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Fall Cleaning: Spring Isn’t The Only Time To Get Organized

We all know the concept “spring cleaning.” That one time a year when you deep clean and organize the house to get ready for the warmer months to come. However, spring is not the only time of year to do a thorough home cleaning. A good fall cleaning will prepare your home for the upcoming holidays, and allow you to get organized.

1) Starting on the Outside
Now that the summer months are gone it is time to put up the patio furniture, umbrellas, and warm weather toys. Drain the garden hoses and the sprinkler system. Find space in the garage or shed to house these items for the cold months. If you don’t have room for everything, do a bit of decluttering and reorganizing.
Do the outside home maintenance chores before cold weather sets in. Touch up paint on the doors and railings if needed. Check the caulk around doors and windows to make sure it’s secure, not to let the cold air in during the winter. Clean gutters and rainspouts if necessary. And finally, wash the outside of windows and doors.

2) Take It Inside
During the holiday season we spend a lot of time indoors. Doing a fall cleaning deep dive on your home will make relaxing inside with your family much more enjoyable.  At first glance, performing a deep clean can be overwhelming. Start from top and work your way down. Here is a general checklist to use in any room:

  • Clean the light fixture and dust thoroughly.
  • Dust the ceiling and walls. Then, vacuum the baseboards and wash by hand if needed.home cleaning
  • Clean the window glass, sills, curtains, blinds, and trim, as well as doors and frames.
  • Vacuum all fabric furniture within the room. Clean leather furniture and polish and wax wood furniture using appropriate supplies.
  • Wipe down all counters and other horizontal surfaces.
  • Thoroughly scrub tile or vinyl floors. Also, polish hardwood floors.
  • If needed, schedule carpet cleaners or rent a machine at your local store to do-it-yourself

3) Get Organized
As you ‘fall clean’ around the home, consider also getting organized. When pulling items out to clean behind and underneath them, ask yourself if that item needs to be located in that space. This includes paper, furniture, knickknacks, and clothing. Put each item into a specific category:

  • Keep in this spot
  •  Find it a new home
  • Give it to a friend or family member
  • Donate it to charity
  •  Send it to the dump

Work your way from the public areas of your home to the private ones, especially if you are planning to have guests during the holiday season. Your guests will be able to enjoy your clean, organized home, even if your master bedroom has not had the special treatment yet.

It’s just as important to perform a fall home cleaning as it is for spring. Get started this weekend before the colder months move in, and you start to get overwhelmed with the holidays quickly approaching. On your cleaning breaks, be sure to check out our Pinterest page for more home tips.

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3 Tips For Gardening In The Fall

There’s a nip in the air and the leaves are starting to change colors. Now that the busiest season for gardening is starting to wind down, it’s time to think about fall landscaping chores. Fall is the perfect time to do some housekeeping in your garden. It’s important to get your lawn and landscaping ready for the winter and there are several steps you can take now to make sure your garden is beautiful next spring.

fall flowers

Pruning and Trimming

When the temperatures begin to fall many plants prepare for the winter by going dormant. This is the ideal time to trim away dead foliage and stems. Dead leaves and stems can provide a home for insects and pests that can be harmful to plants. It’s best to trim dead growth, while leaving leaves that haven’t fallen yet to keep your plants safe and more attractive. Pay special attention to summer blooms.  Butterfly Bush, Crepe Myrtle, and Potentilla all do better the following summer if you prune them in the fall months when their dormant making it easier for new growth when the warmer months roll back around.

Mulching

As the cool months start to approach, adding mulch to your garden beds, and around trees, retains heat to protect your plants from the cold, along with moister to keep them healthy. This easy-to-do gardening task benefits your pocketbook and your garden resulting in less watering to maintain an attractive and healthy garden in the new season. Before you start, make sure the garden beds are clear of debris and dead plant matter. Also, remove any weeds from your beds and around your trees before fall mulching to prevent excessive weed growth in the future.

Fall Planting

Fall gardening season is a great time to plant. As the season winds down, your local nursery will have the best bargains of the year. The nurseries are eager to sell plants, shrubs and trees before December when new inventory will start to arrive for the spring gardening season. Popular flowers to add to your garden in the fall include Plentifall Pansies, Bluestars, and Mums. While greens such as kale, lettuce, and collards do well in the coolers months too.

