Why LGI Homes? Amazing Aesthetics!

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When it comes to the homes we build, we understand that the structure isn’t the only important aspect our buyers look at when deciding to purchase one of our homes. In fact, most buyers aren’t nearly as interested in the foundation, drywall and insulation as they are in the simple aesthetics of a home. After all, if you plan to look at the same house for years to come, you want it to be a house you love looking at! We put an immense amount of thought and care into the aesthetics of our houses, and are committed to offering residents homes that are truly beautiful – inside and out. Check out some of our most common aesthetic upgrades, and as with the rest of the features, all are standard in our homes at no extra cost to you.

Stunning Exteriors
LGI Homes House Exterior We take pride in building the most beautiful homes in our communities, and homes that you’ll love calling “yours.” Each of our neighborhoods feature unique exteriors, with some mirroring the surrounding landscape. For example, our new homes in Phoenix are heavily influenced by the classic adobe style associated with the area. We incorporate modern architecture with classic styles to create homes that look entirely timeless.
Upgrades and Features
Granite Counters in Kitchen All of our homes come with a minimum of $10,000 in included upgrades which adds not only to the monetary value, but also to the aesthetics. From granite countertops and custom cabinets to upgraded trim and flooring, every room in your new home is a room you’ll love looking at and spending time in. We use sleek, modern paints and include top-of-the-line ceramic tiles, and include rounded corners, as well as modern, state-of-the-art appliances. Truly, we pay attention to the little details, and do our part to ensure every part of your new house is easy on the eyes. All that’s missing is a hint of your personality in the décor!
Community Entries
Sterling Lakes Community Entrance From the moment you drive into your neighborhood, you’ll be greeted by a stunning community entryway. The entries in all of our communities are unique, and you’ll quickly come to associate the sight of yours as a welcome home.
Luscious Landscaping
Luscious Landscaped Front Yards All of our houses come complete with front yard landscaping and a fully-fenced backyard. We incorporate plants that are native to the area in our landscaping, which makes them easy to maintain after move in. Many of our homes also include a full-covered patio, giving you the perfect place to rest in the shade and take in the breathtaking scenery around you.

Texas Summer Gardening Guide

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LGI Homes‘ spacious lots make the perfect place to start up a home garden, and the warm Texas sunshine is idyllic for allowing plants to flourish and grow. If you’re looking for a fun way to maximize your the use of your yard space and spend some time in the great outdoors, starting a summer garden is the perfect way to do so. And once harvest time rolls around, you’ll love having the ability to make a fresh salad or bake up some vegetable breads using ingredients grown right in your own backyard. Follow these helpful tips to make the most of your Texas summer garden.

STEP 1: Test Your Soil
Test the Soil The natural soils of Texas aren’t always ideal for plants, so take the time to have soil in the area you want to plan in tested. Find out how acidic or alkeline your soil is, and make adjustments as necessary to bring it to the perfect pH level. Add ground lime to your soil to make it more alkeline, or sulphur to make it more acidic, if necessary. Mixing in some organic, nurtrient rich soil to the natural dirt will make your plants extremely happy, and they’ll reward you by growing larger and brighter than they would in the natural dirt.
STEP 2: Prepare Your Garden Area
Preparing for Summer Garden Before you break out the gardening gloves and get to work, prepare the area you want to house your garden so it’s in top shape. Rake out your seed bed so it’s free of clods, clean away any debris and remove any weeds that are lurking, ready to attack your new plants. If you plan to install an automatic sprinkler system, it’s easier to do so before you start planting than after.
STEP 3: Select Your Plants
Summer Garden Plants Texas is ideal for growing a wide variety of vegetables, and most flowers will flourish in the climate. June through mid July is the perfect time to get started on growing some tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, turnips, squash, pumpkins and beets.
STEP 4: Water Frequently
Girl Watering Purple Flowers While your plants certainly won’t hurt for energy from the sun, the Texas heat can cause them to wither and die if left unattended. Be diligent in watering your plants on a regular basis, but try not to overdo it, as too much water can also cause harm.
STEP 5: Be Generous With the Mulch
Backyard Garden Mulch Incorporating plenty of organic mulch into your garden will help prevent weeds from sprouting up and strangling the roots of your plants. Mulch will also make it easier for your plants to conserve water and will keep your soil temperatures ideal so the roots of your plants don’t bake in the heat.
STEP 6: Keep the Bugs and Animals at Bay
Ladybug on Yellow Flower LGI Homes puts you in the center of it all, and many of our Texas communities feature nature areas and greenbelts that are home to a variety of wild creatures. From six-legged creepy crawlies to curious deer, many different animals could see your garden as a tasty snack. Planting marigolds near your vegetables will help keep bugs away, and installing a motion-activated sprinkler system will scare away rabbits, deer and other wildlife that creep into your yard.

