Category Archives: Facinating Homes Series


5 ‘Dream Home’ Spaces

Sometimes a little imagination is just what the doctor ordered when it comes to designing a custom home. But, when you’re busy worrying about paint colours and kitchen appliances it can be difficult to find time to come up with a “cool” and unique idea for your home.

And so, we’ve done the work for you! Here are 5 of the most imaginative spaces you’ve ever seen:

1. Some say ‘take the stairs’… I say, “take the slide!”

2. A Comfy Couch Pit

3. Snail Sink

 

4. A Think Tank Bedroom

5. A Hammock Floor for the Whole Family!

 

What would you put in your dream home?

Home Staging Tips & Techniques

Tips for Selling Your Home

First impressions are everything, especially when you’re trying to sell your home. There are several home staging tips and techniques you can learn in order to make your home appeal to potential buyers. The ultimate goal to home staging is to create an environment that interests as many home buyers as possible, resulting in a quick sale. Here are some of the top home staging tips and techniques you should follow:

1. Cut the clutter – If your home is cluttered, you’re sending the message that it isn’t large enough to accommodate your needs, so tidying will help each room look bigger and better. It’s vital that you get rid of all clutter in your home, and that doesn’t mean shoving it all into drawers, cupboards, and closets. In fact, it’s just as important that you declutter these areas too as it’s inevitable that home buyers will also be looking in your closets and cupboards. If you need to, rent a storage unit to store all your extra belongings until you move. To help get you started on decluttering, read Top 26 Home Organization Tips to Get Rid of Clutter.

2. Make Mr. Clean proud – I mean, really proud. Scrub your home from top to bottom until it sparkles and shines. When you’re selling your home, you’re going to have potential buyers coming through all the time, so make sure to keep on top of things once you’ve done the initial deep cleaning.

Clean House

3. Lose the stink – Another one of the most important staging tips a home seller must follow is ensuring their home doesn’t smell. This rule applies to all rooms in the house. Make sure you scoop the poop in your cat’s litter box every day and always before you show your home to potential buyers (or even consider tip #5). Also, your home shouldn’t smell of meat cooking, cigarette smoke, sweaty teenagers, etc. Further, you really shouldn’t spray your home with air fresheners before showing it – doing so just screams “I’m covering up a gross stink!” If it’s going to smell of anything, it should be fresh flowers or bread in the oven.

4. Lighten up – You want your home to be as bright as possible. Make sure you clean the windows (inside and out) and open the curtains. Also, adding mirrors can help reflect light and make a room look larger.

5. Find a home for pets – Not all potential buyers are going to be animal lovers. As difficult as it may be, you might want to consider booking Fido into a doggy hotel or getting Fluffy to lodge at a friend’s house. This applies to small caged critters too. If you just can’t part with your furry friend, you absolutely must remove as much evidence of them as possible: make sure there is no fur on the floors, the toys are picked up, the poop is scooped (in the yard too!), etc.

6. Don’t make it personal – As much as you love that photo of your son using the potty for the first time or the Bob Marley poster you have in your bedroom, it doesn’t mean everyone else loves it too. It’s important that you remove all personal items from your home when staging it. You want potential buyers to be able to vision themselves living there, which may be impossible for them to do if they can’t see beyond the Princess Diana or Elvis Presley collector plates you have on your walls.

Home Staging Tips

7. Keep it neutral – Try to keep your décor as neutral as possible. Consider storing anything that has loud patterns and colours that may not appeal to everyone’s tastes.

8. Make each room have a specific purpose – Sure, the office/spare room/play room/library might work for you and your family’s needs, but when you’re staging your home, you should designate each room to its intended purpose. If, for example, you’ve listed your home as a 3 bedroom house, make sure that multipurpose room is converted back into a bedroom before putting your house on the market.

9. Make minor repairs – Make sure to tighten loose knobs, fix leaky faucets, change burnt out light bulbs, etc. If you are unable to do so yourself, consider hiring a handyman to do the repairs for you.

10. Less is more – In order to showcase each room to its fullest potential, you want it to appear as large as possible. Remove any extra furniture that isn’t needed (another reason to rent a storage unit), get rid of all kitchen gadgets that are on the countertop that you can temporarily live without, store large backyard toys, etc.

