The Energy Star Program–How Much Do You Know?

Categories: Uncategorized | Posted: September 13, 2018 | Comments Off on The Energy Star Program–How Much Do You Know?

Most people have heard the term “Energy Star” many times before, especially in regard to household appliances, but many don’t know much about what this catchy phrase really means. What is Energy Star, exactly? And how does it fit into your plans for helping to protect your environment? Let’s shed some light on what the program is all about and how new homes, appliances and other consumer items become part of this elite group of products that is so prized by homeowners everywhere.

The Energy Star program has become a household name in a relatively short time. Twenty-six short years ago, on March 15, 1992, the program was launched by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The creator of the program, John F. Hoffman, wanted consumers to focus their efforts on protecting the environment by stepping up their efficient use of energy. He thought that if he could come up with a simple, easily accessible way to share information about energy usage, emissions and ways to cut energy costs, Americans would be able to make more informed decisions when it came to the ways they used energy. It was important that the information presented was not only completely trustworthy and credible, it also had to be completely unbiased.

It was decided that a label with the distinctive Energy Star logo would be placed on qualifying products manufactured by companies that agreed to participate in the program, indicating that the products met Energy Star’s standards for efficient energy use. When consumers saw the label, they would instantly know that the product was designed to help protect the environment and maximize energy consumption efficiency.

Partners in the Energy Star program can lower the cost of producing their products through their relationship with the program, which means buyers can benefit from the savings reflected in the initial price of the products as well as in the reduced costs of operation. The easy-to-see label is instantly attractive to consumers, serving as an incentive for manufacturers to produce more energy-efficient products that qualify.

The EPA started small, by placing the logo on printers and computer products. In 1995, the program really took off when new homes and residential heating and cooling systems began promoting their Energy Star status. Homes built to the Energy Star program requirements are 15% more energy-efficient than homes built to code. Energy Star homes often feature precisely installed insulation, energy-saving windows, tight construction and ducts, compliant cooling and heating systems, and Energy Star qualified appliances, lighting, and water heaters. By 2008, Energy Star qualified appliances began popping up in retail outlets as well as in new construction.

Beginning in 2011, the EPA began requiring third-party certification of all Energy Star products.  Every product is tested by one of 255 EPA-recognized laboratories and reviewed by one of 23 different EPA-recognized certification bodies before it receives the coveted label. To achieve recognition, all labs and certification bodies must meet strict criteria and are overseen by a recognized accreditation body. As an extra failsafe, a set percentage of Energy Star certified products are pulled off the shelf and tested for compliance each year.

The famous Energy Star logo appears on more than 75 different product categories. Thousands of retailers, manufacturers, construction and home improvement professionals, utilities and state and local organizations rely on their partnership with Energy Star to deliver cost-saving energy efficiency solutions. In fact, more than 40% of the Fortune Top 500 companies are Energy Star partners!

According to Wikipedia, Energy Star and its partners have helped American families and businesses achieve broad emissions reductions while saving over $430 billion on their energy bills! And the best part about this fact…it has all been achieved by completely voluntary action.

Ready to dive deeper into the Energy Star program? If you’re looking for more ways to save money and conserve energy, visit the Energy Star website to learn more. You’ll be amazed at what you’ll find! You can also ask the Sales Team at Ernest Signature Custom Homes about our partnership with Energy Star – we’ll be happy to tell you about the ways we can save you money and help protect the environment. Simply give us a call at (912) 756-4135 or email us today!

Come Home to Bradley Point South!

Categories: Uncategorized | Posted: September 6, 2018 | Comments Off on Come Home to Bradley Point South!

We’re shining our new homes spotlight on the up and coming community of Bradley Point South, one of Savannah, Georgia’s most exciting new neighborhoods!

This lovely planned community is a jewel in the crown of the Southside of Savannah. It is a neighborhood perched on the bluff of the Ogeechee River Valley, specifically designed to blend seamlessly with the natural landscape. There are places to ride your bike and hike while exploring the scenic coastal marshes and historic Fort McAllister. Set off the beaten path, this neighborhood is known for its lovely views, delightful amenities and convenient location. Ideal for those who are looking for easy access to shopping, a wide choice of dining experiences, entertainment options and the military bases of Hunter Army Airfield and Ft. Stewart, Bradley Point South is a must see! Residents give Bradley Point South high marks for neighborhood safety, a well-developed sense of community with friendly, pleasant residents, and well-maintained sidewalks and common areas.

