Why LGI Homes? Included Upgrades in Every Home!

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While other builders are comfortable with cutting corners to rake in profits for themselves, LGI Homes works hard to create superior quality, affordable homes for our customers – even if it’s at our own expense. We build houses that are ready to live in, and that means making some sacrifices on our end to ensure that your new home includes everything you need to feel comfortable and content from the moment you move in. You won’t have to deal with the hassle on home renovation projects to achieve the home of your dreams, because every LGI Homes house includes over $10,000 in upgrades – included in the price. While the precise amount and type of upgrades varies across our communities, these are some of our most common upgrades.

Why Choose LGI Homes

LGI Homes packs tens-of-thousands of dollars in upgrades into every home built.

Cabinets – You won’t have to downsize on your Pyrex collection or fine china to make everything fit in your new kitchen, because your new home will include all of the cabinet space you could possibly need. Depending on the community, all of our homes include either custom cabinets or upgraded 36” maple cabinets.

Counters – You’ll never have to worry about scratching, staining or burning your kitchen counters, because most of our communities include granite counter tops in every home. Granite is one of the most durable counter materials available on the market, and it’s also one of the easiest to clean.

Energy-Efficient Appliances – Say “goodbye” to high energy bills and do the environment a favor every time you use one of the energy efficient appliances included in some of our neighborhoods. While not every community includes our energy-efficient appliances, every home does include state-of-the-art, quality appliances so you won’t have to worry about the hassle of replacing anything in your new home any time soon.

Fenced Yards – You’ll be able to send your children outside to play or allow your pet to spend some unsupervised time outdoors without having to worry with our fully-fenced yards, an upgrade included in many of our neighborhoods.

Landscaping – We work hard to ensure that the exteriors of our homes are just as beautiful as their interiors, so we include full front yard landscaping in all of our communities. You’ll enjoy a mixture of lush grass and native flora throughout your community, and will love showing off your yard to friends and family when they come over to visit.

Rounded Corners – Your home should be a safe place for your little ones to run around, and the rounded corners throughout many of our homes will help prevent many of the bumps and bruises that go along with early childhood.

Fixtures – Every time you use your sink or open a drawer, you’ll notice the brushed-nickel hardware and fixtures we include in most of our homes.

Doors – Depending on the community, most of our homes include either two-panel or six-panel doors, which adds personality to our houses and adds a hint of luxurious décor to every room in your home.

Utility Rooms – Whether you need a place to keep muddy shoes out of the main area of your home or space to store your new washer and dryer, many of our homes include utility rooms at no extra cost.

5 Tips for Paying Off Your Mortgage Faster

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Whether you’ve committed to pay off your mortgage in 15 years or 30, you may find yourself anxiously counting down the days until you finally own your home fully from the time you send out your very first monthly payment. The truth is, the longer it takes you to pay off your mortgage, the more interest you’ll incur and the more total money you’ll have to spend, so paying your loan off before the terms expire can be a wise move financially. While it’s impossible to pay your mortgage off overnight – unless you win the lottery or otherwise strike it rich, that is – there are a few easy ways you can cut years off your payments and own your home fully sooner than you think. Before you start making extra payments, however, check the fine print of your contract to make sure your lender won’t penalize you for prepayment.

Paying Off Mortgage Principle

By paying off your mortgage quicker than the required time, you will save a great deal of money in interest.

#1 Set Up a Payday Schedule – Instead of making one monthly payment to your lender, arrange for your loan to be put on a payday schedule. The amount you pay each month will stay the same, but the payment will be broken up into smaller payments that occur every time you get paid. At minimum, this will double the total number of payments you make each year, and more of the money you pay will go directly to your principle balance instead of covering interest. The faster your principle balance is paid down, the sooner you no longer owe.

#2 Rework Your Budget – Look over your finances and see if there’s anywhere you could scrounge up extra cash to put toward you mortgage every month. Something as simple as forgoing your morning latte could provide an extra $100 to add to your monthly payment. Make a commitment to yourself to put part of your expendable income toward your mortgage payment on a consistent basis, as the extra money will go directly toward your principle. This could easily cut years off your repayment plan if you succeed in doing this each and every month.

