Can Moving Improve Your Happiness?

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Can Moving Improve Your Happiness?

Why do people move?  Moving from one place to another is usually because you are trying to find something.  Maybe it is to find a new job, adventure, a new house, or you just want to find more happiness.

I know moving can be tough.  It is said to be one of the more stressful things in an adult’s life. BUT, did you know that moving can actually make you happier in the long term? Seriously, it can!


Fulfilled because of change

Some people move to be more fulfilled.  What does that mean?  Well, moving can help you discover more about yourself as a person.  You find out how resilient you are and become more aware of how important change is.  Change is so essential to building our character.  People can feel like they are just stuck in a rut.  This could be with their personal lives, jobs, or even their home.  People that move can feel more fulfilled as they see it as taking control of their lives.  They are happier in life all just because they feel they have taken a proactive step in choosing their destiny. 


A New Start

Other people just crave a new start.  Whether this in the city or suburbs, a new start can be beneficial and enriching. A new start in a new neighborhood or town can in fact make people happier with their life.  Just make sure you have done all your homework and have your business and personal items in place to make the transition as smooth as possible.

Last thing is to make sure you give us a call to help out with whatever your real estate needs are.  We will be happy to talk to you about your goals for the move and what options you have in today’s market.  After all, a new start can not only change your life but be good for your mind, body and soul.


NextHome TriState Realty – 712-224-NEXT (712-224-6398) or visit us at

It’s Never Too Late to Pick a New Year’s Resolution

2021 Resolutions

It’s Never Too Late to Pick a New Year’s Resolution.  Here is a List to Help Inspire You.

Let me repeat that… It is NEVER too late to pick a New Year’s Resolution!

Did you know that almost 80% of resolutions fail by the second week in February?  When choosing a resolution make sure it is something you truly want to do and/or change. Here is a list of some resolutions to help inspire you!


Work on Your Fitness and Health

Working on your fitness and health can mean a few things. Like exercise more, eating better, drinking more water… Getting fit and healthy can add years to your life, but you also need to acknowledge that this takes time and a lot of patience to create lifestyle changes that last.

Ease into it by making small changes.  Don’t say goodbye to chocolate forever and don’t force yourself to exercise 7 days a week.  Take baby steps towards your resolution. Go for a small walk after dinner, swap out soda for water.

Find a buddy to help you.  They will help keep you accountable and you will be more likely to stick to it.


Get More Sleep

To me this also fits in with “Working on your Health”.  Did you know that lack of sleep is linked to some really scary risks like heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, depression, diabetes, and obesity?

Blue light coming from screened devises slows down the production of melatonin in your body which in turn will reduce your quality of sleep.  Turn off your smartphones, TVs, laptops, tablets, or any other gadget that will beep, glow, or blink.   Another idea is you can also try using an essential oil diffuser to help you sleep.


Text Less and Talk More

This is a personal favorite of mine. Text less and talk more!  It seems like everywhere you look people are spending their time with their face in their phone.  Take a moment to look up and have a face-to-face conversation with family or friends.

There is a study that revealed the average smartphone user checks his or her phone an average of 150 times within 16 hours. That is way too much time spent reading texts, browsing Facebook or Instagram or sending snaps on Snapchat.

Need a tip to help with this? Disable your smartphone notifications for non-essential things like Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook, and games. This will help you limit the number of times that you pick up your phone.


Save More and Spend Less

Saving more and spending less is one of the top five New Year’s resolutions AND one of the most commonly failed.  A good way to start is to set a budget and eliminate frivolous spending (like saying no to those daily expensive coffees).  A huge savings for my family is cooking at home instead of going out to eat.  If you are going out to eat, opt for savings like drinking water instead of soda (Working on your health). Wait 24 hours for a big purchase and also think “If nobody sees this, would I still want to buy it?”


Read More Books

You don’t have to read 50 books a year like Bill Gates does, but some of the world’s most successful CEOs say that reading has been key to their success.

Reading comes with so many benefits like helping strengthening your vocabulary and writing skills, improve your brain function and focus, and expanding your knowledge.

January is a great time to start this!  Cozy up in a nice comfy chair and escape to another world.


