Monday, December 30, 2013


Are you a last minute New Year's Eve planner, or, have you enjoyed the same standing plans year after year?  No fear, we've scoured the web to find the BEST North Texas has to offer, so, peruse our list of links to a fun way to say goodbye to 2013 and hello to 2014!

Do you seek vegetarian fare, or do you wish to celebrate like a Parisian?  Is dinner only or dancing the night away your speed?....Guidelive has a listing of NYE celebrations, most with a fixed price menu.

If crowd-braving like all those in Times Square says NYE to you, then check out Dallas's annual Big D NYE Celebration. We've personally never been crowd tolerant enough, but have heard rave reviews!

SideDish, DMagazine's deliciously hip blog, has a complete listing of hot spots and their celebrations. We can almost guarantee you'll feel ultra hip and at least a few years younger. We did, just by reading this list!  Ha! gets in on the list making with varied events featuring, Dallas favorite, The Emerald City Band, to acts at Billy Bob's in Fort Worth.

Real Posh Mom gets in on the action, too with a list of fun times...there are even a few listings geared to the preschool set thrown in for good measure!

A few of UrbanMama's top picks:

Celebrate in style with dinner and a performance at the Dallas Symphony

Enjoy all that Klyde Warren Park has to offer and ice skate, too!

Our Annual Urban Tradition:  Enjoy dinner at a favorite restaurant, then fun & games at home.  Our personal, fav tradition....Fireside Pies at The Shops at Legacy.  Dinner starts at 5pm, so that's perfect with little ones, and there is NEVER an upcharge menu.  Good food at decent prices=a great way to celebrate! Then end the evening with drinks and board games at home, with a broadcast of big band jazz from coast to coast on NPR. 

No matter how you choose to celebrate, TEAM-PRZADA wishes you a happy and safe new year.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Don't Ignore Those Sounds On Your Roof.....

and other tips are certainly helpful to prevent winter wildlife problems, according to Bonnie Bradshaw with the Plano Star Courier.  Read on for her other tips.

1.  Don't provide a midnight buffet.  Birdseed, pet food and table scraps should be secured as to not be a temptation to wildlife.
2.  Don't put out a welcome mat.  Make sure you repair loose shingles, deteriorating boards or warped siding, as well as trim overhanging branches which provide an on-ramp to critters.
3. Don't forget friends in low places.  Cover crawlspace openings with heavy gauge, rust proof mesh.
4. Don't ignore the pitter-patter of little paws on your roof.  Go investigate! Wildlife that gain access to your attic can chew through electrical wires, cause water damage, and destroy attic insulation.  A good offense is the best defense in this case, see tip #2.
5. Spread the word.  If you see something, share with your neighbors.

Coming in the Spring!!!

We have received quite a few inquires regarding TEAM-PRZADA's Annual Food Drive benefitting the Plano Food Pantry and Second Chance SPCA.  No fear Clients & Friends, it will return....only in the spring of 2014!  Check out the links below for information from previous years, and start collecting those cans!!! 

Thank YOU!

A Message from The Plano Food Pantry

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Practical Applications for Pinterest...There Are A Few :)

I built my new house on really. Okay, okay, save the eye roll people, PUHLEEZE  :) I promise, this tip is worth it!

I suppose you could say I built my new house using a matter of speaking.  Before we attended our design center appointments, I came up with a plan, you know, that left-brained, type A part of me just could not help it.  I did not want to be overwhelmed at the design center and I wanted to enjoy it....yes, I LOVE that kind of long as I have a plan.  I knew we would be assigned to a designer, a fantastic one, as it turned out, but I was also warned by my stellar Realtors ;), that there are just SO many decisions to make in a predetermined amount of used Pinterest to create lookboards to share with the designer.  As it turned out, SHE LOVED THE IDEA.  It was a great tool to use to communicate my vision for our new home, and it gave our wonderful designer a "jumping off point" for her to make relevant suggestions and help us bring our vision to life.  At the very least, a collection of photos can give clues to your design style that will help you and your designer make THE MOST of your time together.  I think it also provides that much appreciated insurance against that overwhelmed-eyes-glaze-over feeling while making your selections for your new-build home.  In the end...this strategy, along with being focused on what we wanted, and the good fortune of a wonderful designer proved to be a winner!

