Easy Winter Maintenance Tips For New Homeowners

If you’re a new home owner, or just dream of home ownership, you might be surprised at the seasonal work that comes with the territory. From tending the lawn all summer, to protecting your pipes against the cold, there are many things you should know about caring for your own home. Many people learn as they go, fixing problems that pop up due to harsh weather, precipitation and changing temperatures. This might leave you with costly repairs that could have been prevented with a little up front maintenance.

The following tips are easy to do, even if you’re not handy, but can help prevent damage, reduce utility bills and make life as a homeowner a lot more enjoyable!


Seal cracks and gaps around windows

Make your windows more airtight for the winter by sealing cracks and gaps. You can get weather kits at most home improvement and hardware stores to get you started. These often include detailed instructions to make installation even easier. This Old House offers some tips in this video if you’re looking for additional guidance.


Stop door drafts 

Doors can let in a lot of cold air during the winter even when they’re closed if they don’t seal properly, leading to high heating bills and a less cozy home. You can install door draft stoppers on every entry door to stop drafts in their tracks. These are easy to install, you simply peel the backing off and stick the material to the bottom edge of your door. A quick visit to your local hardware or home improvement store will get you started.


Winterize outdoor faucets

Freezing temperatures can be brutal on your pipes, especially outdoor faucets. Save yourself future inconvenience, and repair bills, by draining and insulating your outdoor faucets. The most simple way to do this is to purchase a kit designed to cover and seal outdoor spigots. These are inexpensive and come with easy to follow instructions.


Clean the gutters and downspouts

Gutters and downspouts protect your home from accumulating moisture, ushering water away from your roof and your foundation. If they are clogged with debris, or otherwise not functional, they can’t do their job. Cleaning these before the storms come will help protect your home. Simply removing debris by hand works, but you can also use a hose to flush them out. Here are some additional tips if you’re new to gutter maintenance.


HVAC upkeep

Your HVAC system works just about all year long, but sometimes people forget that filters need changed in the winter too! Not only will this help improve your indoor air quality, it’s equally important for airflow during the heating season as it is in the summer. Help yourself stay on track by putting a “change filter” reminder on your family’s calendar.


Last but not least, protect your pipes from freezing during cold snaps by keeping cabinet doors open to sinks that share external walls. You can also insulate pipes in unheated areas of your home and  let cold water drip from sinks to prevent freezing. All it takes is a small drip during the coldest hours to help save your pipes.

Tips on selecting the right floor plan

Other than curb appeal, a home’s floor plan is one of the top features that homeowners consider when looking at homes, and for good reason! It doesn’t matter if you’re buying or building, your future’s home layout will play a big role in your comfort. With so many options available, how can you find the right floor plan for you? 


It can be difficult to weigh the pros and cons of floor plans, but the following tips can help you zone in on what’s most important to you and your family. 


Consider your lifestyle

One way to compare floor plans is to think about your overall lifestyle. This allows you to more closely match how you use a home with available features and different layouts. For instance, if you love entertaining and having family get-togethers, you may want a formal dining room and a great kitchen. Or maybe it’s more important that you have spacious walk-in closets and storage than natural lighting and sunset views. All of these things should play into your decision. Just remember, you want to think about today and several years down the road as well.  


Consider your family plans

Houses are long term purchases, so it makes sense to include your long-term plans into your decision. Are you thinking of growing your family in the near future? If so, you’ll want room to grow, and maybe extra space for a playroom or nursery. If your family is going to be leaving the nest in a couple years, you may want less space and more room to entertain. Do you plan on retiring in the home? If that’s a possibility, you’ll want to consider how you’ll be able to utilize your home as you age. All of these decisions are important when looking at possible floor plans. 


Consider your “must have” features

Another way to compare floor plans is to consider your top features and weigh them against your options. To do this, make a list of things you can’t live without and a list of things that would be nice, if possible. Do this before you look at any options to keep from being influenced by the visuals of any potential home. After you have a solid list, then you can start looking at contenders. This allows you to really hone in on what’s important to you!


Vaulted ceilings or not? Enclosed deck for morning coffee or panoramic views of the rising sun? Upgraded kitchen with formal dining or a rumpus room? There are so many options when you look at a new home that it can be overwhelming. And since home ownership is such a large commitment, every little decision can seem more difficult. By using these tips, you can sharpen your list of wants and be confident in whatever decisions you make. 


Ready to look at floor plans? We have some great options to get your imagination going!

Are you ready for home ownership?

