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The Benefits of Buying a New Home with an Online Sales Counselor

Categories: New Homes | Posted: February 18, 2016

The process of starting the search for your new home can be daunting. So many choices! It can be like hitting a car dealer’s showroom when you make contact. The salesperson puts on a big smile and hits you with the pitch. You’ve probably already done some research, but you want to kick the tires and inhale that new car smell to move you closer to a big decision.

Meanwhile, the car salesperson is sizing you up like a five-course meal.

That’s not what your new home buying experience should be. Most builders today utilize the helpful skills of an Online Sales Counselor (OSC) to gently guide you through the process of narrowing down your choices and getting answers to even the most minute questions. There is no sales pitch. The OSC’s job is to give you information that will help you determine the path to your new home purchase.

Why does it matter whether you search on your own or work with an OSC? Here are the benefits of working with an Online Sales Counselor when you’re buying a new home.

  1. You get fast answers. You will have lots of questions as you browse the Web, looking at homes, plans, developments, and builders. An OSC is your inside source for information, saving you time and giving you the detailed answers you might not find on your own. Remember, a website is designed to give you some information, not all. The goal of any website is to entice you to act.
  2. You can information on special programs. OSCs are on the inside. They know what sales incentives and financing are being offered at any given time. When you ask them a question, they will get you the answer or direct you to the knowledgeable source.
  3. They know the properties. The OSC is trained to understand the features of every community and the homes there. If you have certain criteria in mind—location, type of neighborhood, design features, or maybe need a home that will be available quickly—the OSC can show you your options.
  4. There’s no pressure. It is not the OSC’s job to sell a home. They don’t provide the property tour or review options and specs with you. Their job is strictly to be your information source, your connection to the builder and the community—but not the salesperson.

When you’re serious about finding the right new home and community for you and your family, start by talking to the homebuilder’s Online Sales Counselor. This person will contact you shortly after you leave an inquiry on the builder’s website. They will make themselves available to handle your interests until you’re ready to visit a community and take a tour. Think of the OSC as your personal, home-searching concierge. They will manage everything from sending you floor plans and elevations to connecting you with a lender and scheduling your personal tour. Maximize the efficiency and your time by accepting the help of an Online Sales Counselor, and you’ll discover how smooth the path to purchase can be.

Ready, Set, Swing at the Top 5 Golf Courses in the Seattle Area

Categories: Community Spotlight, Lifestyle | Posted: February 12, 2016

It’s time to unpack your clubs and practice your swing, because you won’t want to miss out on the amazing golf courses that the Seattle area has to offer. With several to choose from, we thought we’d help you narrow it down by providing you with the top five courses within an hour of Seattle. Ready, set, swing.

 

1. Chamber’s Bay | 6320 Grandview Drive West, University Place, WA 98467

If you’ve never played golf in the Pacific Northwest, you still have probably heard of Chamber’s Bay. The host of the 2015 US Open, the first to represent the Northwest for an Open tournament, is only an hour away from Downtown Seattle. This course rides along the water, displaying incredible views throughout. It is a walk-only course, with special arrangements available for handicap patrons, that allows you to take in the beauty in each step (literally) of the 18-hole course. Come join the pros at this Pacific Northwest favorite.

 

2. The Home Course | 2300 Golf House Road, DuPont, WA 98327

In 2007, The Home Course was opened, earning the number 2 spot for best public courses in Washington. It dons views of the Puget Sound, the Olympic Mountains, and Mount Rainier. In 2017, they are introducing new improvements to their food and beverage selection, providing the best accompaniments to your golf day. This year, The Home Course hosted the Washington State Hickory Open, a group dedicated to playing the game in its original form–with

wood-shafted clubs! Are you looking for a great deal or gift? Right now they are offering a

4-Round Punch Card that allows you to play 4 rounds any week in 2017 for only $150. This is a great deal for anyone looking to get familiar with the course.

 

3. Golf Club at Newcastle | 15500 6 Penny Ln, Newcastle, WA 98059

The Golf Club at Newcastle owns 350 acres of land, bringing its guests two premier championship courses. The rolling fairways and complex greens of the Coal Creek course will challenge players at any level. Experience water challenges on the fairway when you try out the China Creek course with impeccable views. In addition to the incredible layout of the two courses, the onsite dining-The Calcutta Grill-was voted one of the “Top 100 Scenic View Restaurants in America”. If you’re wanting the perfect combination of greenery, water, and mountains, take a couple of days to check out these two courses.

