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Tips to Keep Your Home Cool

Categories: Home Owner Tips | Posted: June 28, 2013

Summer on a beach

The weather this weekend is supposed to hit the 90s, and boy can your home get hot. Here are some simple tips to make the temperature in your home a bit more bearable:

 1.  Reduce the work your air conditioner has to do. Reduce the cooling load by employing cost-effective conservation measures. For windows facing the east and west, make sure to close the blinds/curtains to keep out sunlight (covering all windows is even better!). If you don’t have blinds or curtains, consider installing them. The cost for new shades is low, yet the privacy and reduction in energy costs is a huge benefit. Installing awnings over windows can also improve efficiency  and reduce energy costs. Also, try to avoid running appliances that generate heat, such as ovens, dishwashers, dryers, etc. If need be, run these appliances at night.

2. Keep windows and doors shut during the day, so the colder air can’t escape and humidity can’t come in. This is especially important if you have your AC on. Do open your windows at night however to get some ventilation and fresh air. If the temperature of the air outside your home is 77 F or lower, it generally makes sense to ventilate your home. Try using a window fan to get good results. In addition, keep interior doors in your home open, so the air can flow freely.

3. Use ceiling fans to increase your comfort level. Research shows that most people are comfortable during summer in light clothing when the temperature is between 72 F and 78 F. With a breeze, people will stay comfortable up to around 82 F. The breeze needs to be about 2.5 ft/sec or 1.7 mph .  Set your thermostat at 78 degrees F or higher. If using ceiling fans, try placing it at 82 F. Also, avoid air-conditioning unused rooms.

4. Thinking forward to future summers, plant trees that create share around your house. Planting trees on the South should be avoided if you want to some “passive solar heating” during winter.

5. Consider serving and/or replacing your air conditioner/air conditioner parts if it’s getting pretty old. Newer models/parts are much more efficient, and may actually save you money in the long run vs doing nothing. If you do decide to replace your entire air conditioning unit, make sure that it is properly sized. Get opinions from several contractors on what size unit, brand, model, and efficiency works best for your home. Place your AC in a shaded area, by doing so you can improve the A/C efficiency by 5 percent to 10 percent. Also, be sure to maintain your air conditioners properly so they run for years to come and at top efficiency. Clean the filters every month when the AC is in use.

6. Avoid using a dehumidifier at the same time as your air conditioner is operating. Dehumidifiers will increase the cooling load and force the air conditioner to work harder.

7. Get an energy audit of your home to see where your home can improve on efficiency. Easy fixes include sealing and insulating all air conditioner ducts that are easily accessible, such as those that run through unheated basements, crawl spaces, and attics.

8. Consider replacing your old inefficient windows. If you live in an older home, it may be worth the cost to replace the windows. New windows offer numerous gases (such as Argon and Krypton) that can be placed between panes that have lower conductivity than air,  which boost R-values and increase energy efficiency. Manufactures can also apply low-e films to boost the efficiency of windows even more. If you aren’t replacing your windows, you can buy low-e film and easily apply it yourself.

Read more at: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/keep-house-cool-23-tips.html#ixzz2XYSCGwDt

 

If you’re ready to move up to a brand new home by American Classic Homes, check out our website at AmericanClassicHomes.com for current inventory, or give our listing agent, Thuan Howard, a call at 425.445.3252.

 

 

How To Beat Out Other Buyers On A Home

Categories: Home Owner Tips | Posted: June 19, 2013

Are you sick of loosing house after house in this crazy market where multiple offers and escalation clauses are standard?

American Classic Homes has some tips so you finally get the home of your dreams.

