It takes persistence and patience, but you can do it!
In addition to the above, you’ll also need to provide personal information, such as your date of birth and Social Security number. Have this type of information ready when the time comes to get preapproved.
Tips for Getting Preapproved for a Home Loan
You don’t just want to get preapproved for a mortgage loan; you want to get preapproved for a specific amount that is reflective of the value of the home that you want. This may mean spending time – months and even years preparing your finances for preapproval. Some tips to improve your chances of preapproval include:
  • Avoid making any large financial purchases or changes in the months preceding your home purchase (if you can help it).
  • Get your financial documents in order – be prepared to present at least two years’ worth of tax documents. This can take anywhere from a couple of hours to several days to gather, so this is something you can get done well ahead of time.
  • Ask a lender for more information – the preapproval process can be a little complex, so don’t be afraid to ask for more information and counsel. Feel free to reach out to us if you have questions!
Finding the Perfect New Home for You
If you’re looking for a new home in the Northwest, contact us today to learn how we can help get you into your dream home.

10 Questions First-time Homebuyers Frequently Ask

10-Questions-First-time-Homebuyers-Frequently-AskIf you’re in the market to buy a new home, you probably have quite a few questions about the process. Here are 10 commonly asked questions we hear from first-time homebuyers. If you have more questions, please feel free to reach out to a helpful Hayden Homes team member as we are here to make the process easy for you.

1. What Are the Benefits of Buying vs. Renting? 
The real estate market is always changing, but if you’re able to purchase a home, doing so is almost always a good long-term investment. When you rent, you’re giving money to someone else every month; when you buy, you’re paying down your equity, and therefore investing in your own future.

2. How Much Home Can I Afford?
The best way to answer this question is to meet directly with a qualified lender who can help you to understand the home-buying process, the costs associated with owning a home, and how much you can afford based on your finances. It’s important to be transparent about your finances when talking with a lender.

3. Do I Need a Real Estate Agent?
Working with a real estate agent can be very helpful and eliminate unnecessary worries and stresses during the homebuying process. A good Real Estate Agent will not only help you locate a home that aligns with your wants and needs, but also will help you understand the numerous real estate terms, contracts, and your obligations during the home-purchasing process.

With that said, Hayden Homes conducts many transactions, each year, with people purchasing a new home without a Real Estate Agent. As the process for buying a new home versus a resale home differs. Including, there is no need for negotiation when buying a new home. You will not have to go with an Agent to see many different properties, as with new construction, if the home isn’t already built, you will pick your homesite, home plan, personalize the home, and then allow for construction time. Finally, we have a Builder Contract that is straightforward, and our Community Managers will walk you through it page-by-page to ensure you understand everything fully.

4. Will I Have to Put 20 Percent Down?
Putting 20 percent down for a new home is ideal and may help you to secure more favorable loan terms, but isn’t required for most home loans. In fact, you may be able to quality for a new home purchase with little money down. Do yourself a favor now and begin saving for a down payment. The more you have, the more financing options will be available to you.

5. What Happens if I Don’t Have Great Credit?
Like the down payment, the better your credit, the more likely you’ll secure a loan with favorable terms. But there are some loan options available for those with less-than-ideal credit, too. Talk to your lender to learn more.

6. What Upfront Costs Will I Face?
There are a few upfront costs associated with buying a new home that you should be aware of. First, you will need earnest money, which is money that is paid to the seller at the time you enter the purchase agreement (at Hayden Homes earnest money is either 1% or 2% of the purchase price. If the home is under 1600 SF it’s 1% and if it’s over 1600 SF it’s 2%). Earnest money reassures the seller that you are intent on purchasing the home. Then, there’s the down payment, which varies greatly depending on whether or not it’s your first home purchase, how much equity you have, your credit history and more. You will also have closing costs which are often negotiated in your purchase agreements. Talk to your mortgage lender to learn more about upfront costs.

7. What Types of Mortgages Are Available?
There are multiple different types of loans available, the two most common being a fixed-rate mortgage (where the interest rate does not change) and an adjustable-rate mortgage (where the interest rate may change). There are also FHA mortgages, VA mortgage loans, USDA rural housing loans, and more. Your lender will be able to tell you exactly which types of loans you’re eligible for, and provide more information about each one so you can make an informed decision. In addition, we have a few blogs that explain the difference between the main types of mortgages, so be sure to read those as well.

8. Should I Buy a New Home or an Existing Home? 
Whether you should buy a brand new home or an already existing home is a big question prospective homebuyers ask. While both have certain advantages, buying a brand new home means a new home warranty, fewer maintenance and repair costs, and fewer worries about existing damage.

9. What Happens During the Closing Process? 
The closing process is the last step in the home-buying process, and involves an exchange of funds and keys. During closing, all documents will be finalized and signed, you will enter contract to pay back your mortgage loan, and any other legal matters will be addressed during this time. One of the processes that Hayden Homes does, during this time, is we conduct a New Homeowner Orientation (NHO) with all of our homeowners. We will do this with you, whether it’s your first or you fifth home. This is an opportunity for us to walk through the home together, to review any final touches, and ensure that you fully understand/know where to find all of the bells and whistles in your new home.

