Advice for Selling Your Home in the Winter

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Spring and summer may be the traditional home selling and buying seasons, but, as the saying goes, life waits for no one. Whether you’ve got your eye on a brand-new home in one of LGI Homes‘ stunning new communities down the road, or have to relocate to another city for your career, selling your home in the middle of the winter doesn’t have to be difficult. It does, however, call for a bit of thought and a bit of creativity in order to set your plans in motion and reel in your buyer.

Selling a Home in Winter

Winter months aren't well known as "home buying" months, however, if you need to sell your home during a time when there are fewer buyers, there are some tips you can try.

Firstly, winter comes with its own bevy of difficulties, the bulk of which are related to short days. Showing your home during daylight hours is imperative, so you will likely need to give preference to weekend showings; early sunsets mean that evening and afternoon showings are likely to be held in the dark, which may discourage some buyers. During showings, be sure to open all drapes and shades and let in as much of winter’s weak light as possible, enhancing your home’s sense of brightness and spaciousness. Use electric lights in darker rooms where necessary, and don’t be afraid to light a fireplace or distribute battery-operated candles throughout the home (no unattended flames!). While winter may be dark, our tendency to crave a cozy and inviting space may work to your advantage if you open your home as a warm and softly-lit refuge from winter’s raging wrath.

Speaking of winter’s wrath, in most of the country, winter means either snow or rain (and sometimes both). Keep your home in tip-top shape and make your guests feel at home by providing ample space for visitors to wipe their shoes and feet. Consider adding a coat rack near your front door for their ease and comfort while looking at the property. In rainy areas, include an umbrella stand as well. For those in the snowbelt, keep your front walkway well-shoveled and ice-free—you don’t want anyone falling, getting injured, or even just passing on seeing your house because of all the snow lying between your home and their car.

The condition of your landscape is another issue to contend with in the offseason, with lawns tending to look half-dead in the winter frost, and most bushes and trees either naked or sagging under the weight of their dull grey-green winter shades. You can boost the natural appeal of your yard through small arrangements of winter-hardy plants that you can bring inside after your open house is over. Winter bloomers like hellebores, witch hazels, and even some sages can add some delicate color and texture to a bland winter landscape, and even ornamental grasses and plants with variegated foliage can add interest and give a slight suggestion as to the beauty of your garden when it revives in the Spring. If you have any photos of your landscape in the Spring, why not include them in your promotional sheets? It doesn’t hurt to let buyers know what’s hiding beneath the snow.

As you can see, selling a home in the winter isn’t impossible, it just requires some consideration of the ways in which homes—and people—differ in the winter from in the spring. The attributes that may make a home great in warmer weather (great landscaping, a pool, or an outdoor patio) may not shine as brightly on a chilly day, so bringing the focus into the heart of the home (and encouraging a cozy, comfortable and relaxed mood) can make the difference between helping potential buyers envisioning themselves curled up by the fireplace, and leaving them feeling cold.

Renters: Come Home for the Holidays

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With Halloween come and gone, most families in the United States now turn their attention to the coming holiday season, and the joyous family reunions (and delicious food) that makes this part of the year so special. Why not make this holiday season the most memorable of all for you and your family, by making this the year that you move into your very own home? Moving into a brand-new LGI Homes house couldn’t be easier, and record-low interest rates mean that it’s more affordable than ever to get into one of our convenient and amenity-rich communities—with absolutely no money down required!

Come Home for the Holidays

Stop wasting money on rent, head over to LGI Homes and discover affordable homeownership.

LGI Homes has made a habit of building communities near the places that people like you most want to live. With easy access to urban centers, convenient commutes, and a host of nearby shopping, dining and recreational opportunities, LGI Homes communities are located in the center of it all. For renters, the proximity of our communities to where you already live means that you don’t need to uproot your life in order to become a homeowner. Keep your doctor, your dentist, and keep your kids in their own schools; with LGI Homes, making the move from renter to homeowner can be one of the most seamless moves of your life!

