February Home Maintenance Tips

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As February dawns, and we settle back into our day-to-day routines after the joy of the holidays, the issue of home maintenance is likely to come back to the top of a homeowner’s to-do list. Taking care of your brand new home is not only necessary, but wise: the time that you invest now into the care of your home helps to maintain it’s value, and a bit of precaution can prevent potentially expensive problems before they arise. So why not take a few moments this month to walk your home and make note of any home maintenance projects that should be undertaken this month? Here’s a quick checklist to guide you and help ensure a safe and healthy start to 2012.

February Home Maintenance Tips

Properly maintaining your home can help retain its value during a depressed housing market.

Test smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure that batteries are still strong. Replace batteries or outdated units as necessary.

Make note of small maintenance tasks in the home that need to be addressed, such as replacing burnt-out lightbulbs, oiling door hinges, spackling holes left by removed pictures/paintings, etc. February’s reputation as the month in which people “get their lives in order” means that many of the items you need in order to follow up on these tasks are both in stock and on sale at your local home or hardware store.

Look for any major problems that may be brewing, particulary structural or roofing issues. Existing home owners may wish to use the winter to invite contractors in for estimates on the work that may be done, while owners of new homes should alert their homebuilders about their concerns. LGI Homes buyers can rest easy here: LGI Homes‘ generous 10-year structural warranty against structural issues means that our owners’ concerns will be quickly and easily addressed, at no cost to the homeowner.

Assess outdoor watering systems and exposed pipes for their potential to be affected by mid- and late-winter freezes. If your winter is typically wet, flush watering systems and remove watering timers, to prevent a deep freeze from bursting underground lines and damaging timing equipment. Exposed pipes on the outside of the home should be wrapped or fitted with insulation sleeves that can protect against freezing.

Revisit your storage needs, which may have changed after the holidays and the gifts you received (as well as the decorative items you may have purchased). Many stores offer substantial deals on storage and organizational items this month, meaning it is the perfect time to stock up on things like plastic bins, office organizers, adjustable shelving, etc. Check major storage areas (such as closets, garages, attics, basements, cabinets, and drawers) to see where your storage system is working, and where it needs some help.

Finally, the post-holiday organizing zeitgeist is the perfect time to revist your belongings as well. As part of your storage survey, consider what you need to keep, what you can divest yourself of, and that with which you simply can’t bear to part. The cold days of winter are perfect for sorting through photos, organizing bookshelves, and going through closets in order to weed out the unnecessary. Used items in good condition can be donated to a local charity or thrift store, and items that are broken or un-useable should be thrown away. Remaining items can then be organized for optimum storage, and for optimum usage throughout 2012.

Thinking Ahead: Homeownership and Taxes

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The dust from the holidays has barely settled before the minds of many turn to that dreaded topic: taxes. Counting down the days until the middle of April when a large tax bill may be due, many Americans spend the beginning of each year wondering what they can do over the next twelve months to reduce their tax bill the following year. With 2011 over and done, and the new year already underway, what will you do in 2012 to give yourself a tax burden break come 2013?

Thinking Ahead Homeownership and Taxes

Becoming a homeowner can greatly reduce your tax liability.

Luckily, there is much about homeownership and taxes that go hand in hand, and thanks to a variety of government incentives for homeownership, buying a home this year can make a huge difference in the amount of taxes you’ll pay next year. Here’s how:

 Most homeowners—particularly brand new ones—see the bulk of their monthly mortgage payments go toward interest. While this may be hard to stomach, this is actually brilliant for most people’s finances, as 100 percent of that interest is deductible from your yearly federal tax bill. That means that each dollar you spend on paying off interest on your mortgage directly cuts your taxes due, on all mortgages up to $1 million!

 Another large part of your monthly mortgage payment goes toward property taxes. This expenditure, too, is tax deductible, further reducing your tax bill.

 In addition to these tax breaks, homeowners are also eligible for a break from capital gains taxes on profit seen from the sale of their primary residence. This means that if you sell your residence and make more money on the sale than you owe (or that which you paid), you pocket that money tax-free. This capital gains exemption is good for up to $250,000 in gains for single filers, and $500,000 for married people filing jointly. Note that you have to own the sold property for at least two years before selling it to enjoy this exemption, so best to start your homeownership legacy now!

