Happy Homeowners: The Pence Family

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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?

Tina and Lorenzo: Yes, this is our first M/I home.  We were able to see these townhomes being built from the ground up and felt that a quality home was being built.

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

T&L: Yes, extremely happy and our home has exceeded our expectations.

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

T&L: We have the Cardiff floorplan.  There are so many things about the home that we love, the hardwoord floors, upgrades in kitchen and bath, fireplace, full basement (we really needed after 34 years of marriage and 2 children) and the extra large 2-car garage.

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&L: We had a great experience in all aspects of the home purchase.  Our home was a spec house that was move-in ready so not a lot of choices from us but couldnt be happier with the end product.

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

T&L: This home was a spec home so we were actually not a part of the building process,  but we have been very pleased with the outcome of our home.

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

T&L: Yes, we loved that it was a brand new home as well as the common area and gardens with a pond make our community, English Rows, so unique and beautiful.

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

T&L: Again, the common area is very inviting.  We have frequent outings with all the neighbors.  It is a very mixed community with everything from empty nesters to brand new families – something for everyone.  We were new to the area and this community fit our needs perfectly.

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

T&L: We would definitely recommend looking at an M/I home – their diversity in everything from single family homes to condos and townhomes, with quality building,  is wonderful.

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

T&L: The community get togethers, especially the summer Regatta where the “boys” were able to race their remote control boats.

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&L: There are many spaces that we love but have really enjoyed the front porch (with a couple rocking chairs) and the front living area.  Both areas give us great views of the garden and pond.

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

T&L: The great sense of community and how smooth and quick the closing process was with M/I Financial.

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

T&L: Customer service has been amazing – any needs you may have with a M/I home will be addressed. We are now at our 1 year anniversary and the customer service has continued.

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

T&L: We downsized our home (by half) and have found this is perfect for our needs, very quiet, energy efficient and great location.

**Tina and Lorenzo purchased their new townhome in our English Rows community in Naperville, Illinois in September of 2015.  They enjoy spending time in the community with their neighbors, as well as relaxing on their front porch of their new home.  They have 2 children and have been married for over 34 years!

Thinking About Buying in Chicago?

By Tali Wee

If you’re considering moving to Chicago anytime soon, you’ll be glad to know that it’s ranked one of the top buyers markets and best places for first-time buyers.

The housing market across the country is still highly competitive, outpricing first-time buyers who typically have smaller down payments than other shoppers or investors. Zillow evaluated major metros nationwide to determine markets with the most opportunity for first-time buyers, looking at home values, affordability, inventory and the amount of competition from all-cash buyers. Chicago was ranked fifth, with a median home value of $203,700. Homeowners in Chicago spend 14 percent of their income on their mortgages.

Homes move so quickly in many markets that shoppers must make snap decisions to compete, leading to a stressful or regretful experience. Fortunately, inventory is high in Chicago, allowing buyers time to shop around before making the serious decision to purchase. Chicago ranks second in the country as the best buyers’ market for 2016. The extensive inventory grants buyers more negotiating power with sellers. Plus, sellers offer more price cuts to prevent homes from sitting on the market too long.

If you’re less interested in available properties and more drawn to custom homes, the city also offers several new construction developments. Burlington Meadows is a small community in North Naperville offering single-family homes, wooded views, and spacious backyards. Lehigh Station is also in Dupage County, in Aurora, offering more contemporary townhomes surrounded by walking paths and quick access to retail and restaurants.

The Lakewood Prairie community is located in Joliet, about 45 miles southwest of the Chicago Loop, offering single-family homes along with a club house including a pool, tennis court, sand volleyball area, and playground. Kearney Glen, near Lakewood Prairie, is a new development of single-family homes with open floorplans, offering community attractions such as a pond and playground. Depending on what you’re looking for, you should be able to actualize your dream home in one of the many communities near Chicago.

Whether you’re customizing a new home, landing a move-in-ready property or adding your own touch to a fixer-upper, you’re likely to have some of the best buying luck in Chicago this year. 