Using Pinterest boards to visually communicate what you want to create does not have to be limited to building a new home.  I can also recall an instance where I used a "pin" I found on Pinterest to show a contractor the type of board and batten I wished to hire him to install.  In my experience, it is really hard to have a misunderstanding on how a finished product will look when two people are operating from the same photo and the discussion it creates.

Users can create just about any type of Pinterest board they can think of and a smart phone or tablet in order to visually communicate ideas.  A DIY project that needs special materials from a home improvement store just begs for a photo to ensure the proper materials are purchased.  Users can also create a virtual landscaping plan to share with landscape professionals.  Users can create holiday shopping lists with the help of "secret" boards, as well as plan your upcoming Thanksgiving meal.  The possibilities are endless!!

Just in case Pinterest is new to you, here is the Pinterest 411:

  • Pinterest is a free, online, social, sharing site...think of it like a virtual bulletin board or file folders.  Each board is like its own file folder or bulletin board which, you, as the user create.  
  • As the user, you decide how to organize "your pins."  Your pins are images with embedded links to the original content on the web.  
  • You can select pins from other "pinners" (other users you follow), you can grab pins from the internet, (just be sure you GIVE CREDIT), or you can upload original content for others to pin and share.
  • If you see a great idea that you want to share with your dear friend, you can add his/her name in the comments or email it, and the pin will find your friend, as long as your friend is a fellow Pinterest user.
  • In order to use Pinterest, you have to sign up.  If you choose, you can link your account to your Facebook account.

What are you waiting for????  Start pinning..and while you are at it, check out TEAM-PRZADA on Pinterest.  

Friday, November 15, 2013

Light The Menorah....

This year, Hanukkah, begins on Wednesday, November 27th and ends on Thursday, December 5th.  In order to celebrate The Festival of Lights at sundown, check out the variety of Menorah Lighting ceremonies around North Texas.

Menorah Lighting Ceremony- Galleria of Dallas
Wednesday,November 27th, 2013 
Lighting Ceremony after 5:21pm
Event held at guest receptionist center and Sephora

Menorah Lighting Ceremony- Thanksgiving Square
Friday,  November 29th, 2013 
Lighting Ceremony at 5:03pm
Thanksgiving Square
1627 Pacific Ave Dallas, TX 7520

Menorah Lighting Ceremony- Starbucks at Preston
Saturday, November 30th, 2013 
Lighting Ceremony after 6pm
18208 Preston Road Dallas, TX 75252-5925
Menorah Lighting Ceremony- North Park Mall
Sunday, December 1st, 2013 
Lighting Ceremony after 5:20pm
Event will be located between Barneys New York and Nordstroms
8687 N Central Expy Dallas, TX 75225
Menorah Lighting Ceremony- Central Market Plano
Monday, December 2nd, 2013 
Lighting Ceremony after 5:20pm
320 Coit Road Plano, TX 75075
Celebrate Chanukah with the MAVS- Jewish Heritage Night
Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013
Events start at 5pm at the American Airlines Center
6:15pm Menorah Lighting ceremony, followed by 7:30pm game
tickets a must

Trim That Tree.....

Do you love, I mean SUPER-LOVE attending your community tree lighting ceremony?  It is certainly a festive way to get in the holiday spirit!  Check out upcoming area tree lighting events and you can oohh-and-ahh till your holiday heart's content.  The events are listed in chronological order to make planning your holiday calendar a snap!  

Dallas- City Lights
6pm-10pm on Friday, November 16, 2013
1902 Main Street, Dallas
Lighting Ceremony will begin at 7pm at Main Street Garden
Photos with Santa and entertainment, along with the unveiling of the Neiman Marcus windows

McKinney- Home for the Holidays....A McKinney Christmas
10am-8pm on Friday, November 29th, 2013
111 North Tennessee Street
Tree Lighting at 6pm on Friday in Historic Downtown McKinney
Enjoy shopping and family activities, and entertainment all day

Plano- Dickens in Historic Downtown Plano
6pm-10pm on Friday, December 6, 2013
901 E. 15th Street
Tree Lighting at 7pm in Haggard Park

Allen- Annual Christmas Tree Lighting
7pm-9pm on Friday, December 6, 2013
305 Century Parkway
Tree Lighting at 7:15pm at Allen Civic Plaza