Imagine enjoying this holiday season in your brand-new LGI Homes home: pulling tidy stacks of dishes from your beautiful custom cabinets, which grace a kitchen outfitted with brand-new, quality appliances. Imagine the stately Christmas tree, standing tall beneath inspiring vaulted ceilings. Imagine, for the first-time, your family seated comfortably around a dining room table in your home’s dedicated dining space. Out of town guests and family will enjoy strolling these beautiful neighborhoods, many of which include playgrounds, tot lots, and walking trails. From the first glance at the beautiful community-entryways, to the last look around your front-yard landscaping as they wave goodbye, your new LGI Homes house will be the topic of conversation and the basis of holiday happiness—both this year and for years to come.

For renters interested in coming home for the holidays, we encourage you to stop by any of our Texas new homes communities, where our new homes specialists can help you find a home that’s right for you and your family. All of our communities feature move-in ready homes, which means that you can tour the exact home that you’ll be buying—no waiting for construction to be completed, and no surprises when that construction is over. Buyers can stroll our new homes and take close note of the award-winning quality and designer detail that have set LGI Homes apart from the competition.

Once you’ve found a home you’re interested in, you’ll be amazed once more at the price. LGI Homes focuses on affordability, and in order to achieve affordability without sacrificing quality, we’ve perfected a streamlined construction process that keeps every step of our community building in-house and with our established trade associates. No middle-men means no extra cost, and from purchasing and grading the land, to the installation of carpet, LGI Homes’ unique oversight and control means that we save money during the construction process, and then pass those savings on to you. And our no-money down financing means that you won’t have to strain your budget and can focus on making your holidays shine!

With so much to be gained, it’s no wonder that your neighbors are making it a point to visit LGI Homes communities, where their monthly cost as owners is on par with what they currently pay in rent. Come home for the holidays—come to LGI Homes!

LGI Homes is Thankful For…

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Here at LGI Homes, we have much to be thankful for, and in this season of reflection, we can only pause a moment to appreciate the things that make us—as people, as employees, as workers and as builders—truly thankful.

LGI Homes new homes in Texas

Here at LGI Homes we are very thankful for all of our customers.

THANKS to our customers, who have helped us realize a banner year in sales, and who continue to be at the heart of our company’s success. Their demand for quality affordable homes that offer the best in value and aesthetic appeal drives us to better ourselves—home after home, community after community. Without them, we would never be able to realize the growth and progress that has defined us since our start eight years ago.

THANKS to our employees, whose ceaseless efforts have made the dream of homeownership into a reality for nearly five hundred households this year. Their tenacity, honesty, hardwork and eagerness to learn have formed the strong central core upon which LGI Homes’ future is bound to thrive. Without them, not only would LGI Homes lack its characteristic optimism, it would also lose its most fundamental and irreplaceable asset: a staff that cares about its customers, its company, and its product.

THANKS to our trade partners, whose expertise, craftsmanship and pride in their work have set LGI Homes apart as a builder of quality. As a homebuilder, our relationships with our trade partners are some of the most important that we maintain, and we depend upon them every day to craft homes that are strong, stable, and solid. Without them, we could never have developed communities throughout Texas and Arizona that are built not just to please, but to last, and our customers would not have the peace of mind and sense of lasting value that is part and parcel of the LGI Homes ownership experience.

Thank you!

Home Disclosures, What Needs to Be Disclosed when Buying a Home

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For buyers who wish to brave the unknowns of buying an existing home, home disclosures may provide some assurance that they’re getting a home that isn’t riddled with structural issues or hidden health hazards. However, there are limits on the extent to which home disclosures can protect buyers, so it’s important to understand what, exactly, home disclosures are, and what they are not.

What is a home disclosure?
Most states mandate that sellers outline known issues with the home or property they are trying to sell. Sellers are generally required to be upfront about any major issues the home may have (faulty foundation, prone to flooding) or to which the home may be exposed (fires, earthquakes, hurricanes). Failure to disclose known issues can make the seller liable for associated repairs or renovations down the road, so it’s generally in the seller’s best interest to disclose all known issues.

All About Home Disclosures

Home disclosures may provide some assurance that they're getting a home that isn't riddled with structural issues.

