Settling Into A New Home: What to Do

Settling into a new home can be a daunting task. There are so many things to take care of that it seems like you can’t keep track of everything. However, this is supposed to be a fun time for you and your family. So here is a list of things you need to do when settling into you new home to make the move less stressful.

Fill Out A Change of Address Form
Once you move in it’s important to fill out a change of address form. This can easily be done at the local post office or online. However, don’t forget to notify your bank and any financial companies about the change. Contact them directly to let them know that you have moved.

Transfer Utilities and Services
Just like filling out a change of address form, you’ll want to transfer all of your utilities and services to your new address. Most utility services will either let you change your existing services or sign up. Check with our sales consultants about specific utility companies required at your new community.

Get To Know Your New Home
Let’s face it, you already know the layout of your new home, but do you know where the circuit breaker and water shutoffs are? Make sure to locate your homes main circuit breaker and make sure it’s clearly labeled. When something goes awry later down the road you’ll be happy you know exactly what to do.

Map Out The Area
Just like your new home, you’ll want to map out the surrounding community as well. Find out where the closest gas station, hospital, and grocery store is. This is for your convenience and it will help you adjust to the new community quickly and comfortably.

Help Children and Pets Adjust to Your New Home
If you have any children or pets, adjusting to the new environment can be hard for them. Help children settle into your new home by setting up their room first. Also, take them to the closest park to meet the neighborhood kids. If you have any pets, let them explore the new area on their own.

Meet Your Neighbors
Meeting your neighbors is key when you move into your new home. Don’t spend all your time settling into your new home. Get out and walk around the neighborhood and introduce yourselves to your neighbors. Establish a good relationship with them and they’ll be sure to keep a lookout on your home while you’re on vacation.

Relax and Enjoy
Don’t forget to relax and enjoy your new space! The hardest part of the home-buying process is over. Relax and take your time while settling into your new home, but don’t forget to enjoy being a new homeowner either!

What To Look For In a New Construction Home

Contrary to popular belief, buying a brand new home has a lot of perks, especially when you work with Judd Builders. Amazing locations, fantastic community life, and personalized home interiors are only a few of the perks of our new construction homes. However, before you buy a brand new home you should think about what you are looking for in a home.

Look for Multiple Models and Floorplans
Here at Judd Builders, we offer multiple models and floorplans at all of our communities so that you have options. That’s right, pick the perfect community for you and your family and then choose the right floorplan that will benefit you the most. Knowing exactly how much space you’ll need in your home will help you narrow down the options.

Look for Location
Location is an extremely important component when buying a new home. Not only do you want the community to be located in a great area, but you also want a great location for you home. That’s why we take great pride in our communities. All of our communities are located in fantastic areas! Also, when you work with Judd Builders you can choose your homesite, so pick the best location that works for you!

Look For a Wonderful Community
Not only are our communities located in great areas, but they offer some of the best community living! Create lasting friendships with your neighbors and enjoy what our communities provide. You can also choose a community that will benefit your lifestyle. Are you looking for a 55 and better community? No problem, check out Meadow View Farms or Renaissance at Morgan Creek. Or are you looking to live closer to the city? If so, check out Siena Place.

Look for Quality
If you are looking for a brand new house it’s important to look at the quality of homebuilders. Here at Judd, we take great pride in the quality of our construction. We offer top-notch service and aim to make the homebuilding process stress free for our interested buyers. You won’t have to worry about things being done right when you work with us! The quality of the house takes precedence throughout the homebuilding process because we want to ensure that you are thrilled with your dream home!

Now that you know what to look for and what we have to offer, come and visit us to start the homebuilding process and make your dream home YOURS from the start by working with Judd Builders!

Preparing To Buy A New Home: 7 Financial Tips

Buying a house is a huge step for many individuals or families. The task can be nerve-wracking at times because it is most likely the biggest purchase of your life. How do you know how much you can afford? Will you be approved at the rate you want? Don’t let financial stress hinder your experience, bypass the surprise expenses and be completely prepared to navigate the home buying process with these seven financial tips.

1. Check Your Credit Score/History
Your credit score is a major component when it comes to securing a mortgage. It is basically an overview of how much you spend and if you are able to pay your bills in a proper amount of time. Don’t spend more than you earn, lenders are typically looking for 12-18 months of positive history, which includes no late or missed payments and modest balances on credit cards. A good credit score is key to getting approved for a loan. If you don’t want any surprises, make sure to check your score.

2. Pay Your Bills On Time
Paying your bills on time directly affects your credit score. Your credit score is crucial to procuring a mortgage, so it is absolutely critical to pay all of your bills on time. If you think you might have trouble, set up a plan to pay off your bills and get your credit score up.