Start your pruning, trimming, mulching and planting this weekend to ensure you have a beautiful garden all year long. Join the conversation with Beazer Homes on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

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Halloween Home Decorating Tips

Happy HalloweenThere are endless possibilities to decorating your home for Halloween! Whether you need ideas on how to decorate, or where to shop, love DIY projects, or just want to buy the perfect Halloween decorations to display as is, we have the home decorating tips you need for a successful scary house this Halloween:

1. Decide where to put your decorations

The first step in decorating is to decide the areas of your home you wish to decorate. This will help determine how much space you have and how many decorations you need. The porch, garage, and windows are the most popular places to put Halloween decorations. Also, utilize bushes and trees to place skulls, pumpkins and various scary items.

2. Shop for Halloween decorations

There are a plethora of options when shopping for Halloween decorations:

  • Halloween specialty stores pop up across the country during the month of October.
  • Year-round party supply stores will also stock their shelves with Halloween products. Also, remember that sometimes the best deals will occur the week leading up to Halloween.
  • If you’re on a budget, find deals on products that can get rather expensive elsewhere at your local dollar store.

Before taking a trip to your local store, consider if you can use items in the future before you buy decorations, this can help you weed out unnecessary decorations that could be a waste of money.

3. Stand out from the crowd!

Make your home extra scary by adding one of the following characters in your front yard: vampire, scarecrow, skeleton, witch, werewolf, black cat, alien, ghost or a famous horror movie character. Additional decorating ideas include:
•    Use your windows as museum exhibits
•    Place candles and flashing lights in the windows
•    Set jack o’ lanterns on the porch, and hang bats upside down from the roof
•    Place artificial spider webs outside in your bushes and trees

4. Create a DIY display
If you have the time and resources, you can add even more creativity to your home this Halloween by crafting your own unique monsters out of various arts-and-crafts supplies. There are many hand crafted items you can make that give your home a unique flair. Here are some materials you can buy for do-it-yourself decorating Halloween displays:

•    Paper mache heads: balloons, flour, water
•    Character bodies made of clothes stuffed with newspaper
•    Ghosts made of sheets on broomsticks
•    Black poster board cut in the shape of a silhouette monster or spiders

No matter what your decorating style is, these are the perfect tips to get you started on your home’s Halloween decorations. We’d love to see the final product. Post pictures of your haunted decorations on our Facebook page, or Tweet us @BeazerHomes.

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Vote To Win- Beazer Homes New Jersey Contest Rules

Brand New Homes In New JerseyStop by Courts at Woolwich TODAY to tour these cozy floor plans in person.

Contest Rules:

*NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. PURCHASE DOES NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. Contest is for Facebook comments made on this VOTE TO WIN post between 10/15/14 and 10/19/14.  Limit one entry per household.  Prize consists of one $25 VISA gift card to 1 randomly selected winner who voted.  Winnings cannot be redeemed for cash.  Beazer Homes reserves the right to substitute item of comparable value.  Additional restrictions may apply.  See a New Home Counselor for complete details. Prizes must be claimed at the Beazer Homes Courts at Woolwich Community located at  1 Hazel Blvd, Woolwich Township, NJ 08085

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Win It Wednesday Nashville Contest Rules

Stop by Providence Landing TODAY for a fall filled with memories to your NEW front doorstep with single family homes from the $240s.

Contest Rules:

*NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. PURCHASE DOES NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. Contest is for Facebook comments made on this Win It Wednesday post between 9/24/14 and 9/30/14.  Limit one entry per household.  Prize consists of one $20 gift card for Target to 10 randomly selected winners who voted.  Winnings cannot be redeemed for cash.  Beazer Homes reserves the right to substitute item of comparable value.  Additional restrictions may apply.  See a New Home Counselor for complete details. Prizes must be claimed at the Beazer Homes Providence Landing Community located at  201 South  Dunnwood Ln, Mt Juliet, TN 37122 no later than 10/12/2014. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.

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Shopping Around For A Mortgage Lender

Whether you’re a first-time home buyer, or an empty-nester looking to downsize, you will likely need a mortgage lender to help secure the purchase of your dream home. At Beazer we understand the importance of having loan options, which is why we have created our unique, Mortgage Choices program. Taking advantage of the ability to shop around will help you find the right lender and loan program for you. Though the thought of “shopping” for a lender may sound daunting, Beazer’s done the grunt work to help new home buyers save and enjoy the best customer service possible when financing a new home.

How does the Mortgage Choices program work?

Beazer’s vetted lenders in every division in which we sell to present buyers with a list of preferred lenders that offer the following:

  • Comprehensive loan programs
  • Competitive rates & fees
  • Great customer service

This gives you a great starting point to begin shopping for the right home loan to fit your needs, which can save you stress and money in the long run.  If you already have a relationship with a lender that’s great too;   Beazer works with a variety of qualified lenders.  We seek to give buyers the tools to make the most informed decision possible when purchasing a new home.