11. Paint – Not everybody loves flowery wallpaper or purple walls. A fresh coat of paint does wonders for any home. One of the best home staging tips you can follow is to paint rooms a neutral colour, such as beige or cream.

12. Don’t forget the outside – Curb appeal is just as important as the inside. Tidy the yard, making sure leaves are raked, grass is mowed, and kids’ toys are picked up. Adding a fresh coat of paint to the door and window shutters can also give your home a cheap pick-me-up. If you have a detached garage or shed, make sure these are as clutter-free as possible too.

More Home Staging Tips & Techniques

Do you have any great home staging tips or ideas? Leave a comment to let us know!

Pre-Approvals 101: Everything You Need to Know about Mortgage Pre-Approvals

Pre-Approvals 101

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Wondering if you qualify for a mortgage? Curious to know how much you’d be approved for? In this guest post, Kelly Sullivan, a mortgage specialist for the Bank of Montreal, answers all our Pre-Approval questions.

Pre-Approvals – The Mystery Unravelled

I hear from clients that they wanted to call me months ago but weren’t sure about getting a Pre-Approval. Seems the common deterrent is fear of the unknown. No one wants to be told “no” or be unprepared. I thought I would address what a Pre-Approval is and how to get one.

What Does a Pre-Approval Do for Me?

Pre-Approvals take very little time and are a great way to determine what you can buy, how much you can afford to spend, when you can buy it, and it also reserves a rate for you for 90 days. The rate reserving is very important because if interest rates go up, yours would not but if they went down, you get the lower of the two on the closing date.

What do I need to get a Pre-Approval?

Qualifying for a mortgage requires providing some personal information such as the following:

  • Full legal name
  • Date of birth
  • Social Insurance Number
  • Current address and how long you’ve lived there (if less than 3 years, the previous address needs to be included as well)
  • Home phone number
  • Current employer and length of time at current job (if less than 3 years, previous employer needs to be included too)
  • Current job title, work phone number, and rate of pay (by the hour and how many hours or yearly salary)

Documentation to bring: If you are salaried or paid by the hour you need to bring a recent pay stub. If you are self-employed, commissioned, a seasonal worker, someone who works a lot of overtime, or someone that works two jobs part-time then you need to bring in 2 years of personal income tax returns and your most recent Notice of Assessment. Your Notice of Assessment is what the Government of Canada mails you (1 page) that shows your summary and confirms that you do not owe federal income tax.

List of current assets:

  • Cars – type, year and value
  • Any existing real estate – property address, existing mortgage balance, existing mortgage payment and address where the mortgage is.
  • RRSPs – where they are and what the  amount is
  • Pension plan – with whom and how  much
  • Investments (tax-free savings accounts, mutual funds, GICs, bonds) – where they are and what the amount is
  • Bank accounts – where they are and their balance
  • Any other assets (land, trailers, motorcycles, etc.)

What does the bank do with this information?

From this your credit is checked as your credit score is very important when qualifying for a mortgage. This information also allows us to calculate how much home you can afford. We use two calculations: one is called Gross Debt Servicing (GDS) and the other is called Total Debt Servicing (TDS).

GDS = your new monthly mortgage payment, property tax payment and heat (we use $150 as a default) divided by you gross monthly income. This should be under 32%.

TDS = gross monthly income divided by the total of all your monthly obligations: potential mortgage payment, property tax, car loan or lease payment, any bank loan payment, 5% of outstanding balances on credit cards is used for the payment per month on the card (so sometimes paying down a card can make a big difference in the size of home you can qualify for), 1.5% of credit line, and heat. This should be under 42%.

Pre-Approvals can take as little as 15 minutes and offer peace of mind as they tell you how much you have to work with and they guarantee your rate. There is no harm in getting one. If you can’t buy at this time then the information gathered for the Pre-Approval will allow me, or your banker, to give you a personal plan on how to get into a position to buy a home as fast as possible!

