Understanding the home building process

Although you may own a few houses over the course of your life, having a home built is often a once in a lifetime event. This makes the entire home building process unfamiliar, and potentially stressful. How do you go about making decisions about things as fundamental as layout and types of appliances! Usually, you just find a home you like and renovate anything you do not like. This is a lot different than being a part of what goes into the home in the first place.

Having a home built for you and your family may seem a bit overwhelming, but it is also fun! We take the stress out of the process by simplifying everything from start to finish and by focusing on keeping buyers informed. The more you understand about the home building process, the more confident, and happy you will be with your decisions.

Today we are going to talk about some shared areas of confusion people have about the home building process.

Location is the first decision

You have a lot of decisions to make when you build a house, and one of the very first is location? Determining where you want your new home to be is one of the first and most important steps. So before getting into the details of your new home, think about basics. Where do you want to spend the next five or more years? What area fits your needs now and in the near future? And if the home is where you will retire, consider what that means regarding location.

You do not have to have a lot picked out

You do not have to have a lot picked out to get started, your home builder should be able to help you find a subdivision or acreage. If you know the general location you want to build in, they can point you in the right direction to select a lot. Therefore, figuring out where you want to live is a good starting point. But that should not limit you, because your home can be put on your own acreage, too. For example, we offer lot suggestions or can build directly on acreage you already own.

Floor plans are a starting point

When you have a home built, you may be offered several types of floor plans. These usually reflect unique styles of home, from farmhouse to cottage. The floor plan you select is the starting point for your home because you can select assorted options to individualize the plan to fit your preferences. You may be able to select options such as a basement, a fireplace, number of bedrooms, porch, and patio styles. Depending on your builder, you may have additional options to consider too.

Selecting appliance packages

The appliance package is simply a set of appliances that are available for your new home. This makes it easy on home buyers because it eliminates the need to pick out a bunch of items individually. These packages typically range in cost from low to high, allowing you to customize the appliances of your home to fit your style and budget. Just makes sure that the package has quality appliances, even at the starting level. When you visit the builder’s model home, be sure to ask what appliance package is represented.

Semi-custom homes  vs custom

Custom homes require the buyer to tell the builder specifics about the home they want built. It is like starting with a blank piece of paper and filling it in with a floor plan and all the other necessary details, right down to the type of lighting and faucets. A semi-custom home provides the buyer with a nice starting point and oversees many of the details that can be overwhelming. The buyer gets to then focus on individualizing the home with features they like. This is a less stressful way to build a home, but still provides the buyer with exactly what they want from their new home.

There are many details to think about and decisions to make when you have a home built. And undoubtedly, you’ll run into things you are unsure about no matter how prepared you are. Just take your time,  do your research, visit a model home and ask your builder lots of questions. They should be more than happy to walk you through everything until you feel confident.

Spruce up your house for spring

When you are managing the madness of life, you must prioritize more. That means you get the big stuff done but tasks like dusting do not make it to the top of the to-do list. Well spring cleaning gives you a chance to turn it all around. It is the perfect time to catch up and renew your home from the long, frigid winter.

If you need a little inspiration and encouragement before you roll up your sleeves for a day of spring cleaning, we can help. The following ideas will help you streamline your spring cleaning, so you get it done in less time and with less stress.

1. Spring switch up
Spring cleaning is not always about dusting and trips to take the trash out. At the heart of it, it is about taking time to care for your home so you can have the best experience in it. It does not have to be a substantial change either, it can be as simple as updating the arrangement of your furniture to make your space feel fresh and ready for new experiences!

• Switch out your curtains
• Change throw pillows and blankets in common spaces
• Put spring plants around the house
• Rearrange the layout of your living spaces
• Switch to spring colors for towels and bedding
• Put spring accessories and accents through the home (plants, candles, decorations)

2. Do not forget the odd spots
It’s true that everyone has their own version of clean but one thing we can all agree on is that there are plenty of spaces in a home where dust and dirt can hide. We’ve all “swept something under the rug” a time or two, like tossing random things into a junk drawer or skipping the under-table space when you mop. Spring cleaning is a wonderful time to give these less-seen spots a touch up, and you may be surprised at how big a difference it makes to how your home feels.