Get started and stick to it

I hope this gives you an idea or two.  Remember to increase your odds in sticking to your 2021 resolution by only picking a few things and take it slow.  Don’t get burnt out and frustrated. YOU’VE GOT THIS!!  Oh, and if one of your resolutions happens to be selling or buying your home this year? Give us a call and we can definitely help you succeed and get you into your NextHome! 712-224-NEXT


Thinking about becoming a part time real estate agent?

Thinking about becoming a part time real estate agent in 2021?


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Finally, 2020 is just about over, and many people are feeling more than ready to be done with a year that has caused so much anxiety and confusion.  With 2021 literally right around the corner some people may be thinking about a new career, and with how hot the real estate market has been this year, it has become a very appealing option for some people. 

Here are a few tips that people looking to start a part-time career in real estate should keep in mind.

Take your time finding the right broker and brokerage

If you are planning to become a part time agent, it is very important to find a broker and team who will be a good resource for you and supportive of you even though you may not be able to hit the ground running every day.

Not every broker will want to spend energy and time on an agent who will only be able to work part time. However, becoming a new agent, you will needs lots of training and support to help you learn the ropes, so make sure you take your time finding the right fit with a broker and brokerage that will help you achieve your goals.

Be prepared to juggle

Real estate agents tirelessly need to work around their clients’ schedules.  A part time agent should be ready to deal with scheduling issues.  Since you will be working limited hours, you may find it challenging to schedule showings around your clients’ availability.  It will be very important for you to stay as organized as possible and as flexible as you can be.

Make allies with other agents and find a mentor

Since you will be balancing multiple clients and other responsibilities, it will be important to make allies with other agents within your brokerage.  Especially for the days when you will need help from them to help you out with a showing or an appointment that does not work with your schedule.

Having another agent’s help will possibly mean you will need to compensate them for their time.  Make sure you agree to the terms in advance so everyone is on the same page.

Find a professional and experienced agent or a broker for your mentor.  They will help you get your feet on the ground and help you build connections with other agents and with clients.  They will also help you by answering any questions you may have and will bring you ideas on how to grow your business.

Don’t give up

Working in real estate is hard.  You will need to stay determined and persevere when your business is slow. It is important to stay positive and stick with it.

While 2020 may have been a terrible year, we all get a fresh start on Jan 1st. Prepare to work hard and keep looking forward to the new opportunities each day will bring.

Give us a call

You probably have many questions by now and would like somebody to reach out to for help.  Give us a call and we will help answer them!

712-224-6398 or visit us at

Keeping The Magic Of Santa Alive

How to keep the magic of Santa Alive

Magic of Santa

As children grow up and get older, the magic of Santa sadly grows out of them.  If you are like me, I desperately wanted to keep him alive in the eyes of my kids. Here are a few tips I did and a few I wish I would have known about on how to keep the magic alive for just a little bit longer.

A Call With Santa

There are ways to let children receive or make calls to Santa.  You could change the contact name of somebody in your phone and have them call!  Imagine Santa just randomly calling!  You can also call the Santa Hotline at 319-527-2680 or 712-770-4404.

Call with Santa

Video Chat With The Big Man

Okay, so with the whole pandemic going on and everybody using video chat to stay connected… Why not video chat him too?  JingleRing, Kringle Mingle, or Santa The Experience all seem to be good options!

Video chat with Santa

Track Santa’s Journey

If you are staying at home for social distancing, how do you find Santa Claus? Simple, by using North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) or Google Santa Tracker! Both the websites are loaded with fun activities and games to get children in the holiday mood.

Norad     Google Santa Tracker

Separate Wrapping Paper

This is one that I always do! Any gifts from Santa must be on his own wrapping paper. This will clearly set them apart from all other gifts.  Remember to HIDE the paper good so it is not found by them.  That’s one major rule to always remember.

Santa wrapping paper

Watch the Reindeer Cam

Have your kids watch the Reindeer Cam live feed to give them a real live look at the reindeer who will be flying Santa’s sleigh come Christmas time. 


Special Santa Keys

Don’t have a fireplace and have a hard time explaining to the kids how Santa gets into your home? Create or buy some special magic keys and hang them on or by your door on Christmas!

Santa's magic key

Reindeer Food

My kids LOVED this one!  You leave the milk and cookies out for Santa, so don’t forget to leave some reindeer food too. Throw in some carrots and some creative sparkles to make the snacks extra festive.