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There are only advantages to getting a Pre-Approval. To get a Pre-Approval, please contact me anytime at:

Kelly Sullivan
Bank of Montreal Mortgage Development Manager
506-853-5706
kelly.sullivan@bmo.com

Tips on Renting Your Home

Tips on renting your home

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Renting out your property can be a great source of income, but you should make sure you’re prepared to take on such a responsibility. Here are some basic tips on renting your home, as well as some excellent resources to help get you started, including all the forms you’re going to need.

Get references. This might seem like a no-brainer, but you should take it a step further than just calling the current landlord of the potential tenant. Ask the potential tenant for the contact information for  a few past landlords. The current landlord may be itching to get their tenant out so their “recommendation” could be dishonest. If you check with previous landlords, you could get a more honest opinion.

Make sure you’re ready. Renting your home isn’t as simple as collecting a cheque at the end of the month. You, as the landlord, will have several responsibilities including safety and repair maintenance and upkeep of the home. To learn more, click here.

Increase the rent for pet owners. Even if the potential tenant promises their cat or dog is well behaved, you shouldn’t take their word for it, or you could be the one who pays for it later. Even well trained pets can track mud in the house, stain carpets, have accidents, scratch the floors with their claws … you get the picture. If you’re not completely opposed to the idea of allowing pets, you should consider increasing the monthly rent by $25 or so, to help compensate for any clean-up or repairs you may need to make when the tenant moves out.

Renting to pet owners

Do a walk-through. Make sure you do a walk-through with the new tenant before they move in, and document the condition of the home (link to printable form below).  You can also consider taking photos of the place to further protect yourself.

Make sure you have the proper insurance. It’s extremely important that you check with your insurance provider before you rent your home to make sure you have proper coverage. Don’t assume your current policy will cover your home once you are renting it out. Should your tenant accidently burn it to the ground, it could be a very costly mistake.

Rental forms

Don’t forget the paperwork. There are several forms that should be filled in to help protect yourself and the tenant. Some of which include (clicking on the name will open the PDF copy of the form in a new window so you can print it):

Accommodation Inspection Report

Residential Lease

Security Deposit Remittance Form – If you’re collecting a security deposit from your tenant, you must complete this form and hand it in, along with the security deposit, to the Office of the Rentalsman within 15 days of receiving it from your tenant. The amount of the security deposit cannot exceed the equivalent to one month’s rent. As the landlord, you have 7 days after the tenant moves out to make a claim to the Office of the Rentalsman to redeem any of the deposit, whether it’s for rent owing, damage, etc. The deposit will be given back to the tenant if you fail to make a claim. For more information on security deposits, read this form.

Notice of Termination to Tenant

Make regular inspections. For long term rentals, make sure you do annual inspections to ensure the tenant isn’t causing any damage. You could find yourself with a nasty surprise when the tenant moves out if you don’t make an inspection on a regular basis. You must give your tenant notice before entering the premises though, and the length of notice depends on why you’re entering the premises. Click here to learn more.

Keep it professional. If you get too buddy-buddy with your tenants, it’s going to be difficult to deal with them if they break part of the rental agreement (for example, smoking in the house or getting a cat).

Consider hiring a property manager. If you want to rent your home but don’t feel you’re up to all the responsibilities attached to being a landlord, you could consider hiring a property manager. Hiring a property manager is also a good idea if the home you’re renting is in a different town, province, or country than where you live.

Additional Resources

Two resources that should answer any questions you have and that offer additional tips on renting your home are:

CMHC (Canadian Home and Mortgage Corporation)

Office of the Rentalsman

A big thank you goes out to Moe Martell of GreenLight Property Management, Inc. for allowing me to pick his brain in order to provide up-to-date information and accuracy when writing this post.

What tips do you have?

Do you have any great tips on renting your home? Are you a home owner with some tenant horror stories? Leave a comment so others can learn from your mistakes!

Top 26 Home Organization Tips to Get Rid of Clutter

home organization tips

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You’ve got junk drawers coming out the wazoo, your closets need rebar to keep ‘em closed, your family room looks like a bomb has exploded, and you need to let your loved ones know where you’ll be whenever you need to go into your kids’ bedroom so they can call in a search party if you aren’t out in 30 minutes.