In addition, we will be there for you even after you close your Hayden Home. Once we hand over the keys, or relationship won’t end there. We will be there for you throughout your first year to ensure that any maintenance you may need done on your new home is taken care of. Visit our builder warranty page to learn more.

10. Do I Have to Purchase Mortgage Insurance?
Depending on the type of loan you get and how much of a down payment you provide, Private mortgage insurance (PMI) may be required by a lender in order to lower the risk the lender has in issuing a loan. By purchasing PMI, you may be able to qualify for a loan that you otherwise would not be eligible for. Those with good credit, a steady income stream, and the ability to put down a large down payment (usually 20% or more) typically do not need to purchase PMI.

Find Your Brand New Home Today
At Hayden Homes, we have new homes for sale in the Northwest, including Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. Whether you’re renting and looking to transition into home ownership, or needing something newer and bigger to better align with your lifestyle and/or family, we have new homes you’ll fall in love with. Contact a Hayden Homes team member today to learn more.

If you want other tips for first time homebuyers visit the Homebuying 101 category on our blog.

15-Year vs. 30-Year Mortgages – What’s the Difference?

15-Year vs. 30-Year MortgagesBuying a new home provokes all kinds of questions, many of which pertain to financing. Questions like: Which mortgage lender should I seek financing from? How much will be expected to put towards a down payment? What interest rates will I be able to qualify for? How long should I pay off my mortgage? Truth is, all of these questions can have more than one right answer, so don’t stress yourself out too much.

At Hayden Homes, we want to make sure that you secure the financing option that’s right for you and your situation. In addition to talking to a lender, to help you make a good decision, consider these basic differences between 15 and 30-year mortgages.

Mortgage Term Length: What You Need to Know

The 30-year mortgage is the most standard mortgage type throughout the country. Via this model, homeowners make payments on their mortgage loan over the course of 30 years. Because payments are spread out over a 30-year term period, the monthly amount owed on the loan is significantly less than it would be for a 15-year mortgage. However, because the loan extends for twice the length of a 15-year mortgage, the amount of interest paid on the loan is understandably more – and that’s the trade off.

For example, consider a homeowner who purchases a $300,000 home, putting $60,000 (20 percent) down and taking out a mortgage loan for $240,000. With an interest rate of 5%, and factoring in an average value for homeowners’ insurance and property taxes, the homeowner can expect to pay approximately $1,663 in mortgage payments, per month, for 30 years. Over the course of the loan’s life, the amount of interest accrued and paid would be approximately $223,813. To play with some of these numbers, view our mortgage calculator.

On the other hand, if the homeowner decides to do a 15-year mortgage instead, their monthly payments would jump up to approximately $2,272. However, while monthly payments are more, over the course of the loan’s life, the homeowner will pay approximately $101,622 in interest.

So Which Home Loan Length is Right for You?

While the 15-year mortgage may seem ideal on the surface – obviously, any homeowner wants to minimize the amount of money they owe over time – there are some drawbacks, too. First of all, it is harder to get approved for the 15-year mortgage; lenders want to see that homeowners can safely afford higher monthly payments, and that the payments won’t be too large of a portion of homeowners’ monthly earnings. Further, while paying more on your home now may save money over time, it can put a financial burden on your family now. Higher monthly payments may create unwanted financial pressure.

In short, if you can afford the payments associated with a shorter mortgage term comfortably, this may be the best option for you. If you can’t, then a 30-year mortgage is still a great option, and the option that the majority of homeowners in America choose. Keep in mind that you can always refinance at a later date, if doing so makes sense. Also, keep in mind that you can always elect to pay more of your mortgage when the funds are there. This requires more discipline since putting “extra” down each month on your mortgage principal isn’t required.

Come See Our Brand New Homes Today

If you’re looking to buy a brand new home in the Northwest, or if you just have questions, we can help. Contact Hayden Homes today to learn more.

Note – While Hayden Homes has been building new homes for 30 years, we are not experts on home loans. In order to truly understand and find out which home loan is right for you, we recommend talking to a lender. The numbers in this article are an estimate and may not reflect the exact amount that you would pay for principle, interest, or monthly payments. Please consult your lending officer for any lending needs and additional questions regarding getting approved for a loan to buy a new home. 

