Green Living: It’s Never Too Late to Start

Did you know that 85% of total U.S. greenhouse emissions are energy related?  The choices we make today will affect the amount of greenhouse gases we put in the atmosphere in the near future and for years to come. At Ashton Woods, we are dedicated to providing our buyers with features in their homes that help offset and eliminate greenhouse emissions. We are proud of our commitment to the environment and thought we would share some tips on bringing green living into your home.

1. Think Green From The Start

  • Certain programs, such as Environments for Living (EFL), which all Ashton Woods Homes are built in accordance to, feature standardized energy efficient options that can save homeowners as much as 45% a year on utility bills – Ashton Woods is the ONLY builder to nationally utilize the EFL Platinum Program.
  • In addition, the Powerhouse Green Home Energy Program, also utilized by Ashton Woods, aims to reduce overall energy costs in single-family homes and townhouses.
  • Ashton Woods Homeowners can save as much as $3,816 in utility costs on average per year. Not only is that a great way to help the environment, but it’s a great way to put “green” back in your pocket. To find out how much you can save with an Ashton Woods home, try the Energy Performance Savings Calculator.

2. Reduce Overall Energy Consumption

  • Install additional features that will contribute to energy savings on a daily basis. For example, try purchasing LED light bulbs or WaterSense shower-heads and faucet aerators.
  • Think smart! Turn off lights when you leave the room and unplug electronics when they are not in use. These “Vampire Watts” can account for 10% of your yearly electricity bill.

3. Decorate And Clean With Green Products

  • There are now a variety of low toxic, organic paint and cleaning options available when decorating your home. Eliminating potentially harmful additives from your home will result in a healthier and happier environment for your family.

    Did you know? The average adult spends more than 80% of their time indoors. Having high quality air is important to maintaining good health.

    Did you know? The average adult spends more than 80% of their time indoors. Having high quality air is important to maintaining good health.

  • Recycle! Re-purpose furniture and find eclectic used hardware at antique shops or flea markets. Buying antiques is a simple way of decorating green—salvaged items can add a certain charm to any room.
  • Shop Local—Finding a community with convenience to a variety of restaurants and shops is key—now there is no excuse not to shop around at your favorite local spots. (You can also help lower gas emissions by reducing driving time!)

    Green living can not only save you thousands of dollars in utility charges, but it will also make your home a healthy environment for all who live there. Ashton Woods’ commitment to green living offers its residents the infrastructure, appliances and tools necessary to lead a sustainable lifestyle. That’s Green Living that helps you and the planet.

 

Glenlake Gardens, in Raleigh, is an ideal location for those who value convenience—just 1.4 miles from Crabtree Valley Mall and only a short drive away from downtown.

Glenlake Gardens, in Raleigh, is an ideal location for those who value convenience—just 1.4 miles from Crabtree Valley Mall and only a short drive away from downtown.

Ashton Woods Names New Sales Manager at Davis Park

The North Carolina division of award-winning national private home builder Ashton Woods Homes is pleased to announce it has promoted Cameron Smith to Community Sales Manager at Davis Park. As Sales Manager, Smith will be responsible for overseeing community sales, assisting home buyers through their construction process and maintaining Realtor relations. The charming Durham community, Davis Park, located just off I-40 in Durham near Research Triangle Park and the Streets at Southpoint Mall, has seen tremendous interest over the past few months and has just 6 townhomes left for sale.

Davis Park provides buyers with a variety of low-maintenance lifestyle choices with a selection of home design options to suit any buyer’s needs. Townhomes in the community range in size from 1,600 to over 1,900 square-feet, with prices starting in the $170s. The homes feature expansive master suites, high-end designer kitchens and one-car garages, and provide buyers the ability to truly personalize their homes at Ashton Woods’ award-winning design Studio. The community’s family-friendly amenities include a private saltwater pool, biking and walking trails, and a centrally-located park.

Prior to her promotion, Smith served as the Internet Concierge for the company’s Raleigh and Charleston markets. In December 2013, Smith was recognized by Ashton Woods Raleigh as Employee of the Quarter for her continued success within the company. She was also named Top Performer at the Ashton Woods Sales Fusion in February 2014. A Raleigh native, Smith graduated from North Carolina State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications.

“Cameron has shown a commitment to excellence and dedication to our customers and we are delighted to have her expand her role within the company,” said Rebecca McAdoo, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Ashton Woods Homes. “Our Davis Park community has proven to be incredibly popular with Triangle home buyers, so the opportunities remaining are increasingly limited.”