As you can see, the benefits of homeownership can greatly affect the tax bill that you’ll face next year. And the earlier in 2012 that you become a homeowner, the sooner you can start counting your mortgage payments toward a tax deduction in 2013. So while others muddle through and watch their tax bills grow, owners in fine new home communities like those built by LGI Homes are enjoying all of the personal and functional benefits of homeownership, along with the financial boons of tax deductions and tax-free earnings that only owning a home can bring.

New 3-bed, 2-bath Home in Ft. Worth, TX for Less than $700 per Month!

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Brand new LGI Homes’ house for sale in Fort Worth, Texas with 3 beds and 2 baths.

Fort Worth, Texas New Home for Sale

This new home in Fort Worth, Texas is provided by LGI Homes and features 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and a 2-car garage.

Plan Name: Blanco
Community: Deer Creek (Fort Worth, Texas)
View all available homes for sale

Bedrooms: 3
Bathrooms: 2
Garage: 2-car

Price: $679/month.

Home highlights: Huge master suite, Covered patio and porch, Open-concept kitchen

Floorplan features: The Blanco offers an exceptional layout for busy, modern families intent on making the most of their home. Begin at the stylish covered patio at the home’s entrance, which sets the tone for the home’s understated, elegant design. Guests and residents will be drawn into the open family room—the true heart of the home, where friends and family gather and the best memories are made. Best of all, the open-concept kitchen looks out over the family room and dedicated dining room, making everything from watching the kids to interacting with guests both seamless and effortless. The family room has access to the covered patio at the rear of the home, from which you can take in the beauty of the fully-fenced backyard and enjoy countless pleasant evenings outdoors.

About Deer Creek: Deer Creek offers affordable, high-quality homes in Fort Worth, Texas. These spacious houses range from 3-5 bedrooms, and include over $10,000 worth of designer and custom upgrades at no cost to the buyer. Front-yard landscaping, a fully-fenced backyard, and a generous homeowner’s warranty are also exceptional features of the Deer Creek community. Residents here enjoy a neighborhood playground, residents-only pool and quality deed restrictions. Prices start at just $679 per month.

Modern Living and Active Lives at LGI Homes Communities

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It’s no secret that the way we live today is vastly different than the way our parents (or grandparents) lived decades ago. We drive more, spend more time sitting at our desks, and even dine out much more often than they ever did. Yet our most recent generations are also more active, dynamic and creative than ever before, leading their lives in ways even our most recent ancestors may have thought impossible. And we’re doing this on our own terms, in our own ways, in communities and neighborhoods built for a modern sensibility and a modern way of life.

Active Lifestyle New Homes

Recent generations are much more active than our ancestors, maybe we just have more free time on our hands?

Foremost in the cultural change from just a few decades ago is our desire to be out and about, spending our time engaged in healthful and vigorous activities that embolden our spirits even as they improve our minds and fortify our bodies. Older neighborhoods, built in the golden years of sprawl and suburban reclusion, were often built to cater to a singularly car-based lifestyle that we no longer cling to. To get into the car was a pastime, and no thought was given towards providing amenities for residents. Not when things were only a car drive away!

Lacking nearby parks, devoid of sports fields, picnic areas, and sometimes even sidewalks, these neighborhoods make it nearly impossible for families to enjoy the types of outings—jogs, walks, bike rides, trips to the playground—that are a staple for most of today’s households.

It’s no wonder, then, that many families are searching out newly-built homes in brand-new communities that have been built with the way we live today in mind. Communities like those constructed by LGI Homes include a wide array of active living opportunities, such as beautiful parks, landscaped walking trails, sports courts, sporting fields, swimming pools, fishing lakes, splash pads, playgrounds and tot lots. All of these amenities aren’t a car-drive away, or in another town. They’re here, in the heart of the neighborhood, just a short stroll away from your house. Whether you’re out jogging with your partner, or packing the kids into a stroller, you’ll appreciate the ability to enjoy fresh air and exercise, without having to leave the safety and comfort of the place you call home.

All of these community amenities would come, you might think, at a steep price. But the reality is that these active opportunities are just part of the exceptional value and high-quality lifestyles that define the LGI Homes community experience. And at prices equivalent to—or lower than—what many people pay in rent, thousands of households have found themselves living in beautiful new homes in sparkling new communities that cater to the way they love to live, without sacrificing their financial health to do so.

Active lifestyles, quality homes, and affordable prices—the perfect communities for the way we live today. Why not stop by an LGI Homes community near you and experience the difference for yourself?

