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Back to School Drive

Giving back to our local community is something that is important to Garrett Walker Homes. Recently we learned of Children’s First Leadership Academy and have committed to organizing a back to school drive for them.

Children’s First Leadership Academy is a school for very low income and homeless children K thru 9th grade. Please join the Garrett Walker Homes family and provide whatever you’re able to this very worthy cause. Their specific needs are: pencils, headphones, clorox wipes, copy paper and non-perishable snacks. Click image below for details.

Back to School Drive

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Save on Utility Bills by Buying a New Construction Home

When purchasing a home, home buyers often focus on the cost of a home. This makes sense, since a home will be the most expensive thing many people ever purchase. However, if you’re in the market for a house don’t just focus on the listed prices and insurance rates. In addition to mortgage payments, taxes and insurance, you’ll also have to pay for utilities. Purchasing a newly constructed home, rather than an existing home, could save you a lot of money on your utilities.

Utilities for a Single-Family Home Aren’t Cheap

Water and electric (and gas, if you have it) for a single-family home aren’t cheap. If you’ve previously only lived in apartments, prepare to spend a lot more on heating your home in winter and cooling during the hot Arizona summer. Then there is cooking, powering lights and running appliances. In some cases, you may end up paying several hundred dollars a month — perhaps even over $500 a month — just for utilities.

When looking at a specific home, you should be able to get an estimate on how much to budget for utilities from either the current homeowner (for existing homes) or the builder (for new construction homes). Homeowners will have records of how much they’ve paid for electric and water over the past year, and it’s standard practice to provide prospective home buyers with the information. Builders of new construction homes won’t have a year’s history of utility bills, but they should be able to provide you an estimate based on their calculations and other homes they’ve sold.

New Construction Homes Are More Efficient Than Existing Homes

If you have utility cost estimates for a new construction home and an existing home, the new construction home’s estimate will likely be lower than the existing homes — possibly much lower. When all other factors (such as size and style) are the same, new construction homes have lower electric and water bills, because they’re more energy efficient than existing homes.

There are several reasons why new construction homes are more energy-efficient than existing homes. New construction homes:

  • have more advanced insulation than existing homes
  • use the latest building materials and building standards
  • are equipped with high efficiency HVAC systems
  • use high quality windows
  • seal all vents and duct work
  • are equipped with the latest energy-efficient appliances
  • are equipped with high-efficiency heat pump and water heater

Because utilities can cost so much, even a slight improvement in energy efficiency could save you a lot of money each month. Depending on the homes you’re comparing, the difference between a new construction home’s and a pre-existing home’s utility bills could turn out be in the hundreds of dollars.

Save Money Each Month with a New Construction Home

Even if a new construction home costs slightly more than a pre-existing home, the utility savings may more than make up for the difference in sale price. As the months go by, the money you save will add up. For example, if the difference in electric and water for two homes is $100, after five years you would save $6,000 by purchasing the more energy-efficient home. After 10 years, your savings would be $12,000.

As you shop for homes, ask your real estate agent to show you the monthly utility costs of each home you consider. You may just be surprised by how much you could save if you bought a new construction home instead of a pre-existing one.

At Garrett Walker Homes, we take great pride in our new homes and our community. We are an Arizona based home builder with strong roots in the state and understand the challenges that our harsh Arizona weather can present to new homes. We are committed to building beautiful, functional homes that use the very latest in energy efficient standards. We believe in sustainability and creating a better Arizona for everyone.

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New Home vs Existing Home in Energy Efficiency Battle

One of the many factors that home buyers are going to have to decide during the home buying process is whether they want to purchase an existing home or a new home build. Often times this is a very personal choice and many factors are considered before a final decision is made. One the factors driving buyers to new homes is the improvements and advances in energy efficiency over the past 5 years. Improvements in building materials, build process and home appliances are making new homes extremely energy efficient. Some of the primary factors driving energy efficiency in new homes are listed below.