Richardson- Richardson's 42nd Annual Christmas Parade
9am-7pm on Saturday, December 7, 2013
Parade begins at 9am and will travel north on Plano Road from Richardson Square to Apollo Road
Parade Award Ceremony at 5pm, Tree Lighting will follow immediately along with the opening of Santa's Village

Frisco- 3rd Annual Merry Main Street
5pm-9pm on Saturday, December 7, 2013
6101 Frisco Square Blvd,
Tree lighting at 6pm Simpson Plaza at City Hall

Friday, October 25, 2013

Water 411

Did you know that area water restrictions are projected to extend into our winter months?  Well, me neither!  According to the article in the Dallas Morning News, Metro Section, Collin County on 10/18/2013,

The North Texas Municipal Water District will retain Stage 3 water restrictions during the winter months.  Collin County residents will be permitted to water their lawns once every other week between November 1st and March 1st.  The continued restrictions are a necessity due to the following factors: 
  • below average rainfall
  • falling water levels in the district's water reservoirs
  • ongoing prohibition of pumping water from Lake Texoma due to the Zebra Mussel infestation
  • key area reservoirs are currently well-below acceptable levels, Jim Chapman Lake, in Delta County sits at less than 30 percent of its capacity, while Lake Lavon, the area's major supply is sitting at less than 50 percent of its capacity which translates to 12 feet low
Of course, if significant rainfall occurs, the board of directors of the NTMWD, will reevaluate the Stage 3 water restrictions. 

Shall we all do a rain dance???  I am thinking.....YES!! 

Friday, October 4, 2013

Chestnut Square...Oh YOU Know I'll Be There!

So as part of my mission to get to know my new city, McKinney, I have decided it is of the utmost importance to participate in local events.  You know, I JUST HAVE to get the vibe of my new hometown. Well, I couldn't think of a better way to accomplish this than to explore Downtown McKinney and all that it has to offer. SCORE!!!  I am in love! Thus far, we have enjoyed the following to date:

  1. The Trolley tour!
  2. Scare in the Square
  3. Shopping & Dining around Downtown- YUM!!
  4. ***My Personal Favorite*** The Historic Downtown McKinney Farmers Market, at Chestnut Square.  It is packed with farm fresh fruits & veggies, pasture raised and fed beef, goat cheese, "from scratch" salsa and wonderful tamales!  For the little ones, you'll find a hard-working blacksmith and live music. You can also visit the sweet goats, Collin & fun.  My personal picks:  make sure you check out Cita's Salsa and The Tamale Company.  Neither will disappoint.
As fall progresses, I certainly plan on taking advantage of the Legends of McKinney- Ghost Walk Tour and in the spring, I can't wait to take my little one to explore Living History at Chestnut Square  We will be sure to enjoy it! 

Just for pre-schoolers and Kindergartners!   Explore chores, games and crafts that kept the pioneers headed west busy.  Take pictures on a real tractor, wash clothes on a washboard, feed baby chickens and goats, play pioneer games, listen to a story in the schoolhouse and see demonstrations of spinning, blacksmithing, butter making and Dutch oven cooking. 
It is a joy to experience some of the events our new community has to offer.  Our adventures are certainly helping us understand why McKinney's slogan is Unique by Nature.  We encourage you to explore your community, wherever that may be.


Monday, September 23, 2013

Pinterest and Facebook and Blogs....Oh MY!!!

If it’s sharing you want, then sharing you will get!!!  TEAM-PRZADA presents you with a variety of tools to share and experience your real estate transaction via multi-media.  Clients can learn about what’s hot in North Texas from TEAM-PRZADA’s Facebook page, North TexasLifestyle.  Check out our TEAM-PRZADA fanpage for your “finger on the pulse” snapshot of our local Real Estate market.  Build your dream home, room by room just by following TEAM-PRZADA on Pinterest….there are endless possibilities and ideas just waiting for YOU.   Our YouTube channel is full of great home owner tips from Pat Przada, himself, and shows our latest listings.  Check out EVERY home, virtually, that is!  ;)  And, if it’s an informative, sassy take on all things Real Estate, make sure you check out Housing Cents....weekly!  We know you be back for more! 


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Get 3...Word of Mouth....Browse the Net? How do YOU Do?

How do YOU go about getting estimates for repair or remodeling work you wish to schedule?  Do you:

A) Secure 3 estimates and compare the bids?
B) Go on "word of mouth" alone from a trusted friend?
C) Browse Angie's List or reviews on the internet?
D) Have your own system?