3. Don’t Open New Lines of Credit
Opening new lines of credit in a short period of time is seen as a risk and can actually lower you credit score. Many lenders will look for this and determine whether you are a high risk. Also, if you know you are applying for a mortgage, avoid making big purchases using your credit card. This can be seen in a negative light by a lender.

4. Research Mortgage Options
When it comes to your mortgage rate, it is important to figure out what loan type is right for you. Is a 30-year, fixed rate the right choice or could you afford larger monthly payments at a lower interest rate in a 20-year or 15-year fixed loan? Alternatively, you could apply for an adjustable-rate mortgage, which comes with a lower interest rate for the first few years but is considered slightly riskier. Crunch some numbers and determine what is the best fit for you before you borrow.

5. Determine How Much You Can Afford
Like researching mortgage options, look into your personal finances and determine what you can afford. Most of the cost will be towards your mortgage. However, don’t forget to add up all the other costs that come with moving as well as your other everyday finances. Make sure to crunch the numbers and figure out what will work best for you, and don’t forget the taxes that come with home ownership! You’ll get an interest deduction when you file, but taxes in some locations can be very costly.

6. Save Your Money!
This seems like a given, but there are a lot of surprise costs when buying a house. Don’t be taken aback by these costs, be prepared. There will always be a down payment when buying a new house. It is typical to put 20% down, but you may be able to put down less. However, that isn’t always the best move. The bigger the down payment, the less you need to borrow and pay monthly. This can be a hefty price and can be the hardest part for many homebuyers. So be sure to start saving early. Despite a hefty down payment, there are other costs to prepare for when buying a home. It’s easy to forget about closing costs, which is usually 3-6% of the loan amount, as well as move-in and after move-in expenses. That’s why you should save your money early so you are prepared for these costs and budget correctly so that you can start off on the right foot.

7. Buy a Home for Tomorrow
Most people look for a home they want now, but they don’t think about what they’ll need for the future. It’s important to meet your current needs, but the future is just as important, if not more important than the present. Buy what works for the future you and you’ll be guaranteed to stay in love with your new home.

Why NOW Is The Right Time to Buy with Judd Builders

There are numerous perks to buying a new construction home verses buying a pre-owned home. Many individuals overlook new construction and miss out on the amazing opportunities that new construction homes have to offer, particularly those built by Judd Builders.

Stress Free and Efficient Building Process
We take great pride in our stress free and efficient building process. We offer unparalleled personal service and design throughout the entire building process. We want you to be happy and have peace of mind while your dream home is being built.

The Buyer’s Experience Takes Precedence
When you work with Judd Builders your experience takes precedence. We want you to get the home you deserve with the quality you would expect from a homebuilder with over 50 years of experience. We will stand behind you throughout your homebuilding journey and ensure that you are pleased.

Design Your House With the Help of Our Brand New Design Studio
Not only will we help you build your house, but we will help throughout the design process as well. With the help of our brand new Design Studio, you can better visualize your homes interior and select samples from all of our numerous options. From beautiful granite countertops to designer cabinetry, we can help you design your dream house with a timeless style that you will love forever.

Quality Locations
Our communities are built in some of the best locations that make easy living accessible for everyone. Nestled in sought after areas, every Judd community has amenities and nearby attractions to offer as well. From great school districts to convenient shopping and dining just minutes away, you don’t want to miss out on the quality of life within our spectacular communities.

New Opportunities are Ahead!
That’s right! New opportunities lay ahead with Judd Builders as we introduce our newest community, The Reserve at Glen Loch. Offering a distinctive blend of luxury carriage and townhome living, this new community will be located in historic West Chester, just minutes away from the best shopping and dining. If you’d like to stay informed click here and sign up for our priority mailing list to receive the latest news and updates.

If you would like more information on our other communities or our building process feel free to contact us! We can’t wait to hear from you!

Searching for a Home this Year

Searching for a home during any season can be a daunting task. However, if you are looking to make a big move, now might be the best time.

If you’re thinking about moving, getting an early jump on the home buying process will be extremely helpful so that the final decision isn’t so hard. Spring and summer tend to be the busiest seasons because of the wonderful weather for touring. So looking at locations, communities, and homes earlier in the winter or fall seasons will help narrow down your options and give you more opportunities to get the home of your dreams.

Start by looking for communities or locations where you would love to live. Also, think about if the locations and homes you are looking at work best for your work schedule and your off-hours lifestyle. However, don’t forget to ask yourself what you want from your home. Do you want a townhome or carriage home? What size home are you looking for? Would a new construction home be a better option for you and your family than a pre-owned home? All these questions are important to ask yourself. They can help you narrow your search and help you find the perfect home for you.

However, if you’re considering new construction as an option, there are a few things to think about.

