January 22nd, 2014

House Hunting in the Suburbs

Categories: Community Feature, Move In Ready Home | Tags: , , , , ,
This post was written by: Grand View Builders

Houston’s real estate market is booming and, if past trends continue, Houstonians could have 65,000 new neighbors this year!

The team at Grand View Builders is constantly welcoming new homeowners to the Houston suburbs. With low inventory and high price tags inside the city limits, more people are purchasing homes in communities like Stewarts Forest and Foster Glen in Conroe.  We’ve put together a list of why living in the suburbs rather than inside the city may be the right choice for you and your family.

house

More Space, Less Money

The cost of a house inside the loop of Houston is much more than the amount of a home in the cities surrounding Houston. According to HAR, on the low side, a three-bedroom, 2.5-bathroom single family home with a two-car garage inside the loop can cost around $523,000.  In Conroe, a suburb less then 40 miles from Houston, for less than $300,000 a homebuyer can purchase a brand-new, five-bedroom, three-bathroom home in our Stewarts Forest community.

stairway

Safety

As with most major cities in the United States, the crime rate in Houston is higher than in the surrounding areas.  According to the Houston Police Department’s monthly Uniform Crime Report, there was a sizeable amount of violent crime reported in a single month.  While in Conroe, less than 250 acts of violent crime were reported throughout the entire year.

Education

While Houston boasts great education options, there are typically smaller numbers of enrolled students in schools in the suburbs.  In many Houston suburbs, not only are the school enrollment numbers smaller than inner-city schools, but there are also more faculty members. Having a smaller student to teacher ratio, allows more personal attention and often results in a stronger education.

Grand View Builders has eight communities in Houston’s surrounding suburbs.  If you are house hunting in the Conroe, Richmond, League City, Tomball, Alvin, Porter or Texas City learn more about our communities and Move-In Ready homes online today.

January 15th, 2014

Energy Saving Tips

Categories: Home Tips | Tags: , , , ,
This post was written by: Grand View Builders

Has your electric bill ever been a little too high? Since Grand View homes are already ENERGY STAR qualified, we want to help make your home even more energy efficient. Below are two different ways you can save energy and lower those electric bills.

Heating And Cooling Your Home Efficiently
Texas weather has a mind of its own. One day it’s 70 degrees and the next we’re bundled up in our winter coats and scarves. Try some of these simple steps to help heat and cool your home more efficiently this year.

-We recommend that you change or clean your furnace filter at least once a month to avoid having dirt and debris clog the furnace.

-Double-check that your vents are 100 percent open to ensure nothing is blocking the airflow, such as furniture. Air deflectors can also help adjust your desired airflow.

-Keeping your blinds and curtains closed can help keep cold or warm air out of your house. Sunlight is welcome during the colder months, but it can also be a nuisance during the summer months when you’re trying to keep your house cool. Be mindful of the cold or warm air your windows could be letting in.

-Turning down your home’s thermostat before leaving is one of the easiest ways to save on your electric bill.  According to the Department of Energy, the thermostat should be set to 68 degrees while you’re home during colder months; lower it no more than 10 degrees while you’re away or sleeping.  Setting your thermostat back 10 degrees every night could lower your heating bill by 10 percent.

-Remember not to set your thermostat too high. Setting the thermostat to a higher temperature will not heat the house any quicker.  During winter months, the thermostat should not be set any higher than 76 degrees.

filter

Electric Use
You can also conserve energy, and possibly save money, by making sure you use the bulk of your electricity during non-peak hours.

-Try using the washer and dryer on Sundays and running the dryer during non-peak hours, which are weekends or after 10 p.m. on weeknights. Only do laundry when you have enough dirty clothes for a full load to also help save time and money.  Also try washing your clothes in cold water and using a clothesline to dry some items.

-The “after 10 p.m. rule” also applies to the dishwasher.  Some dishwashers have timers that you can program to start running at a certain time; take advantage of this feature!

