Happy Homeowners: The Mullis Family

This new “Happy Homeowners Interview” features The Mullis Family, who built their new home in Charlotte, NC.  Read below to hear about Mullis’ homebuilding journey with M/I Homes!

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

Adam and Katie Mullis: Yes, the biggest factor was location with this particular neighborhood. We love Cornelius. We loved being close to the greenway and knowing that nothing would be built behind our property. As a realtor myself, while showing clients this neighborhood, I got to see all of the different floorplans and I fell in love with the wide range of options.

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

A&K: Yes, we love our home and are very satisfied with our decision.

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

A&K: Witley C. We were anxious because we didn’t get a chance to see a model of our home before building. We only had the collateral to look at so we took a big leap of faith when choosing this floorplan and we’re so glad we did. This floorplan is perfect for entertainment.

Wiltley

M/I: Overall, how was your experience with M/I Homes?

A&K: Our overall experience was positive. Our closing date was later than expected but being in this business myself, I understood that it happens. Most importantly, when we did have any concerns we were able to express them with our New Home Consultant and our Construction Manager and they turned everything around. Having open communication was essential during the building process.

M/I: Do you have any fun memories from the buying / building process?

A&K: We loved the design center experience.  It can be overwhelming because though M/I Homes is not a custom builder, it feels like it is at times because there are so many options to choose from. You have to have an idea of what you want before walking in because there are so many options.

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

A&K: I was ready to move in after the design center appointment. It really gets you excited to see your home. You have all these ideas in your head and saved pins from Pinterest but you still wonder how everything is going to look when it’s put together.  Another moment that excited us was when the drywall came in. Even when your home is just in framing you start getting the visual.

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

A&K: Location-which includes the greenway. Towards the end of the building process, we found out Katie was pregnant. With a baby on the way, the schools were a major plus and aside from that the resale value is phenomenal. We also loved that the size of the community is smaller, and not having a pool was actually a positive for us.

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

A&K: Seriously, we recommend M/I Homes. Aside from that, remember patience is a virtue. Keep an open mind because it is a process. Go look at models, pictures, magazines and figure out what works for you. You can go into a model that looks amazing but you need to consider your lifestyle.

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

A&K: We stressed to our Construction Manager that we had to be in our new home before the holidays and with a week to spare, he did just that. We were able to host both Thanksgiving and Christmas. A huge moment was when we revealed to our family that Katie was pregnant.

M/I: What is your favorite space in your new home?  Do you have any pictures of that space you would like to share?

A&K: Our top two spaces are the kitchen and backyard porch. Our kitchen is absolutely beautiful with white cabinetry, quartz countertops, and gray ceramic tile backsplash. And the view from our backyard porch is the perfect place for relaxing or entertaining. Our future favorite space is the bar that we will be building. It is going to be amazing.

M/I: What was something that surprised you the most with building / moving into a new home?

A&K: The number of decisions you get to make was surprising. It felt like we were building a custom home.

M/I: Any suggestions you would give to someone building a new home with M/I Homes?

A&K: Trust that M/I Homes has good intentions. Be patient and honest. There were bumps in the road for us, but instead of showing up angry or yelling, we expressed concerns and always found a solution. It’s a team effort between you, the buyer and M/I. We feel that M/I truly wants to make the customer happy.

M/I: Any additional items / stories you would like to share about your new home?

A&K:

  • When you get hardwood floors, you’ll have to sweep a lot.
  • Keep in mind you’re the first to move into your home which is great, but you’re also the first to test everything and watch the home go through seasonal changes.
  • The speaker upgrade is worth it. Everyone that comes through from the neighborhood wishes they would have gotten it. We use it every day.
  • When you sign the closing contract, you’re not on your own.

 

*Adam and Katie Mullis are happy homeowners in our Charlotte, North Carolina market.  Katie is a Real Estate Agent and Adam is a Brand Manager in Charlotte.  They are excited to be expecting their first child in July!