#3 Put Your Tax Refund Toward Your Principle – When you get your tax return every year, use the full amount to make an extra annual payment toward your mortgage. Depending on how high your return is, this could be one of the most effective ways to cut down the number of years you’re repaying, as a few thousand dollars extra toward your principle every year will go a long way.

#4 Make a Double Payment Every Quarter – Every three months, double up your normal monthly payment. As with other methods mentioned, the extra money will all go directly toward your principle.

#5 Put All Unexpected Income Toward Your Principle – Whether you win the lottery, receive a large monetary gift for your birthday or are given an inheritance, put any unexpected income from outside your paycheck directly toward your mortgage. Since you weren’t counting on this money when budgeting for bills, your current finances won’t suffer but your principle balance could shrink considerably.

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8 New Home Spring Maintenance Tips

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As the weather warms up and spring is in full swing, there’s no better season to show your new home a little extra TLC after a long winter of neglect. While your new home should require very little maintenance, the extra love will keep it looking its best throughout the year and will prevent the need for repairs and large improvements in the future. Check out our list of easy spring home maintenance tips you can complete easily over a weekend, and keep your home in top shape for years to come.

Clean Gutters

1. Clear Out Your Gutters

Winter and fall tend to wreak havoc on gutters, and yours are probably filled with autumn leaves and debris that could prevent them from draining properly once April’s showers arrive.

Climb up and visually inspect the gutters around your house and clear out any potential blockages you find.

Organize Tool Shed

2. Prep Your Tool Shed

There’s nothing more frustrating than finding a tool is out of order right when you need it most, so check out all of your gas and battery-powered yard tools to make sure they’re still working and ready for use.

Have the blades on your lawnmower and weed whacker sharpened so you’ll have no problem keeping your lawn tamed once summer arrives.

Clean Out Fridge

3. Clean Out Your Fridge

Spring is the perfect time to stock your fridge full with fresh berries and produce, so make sure you’ve got plenty of space to store them. Clean out your fridge and freezer and throw away any old, expired or freezer burned foods.

Spritz an antibacterial cleaner on a rag and give all of the shelves and drawers a thorough scrubbing.

Check Smoke Alarms

4. Inspect Your Batteries

You should test and replace the batteries in your smoke alarm and CO2 detectors every season, and spring is no exception!

Keep your family safe and protect your new home by making it a habit to inspect your batteries this season.

Change Air Filters

5. Change Your Air Filters

Spring is one of the worst seasons for allergies, so keep the sniffles to a minimum by changing out your air filters. Fresh filters will ensure your home is filled with nothing but fresh air, and everyone in your family will breathe a little easier.

In the future, remember that it’s recommended that you change your air filters every three months, so get in the habit of doing this with the start of every season.

Prune Plants

6. Prune Your Shrubs and Trees

Plants filled with dead twigs and damaged branches aren’t worthy of showing off to the neighbors, so improve their health by giving all of the shrubs and trees in your yard a good pruning.

Prevent damage from spring and summer thunderstorms by trimming tree branches back so they hang no closer than seven feet from your home.

Sump Pump Cleanout

7. Inspect Your Sump Pump

A backed up sump pump is every homeowner’s worst nightmare, so prevent this disaster by inspecting your pump early in the season.

Make sure everything is functioning properly and replace the batteries in the backup.

Clean Stove & Oven

8. Clean out Your Oven and Stove Top

Whether you plan on whipping up a fresh apple pie (or two!) or a batch of fresh berry muffins, make sure you’ve got a clean place to do so by giving your oven and stove top a thorough cleaning.

Run the cleaning cycle on your oven before the summer heat hits and scrub all of the burners on your stove before the buildup gets the chance to become a fire hazard.

For other seasonal maintenance tips to keep your home looking its best, check out LGI Homes blog!