Better Windows and Doors

A new home is going to use better windows and doors than previously built houses. Because of the emphasis on energy efficiency and green building techniques. Typically windows and doors will be a much higher quality and keep the colder air from escaping from the home. Newer windows and doors use advanced manufacturing techniques to ensure a tighter fit, thereby keeping the the cool air inside and not trying to cool the Arizona desert. Older windows typically use single-pane glass whereas newer windows use double-pane glass, which is more effective at keeping heat and cold air from penetrating the home.

Advanced Insulation

Depending on the age of the existing home, there’s a chance that the insulation used in its construction is in need of replacement. In some cases, it could even be non-existent. Insulation is essential to helping to keep cold air from escaping through the walls, floors and ceilings – especially when the home has an attic space. New homes are built using insulation with high R-values in the walls and ceilings to help ensure a better thermal envelope. New insulation methods are much more advanced these days with either blown in batts or blankets that help cover all the air pockets where previous methods could not reach.

Affordable Energy Efficient Appliances

Newly built homes are going to be fit with new appliances, which have become more and more energy efficient over the years. Existing homes are much more likely to have older appliances, from the oven to the washing machine, which eat up energy without performing at the standards set by newer models.

More Efficient HVAC

For Arizona homes the HVAC (air conditioning) system is usually the largest consumer of energy in the home. Keeping our homes cool on 110 degree days is a difficult task. The good news is that most HVAC manufactures have been able to create more powerful systems that actually use less energy.  Many of the new systems use a variable speed fan that helps circulate air in the home and extend the cooling period. In new homes the HVAC systems are more likely to be sized properly and to operate more efficiently. With a new HVAC unit at your house, and a brand new warranty to cover it, you will never have to worry about the air breaking in the middle of the summer. The HVAC systems in older homes are also more likely to need work – especially when it comes to the duct system. Older ducts often have air leaks and insulation problems that could require costly repairs or replacing the whole system. Buyers looking to purchase an energy efficient home need to consider buying a new home build. While these energy efficient features can be implemented into an existing home, the extra costs of doing so will make it more expensive than buying a new energy efficient house.\

Garrett Walker is dedicated to building homes that meet the demands of the new buyer. Our homes are functional, beautiful and use all the latest in energy efficient technologies to help home owners save on electricity bills.

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Saving on Energy Cost with a New Home

A survey conducted by the National Association of Home Builders indicates that energy efficiency and sustainability are among the most wanted features of new home buyers. New home builders are trying to meet this demand buy implementing building standards and using technologically advanced building materials. In then stands to reason that newer homers are typically much more energy efficient than existing homes. New home builders in Arizona are in many ways leading the rest of the country in implementing these new building technologies. The best part is that these new energy efficient homes are also of higher quality and comfort.

What to Look for in an Energy Efficient Home

When a home buyer sets out to look for a new home, it’s critical they find a home builder that utilizes energy efficient building technologies. Home buyers should ask the home builder about how the home was constructed and the utilization of energy efficient technologies. With continually rising energy costs energy efficient homes will save you money over the long run.

Additional ways to reduce home energy consumption:

  • Appliances that are optimized for energy efficiency.
  • Doors that are high-performance.
  • HVAC units that are optimized for energy efficiency.
  • Insulation that’s energy efficient.
  • Tight or air-sealed construction.
  • Windows featuring multiple panes or that are energy efficient.

Home Builders Helping Home Buyers

New home builders like Garrett-Walker homes will assist home buyers is finding additional ways to control or reduce energy costs. For example new Garrett-Walker homes come with programmable thermostats and insulation in crawl spaces to aid in the reduction of utility bills. Creating sustainable building methods and helping home buyers reduce overall energy consumption is a prime objective of Garrett-Walker homers. As a new home owner you should feel like you have made an investment in a home that will last a lifetime.