If Your Kids Could Have Their Way, Where Would They Move

Young professionals without kids have the freedom to move based on personal preference, financial reasons, and job opportunities. Often, high-paying jobs and seemingly endless amenities for entertainment, dining, and sightseeing draw people to bustling, costly cities on the coast. Parents, however, operate under a different must-have list where high priority is given to finding family-friendly neighborhoods with ample outdoor space.

To define the best areas for kids, Zillow analyzed 100 of the nation’s largest cities, grading them on commute times, child population, and kid-friendly amenities like theme parks and playgrounds. Consider the following four cities that made the top 10 kid-friendly cities list.

Fort Worth

Out of the top 10 cities for kids, Fort Worth holds the highest percentage of youngsters at 16.1% of the total population. In addition, 13.8% of homes listed for sale in Fort Worth include kid-friendly terms such as “playroom” and “custom treehouse,” which helps relocating parents narrow their scope. Fort Worth holds four parks and 0.02 theme parks per 10,000 residents, while the median yard size is a comfortable 5,742 square feet. M/I Homes’ Creekwood community in Saginaw, located just north of the city, is representative of Fort Worth family living. Creekwood holds recreational fields, lake access, and green space. Various amenities, including a duck pond, fishing pond, biking trails, playgrounds, and swimming pools, are fundamental for families with children. Plus, close access to I-35W minimizes driving time to and from work for employed parents.

 San Antonio

At no. 4 on the best kid-friendly cities list, San Antonio kids make up 14.6% of the city’s population. House hunters with kids might have an easier time finding the perfect place given 14.3% of listings depict kid-friendly amenities. What San Antonio lacks in accessible public parks – two per 10,000 people – it makes up in yard size at a median 6,211 square feet. San Antonio also holds one of the higher theme park proportions of the top 10 cities at 0.04 per 10,000 residents. If you’re searching for family-friendly homes near San Antonio, consider the Waterford Park community. Waterford Park includes a community pool, playscape, open space and cabana for both adults and children to enjoy. This Alamo Ranch new construction community is located within the highly-rated Northside Independent School District, which feeds into several distinguished elementary, middle, and high school public facilities.

 Charlotte

Charlotte is the sixth best city for child rearing, based on its large kid population (14.3%) and numerous tot-approved listings (8%). With four parks and 0.03 theme parks per 10,000 people, Charlotte doesn’t lack profuse amusement. Still, Charlotte’s distinct attribute is the city’s sizable backyards at a median 10,549 square feet. Avery Park, a new home site in Cornelius, is a prime example of kid-friendly living near Charlotte. Avery Park offers easy access to Lake Norman, parks, playgrounds, a community garden, and dog park. Residents benefit from a convenient location, just 20 minutes north of Uptown Charlotte, facilitating faster commute times throughout the work week.

 Dallas

Dallas comes in no. 10 of the best cities for kids with 15.7% kids and 7.6% of homes listed with kid-friendly terms. Dallas offers three public parks and 0.02 theme parks per 10,000 residents. The median yard size of 7,133 square feet designed to satisfy any energetic toddler proves everything truly is bigger in Texas. Castle Point is a prime community for single-family house hunters. Located in Garland, northeast of downtown Dallas, Castle Point is a few miles away from George Bush Turnpike and minutes from major highways. In addition, Castle Point is within walking distance of Springfield Park and the Rowlett Creek Preserve, while the greater Garland area holds thousands of acres of green space and nature trails.

While kids are destined to enjoy green space and neighborhood amenities, parents are wise to weigh job opportunities, local schools and real estate prices alongside family must-haves. Luckily, many of these major cities fit everybody’s best interest – regardless of age.

**Jennifer Riner writes about rentals, home improvement and design for Zillow Blog.

Happy Homeowners: The Randolph Family

This new “Happy Homeowners Interview” features Gary and Cheryl Randolph, who recently built their new home in Charlotte.  Read below to hear about Randolphs’ homebuilding journey with M/I Homes!