With a wide variety of single-family home floorplans available, you’ll want to secure a place in this growing community before the window of opportunity closes. Ernest Signature Custom Homes is offering some of its best-selling models at Bradley Point South, including the Hilton, Nantucket, Seabrook, Blackbeard, Roanoke, Melbourne, Kingston and Sanibel floor plans, among others. For a full list of available plans, visit the community profile on our site.

The social centers of the community include a gorgeous resort-style pool, fitness center, tennis courts, and a fully appointed country-club style, 5,000 sq. ft. club house. Not only is the club house the location of many varied and exciting community events, it can also be booked for private parties when your own home just isn’t large enough for your entertaining needs. There’s even a playground for the kids right on site!

Bradley Point South is located within the Savannah-Chatham school district, with convenient access to Magnet schools Southwest Middle School and Windsor Forest High School, an IB World School.

We offer new construction across a wide range of budgets in this popular neighborhood; we’re sure to have the ideal home waiting for you! Contact our Sales Agent to learn more about Bradley Point South – just dial 912-313-6677 or send us a message today!


Helping Your Children Adjust to Your Move

Categories: Uncategorized | Posted: August 30, 2018 | Comments Off on Helping Your Children Adjust to Your Move

In today’s rapidly changing, ever-fluid world, families find themselves moving more often than ever, whether it’s across town, across the country, or to another part of the world. As the parents, you’re the ones making the decision to move (whether it’s of your own choosing, or in response to job or lifestyle changes), and your children have no choice but to follow your lead. Sometimes adjusting to a move can be difficult for them.

The very young usually adapt well. If your children haven’t had the chance to establish a friend network and become entrenched in the local youth community, it’s fairly easy for them to begin anew. Usually pre-school children and those in early grades bounce back quickly after a move. Once children have spent a few years in one school, it becomes harder for them to leave friends and change their lifestyles.

Keep in mind that no two children are the same, and even within your own family, your kids may react very differently to an upcoming move. For instance, your eldest son may be resentful and angry at having to change schools when he is an integral part of his basketball team and move away from his girlfriend, while his middle-school aged sister may fear having to leave her best friend and be worried that she won’t be able to find a new piano teacher she likes. Your youngest may be excited, eager to leave behind a street where he has no-one to play with and looking forward to starting at a new school, where he won’t have to deal with teasing and possibly, bullying.

There are several ways to make moving less stressful for your kids when you’re faced with a necessary change. Here’s some standards to keep in mind to ease them through the transition.

Don’t Keep It a Secret

Childcare experts are in agreement – giving your children the longest possible time to adjust to the upcoming move is best. As soon as the decision has been finalized, it’s time for a family meeting. Once you’ve broken the news, bring the approaching move up in conversation every so often to make sure they know it really is going to happen, and they need to prepare for it. Make sure you give as much information to your children as possible and try your best to answer any questions they may have. Do your best to prepare yourself for a wide variety of reactions and remain calm and reassuring.

Take a Tour

If you’re moving to an area that is accessible by a reasonable car trip, load everyone in and take off for the weekend. Book a hotel and go exploring. Get the lay of the land and look for fun, exciting things to do or tour some homes if you’ll be buying right away when you relocate. Ask their opinion about the homes you view, and let them know their input is important.

If you’re moving a considerable distance, collect as much information about your new home town as you can. Check out local websites with your children that give them a valuable look at the place they’ll be living. Get lists of new things they can do, nearby places they might like to visit, or activities available that closely mirror what they’re doing in their current location.

Let Your Child Express His or Her Feelings

Shutting down any communication they initiate is counterproductive and can be damaging in the long run. It’s important to acknowledge and sympathize with their sadness, anger and fear. It’s even a good idea to share your own feelings with your children. You can encourage interactive discussion instead of tantrums and acting out by letting them know that you’re a little apprehensive as well, and will sorely miss your friends, house and job. However, it’s important to follow this admission with a positive viewpoint of the opportunities presented to you for growth and change by the move. You can let them know that you’re looking forward to the adventure ahead and you’ll be there to help them do the same in any way you can.

Involve Your Children in the Moving Process

Don’t give in to the urge to pack your children’s things for them. Depending on how old they are, let them help you load boxes or sort items to be donated to charity or thrown away, or oversee them in a general way as they do these things themselves. Having some control over what is happening to their things can help mitigate fear and hurt feelings.

Involve your children in choices about their new home when you move. For example, allow them to choose the colors for their rooms, pick out new bedding, or if you’re feeling brave, even encourage them to adopt a new pet of their choosing.