Does this sound familiar? If so, check out these tips to organize your home so you can spend more time doing what you want to do, and not hours trying to find those bloody rechargeable batteries that you just know were in the kitchen drawer.

Top 26 Tips to Organize Your Home

1. Use checklists. Make a list of what needs to be organized and check them off as you go.

2. Ask yourself are you really going to use it? If something’s been sitting in a drawer since you moved in 15 years ago, you’re probably better off throwing it out or donating it.

3. When organizing cluttered spaces, get three garbage bags or boxes and label them “Keep”, “Throw Out” and “Donate.”

4. To stay organized, keep a donation box in your garage so things can be tossed in there as they are no longer wanted or needed. Once the box has enough in it, take it to your local thrift shop or have a garage sale.

5. Organize all those papers by getting a filing cabinet or, at the very least, some sort of system that will help you organize. For example, use an accordion folder for bills/invoices, instruction manuals, receipts, and other need-to-keep papers.

6. For kids’ artwork, put up a corkboard to display their masterpieces, or run a piece of string/wool along the wall, using clothes pins to hang their work. Rotate the artwork once a month. When you rotate the artwork, the ones you take down should immediately go into a photo album or scrapbook of some kind, and throw away the rest. If you have a hard time throwing out your child’s painting and drawing, use your digital camera to take a picture of it so you have a digital copy to have as a keepsake instead.

7. Baskets are your friend. Use wicker baskets to organize papers, toiletries, or anything else that doesn’t have a proper home around your house. Baskets are a great way to utilize shelf space too.

8. Label the front of containers or stacked boxes so it’s easier to find what you’re looking for.

9. One year in? One year out! Go through your closets, linen cupboard, and even the toy box. If you’ve had it for 6-12 months without ever using it, you probably don’t need it! Donate it to someone who could.

10. Put your take-out menus into a folder and keep them with your cookbooks or where you keep your phonebooks.

11. Use a shallow plastic container to store all those gravy and seasoning packets (or cut the bottom of a shoebox out and use that).

12. Keep a list of needed groceries on the refrigerator – let everyone in the house know that if they use the last of something to write it down.

13. You can take it a step further and create a template which categorizes various shopping needs. For example, divide the piece of paper into large squares, each having a title such as “Cleaning Supplies & Toiletries”, “Dairy”, “Meat”, “Fruit & Veggies”, etc. Then when you go grocery shopping, you aren’t running up and down the aisles like a chicken with its head cut off.

14. Reuse empty baby food jars to organize various small items, like screws, nails, thumbtacks, paperclips, etc. If you don’t have access to empty baby food jars, you can purchase small plastic containers for cheap.

15. Use a mesh bag to store the kids’ bath toys. Hang it on the faucet so they can drip-dry.

16. Get rid of old newspapers and magazines. Start a scrapbook or use a binder to store cut out news items or stories you’re interested in.

17. Zip-lock bags are great to help organize everything you stuff into junk drawers. Use a bag for rechargeable batteries, one for Band-Aids, one for hair elastics, one for … you get the idea.

18. Another way to help organize your junk drawer is to put a plastic cutlery tray in it or several shallow plastic containers (without their lids).

19. To help eliminate some of the paper clutter, get a white board or chalkboard and hang it by the phone. Make this the place to leave phone numbers, messages, or notes to each other.

20. Another way to reduce the paper laying around the house is to get your bills sent to you electronically. Having your bills sent to you via email is a great way to reduce paper clutter (and better for the environment too!).

21. Only keep out the shoes/boots suitable for the season you’re in. If it’s winter, stash the flip-flops and sandals in a bag in the garage or shed. When summer comes, switch the snow boots and wellies with the previously store summer footwear.

22. Do the same for winter/summer clothes and outerwear.

23. Organize one room at a time, so you don’t get overwhelmed and ditch the idea entirely.

24. Go through all the cupboards/cabinets in your bathroom and get rid of all the lotions and potions you haven’t used in over 6 months.