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LGI Homes Credit Counseling for First Time Buyers

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Here at LGI Homes, we understand how frustrating and confusing buying a home can be for inexperienced buyers, so we try to offer assistance programs that make the home buying process as easy as possible. As a first-time buyer with limited or poor credit, you might think your financial history is going to hold you back from your dreams of home ownership, but our credit counseling program might prove you wrong! Here’s how our credit counseling program can help you overcome your credit-related obstacles and get you on your way to moving into one of our affordable, superior quality homes in less time than you think.

LGI Homes Credit Counseling Program

Allow LGI Homes’ Credit Counselors to advise you about your financial position and ability to purchase a new home.

Experienced Specialists – We’ve added experienced new home consultants and mortgage specialists to our team, and we utilize their talents in our credit counseling program. When you commit to giving the program a try, you can do so with faith that you’re working with experienced professionals with advanced knowledge regarding home buying, finances and mortgage options.

Confidential Appointments – Our credit counseling meetings are 100% confidential and none of your information will ever leave the room once you meet with a new home consultant and mortgage specialist. The appointment isn’t a commitment of any kind on your end – it’s simply to analyze your finances and determine what sort of financing options we might be able to help you qualify for.

LGI Homes Introduction – We believe our customers should be well-educated in all aspects of buying a home, including information about who they’re buying from! Your consultant will provide you with an introduction to LGI Homes and go over our history, values and service commitments so you can make sure we’re really the company you want to work with.

Free Credit Reports – During your appointment, we’ll provide you with a free copy of your credit report, as well as a mortgage analysis based on the information you give us. The consultant will carefully go over your credit report with you and discuss various options you qualify for.

No Money Down Purchase Option – Many of our customers are worried that lack of immediate funds for a down payment will prevent them from purchasing a home, and many are surprised to learn that they qualify for our no money down purchase option! Your consultant will inform you if you’re eligible for this option, which could make owning a home even easier than you think.

Purchase Agreement – After meeting with a consultant, you’ll get to check out our various floor plans and pick out the house that’s perfect for you. After finding your dream home, we’ll negotiate and settle on a price with you and draft up a purchase agreement that sets your purchase price in stone and solidifies our responsibilities to you.

Diverse Financing Options – Depending on what you qualify for when you meet with the specialist, we’ll go over various financing options that are available to you and help you select the perfect one to fit your budget. We’ll walk you through every step of the mortgage process and answer any questions you have a long the way.

Move In! – After we secure your mortgage, you’ll close on the home and that’s all there is to it! The home is yours and it’s time to start packing and preparing to move in.

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Five Reasons to Act Fast and Buy a Home Now

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Reasons to Buy a Home

If you’re still on the fence as to whether or not to buy a new home, perhaps these five reasons can help convince you.

As the first quarter of 2013 comes to an end and tax refunds begin pouring in, many renters plan on making their dream of owning a home a reality before summer arrives. The housing market has slowly been recovering since its unfortunate and untimely crash in 2008, and many people don’t want to miss out on the action of getting a great deal before it’s too late. If you’ve been on the fence about whether or not buying your first home should be at the top of your to-do list before 2014 rolls around, consider these points.

One: Home Prices Are Rising – Home prices fell to a historic low in 2008 when the country sunk into a recession, but as the economy has picked back up, home prices have been steadily rising. Home prices have yet to meet or exceed the rates they were at in the mid-2000s when the economy was in top shape, and in fact, are 40% lower still in most parts of the country. Now is the perfect time to buy a house before home values climb back up to their mid-2000s values and secure yourself an excellent deal – especially considering LGI Homes is the leader in affordable home building.

Two: Mortgage Pre-Approval is Expiring Faster Than Ever – Before the housing market crash, aspiring home owners often had the luxury of their mortgage pre-qualification staying valid for upwards of three months. Today, many lenders will only offer pre-qualification rates for 30 days. If you’ve recently sought out a pre-qualifying rate from a lender, you’ll need to act fast if you want to secure the rate offered to you.