Since entering the North Carolina market in 2010, Ashton Woods Raleigh has expanded exponentially throughout the Triangle area with 16 neighborhoods located in Raleigh, Cary, Durham, Hillsborough and Apex. The company was recently named the #1 Most Trusted Homebuilder in America for the second year in a row in the Lifestory Research Most Trusted Builders in America Study SM. Ashton Woods is now the nation’s 20th largest national builder based on closings and the fourth largest private builder in the country and has received several Marketing and Advertising Excellence Awards from the Home Builders Association. Ashton Woods’ steadfast commitment to green building and design, affordable living and high quality construction has played a key role in the company’s remarkable success in the area. Decorated model homes are open Monday – Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. To learn more about an Ashton Woods Homes community near you, visit AshtonWoods.com

About Ashton Woods

Ashton Woods is one of the nation’s largest private homebuilding companies, with operations in Atlanta, Austin, Charleston, Dallas, Houston, Killeen/Ft. Hood, Orlando, Phoenix, San Antonio, Sarasota, Raleigh and Tampa.

Recently recognized as the #1 Most Trusted Homebuilder in America for the second year in a row by the Lifestory Research 2014 Most Trusted Builder in America Study SM,  Ashton Woods is known throughout the industry for building homes with award-winning designs that inspire, and offering homebuyers a high level of personalization options.  Ashton Woods is also the only builder to nationally utilize the Environments for Living Platinum Program, a program that certifies the energy efficient status of our homes. For more information, or to experience the excitement of becoming another satisfied Ashton Woods homeowner, visit AshtonWoods.com and search all of our new homes for sale.

Ashton Woods Wins Grand Award in Texas Association of Builders Contest

(Houston, TX – July 30, 2014)        Ashton Woods received the Grand Award for Volume Builder of the Year/High Volume in the prestigious Star Awards presented recently by the Texas Association of Builders.

Ashton Woods’ Shawnda Lancaster was named Sales Manager of the Year in the competition that invites entries from Texas and the Southwest. Vince Bryant with Wells Fargo won Mortgage Industry Professional of the Year. Bryant works exclusively with Ashton Woods buyers. In all, the builder was a finalist in 11 categories in the best-of-the-best competition.

“It is such an honor to receive the Grand Award for Volume Builder of the Year,” said Dan Gezella, vice president of sales and marketing for Ashton Woods Homes’ Houston division. “It is the competition’s most coveted award. We also are happy the awards recognized Shawnda and Vince’s diligence and commitment. They each have incredible drive and approach their jobs with an unparalleled level of creativity and knowledge.”

Lancaster also was named Sales Manager of the Year in the 2013 Houston’s Best PRISM Awards, hosted by the Greater Houston Builders Association.

Launched in 1992, the Star Awards recognizes the outstanding work of builders, remodelers, architects, designers, sales professionals, marketing professionals, construction professionals and industry leaders. Awards were given in more than 75 categories.

Ashton Woods, named the Most Trusted Builder in America for a second consecutive year by the Lifestory Research 2014 Most Trusted Builders in America Study, SM builds in 14 communities throughout Houston, with prices from the $190,000s. For more information on Ashton Woods, visit www.ashtonwoodshomes.com.

Texas STar builder of the year

Ashton Woods has been named Volume Builder of the Year/High Volume in the Texas Association of Builders’ Texas Star Awards. Celebrating that win and the builder’s other awards that evening were, from left, Shawnda Lancaster, awarded Sales Manager of the Year; Paul Sims, Houston division president; Dan Gezella, vice president of sales and marketing; Mireya Aviles, finalist for Rookie Sales Counselor of the Year; and Nhi Le, also finalist for Rookie Sales Counselor of the Year.

Ashton Woods finals in several categories for Texas Star Awards

The Houston Division of Ashton Woods Homes has been nominated in 11 categories in the annual Star Awards presented by the Texas Association of Builders.