If You Can, Facilitate Introductions

If you have new co-workers, old friends or family members with kids around the same age as your own in your new locale, see if you can set up e-mail exchanges, Skype visits or phone calls to start building social bridges for your kids. Knowing one or two children, even on a general acquaintance level, can be helpful directly after a move.

Take a Break When Needed

The stress of moving is greatest about two weeks before and after the move. Be sure to take some breaks to relax and play as a family during this time. You may have extra days off before new jobs or school years are started; if so, use this time to take a long-awaited vacation or to explore your new town. Make lists of things you’d like to do as a family during this time before it’s upon you.

Be Sure to Resume Normal Routines Quickly

Getting unpacked, set up and back to daily routines quickly can help your children by giving them an anchor to the reality they’ve known their entire lives. The sooner you can reduce the amount of disruption to their lives, the less likely it is that they’ll wallow in the negative aspects of this recent change.

Stay Connected to Your Old Community

Allow your children to telephone, e-mail or video chat with their old friends, and if it is financially feasible and logistically possible, arrange for a visit every now and then. Our wired, tech-savvy way of life allows us to keep in touch easily with those we love, no matter how far away they may live!

Protect Your Home from Cigarette Damage

Categories: Uncategorized | Posted: August 23, 2018 | Comments Off on Protect Your Home from Cigarette Damage

There are literally dozens of reasons why health care experts say you shouldn’t smoke, and you probably know most of them, if not all of them. One of the things you may not know is how cigarette (and cigar) smoke can have a negative effect on your home. Many people aren’t aware of the lasting damage smoke does to the home they’ve selected with care and can’t wait to come back to every day.

The good news is that fewer and fewer adults living in the U.S. still smoke. According to the Centers for Disease Control, only about 15% of this group still smoke. Fifty years ago, about 42% of American adults smoked, so as a nation, we’re making our way toward a healthier lifestyle.

However, it’s a tough habit to break, and one that can require hard work and a lot of willpower to achieve. If you’re trying to quit, some of these “heads-up” facts could give you a little extra nudge.

Fire Hazards

Not only are lit cigarettes a fire hazard that can completely destroy your home if not handled correctly and carefully, it isn’t unusual for a smoker’s home to be dotted with cigarette burns and dark spots caused by ground-in cigarette ash.

Nicotine Stains

Most people don’t realize that the yellowish-brown stains common on the teeth of smokers are also present in their homes. Walls and ceilings can easily discolor, as can light-colored curtains, upholstery and rugs. The changes in color take place slowly, over time, so most often you don’t realize the colors in your home are becoming darker and duller. Once this damage occurs, it’s almost impossible to remove. You could be looking at replacing your fabrics and repainting your walls far more often than you would like.

Damage to Electronics

The nicotine in cigarette smoke doesn’t just stain your surfaces. Nicotine deposits can be gummy and sticky, leaving harmful deposits on the wiring and circuits of your electronics that shorten their lifespans. Many families spend a significant amount on televisions, music equipment, video games and other “plug-ins” that can suffer the ill effects of nicotine damage.

Issues with Air Conditioning

The extra strain put on the filter of your air conditioning unit can greatly decrease the amount of time it will work efficiently. Just one cigarette releases between 7 and 23 milligrams of inhalable particulates, which not only get into your lungs but float into the air to mix with the dust, pet dander, and other irritants. Additional indoor air pollution means your filter is catching more debris, shortening the time between filter changes. If you don’t change the filter often enough, your air conditioner is forced to work harder and cool less efficiently. If the filter clogs completely, you can expect the cooling coils to freeze or the unit to overheat, requiring replacement of the unit or costly repairs. If you smoke in your home, you’ll need to check your filter 2 or 3 times a month instead of once a month, to ensure that it is cleaned or replaced often enough.

The components inside of your air conditioner can also be affected in the same way your electronics are. The sticky residue acts like a blanket and “smothers” the internal workings, causing the unit to malfunction. Air conditioning units also help spread the odor of stale smoke through your home as residue from the smoke processes through the unit and air is released back into your home.

Lingering Odors

Even with the use of room deodorizers and fabric refreshers, the stubborn odor of smoke clings to everything in your home. In many cases, the only way to remove lingering odors from long-term smoking is with expensive ozone treatments that must be done with machines designed for the job. The homes must be vacated for the treatment, and residents are usually instructed to remain out of the home for several hours afterward, as ozone can damage lung tissue.

