Color Trends for Spring in 2016

21 April 2016
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Lancaster new homeThe New Year is in full swing, but celebrate the new season by incorporating these 2016 colors that blend perfectly with spring décor.

Pantone is shaking things up in 2016 by awarding Color of the Year to not just one color, but two: Rose Quartz and Serenity Blue. The blending of the colors is a catalyst for breaking free from typical color-gender affiliations as well as providing a sense of calm and tranquility. These two colors also provide a larger color palette for designers and decorators to work with.

House Beautiful has selected 20 hues that they believe will be popular this year. Here are a few of our favorites:

1. Lilacs and purples
Blending the two colors of the year creates a soft purple that is perfectly paired with grays and blues to create a room that is elegant and engaging as well as warm and relaxing.
2. Milky blues
Faded vintage colors seem to be appearing more and more in 2016. Milky tones of serenity blue create a calm and relaxing atmosphere that is easily paired with greens, khakis and other neutral shades. (more…)

Tips to Extend the Life of Your Roof

15 April 2016
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Extend the life of your roofReplacing and repairing a roof can be a costly venture. A roof protects essentially everything in your home, including you and your family. A sturdy, leak-free roof is critical to a long-term home. Follow these tips to extend the life of your home’s covering.

1. Keep your gutters clean:
Debris will inevitably build up in your gutters and this obstruction causes water to slide directly into your drywall, siding and the roof itself, potentially causing mold growth and rotted materials. Not to mention the fact that gutters that are overflowing with leaves and debris is such an eye sore, the weight build up can also cause your gutters to detach and cause damage to the sides of your home.

2. Debris control:
Leaves and tree limbs can cause more damage than you would think. When leaves accumulate on your roof, they maintain moisture and harbor mold growth that can cause the materials on your roof to rot if they are not removed or dried out. Nearby tree limbs that repeatedly rub against your roof can cause damages such as leaks and pulled up shingles. It’s suggested that you call a professional to trim back overgrown tree limbs or to remove large, potentially dangerous trees near your home, about 10-feet away. (more…)

Five Things to Remember from the Pennsylvania Home Show

28 March 2016
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Pennsylvania Home ShowThe 42nd annual Pennsylvania Home Show featured everything needed to beautify, update and maintain your home. New additions to the exhibit include the kitchen and bath showcase and the landscape display, complete with gazebo. This event highlighted nearly 300 exhibitors, and the Business Journal has pinned five takeaways to keep in mind:

1. The Home Builders Association of Metropolitan Harrisburg added a kitchen and bath showcase in response to demand. This new display allowed vendors in those popular areas to interact with potential clients in a more informational way.

2. Outdoor living is here to stay. In 2016, homeowners are utilizing every space of their home and that means renovating their outdoor living spaces to include outdoor kitchens, fireplaces and more. Several displays at this year’s home show highlighted many of these popular outdoor options. Improving curb appeal has also been a popular topic of commercial clients over the last two years, according to some exhibitors. (more…)

HOPE International: A Hand-up, Not a Handout

22 March 2016
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Patrick Felix“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope,” (English Standard Version, Jeremiah 29:11).

HOPE International’s mission is to invest in the dreams of families in the world’s underserved communities as we proclaim and live the Gospel. After visiting many poverish countries, I have witnessed the difference it makes to instill hope and inspiration, rather than simply donating food and clothing and moving on with life. These people-in-need desire so much more than that and carry the potential to do great things to improve their lives and communities for the long term. (more…)

New Shopping Center Coming to Lebanon County

3 March 2016
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Lebanon new homeJust when you thought Lebanon County couldn’t get any better; a new shopping center is coming to town. The new shopping center is expected to open late this year on the site of an old bowling alley that will be closing in May.

This 13,000-square-foot shopping center at 1451 Quentin Road in North Cornwall Township could open as early as November according to Vice President of Retail at Bennett Williams Commercial, Brad Rohrbaugh. The new shopping center is a project of Apple Retail Properties of York and will feature a Chipotle restaurant, Panera Bread, an AT&T store and an Aspen Dental practice. (more…)

Five Things to Consider Before Buying

26 February 2016
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Keystone Custom HomesOwning a home is a big part of the “American Dream.” With the housing market booming again, this dream can be accomplished sooner than later. When you decide that the time is right, here are five things to consider before buying:

1. Build your credit
This is the most important part of the home buying process. Without a strong credit score, your overall rating can affect you in a negative way and may result in higher fees and payments. A lackluster credit score can affect the type of loan you qualify for and will be able to afford in the long run. The best way to help your credit score is simple – pay all your bills on time. This includes rent, credit cards, utility, cell phone, etc.