Here are few spots you may overlook during your routine cleanings:
• Move couches and other furniture vacuum or sweep and mop
• Dust all your surfaces, moving knick-knacks
• Ceiling fans and air vents
• Baseboards, especially those in busy areas or near air vents
• Vacuum and/or sweep and mop under beds and in closets

3. Conquer the junk drawer
It could be a junk drawer, a closet, or the garage, but about every home has a place where mismatched and forgotten items go. Over time that piles up and before you know it, you have a bit of clutter. Now is a wonderful time to turn that around by sorting through and getting rid of that extra junk. If you find this type of cleaning difficult, you are not alone. Most people have a junk drawer and messy garage because they find it hard too.

You can use this tip to make it easier – create a pile for saving, tossing, and giving. As you sort through things, consider the last time you used the item. Unless it is a seasonal item, if you have not used it in 9 or more months, ask yourself if someone else could benefit from it. If the answer is yes, put it in the giving pile. If it is broken or unusable, part of a pair or something you completely forgot about, it is time to let go and move on.

4. Do not be afraid to let go
That threadbare old t-shirt in the back of your closet may be unwearable, but it holds memories. We all know how hard it can be to let go of things you have a sentimental attachment to, and we are not suggesting you toss things you hold near and dear! However, there is a strategy you can use to weed out the extra stuff laying around. Focus on letting go of things if you are keeping them due to functionality and potential.

For example, if you have gained a couple pounds but have a pile of clothes that does not fit, you are keeping them because you think they have the potential. If you have old DVD players, chargers or kitchen gadgets stockpiled, you are keeping them because you think they may be functional in the future. Things that fall into these categories can be let go, re-homed and given a new purpose. This will clean the clutter without requiring you to let go of something with true, sentimental value.

Home is where the heart is, so it should be a comfortable place for you and your family to make memories and recharge. Taking a little extra time during the spring to clean out and renew it a bit can go a long way toward making it an even more warm and inviting space.

4 Questions to ask yourself before you build a home

Planning can be the hardest part of any task, especially when it comes to building a home. Building a home is an exciting and rewarding process, but it is also a significant commitment. And since most people only do it a time or two in their life, there are often many questions to ask and things to consider before you even get started.

You may be surprised at all the questions you have when you start to consider the options, but don’t worry. Asking the tough questions now can get you prepared for the exciting day you get to build your very own home.

How long do we want to live in the house?

Building a house is a long-term commitment and that means there are many things to consider before you break ground, like how long you plan to live there. This is important because life can change over time, and what works now may not work long term. So, ask yourself if you plan to live in the home for 2-4 years, 4-6 years or if you plan to retire in the home you are building.

What is the best location now and a few years down the road?

When choosing a location for your new home it is important to consider how the area will fit your family’s needs both now and in the future. For example, how long do you want to stay in the area? Are there certain school districts you want to live in, and will that matter four years down the road? Does your work commute weigh into the decision? These are just a few examples, but the list can be quite long depending on your situation. It is an innovative idea to locate schools, attractions, shopping districts and other places you may frequent before making a final decision.

What features are important to me right now and in the future?

You may not immediately need certain features, but building a home is all about looking into the future. Do you want a garage to protect your vehicles from the weather, or would you like one that is over sized to function as a hobby space and storage too? You might not need a spare room right now, but could you use a guest room or home office down the road? Your home’s main function might not be entertaining guests, but can you see yourself having family gatherings and holiday meals in the future?

Will the floor plan fit for as long as you live in the house?

A floor plan can make a home more or less livable depending on your circumstances. If you have teenagers, would you like to have space between their room and yours? Will stairs create mobility problems in the future or pose risk if children are in your future? If you have guests do you have enough space or facilities to host properly? A floor plan suited to your life can ensure your home fits your life, so it pays to take a little time to consider it carefully.

Nobody is more capable of understanding your family’s needs than you are, but that does not mean it is easy! Sometimes thinking ahead to anticipate life and future needs can be intimidating but do not let it overwhelm you! We go through this process all the time and are standing by to answer your questions and help you think through the possibilities.

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.