Happy Homeowners: The Szymkowiak Family

This month’s “Happy Homeowner Interview” brings us to Lindsey Szymkowiak, who recently bought her new home in Cincinnati with her husband Jakub.  Lindsey shared with us her experience of choosing and living in her M/I home.

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M/I Homes: Is this your first M/I home and what convinced you to choose M/I over another builder?

Lindsey: Actually this is our second M/I home. We needed more space since our family was growing. We loved our current community and our home so we decided to build again with M/I.

M/I Homes: Are you happy about how your home turned out?

Lindsey: We absolutely love our home, and can’t wait to celebrate our children’s birthday party this year at our home with friends and family.

M/I Homes: What is your floorplan called and what features of your home do you especially love?

Lindsey: We chose to build the Sorrel Classic. We loved the open first floor and also having the loft upstairs for the kids to have as a play area or relax and watch some TV.

M/I Homes: Overall, how was your experience with M/I Homes? Did you pick your lot and floorplan to build the home, or was the home already started for you?

Lindsey: We were able to pick our floorplan and lot. This made it nice because we were able to choose everything we wanted. Overall, it was a great experience.

M/I Homes: Do you have any fun memories from building your home?

Lindsey: We were lucky because we lived in the same neighbor as my in-laws during our build, so we got to watch every single step. I would say our fun memories were watching the daily changes take place and knowing that it was one step closer to being our new home.

M/I Homes: What do you like about your neighborhood / community?

Lindsey: Our neighborhood is amazing!  There are beautiful walkways, parks for the kids to play, amazing neighbors, and it’s convenient to the highway and other places within the area. We also have a neighborhood group that puts together many different activities throughout the year which are great for the families and the kids.

M/I Homes: Anything you would recommend to someone looking for a new home?

Lindsey: You will know if it’s right for you. If you have questions, ask, don’t wait until it’s too late. Most importantly, the sales team is awesome and they want to get you into your dream home; let them work with you on your budget. Talk to residents, ask them their thoughts about the neighborhood and their home.

M/I Homes: What is your favorite memory in your new home thus far?

Lindsey: We wanted our first night to be memorable so we all slept together in the bed. Also having our first of many holidays.

M/I Homes:  Any additional comments?

Lindsey: Our New Home Consultant, Michael Slone, is amazing and great to work with. The design center ladies were excellent too. It’s a good thing they have snacks and cartoons!  It made things so much easier with having to bring the kids!

**Lindsey and Jakub Szymkowiak live in the Cincinnati area. She is a stay at home mom that loves being able to stay with her beautiful children, and her husband Jakub is a Sales Rep with Smith and Nephew. They recently purchased their new home in September of 2015. They have two children, Sophia (3 years old) and Jakub (1 year old), and a loving chocolate lab named Jack (12 years old). They love being a part of of the M/I family and the community. They also love having the neighborhood parks and sidewalks to go out as a family each night for a walk.

Smart Homes – Garage and Outdoors

A Smart Home is a home that is equipped with modern technology to make it more functional, efficient, and convenient than ever before.

Smart Home products are accessible, provide you with knowledge of your home, and make your life easier by saving you time. One of the best things about a Smart Home is that you can retroactively upgrade your home without spending thousands of dollars, and installation is quick and easy!

We were so curious about how to make a Smart Home that we did some research and found tons of cool products on the world wide web! Throughout the next few months, we’ll be posting different products that we think could help make your home a Smart Home! For now, we give you our first Smart Homes blog post: Appliances that will help make your garage and outdoor space more functional and convenient than ever before!

Garageio:

Garageio is the next step in bringing your garage to the modern day, without needing to buy a new garage door opener.

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The Garageio Blackbox is a WiFi-enabled device that installs directly into your home garage. It allows you to open and close your garage door with your smartphone from anywhere in the world via the Garageio app, which is available on both Apple and Android devices.  If you have a babysitter, contractors, or in-laws that frequently visit your home, Garageio gives you the control to give (or take away) visitor’s access as needed, giving you peace of mind.

Our favorite feature of the Garageio is its ability to integrate with other apps on your smartphone using IFTTT (If This Then That). You can connect Garageio to your weather channel app so that your garage door automatically closes when it starts to rain, or you can integrate it with your smartphone’s location services to automatically open and close the garage door when you arrive home. As a safety feature, you can also set it to notify you if your garage door has accidentally been left open!  There are also plans for future integrations with other services such as SmartThings, so this Smart Home product will continue to offer you more convenience!