25. Check the expiration dates on all the meds in your medicine cabinet and dispose of the ones that are out-dated (make sure you dispose of them properly. A lot of pharmacies will get rid of old pills for you – you shouldn’t flush them or toss them yourself.).

26. When shopping, don’t buy larger quantities than you are realistically going to use. Sure, it might seem like a better deal to buy the 500 count of Tylenol over the bottle of 100, but not if you’re only going to use 50 of them before they expire! Same goes for buying in large bulk – if you aren’t really going to use that ginormous tub of mayo or that massive Costco-sized jar of pickles, do yourself a favour and purchase the smaller option! Not only are you wasting your money, these items take up a lot of precious space in the pantry!

tips to organize your home

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Share your home organization tips!

We’ve shared our tips to organize your home, now it’s your turn! Leave a comment to let us know your top home organization tips!

The Benefits of Container Homes

Cargo Container Homes

Container homes, also called shipping container homes or cargo container homes, are a very awesome idea and have many benefits, including:

  • Affordability – Shipping container homes are way cheaper than your standard house, making home ownership a possibility to more people.
  • Durability – Cargo containers have been built to withstand the elements of sea travel, such as strong winds, harsh rain, etc. This means that container homes are not going to leak, they’ll stand up to extreme weather conditions and, some even claim, are earthquake proof and hurricane proof.  
  • Sustainability – You won’t be using up new resources when you purchase a container home, you’ll be purchasing a home made from recycled material.
  • Room to Grow – You can stack shipping container homes on top of each other to create a larger living space.
  • Speedy – Container homes can be put together very quickly, making them a great shelter solution in emergency situations (for example, when towns have been wiped out by floods, earthquakes, or hurricanes).
  • Easy Relocation – If you decide to pack up and move across country, you can bring your home with you. After all, a shipping container home was originally designed to … well … ship!

Container Home Construction

An article published on the CBC website says, “…the containers have become abundantly available during the last decade due to a deficit in manufactured goods being transported overseas from North America.

Goods are shipped to North America from Asia and Europe but with nothing to send back, shipping companies face a considerable expense hauling the empty units.

It is often cheaper to buy new containers in Asia than to ship old ones back. As a result, the containers get left in North America, seeking new uses such as garages, artist’s studios, and cargo homes.”

Shipping Container Homes

Because of these benefits, more and more people are purchasing container homes worldwide, from the Netherlands, to New Zealand, to the USA and, of course, here in Canada. Here’s a look at a few Canadian companies that create these awesome container homes or provide shipping container home plans (designs):

ZiglooYou can check out various concepts, projects, or purchase shipping container home plans from Zigloo.ca – a company located in Victoria, British Columbia.

Ecopods – Located in Toronto, Ontario, Ecopods creates custom designed shipping container homes.

A-Just Housing Corp. – This Canadian company designs and develops shipping container homes and is based in Edmonton, Alberta.

Zigloo Container Homes

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Would you live in one of these container homes? Leave a comment to share your thoughts.

Top 24 Things to Do to Get Your Home Ready for Winter

Get your home ready for winter

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The year’s coldest season is just around the corner, here’s a list of what needs to be done to get your home ready for winter.

Autumn is officially here, which means winter is quickly approaching. It’s up to you whether you want to be the lazy grasshopper or the prepared ant (for you sadly deprived souls who don’t know what I’m talking about, here’s the story). Sure, chances are you don’t need to gather food to survive the season of starvation and hibernation, but there are some things that should be done to get your home ready for winter.

Getting ready for winter

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Outside

1. Plant your bulbs. And not just your flowers, garlic needs to go in the ground in the Fall as well.

2. Check the roof’s shingles for holes, rips, rot, or possible leaks.

3. Mow the grass one last time and then winterize and put the lawn mower in storage.

4. Check your gutters/downspouts and clean them out if necessary.

5. Drain and pack up the garden hose.

6. Turn off outdoor taps (faucets) to prevent them from freezing and bursting.

7. Put away lawn ornaments.

8. Put deck furniture and other summer items in storage.

9. Have the chimney cleaned.

10. Ensure your outdoor steps are slip-resistant and if need be, apply a coat of slip-resistant paint or other material.

11. Trim or cut down any large tree branches.

12. Get your septic tank pumped while the ground is still workable and not frozen (nothing’s worse than having to chisel it out mid-February because the crapper won’t flush!).