-Turning off unnecessary lights can also save you a lot of money in the long run.  It sounds simple enough, but we all get busy and sometimes forget to turn off lights as we leave different rooms in the house.

energy

All of these tips will help make you and your family more energy efficient.  For more energy saving tips and tips for winterizing you home checkout our past blog post.

January 8th, 2014

Start the New Year Fresh

Categories: Home Tips, Kitchen | Tags: , ,
This post was written by: Grand View Builders

At the beginning of each year many people set goals and make resolutions that will lead to a happier and healthier life.  The Grand View Builders team wants to make to ensure you stay safe, happy and healthy in 2014, so we’re sharing easy ways to give your family home a fresh start in the New Year.

Filters
Regular maintenance is necessary to guarantee a long life and efficient operation for your home’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning system (HAVC). No matter what type of system you have, replacing your air filters regularly is the best way to keep your HVAC system is good condition; we recommend changing all of your air filters every three months. If your filters collect dust more frequently, consider replacing them every month. Clean air filters will keep debris out of your HVAC system, ensuring efficient operation and less maintenance.

The start of the new year is also a great time to replace any water filters in your home. If you change your filters in January, you will need to replace them in April, July and October. Consider marking your family calendar so you remember when it’s time to replace your filters.

filter

Ceiling Fan Rotation

The use of ceiling fans during the winter months might seem odd, but it can help save money on your heating bills, if used properly.  Heat rises, so using the reverse switch, which makes an upward airflow, will allow rising heat to circulate and evenly heat a room. Simply adjust the switch at the base of the fan to change a fan’s airflow,

fan

Oven Cleaning

If you’re like us, cleaning the oven is not at the top of your to-do list, but it should be.  Cleaning your oven will remove burnt food and odors from the oven.  Most conventional oven cleaners use heavy chemicals, so we recommend baking soda for a more natural solution.

Spray the whole oven with water and then pour baking soda into the bottom of the oven. You’ll want roughly a ¼ inch layer of baking soda on the oven floor.  With the oven off, let the baking soda sit for a few hours.  After two or three hours have passed, use a cloth to gently wipe away the solution and watch the grime disappear with it!

oven

These three home maintenance regimens are an easy way to give your home a clean start in the New Year. We hope you have a fantastic, and clean, 2014!

January 1st, 2014

Happy New Year

Categories: Holiday | Tags:
This post was written by: Grand View Builders

We can’t believe 2013 has already passed us by. We hope you had a fabulous time ringing in 2014 last night. Cheers to the many wonderful ventures the New Year holds.

New Years

December 23rd, 2013

Merry Christmas

Categories: Holiday | Tags:
This post was written by: Grand View Builders

From our home to yours, the Grand View Builders team would like to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas! We hope your holiday is filled with joy, laughter and family.

Joyful Christmas

December 18th, 2013

Holiday Baking

Categories: Baking, Holiday | Tags: , , , , ,
This post was written by: Grand View Builders

The Grand View Builders team knows the holidays are an especially busy time for your home and kitchens as guests make their way into town. Everyone has his or her favorite go-to recipes, but if you’re interested in spicing your baking up and trying something new, we’re sharing some exceptionally delicious cookie and bread recipes below.

Breads are easy to make and also make delicious gifts for teachers, neighbors and friends. You can bake large loaves, mini loaves or muffins depending on how you want to package your snack. We recommend these apricot bread, banana walnut bread and gingerbread loaf recipes for a spin on some classic Christmas flavors. Let the bread cool for an hour after baking.  To ensure the bread stays fresh wrap it in wax paper and then saran wrap.

apricot bread

Since breads frequently have a longer baking time than other homemade products, we recommend baking cookies if you’re in a bit of a time crunch. Although we love classic chocolate chip and sugar cookies, consider baking theses Oreo doodles, figgy peanut butter and molasses cookies for unique and out-of-the-box Christmas treats. Arrange a variety of cookies on a platter for a beautiful presentation or package the cookies individually in cookie bags or boxes as gifts.

oreo doodles

Once you’ve finished baking all your delicious treats, festive containers or packages are the perfect way to add extra Christmas cheer to your baked goods. Your treats are sure to taste and look like perfection when you use decorative loaf pans, festive holiday paper baking cups, mason jars or cookie bags tied with colorful Christmas ribbons.

cookie jar

We hope your kitchen is as busy as the North Pole this holiday season and full of delicious treats and savory scents! Send us your favorite baked goodies recipes on Facebook and Twitter.