Three: First-Time Home Buyer Programs Are Depleting – Many state-offered first-time home buyer programs are quickly running out of their allotted funds, so if you have any hope of securing a grant, you won’t want to wait it out and let this opportunity pass you by. For example, the My First Texas Home program for Texas home owners had an original allotment of $600 million when it was created in October 2012. As of March 2013, only $10 million is assistance is still available in program 79.

Four: Mortgage Rates Are at a Stable Low – While home prices have been on the rise, mortgage interest rates have managed to stay at an almost unheard of low. Since your interest rate determines the exact total you’ll pay for your house over the course of your mortgage, don’t wait too long and give rates the chance to rise. As of March 2013, average rates for a 30-year fixed mortgage are sitting right at 3.5% for qualified borrowers.

Five: You Can Do it With No Down Payment – Have you watched the housing market and economy rise while your salary has stayed the same? As you’ve been focused on spending money on rent, you might not have had the funds to set aside for a down payment on a house. LGI Homes offers a no down payment option for qualified buyers, so you could purchase your home this year without paying anything up front!

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Smart Phone Apps That Will Make Your Move Effortless

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Long gone are the days when movers had to scour the Yellowpages to find a moving company or compile a binder filled with moving checklists on paper. Thanks to modern technology, preparing for your move has never been easier, and you can effortlessly research and organize everything you need with just a few swipes on your smart phone screen. As you anxiously count down the days until you move into your new place, download a few of these smart phone apps to keep you on track and make sure no detail goes unnoticed.

Moving Apps for Smart Phones

There are numerous smart phone apps available for those who are moving that are designed to ease some of the common issues and problems that can arise.

Moving Day – This application allows you to photograph everything you want to take and converts the images into a virtual checklist. It also allows you to scan bar codes and create labels to keep your boxes organized and to make sure nothing gets left behind. It’s a great resource for packing tips and other advice related to moving, such as how to pack a moving truck or how to choose a company to transport your stuff.

Moving Planner – Android owners can use Moving Planner to compile a detailed checklist of items that need to be packed. The application comes preloaded with 210 common household items and you can add your own items manually so nothing gets forgotten. This app is simple and straight to the point, so it’s ideal for movers who just want an app for making a packing list.

My Move – If you’re looking for an all-in-one app that includes anything and everything you need to stay organized for the move, check out My Move for iPhone and Android. This free application allows you to compile a packing list, research moving company reviews, make to-do lists, jot down important notes and calculate your moving costs.

State Farm Move Tools – Are you a bit prone to procrastination or unsure when you should complete each step of the moving process? State Farm’s Move Tools app for iPhone can help you stay organized on on task by providing you with to-do lists on a moving time line. You can also make labels for your boxes using this application.

Yardsale – Looking to downsize before you pack up the moving truck and head for your new home? Yardsale is an iPhone app that allows you to make a little bit of extra cash off your unwanted goods – right from your smart phone! Save yourself the hassle of setting up tables for a garage sale and simply snap a few photos along with a short description to post on the app. Other users in your area can browse the wares you post on your account and make offers on anything that catches their interest.

Yelp! – Once you arrive in your new community, you may be at a loss when it comes to where to buy your groceries or where to enjoy a nice family dinner to celebrate getting settled in your new place. The Yelp! app will show you first-hand just how convenient our community locations are and will allow you to read reviews for local businesses written by real patrons. The Yelp! app is available for both iPhone and Android.

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Saving Money on Your Homeowner’s Insurance

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Whether you’re anxiously counting down the days until you join one of our communities or you’ve long been established in our neighborhoods, homeowner’s insurance is essential for protecting your investment in one of our properties. Most lenders even require borrowers to carry insurance on their homes for the duration of their mortgages. From lightning strikes to fire damage, homeowner’s insurance has your back in the event something unfortunate happens to your home. While it’s certainly a necessity, it can be an inconvenient expense to pay for every month. Follow these tips to secure yourself a great rate without sacrificing your home’s protection.