13. If you’re one of those people who leave their Christmas lights attached to the house year-round, now’s the time to check and replace any burned out or faded bulbs.

14. Dig the snow shovels out from storage and keep somewhere handy (you never know when you’ll wake up late for work and there’s 5 feet of snow on the ground!). While you’re at it, might as well get all the snow toys out and ready too (and don’t forget to read about the 5 ways to kill yourself on a snowmobile!).

15. If you own a snow blower, check that it’s working and doesn’t need any maintenance.

Inside

16. Check windows and doors for drafts and apply weather-stripping or caulking as needed to help reduce heat escaping and cold air entering your home, saving you money on your electricity bill.

17. Replace your old thermostat with a new programmable one.

18. Dust, vacuum, or wipe down your baseboard heaters.

19. Ensure your home is well insulated (check the attic and basement).

20. Replace single-pane windows with double-pane insulated ones or, at the very least, buy some plastic that puts another layer over the window.

21. Insulate hot water heater with an insulating blanket.

22. Check the furnace is working, isn’t due for maintenance, and clean or replace the filter if needed.

23. Check or replace the batteries in your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors.

24. Vacuum your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors to remove dust and test them to ensure they’re working.

Get your home ready for winter checklist

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What do you do to get your home ready for winter? Share your tips and ideas by leaving a comment below!

Six Most Expensive Pieces of (Residential) Land in Moncton

Home for Sale

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Thinking about purchasing a house in Moncton, New Brunswick and plan to spend a couple mil? If you’ve got the money, but haven’t considered the prospect of calling Moncton home, check out Why the City of Moncton, NB Rocks! And, if you’re planning on moving here, after purchasing one of these houses, it might not be a bad idea to have a look at 10 New Brunswick Companies that Create Jobs – you’ll need to pay that mortgage somehow!

So, without further ado, here’s a look at six of the most expensive pieces of residential land in Moncton currently on the market (listed from the least expensive to the most costly; clicking on the price will bring you to its MLS page):

1. For Sale: $1,200,000.00

This piece of property is 32 years old and is located at 124 Queensway Drive. The house is 5700 square feet and has 5 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms and an impressive 12 acres of land.

124 Queensway Drive

2. For Sale: $1,299, 000

This gorgeous home is only 6 years old and is located at 10 Mayfair, Riverview. This place boasts a whopping 9000 square feet (seriously!), has 18 foot ceilings, and is positioned on nearly 2 acres of land. Although this home is only second on our list of the most expensive pieces of residential land in Moncton, I certainly wouldn’t complain if I was handed the keys to this place!

10 Mairfair

3. For Sale: $1,495,000

It just keeps getting better and better. This dream home is also only 6 years old and is located at 57 Rossmount Terrace. With nearly 10,000 square feet of living space – including a 2,000 square foot pool house! – this home has just as many bathrooms as it does bedrooms (6) and also includes a theatre and gym.

57 Rossmount Terrace

4. For Sale: $1,499,000

Just 4 years old, this 6400 square foot home has just a whisker under 1.5 acres of land. Located at 590 Shediac Road, you’ll find all the features you’re looking for, everything from his & hers walk-in closets in the master suite, to a to-die-for kitchen that has two islands, granite countertops, and a walk-in pantry.

590 Shediac Road

5. For Sale: $1,990,000

This 6080 square foot bungalow is 7 years old and is located at 369 Rogers Road in Berry Mills. This home has so much to offer, you definitely need to check out its MLS page for full details. To sum it up ever so slightly, it has an incredible 157 acres of land, indoor pool, 6 bay garage, surveillance cameras, driveway optics … the list just goes on and on.

369 Rogers Road

6. For Sale: $2,400,000

And finally, the most expensive residential property currently for sale in Moncton is located just a few minutes from downtown at 421 and 419 Charles Lutes Road. The reason for the double address is because in addition to the 6027 square foot home, there is also a 5000 square foot office building. This home is on 42 acres of land that includes a 2 acre man-made lake. Check out the MLS page for all the details.

