Happy Homeowners: The Powers Family

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

Cindy Powers: This is my first M/I Home and there were several reasons for the choice. I first looked at a M/I Home in another neighborhood when I wasn’t quite ready to buy, but wanted to start looking around. Patrick was wonderful and treated me like a serious buyer and I immediately fell in love with everything about the home. Fast forward to a year later when I was ready and of course I went back. That neighborhood was full so I went to check out the new one they were working on and I’m SO glad I did! I worked with Patrick again and he was just as great the second time around.

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

CP: Absolutely! The details really make all of the difference. My boss has a contractor’s license (not practicing) and came for a walk through before I signed the contract. I just knew he was going to be nit-picky but he just kept saying how well-built it was and how much he liked it.

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

CP:  My floorplan is the Andover II. I love how spacious it is–especially the layout from the kitchen to the living room. I also love the two huge closets in my bedroom and the spacious shower.

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?

CP:  My home was pretty much finished the first time that I saw it, but I wouldn’t change a thing! The features and colors are just perfect. I even love the color of the outside!

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

CP:  The whole process went super fast and I’m glad for that! It almost felt like a dream from when I wandered in to take a look to waking up every morning in my new home.

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

CP:  Yes, the quality. It is so much nicer than anything else that I had looked at in the area. M/I Homes made it easy to become a reality.

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

CP:  I really like the layout of the neighborhood and the fact that the beautiful pool just happens to be right in my backyard! The community is great—I love to walk and I am walking distance from several shops and restaurants. The interstate access is super convenient as well.

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

CP:  I would highly recommend M/I Homes due to their customer service as well as the fact that they handle everything for you! I didn’t have to search out a separate mortgage lender or closer; they even recommended a homeowner’s insurance agent that was just as wonderful. She already knew what they needed and took care of it all. The whole process was extremely smooth.

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

CP:  My favorite memory has been decorating the new space. It’s fun to bring the beautiful space to life.

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

CP:  I love how bright and airy the whole home is and I especially love the window in the bonus room, which is perfect for a reading nook. I don’t have pictures of that space yet because I am searching out the perfect comfy seating for that area.  When I find it I will most likely never leave!

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

CP:  I wouldn’t say it surprised me, but I love the fact that each and every thing is being used by me for the first time! Everything is so clean and shiny.

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

CP:  I just want to reiterate the customer service aspect. Patrick, our New Home Consultant, worked hard for me and was a joy to work with. When I did my walk-through with Al he was meticulous and thorough. From the beginning through move-in, everything went so smoothly.  Thank you M/I Homes!

 

** The Powers moved to Florida from Virginia in 2013 to enjoy the warm weather. Cindy works for an airport engineering firm in Lakewood Ranch and her favorite part of her job is flying to meetings in her boss’s Cessna. Her daughter is finishing up her junior year at the University of Central Florida with a 3.9 grade point average and is active in her sorority, Delta Zeta.  They enjoy visiting Universal Studios, watching movies, and going to the beach.

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.

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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?

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.

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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.

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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.

How to Stay Organized When Downsizing Your Home for Retirement

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We all know that moving is tough. Not only do you have to sort, pack and haul your items to their new destinations, but you have to let go of objects that hold sentimental value.

Staying organized through this process can seem close to impossible, but the key to a smooth transition into retirement is preparation.

Give Yourself Enough Time

Downsizing does not happen overnight. You will need plenty of time to sort, pack, and move your belongings. If you wait until the last minute, you are more likely to throw everything in boxes and have a huge mess to sort out in your new home.

Write a list of everything you cannot live without—all the things you really need, everything you love, and things that are irreplaceable. The list will help you stay organized and on track.

Enlist Help

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. That could be physical help with moving boxes or emotional help with making the hard decisions. Sharing memories with your loved ones can make sorting and organizing less overwhelming.

Do you have so many belongings that you don’t know where to begin? Time to bring in the experts. Senior move managers are specially trained to help older adults through the process of downsizing. These professionals can help you develop your move plan, organize and sort your belongings, arrange the removal of unwanted items, and even unpack and set up your new home.

Measure Your New Space

Before you start to move, measure your new home. See exactly how much space you have to work with. Will your current furniture fit, or will you need to buy something new?

