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Homeowner Tips

What to look for when buying a new house

When you’re shopping for a new house, it can be easy to fall down the rabbit hole as you search house after house and study floor plan after floor plan. There are so many things to consider, such as location, school zones, community amenities, and home builders.

Before you even look at houses and floor plans, a good place to start is with how much home you can afford. This can help you narrow down your search and determine your priorities. 

You can work with a real estate agent to help you determine how much you can afford to pay for a home, or try a home affordability calculator that can help you estimate your monthly payments. Be sure you leave plenty of breathing room for property taxes, homeowner association (HOA) fees, and unexpected expenses. It’s also a good move to get pre-approved for a loan up to a specific amount. The lender will look at your income, debts, and credit history.

Once you have a number in mind, then you can work through these tips.

1. Determine the Top Features You Want in a Neighborhood

To help you figure out the general location, start with what you’d like in a neighborhood. Do you want to live in a walkable neighborhood? What about safety? Do you want to be in a preferred school district or near specific schools?

Does anyone regularly commute to work or extracurriculars? That could be a factor in location. What about proximity to grocery stores, services, other retailers, and leisure activities?

2. Prioritize Your Top Home Features

Every homebuyer has their own priorities for what they want in a home. Some want a giant backyard while others would rather have a front porch. You can change a lot of things about a home, but one thing you can’t change is the amount of land. 

Another thing to think about is how many bedrooms and bathrooms you need—especially if you have children or expect frequent guests. Does someone work from home? They may want a floor plan with a home office. Do you often entertain big groups? Some floor plans are more conducive to large gatherings than others. What about smart home capabilities? This could play a factor in your decision. 

To avoid spending more than you want, create a list of “must-haves” and “nice to haves” to help you with your decisions. 

3. Plan for the Future

If you may want to have children in the future, consider a home with room to grow. While a two-bedroom may be all you need now, you may not want to move when you have children. Or perhaps, a parent or other relative will be living with you. If you’re thinking about adding a furry family member, a front and backyard may be a top priority. 

  1. Think about Maintenance and Upkeep

The newer the home, the less maintenance you will have. When you’re the first owner of a new home, you don’t have to consider the home’s maintenance history, as everything is in tip-top shape. But an older home will most likely need regular repairs and updates. Yards and flower beds also need regular upkeep. Consider if you want a smaller yard that just needs to be mowed every once in a while, or if you’d rather get to enjoy seasonal flower gardens and greenery, with a bit more upkeep?

Remember, you can update and change a lot of things both on the exterior and in the interior of a home, but the costs of changes can add up quickly. It’s easy to change the paint color, but not so easy to change the floor plan. 

Looking for a new home in Kyle? Crosswinds is a new master-planned community offering family-friendly amenities with beautiful homes from the area’s top builders. Meet the Kyle home builders or contact our Crosswinds team to start the journey to finding your dream home.

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Categories
Education Lifestyle

5 Ways to Save Money on Your Winter Electricity Bill

From rainy days spent curled up near the fire to sparkling snowbanks, winter is a magical time of year. However, some of this magic diminishes when you receive your winter electricity bill in the mail.  This season, make sure your home is ready to combat the big chill without breaking the bank by following these energy-saving tips.

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1. Switch your ceiling fan’s rotation

Have you ever looked at which direction your ceiling fan is spinning? If not, take some time to do so now because the blades’ rotation can actually help you save on heating costs. Ensure that your fan’s blades are rotating clockwise because this direction will push the warmer air down.

2. Upgrade your wood-burning fireplace

There’s nothing quite like curling up next to a crackling wood-burning fireplace on a chilly day, but this could be contributing to your high winter electricity bill. If you’re looking to save some money, consider upgrading your fireplace to an EPA certified-model or energy efficient insert. 

3. Let the sunshine in

During the day, take advantage of as much sunlight as possible. Open the blinds and curtains on south-facing windows to naturally heat your home. This not only eliminates the need for the heater during the day, it also opens your home up to a beautiful winter backdrop. 

4. Switch to LED light bulbs

If you’re still using incandescent bulbs, making the switch to LED bulbs could reduce your electricity bill tremendously, even after the winter months are long gone. LED lights use about 75% less energy than traditional bulbs and have a longer life span. 

5. Invest in a smart thermostat

Saving energy is a beautiful thing and smart thermostats can help you do just that. Smart thermostats allow you to select a comfortable temperature for when you get up in the morning and after you head out the door, you can lower the temperature right from your phone. Smart thermostats can adjust to your lifestyle and help you eliminate unnecessary electricity usage.

You don’t have to sacrifice your home’s comfort to keep your winter electricity bill low. Following these homeowner tips will help you save big on your electricity bill long after the winter chill is gone. Save even more on your winter electricity bill when you move into a brand new home at Crosswinds, complete with the latest energy-efficient home technology which will keep electricity costs down throughout the year. Contact Crosswinds today to stay up-to-date on other homeowner tips and to learn more about our master-planned community in Kyle, TX. You can also connect with Crosswinds on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

Image via Getty Images. Creative number 962705200.

Categories
Area Attractions

Why Kyle is Austin’s Next In-Demand Suburb

If you haven’t heard, Kyle, Texas is Austin’s next in-demand suburb and it’s no surprise! In Austin, home prices are on the rise and time spent on the market is decreasing, causing homebuyers to look elsewhere for their next home. While Round Rock and other northern suburbs are still hot areas, consumers are looking to the south, specifically Kyle. If we know a thing or two about our hometown, it’s that it is a great place to live, but there are many benefits that make it Austin’s next in-demand suburb.

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Proximity

First and foremost, one of the biggest reasons Kyle is becoming the next popular Austin suburb is because of how close it is to the city. Only 20 miles from downtown, our master-planned community in Kyle offers families a place to call home that’s close enough to Austin without having to actually be in Austin. This makes commutes manageable and family outings to the big city a breeze.

Affordable Homes

Another thing making Kyle Austin’s next in-demand suburb is the affordably-priced homes. In June, the median price for single-family homes in Austin was $388,000 while the median price for single-family homes in Hays County was $284,900. And if you are a young family looking to own your first home, Crosswinds offers homes built by our 3 amazing homebuilders starting from the $200s.

Thriving Local Business Scene

As you may have read from our Keeping it Kyle blog series, the local businesses in the area are thriving, and as they continue to thrive, so does our community. Along with many local businesses, the Kyle City Council also recently approved plans for a new business park located 5 minutes away from Crosswinds. The 500,000-square-foot development aims to attract new manufacturing businesses and bring more jobs to the area.

A City Designed for Families and Lifestyle

In Kyle, we always put families first. That’s why the city is beginning to roll out what they call “quality of life initiatives” to give families even more wonderful things to do in Kyle. These initiatives include signature events, recreational amenities and trails, just to name a few.

What do you think about Kyle, TX being Austin’s next in-demand suburb? If you’re already a resident, we hope you’re excited to see all the continued growth in our community. If you aren’t a resident yet, but are ready to be, contact Crosswinds today. We’d love to show you around our master-planned community and tell you all about our lovely city.