 

  • Think and Plan Ahead. Plan your path to a home purchase at least six months in advance. Make sure to avoid purchasing expensive items that require financing. Consider buying a new big screen, car, or other purchase that requires financing after your home purchase. You may also want to try and pay off some debt that you have. By reducing the amount of debt you have, you may be able to pre-qualify for a higher loan amount.Get Pre-Qualified. Going off the previous suggestion, it is important to get pre-qualified for a loan early. Getting pre-qualified shows that 1) You are a serious buyer, and 2)That you can afford the house you are submitting an offer on. With a pre-qualification, sellers will know you are not just wasting their time. Also, most buyers are already pre-qualified, so if you aren’t, you are behind in the game.
  • Be Reasonable. Know how much home you can afford. Don’t go out of your comfort zone just to get the home of your dreams. Set a realistic max budget you are willing to spend for a home, and don’t go a penny over. Also remember, that in fast paced markets such as this one, homes usually don’t sell for much less than their asking price. If most homes in the area are selling for 100% of the asking price, don’t assume that you will be able to pick up a house for 90% of the asking price. Sometimes homes that sit on the market for a very long time will sell for much less than asking price, but that’s because they were overpriced to begin with.
  • Limit Contingencies. In this crazy market, many buyers are waiving all contingencies, which is quite frankly crazy. A reasonable amount of standard contingencies such as a financing contingency and an inspection contingency is generally fine. Many buyers are now doing pre-inspections (with the approval of the sellers) on homes before purchasing them, so they limit the amount of contingencies. In this competitive market, many buyers are also paying with cash and eliminating financing contingencies. Having contingencies such as having to sell your home first may turn many sellers off, as this complicates the sale. On the other hand, offering a contingency in which the seller can rent back the house for some time after close, can help the sale, as sometimes sellers need time to find a new home.
  • Cash is King. As stated in the prior section, many buyers are now paying for homes with all cash (especially investors). This means the deal does not require an appraisal, and is much more likely to go through. Eliminating the financing contingency will also speed up the closing process. Many times sellers are willing to take a lower offer that is all cash instead of a higher offer that requires financing. Remember, you can finance your house after you purchase it.
  • Make it Personal. Although this idea generally does not apply to sellers that are builders, many individuals can be swayed by a letter with your offer. Some sellers have feelings and memories attached to the homes they are selling, and would prefer their home to go to the perfect person/family. A letter to the seller can explain why you are the perfect individual/family to take care of the property for years to come. Although this step takes some extra time, it can really help you get the deal.

 

If you’re ready to move up to a brand new home by American Classic Homes, check out our website at AmericanClassicHomes.com for current inventory, or give our listing agent, Thuan Howard, a call at 425.445.3252.

 

 

Cornerstone Estates Update

Categories: Community Spotlight | Posted: May 31, 2013

New homes in Sammamish at Cornerstone Estates by home builder American Classic Homes.

 

Cornerstone Estates, our beautiful plat of 7 new homes on a private lane in Sammamish, WA is under construction. The community, slated to open in Fall, will have beautiful homes ranging in size from approximately 2,900 to 4,000 square feet.

Currently, the site is being graded, utilities are being installed, and paving will be done shortly. As you can see, curbs and gutters have been installed, a pond has been created, and final preparation before paving is being done.

See some more photos below and find more info on Cornerstone Estates at AmericanClassicHomes.com/Cornerstone-Estates or call our listing agent, Thuan Howard, at 425.445.3252 for more info.

Looking from NE 22nd St.

Looking from NE 22nd St.

Pond in front

Pond in front

Looking from the cul-de-saq back.

Looking from the cul-de-saq back.

 

 

Lakeside Estates Construction is Moving Along

Categories: American Classic News | Posted: May 17, 2013

Lakeside Estates, our newest community, is transforming very quickly. The community, which features 5 new homes from 3,400 square feet, priced at $1.3+ million, will feature numerous new American Classic Homes floor plans, including the Islander, Groveland, and Roanoke, in addition to others. All of the homes are located on a quiet and private tree-lined street, only minutes away from I-90 and less than 10 minutes to downtown Bellevue and downtown Seattle. Three of the homes will feature lake views, while the rest enjoy privacy and mature trees.

As to the status of each home site (note photos are slightly outdated):

Lot 1 (AVAILABLE): Foundation has been poured and back filled. Framing will start shortly.

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Lot 2 (AVAILABLE): Foundation has been poured and back filled. Framing will start shortly.