 

4. Interbay Golf Center | 2501 15th Avenue West, Seattle, WA 98119

Interbay Golf Center offers options for the whole family, any time of year. Their 9-hole course is nuzzled between the Puget Sound, Queen Anne, and Magnolia, some of the oldest neighborhoods in Seattle. Needing somewhere for your kids to go while you play? The Center also has a miniature golf course for kids of all ages. They also offer a heated driving range so you can practice your swing in the cold Seattle winters. This is by far the best golf center in

Seattle for the entire family, and it’s only fifteen minutes from the food and amenities that Downtown has to offer.

 

5. West Seattle Golf Course | 4600 35th Avenue Southwest, Seattle, WA 98126

The West Seattle Golf Course hosts the Amateur Tournament every year. A leading public course in the Seattle area, this course is visited by over 60,000 patrons a year. It’s noted for being a great weekday stop, due to its proximity to the City. The back nine showcases the stunning views of the Seattle Skyline, while also including several trees throughout the course. It is one of three courses owned by the City of Seattle and is great for all skill levels.

No matter which course you decide, you are sure to get an unmatchable experience with the unique views that the Pacific Northwest has to offer. So grab a friend and hit the links!

Why should you use a builder’s preferred lender?

Categories: Home Owner Tips | Posted: February 11, 2016

You have many lenders just a click away when you’re ready to look for a mortgage. When you’ve decided on your builder, you will most likely be given one or more preferred lenders to consider.

With so many choices out there, why should you use a builder’s lender?

First of all, let’s look at why the builder endorses a lender. He wants to work with a company that understands the building process, as well as the needs of the buyer. A preferred lender has proven, over and over, that the builder’s customers deserve high priority. That means rapid response—even on weekends and after business hours, because that’s when they’re often needed. A preferred lender doesn’t follow “banker’s hours”.

In addition to being responsive, a preferred lender knows he is expected to provide accurate, detailed information and answers. Delays are not just frustrating; they can be costly. The builder’s preferred lender is skilled at keeping the financial end of the process moving, so both the buyer and builder have the peace of mind that your closing will proceed as scheduled.

A preferred lender maintains a close relationship with a homebuilder. This relationship can yield a lot of business for the lender. So, you can be sure this mortgage professional bends over backwards to satisfy the homebuyer. To earn the “preferred” honor, the company must do more than hand out an application and stick to a script. The lender you work with will explore many options to find you the best mortgage program for your needs. They might offer incentives that other lending companies can’t or won’t.

When you want your calls answered or returned promptly, when you want to be sure that someone is personally tending to your mortgage process and shares your commitment to getting it done, consider using the builder’s preferred lender. Certainly, contact other lenders to see what they offer. Talk to other buyers who have used the lenders you’re considering. Your best decision is an informed one!

American Classic Homes $1,000 Scholarship 2016

Categories: American Classic News, Scholarship | Posted: February 5, 2016

Scholarship OpportunityWant $1,000 for college? American Classic Homes can help make that happen.

American Classic Homes has started a new tradition—one to help fund deserving students who need help reaching their educational goals. If you are currently enrolled in college or headed there in 2016 or 2017 and could use a $1,000 scholarship to help cover expenses, consider entering the American Classic Homes College Scholarship Contest.

American Classic Homes will award an $1000 scholarship to a highly creative and motivated student who can tell us with an image and 200 words or less what home means to them.

The Prompt:

We’ll award $1,000 to one of our Instagram or Facebook followers in January 2017 who shares a photo and status with 200 words or less of what home means to them. To be eligible the student must include the hashtag #WhatHomeMeansToMe (not counted as part of your 200 words) and tag American Classic Homes. You do not need to submit to both platforms.

How to Enter:

• Post on Instagram or Facebook with an answer the prompt in 200 words or less with the hashtag #WhatHomeMeansToMe and tag American Classic Homes.
• Submissions must be received by midnight on December 1, 2016.
• You can also enter your submission on this page here.