December 11th, 2013

Picking the Perfect Christmas Tree

Categories: Family Activities, Holiday | Tags: , , ,
This post was written by: Grand View Builders

A house isn’t a home without a Christmas tree this time of year.  The Grand View Builders team wants to make things easier for you, so we’ve put together a list of where you can locally purchase your family’s Christmas tree.

There are numerous Christmas tree farms throughout the greater Houston area, so see our list below for the ones that are convenient to our communities.

Mill Hollow Christmas Tree Farm
is centrally located near our Stewarts Forest, Foster Glen and Cumberland Crossing communities. View a variety of Virginia Pine, Leyland Cypress, Japanese Cedar and Arizona Cypress Christmas trees before you pick the perfect one to cut down. You can also enjoy hayrides, wooded trails, tree houses and other family activities during your visit.

Our Lakes of Bella Terra, North Pointe Trails and Amburn Oaks residents are a short drive away from the Holiday Acres Tree Farm. Open Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, this tree farm offers the more traditional Fraser Fir in addition to Virginia Pine and Leyland Cypress trees. Enjoy a campfire before or after your tree cutting adventure and pick up a homemade wreath before you head home.

For those living in our Inverness Estates, Inverness Estates Signature Series or Wimbledon Falls neighborhoods, think about visiting Spring Creek Growers to find your perfect Christmas tree this year. Enjoy fresh baked cookies, hot chocolate and hot apple cider free of charge when you visit the gift shop. More than just Christmas trees, the farm also has a fishing pond, a variety of games and numerous Santa visits during the holiday season. Don’t miss their Breakfast with Santa event on December 14th!

Tree farm

If the tree farms listed above aren’t convenient for you, try visiting one of these farms instead.  A few of these tree farms will even deliver your Christmas tree straight to your home.

After you have chopped down the perfect tree, there are a few things you need about live tree care.  Don’t place candles anywhere near your tree to help avoid fires. It’s also important to make sure your tree is not near a direct heat source like a space heater, vent or fireplace.  It’s best to not leave the lights on for more than five hours at a time and never leave a lit tree unattended.  Remember to water your tree daily so it doesn’t dry out and become more susceptible to catching on fire.

ChristmasTreeSafety

Once the holiday is over and it’s time to dispose of your tree, the Grand View Builders team, along with The Solid Waste Management Department, encourages everyone to recycle his or her Christmas tree this year.  There are 18 free drop-off sites throughout Houston and the surrounding areas where residents can recycle trees; therefore, there is no need to put it out with the trash or leave it in the backyard this year.

We hope you and your family find the perfect tree this year! We love seeing holiday decorations, so feel free to share photos of your decorated tree or home with us on Facebook and Twitter!

December 4th, 2013

Easy Gift Ideas

Categories: Crafts, Holiday | Tags: , , , ,
This post was written by: Grand View Builders

With Christmas quickly approaching, Grand View Builders knows that deciding what presents to give to co-workers and friends can sometimes be a headache.  There are many options when it comes to gift giving: baking, buying and crafting.  Which will you choose this year?

Baking
We know that the kitchen in your estate, signature or liberty series home stays extra busy during the holiday season.  Your favorite recipes also make delicious gifts for co-workers and friends!  Bake up a batch of your favorite cookies, package them in a cute container and gift away! If you’re feeling extra gracious, consider tying your secret recipe to the package so your friends can enjoy your treats again and again.