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

Cheryl and Gary: Yes, this is our first M/I home. We had our realtor take us around to see existing homes, but there was nothing that met our price/feature preferences. We soon noticed that some builders stuck houses wherever they saw a spot of land and had no thought of an overall community design. One place actually had someone’s front door opening out to the side of their neighbor’s home.

Once we started looking at new builds, we saw many different neighborhoods. Driving along Poplar Tent Road, we saw three developments in a row and we checked out each one. It was sort a Goldilocks experience. The first place we looked at was nice, but you were given a very limited floor plan selection, and there was no ranch style. The second place we looked at was M/I Homes. We fell in love with the neighborhood and the quality of the homes, but we did not think we could afford a home in this area. So, we went to the third development. Styles were limited, but not as much as the first neighborhood we saw. Prices seemed doable and we were willing to settle for a house that was not exactly what we wanted – no ranch style available there either though.

A couple of months later, we visited Charlotte again (we’re from Buffalo, NY). We had eliminated most of the developments we had visited earlier and had pretty much settled on the development on Poplar Tent. We actually picked out a home and the options we wanted, and were almost finalizing the buy on the last day of our visit.

We had three hours before we needed to be at the airport to return to Buffalo. What the hey, let’s just stop and talk to Wendy (M/I Homes) one more time before we fly home. We gave Wendy our budget and told her that we loved the Cambridge model but we don’t need the second floor. Wendy worked with us to see which (of the many) options we really wanted. Two and a half hours later, we were $9,000 over our budget. The thing is, we loved what we had drawn up much more than we disliked the $9,000 overage. The difference between what we would settle for and what we loved was huge. At this point it was a no-brainer. Wendy became our best friend.randolph-family1-1

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

C/G: Oh yeah, very happy. To save money, we decided to go with the standard lighting fixtures, no garage door openers or ceiling fans, so we were pretty busy picking those things out online and installing them. We did save a lot of money, and the electricians’ prewire work did make the installs very straight-forward. Our home is everything we had hoped for.

M/I: What is the name of your floorplan, and what features of your home do you especially love?

C/G: Our floorplan is the Cambridge without the second floor. Our favorite room is the bedroom. That bay window extension is beautiful.

M/I: Overall, how was your experience with M/I Homes?  Did you get to pick out your homesite and the floorplan you wanted to build, or had the home already been started?

C/G: We have worked with at least three other builders on previous homes. This has been our best experience in home building. And yes, we picked out everything. Having lots of choices is both a blessing and a curse, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.

M/I: Do you have any fun memories from the buying / building process?

C/G: Well, working with Wendy was fun. But our day at the Design Center was the most challenging. We picked out exterior colors, brick, fireplace stone, cabinets, countertops, toilets, kitchen upgrades, and so much more. We loved that Kelly was an expert at her job. She knew the colors of each neighbor’s home and guided us in picking out colors that would look great alongside them. Kelly was very skilled at helping us think about various aspects of each feature as we made our choices. Helping us think is much more beneficial than stating an opinion. She knew that.

Soon after the design center visit, we met John, the person supervising the construction of our new home. John made us feel comfortable when construction began but he was still an unknown to us at that point. As time went on, we realized that John really did mean it when he said that he builds each home as though he will own it. He kept things moving, kept us informed, and would not accept poor quality work. I guess that’s not really a fun memory, but it makes us really happy now.

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

C/G: We like that it was clearly planned. We also love that it has curbs. That may sound silly, but our previous neighborhood had no curbs and there were always tire tracks on the lawns, unless the snow plows had completely destroyed the lawns. Then there were tire tracks in the mud.

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

C/G: That depends on where the person is in their life. A young couple wants a starter home. We are at the opposite end of that. We wanted our last home. We wanted to get exactly what we wanted, so we would say now “don’t settle for something.”

M/I: What is your favorite space in your new home?  Do you have any pictures of that space you would like to share?

C/G: We could not pick just one because we are so happy with the layout. It has a large, well-planned kitchen space, the master bedroom with the extension looking out on the woods is so romantic and cozy, and the family room with stone fireplace is also our favorite!