 

Finalists include Vince Bryant for Mortgage Industry Professional of the Year; Nhi Le, Rookie Sales Professional of the Year; Mireya Aviles, Rookie Sales Professional of the Year; and Shawnda Lancaster, Sales Manager of the Year. Ashton Woods also is nominated in several product categories: Volume Builder, Best Product Design, $451,000 to $500,000 for Harmony; Volume Builder, Interior Merchandising, $501,000 to $600,000, Summer Lakes; Volume Builder, Interior Merchandising, $601,000 to $700,000, Southern Trails; Volume Builder, Interior Merchandising over $900,000, Southern Trails; and Volume Builder, Interior Merchandising over $900,000, Harmony. The company also has been nominated for Best Website and the prestigious Grand Award, Volume Builder/High Volume.

 

Winners will be announced Thursday, July 24, at the Sunbelt Builders Show in San Antonio.

 

“It’s impressive to be honored in so many distinctive categories — product, people and marketing, especially in an awards program that recognizes the best of the best in Texas and the Southwest,” said Dan Gezella, vice president of sales and marketing for Ashton Woods Homes’ Houston division.

 

Ashton Woods has won numerous Star Awards in the past, including seven in 2013.

The Beginner’s Guide to Moving Into a New Home

Ramblewood Model Home in Raleigh, NC

Ramblewood Model Home in Raleigh, NC

Have you recently purchased a new Ashton Woods home? Are you feeling a little lost in the moving process? Preparing to move can be a very overwhelming (but rewarding) process. To make your life easier, we have compiled a list of moving-day tips and frequently asked questions for homeowners to keep in mind.

Begin Planning Well-Before Your Move-In Date

  • Host a ‘clean-out’ or ‘donation’ party prior to moving to get rid of any unwanted contents – The perfect way to share your favorite things with loved ones or those in need!
    mover
  • Determine how manageable your move will be – Is the job something you and friends can handle? Or should you consider hiring professional movers?

    Make Your Final Preparations

  • This can be difficult in today’s busy world, but having dedicated time set aside to prepare for your move is a critical step.
  • Start by clearing your schedule and designating several days to moving in and organizing your new home.
  • Gather empty boxes to help consolidate and store your belongings. (You can typically get these for free at your local grocery store or warehouse club, or browse Craigslist for anyone who has an unwanted supply.)
  • Contact the post office to have your mailing address updated.
  • calendarMake sure all utilities are transferred to your new home.

Begin to Settle In & Relax!

  • Include a detailed inventory to keep track of your boxes, so you know exactly what you have and where it belongs in your new home. Try labeling your boxes by room or family member.
  • Become familiar with your new home’s maintenance requirements and stay up-to-date with them. Utilize an Annual Home Maintenance Calendar to keep track of when tasks should be completed.
  • Gather all your home appliance and warranty information in one place and file it away for safe-keeping.

    GlenLake Gardens Model Home in Raleigh, NC

    GlenLake Gardens Model Home in Raleigh, NC

  • Familiarize yourself with your new home’s appliances, HVAC, water heater, fireplace and electrical breakers.

**Remember: All Ashton Woods homes come standard with an energy efficient guarantee to help decrease your monthly bills.

  • Finally, if you plan to expand the decorating process past what you have done with our Design Experts, budget wisely and embrace the beautiful new home that has become your canvas to build upon.
  • If you are looking for a little more design inspiration visit The Studio, Ashton Woods’ 9,000 square-foot full-service design studio — complete with one-on-one consultations!

HOMEOWNER FAQs:

1. What does homeowners insurance cover?

  • Homeowners Insurances covers the structure of your house, other structures on the property, personal belongings and personal liability.
  • Standard homeowners insurance does not protect you from most storm damages.
  • Keep In Mind: Some dog breeds may be deemed an unacceptable liability risk to an insurance company.

2. Can a Homeowner’s Association require assessment fees?

  • Yes, for common property maintenance.

3. What are covenants, conditions, and restrictions?

  • These set forth rules or regulations to create uniformity of buildings within a community.

4. What can a Homeowner’s Association regulate?

  • The appearance and maintenance of: basketball hoops, sheds, lawns, exterior paint, outdoor lights, window coverings, etc.

5. Who will be my new utilities provider?

  • Many city and state websites will provide information for newcomers. Garbage pick-up, sewer, water, and recycling are usually provided at the local level while electricity and gas is usually provided by the state.

6. When should I call to set up new utilities accounts?

  • To be safe, it’s best to contact your new provider at least two weeks in advance of your move-in date.

7. How do I apply for utility service?

  • The usual steps include completion of an application and a credit check. If you are moving into your first home and haven’t had services before, the company will most likely ask for a deposit.

