Happy Homeowners: The Wedemeyer Family

This new “Happy Homeowners Blog” is about Rebeca Wedemeyer, who purchased her new home in our Crown community in Maryland over a year and a half ago. Rebeca’s shared with us some of her thoughts and experiences with M/I’s building process!

Rebeca

Rebeca and Maxi

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

Rebeca: This is my first M/I home. The floorplan and layout are what sold me – hands down. It was creative and current and struck the right balance of relaxed and sophisticated.

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

RebecaI have the Picasso plan. There are several features I love. Unlike many townhome layouts, the front door (which is on the ground floor) opens to a spacious and well-lit family room. It’s perfect for inviting neighbors in for a glass of wine at the spur of the moment – which I do often!  Also, the main level has an open floorplan with plenty of windows that are perfect for entertaining and just as perfect for a relaxed night at home. And of course, the rooftop terrace and loft are delightful. Finally, I absolutely love the windows. They are virtually floor to ceiling and there are plenty of them!

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Plenty of windows in this fabulous living room!

M/I HomesOverall, 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?

RebecaI had a great experience. I moved from across the street and had had my eye on this development and the specific lot I picked. I got to start from scratch and select features to my taste.

M/I HomesDo you have any fun memories from building process?

RebecaLike most of us, I’m busy so I was glad the process was smooth and hassle-free. That said, some of the guys on the job got a big kick of me and Maxi (my 5-pound fox terrier) visiting the site often. I guess that’s the hazard of living across the street. They always seemed to enjoy the break!

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

RebecaThe community itself is very well-designed. But when I saw the M/I Picasso model, I was sold!

M/I HomesWhat do you like about your neighborhood / community?

RebecaThere are several things I like about the community. First, there is plenty of space between homes. We have two-car garages and driveways which means there’s quite a bit of space between you and the neighbors behind you. It’s quite spacious in the front as well which is very unique in a townhome community. Also, they’ve done a great job creating green spaces and meeting places throughout the community. I have an end unit which overlooks a large landscaped brick pathway which leads right downtown. Neighbors and I will often meet on the benches to chat.

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

RebecaWell, I would say the old adage – location, location, location – holds true. It’s worth your time to ensure that the location itself meets your lifestyle. Not only the general community but also the lot itself. I chose a “premium” lot with extra charges that were hefty. My friends thought I was nuts! Now that I’ve been here for a year and a half, they all get it. I’ve got the most beautiful views of green spaces and because I’m located literally in the center of the community on the walkway, I know all of my neighbors. I think sometimes people can be penny wise and pound foolish when it comes to buying a house but living space and community are very important to me and there are few investments as reliable as real-estate. So why not live where you want.

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

RebecaI have organized three block parties since I’ve lived here. Without a doubt meeting all my wonderful neighbors and helping to build a positive community has been a real blessing.

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

RebecaThat’s a tricky one. I have several “favorite spaces” which is one thing I love so much about the home. In the mornings, I love sitting downstairs on the first floor with my morning cup of coffee. The paint colors look beautiful in the morning sun and unlike many ground floors, it is always cozy. On most evenings, I like curling up on the couch in the living room. I can see the entire community and often passing neighbors will look up to see if I’m around and want to come walk dogs together. In the winters, Maxi and I love the family room fireplace (off the kitchen) and we tend to spend a lot of time there. I also often work from home and have built my office right into the main living area. It’s beautiful. Finally, the kitchen is one of my favorite spots. It’s both beautiful and well-designed. I often use the expansive island as my “standup office,” and of course, when I have people over, we rarely make it to any other part of the house!

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Rebeca’s spacious kitchen and large island

M/I HomesWhat was something that surprised you the most with building a new home?

RebecaI’m fairly decisive and have had a new home built before so I didn’t have any surprises. No surprises is a good thing!

M/I HomesAny suggestions you would give for someone building a new home with M/I Homes?

RebecaI’d suggest asking to meet a homeowner or two with your same home plan. Most people are happy to show off their new home and they can often answer simple questions for you and also let you know what they’d do differently, if anything. Also, and this applies to any builder, take a risk and upgrade some features that are important to you. You’d be surprised how much a few key aspects can change the entire feel of your home. For me, I wanted the top of the line hardwood, kitchen cabinets, and iron pickets for my stairs but was just fine with the basics on other options.