Why wouldn’t a seller disclose?
The key to understanding disclosures is that sellers are required to disclose problems of which they are aware. In most states, this means that a seller isn’t liable for problems that they were unlikely to be aware existed (mold inside of the walls, for instance). Most sellers don’t blatantly cover-up issues with a home; rather, most (particularly in homes where upkeep has lagged) are simply unaware of bigger problems that may be lurking inside the walls, in the attic, or in the basement.

Are disclosure procedures the same in all states?
No. State laws regarding the liability of sellers and the types of problems that must be disclosed vary widely. For instance California, which has one of the toughest disclosure laws, requires sellers to complete something called a “Transfer Disclosure Statement” which itemizes issues with the home, including seasonal hazards, the presence of lead paint or asbestos, and even neighborhood noise problems. Other states mandate certain hazards that they expect sellers to be aware of whether or not problems are obvious. Both sellers and buyers should check their state laws to make sure all paperwork prepared in the course of a sale is compliant.

Do disclosures protect the buyer?
Only if after taking possession of the property they discover problems of which they feel the seller would necessarily have been aware. In these cases, buyers typically have to sue the sellers in order to force restitution of expenditures on repair or renovation. In the case of the disclosures given to the buyer, the buyers must always remember: what is outlined in disclosure paperwork is not a guarantee or warranty on the house. Disclosures are merely descriptions of the current state of the home, and don’t imply that no new problems will crop up in the future.

As you can see, while disclosures play an important part in making sure that buyers aren’t stuck with faulty or damaged homes, they are no guarantee that a home with few disclosures isn’t suffering from major hidden issues of a structural or hazardous nature. For buyers looking for more assurance as to the longevity and quality of their life’s largest investment, considering a new home constructed with brand new materials and falling under an extended structural warranty—such as those from LGI Homes—may be the best course of action. After all, homeownership shouldn’t be burdened by the hassles of problems inherited from a previous owner. At LGI Homes, worry-free homeownership is our promise, and we stand behind our quality—every home, every time.

Relocating to Another State? Don’t Hire a Moving Company Until You Read This!

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Texas’ economy has been booming for the better part of the last twenty years, and its unemployment rate is among the lowest in the nation. It’s no wonder, then, that Texas has seen an influx of households attracted by its healthy industries, positive lifestyle and absence of state income tax. Yet even making a move for the better can be stressful on a family, particularly when undertaking the rigors of an inter-state move. To that end, here are some tips and advice on hiring an interstate mover, which can differ greatly from the process required for local moves.

Moving Interstate: Tips for Relocating to Texas

Don't hire the first moving company you talk to.
Protect yourself by shopping around and asking the right questions.

1. Choose your mover wisely. Interstate moves can be logistically complicated, and any mover you hire should be well-acquainted with this type of transit. Check that your mover is licensed and insured, that they have a number from the U. S. Department of Transit (a “DOT” number), and that they are registered by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) as an interstate mover. The FMCSA provides an online database for consumers, where they can check registration status and DOT numbers, as well as view any outstanding complaints against particular companies.

2. Make sure you’re covered. Some renters and homeowner policies cover items in a household even during a move; carriers of such policies should check with their insurer to see if their policy includes moving coverage. For those without insurance, consider taking advantage of liability coverage offered by interstate movers. This coverage is legally mandated, and comes in one of two types: Full Value Protection and Released Value. Full value protection is generally more expensive, but in case of damage or loss of property, the mover would be liable for the full replacement cost of that item. Released value is typically offered without cost, but only provides for liability of 60 cents per pound per item damaged or lost.

The two coverage levels differ in this way: Let’s say that a mover damages a flat-screen television that weighs 60 pounds and costs $1,200 to replace. Under Full value protection, the mover either has to repair the t.v., replace it, or settle with cash for the cost of the repair or the replacement cost. Under the released value coverage, the movers’ liability is limited to 60 cents per pound for the item, or $36 ($0.60 x 60lbs).