421 and 419 Charles Lutes Road

Which is your favourite?

Which of these properties do you like the most, and why? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below!

9 of The Top US Home Builder Websites Reviewed

Martell Home Builders

Here are nine of the best US home builder websites you can’t help but drool over.

Bowen Family Homes

Bowen Family Homes started in 1969 by Rudy Bowen. Some years later, Rudy brought his son, David Bowen, and two son-in-laws, Tip Cape and Mike Phelps, on board.

The website has a section called Home Buying 101 that offers a plethora of helpful information for future home owners. You can read about the construction, warranty, and purchasing processes, and learn about the steps involved in financing your new home. The Bowen Family Homes website also offers you a Mortgage Customization section, which provides you with everything from a mortgage glossary and calculator to a home buyers quiz that tests your knowledge of the home buying procedures.

Bowen Family Homes Website

CBH Homes

Idaho’s largest home builder, CBH Homes was founded by Corey Barton in 1992. The website is broken up into five very helpful sections, each with additional subsections: Build Your Home, Shop Our Homes, Our Communities, Specials and Events, and Club Homeowners. On top of that, CBH Homes have helped a family out on ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. To learn more about this and to see photos, at the bottom of the CBH Homes home page, under Specials & Events click on Extreme Home Makeover.

CBH Homes

Lennar

Lennar was originally called F&R Builders, co-founded in 1954 by Gene Fisher and Arnold Rosen. Two years later, Leonard Miller came on the scene by investing $10K and replacing Gene Fisher. Fast forward a few years to 1971, the company changed its name to Lennar, which – if you haven’t figured it out – is a mixture of the two names, Leonard and Arnold.

The Lennar website has wonderful information, no matter what you’re looking for; be it tips on how to sell your home or advice on whether to buy a new or foreclosed home. You can also create your own portfolio on the website, making it easier for you to search for what you’re looking for and save all your favourite listings.

Lennar

McMillin Homes

McMillin Homes was founded in 1960 by Corky McMillin, and is now run by his sons, Scott McMillin (Chairman of the Board) and Mark McMillin (President and CEO).

The McMillin Homes website is super easy to navigate. First, select either Build a Home or Move-In Ready and then choose your desired location. From there, you’re provided with all of your home options and details, from price to square footage. It couldn’t be more easy – but helpful – than that!

McMillin Homes

Pardee Homes

The president and CEO of Pardee Homes is Michael V. McGee, who has been with the company since 1988. Jon Lash is the Executive Vice President and COO for Pardee Homes and has been with the company since 1987.

Like the other home builder websites, this one offers you details on everything you could possibly want to know, from getting started to financing your home. Additionally, Paradee Homes claim to have (from their website) “been a leader in green building since 1998 – long before it became fashionable.

Pardee Homes

Ryland Homes

Larry T. Nicholson is the president and CEO of Ryland Homes. According to the website, “Ryland’s story begins in 1967, when founder James P. Ryan left his family’s company, Ryan Homes, to build homes in the nation’s first master-planned community of Columbia, Md. He and his partner, Bob Gaw, created The James P. Ryan Company and built 48 homes that first year. Nearly three years and 700 homes later, Ryland got its official name when Jim Ryan spotted a banner that read “Maryland,” with the “M” and “A” covered. The combination of Ryan and Maryland seemed like a perfect choice for the name of his company.”

The website offers a downloadable Homeowner Guide as well as an Online Loan Worksheet which enables you to apply for a loan online. Also, the Ryland Homes website offers you design tips, ideas, and inspiration. The website has a fun quiz that helps define your style. Based on your answers, your style is determined and suggestions on various décor colours and materials are provided.

Ryland Homes Website

Shea Homes

Starting off as a small plumbing business in 1881 by John F. Shea, Shea Homes has grown into one of the “largest privately held builder in the nation” according to the company.

The website has a Customer’s Toolbox, which provides a ton of helpful information, including mortgage calculators to help you determine what your monthly payments would be. Also in the Customer’s Toolbox is a dictionary of terms you’ll need to know when going through the process of purchasing a home. Additionally, you’re provided with a Home Buying Checklist that will help you decide what’s important to you in terms of features of a home (for example, a 3-car garage, a kitchen island, or the location being near a school).