Increased Insurance Premiums

Most providers of home insurance ask if anyone in the household is a smoker before underwriting a policy. If you have a household of non-smokers, it isn’t unusual for your family to get a discount on your premiums.

Decreased Resale Value

For all of the reasons above, many prospective home buyers are reluctant to purchase a home where the former occupants were smokers. It may be harder to sell your home when you’re ready to upsize, downsize or relocate, and you may get less for it than you would like.

After reading all this, you may want to consider stepping outside to have a smoke if you’re having trouble quitting. A nicotine addiction is one of the hardest to overcome, but if you can pull it off, your home will thank you!

Tips for Upgrading Your New Construction Home

Categories: Uncategorized | Posted: August 12, 2018 | Comments Off on Tips for Upgrading Your New Construction Home

You’re ready to buy a new home, and by that we mean a NEW home…one constructed just for you! You’ve chosen your lot and your plan, and now you’re ready to decide on the upgrades. It’s rare for a buyer to move forward with a completely as-is home when it comes to new construction. Everyone wants some of those “special touches” that identify the house as uniquely theirs.

At Ernest Signature Custom Homes, we walk our clients through these decisions every day. There’s a certain science to it – one that we’ve mastered during our years of success as one of the area’s leading homebuilders. We’ve put together some of our best tips to help you make the personalization process a little easier.

Set Your Budget

Have a firm number in mind when you’re shopping for upgrades, and don’t let yourself be swayed by the “kid in a candy store” mindset when you’re looking at the astonishing number of options open to you. A good rule of thumb is to expect to pay 12% to 15% of the base price of your home on interior upgrades. You’ll need to stay within the boundaries set by your mortgage lender, so it’s essential to know how much is in your wallet before you begin shopping.

Any Structural Changes Must Be Addressed First

Changes to the floor plan, whether they be adding rooms, fireplaces or garages, revising walls, electrical or plumbing modifications, changing the size and location of windows, moving doors or similar activities, must be discussed as soon as the floor plan has been chosen. Not only do the builder and the client need to agree upon what can be changed, the cost of doing so has to be determined at the outset.

Follow the Builder’s Timeline for Upgrades

Your builder will usually suggest certain windows of time to select various upgrades. Usually you will have a meeting with your design center team two to three weeks after your contract is finalized. Before that meeting, make sure to have a list put together of things you’d like to add, including pictures if you can get them. This will give your team lead a strong vision for directing your appointment, and he or she can help keep you to your pre-set budget.

Cover Your Needs, Be Prepared to Pass on Some Wants

Some upgrades are a necessity for happy living in your home, while some are “really cool”, but the world will go on spinning without them. Make sure you know which are which, and take care of the things that will truly matter in your day to day life.

Remember – Your Home Won’t Look Exactly Like the Model

If you fell in love with the model home you toured, keep in mind that model homes are constructed with a wide variety of different options. If there was something (or a few somethings!) that you particularly loved about the home, make sure to ask if these things were standard to the plan, or if they are add-ons. Make sure your budget will accommodate the features that you fell in love with if they are upgrades.

Some Upgrades Can Be Done Later

Certain upgrades can be done after the closing and your move, allowing you to spread your expenditures over time. You may not need to add extras such as custom paint colors, landscaping, lighting and plumbing fixtures, crown molding, chair rails, window treatments and even certain appliance upgrades when you’re first starting out. Some of these upgrades can follow when you may have some extra cash flow later, after the dust settles a bit.

Avoid Over-customization

Somewhere down the line, it’s likely you will sell your new home to someone else. You may need more rooms as the size of your family changes, or you may need to downsize. You may relocate or find yourself ready for a new life experience in a different lodging. Keep in mind that some upgrades, especially ones that are unusual, can make your home harder to sell later. You may want to avoid exterior treatments, bath fixtures or countertops in specialty colors, oddly shaped or sized windows that require specialty window treatments, or built-in organization systems that may make sense to you but not to others. You want to appeal to the largest number of potential buyers down the road. Instead, focus your creativity on things that can be changed easily when you’re ready to sell, such as wall paint, décor and minor fixtures such as replaceable lighting and sink or cabinet hardware.

Put Your Trust in Your Builder

If you are having trouble making final decisions during the upgrade selection process, make sure to have a heart-to-heart conversation with your builder and/or their design team. Here at Ernest Signature Custom Homes, we consider our clients to be members of our extended family, and we’re always there to answer questions, give advice and make recommendations when needed. We can help you weigh pros and cons, share our experiences and make it easy for you to create the home of your dreams!

Take Your Home Back to School!