Financial Fitness in 2012, It’s Time to Get Your Finances in Order

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One of the most frequently planned new year’s resolutions involves becoming more financially fit. Whether it’s paying off debt, increasing the size of a savings account, or saving up money to buy a home, the beginning of the new year is often the signal for many people to get serious about their money. And why not? The desire for financial security and the ability to enjoy the better things in life is basic to most people, so finding a zone of comfort and active understanding of money in 2012 is definitely a great goal to have.

Financial Fitness in 2012

Getting fit is often a new year's resolution, but this year getting financially fit is topping all resolutions.

When it comes to money, a large part of financial planning involves where you live currently, and where you hope to live (or own a home) in the future. For younger couples and young families, the dream of owning a home is strong, as is their desire to put down roots in a community where they (and their current or future children) can feel safe, happy and secure. Yet the barriers to homeownership—wobbly credit, lack of a large downpayment, or inability to find an affordable home that meets all of their needs—can be frustrating at best, disheartening at worst. And being forced to rent can often derail the best laid plans for financial freedom.

Enter into the financial discussion the kind of high-quality, affordable homes offered by builders like LGI Homes, and suddenly there is hope! Whatever the financial or practical issues that have bogged you down in the past, LGI Homes is here to say that the dream of owning a home and the path to financial fitness aren’t mutually exclusive—in fact, buying one of the beautiful brand-new homes in one of our many communities throughout Texas and Arizona can be one of the most effective and important money decisions you can make!

If you’re wondering how buying a new home can possibly be a part of your own financial future, consider this:

1. Owning a home offers sizeable and considerable financial benefits, such as tax deductions.

2. LGI Homes houses are available for monthly payments that are often lower than many pay in rent.

3. LGI Homes offers a generous No Money Down program for those who have had difficulty amassing a large downpayment.

4. LGI Homes also offers a credit counseling program that makes the dream of homeownership a reality, even for those with blemishes on their credit reports.

5. Owning a home is still one of the best investments you can make in your long term financial health, thanks to the opportunities for profit you can see from today’s rock bottom home prices.

If discovering the secret to financial fitness is on your agenda in 2012, and you’re tired of throwing away money on rent each month, you owe it to yourself to stop by one of LGI Homes’ new homes communities, and speak with a New Homes Consultant. You may be surprised when you find out how easy it can be to move into a brand-new home of your very own, and build a more secure and financially-savvy future for yourself and your family.

Friends and Family: The Best Things in Life

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Whether we are going through good times or bad, it is often those closest to us—friends, family, co-workers, and caring acquaintances—that prove to be one of the most beneficial and valuable assets in our lives. And when it comes to our homes, nothing is more symbolic of our connection to the people we care about than opening our home to them for celebrations—large or small—of the relationships, experiences, humor, camaraderie and friendliness we share. What better way, then, to make the most of the best in life, than to move into a brand-new home that gives you the space and the facility to host those you love best, as often as you wish?

Friends and Family - The Best Things in Life

LGI Homes' new houses are located at the center of your social connections, as a warm and welcoming place where everyone can gather!

As it is, you may already have room in your apartment, condominium, townhouse or home for visitors, but for many the life of the renter has restricted their ability to play host to their friends, family, acquaintances, and groups to which they may belong. Notoriously short on space, many apartments lack the room for dining room tables, or have older-style floorplans that divvy up the living space into smaller rooms, which are inadequate and outdated when compared the large spaces found in today’s homes. Built for relaxation, socializing and dining, areas like the great room (such as those found in many of LGI Homes’ flexible and functional floorplans) are at the heart of the modern home, and provide just the sort of space that is intimate enough for family evenings, yet capacious enough to allow gatherings of any number, whenever you’re tapped to play host for an afternoon, an evening, or a weekend.

Another aspect of apartment life is the frequent lack of kitchen space, with key shortages of counter space and cabinetry in a tight room that has neither charm nor room for guests and family to linger as you prepare a meal. Compare this to the modern, sleek kitchens found in LGI Homes’ brand-new houses, which include quality appliances, custom cabinetry, and rounded corners—as well as ample space—to make the kitchen a true extension of your living space, instead of a cramped space for drudgery tucked behind a wall and set apart from your living area.

Finally, there are the bedrooms. While many apartments built in the latter part of the last century have a semblence of a master suite, many still force their residents to suffice with small rooms, small bathrooms, and even smaller closets. Modern homeowners demand better, and LGI Homes has responded with master suites that include things like separate showers and soaker tubs, expansive walk-in closets, and large master bedrooms, often with their own access to outdoor spaces. The privacy, comfort and ease you feel in a modern master bedroom also enhances the experience for other guests and residents in the home, who will enjoy their own spacious rooms. Guests are always welcome, and residents always enjoy their own sense of space. What could make a weekend get-together or the arrival of out of town guests any better?