Homeowners Insurance Advice

When it comes to buying homeowners insurance, you may want to consider bundling it with the other insurance policies you have.

Shop Around – Countless insurance companies exist, and they are not created equally. Some offer better protection plans for less, and each company sets its own rates. Don’t make the mistake of committing to the first insurance provider you stumble across on the Internet, and instead spend plenty of time browsing around and comparing rates among various companies. Read reviews from people who have purchased from each company or ask your friends and family for recommendations. You’ll be committing to a company for at least six months, so make sure you pick the right one.

Raise Your Deductible – A deductible is the amount of money you have to pay out of pocket towards a loss before your insurance kicks in and covers the rest. The higher you set your deductible, the lower your monthly premium will be. Be careful when using this method to save money though, as setting your deductible too high will make it difficult for you to afford the out of pocket costs should something happen to your home.

Buy All of Your Policies From the Same Insurer – Almost every major insurance provider offers a discount to customers who take out multiple policies. Combine your auto insurance, liability insurance, recreational vehicle insurance or any other policies you have with your homeowner’s insurance to secure a great rate from your provider.

Keep Your Credit Up – Your insurance rates are heavily based on your credit score. The higher your credit score, the lower your monthly premium – and vice versa. Don’t fall behind on your payments to any company and keep your debt in check to ensure your monthly payment stays as low as possible.

Seek Out Discounts – You’d be surprised how many specialized discounts insurance companies offer – and how many you just might qualify for! For example, installing a home security system could cause your premium to drop. Since we build our homes using only the finest materials, you might be able to score multiple discounts for having modern heating, plumbing and electrical systems. If you’re retired or over 55, many providers offer a hefty discount.

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6 FAQs About Shopping for a Lender

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The purchase of a new home requires learning all about various aspects of homeownership (financial, legal, and practical) that can be overwhelming to a first-time homebuyer and homeowner. As part of our ongoing All About series, LGI Homes seeks to provide an easy-to-read and easy-to-understand resource that goes in-depth on a variety of subjects connected to buying a home. Today, we explore the process of shopping for a lender and how it will play into your experience of buying and owning a home.

Applying for Mortgage Loan

When it comes time to start shopping for the right lender for your home purchase, make sure you do your homework!

What is a mortgage lender? – Most people don’t have the money to purchase their house with cash, so they take out a loan to cover the cost and pay the loan off over a set period of time. A mortgage lender is any company who offers loans to home buyers to finance the purchase of their home.

Are there different types of lenders? – A number of different types of companies and businesses may offer mortgages. This includes mortgage bankers, commercial banks, credit unions and correspondent lenders. There aren’t any specific benefits to borrowing from one type of lender over another. You want to focus primarily on who is offering you the best deal rather than what the company typically specializes in.

What should I do before I start looking for a lender? – Before you start researching current interest rates and looking up the reputations of potential lenders, pull a copy of your credit report and check it thoroughly. It is estimated that up to 35% of all credit reports contain inaccuracies, and the smallest error could impact your interest rate or lead to a lender denying your application for a loan. Make sure everything in your report is correct and file a dispute for any inaccuracies you find with the agency that reported it. You should also look up current interest rates, as rates tend to fluctuate monthly based on market conditions.

How do I find lenders? – There are a number of ways you can find a company willing to loan you money to purchase a home. You can perform a simple internet search if you’re a do-it-yourself type of person, or your real estate agent can put you in touch with lenders he recommends. Mortgage brokers are professionals who work closely with lenders, and about 50% of home buyers use a mortgage broker to shop for a lender for them. Alternatively, we at LGI Homes have our own team of expert mortgage specialists who can work with you.

What should I look for in a lender? – You should look for a lender you trust. Make sure any lenders you meet with are licensed and take time to verify their reputation with customers as well as their approval rating through the Better Business Bureau.

How do I know I’m getting a good deal? – A good deal on a mortgage involves the lowest interest rate you can secure with your credit rating and current market conditions.

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