Categories: Uncategorized | Posted: August 3, 2018 | Comments Off on Take Your Home Back to School!

It’s the time of year kids dread…and that parents live for! School bells are ringing again, and everyone is ready to settle into a comfortable routine. Or are they? Does the approach of the school year keep you up at night, wondering how you’re going to keep everyone in line and organized? Fear not…the team at Ernest Signature Custom Homes has some great ideas for getting your home ready for back to school season!

Set Up a Special Place for Homework

It’s how your kids will know you mean business! Homework should be a priority every day, and by setting aside a specific place for it, you emphasize just how important it is. It doesn’t need to be large or fancy, but it should be an area that can be kept quiet, away from the distractions of TV, games or telephones. If your children are old enough to have them, make sure the homework area is a device-free zone. Create a homework corner in your home office, turn your little-used breakfast nook into study central, or put a comfortable desk in each child’s room. Make sure the area has sufficient lighting and ergonomic seating.

There’s a File for That…

There’s always important papers that come with the school year…permission slips, report cards to be signed, correspondence from the school, tuition bills, etc. Keep them all together in a clearly labeled file. Instruct the children to ALWAYS, ALWAYS put anything their teacher gives to them into the file as soon as they get home from school. It will help keep everyone up to date with essential paperwork.

Don’t Forget Chores

It’s important for your kids to learn how much work it takes to keep a household going. Make sure everyone has at least a job or two to do. Younger children can pick up their toys, fill pet food dishes, water plants, collect clothes for laundry baskets, learn to dust or fetch things for you as you clean. Older children can take on kitchen duties such as loading and unloading dishwashers, setting tables or preparing simple meals. They can also learn to do laundry, vacuum or sweep floors or take out trash. All kids should be coached on keeping their rooms tidy as well. Keep a chart with everyone’s assigned duties on display, so everyone knows what their responsibilities are.

Breakfast Made Easy

The days where everyone sits down to a big, home-made breakfast before leaving home are the stuff of retro TV. Keep it speedy, healthy and easy with quick-to-prepare ideas from the freezer section – just microwave and go! Everyone gets their favorite and you’re out of the house in a snap! If you’re feeling domestic, bake a big batch of muffins and store each one in the freezer in its own small freezer bag. They’ll heat up as quickly as the mass-produced offerings.


One of the hardest things to do is keep everyone’s lunches straight. Each week, lay in a supply of typical supplies such as bread, peanut butter and jelly, cold cuts or tuna, meal and snack kits such as Lunchables, Balanced Breaks and P3 Portable Protein Packs, fresh and dried fruit, single serve packs of nuts, granola bars or natural cookies. Reserve an easy-to-reach space on a shelf and/or drawer at the bottom of the fridge for cold products, and use a kitchen cart or a dedicated area of the pantry for other items. By keeping everything in a limited space, you’ll know each morning what you have and what you need. If you’re running low on something essential before week’s end, you won’t be caught off guard.  Children should be tasked with preparing their own lunches as soon as they can. By keeping tabs on the offerings they can choose, you know what they’re getting. They’ll also be more likely to eat them if they choose what goes in them, instead of buying less healthy snacks at school.

Many schools offer lunch programs; see if your school allows you to pre-pay for your children’s lunches to avoid the “Mom…I need lunch money!” panic.

Create a Family Calendar

Use a dry erase board to keep track of everyone’s lessons, appointments, games and activities for the week. This way when Allison comes home from school, she knows you’re taking James to a 4:30pm eye doctor appointment and she should start dinner so everyone can be fed and out the door at 6:30 for Trey’s basketball game that evening.

It may take a few weeks to create these habits, but once you’re on a roll, you’ll be surprised how organized your back-to-school home can be!

Beating the “I Just Moved Blues”

Categories: Uncategorized | Posted: July 31, 2018 | Comments Off on Beating the “I Just Moved Blues”

Buying and moving into a new home can be exciting, challenging and stimulating…and often a little overwhelming. While the adrenaline of the situation will keep you revved up and energized while it’s in motion, many new homeowners are a bit surprised and discouraged to find that they’re falling prey to the “new home blues” once it’s all over.

In a turn of events similar to the “baby blues” of post-partum depression, once the actual purchasing and relocating is done, it isn’t unusual for the recently relocated to fall into the doldrums, and possibly even deeper bouts of discouragement, loneliness and depression. Unlike post-partum depression, most cases of post-move despair aren’t related to body chemistry. However, the emotional issues that arise can also be debilitating, preventing you from fully enjoying the benefits of your new home.