How to Win:

The winner will be selected by the American Classic Homes team based on the quality and creativity of the photo as well as the articulate description associated with the image. The winner will be contacted directly via Instagram or Facebook and announced on our Instagram and Facebook accounts in January 2017.

To Be Eligible:

• To be eligible, the entrant must post a photo on Instagram or Facebook, tag @AmericanClassicHomes, and include the hashtag #WhatHomeMeansToMe. The entrant must also be a current follower of @AmericanClassicHomes at the end of the entry period.
• The winning photo will be chosen by the American Classic Homes team based on the quality and creativity of the photo along with the associated description.
• The entrant of the photo is the only person eligible to win regardless of whether other individuals are featured in the photo as well.
• Entrant agrees that the photo can be posted on the American Classic Homes Instagram account and used for other promotional purposes.
• Applicant must be a legal resident of the United States. International students with valid visas are also eligible.
• Prizes will be awarded directly to the winner. Winners will be contacted directly via Instagram or Facebook.
• You must be a graduating senior in high school or a freshman, sophomore, or junior in college.
• You must be graduating high school or in college and between the ages of 16 and 22.
• We reserve the right to verify the date of your high school graduation and/or college enrollment.

Submission Guidelines:

• All photos submitted must be an original work taken by the individual submitting them. Do not submit photos that you found online, that have been watermarked, or that do not comply with our terms of use.
• Posted photos must tag @AmericanClassicHomes and include the hashtag #WhatHomeMeansToMe in order to be eligible.
• You must have permission and consent from any individuals in the photo for the use of their image before submission.

Complete Official Rules

NO PURCHASE IS NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN THIS CONTEST. A PURCHASE WILL NOT IMPROVE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING.
The americanclassichomes.com $1000 #WhatHomeMeansToMe Scholarship (“Contest”) starts February 1, 2016 and ends on December 1, 2016 (“Online Entry Period”). The sponsor of this Contest is AmericanClassicHomes.com, Inc. located at 9675 SE 36th St Suite 105 Seattle, WA 98040 the (“Sponsor”). Neither Instagram or Facebook are a sponsor of or associated with the Contest. The Contest shall be subject to these Official Rules, and by entering, all participants agree to be bound by the terms and conditions herein.
ELIGIBILITY: THE Contest IS OPEN ONLY TO LEGAL RESIDENTS OF THE UNITED STATES or INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS WITH VALID VISAS, BETWEEN THE AGES OF SIXTEEN (16) AND TWENTY-TWO (22) YEARS OF AGE OF THE DATE OF THEIR ENTRY.
Employees and their families of the Sponsor affiliates, subsidiaries, parent companies, agencies and participating retailers (collectively, the “Promotion Parties”) and those living in the household of same are not eligible to enter or win. By entering this Contest, entrants agree to abide by all terms of these Official Rules.

PRIVACY INFORMATION: The photo and information obtained from your entry may be posted by americanclassichomes.com on the @WhatHomeMeansToMe Instagram and Facebook account and for other promotional purposes. False and/or deceptive entries or acts shall render entrants ineligible.

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Is multi-generational living right for you?

Categories: Home Owner Tips | Posted: January 28, 2016

Lifestyles have shifted over the past decade. The powerful population of Baby Boomers has reached retirement age, whether they choose to retire or not. Gen Y and Millennials—people born from 1980 to 2000—represent an even larger number, and their lifestyles are different from their grandparents. Gen Yers don’t have the same commitment to job or place as Boomers. They’re also far more likely to move back home than their parents were. As a result, we’re seeing a growing trend in multi-generational living—two or more adult generations under one roof. In 1980, 28 million Americans lived in a multi-generational household. In 2008, that number soared to 49 million.

There are many positive aspects of living with older and younger family members. But before you make the move, is multi-generational living right for you?

Here are some useful tips for transitioning to and thriving in a multi-generational household.