Owning a home is the American dream, but it can be hard to know if you’re in the best position to go from renter to owner.  Not only is home ownership a big responsibility, there are many factors to consider before you buy or build a home. If you’re completely new to home ownership, it can be even harder to know what questions to ask, and things to consider, before investing in a home of your own.  

If you’re considering buying or building a home, the following list can help you decide if you’re ready to take the leap. 


Are you really ready to settle down?

A house is a big financial commitment, but it also represents a commitment to staying in one location. You should ask yourself if your family is ready to commit to an area for a minimum of five years. This is typically considered the minimum number of years you need to live in a home to make it financially viable. You should consider your work commute, the quality of schools in the area and the availability of conveniences your family uses for entertainment and recreation. 

Family decisions

You’ll want to make sure that the house fits your needs today and can accommodate any changes you anticipate for the future. If you plan on growing your family, you’ll want to make sure your new home has room. If your kids are older, you may need less room as they move out.  Additionally, the decision to buy or build a home impacts every member of the family, so you need to consider everyone’s needs. For instance, families with children are going to be more interested in quality school districts and the availability of kid-friendly activities is important. 


Steady income

There’s no doubt about it, houses are one of the largest financial investments you can make. While they can definitely be a great investment over the long-term, you need to be financially stable first. So not only do you need a savings account to fall back on, you’ll want to have a stable job. Of course, there is no way of knowing what the future may hold, but there are signs to consider. If you’ve had your position for a few years and are with a stable company, you’re in a decent position. If you’ve switched jobs recently, or your company has been bought out or shows signs of instability, you may want to increase your savings before buying.


Owning a home is an incredible and rewarding experience, giving you a stable place to create memories that will last a lifetime. But buying or building a home is also a big responsibility, so it’s important that you set yourself up for success. By knowing your family’s needs, considering the future and being financially prepared you can make sure that you have the resources you need to move past the obstacles. 

If you’re ready to take the next steps, or want to window shop for the future, we have a gallery of homes online. 

Easy ways to Change Up your Home’s Decor

If you’re like many people these days, you’re spending a lot more time at home. For some, this might lead to a bit of restlessness about the look and feel of their living spaces. This may be worse for people that are used to switching up their home’s look every season or those daydreaming of building their own home one day.


As custom home builders, we’ve always understood the importance of making your space your own. Right now, however, this concept has taken on an even greater importance. To help people eager for a new look, but unsure how to make it happen, we’ve got you covered.


These easy tips can help you transform your space so that your living areas feel fresh, even if you’re spending a lot more time in them!




Spending a lot of time at home can be peaceful, but seeing the same scenery every day might make you a bit restless. One of the easiest ways to refresh your interior is to simply rearrange what you already have. By switching up the way your unique furnishings are used, any living space can feel new again. Has your living room furniture been in the same place for years? Move it all around so that you have an entirely new perspective from your couch. Do you have pictures that have been taking up the same wall space for a while? Move them to another room entirely or take them down for a while and enjoy a more clean look.  There are nearly endless ways you can rearrange your space to break up the monotony and enjoy a fresh new feel. 


Get crafty


It’s easy to buy new decorations to switch up the look of your space, but that can be a bit pricey. You can, however, try your hand at some Do It Yourself  (DIY) projects to create new accent and décor pieces. This is also a great way to spend some of that extra time at home!  The internet is full of great DIY ideas  like creating floating shelves, repurposing old items into containers or storage pieces for books. You can also make decorations and accent pieces for tables with a little creativity and perhaps an online tutorial. Imagine the pride of looking around your home and enjoying things you made yourself!


Add Some Greenery


One of the best ways to decorate your space is to add some greenery. And no, you don’t have to have a green thumb to keep plants in your home. While it’s true, some plants are more difficult to keep, there are many varieties that are robust and require little upkeep. For instance, succulents are very easy to care for and they come in many different types. So no matter your preference, you’re sure to find one that fits your home. The Monstera is another plant that will add a splash of green to your house. While it’s true that these plants are on the larger side, they only require weekly watering and medium sunlight. Finally, miniature cacti are a nice addition to any space and these need barely any care at all!  Just be careful with these if you have pets or little ones running around! 


While there is little we can do about the unusual and stressful times we’re facing now, we can make our homes a bit of a sanctuary from it all. From rearranging your space to adding a touch of green, these simple and affordable options will help you refresh the look and feel of your home. It also will give you something fun to do, all without leaving the comfort of home. 