My First Texas Home: A First-Time Home Buyer Program

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In October 2012, the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs announced a new program called My First Texas Home, an incentive program for first-time home buyers. Over $600 million in home buying assistance is available; more money than the state has ever offered before through similar programs. Since many of LGI Homes’ communities are located in the great state of Texas, this program is great news for Texans looking to purchase their first home in one of our neighborhoods. In order to learn how this program could help make your dream home become a reality, we’ve created this comprehensive guide to help you determine if you qualify.

Program to Assist First-time Texas Homebuyers

My First Texas Home is a government backed program designed to assist first-time home buyers in Texas.

What is the My First Texas Home Program? – It’s a government backed housing program targeted toward Texas residents who are first-time home buyers. It allows qualified Texans access to home loans with competitive interest rates, as well as down payment and closing cost assistance. This way, people who might not normally be able to afford all of the up-front costs of purchasing a home can still do so. The amount of down payment and closing cost assistance granted varies based on availability of funds, but everyone accepted gets access to the mortgage benefits.

Who qualifies for the program? – In order to qualify, you must be a resident of Texas and may not have owned a home in the past three years. You must also qualify under FHA, RHS or VA guidelines.

What kind of house can I buy? – The program allows you to purchase any new or existing single-family unit. This includes single-family homes, single-family units in condominiums and duplexs.

What kind of mortgages are available? – All mortgages offered through the My First Texas Home program are 30-year fixed-rate mortgages. Currently, the interest rate is locked in at 4%.

How do I apply? – You can prequalify for your mortgage through the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs website. Once you’ve found the home of your dreams, you need to collect recent bank stubs for all of your accounts, pay stubs for the past three months, tax returns from the past two years, your W-2 forms from the past two years, proof of current income and information about any long-term debts you currently have, such as student loans or auto loans. You can then fill out your application through the website.

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7 Excellent Tips for Moving with Children

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Here at LGI Homes, we pride ourselves in building communities that appeal to residents of all ages; including children. From neighborhood parks and playgrounds to community pools and walking trails, our communities are designed with families in mind. While we’re sure your children will love living here once you’re settled, we understand that moving with kids poses many unique challenges and can be an emotionally trying experience. Follow these tips to make your family’s transition to your new home as seamless as possible, plus an adventure for the whole family to embark upon and enjoy together.

Related: 5 Tips for Moving with Pets

Family with Children Packing for Move

Anyone who has made a big move as a child knows that leaving friends behind and making new ones is easier said than done, which is why we’ve created 7 tips to help you and your family.

1. Make the Move Exciting – It’s common for children to become depressed at the idea of moving to a new place, even if it’s only a few towns up the road. Instead of simply telling them that you’ll be moving and allowing their natural fears and insecurities to take hold, intervene and make this transition something fun and exciting. Focus on the adventure aspect and all of the new places you’ll have to explore together. Stress the importance of their assistance in moving to give them a sense of responsibility. The more optimistic and positive you are about the move, the more receptive to the idea they’ll be too.

2. Include Them in the Process – When you’re touring our community, bring the kids along and let them have a say in the house you choose, especially if they are older. Ask for their input regarding the different floor plans, and ask them how they would decorate each room if it were there own. Including them in the process will help them get excited about the move, and will show them you value their opinions.