  • Think about if you really want to upgrade a pre-owned home. When you buy a pre-owned home it comes with the previous owner’s interior choices and home improvement projects. These upgrades can get rather costly and take up a lot of your personal time. However, if you buy a new construction home you won’t have to worry about spending your hard earned money and time on home improvement projects. Everything is new when it comes to new construction so you won’t have to worry about upgrades or home improvement projects.
  • Think about the square footage that you desire. Knowing if you want a bigger or smaller home will help you weed through your selections. One of the best parts of working with Judd are the multiple floorplans they have for you to choose from. With all these options you’ll be sure to find a perfect plan for you and your family.
  • Think about the interior finishes you’re looking for. Buying a new construction home gives you the ability to choose your finishes. Instead of dealing with upgrading and renovating a pre-owned home, you can choose exactly what you want from the beginning, especially with the help of Judd Builders Design Studio.
  • Think about what type of community do you want to live in. All of Judd’s communities are planned communities that offer some of the best amenities. Enjoy the close-knit community life with your neighbors in some of the most sought after areas.
  • Think about all of the perks new construction has to offer. New construction has a lot of perks. Not only will the house be yours from day one, but you get to pick your homesite, floorplan, finishes, and more so that you and your family have their dream home!

With all this in mind, the best time to buy a home is when you are ready and whenever that is, Judd Builders is prepared to help you take the next step!

If you have any further questions feel free to contact us! We’d love to hear from you and answer any questions you have!

 

Now’s the Time to Make Your Move!

lg-reserve-benezet-8

Visit us today and check out our BRAND NEW Quick Move-In Carriage Homes. For a limited time, you can receive up to $20,000 in savings toward builder options on select Quick Delivery Homes.*

The Reserve at Creekside is located at 101 Linden Court, Flourtown, PA 19031 and is home to some of the most beautiful homes you’ll find all tucked away in a wonderfully charming community. The Reserve at Creekside carriage homes can be best described as having a true traditional beauty, while having all of the 21st century accommodations you need. Located in Flourtown, a few minutes from Chestnut Hill, and a short drive from Philadelphia, you can experience all sorts of business and cultural attractions from malls, to parks and sporting events in one short trip from home! For someone who enjoys a little of everything in their life, tucked in between the suburbs and the city, The Reserve at Creekside is the perfect place for you.

*20,000 incentive towards builder options is only available on select quick delivery homes for new customers. Incentive may be applied to builder preselected options and/or used to customize your home with additional upgrades. The Ardleigh model is excluded from this promotion. All prices and features subject to change without notice. Please consult sales manager for details.

Buying vs. Renting: The Pros and Cons

Home for Rent

Many people in this country have a “renting mentality” that renting an apartment is cheaper and therefore better than buying your own home. However, the costs of renting are going up exponentially, and in many areas can be as much as a monthly mortgage on a home. In fact, the NY Times reports that in order for rent and utilities to be considered affordable, they should take up no more than 30 percent of a household’s income; however, that is becoming harder and harder for middle-income families in this tightening market that’s pushing up rent costs.

Let’s take a look at the financial benefits of buying vs. renting. When will you be ready to buy a house?

Renting

Pros

  • No maintenance required, as the landlord takes care of broken appliances, exterior maintenance, etc.
  • Less commitment: It’s easier to relocate for business or a short-term stay when you’re on a month-to-month lease.
  • Avoid depreciating assets

Cons

  • Rent payments can increase at the end of the lease agreement.
  • Can’t build equity like you can in a home.
  • Don’t get tax benefits.
  • No control over living space: Can’t make major décor or renovation changes without approval from landlord.

Buying

Pros

  • You can build equity: a good thing since homes typically rise in value from four to six percent each year.
  • Take advantage of tax breaks for homeowners, deducting your mortgage interest payments and property taxes.
  • Mortgage payments remain stable over the term of the loan, provided you have a fixed-rate mortgage.
  • Your home is an investment that you can rent out and receive income for.
  • You become part of a community that you’re invested in, getting to know your neighbors, participating in community events and building roots for your children’s future.
  • You can make any décor and renovation changes you want. Even if you belong to a homeowner’s association, those organizations generally dictate how the exterior can look, not the inside, so you still have freedom.

Cons

  • You have to do and pay for your own maintenance, such as landscaping, plowing, appliance fixes and window replacement.
  • A home is not very liquid, meaning if you had to sell it quickly due to a divorce or job relocation, you may take a loss on it or you may not be able to sell it in time.
  • You have to pay property taxes, which can go up year to year.
  • While it usually does increase in value over time, this isn’t a guarantee. Your home can lose value over the years, especially in times of volatility.
  • You must invest at least some cash in your home as a down payment, along with cash for closing costs that you won’t have available for other investments.
  • You need to pay for homeowner’s insurance, whereas renter’s insurance is not always a requirement.