  • Plan ahead. Discuss the boundaries in your combined home. How will the space be used? And by whom? How can you maintain open communication to resolve issues, like leaving dirty dishes in the sink, annoying bathroom habits, and territorial habits with the remote control!
  • Identify caregiving responsibilities. A multi-generational household presents caregiving challenges, both for the youngest and eldest members. Do you expect the grandparents to help with their grandchildren? If so, be clear on what you’d like to happen, such as attending school events, sports, and recitals. Will grandma be charged with after-school care or helping with the cooking when the parents are running late? Don’t make assumptions. Make roles and rules!
  • Discuss parenting. You might not share the same parenting approach as your parents or grown children. Before moving in together, discuss how the children in the household will be raised, from managing the picky eater to spoiling the children to doling out discipline.
  • Organize shared expenses. Money is often at the root of shared living problems. Develop a budget of household expenses and determine, in advance, how each person is going to contribute. Consider establishing a household account where everyone contributes a pre-determined amount toward the expenses.
  • Split the duties. When one person feels overburdened with household responsibilities, the atmosphere can become tense. Discuss regular household chores—from emptying the trash to scrubbing the bathrooms—and distribute the workload fairly.
  • Invest in family time. Different members of the household will go their own ways most of the time, but to keep a happy, cohesive home, plan on sharing time together. Family time could be a movie or game night, a weekly dinner where everyone pitches in or attends, or some other activity that can be enjoyed by every member of your multi-generational home.
  • Meet regularly. Plan a household meeting to occur at specified intervals; e.g., monthly or quarterly. During this casual gathering, be prepared to talk about any issues that involve other members. You can talk about changes to the household budget or chores, ask for help or suggestions, or simply offer appreciation.

Living with multiple generations offers a wealth of benefits. Children build a closer bond with other family members and learn more about their heritage. Adults can care for their aging parents in a more comfortable atmosphere. Grandparents experience a renewed sense of purpose. Planning for the challenges of multi-generational living will help you maximize the enjoyment!

American Classic Homes Wins Customer Satisfaction Achievement Award for the Second Year in a Row

Categories: American Classic News, Home Builder Awards | Posted: January 25, 2016

2016 IBS Customer Satisfation AwardsAt the recent National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) International Builders Show in Las Vegas, Robert Gladstein, Partner, was honored with a national award in recognition of American Classic Homes’ dedication to customer service. This award recognizes builders who deliver the highest levels of customer satisfaction.

Builder Partnerships’ CEO Monica Wheaton presented Builder Partnerships Achievement Awards in Customer Satisfaction “The award is different from other customer satisfaction recognition programs, “Wheaton said. “It’s an independent and cost-effective customer satisfaction measurement available to all builders in all markets and at all sizes. We also do not rank one builder against another but recognizes all builders who achieve a benchmark of customer satisfaction. That gives homebuyers a truer measure of a company’s quality.”

American Classic Homes who’s office is located on Mercer Island, Washington, won the Builder Partnerships Achievement Award for Customer Satisfaction for a second year in a row.

A team of experts formed the evaluation committee and included Charles C. Shinn, Jr., Ph.D., of Builder Partnerships, Littleton, Colo.; Charlie Scott of Woodland, O’Brien and Scott, St. Paul, Minn.; and Carol Smith of Home Address, Colorado Springs, Colo. To earn this recognition, builders needed to have at least 88 percent of their homebuyers say they were willing to refer the company to friends or family. Once clearing that hurdle, the company’s customer service and referral rate were further evaluated by the committee in an in-depth review of the company’s processes and documentation. Builders scoring at least 100 points on their evaluation scores.

Thank you to our awesome team at American Classic Homes who ensure our homeowners are getting the best customer care in the industry.

Why 2016 is a good year to buy a new home.

Categories: Home Design Trends | Posted: January 21, 2016

This is a great time to buy a new home

After years of ups and down in the housing market, financial experts predict that 2016 is a good year to buy a new home.

Housing inventory will increase.

Sellers who have been watching and waiting for prices to increase will see that trend level out. Home prices rose 8% in 2012, 11% in 2013, and 5% in 2014, according to Barron’s. In 2016, Zillow’s Chief Economist Svenja Gudell expects the climb to plateau somewhat, with only a 3.5% increase. That means more sellers who have been on the fringe will seize the opportunity to put their homes on the market and capture the steady flow of new homebuyers.

