Happy Homeowners: The Van Dusen Family

Our newest “Happy Homeowners” blog brings us to Scott and Donna Van Dusen, who recently built their new home in Tampa. Scott and Donna began their journey by choosing their lot and plan, and have shared with us their experience of the whole building process and living in their new M/I home.


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

Scott and DonnaThis is our first M/I home.  When we moved to Tampa, FL, we knew we had certain things we were looking for in the home we plan to retire in.  Our list wasn’t extensive, but we knew the specifics we had as requirements for our home.  With all of the builders we visited and all of the floorplans we looked at, M/I Homes was the only one that didn’t require any compromise with our needs and wants.  Right down to the lot we chose.

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

S/D: Yes!!!  Our home is everything we dreamed of.  After 6 months of living in our home, we both look around in disbelief that it is really ours. M/I was able to make this our dream home.

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

S/D: The Artilla.  The kitchen is everything we wanted, and the addition of the Butler’s Pantry was a really nice touch.  For me, the shower room was a big seller, and for my wife the bathtub.  The beautiful bay window in the breakfast nook overlooking our lake is picturesque.  I could list every item in our home and tell you it is something we especially love.


M/I: 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?

S/D: We had a fantastic experience with M/I Homes, and the experience started with Vicki.  She helped us picture every part of our home, right down to the view from the previously mentioned bay window. She helped us visualize what our home would become. Everything from the view to the endless possibilities we could have in our home. Vicki helped us not only detail all of the things we desired, but helped us discover some of the extras we now can’t live without.  Although she hoped we would buy one of the inventory homes, she led us to the perfect lot, and guided us through the design process, listening to all of the things we knew we wanted in our dream home.

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

S/D: Coming to the lot every weekend to see the progress of the week. Seeing all of our plans coming together, and imagining what would be when it was complete.  Of course, stopping by to see Vicki was fun as well.  Many laughs and long chats.

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

S/D: The Artilla met all of our requirements in a home.  Not a single compromise, which was a first in our search.  The things swaying us the most was the lake front lot, the beautiful bay window in the breakfast nook overlooking the lake, and the shower in the Master Bathroom.

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

S/D: Our home is in Estates at South Cove, a small gated community with just 47 homes and no CDD. All very important things we liked about our neighborhood.

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

S/D: Look at several builders, and make sure M/I is one of the builders you look at.  In our experience, no other builder compared.

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

S/D: Our favorite memory was sharing the excitement of moving in with our parents.  All of their help with the move, and their love of our new home was a special memory for us.  They were so proud and happy for us and the home we chose.

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

S/D: Our favorite space is the lanai and the pool.  We watch all of the wildlife on the lake, cool off in the pool, and watch beautiful sunsets.


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

S/D: We were most surprised by how involved we could be with the construction and how reactive Vicki and our Construction Superintendent, Charlie, were to our ideas.  They were happy to work with us to make these details part of the build.  They made some great suggestions too, making our home even more fantastic.

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

S/D: Make a list of everything you want and expect in your home.  For us, M/I offered the only floorplan with no compromises.  If your list is anything like ours and our neighbors’, chances are M/I will have everything you want in a home.

M/I: Anything else you would like to add?

S/D: We thank Vicki, Charlie, and M/I Homes with heartfelt sincerity.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.  This has been a great experience building our dream home, and we now have some great new friends.

** Scott and Donna live in the Tampa area. They love to take in their pool and to watch the beautiful sunsets from the backyard of their new M/I home.

Moving Near Tampa: These Popular Neighborhoods May Suit You

If you’re considering relocating near the Tampa, FL area you’re likely wondering about your housing options. Luckily, in Tampa you’ll find prices lower than the U.S. median cost for both renting and buying. Across the country, renters can expect to pay $1,386 each month, while in Tampa they pay slightly less, $1,285. National home values are currently at $182,500 while in Tampa that value drops to $148,600. So, the first housing decision in relocating is to choose whether renting or buying is right for you.

Tampa Home Sales

In Tampa, it only takes 1.5 years for the costs of buying a home to break even with the costs of renting. So, if your move is scheduled to last at least 1 year and 7 months, then buying a home is financially a better option.

The next step is to decide where you plan to buy. Consider these two new constructions communities, both packed with amenities.

Starkey Ranch

At the convergence of Hillsborough County, Pinellas County and Pasco County you’ll find single family homes and townhomes within the community. The Starkey Ranch development will include retail shops, a park, pool and recreational facility with baseball, softball and soccer fields. The location provides quick access to Tampa Bay beaches, professional sports stadiums, theme parks and zoos. Plus, it’s within close proximity to major Tampa employers.

Eventually, Starkey Ranch will have 5,000 homes ranging in style. Some models include large front porches while others boast private backyards. These homes range in price based on the features you select to build out your personalized home, but they start at $257,990 or $331,990 depending on style.

The cost of these homes is a little more than the median home values in each of the three counties it resides in. However, all three counties are expecting upwards of 6 percent annual home value appreciation with forecasted lift throughout 2016. Therefore, the Starkey Ranch community could be a foot in the door, while costs are low, and a solid investment plan for valuable returns at resale.Tampa Model Home


Alternatively, in north Pasco County you may find a more affordable and suitable lifestyle fit at the Talavera community. The development includes a slightly farther commute but saves you about $50,000 on that final price tag. Homes in Talavera start at $199,990 and include 11 different floor plan options.

The community will have fewer homes than Starkey Ranch with just 750 homes, but includes excellent amenities such as a pool, playground and tennis courts.

Plus, if an eco-friendly home is of interest to you, Talavera may be your ideal neighborhood. Homes are built with M/I Homes’ Whole Home program, ensuring top-of-the-line energy efficiencies and use of local materials whenever possible.

Additionally, Talavera homes include a 15-year transferable structure warranty which is one and half times your average warranty. Such warranties allow buyers to sell their properties while still covered – a great benefit at resale. In this community, you should feel financially secure. Home values in Pasco County are rising at a rate of 6.3 percent year-over-year and are expected to appreciate at a more sustainable rate of 1.8 percent throughout 2016.

Tampa Model

Both Starkey Ranch and Talavera offer excellent community atmospheres for your new life near Tampa. Plus, buying a new construction home reduces the stress of purchasing an older property with unexpected, costly maintenance issues. Explore your options for both a comfortable daily lifestyle within your means while considering the financial reliability of the overall investment.

Written by: Tali Wee.  Tali Wee writes about finances, home improvement and interior design for Zillow and other partners.

57% cheaper to …

57% cheaper to BUY vs rent in our Tampa market!!  (45% nationally)

Begin the Smart Move today! http://bit.ly/Pig5eu


The most important housing decision that most consumers face is whether to rent or to buy. So to help them with this decision, we took a look at the key market factors affecting the cost of homeownership. First off, asking home prices have started to rebound and have risen by 2.3% year over year in August (3.8% excluding foreclosures); however, rents have risen more (4.7%). This means that prices are lower relative to rents than they were a year ago. But more importantly, mortgage rates have fallen: the best rates this summer have been around 3.5%, while last summer rates were closer to 4.5%. Based on asking prices and rents during the summer of 2012, buying is now 45% cheaper than renting in the 100 largest U.S. metros, on average – that’s a savings of $771 a month. If you plan to stay in a home for 7 years, which is the average time that Americans traditionally live in a home before moving again, it is more affordable to buy than to rent in ALL of the 100 largest metros in the U.S. (continue to full article)…

Source: Trulia


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