For reference:

Top Buyers’ Markets

  1. Philadelphia
  2. Chicago
  3. Baltimore
  4. Hartford, CT
  5. New York/Northern New Jersey
  6. Miami
  7. Indianapolis
  8. Jacksonville, FL
  9. Virginia Beach, VA
  10. Orlando, FL

Best Places for First-Time Home Buyers

  1. Indianapolis, IN
  2. Pittsburgh, PA
  3. Memphis, TN
  4. Cleveland, OH
  5. Chicago, IL
  6. Oklahoma City, OK
  7. Louis, MO
  8. Houston, TX
  9. Tampa, FL
  • Birmingham, AL

Where Should Buyers Shop For Homes in 2016?

By Tali Wee

Buying a home is even harder than just a year ago, as fewer homes are available and buyers in many desirable markets are falling subject to bidding wars and incredibly steep buying competition. The best way to locate your dream home is to begin shopping in areas where buyers have the most negotiating power. When inventory is high, shoppers have more options to choose from and sellers are more eager to accept offers.

Researchers at Zillow narrowed down a list of the top 10 buyers’ markets by evaluating locations with the most price cuts and the longest average number of days for-sale homes sit on the market. If you’re thinking of buying a home soon, you’ll have the most luck in the following markets.

The Top 10 Markets for Home Buyers

  1. Philadelphia, PA
  2. Chicago, IL
  3. Baltimore, MD
  4. Hartford, CT
  5. New York/ Northern New Jersey
  6. Miami, FL
  7. Indianapolis, IN
  8. Jacksonville, FL
  9. Virginia Beach, VA
  10. Orlando, FL

Across the U.S., the median home value is $187,000, making a standard 20% down payment around $37,400. Although buyers these days can finance homes with less than 20 percent down, acquiring a mortgage is a major financial decision. You want to make sure you’re buying a home at a price you feel confident matches its value.

Homes in Philadelphia cost a bit less than the national rate, with a median value of $121,800. Plus, homes in Philly are expected to rise in value throughout the year, appreciating an additional 2.7% – slightly faster than the expected national lift of 2.4%.

BurlingtonMeadows

Burlington Meadows

If you’re looking to buy in Chicago, values sit at $203,700 with an anticipated 2.8% appreciation by year’s end. Besides the obvious appeal of such a major city making the list, Chicago offers many small communities with new homes that may meet your shopping must-haves. Check out your new construction options in Sagebrook offering both townhomes ($185,990) and single family homes ($305,990) Lehigh Station ($249,990), Lakewood Prairie ($215,990) and Kearney Glen ($199,990).

HickoryRidge

Hickory Ridge

A little more than halfway down the list of ideal markets for buyers is Indianapolis. In seventh place, Indianapolis offers new construction communities such as, Mapleton at Wynne Farms ($195,990), Greenwood Station ($192,990) Cumberland Farms ($181,990) and Marlin Meadows ($176,990). Although these homes are priced above the state median home value of $116,000, the communities offer grand homes with accessible green spaces, clubhouses, and even schools. Plus, homes in Indiana are expected to appreciate another 2.8% within the year.

FawnLake

Fawn Lake

Virginia Beach can expect far less appreciation this year, just 0.7%, but home values already stand at $248,800 – more expensive than Philadelphia, Chicago, or Indiana properties. If you’re on the hunt for new constructions in the state of Virginia, check out townhomes at Overlook at Cascades ($539,990), the gated community of Fawn Lake ($371,990), or luxury urban residences at Majesty West ($1,189,000).

SummerlakeGroves

Summerlake Groves

Lastly, the city of Orlando squeaked in at the bottom of the list of top markets for home buyers. Home values ($150,700) are closest with properties in Philadelphia – much cheaper than in Virginia Beach. Additionally, Orlando homes should jump in value throughout the year by a huge 4.2%. If you’re shopping for new construction homes in Orlando, consider single-family homes in Econ Landing (216,990), Hickory Hammock featuring both single family homes ($287,990) and townhomes ($232,990) or Summerlake Groves featuring both single family homes ($266,990) and townhomes ($227,990)

Regardless of where you shop for homes, prepare beforehand by getting preapproved for a loan and finding a lender you trust. That way, when you find your dream property, you’re ready to buy without the added pressure of completing all the necessary paperwork in a few short days.

010313_2112_FeedmyStriv1

On December 21st, our Chicago team had 33 participants at Feed my Starving Children and prepared over 30,024 meals in two short hours of work.

We prepared enough food to feed 83 children for one year!

Thanks FMSC!

http://www.fmsc.org/

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