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Closing Costs for First Time Home Buyer

Closing Costs for First Time Home BuyerIf you are a first time home buyer, you may hear people refer to closing costs. One of the tips for first time home buyers that you need to know is how to prepare for closing. The finalizing of a real estate transaction is called the closing, and any costs associated with that closing, on the part of the buyer or seller, is referred to as closing costs.

Closing costs aren’t a single charge, but refer to all expenses/costs associated with your real estate loan. One of the best tips for first time home buyers is there should be no surprises. All closing costs must be listed on your settlement form. All lenders are required to provide you with these costs by providing you with “good faith estimate” within three days of loan application.

The exact amount of closing costs will vary and some are negotiable. The following is a comprehensive list of possible closing costs.

  1. Credit report fees. The mortgage company will check your credit before issuing a loan, there is a fee for this.
  2. Origination fee. This covers the paperwork and labor incurred by the lender to process the mortgage.
  3. Inspection fees. The buyer and/or the mortgage company may require an inspection of the property, and this fee is included in closing costs.
  4. Recording fees. This covers any fees charged by the government for any filings and recording of the transfer of the deed.
  5. Discount points. This is extra money you may put down to reduce the mortgage rate.
  6. Survey fees. Most lenders will require a survey to confirm the property size and borders.
  7. Appraisal fee. Before a lender will issue a loan, they order an appraisal to ensure the appraised value is equal to or greater then the purchase price of them home.
  8. Brokerage commission. The commission paid to the brokerage house responsible for making the sale and representing you during the sale.
  9. Title search. A fee paid for performing a background check to make sure the mortgage is clean, with no liens or other unpaid bills associated with the property.
  10. Title insurance. A policy to protect the lender in case the title search doesn’t find any existing unpaid claims/assessments.
  11. Home warranty. Your new home is warranted for one year. Garrett Walker Homes includes a 2/10 builder warranty on all of our homes to ensure additional piece of mind.
  12. Escrow deposit. This is that is money rolled into the loan to cover things like upfront/prepaid property taxes and insurance that the lender may be asked to pay as part of the mortgage. This usually amounts to two months of pre-paid taxes and insurance which help to set up your escrow account.
  13. Pro-rated taxes, insurance and fees. This can cover anything that is owed by either party due to the closing being made in the middle of the month or year. For instance, the seller may have already pre-paid property taxes for the year, and now the buyer is responsible for the pre-paid portion from the closing date going forward..
  14. Termite inspection. New homes are treated for termites. You will be provided a termite treatment certification stating the soil under and around the foundation was pretreated for termites. The termite company who performed the treatment warranties the treatment for a period of three years.

These are most of the things you are likely to see on a closing document, but there may be others. Always request a good-faith estimate as early as possible so that you can prepare for the fees and attempt to negotiate what you are able. Also, carefully go over each line item at the closing table to make sure there is nothing unexpected or out of line. In addition, make sure that the closing costs are being charged to the correct party, as many of these costs can be paid by the buyer or the seller or both.

Closing costs are a normal part of obtaining a new mortgage. Knowing in advance what these costs are will help you set aside the required funds and avoid any last minute surprises.

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Advantages of buying a new home

Advantages of buying a new home

Garrett-Walker Home

If you are in the market for a home, you have probably been trying to determine whether you want a newly built home, or if you want to go with an older home. While it is important to consider all of the options before you when deciding on a big purchase like this, it is hard to deny the clear advantages new homes offer. Customizable, less maintenance surprises and even that new home smell – newly built homes bring a number of benefits that older homes cannot match.

Clear Advantages of Buying A New Home

The advantages of buying a new home are numerous. Some of these include:

Less Maintenance

New homes are built with new materials, which means you can expect many years of trouble free use. The same cannot be said for older homes. When you buy an older home, you may discover that certain components – roof, plumbing, appliances, insulation – are wearing out. The chances of needing to replace something on an older home are high.