M/I: What was something that surprised you the most with building / moving into a new home?

C/G: Wendy, John, and Kelly really listened to us, and really understood what would make us happy. They over-delivered and made this a home even better than our dreams. The upgrades, the wooded lot, the attention to our timeline, our budget needs – everything came together in our dream home.

M/I: Any suggestions you would give to someone building a new home with M/I Homes?

C/G: Take advantage of the opportunity to look at online pictures of other homes going up in the neighborhood! You can see how your neighbors put together different options to help you determine what you like and don’t like before heading to the Design Center. I know of no other builder who provides this view of their homes as they are being built. It was invaluable, especially because we were building our home in North Carolina while still living in New York.

** Recently retired, Gary and Cheryl Randolph moved from Buffalo, NY to Charlotte, NC in order to be near their grandkids and enjoy a moderate climate. Their retirement is an active one as they both love to bike and run. Cheryl has run a marathon and Gary completed a full Ironman (Lake Placid) at the age of 60.

Happy Homeowners: The Carter Family

carterfamily5

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

Tom & Maureen: Yes, this was our first M/I Homes experience. We worked with a Realtor to help us find our ideal retirement home. After seeing several homes, we preferred the open floorplan of the Newport more than any other we had seen. Also, the New Home Consultant Michael Colo and later, Beth Vogl, were great. They were very nice, helpful, and informative.

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

T & M: Yes, the home has worked out well for us. There are some items that we will have to go back and do on our own but we are very impressed with our home overall. The space has worked out well; we have our things laid out where we like them. We purchased some new furniture and we were able to put our own touch on it so that it is different from the place we came from and it is very enjoyable.

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

T&M: The Newport– We loved this ranch plan immediately. It was perfect because we knew we did not want a two-level home. We are able to get around well but wanted a home that was prepared for 15+ years down the road. We loved the open concept of the kitchen flowing to living room. We came from a condominium so space was very important to us. It was also great to have the master bedroom on one side and the three secondary rooms on the opposite side of the home.

M/I: Overall, how was your experience with M/I Homes?  Did you get to pick out your homesite and the floorplan you wanted to build, or had the home already been started?

T&M: Our overall experience was positive, our community had some restraints on interior design choices at the time but the individuals made up for it. Customer service was and continues to be spectacular. Kelly in the Charlotte Design Center was able to make a lot of our interior desires happen and she was very professional, Dax, our Personal Construction Manager had great communication with us, and Beth was the helping hand along the way. We were able to pick a homesite and we chose one that backed up to woods.

M/I: Do you have any fun memories from the buying / building process?

T&M: Our homebuilding experience was probably different from most because we were relocating from Boston. We only came down to Fort Mill twice and that was the Design Center appointment and Closing. Everything else was done remotely. Dax would walk through the house with his iPhone showing us the progress. Once they began construction, we could visit the website and see the progress which was helpful.

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

T&M: We really liked the Newport floorplan and the community. The floorplan flows from the kitchen, to the great room, out onto the deck giving us maximum space when entertaining. Nobody feels overcrowded and if guests want to step outside, they can do that.

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

T&M: We had two sets of friends that moved to the Fort Mill area before us. When we came to visit them, we loved the area and started looking at the quality of homes that you could get for your money and decided this was the community for us. It isn’t a huge community which we liked and we also liked that it was new. It has made it easy to make friends and know everyone in the neighborhood. There is another couple in Sutton Mill that we have become close to and several others who are friendly acquaintances. The people have been very friendly and daily walks with our dog, Savannah, has allowed us to meet many people. We love that the community is diverse and that there are young families, retired families, and everyone in between.

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

T&M: Take in consideration the lifestyle you’re looking for as far as location. It is important to see what surrounds you and if it matches your interests. Also, make sure it fits not only your current needs but your potential needs in the future.

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

T&M: Getting all the rooms painted was very exciting for us. We painted ourselves and it gave the home a nice personal touch.

M/I: What is your favorite space in your new home?  Do you have any pictures of that space you would like to share?