We at TEAM-PRZADA live by the "get 3" rule, but we have also been known to peruse Angie's List for more information.  Of course, a recommendation from a trusted source goes a long way in helping us make a decision when looking for the right professional to complete a task.  If you find yourself in need of a vendor or service, feel free to contact Pat or Nancie for some great suggestions.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Searching for a Vendor?

Well, we were too.  That is why we complied a list of vendors we have had experience with, or, come to us highly recommended.  Use at your discretion.


Friday, August 16, 2013

Mobile APP it UP!!

Don't forget to click on the above image to connect with TEAM-PRZADA's Moblie App. 

Keller Williams is the FIRST Real Estate franchise to release an agent-branded mobile search app! To download the APP, just click on the link for your desired device...iphone or google android.   This is just one more tool that Keller Williams and TEAM-PRZADA provide to you to personalize and maximize your property search experience.  Here are a few of the features the APP provides, according to KW Blog:
    • The ability to search for homes based on criteria or by custom drawing on an interactive map;
    • GPS localized data displays homes in a given area that match the consumer’s price range;
    • The ability to easily swipe through galleries of photos to decide whether a home fits one’s needs and then add it to saved searches for convenient reference on the app or via the agent’s website, where the saved searches are synced;
    • The ability to save notes on properties for future reference; and
    • Faster communication between agents and consumers via call, text or email.
Here are a few of THE BEST features, according to UrbanMama, TEAM-PRZADA blogger:
  • VERY user friendly
  • high resolution photos
  • links to points of interest in user specified neighborhood
  • ability to contact TEAM-PRZADA directly from the APP
  • ability to search all open houses in user specified area
  • ability to set multiple search parameters such as: rent, sale, price range, search for price-reduced homes or new listings only, school districts, etc.
  • ability save searches, send listings to TEAM-PRZADA
SEARCH, SEARCH, SEARCH until your heart's content!! 

If you have any problem entering the code when you download, contact Nancie @

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Who's Got Your Back???

WE DO!!!  TEAM-PRZADA is a great resource to utilize if you find that you are having housing issues after the ink is dry on your contract and you've moved into your new home.  There is no better advocate or source of advice for you and your investment than the REALTORS who helped you find your home.  With numerous years experience as homeowners and REALTORS you can't go wrong.  A list of vendors at the ready, doesn't hurt either.  Contact Pat or Nancie with your homeowner questions!  TEAM-PRZADA's customer service lasts well beyond the closing table.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Do YOU Know???

Let's say you have bulky items you need picked up, or you are a recycling king/queen and want to know if you can obtain an extra recycling container...what do you do? Do you know your city's policy on lost and found pets, or how about city library programs or how to find out about community event celebrations?? Check out this month's upcoming TEAM-PRZADA newsletter for a resource guide on finding more information on your city's services. 

Happy reading y'all!  ;)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

What To Do??? this crazy seller's market if your home sells BEFORE you expect it to and you are not able to move right in to your next home????  Do you:

A) find an apartment lease that fits your time frame and kick it apt style?
B) go to a hotel and pay lots of $$$, but consider it a vaycay?
C) crash with a friend and hope to leave before you wear out your welcome?
D) select an extended stay hotel and live like the frequent business travelers do?

All joking aside, this scenario could very well happen to you if you list in the current market.  Each option is valid, but I suppose it depends upon your needs and the length of time you need an "in between home." 

Next question, what to do with all of your stuff?  Do you:
A) move it back home to Mom & Dad's garage?
B) find a storage facility?
C) select a PODS container? 
Again, your selection depends upon your time frame and your needs. 

Recently, we were faced with this same situation....three weeks between day of closing/move out of our old home-day of closing/move into our new home.  Given the amount of stuff we have, our three week time frame and the fact that a 4 y.o. and two big doggies come with us, we opted for an extended stay at a business type hotel.  It is three weeks in a hotel, but if you have to find an extended stay, it is pretty great.  We have a two bedroom suite and they allow up to two pets.  There is a sport court, a pool and a gym on site and they provide a pretty good breakfast EVERYDAY as well as happy hour/dinner Monday-Thursday.  Check out TEAM-PRZADA's Vendor List for a link to the Hyatt House in Addison, if you wish to find more details.  THE stuff, where did that go?  Well, we were a bit all over the map on that one.  About 1/3 of our possessions are in a PODS storage facility somewhere and the remaining possessions are in three separate storage units at another storage facility.  Storing all of our belongings now is a far different story than it was in my college days.  Ha!