Nice or Naughty Certificate

If you are creative you can send your kids a certificate, from Santa of course, about how they have been behaving. Send them one of the following official certificates – a Nice List or Naughty List Certificate stating “In recognition of your good behavior this year, I, Santa, officially place (child’s name) on my 2020 Nice/ Naughty List.”  Print this on fun paper that looks legitimate considering it is from the North Pole and signed by Santa Claus himself.


Leave cookies and milk out

Everyone knows that Santa can’t resist some cookies and a nice glass of milk. Before morning, make sure the cookies are gone or at least half bitten so the kids know he appreciated their generous offer. I also sprinkle crumbs in the milk to make it a little more believable.

Santa cookies and milk

Sprinkle red glitter

Head to your nearest store and buy a packet of red glitter. Once you’ve bought the sparkles, sprinkle it on the front lawn, by the door, or anywhere you want.  Why do this?  When your kids ask where it came from you can say it must have fell off of Santa’s sleigh when he was bringing your gifts.  

Red Glitter

Santa’s Footprints

You can make Christmas morning a little more magical by leaving a sparkling and snowy trail of Santa’s footprints. This idea will bring so much awe and wonder. You can leave a trial to wherever he goes, whether it’s to the cookies, from the chimney, or from the door. 

Santa Footprints

10 Christmas Light Safety Tips You Need To Know

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Spending time with family is one of the most important parts of Christmas, and making our homes cheerful and inviting with great smelling candles, festive decorations, and holiday lights is a beloved household tradition.  In the chaos of holiday entertaining, it can be really easy to get so distracted with everything that we forget how hazardous some of our decorations really can be if we don’t use correct precautions.

Here are some Christmas safety tips to help make certain that your Christmas decorations are merry, bright, and most important of all, safe for your family and friends to enjoy.


1. Do not leave your lights on unattended

You need to turn off your holiday lights any time you won’t be around to look after them. So, if you’re leaving your home for any reason or going to bed, make sure that you turn off the lights before doing so. If this feels like too much of a hassle, you can find lots of different products that simplify it, such as remote controls that will let you turn off the lights by touching a button or you can look into Christmas light timers.

2. Look into using LED lights instead of incandescent lights

LED lights are a little bit more expensive but are a much safer choice for both indoor and outdoor lighting. This is because they produce very little heat, this makes them perfect for holiday decorations. They also use 75% less electricity and last up to 25 times longer.

3. Be very careful where you place candles

I know it is nice to have warm candlelight flickering away.  It makes for a nice cozy winter evening. However, candles are can be dangerous.  This is especially true if you have pets or kids who might accidentally knock it over. You will need to place lit candles above the reach of wandering tails and small hands, and well out of the way of type of flammable materials like wrapping paper or curtains. You can always try flameless candles to prevent possible fires and burns.

4. There is a difference between indoor and outdoor lights

Even though indoor lights are normally cheaper, do not use them for your outdoor lights. Indoor lights are not as sealed against moisture like the outdoor lights are.  This makes them hazardous for wet winter weather. If you don’t know which type of lights you have, check the label or throw them out and purchase new lights.

5. Don’t overload your outlet

The number of light strings you can connect together will depend on both the maximum watt capacity of your house circuit you plug them into and the strands’ wattage. You will need to do a little bit of math to figure out what is and is not safe. If you are worried about your math skills and calculating that number incorrectly, a pretty good rule of thumb is to keep each outlet to only three strands of lights at the maximum. You can also consider using a power strip with a built-in circuit breaker instead of your wall outlet for some more added protection.

6. Get rid of old lights

Although it is nice to pass down holiday heirlooms, old light strands from years ago can be very dangerous. Today’s lights are much safer to use as they have fused plugs that will prevent sparks in the event of a short circuit.

7. Fasten down all outdoor light strings

Winter winds can catch and blow down outdoor Christmas light strands, causing potential electrical hazards. Fasten your lighted decorations to firm objects to keep your lights secure and where they belong. Also fasten indoor lights so they are out of reach of pets.  This will help in avoiding chewing mishaps that could result in accidental electrocution.

8. Don’t use electric lights on metallic trees

Shiny aluminum and tinsel Christmas trees are becoming more popular, but if you are considering a metallic tree, don’t use electric lights or decorations on it. Your tree can easily become charged with electricity.  This will give a real “shock” to anyone who touches it.