Learn How to Compare Mortgage Quotes & Select a Lender
Check out this video to learn how you can compare mortgage quotes and find the right lender to meet your new home financing needs:

For more helpful content on home loans, mortgages, and the rest of the home buying process please follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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What To Know About Putting A Down Payment On A Home

How much of a down payment should I make? Where can my loan funds come from? These are just a couple of the most common questions that we hear from potential home buyers as we begin to assist them with navigating through the buying process. Here are a few answers to these questions so that you may make the most informed decision possible regarding your down payment.

Should I put more than the minimum down on an FHA purchase?

down paymentFHA mortgage loans allow for borrowers with less than perfect credit to purchase a home with a down payment of only 3.5% of the purchase price. As a result of credit guidelines that are not quite as strict as those found on conventional financing, FHA requires both up-front and monthly mortgage insurance on all FHA loans. While it is possible to reduce the dollar amount of the monthly mortgage insurance component by putting down 5% or more on a home purchase, the reduction in the monthly mortgage insurance amount is minimal compared to the out of pocket expense of the larger down payment.

For example, on a $200,000 home purchase with the minimum 3.5% down payment ($7,000), the monthly mortgage insurance is calculated by multiplying the loan amount by the monthly mortgage insurance factor (1.35%), and then dividing by 12 (193,000 x .0135 / 12 = $217.25 monthly mortgage insurance amount). By applying a 5% down payment ($10,000) you can lower the monthly mortgage insurance factor from 1.35% to 1.30%. Using the same calculation (190,000 x .0130 / 12 = $205.83) you can see that by applying an additional $3,000 toward your down payment, the resulting savings on the monthly mortgage insurance payment equates to about $12/month. At that rate of savings, it will take approximately 20 years to recoup the additional $3,000 that was applied to the down payment.

Since most buyers utilizing an FHA mortgage have intentions of refinancing into a conventional mortgage loan at some point in the future, it is generally not recommended to apply more than the minimum down payment on an FHA purchase.

Should I put more than the minimum down on a conventional purchase?

Conventional mortgage loans require a minimum down payment of 5% of the purchase price but also require mortgage insurance if the down payment is less than 20% of the purchase price. Unlike FHA financing however, mortgage insurance rates for conventional financing are not calculated using a flat percentage of the loan amount but rather are underwritten much in the same way that the mortgage loan itself is. This means that your credit history, source of down payment, and down payment amount are all taken into consideration when determining the amount of the required monthly mortgage insurance amount. As a result putting down more than the minimum, even if it is less than the 20% required to eliminate monthly mortgage insurance entirely, can save you a significant amount of money on monthly mortgage insurance premiums.

What are the allowable sources of down payment funds?
•    Gift funds (entire down payment can be from gift funds on both FHA and conventional financing with appropriate documentation)
•    Checking/Savings
•    Loan or withdrawal from 401k or IRA with no impact to debt-to-income ratio
•    Sale of stocks or bonds

Do I have to have the entire down payment saved before buying a home?

Depending on the amount that you already have saved you may be able to save the remainder over time as long as you have a savings plan in place which can be verified by the lender, and that you will have the minimum down payment saved by the time that your purchase closes. This can be an advantage of buying a brand new home with a 3-6 month build time as opposed to a resale which typically closes within 30-45 days from the date of the purchase contract.

With all these factors in mind, it’s important to consult with your lender to decide what will be best for your situation. Beazer Homes offers Mortgage Choices so that you have the ability to shop around, compare lenders, and find the best deal for your new home.

*Content provided my Marquee Mortgage, a Beazer Homes preferred lender in the state of Arizona.

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Fixed-Rate vs. Variable-Rate: Know The Difference For Your Home Loan

Understanding the types of mortgage options you have is an important part of buying a new home. One decision you will face is choosing between a variable-rate loan or a fixed-rate loan. Knowing the differences between each type of loan can save you money in either the long-term, or the short-term, depending on which will best fit your needs.

Calculating Home LoanFixed-Rate Loans

A fixed rate loan keeps the same interest rate throughout the entire term of the loan. The benefit to this type of loan is that you will pay exactly the same amount on the note itself from your first payment to your last payment. Whether that is 15, 20, or 30 years from now, your mortgage payment will always be the same. If you are planning to stay in your home for years to come, a fixed-rate loan might be the best mortgage option for you.