2. Prepare for the cost
When renting, the cost involved are more clear-cut – rent, utilities, renter’s insurance, etc., as well as having your landlord on call for any mishaps that happen. These and many other costs and maintenance of your home all fall on you. So, when you begin thinking you are ready to buy a home, begin to make regular deposits into a savings account. Building this financial security will help with any known or unknown expenses associated with your home like your monthly mortgage, utilities, homeowners insurance, HOA fees, lawn services, etc. (more…)

5 Ways to Make Your Home More Appealing

17 February 2016
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Jeff RuttReal estate professionals know that a home’s appeal is a major part of a purchase decision. Appeal includes both exterior appeal and interior appeal. Here are five ways to improve home appeal while working within a budget:

1. Energy/Plus – Everyone loves to save money, especially in the toughest and most unexpected places to save. An energy-efficient home catches buyer’s attention and their wallet. Energy-efficiency can mean many things. It can range from proper building practices to special appliances. Keystone Custom Homes offers an Energy/Plus package that includes numerous energy-efficient upgrades such as Low Emittance window coating, concrete flooring with vapor barriers and a drainage system to prevent moisture. Other energy-efficient products to consider are storm doors, HVAC systems and kitchen appliances such as a dishwasher or refrigerator. (more…)

The Lesser Known Downsides to Mortgage Prepayment

12 February 2016
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Jeff RuttMany of you may be thinking, “Is there a downside to prepaying?” Great question because in fact, there are some lesser known negatives to prepaying for a mortgage. Many homeowners don’t know about prepayment penalty, how it works and if they’ve paid it. Here’s the 4-1-1:

The Penalty

It’s amazing to think that homeowners would be punished for prepaying for their new home; however, the penalty is a result of a bad credit score or report. If a mortgage borrower falls into this category, banks need to secure payments. To secure payments on a risky borrower, the bank requires penalties terms of anywhere from three to 10 years. (more…)

Tips for First-Time Homebuyers

11 February 2016

Jeff RuttThere are several stages to the home-buying process, and every one of them can seem intimidating and overwhelming. The most important task is to educate yourself to alleviate that fear so you are able to make a sound, objective decision.

Stage 1: House Hunting: What Do You Want?

You probably have an idea in your head about what you want in your next home, but it helps to write those demands down in a checklist. Consider the long term and re-sale value with this task. Are you planning for a family or a pet that would require a yard? Will you be taking care of elderly relatives at some point? Do not forget to consider the neighborhood and size, school zones and even smaller details such as the kitchen appliances or a double vanity in the master bath. Many of these items are at the forefront of some people’s minds while not even considered by others until it is too late. Categorize your demands by “must-haves”, “nice-to-haves” and “other essentials” for those items you could go either way about. Even if you do not plan on having children, consider the school district and how busy the neighborhood streets are. If you end up re-selling in the future, families may be your potential buyers. Take the checklist with you to each home, and check items off the list as you walk through. Take pictures to review later and compare all of the homes. Putting the checklists side-by-side can help make the decision-making process easier and less emotionally driven. (more…)

Budgeting Tips for New Homeowners

28 January 2016

Jeff RuttA new home is a substantial investment, and new homeowners don’t always get it right the first time around. To avoid financial troubles and maximize monthly funds, here are the expenses to know well to optimize a budget.

1. Principal/Interest – This is the most substantial payment homeowners will make. Easily the largest hit to a bank account, a monthly mortgage payment will be a payment made for the life of the mortgage: between 15 to 30 years.

2. Insurance – A new home can require a variety of different risk mitigation policies. These insurance policies include homeowners insurance, hazard insurance and even appliance insurance. All of these policies will be a hefty cost, but they’re necessary. Be sure to shop around for the best policy in regards to price and coverage. Another expense in this category is\

3. Taxes – Two things in life are certain: death and taxes. Be certain that taxes on a new home are not cheap.  Although property tax is usually paid twice a year, depending on your location, this tax can fluctuate and changed based on the state. (more…)

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