Happy Homeowners: The Morlan Family

This new “Happy Homeowners Interview” features The Morlan Family, who recently built their new home in Orlando.  Read below to hear about Morlan’s 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?

Angelia Morlan: This is our second M/I home.  Our first home was an M/I Home.  It was about a year old when we bought it and we lived in it for 13 years.  We knew when we were ready for a new home, we wanted M/I Homes to build it again.  We never had any problems with our first home and knew that M/I Homes built a good, solid home.  We did not even consider another builder.

 

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

AM: Yes!  This is absolutely our dream home.  We decided to build from the ground up so we could get everything we wanted.  We have been in our new home for almost 2 months now and still can’t believe it is really ours.  You will hear the words “I love our house” several times a week as we arrive home from work or eating out.  We are taking our time decorating each room and enjoying every minute!

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

AM: The floorplan we chose is called the Essex.  It has 4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, and a bonus room on the second level.  We love the layout of the home and the great use of space utilized in this floorplan.  As far as features go, there are so many.  The one great thing we found with building with M/I Homes is that so many features that one may consider an upgrade are already included in the base model of any of the floorplans in our community.  We loved the brick pavers on the driveway and back patio, granite counter tops in the kitchen and master bath, the covered lanai, and the stone accent on the exterior.  These were not upgrades but came standard on the house.  Other features that we love include the master suite which is the size of a small apartment with a huge walk in closet and master bath.  We also love the large open living room, kitchen, and dining area with so many windows and a panoramic view of the golf course and tree line behind us.

 

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

AM: This was not our first experience living in an M/I Home, but it was our first experience building from the ground up.  It really was one of the best experiences we have ever had when it comes to building and buying a home.  We loved that we got to pick out the floorplan and the home site.  We actually looked at several M/I Home communities in our area but we kept coming back to Serenity at Redtail because the views were amazing.  Honestly, every home in the community has no one behind them and a lovely view of either a common area filled with beautiful trees, a lake, or the golf course.  We picked a lot with a view of Redtail golf course.  The best part is we get to see the sunrise to our left and the sunset to our right from our back lanai.  I am addicted to sunset pictures and have already taken quite a few.

 

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

AM: We loved visiting the construction site every week.  We could really see the quality of the work going into the house from the inside out.  Several times my husband and I brought our lawn chairs and sat on the back patio, watched the sunset, and talked about how we would decorate our new home.  We also loved visiting with Linda, our M/I Homes Sales Associate.  It was also a lot of fun working with Julie at the Design Center.  She had great ideas in interior design and really helped to make our vision of our dream home a reality.

 

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

AM: The views are stunning.  A sense of peace fills you as soon as you drive in the neighborhood.  There is always a breeze and it just feels good to be there whether we are inside of our home or walking around the neighborhood.  We love seeing the wildlife almost on a daily basis.  We love that we can walk out of our back door and are steps away from the golf course.  We love that we feel like we are on vacation. We are away from all of the hustle and bustle of the city, but still close enough to entertainment and shopping.

 

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

AM: Really look at the community you are considering to buy a home in.  M/I Homes does a great job with not just the quality of the construction of the home, but also with what is around your new home. We have beautiful trees, a golf course, and beautiful common areas for everyone in the community to enjoy.

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

AM: We moved in the day before Thanksgiving.  Our neighbor, next door, invited us to spend the day with them since they knew we would be moving. It was great to enjoy a wonderful meal with them and to get to know them.  We feel very lucky that they are our neighbors.  We also will never forget spending our first Christmas in our new home.

 

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

AM: My husband and son would say the man cave, AKA bonus room, it’s their favorite room in the house.  My favorite space is the back patio because of the amazing view.  I sit out there every evening.  I also really love our master suite.

 

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

AM: I was surprised at how involved M/I Homes and our building superintendent allowed us to be.  We could come by and walk through the house anytime we wanted to and could ask questions and give input along the way.

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

AM: Take a lot of pictures during the building process.  It is so neat to go back and look through them once you are in your home.  It was also helpful to have the pictures as a resource when making decorating decisions.

 

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

AM: Our English Bulldog Yeti, loves his new home too.  When we first moved in, he ran laps up and down the long foyer and hallway.  His favorite space is our living room.  He sits in the same spot each night and watches TV with us.  He also enjoys sitting on the patio and watching the golfers and the Sandhill Cranes walk by.

 

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.

3 New Construction Services to Search for in Orlando Builders

Choosing a builder for your new construction home is challenging. An ideal builder values your investment and guarantees quality craftsmanship. So, research is necessary if you’re thinking about moving into a new construction home in the Orlando area. According to Zillow, Orlando’s median list price per square foot is $112, indicating a solid baseline cost for your new construction dream home. Begin your search for a builder by first comparing construction bids to this local price point.

Next, weigh builders by researching and matching their services with the needs of your ideal home. What does the builder specialize in and how do they provide the service? All homebuilders must follow new construction building codes, but not all builders provide special features such as green craftsmanship, buyer personalization and in-house lending services.

If you’re considering moving to the Orlando area, start your new home search by pursuing Orlando builders who provide all of the following services.

Green Craftsmanship

Eco-friendly homebuilding is an essential service to look for in a builder. Builders can save you utility expenses and reduce your home’s carbon footprint by using local, environmentally-friendly materials that minimize heating costs and electricity usage. Double pane windows and large volumes of insulation are only small-scale improvements. Search a builder’s website to see if their construction materials meet the national standard for energy efficiency, commonly referred to as the Home Energy Rating System (HERS). Eliminate builders from your search who don’t understand the need for sustainable home construction.

Personalization

Locate builders who can help turn your dream home into a reality. A new construction home is no small investment, so take ownership and hire builders who encourage personalization. Experienced builders often have entire design services available to make a home distinctively yours. Focus your home search by talking with builders about the freedom you have in your home’s design. It’s your home, so explore available customization services to complete your vision.

Mortgage Service

Buying a new construction home is a lengthy process, and financing the home is a rather meticulous task for homebuyers. Well-established builders often have in-house mortgage services or strong ties to the best lenders in the area. Seek out builders who consider your financial needs so the final property isn’t over budget. Trusted builders understand your vision and financial situation and their partnered lenders are more likely to work with you on financing options.

Sift through Orlando’s many homebuilders by eliminating companies that don’t offer these three features in their new home construction. Each is an essential service to attaining a quality home built to last and remain efficient for both the environment and your wallet.

In a hurry to move to the Orlando area and can’t find the right builder? Consider available rentals in the Orlando area to give yourself more time to find the right builder to create your dream home.

 

*M/I Homes is proud to build all of our homes with our Whole Home standards.  All of our homes receive a HERS score and our homes are built with energy efficiency processes and products to help you save money and live comfortably.  You’ll love having the ability to personalize your home with the available options through our Design Center, with so many amazing choices.  We also make sure that you have a great experience by having M/I Financial available to help you with the financing of your home.  We work to get you the best rates while offering you the best service, or as some refer to is ias, a one stop shop for purchasing a new home!

**Guest Blogger Nick Elam of Zillow.  Nick is a Marketing Content Coordinator at Zillow.  He writes about local data topics, real estate, home improvements and interior design for the ZIllow blog and other Zillow partners.

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