3. Cut Down on the Clutter – Chances are, you’ve got boxes upon boxes of old toys and clothes from your child’s younger years that aren’t being used anymore. To minimize the amount of stuff you have to move and the clutter upon arrival, sit down your you children and go through their old belongings together. Sort out what can be donated and what needs to be kept. Including them in this process is better than simply getting rid of the items without their knowledge.

4. Have a Goodbye Party – One of the most difficult parts of moving for children is the realization that they won’t see their friends as often, and the farther away you’re moving, the harder this will be for them to handle. Give your children the chance to gather with all of their friends one last time by hosting a goodbye party. Set out a guest book for all of their friends to sign, and ask them to include their addresses, phone numbers and emails to make staying in touch easier. Modern technology has made it easier than ever for people to stay close despite distance, and stressing this fact to your kids is essential in making the transition less painful.

5. Don’t Pack Everything at Once – While it may be tempting to load up the boxes right away once you know you’re moving, you don’t want to pack up your child’s belongings too quickly. Children are often very emotionally attached to their toys and items, and not having access to their favorites can be stressful. Furthermore, living in a house full of boxes for weeks on end can cause them to lose their sense of home and security. Pack up as much as you can while leaving the essentials out for as long as possible.

6. Have Entertainment for the Road – If the trip to your new home is more than a few hours long, be sure to load up the car with plenty of snacks and entertainment to keep your kids satisfied on the drive.

7. Be a Tourist in Your New Town – Once you’ve settled down in our community, spend some time checking out everything your new town has to offer with your children. This includes our neighborhood amenities as well as local attractions. Our communities are all built to provide convenient access to a wide variety of shopping, dining and recreation opportunities, and your kids will love getting to see all of the exciting places in their new area.

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Mortgage Interest Rates & Everything You Ought to Know

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Mortgage Interest Rate Information

If you are a first-time homeowner, it is important to understand every aspect of your loan that can have significant financial impacts, such as mortgage interest.

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 world of mortgage interest rates and how they will play into your experience of buying and owning a home.

What are mortgage interest rates? – When you borrow money from a lender to pay for your home, lenders agree to lend you the money under the condition that you pay it back, plus interest, within a certain period of time. Interest is a specific percentage of the total loan you have to pay along with paying back the loan. This is how lenders make their money in order to continue offering loans. Your mortgage rate is the additional percentage you owe plus the cost of the loan.

Are there different types of mortgage interest rates? – There are three different types of mortgage rates available to homebuyers. A fixed-rate is a set interest rate that will remain the same from your first payment to your last. Every month for the entirety of the loan, your payment will be exactly the same. A variable interest rate is a fluctuating interest rate that changes based on the condition of the current market. It could lead to lower interest payments in the future if the market is in great shape, or it could drive your payments up if the market suffers. An adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) effects both your interest rate and your loan payment, and both are based on current market conditions. This is generally considered a risky investment.

What determines my mortgage interest rate? – Mortgage rates are primarily determined by current market conditions, though lenders have a bit of room to set their own rates. This is how the market stays competitive.

Can I lower my mortgage interest rate? – In order to lower your monthly mortgage, you’ll have to refinance your home. In order to refinance, you must be current on payments. Refinancing is basically a fancy way of saying that you are trading in your old mortgage for a new one. You can do it through your current lender, or find a new lender to refinance through. Essentially, you borrow a new mortgage and pay off the old one with it, and then make monthly payments toward the new loan. Along with your new mortgage, you will have a new interest rate, which could be lower depending on market conditions. Many homeowners elect to do this when the market makes a quick turnaround and interest rates drop dramatically.

How can I minimize the amount of interest I pay? – Mortgage payments add up over time, and add a lot of money onto the total amount you pay. In order to minimize the total amount of interest you pay, you can try to make payments higher than your monthly minimum on your mortgage. This way, the principle balance is paid off faster, and you are finished paying the loan sooner with less years for the interest to build.