In addition to the resales, however, homebuilders will become more aggressive, particularly in building starter and middle-range homes.

Mortgage rates are climbing.

The historic low interest rates on mortgages will creep upward. With the Federal Reserve expected to increase rates, new homebuyers should recognize that waiting much longer will cost them.

“You are likely to get the best rate you will possibly see, perhaps in your lifetime, through the majority of next year,” said Jonathan Smoke, chief economist at Realtor.com in December 2015.

Employment has become more secure.

Businesses are hiring again. Unemployment figures dropped nationwide to 5.3% in June of last year, a dramatic improvement over the 10% unemployment rate in 2010. With more people off the job market, more buyers should qualify for the housing market.

Rents keep going up.

Supply and demand in the rental market favors the landlord. Expect monthly rent to keep rising every year. Meanwhile, you could get a low-interest mortgage (with a low down payment) that will not be subject to the same fluctuation.

Bottom line? Stop procrastinating. Make 2016 the year you reap the rewards of homeownership.

What do Millennials want in a new home?

Categories: Interior Design | Posted: January 14, 2016

Millennial trends are reshaping the new home industry

The sheer size of the Baby Boomer generation enabled the 78 million members to dominate the consumer marketplace for generations. Now, 87 Millennials (also known as Gen Y and Echo Boomers)—born between 1980 and 2000—are taking over. With a large number now in the homebuying age range, homebuilders are taking a close look at this unique demographic segment, which happens to view their “dream home” in a very different way from their parents and grandparents.

For one thing, they’re more cautious. They’ve seen older family members and friends lose big time in the real estate market. Many of them are comfortable renting, or moving back in with their parents for an undefined period of time, to the chagrin of mom and dad.

So, they don’t seem to be in a rush, but a recent Redfin Research Center survey showed that, of the 2,000 Millennials between the ages of 18 and 34 who responded, 92 percent who do not currently own a home plan to buy one in the near future.

What do Millennials want in a new home? Here are some important trends:

They aren’t seeking their “location, location, location” in suburbia. Millennials love their independence. They’ve grown up with the technology that keeps them wirelessly connected with their vast world, so they’re not accustomed to restraints. This includes vehicles. Millennials are often attracted to urban locales, within walking distance of or public transport to the services they need.

Size matters, as long as it’s small. Unlike Baby Boomers who enjoyed spreading out, Millennials look for less space and more flexibility. They want functional space that maximizes every square foot, and open floor plans. A formal dining or living room has far less appeal than an open space, like a great room or media room. A kitchen island should serve as both a prep and conversational/eating area.

Green is their favorite color. Expect your Millennial homebuyers to ask about the sustainability of your building materials and practices. They are committed to eco-friendly, energy-efficient homes—with ENERGY STAR appliances, programmable lighting and thermostats, and other high-tech, low-carbon-footprint amenities. Not only can they spell “LEED”, but they want this building certification.

Carefree is preferred. No one really likes unnecessary effort, but Millennials zoom in on low-maintenance features. Features like easy-care flooring and a gas fireplace give them more freedom without compromise. They also don’t concern themselves with large outdoor spaces, as long as they have room for play, cooking, and entertaining.

They know they get dirty. While a mudroom has been an afterthought in the past, Millennials have revived this functional space for organizing clutter. It’s a small space, but a big plus to these homebuyers.

Showers and closets can never be too large. Your Gen Y/Millennial/Echo Boomer homebuyer wants their living space to work intelligently. When it comes to the bathroom shower and storage, that means, go big. Incorporate plenty of storage space and walk-in closets. Make the shower larger, even eliminating the tub altogether.

The Millennial generation sees their home as a life comfort. It’s not a status symbol, nor do they view it with the same investment potential as their elders. By understanding the mindset of this growing number of new homebuyers, you can better guide them toward the right home.

Builder Partnerships Names American Classic Homes as Winners of the Employer of Choice Award

Categories: American Classic News, Home Builder Awards | Posted: January 7, 2016

American Classic Homes Employer Of Choice Award
Builder Partnerships Names
American Classic Homes
Winners of Employer of Choice Award

Denver, Co. – American Classic Homes, a New Home Builder builder based in Washington, was awarded the Employer of Choice Award.