If you find yourself feeling not-so-thrilled about your move now that it’s behind you, we’ve gathered some helpful tips from experts that can help you divert your thoughts and energies into more positive and productive directions. Hopefully one or more of them will help you discover the delight you were sure you would feel in your new digs!

Resuscitate Your Routine

Getting back into the normal swing of things can help you adjust. If you normally rise at a certain time daily, shop for groceries on Sunday afternoons or get your nails done every other Thursday, following these familiar traditions can help you establish yourself in your new surroundings.

Allow Yourself Some Downtime

The extreme stress and non-stop activity involved in the last stages of moving can be exhausting. In many cases, people who have just expended this much continuous energy for weeks at a time may not realize just how bone tired they really are. Treat yourself to some extra sleep if you feel even a bit tired. Take a nap on the couch after dinner, snooze on a lawn chair Saturday afternoon or sleep in for a morning or two. In most cases, once your body has a chance to bounce back a bit, you’ll regain much of your energy and be more interested in daily life.

Turn Up the Treadmill

Or take a bike ride, join a gym, go for a long walk through the park, or sign up for a kick-boxing class. Extra exercise is known to lift your mood and energize your body. You’ll also burn a few extra calories, which means you can indulge in a few more bites of dessert…

Enjoy Comfort Foods (In moderation, of course!)

Like those extra bites of dessert above. It’s proven that people have emotional attachments to certain types of food, and indulging in these treats can help you over a case of the blues. It’s also a great excuse to try some of the restaurants near your new home – you never know what wonderful new favorites you’ll find!

Put Your Life on a Laugh Track

Now is a great time to binge-watch some of your favorite comedies, or rent the latest funny movies. Make sure to watch at least one or two side-splitters every day, because the simple act of laughing is therapeutic.

Keep in Touch With Old Friends

Pick up the phone to chat, send a newsy email or post to your Facebook account. The trick here is to think of all the positive things you can about your new home and neighborhood, and share them with those you love. Just hearing familiar voices can be reassuring and uplifting. Invite them to come and stay soon, so you can take them on a tour of your new home!

And Make New Ones…

You’ll also cheer up a bit if you have something to look forward to, and someone to share these new activities with. Take a class in a subject that’s always interested you. If you read, join a book club. If you knit or quilt, look for a craft group near you. If you golf, inquire at the local clubs about opportunities to play as a substitute or to join a current group who may be short a member. Take your hobbies and run with them…they’re great ways to meet others with similar interests. Don’t forget to check your alumni bulletins, Classmates.com, LinkedIn or other sources for people you know who may live nearer to you now.


It’s also a great way to meet new people, and they’ll have the same passion for a cause that you do. Pick your favorite charities and find ways to pitch in, whether it’s serving on the line at a soup kitchen, mentoring kids, packing canned goods at a food bank or registering donors at a blood drive.

Try Something New Every Week

Whether it’s checking out the local library, finding the community pool, visiting a yoga studio or searching out an independent film at an off-beat cinema, make a point of getting out into the community and discovering what it has to offer.

If these suggestions don’t make a dent in your down feelings, you may need a little extra help to get over your relocation blues. If it wasn’t your idea to move from the beginning, or if your new location isn’t what you had in mind, you may have more trouble than usual adjusting to your recent move. Sharing your feelings and concerns with a professional can often open your eyes to options you hadn’t considered or help you find ways to cope with the difficulties you’re experiencing. Just making the first appointment can shed a little light into your day.

For most who suffer from the “just moved blues”, a little adjustment time and a bit of extra effort will soon have you feeling right at home in your new environment!

Best Books for Potential Homebuyers

Categories: Uncategorized | Posted: July 25, 2018 | Comments Off on Best Books for Potential Homebuyers

If you’re the sort of person who likes to research every decision you make thoroughly before choosing your path, you may want to access several sources of information before making the decision to buy a home.

Of course you’ll ask friends and family members who’ve bought homes about their experiences, and you’ll certainly cruise the Internet for informational articles, but you may want to get more in-depth on some topics. The quick-read nuggets you find online may not answer all your questions, and the stories you hear may be biased or slanted. If you’re looking for some substantial information on this important subject, there’s a few really great books about the process of buying a home that can help you feel more secure when you jump into action.