8. What are property taxes and how are they assessed?

  • Property tax is a tax the owner of a property pays on their property’s value. This home value assessment is determined by city or county assessors, either when the property is sold or renovated, or according to a fixed assessment schedule. While the tax rates vary across the states, they are usually between 0.2 percent and 4 percent of the assessed value.

We hope these tips and tricks have made your life a little easier – Now you are fully prepared to sit back and enjoy being a homeowner!

 

Out With The Old

GlenLake Gardens model home in Raleigh, NC

GlenLake Gardens model home in Raleigh, NC

As the country continues to see luxury house values increase, more Americans are considering purchasing a new home. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, new home sales reached 468,000 in January 2014; a 9.6% increase from 2013.

Davis Park model home in Durham, NC

Davis Park model home in Durham, NC

For those that are in the market to purchase a home, there are many important considerations to evaluate. One of the first considerations prospective buyers have to consider is whether to buy a new home or an existing home. While many people might immediately think that a new home costs significantly more than an existing home, that isn’t necessarily the case. Here are five important things to evaluate when you consider purchasing a home.

    1. Repairs and  Maintenance
      • With a new home you don’t have to worry about the #1 problem for buyers of existing homes: the “hidden” repairs. Those items that appear okay on closing day, but rear up months later to cost you thousands of dollars and tons of Picture3headaches. (ex: mold, faulty wiring, infestation)
      • Appliances and design features within a new home will not have experienced wear and tear.
      • New homebuilders are beginning to implement plans to ensure customer satisfaction. Only Ashton Woods has the “1-5-11” Customer Care Program where representatives are in contact during the 1st, 5th and 11th month after move-in to address any warranty concerns, resulting in a more relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere.
      • Most new homes, like those built by Ashton Woods, are purposefully designed to minimize future maintenance needs. This is not the case with homes constructed prior to the implementation of maintenance-minimizing technologies,such as highly durable and eco-friendly composite products.
    2. Customization
      • Not everyone has the same design taste, so make your new home your own. Homebuyers now have more possibilities than ever to design all aspects of their house, from lighting, cabinetry, plumbing fixtures, flooring and much more.
Ashton Woods’ 9,000 square-foot Design Studio in Raleigh

Ashton Woods’ 9,000 square-foot Design Studio in Raleigh

    • New homes also offer buyers more modern home designs whichPicture5 improve overall liability while maximizing space usage for better energy efficiency. New homebuyers can relish one-on-one design consultations in Ashton Wood’s Design Studio—with over 9,000 square feet of inspiration, the area’s first full-service design studio allows homebuyers to experiment with different colors, textures and upscale design layouts. Building your new dream-house has never been so easy!
    • As an added bonus, including these unique and modern features will give your new home more value in the long run.
    • As a comparison, when renovating an existing home, remember only 58% of the improvement value will be retained when you resell!
  1. Energy and Cost Savings 
      • Numerous advancements in energy efficiency have been made in the past few years and new homes are beginning to offer more of these money-saving options. These features include better ventilation, air Picture6filtration and specially engineered windows that seal out the elements and keep your home warmer during the winter and cooler during the summer.
      • The median year of existing homes built in the Triangle is 1993. Homes that are over 20 years old typically cost 40% more to operate annually.
      • Many new homes are specifically designed to accommodate more efficient appliances like washers, dryers, and refrigerators, which use about 15% less energy than models typically found in older homes.
      • One advantage Ashton Woods’ buyers receive is the benefit of the company’s partnership with Environments for Living®. By offering earth-friendly home designs, homeowners can save as much as 45% every year on utility bills.
      • Standard ‘green’ features in Ashton Woods’ homes include: sealed duct work, 90% efficient furnaces, fresh-air ventilation systems, improved thermal systems, properly-sized HVAC systems, pressure balancing, internal moisture management and combustion safety measures.

*Quick Tip: Assess the energy-efficiency of your current home and see how it measures up to a new Ashton Woods property.*

4. Safety

  • Your new home is certain to be up-to-date with all safety regulations. New homes
    are also better protected structurally against natural disasters, so the risk of damage to your property is minimized.