**Rebeca lives in the DC area. When she’s not relaxing in her lovely M/I home with her dog Maxi, she can be found socializing with her neighbors.

Happy Homeowners: The Cohen Family

This new “Happy Homeowners Interview” features Merrill and Karen Cohen, who bought their home in Maryland.  The Cohens shared their experience of the entire homebuilding process with M/I Homes, from choosing their homesite to making interior design choices and were excited to share their experience with us!

Cohen

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

Merrill: Yes, this is our first M/I home.  There were three builders in the development where we wanted to purchase a new home.  One builder’s homes were too large; the other builder’s home plans were too small.  The M/I home was just right!

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

Merrill: The floorplan is called the Picasso.  We especially enjoy the large kitchen/great room area.  It’s perfect for hanging out and entertaining.  We also enjoy the loft area which has turned into a mancave.

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

Merrill: We picked the lot and floorplan.  We especially liked working with Chris and using the design center to choose all the options to personalize the home to match our decorating vision.

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

Merrill: Our prior house was nearby and we visited the site regularly to watch the progress.  We  enjoyed seeing the home develop from a hole in the ground to the finished product.  We brought our dog over before the house was finished to let her see her new home.  She immediately marked her territory!

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

Merrill: The kitchen/great room area immediately caught our attention.  We spend most of our time there and the room was exactly what we were looking for: a large, but informal space for hanging out and entertaining.

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

Merrill: This is a new development which includes retail and restaurants along with residential areas.  We like being able to walk around the neighborhood or walk to the restaurants and bars.  The neighborhood also has great access to the highways and is very convenient.

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

Merrill: I would advise someone buying a new home to look for a builder that will encourage communication and will easily resolve issues that will inevitably come up.  This is the third new home we have bought.  There are always problems and issues.  It is important for the homeowner to be vigilant and ensure that the home is properly built.  We found M/I to be very receptive to any issue that we presented and resolved problems without hesitation.

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

Merrill: We particularly enjoyed the process of turning the house into our home.   From watching it being built, and participating in the design, to the final decorating process.  We also enjoy watching the neighborhood turn into a community.  One particular memory that stands out was during the blizzard of 2016 (36″ of snow).  From walking down (and closing) the neighborhood bar with a few neighbors, to helping neighbors shovel their driveways, to watching the plows come dig us out (while our old neighborhood was still snowed in!).

M/I Homes: Any additional comments?

Merrill: It was great working with Chris.  She is a real asset to the company.  We also particularly like working with Joe from the service department.

**Merrill and Karen Cohen live in a new community in Gaithersburg, MD. They have downsized from a large single family home to a new M/I townhome in a smart urban living community, which provides a city living experience without all the city living inconveniences. They enjoy taking advantage of all the shopping and dining that are just a short walk away. Life is good!

 

If you’re interested in learning more about new homes in Maryland, please contact us today!

Homeowner Prep for Hurricane Sandy

To all our homeowners in the Mid-Atlantic and those affected by Hurricane Sandy. Please use this guide from Weather Channel to ensure proper safety and preparedness for extreme weather…

Protect Your Home from Hurricane Damage

Hurricanes are like no other storms on earth. From Maine to Texas, and in Hawaii, these ferocious weather systems bring torrential rain, flooding, storm surges and devastating winds that damage homes, destroy treasured keepsakes and disrupt family life. You don’t have to be blown away when a hurricane hits. It’s never too early to prepare and you can take several basic steps right now to protect your family and your home from disaster.

First Things First

Find out if your home meets current building code requirements for high-wind regions (for example, the International Residential Code, which is promulgated by the International Code Council). Experts agree that structures built to meet or exceed current model building codes’ high-wind provisions have a much better chance of surviving violent windstorms.

If you’re handy with a hammer and saw, you can do much of the work yourself. Work involving your home’s structure may require a building contractor, however, or even a registered design professional such as an architect or engineer.

When Working Outside

  • Replace gravel/rock landscaping material with shredded bark.
  • Keep trees and shrubbery trimmed. Cut weak branches and trees that could fall on your house.

When Building or Remodeling

Windows: If you are replacing your existing windows, install impact-resistant window systems, which have a much better chance of surviving a major windstorm. As an alternative to new window systems, install impact-resistant shutters that close over window openings to prevent flying debris from breaking windowpanes.