Exterior Trends 2019

Exterior Trends 2019

Custom home interiors tend to take over the conversation when speaking about trends, but exteriors can be just as exciting and present plenty of opportunities to make your investment stand out.  From materials to styles to rooflines, custom home builders are constantly inventing and reinventing exterior ideas to fit personal tastes when building a new home Springfield, MO. Here are a few for 2019!

Color is an obvious way to adopt exterior trends without a commitment to a foundation.  Classic white with black trim is making a comeback, as well as warm neutral palettes like grays and blues.  On the other end of the spectrum, bolder shades like charcoal, black, dark green, dark red, and dark blue will make an appearance as accents and primary colors.  Black, in fact, seems to be emerging as a highly popular choice as a primary color, especially with the rising popularity of minimalist design.

Using siding in creative ways adds focal interest and a particularly unique look.  Think two-tone wood, or changing up the direction the siding flows. Natural wood is especially warm and inviting, but has presented problems with rot and pests in the past.  New engineered designs all but eliminate these issues, once again reviving this original idea. Mix up the medium, too – wood siding and brick is quickly coming on-scene. Color is prevalent here, too, with cool dark shades adding distinction and drama when building a new home Springfield, MO.

Windows may not seem like they’d offer much opportunity for character, but some manufacturers are sitting up and taking notice of the rising trends.  For years, it was difficult to create a colored window that would stand up to the outside elements, but recent advances have made that possible. Black vinyl windows are in high demand, but just about any shade is doable and will add contrast and character to your new custom home.

Intricacies of Building a Semi-Custom Home

construction, home, building, architect, carpenter, wood, plywood, metal, steel, nails, scaffold, roof, brick, home depot - high resolution photo - beautiful detail

What is a ‘semi-custom’ home? This question might be on someone’s mind who is buying a new home. The term isn’t as recognized as others in the world of real estate, but it is an option that many buyers consider. To gain a comprehensive understanding of this concept, let’s analyze what a semi-custom home is and what the process of building one entails.

What is a semi-custom built home?

This home is one where certain features are pre-determined and cannot be altered (i.e foundation, room locations). This part of the Building house. House construction. Many drawings for building, pencils and small wooden house on wooden background.building process includes using templates rather than having to put together a complete design and building plan. Builders also purchase many of the materials and finishings in bulk orders, providing deeper discounts to the homeowners. Choosing semi-custom speeds the process of building up versus building fully custom, and it can reduce the timeline by months.


With a semi-custom built home, the property owner maintains complete control over many parts of the house, the same as they would in a fully custom built home. Details that can be changed include flooring, cabinetry, bathroom fixtures, countertops and even the layout or use of some rooms, often known as flex-spaces, within the house.

This is often a fascinating option for those who don’t want to work from the ground up with their new property. By having pre-determined components in place, it speeds up the process while enabling the property owners to still personalize their new home.

Enables Better Control Over One’s Budget

Budget metaphor

A significant advantage of building a semi-custom home is in the budget. Everyone has a finite amount of funds to work with on their new home. Therefore, it is essential to sit down and find a method to control expenses. One of the best ways to do this is by choosing to build a semi-custom home.

Numerous fees are eradicated such as the extra hours charged by an architect to build a new plan. Other costs can easily be controlled by limiting the selection of many materials and finishings to only those that are in the homeowner’s budget. This control helps ensure the project does not fall apart midway because the funds were misused or unexpected costs arose. Budgeting becomes that much easier.

Another way in which homeowners can control the budget in a semi-custom built home is by deciding which aspects of the home are most important to them. While one family might dream of a chef’s kitchen that includes high end appliances, granite countertops, a wine bar and espresso machine, another might prefer to go with a simpler kitchen and spend more money on a luxurious outdoor living space with a fireplace, built in grill and seating and water features. A semi-custom built home allows flexibility where it is most important and the option of going with builder’s grade options where upgrades mean less.

Happy family on the floor with cardboard boxes moving in their new home - isolated

Studies have been done between custom and semi-custom homes to see which one costs less, (cost per square feet) and semi-custom homes came out on top. This is because materials are purchased in bulk by the builder and the timeline to build is reduced, and that equates to a significant amount of money saved.

Building a custom house is enticing as there is complete control from top to bottom, but sometimes, semi-custom is the best option, allowing control where you need it while reducing the added expenses and timeline involved. If this option is appealing to you, speak with us at Hawthorne Creek Homes to learn more about options available to you when building your own semi-custom home.

About the Author

Patrick Rogers runs Asurent Property Management based out of Medford Oregon. If you are needing property management services in that area, you can learn more at <a href=”http://www.medfordpropertymanagement.com/“>MedfordPropertyManagement.com</a>.