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.

Lighted Mirrors: Get Ready for Your Close-Up

By Kerrie Kelly, ASID

Though not traditionally viewed as the most glamorous room in the home, the bathroom has become a personal oasis—a haven for health, beauty and general rejuvenation. A lighted mirror is a small addition to the bathroom that instantly elevates its functionality and style. Whether your intended purpose is added safety or a dose of glamour, a lighted mirror provides ample luminosity and tons of style. Here are a few reasons why we love this bathroom addition.

  1. Decorative Lighting

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If you’re a non-traditionalist, look at a standard mirror paired with sconces on either side. This decorative option leaves you plenty of room to personalize your bathroom with accent lighting. Incorporate additional task lighting by installing a magnifier with lighting to get up close for daily details like applying makeup or shaving. Opting for an additional magnifying mirror may also serve as a helpful aid to any guests with limited vision.

  1. Extra Storage

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One of our favorite aspects of a lighted mirror is that, more often than not, it is accompanied by extra storage. Mirrors with added lighting are typically also medicine cabinets, with hidden shelving tucked behind a beautifully lit mirror. That extra storage can go a long way. If you have kids, keep medicine and things they shouldn’t get into on the top shelf of your cabinet. Use the shelving for toiletries and your favorite beauty products to keep all your bathroom needs in one safe place.

  1. Electrical Access

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With interior design and furniture companies diving into the innovative world of technology, we’re seeing more and more sleek electrical elements being worked into our favorite bathroom furnishings. With an outlet tucked just to the side of the mirror, you can charge your phone and plug in your styling tools in the morning and switch a nightlight on when you’re ready to turn in for the evening. Some lighted mirrors also come with dimming effects for customizable ambiance and de-fogging mechanisms that help keep your mirrors clear of shower steam.

  1. Integrated Lighting

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Another fabulous aspect of lighted mirrors is a feature known as integrated lighting. Often comprised of LED light strips, integrated lighting in the bathroom means that you can easily control the size, style and shape of the lighted mirror. Homeowners can create a mirror that is uniquely theirs and touches on all of their bathroom needs, like extra lighting around the border of the mirror, more storage or a bigger mirror.

When looking into adding a lighted mirror to your bathroom, make sure to measure your space to see just how much room you have to work with. Next, identify your needs. Is this strictly decorative? Will you need extra storage space or hidden shelving? After choosing a mirror that fits your style and function needs, accessorize the rest of your space to match your new piece. Keep accessories to a minimum and let your lighted mirror truly shine.

**Kerrie Kelly is the driving force behind her California interior design firm, Kerrie Kelly Design Lab. Kerrie is a renovation and decor expert who writes for The Home Depot. To view a selection of mirrors, including styles that Kerrie mentions, you can visit the Home Depot website here.

 

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%.

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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.

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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).

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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.

Boost Curb Appeal With Fabulous Fencing

As you search for the perfect spring flowers to liven up your garden after the harsh winter months, keep in mind that there are a few extra outdoor elements that should be updated as well. First, dust off and reposition your front yard accessories for a fresh new outdoor vibe. Second, make sure you have your lawn, shrubs and flowers manicured to show off your beautiful exterior. Last but not least, update your fencing. Fabulous fencing not only acts as an extra layer of security or privacy for your yard, but it also gives a tremendous boost in curb appeal. Here are our top four options for a brand new fence.

  1. Wood Fencing

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Durable and classic, there is nothing quite like a beautiful new wood fence. Its unique grains and patterns make wood fencing feel more organic than other types, so this style works best with contemporary or transitional exteriors. Wood fences are typically less expensive than other materials. However, they do require some maintenance from time to time to prevent warping and discoloration. Should privacy and security be your two biggest necessities, this fence style is right up your alley. It’s also easy to stain or paint to suit your home’s exterior palette.

  1. Vinyl Fencing

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 Looking for low maintenance and high style? Vinyl fencing might be your design solution. It’s stronger than wood and can stand up to the elements—plus, you won’t need to repaint it nearly as often. It’s also easy to install, making it a great weekend project if you love DIY. Vinyl is typically used for privacy fencing, picket fencing, or as a safe and stylish way to block off a swimming pool. This style plays well with all types of homes, from modern to traditional to rustic.