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Should You Piggyback Your Mortgage?

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Homeowners with Piggyback Mortgage Unpacking

Homebuyers today are getting creative when it comes to how they finance their homes – and how they save money. Not all mortgages are created equal, and some financing options could cost you more in the long run than others. A popular financing option many buyers are turning to is the piggyback mortgage, which involves taking out two separate loans to finance the purchase of a house. If you’re new to the home buying scene, this term might be Greek to you, but today we’ll explain what a piggyback mortgage is, how it might benefit you and what disadvantages it might present. This way, you can make an educated decision about how you finance your home purchase.

What is a piggyback mortgage? – A piggyback mortgage is essentially what it sounds like – one loan riding on top of another. Instead of taking out one loan to cover the entire cost of purchasing a home, a borrower takes out a loan that covers 80% of the home’s value and a separate loan that covers 10% of the home’s value. Typically, the borrower pays the remaining 10% as a down payment on the house. For this reason, a traditional piggyback mortgage is also known as an 80-10-10 loan.

How will I benefit? – Piggybacking a mortgage can be a great way to save money when you’re purchasing a home, because you won’t have to carry a private mortgage insurance (PMI) plan. PMI really doesn’t benefit homeowners, so it’s an unnecessary expense many owners would rather avoid. A PMI is often required if you don’t have a 20% down payment on hand, but when you piggyback a mortgage, you don’t need to spend that much upfront. Typically, only a 10% down payment is involved in this financing method. You may also qualify to buy a larger home using this method, acquire a lower monthly payment, and the interest on your second mortgage is tax-deductible up to $100,000.

Are there any downsides? – While there are certainly some excellent benefits to piggybacking a mortgage, there are also some disadvantages. You might have a higher interest rate on your two loans when using this financing method. You’ll also have to pay closing costs on two mortgages instead of one. Additionally, you might not get the full tax benefits if your second mortgage is over $100,000.

How do I qualify? – In order to qualify for two loans, your credit needs to be in top shape. The application process is the same traditional mortgages, except you’ll apply for two loans instead of one.

How do I decide? – If you can afford a 20% down payment, a traditional single mortgage will likely be much more beneficial to you than taking out two loans. You’ll have to pay PMI until the loan reaches 80% of your home’s value, but then this payment will cease. If you can’t afford a 20% down payment but 10% is easily attainable, a piggybacked mortgage is much more likely to benefit you in the long run.

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Solo Homeownership on the Rise

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As the first half of 2013 comes to an end, the number of singles purchasing homes is steadily on the rise, according to a study conducted by the National Association of Realtors. The study found that roughly a quarter of all home purchases being made today are by solo homeowners, which is a major shift from 2010 to 2012, when solo homeownership dropped by an unprecedented 7%. With solo homeownership becoming more and more common, now is a great time for you to jump on board and take the plunge into buying your own home!

The fact that solo homeownership is steadily rising can mostly be attributed to the improved state of the economy. People are able to find jobs more easily than in past years, allowing them to build their credit and financial histories in order to qualify for a mortgage. During the recession, most lenders tightened their standards for applicants, which made it nearly impossible for borrowers without dual incomes to qualify. While some lenders are still incredibly stingy about who they’ll lend to, it’s much easier in 2013 to qualify for a solo home loan than in was even just a year ago.

Single Woman Homebuyer

Home Prices are Still Low Enough for Buyers who are Single

While home prices are steadily recovering after the housing market crash, they’re still low enough for a single person to afford. For example, LGI Homes offers brand new houses in Texas, Arizona and Florida starting at just $629 – far less than average rent costs. For singles who are tired of throwing away upwards of $700 a month to rent a one bedroom apartment, buying a three, four or even five bedroom house for the same cost – or less – is highly appealing.