9. Be smart while using extension cords

Outdoor lights can pose a safety risk if your extension cords are low enough to the ground to become wet. Make sure to keep the cords dry and use surge protectors to minimize damage that can happen.

10. Your Christmas tree can become a fire hazard

A scary fact is that Christmas trees are the leading cause of house fires during the holidays. While there are some benefits to a real tree, artificial trees are the safer choice to make. The majority of artificial trees are made with fire resistant materials which make them much safer to light and decorate. If you do decide to go with a real tree, make sure it’s fresh when you buy it and you will need to keep it well watered. If your tree dries out, it is not safe to keep in your home and should be removed from your home immediately.

Whether you go big or keep it simple with your Christmas decorations this season, your number one priority needs to be protecting your family and home. Follow these Christmas light safety tips to help you enjoy a safe and happy holiday.

How To Get The Most Out Of A Virtual Home Tour

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How To Get The Most Out Of A Virtual Home Tour

COVID-19 has changed the way buyers are able to look at properties for sale.  This has led to a huge rise in agents and clients using virtual tours.

But while virtual tours can be just as good as an in-person tour, it is important to know what you should be looking out for and how to ensure you get all the information you need to make an educated decision about that particular property.

So what exactly are the things you need to look out for?

recent article from outlined some of the things buyers need to know to make the most out of their virtual tours, including:

  • The exterior. When you are viewing a home through the screen, it can be really easy to just look at the main features of the home’s interior.  However, don’t miss out on key exterior details you would see if you were to view the home in person. Make sure you ask the agent to show you the home’s exterior and the surrounding neighborhood while you are doing your virtual tour.
  • Ask lots of questions. When you are thinking about buying a home, it is always important to ask lots of questions. It is especially important when you don’t have the opportunity to see the property in person. Ask lots of questions to get all the information you need to make an educated decision about whether the home is the right fit for you and your family.  Some questions could be “what is the average cost of utilities per month?” or “When was the roof last replaced on the home?”
  • Take notes. When you are touring different homes virtually, it can be really easy to lose track of which home is which, and information from one home tour might be mixed into information from a different home tour. Make sure the notes you take on each property are kept separate to help keep all the details straight.

As always, make sure you are using one of our knowledgeable NextHome real estate agents.  We are willing and capable to accommodate you with in-person or with virtual tours.  NextHome TriState Realty 712-224-6398.

Mistakes Could Jeopardize Selling Your Home This Winter

snow house for sale

It might be getting cold outside, but the real estate market is definitely heating up, with this year ready to be one of the best winter selling seasons in recent history.

But just because this winter is poised to be a seller friendly market does not mean that selling your home is a given. There are lots of things that could prevent you from selling your home during the winter months.

Okay, so what exactly are those things?

recent article from outlined some of the most common mistakes homeowners make that can prevent them from selling their homes this winter, including:

  • Not shoveling the snow.

    Buyers do not want to trudge through snow drifts to make it to your front door. If you are hit with some winter weather, make sure you shovel the snow and create a nice clear path from the street to your front door.

  • Don’t lower the heat.

    You want your home to feel warm and really inviting to any potential buyers. If they were to walk into your home and it is just as cold inside as it is outside… it can turn them off to your property quick. Before you leave your house, make sure to turn up the heat to around 70 degrees.  This will make it more pleasant for buyers who come by to look at your home.

  • Don’t use outdated listing photos.

    If you are trying to sell your home in December, you do not want to use photos of your home that were clearly taken in the middle of summer. When you are ready to list your home, make sure you use current and accurate photos.

So, what does all of this mean for you?  If you are thinking about selling your home this winter, it is really important to understand the most of the common mistakes sellers make in the colder months can be avoided.  Thus letting you successfully sell your home.

10 Important Thanksgiving Turkey Cooking Tips You Should Know

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Most of the recipes I cook for Thanksgiving dinner are not very complicated. I’ve got my go to macaroni corn casserole and I could practically make mashed potatoes in my sleep. But there is one dish that I always question how to cook. That dish is the very intimidating Thanksgiving turkey. So I rounded up some of the best turkey cooking tips I could find, what mistakes we should avoid and how to cook the turkey without drying it out.