3. Understand the mover’s dispute process. Most moves are smooth and event-free, but since any move can encounter difficulty, it’s good to understand your dispute options before the move occurs. If some of your household goods are missing or damaged upon arrival at your new home, be sure to file a claim with the mover within nine months of your move date. Should the mover fail to respond or fail (in your opinion) to adequately address your claim, you can submit a claim with the mover’s dispute settlement program. Details on this neutral claim settlement program can be found in paperwork supplied by your mover. If you encounter continued difficulty, you can file complaints on your mover with the FMCSA on their website.

LGI Homes is ready and waiting to help Texan newcomers settle into their new lives—lives in which the dream of homeownership has become a reality. For more information on our brand-new affordable homes, and our No Money Down financing, just stop by any of our Texas new homes communities or contact us with any questions you may have about whether or not an LGI Homes home is right for you.

3 Easy Steps to Go from Renter to Homeowner

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For many renters, making the transition into homeownership seems like an arduous process, fraught with expense and confusion. Here at LGI Homes we know differently, and we’ve spent the past 8 years getting thousands of previous renters into their own brand-new homes, quickly and easily, with no unnecessary cost. Many of these renters are paying less per month to own their home than they paid out in rent, and all are enjoying the peace of mind and financial rewards that homeownership can bring. And best of all, they did it in just three easy steps. Here’s how:

3 Steps to Go from Renter to Homeowner

Don't waste your money on rent, go from a renter to homeowner in just 3 easy steps.

1. Visit an LGI Homes community. With a number of new homes communities throughout Texas (and soon in Arizona), there’s likely an LGI Homes community near you. At each location, our sales offices offer convenient after-work and weekend hours, meaning that you can stop by at a time that works best for you. Once on the grounds of our beautiful and amenity-rich neighborhoods, you’ll be able to tour one of our move-in ready homes, and see firsthand the award-winning quality and attention to detail that has made LGI Homes communities such a popular choice.

2. Find a financing plan that works for you. Once you’ve found the home of your dreams, our new home consultants can help you explore your financing options and put you in touch with one of our preferred lenders. Our No Money Down financing allows many homebuyers to get into a brand-new home with absolutely no cash down, and we have extensive experience with FHA, USDA, and VA loans as well. Many of our renters-turned-homeowners now have monthly mortgage payments that are less than their previous rent, and they enjoy extensive tax benefits as well.

Click here to learn about NO MONEY DOWN HOMES.

3. Move into your new home! Once your sale is finalized, you’ll be handed your keys and you’ll be ready to move into your brand new home. Amazed at how easily you made the move from renter to homeowner, you’ll have no problems making the transition and settling into your gorgeous new community. Take the kids to the playground, stroll the walking trails, or set out and fish on a community lake, enjoying the relaxation and convenience that is at the heart of the LGI Homes lifestyle.

So that’s it! Three easy steps to make the move from renter to homeowner—and all the benefits that homeownership entails. But the steps can’t be made without the first move from you: visit our website or one of our new homes communities today, and see for yourself how easily you can become LGI Homes’ newest homeowner.

Safe Holiday Decorating Tips

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With the turn of the season and winter coming on fast, many LGI Homes homeowners are getting ready to spend their very first holiday season in their brand-new home. Anticipating the first of many years of family memories, they can’t wait to get a jumpstart on decorating. Starting early gives these homeowners the time to ensure that they start out their holiday season safely, and avoid any impromptu trips to the emergency room. Make the most of the weeks before decorating time by reviewing these safe holiday decorating tips, and prepare your home for the holidays in the safest way possible.

Safe Holiday Decorating Tips

For most the holiday season is a joyous event, so be sure to prevent and accidents or mishaps.

Check your tools. Having an organized and stocked tool box makes decorating your home easier, safer and less time-consuming. Check over your tools to make sure that each is in operating order; replace or repair any that are worn or prone to malfunction. This is particularly true for electrical handheld tools. If you’ll be decorating outdoors and along your roofline, make sure that you have a ladder tall enough to allow you to safely reach all necessary points.

Check your lights. Strands of holiday lights can become worn or frayed over the years, presenting electrocution and fire risks. When unpacking new or used lights, check over each strand carefully, looking for bared wires, cracked or broken sockets, and loose connections. Should any of these problems be discovered, throw the strand of lights away. Also check that all lights have been safety-tested—typically marked by “UL” or “ETL/ITSNA.” Finally, make sure that any lights used outside are rated for outdoor use, and can withstand possible inclement weather.