Entry Doors: Make certain your doors have at least three hinges and a dead bolt security lock with a bolt at least one inch long. Anchor door frames securely to wall framing.

Patio Doors: Sliding glass doors are more vulnerable to wind damage than most other doors. If you are replacing your patio doors or building a new home, consider installing impact-resistant door systems made of laminated glass, plastic glazing or a combination of plastic and glass. When a hurricane threatens, an easy, temporary and effective step is to cover the entire patio door with shutters made of plywood or oriented strand board (OSB).

Garage Doors: Because of their size, garage doors are highly susceptible to wind damage. A qualified inspector can determine if both the door and the track system can resist high winds and, if necessary, help replace them with a stronger system. Garage doors more than eight feet wide are most vulnerable. Install permanent wood or metal stiffeners. Or contact the door manufacturer’s technical staff for recommendations about temporary center supports you can attach and remove easily when severe weather threatens.

Roofs: If you are replacing your roof, take steps to ensure that both the new roof covering and the sheathing it attaches to will resist high winds. Your roofing contractor should:

  • Remove old coverings down to the bare wood sheathing.
  • Remove enough sheathing to confirm that rafters and trusses are securely connected to the walls.
  • Replace damaged sheathing.
  • Refasten existing sheathing according to the proper fastening schedule outlined in the current model building code for high-wind regions.
  • Install a roof covering that is designed to resist high winds.
  • Seal all roof sheathing joints with self-stick rubberized asphalt tape to provide a secondary moisture barrier.

If you want to give your roof sheathing added protection, but it’s not time to reroof, glue the sheathing to the rafters and trusses. Use an adhesive that conforms to Performance Specification AFG-01 developed by APA — The Engineered Wood Association, which you can find at any hardware store or home improvement center.

Gables: Make certain the end wall of a gable roof is braced properly to resist high winds. Check the current model building code for high-wind regions for appropriate guidance, or consult a qualified architect or engineer.

Connections: The points where the roof and the foundation meet the walls of your home are extremely important if your house is to resist high winds and the pressures they place on the entire structure.

  • Anchor the roof to the walls with metal clips and straps (most easily added when you replace your roof).
  • Make certain the walls are properly anchored to the foundation. A registered design professional can determine if these joints need retrofitting, and a qualified contractor can perform the work the design professional identifies.
  • If your house has more than one story, make certain the upper story wall framing is firmly connected to the lower framing. The best time to do this is when you remodel.

When a Hurricane Threatens

You can improve the odds of your home surviving high winds by taking these precautions, but you won’t make it hurricane-proof. Nor do these measures guarantee your safety. Take these additional steps to protect yourself and your family as fully as possible:

  • Become familiar with your community’s disaster preparedness plans and create a family plan. Identify escape routes from your home and neighborhood and designate an emergency meeting place for your family to reunite if you become separated. Also establish a contact point to communicate with concerned relatives.
  • Put together an emergency kit that includes a three-day supply of drinking water and food you don’t have to refrigerate or cook; first aid supplies; a portable NOAA weather radio; a wrench and other basic tools; a flashlight; work gloves; emergency cooking equipment; portable lanterns; fresh batteries for each piece of equipment; clothing; blankets; baby items; prescription medications; extra car and house keys; extra eyeglasses; credit cards and cash; important documents, including insurance policies.
  • Move anything in your yard that can become flying debris inside your house or garage before a storm strikes.
  • If a hurricane threatens, follow weather and news reports so you know how much danger you’re facing. Obey evacuation orders from local authorities.

Review your homeowners insurance policy periodically with your insurance agent or company representative to make sure you have sufficient coverage to rebuild your life and home after a hurricane. Report any property damage to your insurance agent or company representative immediately after a natural disaster and make temporary repairs to prevent further damage.

For information about filing an insurance claim after a natural disaster, contact your insurance agent or insurance company.

Source: Institute for Business and Home Safety. IBHS is a national nonprofit initiative of the insurance industry to reduce deaths, injuries, property damage, economic losses and human suffering caused by natural disasters.

Top Fall Festivals in the Washington, DC Area

Our DC Area Homeowners:

The fall is a great season for festivals in the Washington, DC area. The following fall festivals are “don’t miss” events, offering great food, music and live entertainment for the whole family. Check out the top events in Washington, DC, Maryland and Northern Virginia.

(see the full list here…)

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