Choosing the right size turkey

If you are buying a whole turkey, figure on 1 pound of turkey (uncooked) per person. If you are buying a boneless turkey breast, figure about ½ pound per person. Feeding an army like my family? Instead of buying the biggest turkey you can find, get a whole turkey and one breast, or  two smaller turkeys. Hopefully these estimates will leave you with lots of leftover turkey to enjoy after all  of the hard work is done.

Plan ahead for turkey thawing

According to the USDAthe safest way to thaw turkey is in a refrigerator. This method is good because it is the most hands off and it results in an evenly defrosted bird that is ready to cook. How long does it take to thaw a frozen turkey in a refrigerator? You will want to allow 1 day in the refrigerator for every 4 pounds of turkey, so refrigerate a 12 pound turkey for 3 days and a 20 pound turkey for 5 days, and so on.

Dry brine your turkey

Thanksgiving turkey is something we patiently wait all year to eat, and most of the time it comes out dry and flavorless. Dry brining is one of the best ways to ensure the turkey is seasoned all the way through and not just on the surface, the skin will get extra crispy, and the rest of the turkey retains its moisture. The only thing you need to dry brine a turkey is salt; just rub the salt all over the raw turkey, place the turkey into a large plastic bag (or 2 bags) and refrigerate overnight or up to 2 days before cooking.

Skip stuffing the bird

Don’t of pack your turkey with bread cubes that will just turn soggy, try stuffing recipes baked outside of the turkey, in a deep casserole dish.  This is the safest and tastiest option. Not only does this ensure that your stuffing avoids contact with the raw turkey, but the final product is a moist, crispy-topped, delicious creation!

Add aromatics

Salt works well to bring the flavor out of the bland turkey, there are still a few more ways to add even more flavor. Most of these herbs you might have on hand during Thanksgiving, like thyme, sage, and rosemary. Since you are not putting your stuffing in the turkey, add those herbs into the turkey.  This will be about 12 sprigs in total, along with a quartered onion. You can also add a head of garlic, just cut it in half and put that in there too. You can also add a small orange or a halved lemon. As your turkey cooks, all those seasonings in the cavity will flavor the rest of the turkey.

Don’t forget the roasting rack

The roasting rack will help keep the bottom of your turkey from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Don’t have a rack? Don’t worry! Try this trick: Create a bed of celery stalks and carrots to elevate your turkey. You will have some extra flavorful veggies to use later. Or, you can cut onions into 3/4-inch thick slices, arrange on the bottom of your pan, and place the turkey on top.

Forget the basting

It is true that basting can help to keep your turkey evenly brown, but it has little, if anything, to do with keeping your turkey moist and juicy. In fact, repeatedly opening the door of your oven will lower your oven temperature, which may increase the overall time to fully cook your turkey. If you are really wanting a more even brown turkey, rub it with butter and olive oil before roasting.  This will help produce that crisp, golden brown skin you are looking for.

Take its temperature

Roasting a turkey is not something most of us do on a regularly basis and using the 15 minutes a pound rule, or even keeping your eye on that plastic popper are just not real good ways to tell if it is fully cooked. All sorts of factors from your fridge temperature to your oven accuracy will affect how long is actually takes to cook the turkey. An instant read thermometer is your best friend here. You can know that your turkey is fully cooked when you insert a your meat thermometer into the thickest part of its thigh (just don’t touch the bone) and the temperature reads at least 165°F. Its juices should also run clear when part of its thigh is poked with the tip of your knife.

Let it rest

Letting your turkey, or any piece of meat, rest will allow the juices to redistribute. If you carve it too soon, most of the juice will be on the cutting board and your turkey will be dry. So, don’t rush the resting period. When you take it out of the oven, very carefully tilt the turkey to drain all the juices from the cavity into your pan (you can save these juices for your gravy). Move the turkey to a cutting board and set both your turkey and cutting board into a rimmed baking sheet. This will catch most of your turkey’s juices while it rests and while you are carving. Cover loosely with foil and let your turkey rest for a minimum of 30 minutes before carving.