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Lot 3 (AVAILABLE): Framing is almost done. Electrical, HVAC, plumbing, and roofing work will begin soon.

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Lot 4 (SOLD): Framing, HVAC, plumbing, roofing, and siding has been completed. Electrical is being installed. Drywall will be installed next week.

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Lot 5 (SOLD): Under Permit Review.

 

If your ready to make the move up to an “American Classic Homes” Home, give us a call at 206.588.1147 or call our listing agent Thuan Howard at 425.445.3252. American Classic Homes builds new homes all around the Seattle metropolitan area including in the cities of Renton, Newcastle, Sammamish, Kirkland, Bellevue, & Mercer Island. American Classic Homes can also help you build your custom dream home.

 

7 Tips to Get Top Dollar When Selling Your Old Home

Categories: Home Owner Tips | Posted: May 8, 2013

 

If you are preparing to sell your old house (maybe to upgrade to a brand new home by American Classic Homes!) read these tips on cheap and easy to do things that will get you top dollar for your old home.

 

  1. Fight Against the Clutter. One of the biggest turn offs for a potential buyer is clutter. Clutter will make your home feel cramped instead of the open, spacious, and airy feeling buyers are looking for. Clutter will also get in the way of potential buyers envisioning how they can customize the space. Buyers oftentimes like to imagine placing furniture and other items in a room, but if the room already has say two couches, a coffee table, two end tables, two rocking chairs, and a bean bag, it might make imagining that much harder for a buyer. Keeping your possessions organized will also make the buyer feel as if your home has lots of storage space. If you can’t hide all of your home’s clutter easily, consider renting a storage space. Removing bulky items like puffy winter coats and blankets can free up a lot of space. The more home buyers that are turned off by your clutter, the less demand for your home. Keeping in mind the rule of supply and demand, that means your house will sell for less money.
  2. Curb Appeal Will Get You the Offer. First impressions are everything. Although it might sound like a cliche (and it definitely is), many buyers will drive past your house and not even consider stepping inside your home if it lacks curb appeal. In many ways, a home represents who you are, so do you want your home to look tired, un-kept, boring, and dull? I don’t think so. Power washing the exterior of your home as well as the driveway and sidewalk can make a world of difference. A fresh coat of paint always looks nice as well, and generally isn’t too cost prohibitive. Painting doors and accent pieces like shutters a bright and/or contrasting color can also significantly boost your curb appeal. Remember though, it’s not just about the house itself. Make sure your lawn looks tidy, cut to a proper length, with some nice green blades of grass. Considering fertilizing and weeding your lawn starting a few months before you sell, so it looks great by the time you put your house on the market. Hiring a landscaping company isn’t too expensive either for general maintenance such as this (although many company’s require service contracts-which you can buy and include in the sale of your home). If your grass is past the point of repair, you can generally get landscape contractors to install sod at a little over $1 a square foot. Making sure your front yard has some color is also quite important. If it lacks color, buy some vibrant flowers, shrubs, and bushes to spruce it up. Remember, many times buyers will look at photos of your home to determine if they want to visit it, so having great curb appeal in the photos will bring you a lot more buyers.
  3. Scrub it Down. Have you ever been somewhere so dirty that you just felt like you needed to shower after seeing it? Although you’re home may not be that dirty, it’s important to have it spotless. Make sure your carpets are washed or replaced, your hardwood floors are nice and shiny, and the grout lines between your tile floors are clean. Aside from having general things cleaned up, remember to have your cabinet drawers, oven, and stove clean and debris free. You should also remove spider webs and bugs the moment you see them, as bugs and critters are a huge turn off to buyers. Also try to neutralize the odors your pet is responsible for, an air fresher can do the trick
  4. Do it Right, Don’t Cover it Up. Plain and simple, don’t paint lipstick on a pig. If you have a stain on your wall or ceiling, take the extra effort to paint the whole area, instead of just over the stain. Potential buyers will be turned off if they realize you’re taking shortcuts.
  5. Blend into Your Surroundings. As mentioned before, potential buyers need to be able to envision living in your home. By removing some of your personal items such as photos, souvenirs, your kids’ toys, your pets’ beds and toys, and other items, buyers will be able to feel more at home. Religious holiday decor can also turn some buyers off, as they may not relate to the decor you have. You should also repaint rooms that don’t have neutral colors, since some buyers can’t get past crazy colors.
  6. Stage. Stage. Stage.  Just because you think your furnishings look nice and make your home feel open, doesn’t mean that others think the same. For around $200 (+/- for the size and value of the house) a professional stager will walk through your house and create a punch list of simple things that you can do to make your house more appealing to others.  Many stagers will help you to set up a room for its original intention (for example using a dining room as a home office can confuse buyers) so buyers know exactly what it’s used for. If your home is already vacant, a stager will come in and provide furnishings for around 2% of the list price. Generally your home will sell much quicker if its staged and for a higher price. In fact, 94% of homes staged by an accredited stager sold in 29 days or less, compared to an average of 145 days for homes that were not staged. Remember, you don’t need to stage every room of the house, but only the ones that make the most impact such as the family room, kitchen, and master bedroom.