As you can see, making the move to a home can make a huge difference when it comes to your closest and most dear relationships, by giving you the generosity of space and benefit of functionality that comes with a modern, spacious and thoughtful floorplan. Once you move into an LGI Homes house, gone are the days of squeezing guests into tiny dining rooms or setting them upon fold-out couches for the night. With the luxurious yet affordable benefits of an LGI Homes house, you’ll soon find that your beautiful new home sits at the center of your social connections, as a warm and welcoming place where everyone can gather!

LGI Homes Announces its New Communities in Phoenix’s East Valley and Austin

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Hot on the heels of 2011′s incredibly successful sales year (in which we placed a record number of buyers into their own beautiful new homes), 2012 is already promising to become another milestone in LGI Homes‘ history. That’s because this year we’re bringing the LGI Homes model of home building into two new cities: Austin, Texas and Phoenix, Arizona!

Austin Texas New Home Community: Sonterra

LGI Homes' new home community Sonterra, located in Austin, TX.

The LGI Homes focus on value, affordability and quality has driven our success in a number of markets across Texas, so we’re excited to expand into the unique and dynamic setting of Austin, one of Texas’ most forward-thinking, diverse and vibrant cities. Sonterra, our first community in Greater Austin, is ideally situated just off of I-35, and offers homebuyers exceptional value, with prices starting at just $679 per month. Commuters will enjoy unparalleled access to the urban areas of Austin, Georgetown, Salado, Belton, Temple, and Killeen/Ft. Hood, while those staying closer to home will enjoy countless superb amenities and a close-knit community experience. Floorplans at Sonterra range from 3-5 bedrooms, and include over $10,000 worth of designer upgrades at absolutely no cost to the buyer. With oversized lots, a family park with clubhouse, a pool with toddler-friendly splash-play area, walking trails and a brand-new elementary school, Sonterra promises to be one of the Austin area’s most popular family-friendly communities.

San Tan Valley New Home Community: San Tan Heights

LGI Homes' new home community San Tan Heights, located in San Tan Valley, AZ.

In Phoenix—our first expansion outside of our home state of Texas—buyers will thrill at the homes we are offering in San Tan Heights, a stunning master-planned community in Phoenix’s East Valley. San Tan Heights offers easy access to all points in the greater Phoenix-metropolitan area, but capitalizes on the quiet beauty of its location in East Valley foothills. An incredible natural setting, exceptional community amenities and astonishingly affordable prices (starting at just $679 per month!) make San Tan Heights a premiere choice for homebuyers looking for family-friendly communities and the active, adventurous lifestyle so typical of this Southwestern state. Whether it’s the spacious oversized lots, the modern 3-5 bedroom floorplans, or the generous home warranty that brings you out to visit us at San Tan Heights, you’ll soon find that you stay because of the neighborhood feel, the ideal location, and the level of service, quality, affordability and value that is the signature of LGI Homes.

So here’s to 2012, a great year that promises—especially for the savviest homebuyers in Austin and Phoenix—to be one of the best yet.

7 Gardening Tips for a Homeowner’s Perfect February Garden Start

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Depending upon where you live, the weather outside in February may be frightful—but that doesn’t mean that the enjoyable tasks of gardening are completely out of reach. On the contrary, February is an excellent month for gardeners across the country, serving as the perfect time to research, plan and begin laying the groundwork for the gardening that will take place in the spring. Here are some ideas of how you can indulge your green thumb, even as winter plods on for a few more months:

Gardening Tips for Homeowners

February is an excellent month for gardeners across the country to research, plan, and begin laying the groundwork.

1. Seed catalogs begin arriving at homes across the country in February, giving cabin-fevered gardeners the chance to dream of the heady bounty of their spring and summer vegetable gardens. Peruse the catalogs, plan your garden, and place your orders before popular varieties begin selling out—by the end of February is best.

2. February is also when bare-root plants (such as roses) begin appearing in gardening stores. Buying bareroot plants is an affordable way to purchase mature (but dormant) plants for your garden. By later in the winter, only leafed-out and blooming plants will be available (at a higher cost), so snag your plants early on for the best savings.

3. Weeding is best done early and often, and even February is an ideal time to go out into the garden and combat unwelcome garden interlopers. Remember: pulling one weed before it seeds is much easier than pulling the twenty that sprout up afterwards.