Shea Homes Website

Standard Pacific Homes

Standard Pacific Homes was founded in 1965 by Arthur Svendsen and Ronald Foell. The CEO and president of the company is Kenneth L. Campbell III.

The website is very intuitive and offers all the information you would ever need or expect to find in a home builder website … and then some. Whatever it is you’re looking for, be it a new career or a new home, it’s all easily found on the Standard Pacific Homes website.

Standard Pacific Homes Website

Taylor Morrison

Visiting the Company Overview of the Taylor Morrison website illustrates the company’s success. From the website: “Combining the rich histories of Taylor Woodrow and Morrison Homes, Taylor Morrison boasts numerous awards from J.D. Power and Associates, consistent top 5 finishes in customer satisfaction surveys and a Builder Magazine Hall of Fame induction, reflecting the company’s commitment to excellence.” It then goes on to say: “Taylor Morrison also operates one of Canada’s oldest and largest real estate companies, Monarch, building single-family homes, town homes and high-rise condominiums. Taylor Morrison’s parent company, Taylor Wimpey, is the United Kingdom’s largest home builder with 125 years of experience and operations in the United Kingdom, Spain and Gibraltar.

It is very simple to find your way around the website and if, for some reason, you don’t find what you’re looking for or you have a question, requesting information or contacting them is easy to do. Like the other fantastic home builder websites listed here, this one provides you with tips, quizzes, glossaries, and helpful forms to make your home buying process as smooth as possible.

Taylor Morrison Website

Take a look at these home builder websites and let us know what your favourite features are!

Top Celebrity Home & Garden Photos

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Why do we want to see celebrity home photos? Is it because we want a glimpse at what it’s like to be rich and famous, living the life of luxury? Perhaps our desire to see inside celebrity homes is to get ideas for our own home decorating attempts. Or, maybe, some of us are seeking out an aerial view of celebrity homes or our favourite celebrity garden in order to get up close and personal in hopes of catching a peek at the famous when they aren’t expecting it. Whatever your reason for wanting to see celebrity home photos, be it innocent curiosity or perverse obsession, here are some of the best.

Check out the inside of this celebrity home, owned by Penelope Cruz. Actually, according to The Real Estalker, the sexy actress has her Los Angeles home on the market for $3,695,000. To learn more, the Source link provided below the photo will direct you to The Real Estalker blog post.

Penelope Cruz - Inside Celebrity Homes

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It’s Harry Potter! According to CelebrityHouses.org, Daniel Radcliffe recently purchased a townhouse in New York, NY for $5,650,000. Here are some photos of this celebrity home.

Daniel Radcliffe Celebrity Home

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Check out this beautiful celebrity garden. Sharon Stone is apparently selling her Beverly Hills pad for $9,000,000. Anyone want to lend me $8,999,999?

Sharon Stone Celebrity Garden and Home

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Next up on our list of celebrity home photos is one owned by Grey’s Anatomy’s McDreamy … erm … Patrick Dempsey.

Patrick Dempsey House

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If you’ve got $16.5 million laying around that you’re not sure what to do with it, you could purchase Dr. Phil’s 8 bedroom, 7 bathroom Beverly Hills, California home. Judging from the photo below, this celebrity garden ain’t too shabby either.

Dr Phil Celebrity Garden and Home

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Here’s a look inside Meg Ryan’s Bel Air home. It looks absolutely stunning.

Meg Ryan Celebrity Home Photos

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The photo below is an aerial view of America’s Got Talent’s host, Nick Cannon’s home (and his gorgeous wife, Mariah Carey). Located in Bel Air, California.

Nick Cannon & Mariah Carey House: Aerial View of Celebrity Homes

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Last on our list of celebrity home photos is Barry Manilow’s breathtaking ocean front property in Malibu, California.

Barry Manilow Celebrity Home

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Which Celebrity’s Home Would You Want to See?

If you could see inside any celebrity home, who would it be and why? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

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