T&M: There are a lot of them. The deck is lovely. We asked for and got permission to put in a larger deck as part of the construction process. So it is quite large and it looks out onto the woods. It’s really quite nice, especially as the weather gets a little cooler. We sit out and eat breakfast and dinner out there a lot.  It is also good for entertaining, which we do a frequently.

M/I: Any suggestions you would give to someone building a new home with M/I Homes?

T&M: Aside from assessing your individual needs and making sure the location fits your interests, figure out what you want interior-wise and make sure that the homebuilder and community you choose offers it. We dove in head first and fortunately it worked out in our favor. Also, take a look online to figure out what you like because the Design Center consultation can be an overwhelming experience. We narrowed down our options before our appointment to ensure we could pick everything out in a day.

M/I: Any additional items / stories you would like to share about your new home?

T&M: We’ve been very happy in the home. The space has worked out well for us. Now that we’ve got everything laid out, we have our own touch on it so that it is different. We’ve explored the area and there are a lot of good restaurants.

 

**Tom and Maureen Carter recently retired from Massachusetts to South Carolina.  They are very pleased with their decision on relocating to the Fort Mill area. They spend time hanging out with friends, trying local restaurants, walking their dog Savannah, and Maureen has a passion for designing custom jewelry, which they have dedicated a room in their home to.

 

M/I Homes Interviews Kay Green Design, Inc.

M/I Homes takes pride in our models. They are one of the first impressions for a homebuyer touring our new communities. Well- merchandised models give potential homeowners the feeling of being at home, along with great ideas for their own homes.

Kay Green Design, Inc. based in Winter Park, Florida, was the key interior design firm for the Aberdeen and Bradford models in our Bellington community. The company has been working in the model home merchandising industry for nearly 40 years.

Jerry Collin, vice president of Kay Green Design, Inc., was gracious enough to sit down with us and answer a few questions about interior design.

M/I: What is trending now and how is that used in each of the models?

JC: We are seeing two particular cabinet choices becoming the most popular – white cabinets paired with white back-splashes, and dark espresso or Kona-colored cabinets. Another trend is a flex room that we’re showing as “fem dens” or spaces for moms.

We also see families wanting multi-use spaces that the entire family can enjoy at the same time. They are using a den as an additional TV location. In the kitchen, buyers want kitchen islands that are all on one level, instead of having a raised bar.

M/I: What was your inspiration for the colors used in the Bellington models?

JC: The latest color trends are moving towards a more neutral color pallet of beiges or warm, soft gray tones, and then adding pops of jewel tones. Jade and gold in the Aberdeen and royal navy and raspberry in the Bradford are good examples of what homebuyers are leaning towards.

 M/I: What did you like about each plan?

JC: The Aberdeen offers a first-floor master bedroom, which is always a hit with homeowners. At Bellington we carried the Mullican Hickory Champagne wood flooring throughout the main level to help add some upscale luxury to the space. The second floor loft, with double doors that open to a shared office, helps keep the family together. There are also a lot of great outdoor spaces, including a side porch off the kitchen area.

The Bradford has a very appealing feature in the optional kitchen extension that can be used as a morning sitting area. The angled entry door is stylish. An oversized fifth bedroom with the extra-large walk-in closet creates another flex space that can be used in many ways. We chose to make this space another multi-use room for the entire family. This plan offers a lot of great natural light as well.

M/I: What was the best room to merchandise?

JC: We always find the master bedroom one of our favorite spaces to merchandise by creating a sanctuary for homeowners, offering them a retreat any time they need a relaxing getaway from the day’s activities.

M/I: Why do you like merchandising new homes and models?

JC: One of best parts of being in new construction is staying on top of the latest trends in floor-plan function, interior lighting, the growing home animation systems, kitchen appliances and new home finishes.

 M/I: What inspired you to be an interior decorator?

JC: I have always had a passion for touring builders’ model homes, which lead me to the business. Katie Trentley, one of our senior designers who was also instrumental in Bellington, has wanted to be a designer since she was 5 years old.

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