If buying a home is right for you, give Judd Builders a call today to get started on the home of your dreams!

Millennials: Home Buying and Tax Tips

for-saleMillennials are loosely defined as those who reached adulthood around the year 2000, with an estimated 76 million living in this country. As the last generation born in the 20th century, millennials tend to be more confident about themselves and the future, in part from being a product of the helicopter parenting generation. They’re the most ethnically diverse generation and most socially-networked. They’re saving more than their parents did and waiting longer to buy their homes.

Are you a millennial looking to buy your first home? You can save money with tax write-offs, from mortgage interest to real estate fees. Check out these tips to buying a home and saving some cash on tax write-offs.

Mortgage Interest

A mortgage is the single most expensive thing you’ll take on in your life. That’s because you have to repay the basic amount plus all the interest – paying thousands of dollars in interest annually even at a modest rate of three percent. Fortunately, you can deduct the mortgage interest you pay on both primary and secondary residences up to $1 million in mortgage debt, says The Nest.

Mortgage Points

Especially for your first mortgage, it’s likely you’ll have to pay points, also known as loan origination fees. Since these points are considered prepaid interest, they are tax deductible over the life of the mortgage. Points are the only thing you can deduct as part of your closing costs, so don’t plan on being able to deduct legal fees, commissions, home appraisals and other costs from closing.

Private Mortgage Insurance

Known for short as PMI, this fee is what you’ll pay if you can’t put at least 20 percent of the home’s sale price down. In this case, an extra cost called PMI is added to your mortgage, which is designed to protect the lender against losses if you can’t pay the bills. This is a form of mortgage interest, so go ahead and deduct it.

Real Estate Taxes

As a property owner, you have to pay real estate taxes to sustain public offerings in your community such as schools, parks, roads and libraries. You can write off these real estate taxes provided they are based on your home’s value.

Renovations

Typically, home renovations are not tax deductible, but if you implement certain energy efficient upgrades, you may qualify for federal tax credits. You may be able to claim up to 30 percent of things like small wind turbines, solar panel systems, fuel cells, geothermal heat pumps and solar-powered water heaters, according to Energy Star. In addition, if you have to accommodate someone in a wheelchair who lives in your home, you can deduct these renovations as medical expenses.

These tax tips can make your first home buying experience just a little bit easier on the wallet!

Mortgage Rate Trends

Mortgage rates

According to Bankrate’s interest rate survey, mortgage rates increased this week. Information to keep in mind for the Bankrate’s survey includes, a jumbo mortgage is a loan that is at least $650,000 and a basis point is one-hundredth of 1%. Here are some statistics from the latest survey: The benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage increased 6 basis points to 3.93%. The benchmark 15-year fixed-rate mortgage increased 7 basis points to 3.17%. The average 30-year fixed-rate jumbo mortgage increased 6 basis points to 3.84%.

The average 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage rose 10 basis points to 3.43%. With a 5/1 ARM, the rate is fixed for 5 years and adjusted annually thereafter.

The latest weekly survey from the Mortgage Bankers Association shows that Mortgage applications decreased 3.3% last week from the previous week.

In regards to the future of mortgage rates, this week (March 17th to the 23rd), half of the panelists of the Bankrate’s Rate Trend Index believe that Mortgage Rates will rise over the next week, a quarter say they will stay relatively unchanged and the remaining quarter thinks they will fall. The panel consists of mortgage bankers, mortgage brokers along with other industry experts. Click here to view the experts explanations from each prediction.

Philadelphia’s 10-Year Tax Abatement Program

philly tax abatement

Philadelphia’s tax abatement has benefited not only current and new homeowners, but also the city and its finances. It creates jobs, encourages development, attracts new homeowners, benefits owners of existing properties and more. Some may be wondering, what is Philadelphia’s 10-year tax abatement exactly?

The tax abatement simply put means that if you make improvements to a piece of real estate in Philadelphia, you won’t have to pay the additional taxes the improvement causes until 10 years later. For example, if you own a home in Philadelphia that is currently valued at $150,000 and you want to redo your kitchen, which will increase the value of your home. After it’s finished, the city’s assessors come to the conclusion that your home is now worth $25,000 more, for a total value of $175,000.

With the tax abatement, the additional $25,000 value is not taxed until 10 years after the recalculation; therefore, you would be taxed as if your home was still worth $150,000 for another 10 years.

This can be extremely beneficial for new construction. A structure is seen as an improvement to a property. So, someone who owns newly built and abated property will only be taxed on the value of the land for the first ten years after the property has been built. This results in a significant tax break, considering the owner would only be paying 10-20% of what their tax bill would be without the abatement.