5 expenses new homeowners should plan for

Hawthorne Blog

Dec 2021


Title: 5 expenses new homeowners should plan for


Having a home built is the classic American dream, and for good reason! There is something special about having your own corner of the world where you can make things look and feel exactly like you want. With all of the excitement and thrill of building a home and becoming a homeowner, there are some realities that may get overlooked. These include some common expenses that may sneak up on you if you’re not prepared.


Here are a few expenses you may or may not have considered for after you move into your new home.


  1. Property taxes: When you rent a home you may not realize that taxes are paid on property every year. When you own a home this bill becomes your responsibility to handle. Each area has their own way to determine property tax, but it often varies based on factors like which city, county, or even school district you live in.
  2. Homeowner’s insurance: When you get a loan for a home, you are required to take out homeowner’s insurance to protect the asset. If you pay cash for your home, this isn’t required but is a smart way to protect yourself. Policies vary, but they typically cover property damage from things like fire, smoke, theft and damage caused by weather.
  3. Pest control: When you live in an apartment, pest control is handled for you. Sometimes when you rent homes, it is also handled by the property owner because it benefits them to make sure there are no pests. When you own your own home, this becomes your job and it is important. Regularly spraying for pests keeps critters out of your home and may even help prevent property damage.
  4. Landscaping and lawn care: Every home has their own needs when it comes to keeping lawns and landscaping looking good. When you first move into your new home, things are usually nice and tidy for you. Afterwards, it is up to you to keep things looking good, which costs you either time or money to maintain. This is a cost you will need to factor into your monthly budget.
  5. House maintenance: There are many things in a home that have to be maintained on a regular basis, from cleaning gutters to fixing cracks in the driveway. When you rent a place, a good deal of these types of things aren’t something you have to deal with, apart from things like changing air filters. As a homeowner, you have to take care of keeping things operating correctly, including keeping things painted, correctly cleaned and fully operational.


Last but not least, you should consider having savings set aside for emergency repairs. These are expenses that can pop up when you least expect it, which can range from inconvenient to financially difficult. By creating an emergency fund to handle pop up costs from needed repairs, you can relax and enjoy the home ownership experience with a lot less stress!

6 Easy holiday decorating tips

One of the things we love about building homes is the thought of creating a warm and inviting place for families to create memories. While we believe that home is always where the heart is, we know that the holidays offer an opportunity to bring family together. One easy way to elevate those special moments is to decorate your living space to match the beauty of the season.

You don’t have to be a professional to use the following tips to create a picture-worthy environment for your home this season. You also don’t have to break the bank to make it happen!

  1. Put away the summer colors and replace them with fall and holiday themes. It doesn’t have to be much, just some pillows, a throw blanket and other small accent pieces will do the trick. Of course, if you want to do it up a bit, you can hang some accent pieces around your home as well, especially near entryways.
  2. Centerpieces and table settings: Holidays and holiday gatherings offer you a great opportunity to enjoy some formal place settings. Even if you don’t want to pull out the fall-colored placemats, you can use a holiday centerpiece to make every dinner feel like a feast. You can use one for each holiday or select a nice fall-themed one that simply fits the season, not just an individual holiday.
  3. Seasonal candles: Few things are easier to decorate with than candles. It is easy to find fall and holiday themed candles to add a bit of cheer to every room. Consider mixing pillars with container candles, along with holiday and fall themed colors and scents. This will allow you to use your seasonal candles throughout the holidays and into the new year.
  4. Mood lighting: While lighting can be expensive, it doesn’t have to be. You can utilize inexpensive string lights to decorate eating and living areas for a get together. These quickly create ambiance and are versatile enough to use indoor and outdoor.
  5. Add accents to existing decor: You can add holiday-colored ribbons, or accents like tree ornaments to existing decor elements. This can turn your daily look into a more festive look with minimal cost and effort. For instance, add a garland or ornament to your mantle to give the space a holiday look without completely switching everything out.
  6. Decorate your porch and deck: Seasonal displays on your porch or outdoor living areas can add a new element of charm to your home. Placing mini-haystacks, gourds and similar displays around your entry is a simple way to create an inviting first impression. Using lighting and holiday displays on your deck or porch can also give holiday guests more places to sit and talk, extending your living space for family outings.

And don’t forget about the tree! Few things set the stage for holiday memories as easily as a well-decorated tree! If you have the space, consider setting up your main tree and a smaller accent tree. It’s not much more work than setting up your main tree but will instantly elevate your home’s decor into a more festive backdrop for creating those long-lasting holiday memories.

How to take the stress out of having a home built

How to take the stress out of having a home built


Having a home built just for you and your family is the American dream. Not only is it fun to customize a space to truly fit your needs, building your own home is a great way to start a new chapter in your life. With all of the fun and benefits to having your dream home built, there can be some stress as well. This is especially true for first time home owners, or those that have never been involved in having a new home built.


Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be so stressful if you know what to expect. Of course working with a professional new home builder also makes the process a lot easier. Here are some tips to help you get the home of your dreams without the stress.