All in all, it's a pretty good problem to have, isn't it, because it means our house SOLD and FAST!  I think I should wish the same for you! ;)

Good luck out there, friends, listing and buying!

              ~ Urban-Mama

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Summer Plans With The Littles????

As the school year closes and summer heats up are you staring at an empty calendar?  Are you thinking, what will we {me + my kids} do with all of our free time this summer?  Well, check out Dallas Child magazine's extremely helpful calendar link.  In just a few easy clicks, you can see, select and plan your month's worth of activities with your little sweetie [s].  #you'rewelcomeverymuch

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Healthy Boom or Another Bubble?

"It's not a matter of negotiating in this market, it's a matter of pretty, pretty, please, what can I do to win your property?" -Jordan Clark, Real Estate Agent, Redfin

US News | Syria News | More ABC News Videos

What are your thoughts?  Check out this month's TEAM-PRZADA newsletter from our very own virtual assistant as she dishes the details and shares tips from her personal experience with selling her home in this unique market!!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

La Craie, La What???? what I have to say about my latest crafty venture!!!  This past weekend, I took a beginning painting class to learn how to use Maison Blanche La Craie Paint.  What am I painting you may wonder?  Well....what ever I WANT, yo!!  My purpose was to learn how to paint furniture.  Let me put it this way....I am never going to be the sand, re-sand, strip, stain or paint and buff kind of gal!  It's just not gonna happen people.  My life is too C-R-A-Z-Y.    In fact, I've wanted to paint several pieces of furniture for a looooong time now, but the thought of all of those steps kept me in just-thinking-about-it-mode.  And sadly, those lovely pieces are just collecting dust in storage. 

Fast forward to an impending move.....and the need for some new OR new-to-me furniture. This was JUST the motivation I needed to create a plan to get painting!!!  So.....enter Southern Vintage Glam, Maison Blanche and the FAB-U-LOUS April!  Are you scratching your head, yet???   Southern Vintage Glam is a charming boutique and salon in downtown Plano.  One trip and I was HOOKED.  They sell the most divine jewelry, gifts, women's clothing and those perfect accent pieces that you-know-you-have-to-have-them-as-soon-as-you-see-them, and PAINT, (the BEST paint, I might add).  Located in the back of the store, is a salon.  All of this lifestyle genius is created and run by April!  April is so passionate about "picking" and turning a ho-hum find into a treasure.  She accomplishes this by using a little repair know-how and Maison Blanche La Craie Paint!  It is a gift that she shares her knowledge with others through classes. This past weekend, in fact, I had the great, fun-fortune to be one of her students.  In the Beginner's La Craie class, I learned how to prep my piece, use Maison Blanche La Craie Paint, methods to distress my creation, and how to seal it using two different types of wax.  The tips and tricks I gleaned, along with practice have certainly given me the confidence to tackle my treasured pieces I wish to reinvent.  I have to give a resounding shout out to the makers of Maison Blanche La Craie Paint because it is very low, if any, VOC.  No terrible fumes certainly makes this EarthMama very happy.  No priming either!!!  That alone makes the prospect of painting furniture and a variety of surfaces seem like an achievable goal rather than a dream.  The best part has to be how much fun I had learning from April.  She is a hoot and all that term Southern Vintage Glam implies. 

Check out my first foray into furniture painting! I went for a shabby chic look.  However, that is not the only "look" you can achieve with Maison Blanche Paint.  For more information on the paint, the skills, classes or Southern Vintage Glam, check out their website or facebook page

Happy "picking" and painting y'all!
~ UrbanMama

picking- /pik-ing/ colloquial verb ;) - defined as the art of browsing estate sales, flea markets, junk and finding a hidden gem just waiting to be loving transformed!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Are You in Need of Some LAST MINUTE Easter Plans?

And when we say last minute, we mean last minute!  ;)

Here are three ideas, courtesy of Rundown:  Dallas, an online local happenings resource:

1. Sunrise & Beer Biscuits at Barbec's
Grab a blanket, pull up a piece of shoreline, and catch the sunrise over White Rock Lake before hiking over to Barbec's for a hearty (and cheap) breakfast loaded with bacon, eggs, and their famous beer biscuits.
Open 7:30a. 8949 Garland Rd., East Dallas (214-321-5597).