You also get a warranty on the home that ensures any issues that do arise are fixed immediately. Even when the warranty expires, you still have the peace of mind that comes from new construction. Yes, your home will wear and need upkeep over time, but you should have years before any of this becomes a major concern.

Customizable

One of the biggest advantages of buying a new home is the ability to customize it. When you order a new home from a builder, the builder will take you through a customization process. You will get to pick from different floor plans, and you will get to choose any additions that you want to include in the final product. These can include customized accents, cabinet style and stain, flooring, countertops, hardware finishes and more. Your options will depend on what is offered at each community plan, but you will be the one deciding how the home turns out.

Incentives

While this will depend on the community, another one of the advantages of buying a new home is the different incentives you can choose with your purchase. Incentives change but you may be able to receive free or reduced options and/or receive a certain percentage paid toward your closings costs. You may be able to get an upgrade to your new home that would normally cost thousands extra, just for deciding to buy new.

Increased Energy Efficiency

Another one of the great advantages of buying a new home is that your home will be much more energy efficient than if you were to choose an older model. New home builders employ all of the latest building methods and materials that result in a more efficient home; such as Low E dual pane windows and 14 seer heat pumps. You can get energy efficient appliances, HVAC systems, stoves, lighting and more. You can choose insulation options that will reduce your energy consumption as well.

Increased Fire Safety

Newly built homes are manufactured to current building codes, which often means they will have fire safety features that do not exist in older models. These fire safety features may include fire retardant in building materials and smoke detectors that are hard wired into the electrical system of the house. You and your family can rest a little easier knowing that the home is as well protected from fire.

Better Financing

Many new home builders have financing agreements with particular lenders, giving you the option to finance the home at a better rate or with added perks that you would not get from another lender. These financing deals are specific to each lender, but better financing is certainly one of the possible advantages of buying a new home.

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Home Ownership with Minimum Down Payment

Buying a new home is a dream to many Americans, but it’s often one that goes unfulfilled for a variety of reasons. For first-time buyers, it’s the down payment that proves to be the biggest obstacle standing in the way of home ownership.

Home ownership with a small down payment is possible with the right loan

Most standard home loans require a down payment of 20 percent of the home’s selling price. However, it can take years to save up the cash required for such a down payment. Between paying rent, building up emergency funds and saving for retirement or college tuition, putting away an additional $40,000 for a $200,000 home can be a daunting task.

A large down payment shouldn’t stand between you and future home ownership. Fortunately, there are plenty of options available that can help you get one step closer towards the home of your dreams.
 Home Ownership with Minimum Down Payment
There are plenty of home loans available that make home ownership easier to achieve. Many of these loans offer down payment options that significantly lower your down payment. Once you qualify for a home loan of this type, you won’t have to worry about paying tens of thousands of dollars up front.

Federal lenders have recently launched several home loan programs to assist first-time homeowners. These programs help potential buyers by lowering their down payments by as much as 3 percent. There are even programs available to help you get into your new home with no money down and reasonable rates throughout the life of the loan.

With the right loan, you won’t have to spend years putting away a down payment for the home you want today. Garrett-Walker Homes is proud to offer affordable solutions for home buyers, whether it’s your first time buying a new home or if you’re relocating and need another place to call home.

Unique Solutions for New Home Buyers

 Home Ownership with Minimum Down PaymentNo two households are alike and neither are the solutions they need. Our expert team of mortgage specialists will work with you to find the ideal minimum down payment loan that works for your unique set of circumstances. Once we’ve found a loan that’s right for you, we can help you make the move towards home ownership.

Realizing your dream of owning a home becomes much easier when you qualify for a home loan with minimum down payment. Contact the Garrett-Walker team today to get started on the road to home ownership.

Exclusive to Garrett Walker Homes when using our Preferred Lender you may be eligible for $500 down payment program available at select communities.

To learn more about what options may be available please contact a Garrett Walker Homes team member using our Contact Us tab.

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