 

If your ready to make the move up to an “American Classic Homes” Home, give us a call at 206.588.1147 or call our listing agent Thuan Howard at 425.445.3252. American Classic Homes builds new homes all around the Seattle metropolitan area including in the cities of Renton, Newcastle, Sammamish, Kirkland, Bellevue, & Mercer Island. American Classic Homes can also help you build your custom dream home.

A Bit of Green Spring Cleaning

Categories: Home Owner Tips | Posted: April 4, 2013

Cleaning Your HomeAs the weather continues to warm (albeit it little slowly!), we’re starting to get into the Springtime mindset.  For many of us, this means baseball preseason, and for others, it’s a reminder to clear out the clutter accumulated over the winter months and get started on some Spring Cleaning.

Ironically, many of the commercial cleaning products we use nowadays are actually filled with countless chemicals that can cause more harm than good.  After all, the point of cleaning and tidying up is to get rid of these unwanted elements (dirt, dust, dander, and others) and keep them out of our homes.  So what can we do as home owners to prevent this catch-22?  Believe it or not, going green when cleaning is easy and cost effective!

Liza Barnes of SparkPeople.com recommends a number of different methods to clean your house that are simultaneously health- and environmentally-friendly.  First, if you prefer the convenience of picking up cleaners from a store, there are a handful that have released an entire line of cleaning products (Method is one of them) that achieve both of these means.

However, if you don’t mind the extra minute or two to make your own cleaners from ingredients you likely already have stocked in your kitchen pantry (and thus saving you additional dollars by not having to spend it on these branded products), there are so many options for you!  And not only are they incredibly simple to mix together, they’re as natural as can be.

The most common natural cleaner out there is white distilled vinegar, and oftentimes all you’ll need to do is dilute it with a little water and that takes care of the problem!  Other natural cleaning agents or tools include baking soda, Borax (look for it in the laundry aisle), and microfiber cloths.  Do you still read the morning paper?  When you’re done with it, even that can be used to help clean your home (No, you don’t need to worry about the ink).

How else might you be able to clean using green techniques?

A wonderful way to freshen up the indoor air in your home is to actually introduce a few houseplants into your environment!  This is, of course, not to mention that they’re wonderful decorations.  A few hearty plants we’d suggest are spider plants and peace lilies.  Just remember to water them on occasion!

Avoid using paper towels; this causes waste.  Use cloth towels or even old t-shirts (that you’re not planning on wearing again) to mop up spills.  You’ll be able to wash and dry them with the rest of your laundry and use them all over again.

What other quick-and-easy spring cleaning tips do you suggest?

American Classic Homes is a new and custom home builder in West Seattle, WA.  For more information, please call (206) 588-1147.

Windsor Circle Sold Out!

Categories: Uncategorized | Posted: April 2, 2013

Have you heard the news yet?