An Employer of Choice is a company that creates a work environment that draws quality and experienced people and remains committed to providing employees with an environment where they feel valued and challenged. It is a hard earned honor bestowed on a company by its employees.

Employer of Choice companies must create and maintain an environment that will allow employees to accomplish their work efficiently and effectively. The company must be consistent, reliable and predictable as far as employees are concerned, and the management team must instill discipline. Each team member needs to understand his or her value and his or her interdependency.

“This is an important award for builders because it helps them validate the commitment they have to their employees and it gives the employees a chance to provide feedback to the management team. It is a great way to evaluate the overall culture within the organization.” says Chuck Shinn, Principal of Builder Partnerships.

To achieve this Award, builders are rated by employees on: mission, vision, business plan, company culture, organization, trust, communication, work environment, opportunities for growth and work/ life balance. Applicants needed to reach an average score on the employee feedback surveys of at least 90% across 69 criteria that have been sub-divided into 16 categories.

There are no rankings for this award. Builders either achieve the necessary criteria for the Employer of Choice award or they don’t. It is not a relative ranking against other builders. They either exceed the minimum performance measurement or they do not.

American Classic Homes has built a strong culture focused on excellence in management of their employees permeating the company. In addition, it has worked hard to build processes to allow employees to function as a team supporting their efforts to maintain an efficient building operation with the ultimate beneficiary being the home buyer.

The Employer of Choice award differentiates itself from other recognitions in three key areas. First, it is an independent and cost-effective measurement that is available to all builders, not just those in certain markets or of a certain size.

Second, the award does not rank one builder against another but recognizes all builders who achieve a benchmark of excellence in trade contractor relations, which gives companies a truer measure of a company’s standards and quality.

Third, the builder is graded by employees who are working in the builder’s organization on a daily basis. It is not granted by a third party team of judges reviewing a builder’s application.

About Builder Partnerships
Builder Partnerships is a member organization focused on providing management training and support to help builders improve their performance and profit. Currently we represent approximately 650 builders in the United States and Canada who have projected about 85,000 homes built collectively this year. With over 75 manufacturer and service providers associated with our group, Builder Partnerships also manages streamlined, competitive incentive programs and works to strengthen relationships between builders, manufacturers and other service providers in the industry. www.BuilderPartnerships.com

Kitchen trends that are here to stay

Categories: Interior Design | Posted: December 31, 2015

Home design is like any other type of design. It follows shifts in ideas, preferences, and innovation. The kitchen is perhaps the most important room in the home—certainly the one with the most traffic—so this space has seen many changes over the decades.

Of course, it will continue to evolve with new technology, but here are some kitchen design trends that are here to stay (or seem to be!).

Bring down the walls…

Decades ago, the kitchen was purely functional. Food was stored and prepared here. Today’s homeowners see the kitchen as the hub of the home, the gathering place. The appeal of open floor plans includes the kitchen. The walls are coming down. No more isolating that room in the back of the house. The kitchen flows seamlessly in the family living areas, so that there is no division between the task of food prep and the activity beyond the kitchen’s borders.

…And put up an island

There’s nothing more exciting to a cook than more prep space. The kitchen island adds extra space for food prep, cooking, storage, and even serving. The island concept also enhances the traffic flow in the kitchen by creating a workspace in the center. No matter what style you prefer—country, contemporary, traditional, rustic—an island fits nicely into the kitchen design

More drawers than doors

The lower kitchen cabinets are giving up space to drawers. It’s much easier to pull open a drawer than to bend down and reach into a cabinet. Kitchen drawers can be designed in sizes to fit specific functions—deeper to store pots and pans, a narrow vertical pull-out for spices. Some drawers are hiding behind cabinet doors, still utilizing the ease of pulling out instead of reaching in to find what you need.

Shades of green

Today’s homeowners want their homes to be kind to the environment. From reclaimed wood and sustainable materials (e.g., cork, bamboo) to energy-efficient appliances, plumbing, and lighting, the eco-friendly kitchen is a definite “must have”.

Preferences in countertops, flooring, and wall coverings may change. Lighting styles will continue to evolve. Appliances will get more and more technical. But you can count on these kitchen trends to stay.

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