You have the opportunity to start fresh. Make organization a priority before you even move. Resist the urge to fill every corner with furniture—it will only create more places for clutter to pile up. Invest in organizational shelving and make sure everything has a place.

Divide into Piles

Go through each room of the house and methodically sort your items. Make large piles of items you don’t want to keep and then subdivide these into giveaway, throwaway, and sell piles.

Sorting can be the most difficult part of downsizing. It forces us to confront our own bad spending habits. Be realistic when deciding what you need. Those pants you bought five years ago with the price tag still on? The designer rug rolled up in the corner that you got on discount? What about the bread maker you got for Christmas one year? If you haven’t used these items yet, chances are you never will.

Don’t Forget Sentimental Value

You may not use it regularly, but does it bring you joy to own? Does it have a history that you can’t bear to part with? While you need to be strict with yourself when downsizing, you shouldn’t forget about sentimental value.  Don’t throw away anything you would regret later.

Create a separate pile for sentimental items and don’t let it get too big. Set the pile aside for a while, return to it later, and ask yourself again if you truly need it. To create lasting memories, you can always take a picture and then pass the item along to someone else.

Label Your Boxes

After you’ve given or thrown away what you’ve decided not to keep, you are left with what you want to bring. Do not try to fill all the empty space in your new home. Leave some room for future purchases—and to breathe.

With less stuff, it should be easier to sort your belongings and put them into labeled boxes. Try sorting by location—when you unpack, you can bring the boxes labeled ‘kitchen supplies’ right to where they need to be.

Keep Essentials Close

When moving, the last thing you want to discover is your medications got lost in the shuffle or that your favorite pillow got sorted into the donate pile.

Pack a bag of essentials like toiletries, reading glasses, medications, pajamas, and a change of clothing. Keep it separate from your moving boxes where you can easily get to it. You don’t want to be running to the store the first night in your new home because you can’t find anything you need.

Live with Less Stress

Downsizing into a new home can be a breath of fresh air. After all of the hard work, you can settle into your new place with just what you need, and no more.

Downsizing means less stuff to unpack when you arrive and less to clean once you get settled. It is easier to stay organized when you have designed your new home to be organized from the start. Be free from clutter and live your golden retirement years with ease.

 

**Tracy Layden is a Certified Aging in Place Specialist. Born and raised in Silicon Valley, Tracy leads the marketing efforts at Alert-1, a personal safety technology and consulting firm dedicated to helping seniors live safely and independently. Tracy holds a degree in mathematics from Scripps College and is an accomplished ballroom dancer and equestrian.

What You Need to Know About Building a Home!

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Buying a home can be scary. Building one can be even scarier, but it doesn’t have to be if you have an idea of what you’re doing. We interviewed an expert on new home construction and came up with a few super helpful tips that anyone thinking about building should know. These are things like the construction timeline, stages of construction, how to deal with surprises after closing, and the best advice for people new to building a new home.

Construction Timeline & Building Stages

It’s important for anyone who is considering building a new home to understand the timeline as well as some of the main construction stages. According to Brent Holsinger, Vice President of Construction for M/I Homes of Central Ohio, the timeframe from purchasing a new home to start of construction is roughly 2-2.5 months and 4-6 months for the building process.

From Sale to Dig: The First 60 Days

The first 60 days set the stage for everything that is to come during the building process, and also sets you up for the home of your dreams. In the first 30 days you will get the chance to pick out all of your selections. This is when you, the customer, gets to choose what you would like to be in your home. Maybe you would like a beautiful bay window to allow more light into your elegant breakfast nook or you picture your kitchen having gorgeous stainless steel appliances with granite countertops. Maybe you would like both! At this time you get to make those decisions, as well as decide how to set up your home’s wiring including your outlets, TV hook-up, and even lighting location. The next 30 days is for the homebuilder to ensure all is ready for the Buyer Builder Conference and ensure permits go through.  We will touch on the Buyer Builder Conference later in this blog.

Dig to Close: Four to Six Months

Finally, the construction starts—this is what you’ve been waiting for! But there are some things you should know going into this so that you have a good understanding of the progress being made on your home. Homes don’t just whimsically fall together, there are plenty of stages to building the home of your dreams and it all starts with the foundation!