There’s no need to worry about someone hacking in to your Garageio account!  Garageio uses bank-level security that includes industry-standard encryption and short-lived authentication tokens.  And any action your Garageio makes has to go through the app, so local communication across your home WiFi network won’t budge your garage door.

With such a useful array of features, you may think that Garageio would break the bank, but it is surprisingly affordable! The price is based off of the number of doors it would control. The prices are as follows:

1-door garage: $199

 

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What comes with the 1-door garage package.

2-door garage: $209

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2-door garage package.

3-door garage: $219

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3-door garage package.

Installation:

Installation should take about 15 minutes per door and can be done with just a screwdriver, a stepladder, masking tape, and the Garageio app. Just activate your Blackbox over WiFi using the 16-character code on the website, install the Blackbox on your garage door opener, place the activator on your garage door, and you’re good to finish setting up your door with the Garageio app!

Click here to see the more detailed installation instructions on their website!

 

Schlage Smart Lock:

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The Schlage Smart Lock is a new touchscreen deadbolt lock with an alarm. By inputting your password on the touchpad, you unlock the deadbolt. The touchpad has a matte finish so that it’s resistant to fingerprints and smudges, and the lock is capable of holding up to 30 user codes! You can also set it to give off an audible alert whenever the door is moved. You can choose the type of alert you receive: activity, tamper, or forced.

Another great feature of this lock is its wireless capabilities. Depending on your service provider, you can connect it with your home security system via computer, tablet, or smartphone.

This Smart Home appliance offers you plenty of security and knowledge of who goes in and out of your home, and costs $265.

Installation:

Installation is nearly the same as any other door handle, but while you’re installing the deadbolt, you run a cable inside the door from the deadbolt to the alarm assembly. That’s it! No confusing wiring, just a screwdriver.

Click here to see more information on their website for installation.

 

iRobot LOOJ:

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The iRobot LOOJ  is a remote controlled robot will save you from the dangerous and time consuming task of cleaning your gutters. It operates by breaking clogs, lifting and throwing those clogs away, and then sweeping and scraping the remaining debris. It also comes with an extra set of smaller ejectors that work on different types of debris.

The remote control puts more power in your hands than you would initially think! When you have other work to do, you can set the robot to the automatic clean mode! Or if you want, you can use the remote control to make the robot move forwards and backwards, and you can chose the spin direction to ensure that debris is thrown away from your roof!

Home automation products such as this are worth the price they carry, and the LOOJ will cost you around $300.

Installation:

The iRobot LOOJ is a perfect example of a smart home device with no installation.  Since this is a portable robot that you can carry around, you don’t need to worry about installation at all! It stands just under 2 inches high and is 3 inches wide, making it able to fit in most gutters. However, you can download the measurement document from their website to make sure it will fit.

Click here to see their measurements document to make sure that the robot will fit in your gutters.

 

High Tech Pet Power Electronic Pet Door:

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The Power Pet Door is a vertically-sliding pet door that’s activated by an ultrasonic collar. Since it operates via ultrasonic waves, the door is able to sense the direction of the collar. This means that the door won’t open when your pet wanders by or sleeps next to the door. The door also has 4 different controls: in only, out only, full access, and closed & locked.

You don’t have to worry about feeling a draft through this pet door! It’s wind and weatherproof with an airtight seal, giving it much better insulation than a regular pet door.

The door uses an AC adaptor, but there is an optional battery that you can buy if you want to have battery power as a back up or operate the door solely off of batteries.

The door comes in two different sizes as well! The medium size allows for animals of up to 30 lbs., and the large size is for pets up to 100 lbs.

Pricing for this modern home product depends on the size of the door that you purchase.  The prices are as follows:

Medium: $299.99

Large: $349.99

Installation:

It’s as simple as installing a regular dog door. Cut the hole for the section where your pet can walk through, screw the pet door into place, and you’re done.

Click here to see their page for more specific information on how to install your pet door.

 

Skydrop Sprinkler:

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The Skydrop sprinkler controller is a WiFi-enabled controller for your sprinkler system that helps you reduce your water usage by watering your lawn more efficiently. The Skydrop doesn’t just water less when it rains or when the temperature drops; it uses your internet connection to track the weather in your hour every hour so that it knows when the soil is dry or already saturated. This means that the Skydrop tells your sprinkler system to run less often, but at the right times and in just the right way. This means that you’ll have greener, healthier grass while using less water!