Variable Rate Loans

Right now, during a time of historically low interest rates, an adjustable rate mortgage may not seem like a smart choice. However, there is a benefit to this type of loan for some home buyers. If you do not plan to stay in your home for an extended period of time, usually not more than five to seven years, you can get a significantly lower initial interest rate with an ARM. Buyers looking to stay in their home for five to seven years may want to consider a 5/1 or 7/1 adjustable rate mortgage. With a 5/1 loan the initial interest rate is fixed. Then, at the start of the 6th year of the loan, it becomes an adjustable rate mortgage, adjusting each year based on an index, plus a fixed margin. The interest rate on a 5/1 is considerably lower than on a fixed rate, so borrowers can save a substantial amount of money during the first 5 years of the loan.

For most home buyers, the type of loan you get is heavily dependent on how long you plan on staying in your new home. If the plan is short term, an adjustable rate mortgage like a 5/1 ARM may be the best option. For a home that you plan to live in for years to come, a fixed-rate mortgage may be the better choice, especially since rates are extremely low.

Find out more about Beazer Homes Mortgage Choices and how you can save with our preferred leaders.

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4 Benefits of Spray Foam Insulation

When shopping for a new home, Energy efficiency is one of the main factors considered. With that in mind, Beazer Homes takes additional steps to ensure our homes meet the latest ENERGY STAR® requirements. Every Beazer home is built to ENERGY STAR standards, is tested, and receives an individual  ENERGY STAR certification. This means that Beazer homes Spray Foam Insulationare built to conserve energy and reduce your monthly costs. For example, Beazer Homes in the Houston, TX area are currently built with spray foam insulation which saves on energy costs and lowers utility bills.  Studies by the US Department of Energy show that 40% of a home’s energy is lost as the result of air infiltration through walls, windows and doorways.  Therefore buildings & homes treated with spray foam insulation typically insulate as much as 50% better than if built traditional insulation products.  Here are a few other benefits of Spray Foam Insulation:

  • Spray foam insulation creates a moisture barrier.  Mold grows in damp environments. An effective moisture barrier, like spray foam insulation, will prevent the growth of mold. Less mold means you and your family are less likely to suffer the health effects caused by living in a moldy environment.
  • It fills gaps and cracks around pipes and between joints where outside air can get into your home.  By sealing these areas that typically allow hot and cold air from the outside in, your indoor heating and air system can to take a break and run less frequently, allowing you to save money on your monthly energy bills.
  • Spray foam insulation makes it much more difficult for pests to find an entrance into your home. Neither insects nor rodents find spray foam insulation enticing.  Therefore, these unwanted pests won’t chew through the insulation and enter your home like they would with other types of home insulation’s.
  • Spray foam reduces noise levels in your home by blocking outside annoyances, such as traffic.  A quiet home is a peaceful home, and is one more reason why spray foam insulation contributes to the over-all comfort of a new home.

If you’re looking for a new home near Houston, TX and want to enjoy all the benefits that spray foam insulation has to offer, please visit our website for more information. Keep up with Beazer Homes’ latest events and specials on Facebook and Twitter.

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Find The Beazer Smart Car in Gwinnett County And You Could Win

Find The Beazer Smart Car in Gwinnett County And You Could WinWith every Beazer home being built to the latest ENERGY STAR ® standards, it’s no secret that Beazer Homes takes energy efficiency seriously. Therefore, you may find our New Home Counselor’s driving around town in a Beazer Smart Car!

As our Beazer Atlanta team gears up for the Grand Opening of Gwinnett County’s newest community—Kensington, they want you to join-in on the festivities. Find the Beazer Smart Car that has been strategically placed in the Hamilton Mill area and you could win! It’s easy to enter. When you see the Beazer Mobile in the Hamilton Mill area snap a photo and post it to Twitter using #BeazerAtlanta, and mention us @BeazerHomes to receive a free gift card!* So, next time you’re in the Hamilton Mill area be sure to keep your eyes peeled.

Learn more about Kensington, a brand new community in Hoschton, GA featuring brand new homes with high-end finishes, amenities, and award-wining schools. Stop by the grand opening on Saturday August 16th, 2014 from 11:00 A.M.- 2:00 P.M. for tours of our new designer-decorated model home, savory barbecue, and free family fun with golf-themed activities!

*No purchases necessary to enter or win.  Purchase does not increase your chances of winning.  Open to legal residents of the United States who are 18 or older.  Void where prohibited.  Promotion runs until August 19th, 2014.  Limit one entry per household.  Prize consists of $10 The Home Depot gift card while supplies last.  Winnings cannot be redeemed for cash.  Beazer Homes reserves the right to substitute item of comparable value.  Additional restrictions may apply.  See a New Home Counselor for complete details.

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