Our Windsor Circle community is now sold out, and it took only 4 months! The community features 15 home sites located on a quiet cul-de-saq, which also features a protected wetland. Floor plans in the community range in size from approximately 2,900 square feet to over 3,200 square feet.

If you missed out at buying your home in Windosr Circle, take a look at our Brookefield community (only 1 home left) next to Hazen High School, our Panther Ridge community in South Renton, and Eden’s Grove (only 1 home left) in Newcastle. We are also starting construction on our newest Renton community, Saddlebrooke (just blocks away from Windsor Circle) very soon, with more details to follow.

If you would like to see any of our communities or learn more about them, call our sales agent, Thuan Howard, at 425.445.3252.

 

Housing Market Continues to Improve in March

Categories: Uncategorized | Posted: March 27, 2013

NAHB Logo

Good news from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB): March is the 7th month to consecutively show housing market growth and stabilization!  This steady improvement is exactly what we like to hear after the housing market had taken a decisive hit during the recession.  Moreover, this is the 2nd month in a row where all 50 states (as well as the District of Columbia) are represented on something called the First American Improving Markets Index, or IMI.

According to Rick Judson, the NAHB Chairman and North Carolina homebuilder, “The expanding housing recovery is energizing communities nationwide by generating jobs and local tax revenues — and it could be an even more potent force for economic growth if credit for building and buying homes was more readily available.”  It’s a self-prophetic cycle home buyers, home builders, and cities must continue to encourage.

The IMI indicates all metropolitan areas that have shown significant improvement in the housing market  How is this measured across the nation?  There are several factors that a city must meet before they can be considered for inclusion on this Index.  First of all, the Bureau of Labor Statistics must support the assertion that employment in the area has improved and there has been active job growth in the area.  The pricing of homes across the metro area must also be analyzed, as well as the number of housing permits applied for and issued.  Lastly, these numbers must all be maintained and show continued progress for no fewer than six consecutive months.  As you can tell, it’s not easy to be included on this list, and such stringent qualifications make for a well-defined measure of improvement over time.

Are we there yet?  Not quite, but the improvement across the nation is a strong indication that things are going well and continue to do so.  The IMI is holding steady at just over 75% of all housing markets making considerable progress.  David Crowe, the Chief Economist for the NAHB says that home builders must “understand that many markets are just beginning the recovery process, and that numerous issues – from credit availability to the rising cost of building materials and emerging lot shortages – are slowing the pace of that advancement.”

It’s evident that a quick fix is out of the question, and even more, a quick fix would not solve much of anything at all.  And in spite of the uncertainty, the collective response of  the experts and NAHB committee members such as Vice Chairman Kurt Pfotenhauer, “It looks as like we are finally seeing the beginning of what could be a broad and deep recovery of the nation’s housing market.”

American Classic Homes is a new and custom home builder in West Seattle, WA.  For more information, please call (206) 588-1147.

Only 3 Homes Left in Lakeside Estates!

Categories: Community Spotlight | Posted: March 21, 2013

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We’ve been thrilled at the response that we’ve been getting for our homes and new home communities, and guess what?  There are only 3 more homes left in Lakeside Estates!  If you’ve been hemming and hawing over a move to beautiful Mercer Island, don’t delay any longer, because you might miss your chance on your dream American Classic home!

Mercer Island and Lakeside Estates in particular is known for a friendly family atmosphere n the neighborhood and the natural beauty that envelopes the community.  There are lush green trees as far as the eye can see, and each remaining home has a unique view of Lake Washington that you’ll not find anywhere else.  You’ll thoroughly enjoy the retreat-like feel from being away from a hectic and tiring way of life.  Even still, Lakeside Estates is only mere minutes away from both downtown Seattle and Bellevue, so as far as commutes go, it’s a very quick drive to get to and from work, or enjoy a night on the town.

Residents with children enroll in the Mercer Island School District, receiving an excellent educational experience from West Mercer Elementary, Islander Middle School, and Mercer Island High School.  The Mercer Island School District is enthusiastically supported by the community and there are so many recreational and academic club options to further enjoy as a student.