Sometimes you’re away from home and may want to check in on or manually control your sprinkler system. Not only does Skydrop allow you to control your sprinklers with the Skydrop controller itself, but also with a web browser, smartphone, or table! This means you can manage your lawn from anywhere that you can access the internet!

This revolutionary smart home product may seem like it could cost you thousands of dollars, but the Skydrop controller is only about $280!

Installation:

It should be noted here that the Skydrop Sprinkler controller requires more wiring than the other products on this list, so make sure to take a reference photo of your current sprinkler controller before you take it down! It’s also important to note that since the Skydrop uses your wifi connection, you should install it in a location with a strong connection.

Screw the new Skydrop unit to the wall, test and connect each of the wires, and then attach the main controller to the unit! While this installation process may seem daunting, in the end its entirely worth it!

Click here to see their page for more specific information about installation.

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Want to see more ways that you can upgrade your home with Smart Home products? Read our newest article on security systems and cameras!

Happy Homeowners: The Redding Family

This month’s “Happy Homeowner Interview” brings us to Stephanie Redding, who bought her new home in Austin with her husband Brad in May of 2015.  Stephanie shared with us her experience of choosing and living in her M/I home.

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M/I Homes: Is this your first M/I Home and what convinced you to choose M/I over another builder?

Stephanie: Yes and not only is it our first M/I Home, but it is also our first home together! We picked M/I Homes over other builders because I work for M/I Homes. Even without working for M/I Homes though, we would have chosen them over other builders because of everything that came included in our home.

M/I Homes: What were some of your “must haves” when you were looking for a new home?

Stephanie: 

  • Garage big enough for his truck and my car
  • Open floorplan
  • Closet big enough for us both to share
  • Offices for both of us
  • Guest room
  • Good location

M/I Homes: What is your floorplan called and what features of your home do you especially love?

Stephanie: We built the Kaufman plan from the Heritage Series. We picked out this plan for several reasons

  • The overall layout of the home
  • The openness of the kitchen and the family room
  • The master closet was the size of a small bedroom
  • We are able to both have our own offices/space and still have a guest bedroom when our friends and family come down to visit
  • There were so many features and options included!

M/I Homes: Overall, how was your experience with M/I Homes?  Did you pick your lot and floor plan to build the home, or was the home already started for you?  Do you have any fun memories from building?

Stephanie: While our experience was probably unique in comparison to most buyers, with me being an employee, we still had a good experience!

We picked the lot and the floor plan we wanted to build. Since we had scoped out the new section prior to everything coming available for sale, we knew exactly what lot we wanted! Specifically, we wanted a lot where we wouldn’t have anyone behind us and a lot big enough to fit a larger size garage for both his truck and my car to fit in.

Once things got started it was fun to drive by on the weekends and check out everything that had gotten done the previous week. I remember going in right after it was dry walled and being so shocked by how real it was being able to see the rooms and walk thru our house!

M/I Homes: Was there something about your home that made you immediately know you wanted to move in?

Stephanie: We just really loved the floorplan and the lot that we picked out

M/I Homes: What do you like about your neighborhood / community?

Stephanie: While we didn’t know this before we moved in, what we like now is just how friendly everyone is. We have really enjoyed getting to take our puppy on walks around the community and meeting our new neighbors. The HOA is great and always planning community events. We also have a brand new pool that is almost right across the street! There is also a regional county park right down the street where we can go on walks too!

M/I Homes: Anything you would recommend to someone looking for a new home?

Stephanie: If possible, walk through other homes by the builder to have a good feel for the floor plans, how they are built, and how some of the design options look put together! We took pictures in spec homes of cabinets/floors/lighting that we liked and brought that with us to the design center.

Make sure you know what all is included in the baseprice of your home! If you can talk to other homeowners ask them what they put into their home that they love or what things they wished they added after the fact (or of course ask your sales rep what they see people adding and loving with their home!)

M/I Homes: What is your favorite memory so far, in your M/I Home?

Stephanie: Getting to show both our parents our first home and bringing our puppy home! I also loved decorating our home for Christmas as well!

M/I Homes: Would you purchase another M/I Home if you had the opportunity?

Stephanie: Of course!