Child- and pet-proof your decorations. Check all decorations for possible breakage or damage, particularly if you share your home with small children or pets who could be injured by or swallow small pieces. Remove glass items and glass ornaments to higher locations in the home where they’ll be sufficiently out-of-reach from paws and small hands. Likewise, make sure that cords for any indoor decorative lights are out-of-reach or sufficiently out-of-sight to avoid having them tugged or chewed upon. Low-hanging decorative elements and fabrics should also be avoided, particularly if attached to (or laying underneath) heavy items. Any heavy items placed above eye level should be firmly secured.

Check your walkways. Both indoors and outdoors, ensure that your decorations leave ample room for guests and household members to navigate pathways, hallways and stairwells. Be aware of potential tripping hazards, and keep all lawn ornaments and decorations set off of the sidewalk to permit safe passage in front of your home.

Check your tree. Finally, if your holiday decoration plans include a Christmas tree, be sure to follow common sense safety rules. Artificial trees should be labelled “fire resistant” to mitigate potential fire danger. Live trees should be purchased as freshly as possible, and should be watered regularly to keep the tree from drying out. Remember that the tree should be set back from walkways in the home, and should never block doorways. For homes with young children and pets, keep lights off of the bottom third of the tree, and only use soft ornaments on this section. Alternatively, block access to the tree using an expandable gate. All trees should be weight-anchored to prevent them falling or being pulled over.

Low Downpayment and Affordable Monthly Payments = Right Time to Buy!

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If you’re like most people, you’ve read about the historically low interest rates available on mortgages, and started to wonder whether or not this might be the right time for you to buy a home. After all, home prices are more affordable now than they have been in years, and with low mortgage interest rates, it’s easier than ever to purchase a home with affordable monthly payments. Yet there may be one thing holding you back: worries about having to make a hefty downpayment.

Mortgage Loan : Down Payment Detour

Buying a home with low monthly payments and without a hefty downpayment is possible!

The fact is that not having the traditional 20 percent downpayment is not a road block to homeownership… despite the foreboding reports you may read in the paper or see on the news. There are actually a number of options available for people that are ready to buy, but may not have a war chest of financial reserves to fund their home purchase.

One of the most popular financing options, FHA loans, require downpayments of only 3.5 percent of the purchase price. In addition, FHA loans have very generous credit and debt limits, and typically have reduced closing costs that can sometimes be covered through the mortgage loan. Another option, USDA loans, have absolutely no downpayment requirement, and are available to borrowers with a wide range of credit scores. These USDA loans are extremely popular with LGI Homes buyers, because of their clear guidelines, relatively easy qualification standards, and excellent incentives. Besides these government-backed loans, there are also a number of private institution loans that require low or no downpayments, catering to borrowers in a variety of financial situations.

Here at LGI, we have helped thousands of renters become homeowners through just these sorts of no money down programs. We believe in the viability of allowing people to pursue their dreams of homeownership, and don’t think that families should have to deplete their savings accounts just to purchase their dream home. Instead, with no money down financing and low interest rates, LGI Homes homeowners are making the move from renter to owner with their financial security intact—a vital key to ensuring their ongoing happiness and financial stability.

No money down homes and low-cost mortgages are a reality, and they’re helping people just like you move into brand new homes, making good on their own American dream. If you’re interested in learning more about the variety of financing options available to you, just stop by one of our new home communities, and we’ll be happy to put you in touch with one of our preferred lenders.

Where There’s a Will There’s Some Wallpaper

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Once banished from the designer toolbox thanks to its dated feel, difficult application and near-impossible removal, wallpaper has been creeping back into stylish homes due to innovations in its look, feel and use. And the timing of this renaissance couldn’t be better; designer trends are veering away from the bold accent walls and aggressive palettes of the past twenty years, so wallpaper has plenty of room to rise again as people explore alternatives to paint. Here are just a few reasons that interest in wallpaper is booming:

Home Decor : Interior Design Wallpaper

Wallpaper is once again finding its way back into our homes with a whole array of new designs and textures.
Image Source: wallpaperstore.com

1. Easy Installation and Removal. As opposed to days of yore, when wallpaper was applied in a complicated process, and was almost impossible to remove, the new generation of wallpaper is designed with changeability in mind. Many of the newest brands can be moved, removed, or repositioned with ease, making wallpaper an ideal option for those who frequently tinker with their décor.