10 Reasons You Could Be Happier in a Smaller, Newer Home

10 Reasons You Could Be Happier in a Smaller, Newer HomeLarge homes can be fantastic, especially for growing families. At the same time, smaller, newer homes have benefits too, especially for older homebuyers who are ready to downsize, or first-time homebuyers who are looking for something modern and low maintenance. Here are 10 reasons why you may be happier in a smaller, newer home:
1. Smaller Homes Are Less Expensive to Buy
Perhaps one of the first reasons that buyers turn to smaller homes is that these homes are, on average, less expensive to buy than larger homes. A less expensive home typically means a lower down payment, a lower mortgage, and more financial flexibility.
2. Smaller Homes Are Less Expensive to Care for, Decorate, Etc.
Not only is a smaller home less expensive to buy, but it’s also less expensive to fill with furniture, decor, repair, paint, cool, heat etc. This means that the savings keep on giving, year after year.
3. Smaller (Newer!) Homes Mean Less Maintenance
Don’t want to spend years of your life on maintenance tasks, like fixing the leaking roof or replacing the floors? With a brand new home, you don’t have to. And besides, if you do want to engage in a renovation or repair project, a smaller home will be more manageable than a larger home.
4. Smaller Homes Mean Less Cleaning
No one wants to spend their free time cleaning, and with a smaller home, the amount of time that you spend dusting, sweeping, mopping, vacuuming etc can be significantly reduced. Smaller homes are easier to keep clean.
5. Small Homes Are Greener
Whether you care about saving on your energy bill each month or want to be environmentally friendly, a smaller home can get you there. Smaller, newer homes are more energy efficient and reduce a homeowner’s carbon footprint.
6. Smaller Homes Ask You to De-clutter Your Life
With a smaller home, there isn’t enough room for all of your clutter. Which means that you’re forced to get rid of those things that you truly no longer need. This can be both physically (you need the space!) and psychologically rewarding.
7. Smaller Homes Encourage More Family Interaction
Smaller homes have fewer rooms so family members are naturally spending more time together. This can help to foster strong familial ties and a sense of togetherness within the home.
8. Smaller Homes Can Help You Let Go of Material Possessions
When living in a smaller home, it’s difficult to have an overwhelming amount of material possessions, plain and simple. Realizing that your happiness is not derived from material items can lead to a higher quality of life as you turn your attention more toward friends, family and neighbors.
9. Smaller Homes Give You More Time
With a smaller and newer home, you’ll likely have more spare time. This is because there will be less maintenance and less pressure to work overtime to pay your high mortgage. This means that you’ll have more time to do the things you really love including hobbies.
10. Smaller Homes Provide You More Financial Flexibility
Finally, having a smaller home provides you with more financial freedom. Often times people will stretch themselves financially to get into the biggest possible house. When you don’t have to stress about mortgage payments – in addition to life’s other expenses – you’ll have more financial flexibility when it comes to taking a trip, making a purchase, or taking time off from your job.
Come See Our Brand New Homes Today
We know that the one size fits all approach doesn’t work for everyone. But if you’re interested in downsizing or buying a newer, smaller home in the Northwest, we have homes of all shapes and sizes that you’re sure to love. Come see our new homes in Washington, Idaho, and Oregon today. View our gallery of both large and small home plans HERE.

What Are HOAs and Why Do Communities Have Them?

What are HOA's and why do communities have them?A large percentage of planned unit developments and newer suburban communities have HOAs, or Homeowners’ Associations. If you’re planning on buying a new home in the Northwest, either from Hayden Homes or another homebuilder, your new community may have an HOA. Here’s a look into what an HOA does, why communities have them, how HOA dues are determined, and what they typically pay for.

What Does an HOA Do?

Typically, an HOA is essentially responsible for setting community rules and monitoring community behavior. These rules vary based on the HOA, the type of property involved in the HOA (i.e. residential homes vs. condos), and the wishes of the HOA board and residents. Some examples of rules might include:

  • Construction and building requirements, such as homeowners not being allowed to construct fences over a certain height;
  • Behavioral and lifestyle requirements, such as not keeping more than two pets or maintaining shades of a certain exterior home color; and
  • Basic common responsibilities, such as picking up after one’s dog, paying HOA dues, not littering, maintaining lawn, etc.
Why Do Communities Have HOAs?
HOAs do more than just make rules. If they didn’t, homeowners probably wouldn’t want to keep them around. In addition to setting down some regulations that are intended to maintain the quality of the community for everyone, HOAs often maintain and repair public areas, including a community park, roads and entrances, or building defects. By doing so, the HOA helps to protect property values and provide services to residents.
How Are HOA Dues Determined and How Much Are They?
It should be noted that the amount that homeowners are asked to pay in HOA dues can vary dramatically depending on the community; sometimes, dues may be as little as $100 a year, other times, they could be several thousand dollars! The more upscale the property and the more amenities offered, the greater HOA dues will likely be. In the Northwest, HOAs are typically in the $250-500/yr range. It is important that you find out what HOA dues are and factor this into your monthly payment before you buy a property that is part of a homeowners’ association. Keep in mind that if you move into a property that is part of an HOA, you have no option but to pay these fees. If you do not pay your fees, a lien could be placed against your property.
Talk to Hayden Homes About Buying a New Home with or without HOA Fees
Buying a home that is part of an HOA can be a very positive thing, leading to a greater sense of community and reassurance that property value, comfort, and aesthetics will be maintained. Of course, because being part of an HOA means an added fee, so learning what the fee is and what is covered by the fee is critical.
At Hayden Homes, we are building brand new homes in great communities in Idaho, Washington, and Oregon. If you have questions about a community that you’re interested in – if it has an HOA and what the dues will be, we are here to help! Get in touch with us today. We can serve you whether you’re buying your first home, upgrading to a bigger home, or looking for something a little smaller. Reach us today to learn more!