  1. Location is often the first decision, which means you’re looking for a lot that works for your family now and in the near future. Something conveniently located for work and school may be ideal, but you may be fine with a commute if it means having beautiful scenery. If you think you know where you want to be, that’s great! If you don’t, we have plenty of lot suggestions that can help you in your search. 
  2. Get pre-approved for financing before you get too far into the process.. This removes a big question mark from the home building process so you can focus on the more fun details, like location, floor plan and features. If you have been through the process before, you’ll know what to expect. If you haven’t, you’ll want to educate yourself a bit first. Here is a good resource to learn about the pre-approval process. 
  3. Floor plans make the home because they have a direct impact on how happy you are with the space. Instead of stressing over the best layout, take a minute and make a list of things you find important in a home. Do you like the idea of having large living areas and a formal dining room? Do you like to entertain? Are you going to need more space in the upcoming years or less? Are stairs a problem? All of these factors play a big role in floor plan decisions.  
  4. Selecting features can be one of the most fun parts of the home building process. It can also be one of the more stressful ones if you’re not careful. It can be easy to be overwhelmed by your options or have trouble reaching a consensus on what’s important. Have everyone involved in the decision-making process list the types of features they want and compare your lists. This can be an easy way to prioritize what matters and what can be compromised on. 

There’s no doubt about it, having a new home built is a large division and substantial investment. There may be no way to completely remove the stress that comes with such a large change, it doesn’t have to steal the joy out of creating a beautiful space for your family to call home. If you have questions about the process, give us a call at (417) 724-9880 and we’ll be happy to help.

Home Building FAQ

Home Building FAQ

Building a new home is a dream come true for many people, but that doesn’t mean it’s stress free! Trying to understand the home building process can be overwhelming, especially to first time home buyers. This puts a lot of strain on people during what should be a fun and exciting time.


We understand that building a new home is something most people only do once in a lifetime. So while we handle these types of things daily, there are a lot of unknowns for the average home buyer. That’s what we put together this list of the most common questions we get from people ready to start the home building process.


What is the difference between a custom and semi-custom home?
A custom home is a home that is built around the ideas and preferences of the homeowner. This typically involves a homeowner which has specific ideas regarding layout, features, finishes and other specifics. A semi-custom home is where a home builder has some floor plans for you to consider as a starting point, but then customizes them along with other features of the house to meet your needs. So while a true custom home is a blank slate, a semi-custom home provides a starting point that you customize to meet your preferences.

What is a spec home?

A spec home is built on speculation by a builder, without input from a buyer. This means the builder decides everything about the home, from the location and floorplan through features. Generally, when you buy a spec home you do not have any say in it, you simply take what is offered. There are some exceptions, for instance you may get to choose a color scheme.


Do I have to have a lot picked out?


No, you do not have to have a lot picked out already. We have lot suggestions that you can look at and decide if they are right for your future home. If you do have a lot or acreage, however, we can put your new home on it as well.


Is it possible to see a home before making the commitment? 

It is always a good idea to walk through a home by a builder before you make any decisions. This gives you a first hand experience with the quality of the build, and allows you to see what some features look like in real life. Seeing a model home is the easiest way to handle this, and it usually also gives you an opportunity to ask questions in person.


How can you pick the right floor plan?

It’s important to consider your lifestyle, how you live in a home and what your family’s plans are for the next five or so years. For example, are you going to be growing your family and need more space? Or maybe your kids are getting ready to leave the nest? These factors play a big role in floor plan decisions. You’ll want to think about how you live in a house as well. For instance, if you like to entertain, you may want to focus on entertainment spaces and the kitchen.

Last but not least, you’ll want to make sure the home builder you decide upon has experience and a stellar community reputation. They should be readily available to answer questions and make you feel important, not rush you through any part of the process. After all, it may be just another day at the office for them but it’s a life changing decision for you and your family.

Learn more about the home building process, including what to expect from start to finish, here.

4 Reasons People Build A Custom Home

Too often people hear the phrase “custom home” and imagine ultra luxurious estates like what you see on television. This connects the idea of having a custom home to the very wealthy, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Custom homes are more common than you think and completely in reach for the average person.


In reality, custom homes are for everyone and we’re going to talk about some of the reasons people decide to go the custom home route.


    1. Floor Plans that fit
      If you’ve shopped for a new home, even for rent, you’ve probably seen floor plans that make you wonder what the builder was thinking. This happens because a home was built to fit the needs and wishes of someone that simply doesn’t match up with your own. By building a custom home you get to find the right floor plan for how you and your family live.

  • Features that fit

Features are important when it comes to overall comfort in your home. You may need walk-in closets, a formal dining area and commercial style kitchen while other people just want a den and large wrap-around porch. When you build a custom home, you can select features that match the life you want to live, helping to ensure that you’re happy with your home for years to come. 

  • Flexibility for the future

Families change, needs change and how you use a home changes over time. Sometimes you can predict these, but sometimes you can’t. For instance, if your kids are almost grown up, you can imagine an empty nest in the near future. If you’re wanting to start a family, you can imagine needing a play room and room to grow. Building a custom home while taking these ideas into account can help make sure your home fits your needs as your life changes.

  1. Budget control
    We know that it sounds like custom homes are always more expensive, but that is not the case. In fact, having a custom home actually allows you to control your budget and also allocate money where you prefer it to be spent. For example, you may not really care about having an extra room or a large patio but you do care about having a highly functional kitchen. When you build a custom home you get to allocate funds towards features that matter to you instead of paying for things you don’t really care about.

Buying a home is a large investment, but at least with a custom home you end up with a place you can truly call your own. With a custom home, you’re more invested in the process, and more comfortable with the results, which is important since you probably plan on living there for a long time!