Lakeside Estates is aptly named, because our homes are the epitome of custom luxury; our homes range from 3,420 square feet up to 3,879 and start from the $1,300,000s.  We offer countless amenities within each of our homes, such as an island kitchen with slab granite, hardwood floors, high end finishes and much more.  In fact, 9948 Southeast 38th Street should definitely not be missed.  Following a similar floor plan design as that of the Islander, this 4 bedroom, 4 and 1/2 bathroom home expands over 3,879 square feet with plenty of room to spare.

This home is made for entertaining and relaxation in a comfortable den with double door entry, bonus room with a walk-in closet for added storage, and towering vaulted ceilings throughout the home.  The radius staircase makes for a spectacular entrance from the upper level to downstairs, and a wonderful place for staged family photos.  The kitchen features a breakfast bar, a walk-in pantry, and a cozy nook perfect for curling up with a book or the newspaper and drinking a cup of coffee.  You’ll find the master suite located on the bottom floor for the height of elegance and accessibility, featuring a double door entry, double sinks, separate soaking tub and standing shower.  Add in a stunning formal dining room, a 3 car garage, and upper level laundry room, who could really ask for more?

So don’t miss out on a wonderful opportunity to make Mercer Island (and Lakeside Estates) your home!

American Classic Homes is a new and custom home builder in West Seattle, WA.  For more information, please call (206) 588-1147.

One Home Left in Brookefield!

Categories: American Classic News, Community Spotlight | Posted: March 15, 2013

Brookefield American Classic Homes is excited to announce the construction of our final home in  our Brookefield community!  This Renton, Washington community has been a popular new home neighborhood setting, and we’re very proud of our involvement in its development over the past few years.

Students living in Brookefield attend Sierra Heights Elementary School, McKnight Middle School, and Hazen High School.  Families who have moved to Brookefield rave about the Renton School District for its commitment to educational excellence and its diverse outreach.  Adult educational opportunities are also abound because of Renton’s close access to the University of Washington – Seattle campus, Bellevue College, Edmonds Community College, and many more!

Renton is filled with hundreds upon hundreds of things to do, see, and hear.  This very active city participates and hosts a number of seasonal festivals throughout the year, such as The Return to Renton Car Show, and their Spring (and Fall) Festivals on the Piazza as well as smaller community gatherings, classes, and events.  There are over 29 public parks within the Renton city limits and the Renton History Museum is a popular tourist attraction.  Residents love having so many options for dining and shopping nearby.  Seattle is just 15 minutes away, making it the perfect suburb for easy commutes for work throughout the week or a fun night out on the town.

5230 Northeast 11th Court will be our final addition (for now, at least!) totaling 15 beautiful and unique homes in this community.  It is currently under construction and expected to be fully finished by June of 2013.  This stunning modified Windstone floor plan is priced at $529,950 with unbelievable features and amenities included with the design.

Within this 3 story home’s 2,968 square feet, you’ll find 5 bedrooms, 2 full bathrooms, and a 2 car garage.  This particular gem of a house features so much more to the family who decides to make this their home, including vaulted ceilings in the main level master bedroom, soaking tub in the master suite bathroom and coffered ceiling in the dining room. Throughout the home you’ll find hard wood floors, stainless steel appliances, and high end finishes with every turn.  There’s plenty of space for entertaining as well as kicking back and relaxing with its loft space and the recreation room, den and daylight basement.  Definitely not least, you’ll thoroughly enjoy the spacious and open kitchen with an island and breakfast nook.

If you have any questions regarding this property or about Brookefield community in general, we invite you to call Agent Thuan Howard at (425) 445-3252.  American Classic Homes has regular model hours for the Brookefield community from Friday through Tuesday from 12 noon to 5 in the afternoon.

As with all of our new and custom homes, you have the complete attention and all the professional experience and expertise that American Classic Homes has to offer!

American Classic Homes is a new and custom home builder in West Seattle, WA.  For more information, please call (206) 588-1147.

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