*Quick Tip: New construction allows for flexible floor plans with second or third-story bedrooms that can be customized to maximize the safety of your loved ones. The median price per square foot for new homes is only 4% higher than used.*

 5. A New Community

  • Purchasing a newly built home comes with the additional benefit of moving into a luxurious community with plenty of neighbors and families in the area.
  • The commute to shops and dining is often minimal. New shopping centers,

    Pemberley Manors located in Apex, NC

    restaurants, and the best schools are typically all within a short drive. Many communities also offer amenities not found in older neighborhoods, such as private neighborhood pools and cabanas, playgrounds, sidewalks, rose gardens and much more.

  • New communities also have built-in infrastructure for the new technology we depend on every day, like cable TV and high-speed internet.

Explore the possibilities at AshtonWoods.com/Raleigh

Shed Your Winter Blues with A Spring Overhaul

Chessington model home in Cary, NC

Chessington model home in Cary, NC

With warmer weather and longer days fast approaching, it’s the perfect time to finish off that list of jobs you want to accomplish around your new Ashton Woods home. No matter what your budget, these tips are guaranteed to enhance the quality and craftsmanship of your living space.

AWH

 

 

1. Clean-out and Organize

•Begin by making a checklist of all the tasks you want accomplished, so your progress can be easily tracked. *Quick Tip: Reserve a specific task for each day of the week and work won’t feel as monotonous.*

•Make sure to clean every surface thoroughly using proper tools and products to preserve and protect your home.

•De-clutter and reorganize—holding a yard sale or donating unwanted items to a charitable organization.

•Try to make the process as fun as possible by inviting friends or family to join you, in exchange for a home cooked meal. Open up your windows—let the sunshine in and the chaos out!

2. Incorporate Fresh Spring Colors

•Add brightly colored wallpaper to your living room or kitchen.
*Quick Tip: If you’re unsure about fully committing, companies like Sherwin Williams have released trendy and removable options like Easy Change Wallpaper.*

Greys Landing model home in Raleigh, NC

Greys Landing model home in Raleigh, NC

•Add a touch of paint to accessorize a room. Why not try Pantone’s 2014 Color of the Year—Radiant Orchid? Year—Radiant Orchid?
*Quick Tip: If you’re looking for a more subtle change, introduce just a pop of color on a wall or archway.*

•Add black accents with either furniture or home decorations to accentuate existing colors in the room. AWH 3

•If you’re going for a more relaxing and natural vibe, bring green tones and floral patterns into your home. Check out this floral appliqué bed set from Dena Home—the perfect combination of elegance and fun!

3.Take on a DIY Project

•From re-purposing old furniture, to finally using those empty wine bottles and mason jars, you can give your home a new look using materials you already have!

AWH 4 •Explore Pinterest for a wide selection of DIY projects and design inspiration this spring—with so many users, thousands of new ideas are added each day.

“Pinterest has become the go-to spot for color ideas, furniture, style inspiration and décor DIY projects. You can create your own design boards to gather inspiration for upcoming decorating projects.”
-Julie Primanti, Design Counselor for Ashton Woods Homes

•Browse additional ideas from other popular DIY sites: Better Homes and Gardens, DIY Network, and Instructables.

4. Create an Outdoor Escape

Leesville Crest model home in Raleigh, NC

Leesville Crest model home in Raleigh, NC

•Start by cleaning and de-cluttering any of your existing outdoor furniture and the surrounding areas. (Don’t forget our cleaning tips from earlier, too!)

•For outdoor design inspiration, check out the fully-furnished Ashton Woods model homes—Greys Landing features a stunning lake-view from the outdoor pool area and the model at Leesville Crest features an oversized patio, pool with cascading water and a covered eating and entertainment area.

•Fun Idea: Bring Spring Break to your backyard with brightly-colored, oversized lounge chairs and seashell accessories. When choosing patio furniture and material, pair blues and greens with neutral colors—resembling calm ocean tones.

Greys Landing model home on Lake Shaw, Raleigh, NC

Greys Landing model home on Lake Shaw, Raleigh, NC

5.Host a Springtime Party

•Showcase your Ashton Woods home and all of your hard work with a seasonal soiree.

•Put together an attention-grabbing tablescape to serve as the center piece of your gathering.
*Quick Tip: Unlit candles can act as a chic daytime table accessory or be used to create a romantic vibe at night—an easy way to transition a longer event.*

•Display fresh flowers (or convincing imitations) throughout your home for guests to enjoy—Tulips and Pansies are a must!

•Sit back and let the uniqueness of your home inspire others to transition theirs into a similar springtime sanctuary.

Davis Park model home in Durham, NC

Davis Park model home in Durham, NC