4. Towards the end of this month, start seedlings indoors for spring plantings. The extra weeks you gain by starting seedlings indoors will give your spring garden a boost, and increase production before the substantial heat of summer sets in.

5. Don’t forget to water if rainfall falls short. Cold weather can be harshly dry for plants, lawns and trees, so a consistent watering is important, even when it isn’t hot out.

6. Take the time to sharpen, repair or purchase necessary gardening tools. This is also a good month to organize your potting station, gardening shed, or planting box, making a list of needed items and replacing outdated or exhausted supplies of fertilizers, soil amendments, and herbal or traditional pesticides.

7. Finally, don’t forget to lay the groundwork for the coming busy gardening season. Build or tend to the composting bin, enrich the soil in your vegetable beds, fertilize winter bloomers, and test your soil to see if it needs to be amended. Getting these tasks done in February means that when the blooms of Spring start to arrive, you’ll be ready to get your spring garden rolling, without a moment’s delay!

New Year, New You, New Home

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Every new year presents us with the same opportunity to redefine our lives in a positive direction. Whether we aim to be kinder throughout the year, to be more organized, or even to shed a pound or two, the new year and the resolutions that it births are our chance to become better people, living happier lives. Of course, housing isn’t always tops on a new year’s resolution list, but at LGI Homes we believe strongly that where we live—and how we feel about where we live—affects who we are, how we live, and our ability to become the people we want to be.

New Homes

LGI Homes - beautiful, quality-built, and equally as important... affordable!

Think of it this way: you begin and end each day in your home. “Coming home” is a transition not only functional in its reality (we do it each day), but also symbolic in its meaning. To come home is to be where you are comfortable, happy, fulfilled and joyous. To come home is to be where you are most yourself, living easily with who you are, and free to pursue whatever adventures and challenges your future may bring.

Can we truly be at home in a rented apartment or house? That is owned by someone else? In which we have no stake but the fact that our mail arrives there each day? In a rental we surround ourselves with temporary walls, which we may leave at any time. There is nothing there to cultivate a feeling of connection, to give us the freedom to relax and live that is part of the experience of owning our own home. It is precisely this experience, this freedom to pursue our happiness, that has made owning a home part of the American Dream, fundamental to a country built upon the freedom of every man, woman and child to become the best person they can be.

So this new year, as you plan a new diet, buy new organizers for your closet, or vow to write letters to your Great Aunt Tilly, consider this: low interest rates, high affordability and scores of pristine communities full of brand-new homes are creating ideal conditions for homeownership in 2012. LGI Homes’ new home developments throughout Texas and Arizona are bringing thousands of people home in the new year, introducing them to the unique joys and fulfilling sense of connection and community that make homeownership a sought after goal for nearly every American.

And with the costs of owning a home nearly equivalent (and sometimes cheaper) than that of renting, owners in LGI Homes’ beautiful, quality and affordable communities are starting off the new year confident in their direction, ready to embrace the live that plays out both within and without the walls of a home that they call, wholly and truthfully, their very own.

Aspen Floorplan, Located at Chisholm Springs in North Fort Worth

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Aspen floor plan in Dallas Fortworth

Aspen is a Dallas Fortworth new home plan from LGI Homes that features 4 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, and a 2-car garage.

New home with 4 bedrooms built by LGI Homes at Chisholm Springs in Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas.

Plan Name: Aspen
Community: Chisholm Springs (Dallas/Fort Worth, TX)

Bedrooms: 4
Bathrooms: 2.5
Garage: 2-car

Price: $919/month.

Home highlights: Formal dining room, downstairs master suite with large walk-in closet, second-floor gameroom

Floorplan features: The Aspen floorplan offers a beautiful two-story layout that enhances privacy while maximizing the flow of the home’s social living areas. Downstairs, the family room, formal dining room and breakfast nook provide ample space for dining and entertaining with family and friends, while the upstairs gaming room adds flexibility and enhances casual evenings and weekends spent together. The downstairs master suite features a separate shower and soaker bath, and the three upstairs bedrooms each come with their own amply-sized walk-in closets.

About Chisholm Springs: Chisholm Springs is a premier LGI Homes community located in North Fort Worth. Each home includes thousands of dollars of designer upgrades at no additional cost to the buyer, including rounded corners, custom cabinetry, and vaulted ceilings. Chisholm Springs amenities include a community clubhouse, neighborhood park with playground, and a fenced residents-only pool.