Home Buying Kit for Dummies

As part of the familiar yellow and black “Dummies” series, this volume is designed to cover this topic from the ground up. The “Dummies” books never assume that you know anything about what you’re researching, so you won’t be caught off guard by terms and jargon you don’t know. Everything is explained simply and clearly, and the book covers just about everything you’ll need to know, from finding the right home for you, navigating mortgages and negotiation to the importance of your credit score. Make sure you purchase the most up-to-date edition, as the content of the book is updated often to reflect important changes in the real estate arena.

100 Questions Every First-Time Home Buyer Should Ask

The latest version of this favorite book was just released this past February. A must-have book for first-time home buyers, author Ilyce Glink takes apart the home buying process and reconstructs it piece by piece to answer any question you may have about your first home purchase. With contributions from some of the foremost authorities in the real estate business, this guide is one of the most respected books on the market.

Home Buying by the Experts: The Pros Make Your Dream Home a Reality

If you’re looking for more in-depth information about the paperwork involved in buying home – especially legal documents such as contracts – this book is a gem. While the authors also cover the more typical aspects of purchasing a home, their knowledge of the “sign on the dotted line” aspects of the transaction is superb. They bring in various “guest stars” – experts in all sub-sets of the home buying process – to flesh out this favorite volume.

106 Common Mistakes Home Buyers Make and How to Avoid Them

Another popular choice for first-time homebuyers (or for the many buyers who didn’t learn valuable lessons the first time) this guide is based on the real-world experiences of buyers, realtors, builders and lenders. The format makes it easy to find specific material that relates to questions you have.

Nolo’s Essential Guide to Buying Your First Home

Another book focused on first-time home buying, it is nonetheless a valuable resource for anyone who is looking for more information on the legal side of the transaction. An attorney herself, Ilona Bray, J.D. expertly covers her area, then offers insights from other professionals on mortgages, inspections, and other crucial topics. You can also download forms and podcasts from Nolo.com that help steer you in the right direction.

Suburbs and Exurbs – Which Location Is for You?

Categories: Uncategorized | Posted: July 20, 2018 | Comments Off on Suburbs and Exurbs – Which Location Is for You?

Many people think housing falls into three categories – city (urban), suburbs and “the country” (rural). City and country living are pretty simple to identify, so that means that everything else in the middle is the suburbs, right? Well, no, not exactly.

The suburbs are residential areas that sprung up on the outskirts of urban areas right outside of cities in the 1950’s through the 1970’s. During this time many more families bought cars (or even two cars), allowing the wage earners to commute into the cities to work, while they could purchase homes outside of the cities. Lower housing costs in the suburbs allowed commuters to purchase bigger homes on larger tracts of land, which was considered a positive environment by many parents and parents-to-be. These less congested areas were considered ideal for raising children, as many of these new “suburbs” had better schools as well as lots of room to run and play.

Over time, the outer limits of the suburbs began to expand. As new home construction blossomed outside of the cities, businesses such as retail chain stores and restaurants, banks, auto dealerships and other backbone industries of modern commerce moved to the suburbs as well. The residential sprawl became industrialized in its own way. While many commuters still traveled into the cities to work, many began working in the towns in which they lived, rarely if ever leaving the suburbs. Many suburbs even offer public transit. Today’s suburbs include many of the traits that make city life convenient.

The ever-growing desire for more space and more distance from neighbors and commerce drove some further afield – to create the exurbs. So what exactly is an exurb? Loosely defined as a semi-rural area of housing situated outside of the suburbs, extra-urban areas, also known as exurbs, are smaller residential areas which tend to lack their own major industries. Areas of “exurbia” generally exist within 250 miles of a metropolitan area. Characterized by their primarily residential status, they often consist of a variety of planned communities. Exurbs tend to attract residents with a high level of education, a comfortable income and a desire to “get away from it all”.

Depending on their exact distance from the largest city in the area, exurbs can be more like suburban living or can more closely resemble a rural lifestyle. Cars are almost always a requirement; you’ll need them to take care of most errands. When it comes to commuting, many exurb residents use their cars get to and from work, while some exurbs do offer train services to major cities. Some exurbs don’t have their own municipally-based services such as sewer, water or trash pickup, so residents may be responsible for their own wells, septic tanks and private garbage hauling service. Some far-flung exurban communities lack cable television and high-speed Internet services, relying heavily on satellite providers. You may not be able to get pizza or Chinese food delivered, but you can certainly camp out on your huge back lawn under the twinkling stars.

While some exurban communities feature pockets of high-cost homes with large parcels of land targeted to upper-income level buyers, some communities in these areas are desirable for buyers who have been priced out of the limited suburban market. With much of the available space already utilized in the suburbs, the cost of housing in the ring right outside of a major city may make home ownership impossible for lower middle to middle class families just starting out. The exurbs could be the answer for these buyers, as the cost of owning a home farther away from the city limits is typically lower.