Interestingly enough, studies have shown that single women are purchasing homes nearly twice as often as single men. This can be seen as a highly important shift not only in the housing market, because just a few decades ago women were often barred from taking out a mortgage alone. The National Association of Realtors noted that most single female buyers were foregoing condos entirely and opting to buy single-family homes. Buying a home as a single can be seen as a huge investment in the future, because you’ll have built equity in your home and settled in before you’re ready to settle down and have children.

Singles who own their own homes enjoy the luxury of being able to do whatever they want. They can use extra rooms for offices or game rooms, paint the walls whatever color they desire and transform their entire home into a direct reflection of their personalities. Singles often pride themselves in their ability to own their own home without the assistance of anyone else.

If you’re interested in taking the plunge into home ownership by yourself, call us today to see how we can get you out of your rental and into the home of your dreams! We offer a wide variety of resources to help you get started on your path to homeownership, and we’ll be there to assist you every step of the way. From credit counseling to our no down payment option, buying a home by yourself could be easier than you think!

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Common New Homeowner Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

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As a new homeowner, it’s natural to experience some growing pains as you adjust to your new life, and you’ll probably make a handful of mistakes during the first few years of owning your own home as you get used to your new responsibilities. Some mistakes, however, can have a huge long-term impact on your life as a homeowner. Fortunately, they are also easy to avoid. By familiarizing yourself with some of the most common mistakes new homeowners make, you can take the necessary steps to ensure you don’t make them yourself.

Uninsured Handyman

One of the more common mistakes that new homeowners make is to hire the cheapest handyman for minor repairs; however, this could lead to much bigger problems down the road.

Paying a deposit in advance – When hiring a moving company to transport your belongings to your new house, avoid any company that asks for a deposit upfront before the move is complete. A reputable company will ask that you simply pay the bill in-full upon delivery, so you have the chance to make sure that everything arrived and got to your home in one piece.

Filing their own tax returns – Filing taxes as a homeowner is vastly different from filing as a renter. Now that you own your own home, you qualify for a number of deductions and credits that were never previously available to you. New homeowners are often confused the first time they file taxes after purchasing a home, and are prone to overseeing big write-offs that could have raised their return amount – or awarding themselves deductions they don’t really qualify for and getting audited. For at least the first year of owning your own home, hire a professional to file your taxes and explain the process to you.

Failing to get proper insurance coverage – Not every homeowners insurance policy offers the same amount of coverage, and new homeowners often fail to take out enough insurance to fully cover their homes. This becomes a problem when an accident or disaster occurs and homeowners don’t have enough money to repair the damage – and their policy doesn’t award enough to pay for it either. From your liability provision to your additional living expense coverage, make sure that every part of your homeowners insurance policy provides adequate coverage.

Failing to keep up with routine maintenance – When you’re used to renting, you’re used to having a maintenance man to keep up your property and make any necessary repairs at no cost to you. When you own your own home, you become your own repairman, and it’s your job to keep every element of your house in top shape. New homeowners often neglect to perform seasonal checks and maintenance on their home systems, appliances and landscaping, which can lead to the need for big repairs down the road.

Selecting repairmen based on cost rather than reputation – In the event something in your home breaks down and you’re no longer protected by LGI Homes warranty plan, you’ll need to hire a repairman to fix it. New homeowners often try to save money and hire the cheapest repairman they can find, but oftentimes, you get what you pay for when it comes to home repairs. While quality, low-cost repair companies may very well exist, it’s essential that you thoroughly research a company before hiring to ensure that they have a positive reputation. Otherwise, the repairs could be done incorrectly – and cost you even more to have the repair done the right way by someone else.

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5 Ways to Save on Your Moving Costs

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As you anxiously count down the days to your big move and prepare to pack up your belongings for the trip to your new home, it’s easy to get carried away and allow the expenses associated with moving to exceed the budget you originally set for the transition. Many new homeowners don’t realize just how expensive moving can be, and are disappointed when the total bill takes away from the money they’d rather spend on decorating their new places. Fortunately, if you follow these helpful tips, you can save hundreds of dollars on your moving costs.