Don’t carve your turkey at the table

I know, that’s how they do it in the movies, but unless you are a doctor and want to show off your surgical skills, it is just better to carve your turkey in the kitchen. Follow these steps from Kitchn:

  1. Remove the leg and thigh together. Slice through the skin that connects the breast and the drumstick until you hit bone. With your hands, pull the leg back and down until the joint pops out. Press down firmly on the joint to completely sever it. Run the knife between the thigh and the back bone to cleanly remove the leg piece. Place on the serving platter.

  2. Remove the breast. Staying on the same side of the turkey, slice through the skin on the top of the turkey along the breastbone from the neck joint and the wishbone first. Then slowly work the knife through the breast meat, along the rib bone, removing as much meat as possible. Place this breast on the platter.

  3. Remove the wing. Pull the wing back, as you did the legs, and cut at the joint. Place on the platter.

  4. Turn the turkey and repeat steps 2 through 4 on the other side. Rotate the turkey 180 degrees and then repeat with removing the leg and thigh, breast, and wing on the other side.

  5. Set aside the turkey carcass and wipe down the cutting board. Remove the turkey carcass from your work area (you can set it back in the roasting pan or set it directly into a pot if you plan on making stock). Wipe down your cutting board if desired.

  6. Separate the thighs from the drumsticks. Place the leg pieces skin-side up on the cutting board. Cut right between the drumstick and thigh at the joint. Repeat with the other leg. Return the drumsticks to the platter.

  7. Slice the thighs. Cut the thigh meat off the bone and into smaller pieces, if desired. Return to the platter.

  8. Slice the breasts. Place the breasts skin-side up on the cutting board. Cut crosswise at a slight angle into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Return to the platter.


Homes Are Selling For Top Dollar And In Record Time!

Homes Are Selling For Top Dollar And In Record Time!  This Is Making Now The Perfect Time To Sell!

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When you are selling your home, you would really like it to sell for top dollar and quickly, right?  Well, if that is the case, there has never been a better time to sell your home than right now!

According to recent data from the National Association of REALTORS®, the national median existing home price in September 2020 was selling for $311,800, up 14.8%.  The median price in the Midwest was $243,100, also a 14.8% increase from September 2019.

And not only are homes selling at higher prices, they’re also selling quickly. Nationwide an astounding 71% of homes sold in September were on the market for LESS than a month. On average, these homes in September were on the market for ONLY 21 days.  This is record breaking and down from the national average of 32 days back in September 2019.

According to Lawrence Yun, the chief economist for the National Association of REALTORS®, the low interest rates and high demand is the one of the key factors behind driving the current buying frenzy. “Home sales traditionally taper off toward the end of the year, but in September they surged beyond what we normally see during this season,” Yun said in a recent press release outlining NAR’s findings. “I would attribute this jump to record-low interest rates and an abundance of buyers in the marketplace.”

Are you excited about possibly selling your home when homes are selling higher and quicker than just one year ago?  All these numbers are telling are you that if you have been thinking about selling your home, don’t wait any longer and now is the time to do it!  Go ahead and make the move.  Just don’t forget to call us here at NextHome TriState Realty for all your buying and selling needs!  712-224-NEXT

Wanting A New Construction Home? Here Are Some Things To Look Out For

What Things To Look For In New Construction

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There are a lot of buyers out there thinking that are wanting new-construction homes instead of existing home.  They are thinking that they will be better quality and a better long-term investment.

While that certainly can be true in some cases, there are also some things buyers need to be aware of and looking for when shopping for a new constructed home.

recent article from outlined a few of the essential things that you should be looing for when shopping for a new construction home, including:

  • The Build quality. Not all new construction homes are built the same way. You will see that some are higher quality than others. Before you purchase your new construction, ask the builder if you can review the home’s architectural plans.  This way you can check for any issues and get some insights on the materials that will be used to build the home.
  • Builders reputation. Before you commit to buy the home, make sure you are buying from a reputable builder.  Do research and find out everything you can about this builder and what their reputation is in your area.
  • Possible upgrade and design options. Many builders will offer you the option to customize different features in your home (like fixtures, flooring, and countertops). Again, before you commit to building a new home, make sure you fully understand all the features that will come standard with potential home, the different design and customization options you may have, and what the cost will be for any upgrade you want.

So the bottom line is that buying a new construction home can be a possible good choice for your next home purchase.  Just as long as do your research and know what to look for during the new home construction buying process.