The Southern states are among the most likely to have greater numbers of exurban communities, and our area is no different. With surging growth in exurban communities in cities as large as Atlanta and as small as Richmond Hill, homebuilders are flocking to the undeveloped land on the outskirts of established communities to take advantage of this hot new housing market. If you’re considering a new home with room to spread out and enjoy a quieter life – especially with new construction – an exurban home may be for you. Have more questions about living on the fringes of a metro area? Ask the knowledgeable professionals at Ernest Signature Custom Homes – we’re here to help. Drop us an email or call us at (912) 756-4135 today!

Deciding on Bedrooms – Who Goes Where?

Categories: Uncategorized | Posted: July 14, 2018 | Comments Off on Deciding on Bedrooms – Who Goes Where?

Welcome to your new house…and the issue many families must face – the bedroom challenge! Deciding who will have what bedroom can arouse harsh words, hard feelings and sometimes full-blown temper tantrums.

As the parents, you’ll probably want (and are entitled to) the master bedroom or suite. This is completely logical and you won’t get any pushback here. And if you do, the simple statement “because we pay the mortgage” ends that line of thinking immediately.

So…that leaves you with the question of which child gets which room. It’s rare that every bedroom on a floor plan is exactly the same size, so at least one is bound to be bigger. One might have more or larger windows, a prettier view, a bigger closet or other amenity that would also make it desirable. If your family is like most, you’ll probably need to moderate some bickering about which child gets which room.

That’s not to say that your kids can’t come to a decision on their own. Some families find that their children prefer different rooms at the outset, and there isn’t much of a problem. Other families might sit their kids down together one evening and have them work it out together, allowing them to hone their persuasive and negotiating skills. Surprisingly, if left on their own to come to a decision, many children can – and do – manage to come to terms with this decision on their own.

However, if they can’t, how do you make the decision?

One of the standard answers to this question is to give the oldest child the largest remaining room. While a popular tactic, it doesn’t always sit well with younger children, who may have valid reasons for wanting a larger room (or larger closet).

Here’s some suggestions for coming to consensus on who gets what:

  1. Have a lottery.

Put each child’s name on one slip of paper in one bowl, and the color/location of each room in another bowl. Draw a slip of paper from each bowl, using a random selection process to assign rooms. While fair, “the luck of the draw” requires that everyone involved agrees on using this tactic and promises to accept the results without argument.

  1. Decide based on space requirements.

If your youngest child has more large toys, your oldest son has multiple bookcases or your middle girl is always having friends over to spend the night, storage and space requirements may help you make the decision regarding the larger rooms. The logic of this method will often win over stubborn objectors. The same tactic can be used to assign rooms with larger closets to the children with the most clothing.

  1. Choose by light and temperature.

If you have an early riser for a child, the morning sun should come into his room, not into the room of your night-owl daughter. If one of your children is more sensitive to heat or light, you shouldn’t put him into a room that gets a great amount of direct sunlight. Instead select a room that stays cooler due to indirect light or tree cover.

  1. Need for parental care or supervision matters.

It makes sense to put very young children closer to your room, where you can get to these little ones quickly when they need you. Older children usually need less supervision, and may enjoy being a little further away from you to enjoy a bit more privacy, especially if they’re teenagers.

  1. Who spends the most time in their room?

Children who spend a lot of time in their rooms, whether they’re studying, gaming, reading, into their music or some other hobby, should be given the opportunity to choose the space where they’ll be spending much of their time. Children who spend a lot of time outdoors or use their rooms almost exclusively for sleeping and storing their stuff are usually much less invested in the state of their space.

  1. Who can take care of the largest space the best?

Let’s face it…it takes more time and effort to keep a larger space clean. You can save yourself a lot of grief by assigning the bigger room to the child most likely to keep it picked up and tidy. If you have a natural neatnik in your family, take advantage of it.

  1. When in doubt, rotate!

You can also have your children switch rooms every so often, so that everyone gets a chance to have the larger room, the one with the biggest closet, or the one closest to the bathroom…whatever the most desirable attributes are. If the belongings of each child are compact enough to fit easily in the smallest room, have your kids move to different spaces every six months or once a year. This not only gives each child a chance to experience every space, it also is a great way to get rid of things you don’t need every so often while giving each room a thorough top to bottom cleaning.

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