  1. Metal Fencing

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If durability is your main concern, we suggest taking a look at metal fencing options. These fences are gaining popularity, especially in homes with a distinguishable transitional exterior style. Materials like steel, cast iron, and aluminum are all sturdy and stylish. They come in a multitude of different configurations to show off your exterior without sacrificing privacy or safety. Metal fences can act as small, decorative elements for your garden or as the main fence for your entire backyard.

  1. Composite Fencing

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Last but not least, composite fencing offers a fresh alternative to common fencing solutions with the look of real wood but the low-maintenance and worry-free design of vinyl. Budget-friendly and durable, composite fencing works best with traditional, transitional, and modern homes.

Complement your new fencing with a new arrangement of spring florals and ferns and beautiful patio furniture to match. What is your favorite fencing style? How do you use it boost your home’s curb appeal?

Kerrie Kelly is an interior designer who gives advice on creating beautiful spaces both indoors and outside. To view a selection of wood fencing options like those that Kerrie talks about in this article, visit www.homedepot.com.

Happy Homeowners: The Redding Family

This month’s “Happy Homeowner Interview” brings us to Stephanie Redding, who bought her new home in Austin with her husband Brad in May of 2015.  Stephanie shared with us her experience of choosing and living in her M/I home.

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

Stephanie: Yes and not only is it our first M/I Home, but it is also our first home together! We picked M/I Homes over other builders because I work for M/I Homes. Even without working for M/I Homes though, we would have chosen them over other builders because of everything that came included in our home.

M/I Homes: What were some of your “must haves” when you were looking for a new home?

Stephanie: 

  • Garage big enough for his truck and my car
  • Open floorplan
  • Closet big enough for us both to share
  • Offices for both of us
  • Guest room
  • Good location

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

Stephanie: We built the Kaufman plan from the Heritage Series. We picked out this plan for several reasons

  • The overall layout of the home
  • The openness of the kitchen and the family room
  • The master closet was the size of a small bedroom
  • We are able to both have our own offices/space and still have a guest bedroom when our friends and family come down to visit
  • There were so many features and options included!

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

Stephanie: While our experience was probably unique in comparison to most buyers, with me being an employee, we still had a good experience!

We picked the lot and the floor plan we wanted to build. Since we had scoped out the new section prior to everything coming available for sale, we knew exactly what lot we wanted! Specifically, we wanted a lot where we wouldn’t have anyone behind us and a lot big enough to fit a larger size garage for both his truck and my car to fit in.

Once things got started it was fun to drive by on the weekends and check out everything that had gotten done the previous week. I remember going in right after it was dry walled and being so shocked by how real it was being able to see the rooms and walk thru our house!

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

Stephanie: We just really loved the floorplan and the lot that we picked out

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

Stephanie: While we didn’t know this before we moved in, what we like now is just how friendly everyone is. We have really enjoyed getting to take our puppy on walks around the community and meeting our new neighbors. The HOA is great and always planning community events. We also have a brand new pool that is almost right across the street! There is also a regional county park right down the street where we can go on walks too!

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

Stephanie: If possible, walk through other homes by the builder to have a good feel for the floor plans, how they are built, and how some of the design options look put together! We took pictures in spec homes of cabinets/floors/lighting that we liked and brought that with us to the design center.

Make sure you know what all is included in the baseprice of your home! If you can talk to other homeowners ask them what they put into their home that they love or what things they wished they added after the fact (or of course ask your sales rep what they see people adding and loving with their home!)

M/I Homes: What is your favorite memory so far, in your M/I Home?

Stephanie: Getting to show both our parents our first home and bringing our puppy home! I also loved decorating our home for Christmas as well!

M/I Homes: Would you purchase another M/I Home if you had the opportunity?

Stephanie: Of course!

**Stephanie Redding and her family live in the Austin area. She is the Marketing Manager for the M/I Homes Austin division and her husband Brad is a Claims Team Manager at State Farm. They have lived in their home since May 2015. In June 2015 they added their energetic and social goldendoodle puppy named Hank! When not at work Brad and Stephanie love to workout and run together or take Hank on long walks around Parkside at Mayfield Ranch!

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