Tips for Saving Money when Moving

If you’re planning on moving into a new home soon, be sure to follow these easy steps for saving big bucks!

1. Skip on buying boxes – A wide variety of retailers sell cardboard boxes for moving, including postal offices, shipping companies and storage facilities. However, these sellers often attach a hefty price tag to their wares, and when all is said and done you could end up spending upwards of a few hundred dollars on boxes alone. Instead, opt for for free solutions by visiting your local recycling plant or asking local liquor stores and restaurants if you can have their unneeded boxes. You should be able to obtain all of the boxes you need to pack your belongings without spending a dime.

2. Pass on the bubble wrap – It’s natural for you to worry about fragile items getting broken during the move, and you may be tempted to purchase bubble wrap to ensure all of your belongings arrive in one piece. However, there are far cheaper – as well as free – ways to cushion your glass items and electronics so they don’t sustain any damage during moving. For example, you can wrap them in newspaper, or you can double up and wrap them in clothing garments, such as tee shirts. This will save you space, as well as money.

3. Move on a weekday – Most people choose to move over a weekend because of the convenience it provides, but moving companies have capitalized on this and usually charge a higher rate Friday through Sunday than they do the other four days of the week. While you might need to take an extra day or two off work, you could save a considerable sum by scheduling your move on a weekday.

4. Downsize your stuff – The more you own, the more boxes you’ll need to buy, stuff you’ll have to wrap, trips you’ll have to make and the larger truck you’ll need to transport everything. Carefully go through everything you own in the weeks leading up to your move and purge everything you don’t really use or need. You could give items away to friends and family, host a garage sale to make some extra cash or donate your gently-used goods to a local charity or thrift store.

5. Rent a Pod – Pods are portable storage containers that many homeowners have discovered are excellent for making the moving process easier. Instead of renting a truck or hiring a moving company, you simply rent a storage pod, fill it with your boxes and then wait for the company you’re renting from to pick it up. They’ll then transport it to your new house, and everything will be waiting for you when you arrive and start to settle in.

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LGI Homes Communities: A Great Place for Pets!

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LGI Homes' Community Map

LGI Homes’ Community Map
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Many of us at LGI Homes are proud to call our cats, dogs and other pets members of our families, and we understand how important it is for our animal-loving residents to live in a place that their pets love just as much as they do. In designing our homes and communities, we’ve included a large number of features that make our neighborhoods incredibly pet-friendly, and we’re confident that you and your four-legged friends will enjoy the many amenities your new community has to offer.

Some of our top pet-friendly features include:

Fully-Fenced Backyards – You won’t have to worry when letting your pets outside to play and spend time in the sunshine, because most of our homes come complete with fully-fenced backyards. Your dog will love having the freedom to spend time outdoors unattended or playing with your children, and you’ll love the convenience of not having to take your furry friend outside every time he needs to use the restroom.

Spacious Floor Plans – All of our spacious homes provide plenty of space for your pets to roam around while spending time indoors. Cats will love having plenty of rooms to explore and nest in, while dogs will enjoy having space to sprawl out and stretch or play a little game of indoor fetch.

Community Greenbelts – If your love of animals is only rivaled by your love of the great outdoors, you’ll enjoy living in one of our neighborhoods that includes community greenbelt areas – and so will your pet! You and your dog can spend countless afternoons going for long walks or playing a game of frisbee in the sunshine to let out pent up energy and take in the breathtaking scenery surrounding our communities.

Walking Trails – Some of our neighborhoods include paved walking trails that are the perfect place for going on a walk or bike ride with your dog. Indeed, our neighborhoods offer no shortage of places for you and your four-legged friend to get your daily fill of exercise – all within a few short steps of your home. These trails are great for exploring with young children as well! Your afternoon walk can turn into fun for the whole family.

Neighborhood Parks – If you’re looking for a place to let your children run around while taking your pet for a walk, you won’t have to look any further than our neighborhood parks and playgrounds. These are the perfect places to spend time with the entire family, as well as meet your neighbors, make new friends and check out other pets in your community.

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