2. Brunch at Marquee Grill
& A Movie
Bloody Marys and carafes of sangria (above) set the stage for a special three-course, fixed price Easter Brunch menu featuring crab cakes Benedict, steak and eggs or shredded chicken chilaquiles. Then let the food coma set in while watching a mo vie upstairs.
$37 for 3 courses. Reservations recommended. 33 Highland Park Village, Highland Park (214-522-6035).

3. Easter in the Park & Dinner at Steel

Catch live entertainment, a hilarious pooch parade, and an Easter bonnet contest on the lawn at Lee Park . Then keep your parking spot and walk to Steel for a four-course Dungeness crab feast and half-price bottles of wine.
$48 for 4 courses. Reservations recommended. 3180 Welborn St. in the Centrum Building, Oak Lawn (214-219-9908).

Hoppy Easter, Y'all!!  ;)

Monday, March 4, 2013

Do YOU See What I See????

Plan the road. Plan the road.
Mark it on the map.
Hammer in the marking pegs.

Move the earth. Move the earth.
Dig and cut and push.
Clear a pathway for the road.

-Roadwork, by Sally Sutton*Illustrated by Brian Lovelock

In keeping with our theme of building, I thought I might quote one of my three year old's favorite books, Roadwork.  It seems fitting as seemingly everywhere we drive these days, we see construction work being done.  This is a constant theme in our lives, but also the lives of fellow North Texans.  If you find your car driving along 121 or even North of 121, new housing developments among other things, seem to pop up at a blistering rate.  My son just loves to point out road graders, excavators, dump trucks, front loaders and skid steers.  It's almost as if they have taken on a life of their own as Frisco/Allen/McKinney's native animal species in the midst of a population boom!!

Check out just a FEW of the new communities and their builders in our area.  FYI: The community websites with all builder information is linked in the name of the community.  Otherwise, there is no community website and individual builders are listed under the community name. 


Just in case you have a construction crazy little boy or girl.....

~ UrbanMama

Monday, February 11, 2013

Timeline, Finishes,New Builds, Specs...Oh MY!

So here is my take on the steps to choosing the right NEW HOME BUILD for YOU and your family:
Remember folks, that is this Urban-Mama's experience, not intended to be anyone else's! :)

If you build, depending upon your builder, you and the changes you make, the process could take anywhere from 4-6 months. 
  • Browsed communities in our area of interest
  • Settled on one community
  • Met the on-site sales representative, toured the models, the neighborhood and drove the surrounding area
  • Chose three floor plans:  1. our top choice 2. our runner-up 3. just in case
  • Wrote an offer with the on-site sales representative...(your REALTOR can negotiate on your behalf) ;)
  • Allowed our REALTOR to negotiate our offer
  • Once terms were agreed upon....we were under contract
  • WAITED!! for our plans to come back from the architect
  • 1st Design Center appointment
  • 2nd Design Center appointment
  • form boards appeared on our lot :)
  • Builder Meeting- this is the meeting where you 1. meet your builder 2. go over the contract and change order line by line 3. discuss with your builder the changes you wish to make
  • WAITED for permit
  • lot is trenched
  • electrical meter is installed
  • construction begins
  • home is finished!!!
  • walk through
  • closing
  • MOVE-IN!!
If you choose a spec home, the process is much quicker.  A spec home is a house built on a speculative basis without an order on the books.  This means that the builder will construct a certain number of houses in anticipation of buyers.  Generally, the builder or on-site representative will choose the floor plan and the finishes.  A buyer might have some limited ability to choose the finishes in the house depending upon the stage of construction at the time of contract. 