The Foundation

The foundation stage includes a few things one might not think or know about but are very important. First, you have to lay and pour the footer.  The footer is what the foundation walls sit on and is what makes direct contact with the ground.  It is one of the most important parts of the foundation. After the footing has been properly prepared, the foundation walls are built. Some builders use more traditional block-style foundation, but M/I Homes uses poured walls providing you with an all together better foundation.  After this and some waterproofing of the foundation walls, the backfill takes place. The backfill is when the dirt from the dig is pushed back in around the foundation walls to settle it into the earth.  This can help prevent future foundational problems.

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Framing

Framing is when you start to see the home you envisioned actually take form. You begin to see the layout of the home and the shape. When it comes to new home construction in most places, framing materials include lumber, and/or cinder blocks, depending on the area. Depending on the size of the house this can take anywhere from around 10 days to a few weeks.

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Framing

Rough Mechanicals

Rough mechanicals are one of the most important stages of the building process. It includes plumbing, HVAC, and electric. This stage is called “rough mechanicals” because finishes like toilets, lights, showers, and other user-facing appliances are not installed. Only the backend work is done.

The first step in rough mechanicals is plumbing. In this stage, the plumber runs pipes and tubing throughout the house. The tubing will be run to the areas where sinks, toilets, and showers will be. Generally, these are red tubes (signifying hot water) and blue tubes (signifying cold water). Next comes HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air-Conditioning). This is the stage where ductwork (vents and other pipes) are put in place for ventilation, heat, and air conditioning.  This is also the stage where you may see a furnace installed. Lastly comes electric, when all the wiring for outlets, lights, and TV hookups are run throughout the house. Remember when you picked their locations in the first 60 days?  You’ll now get to see these locations in real life!

Insulation and Dry Wall

Insulation comes first in this process. There are a few different types of insulation, but M/I Homes of Columbus uses fiberglass. This is the insulation that looks like pink cotton candy, and although you may not realize it, insulation is very important. It has a great deal to do with the energy efficiency of your home, how your home feels in the winter and summer months and can have a huge affect on your utility bills. Once the insulation has been set, the walls are sealed with dry wall. Then the spaces between the dry wall boards are mudded so they are no longer visible, and your walls start to look like actual walls.

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Insulation & Drywall

Finishes

Everything that’s left to do is regarded as a finish and this is the stage where the home starts to become habitable.  First, all three mechanical vendors (Plumbing, HVAC, Electric) come back and add their finishes. This includes toilets, lights, AC system, showers, sinks, appliances, etc. After these items are completed, a painter comes in and paints the house. Following the painter, flooring is installed throughout the house. Then comes a final walkthrough where the construction superintendent will go through and make sure your home is ready for you.

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M/I goes the extra mile!

M/I Homes takes even more steps throughout this building process to ensure you have the home of your dreams! During the building process they allow their customers to have full access to their homes while in construction. Customers are given their own hard hats so they can come and check on the progress of their home as they see fit.  M/I Homes also takes the initiative to schedule three meetings with you throughout the building process to make sure everything is going as planned. The first is a Builder Buyer Conference, where you make sure all your selections are correct and review plans with your construction manager. Second is the pre drywall inspection, where you come see the progress of your home, and also let us know if everything (lighting, outlets, TV hookup, etc.) are where you would like them to be. The third meeting is a week before closing, to make sure the finished product is everything you expected as well as to show you how to use the items in your home (appliances, showers, electrical, etc.).

Thinking about building? Here’s our advice!

We went back to the Vice President of Construction for M/I Homes of Central Ohio, Brent Holsinger, and asked what other advice he might have for someone thinking about building. He said he would advise anyone who is thinking about building to do their research. Not every builder has standards as high as M/I Homes, so anyone who is thinking about building should research and compare the builders thoroughly from their integrity to their building materials.

We understand that the building process can be a little scary, especially when you know nothing about it. M/I Homes takes extra steps to make sure you are active and involved in the process so that this is one the greatest experiences of your life. The next time you’re looking for a home, make sure to consider all your options and do your research.

 

 

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!

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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.

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