2. Variety. A simple search on Google for images of wallpaper reveals the new look of wallpaper, which is a far cry from your grandmother’s stodgy old patterns. Instead, wallpaper is now available in thousands of looks, from crisp refined neutrals to exotic patterns, simple textures to beaded and bedazzled, and industrial modernist to natural woods and foliage. Whatever the design scheme of your room, it’s likely that you’ll find a wallpaper to match.

3. Flexibility. Now that wallpaper is no longer a life-long commitment, people are finding interesting ways of using wallpaper in conjunction with other decorative elements, creating personalized and whimsical rooms that would be difficult to conjure any other way. Painted walls with decorative borders, papered accent walls, mixing wallpaper patterns, and using removable paper as a decorative decal are just some of the ways that people are incorporating wallpaper into their décor.

4. Finally, there’s the price. Affordability is high on the list of priorities for many design projects, and wallpaper presents a desirable nexus between price, quality, and choice. Slightly more expensive than painting, but often much cheaper than tile work, wallpaper allows decorators on a budget to recreate high-end looks without going off the financial deep-end. And, thanks to some of the reasons we’ve outline above, it also provides practical flexibility, which can be important to homeowners who may need to change décor for an upcoming sale of their home.

As you can see, the pitch of wallpaper is perfect for today’s decorators, who are looking for an affordable, easy way to change the look of a room, without locking themselves into an unchangeable wallpaper prison. As the array of options for fashion-forward wallpapers expands, it’s likely you’ll see wallpaper being used in more and more design contexts, where it’s limitless possibilities may help define the design trends of the coming decades.

Help for Homebuyers: Program Types & Qualifications

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Historically low interest rates and affordable home prices have made this a great time to buy a home, but for some buyers—particularly first-time buyers and families just starting out—the financial hurdles of accumulating a downpayment and covering closing costs often seem to large to be overcome. Even the process of buying a home can seem inscrutable, and confusion may prevent qualified households from moving forward. To overcome just these issues, local, county-level and federal government agencies have created a number of programs to help homebuyers overcome these obstacles.

Help for Homebuyers

If you plan on buying a home, familiarize yourself with the available government programs first.

Program Types and Qualifications

These government programs run the gamut from financial to educational assistance, in the hopes of expanding the dream of homeownership to everyone. Many of the programs (typically the financial ones) include qualification limits on personal income, and may impose parameters on the loans contingent upon things like the tenure of residency in the purchased home. Some programs are capped at a certain sales price, typically at or below the local FHA conforming loan limit, while require buyers to fund a certain percentage of the sale. Most programs have websites or literature that clearly outlines the qualifications that must be met in order to participate, so homeowners should take the time to read these limitations carefully.

While the variety of programs available in any one locale varies, examples of programs that are widely available include:

1. Downpayment assistance, through flat grants or affordable loans.

2. Closing cost assistance, again through grants or low-cost loans.

3. Financial counseling to ensure that homebuyers are ready for homeownership.

4. Educational seminars that cover the homebuying process and warn against scams and fraud.

5. Housing sales or placement for low-income, disabled, or veteran buyers

Finding Programs

Often the hardest part about participating in any one of these programs is finding out that they exist. The internet is a helpful tool in determining what programs are offered in your area, and a great place to start is the website for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which includes a directory of local homebuying programs. Users can browse the site and find listed state, regional, county and city-level programs available at their locale. Home buyers can also check the websites of their government offices to see if any programs exist that are not listed on the HUD website.

Buyers in Texas can also visit any one of our LGI Homes new home communities, and ask to speak with a new homes consultant. As one of Texas’ most experienced builder of affordable homes, we are more than happy to help you discover how you too can buy a beautiful new home, without draining your bank account to do so.