Below are my tips: 
  • Decide upon your budget range. 
  • Find a community that interests you and fits your needs.
  • We considered location, school district, community amenities, work commute, and lifestyle. It might be helpful to make the drive to and from your work location at a few different times of day to make sure you will not be committing to a commute that ultimately is too much for you. Pro tip- visit the community several times and a differing times of day to see what it is like. Are people out and about, are they interacting with each other, are the streets quiet or noisy? Do you like what you see?
  • Visit the models, learn about the community amenities
  • Get a preapproval from your lender.  This makes things easier when you begin the process of making an offer. Also, decide upon your magic number you do not wish to exceed. If you choose to make substantial upgrades, then your contract price may not be the final price until after you have attended your design center appointments or builder meeting. Your REALTOR can negotiate a design center allowance into your contract, but invariably, you will find that custom design center option that will add to your price. 
  • Choose a few floor plans, our wise REALTORS suggested we choose our "dream floor plan," "a runner-up" and a "suitable alternate." This becomes quite important during a contract negotiation.
  • Decide if you wish to build a new home, or if you wish to make an offer on a spec home. Just what is a spec home? Well, it is a house that the builder constructs in anticipation of a buyer. Typically, the builder chooses the floor plan, the lot and the finishes on a spec home.   Depending upon the stage of the build, you might have limited upgrade or design options or none. If you wish to load up on upgrades or customize lots of options, then building is a better option.
  • Make friends with your on-site sales representative and talk turkey. Your REALTOR can negotiate on your behalf. All builders operate differently, for example, some builders will negotiate the price of the new home, some will throw in extras, like blinds, while keeping firm on the price. Others will do both, and yet others will allot you more money at the design center. Some builders will charge you for each upgrade, option, or change you make to the plans. Other builders will offer choices, but only charge on custom changes. Again, your REALTOR is an invaluable asset as they will more than likely have an idea about the builders and how they run their business.
  • Make a list of all of your questions. Trust me, the list will grow and grow! Most on-site sales representatives understand this. If they are any good at their job, they will welcome your questions because they know that an informed buyer will ultimately be a happy buyer.
  • If you are building a floor plan, or if you have some options to select on your spec home, you will visit the builder's design center. The design center can be nirvana or your worst nightmare, it kind of depends on A. your attitude and B. your personality, (there are some of us out there that LOVE this stuff, you know researching, mulling over all of the choices, visualizing, etc. There are some of us out there that DO NOT. Fortunately, I love it and my husband does not. Most of the time, we actually make a great team. However, go to your appointment prepared. I recommend that you have an idea of what you like and then some alternate choices.  Photos also help.  I used Pinterest.  I think it gave our awesome designer a good idea of our design aesthetic.   
I hope this helps!  Now that we are the in middle of this process, the steps seem logical, but before we began, I did not know all that went into building. 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Your REALTOR = Insurance Policy?

Have you ever wondered what goes into building a home?  You just walk into the sales office and find a floor plan, tell them you want to build and *poof* a few months later, you are moving into your new home.  Sound about right?  Well, that's what I thought, despite being the daughter of two REALTORS. Haha, on me!!!    Let's just say, it is a little more detailed than that and I have already learned so much from going through it myself.   So here's the next installment of our Urban-version....(your sister's or your friend's or your cousin's may be a bit different). 

Today's post will focus on an all-important question: 
To REALTOR or NOT TO REALTOR with your new home build????

Well, I think you all know my answer.  I say REALTOR it up, especially if it is TEAM-PRZADA.  :)  No really, having a REALTOR during this process is a smart choice, really smart.   I mean.....think of it as an insurance policy.  The hubs and I happen to be dealing with what we feel is a solid company, a wonderful on-site sales representative, a fantastic designer, and a great builder.  Our REALTORS, have already proven invaluable....and we are sailing some pretty smooth seas!  That is not always the case, as I am sure you all have heard home-building-horror-stories!  On the off chance building a new home is not as smooth as our process, remember this:  your REALTOR is on your team representing your interests.  They help manage your building timeline, bring up and ask those important questions you either forgot or didn't even think about....AND negotiate the price and contract.  Also, if you have a current home to sell, your REALTOR can help you navigate the contingency. That's a big sea of details people.  I don't think I would ever choose to go it alone, even if I had purchased a new build before.   Even though our process has seemingly been that one-in-a-million, warm and fuzzy GREAT story, I am still thankful we have a top-notch real estate team in our corner.  Believe me, it is worth it. 

Come back next Monday. I will share our timeline.... and some PRO-TIPS....MY-TIPS  on finding the perfect home for YOU and your family.  It is a big decision and hopefully a joyful one for you.  See you next week!! 

If you want to know more about the community we selected, read about Residing at THE RESERVE.  The post is a glowing review of what I think will be the best little neighborhood for this Urban-family.  But remember folks, that is this Urban-Mama's opinion, not intended to be anyone else's!  :)