**Stephanie Redding and her family live in the Austin area. She is the Marketing Manager for the M/I Homes Austin division and her husband Brad is a Claims Team Manager at State Farm. They have lived in their home since May 2015. In June 2015 they added their energetic and social goldendoodle puppy named Hank! When not at work Brad and Stephanie love to workout and run together or take Hank on long walks around Parkside at Mayfield Ranch!

Happy Homeowners: The Zeis Family

This month’s “Happy Homeowner Interview” brings us to Lauren Zeis, who bought her new home in Cincinnati with her husband, Mike, in March of 2012.  Lauren shared with us some of her favorite memories of choosing and living in her home.

 

M/I Homes:  Is this your first M/I Home and what convinced you to choose M/I over another builder?

Lauren: This is our first M/I Home. We bought a house that was already built. We liked the house, the neighborhood and the location.

M/I Homes: Overall, how was your experience with M/I Homes.  Did you pick your lot and floorplan to build the home, or was the home already started for you?

Lauren: Overall, the experience with M/I was great! We choose a home that was already built. As first time home buyers, it was a great initial experience.

M/I Homes: Was there something about your home that made you immediately know you wanted to move in?

Lauren: We loved the set up of the house, the neighborhood, and the location.

M/I Homes: What do you like about your neighborhood / community?

Lauren: I like the quiet neighborhood, sidewalks, and neighborhood parks.

M/I Homes: What is your favorite memory so far in your M/I Home?

Lauren: We have had so many great memories in our new home already!  We loved bringing home our first Christmas tree, enjoying summer cookouts with friends and family, and bringing home our baby girl!

M/I Homes: Would you purchase another M/I Home if you had the opportunity?

Lauren: Absolutely. We would love to build our next home and would choose M/I Homes if it was in the right location.

M/I Homes: What were some of your “must haves” when you were looking for a new home?

Lauren: We were looking for a good neighborhood and a home with a large yard for a dog.  We needed extra bedrooms, plenty of space for entertaining and a garage.

M/I Homes: Is there anything you would recommend to someone looking for a new home?

Lauren: Enjoy the experience of looking for a new home and take it all in!  Make sure to choose something that will work for you and your family on a day to day basis!

M/I Homes: What features of your home do you especially love?

Lauren: We love the bonus room upstairs and the upstairs laundry!  It’s really convenient for us with a one year old!

**Lauren Zeis and her family live in the Cincinnati area. She is a kindergarten teacher and her husband Mike is a print service specialist. They have lived in their home since March of 2012 and have a beautiful baby girl, Peyton, and a fun and energetic dog named Marino.  We love having them as a part of the M/I Homes Family!

 

On to the next chapter: Building our new home!

Reblog:  We recently ran across this great post from MeganFenno.com about her families experience with purchasing a new home in Cincinnati, Ohio.  We absolutely love what she has shared with her readers that we wanted to share it with our customers as well!

On to the next chapter: Building our new home!

It doesn’t feel like it was too long ago when I wrote the blog post announcing our move downtown. But after an adventurous year and a half, we’re happy to announce our next chapter: building a new home!

The Fenno's Purchasing their New Home

We’ve been working on researching schools, the idea of buying property downtown, checking out different areas of Cincinnati and even looking into homes in Northern Kentucky. Considering everything from the school districts, being close to family and friends, plus having a sense of community, we looked further into new development on the west side.

We settled on the new subdivision Greenshire Commons and went with MI Homes as our builder. We’re so excited!

Below is a glimpse at our new neighborhood and some renderings John created so we can get a better idea of what the inside of the home will look like. We haven’t completed our trip to the design center yet to finalize all the small details, but we have settled on the model and the elevation of the home and our lot.

What’s even better — it’s our 7 year wedding anniversary today. And the day we finalized our plans, signed the papers and put down the deposit. Our expected time frame to move is in April of 2016. Let’s just say, it’ll be hard to top this anniversary present in the coming years! Here’s a little sneak peek:

To read more and see the full article about the Fenno’s new home and their move from Downtown Cincinnati to the suburbs visit MeganFenno.com

**Megan Fenno is an avid blogger, lover of fashion and accessories and is passionate about bringing creativity and inspiration to her followers through blogging, radio and TV. With a degree in fashion & accessory design from Savannah College of Art & Design, she founded FENNOfashion.com in 2007; an online boutique of vintage inspired accessories handmade in Cincinnati. Here you’ll find some of her favorite things in life from fashion, savvy shopping tips, being a mom to living in her absolute favorite city, Cincinnati.

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