BakedGoodsBasket

Buying
Hoping to make things a bit easier for you, here are our top two suggestions for any person on your list!

Gift Cards: Never underestimate the power of a gift card! This perfect piece of plastic holds plenty of potential. Picking a general gift card like Target, Wal-Mart, Starbucks or a grocery store allows the recipient to pick out exactly what he/she wants. These are also easy to mail and make great stocking stuffers!

Business Card Cases:  Business card cases are an easy, convenient way to carry your cards and a fantastic gift for a co-worker. Etsy has card cases ranging from $5 to $25.

Card Case

Crafting
Handmade gifts are perfect for smaller budgets. Making Christmas gifts for co-workers and friends will add a personal touch to each gift and is a fun way to show them how much they are appreciated.

Coasters
:  You’ll need 4-inch round, flat cork pieces, modge podge and card stock paper to create these personalized coasters.  Spread a layer of modge podge onto the cork piece and then place any color or pattern card stock on top.  You can also include photos before you seal with another thin layer of modge podge.

Coffee Mug
:  Buy white ceramic mugs and create your own unique design with a sharpie.  When you’re finished drawing and designing, place the mugs in a 350° oven for 30 minutes.  The ink will dry and become permanent. You can also package it with some gourmet coffee, tea bags or hot chocolate mix to add another surprise.

Mug

We hope these gift ideas have inspired you and made your holiday gift giving a little less stressful!

November 27th, 2013

Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Categories: Holiday | Tags: , , , , ,
This post was written by: Grand View Builders

From our home to yours, everyone at Grand View Builders would like to wish you and your family a wonderful and relaxing Thanksgiving holiday.

By now, you have already prepared for the big feast using our Thanksgiving Tips, but cooking and eating are only half of the holiday nowadays. Last year, more than 32 million Americans shopped on Black Friday, and this year, that number is expected to rise to 38 million shoppers.

With major retailers including Toys R Us, Best Buy, J.C. Penney, Macy’s and Target opening on Thanksgiving evening, the holiday deals are starting even earlier this year. Black Friday has expanded into Grey Thursday, Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Small Business Saturday.

These shopping frenzies are a great time not only to pick up gifts, but also a wonderful time to buy new things for your home. From appliances small and large to technology and décor, the deals during the holidays just might be worth a trip to the shopping center.

If you are looking for great deals on technology this year, we like this list via Heavy: “Best Black Friday Sales 2013: 17 Deals Worth Fighting the Crowds.”

We also recommend taking a look at the deals from Sears and Lowes if you are in the market for any appliances, home repair or maintenance items.

While it’s hard to compete with the deals from major corporations, we hope you will also consider shopping locally this year. Help support your community by purchasing at least one item from a local store this holiday season. With all that shopping, you’ll need to take a break for some energy-refilling eats. Try visiting a local restaurant  and your dollars will be well spent.

Happy eating and happy shopping to you and your family this Thanksgiving weekend!

November 20th, 2013

Thanksgiving Tips

Categories: Uncategorized | This post was written by: Grand View Builders

The holiday season is upon us! The staff at Grand View Builders wants to share some Thanksgiving tips with all of you.  Whether you’re hosting family at your home, traveling for the holidays or searching for the perfect holiday recipes, Grand View Builders has some pointers for you!

Holiday House Guests
If you’re like us, the week before our Thanksgiving guests arrive is spent cleaning and decorating the house.  We add decorations to the exterior of our house to add some extra holiday cheer, but the majority of our preparation goes into cleaning the kitchen (make sure your turkey carving knife is sharp!) and preparing the guest bedroom.

We’ve got some tips to help you make your guest room feel warm and inviting.  Store extra blankets, towels and robes in a basket and place it visibly in the room so guests have everything they need to freshen up on arrival.  You can make the bed look like a five-star hotel bed by using plush bedding, layering pillows and adding pops of color.  Top the bed with an overload of pillows that are different colors and fabrics.  These things are sure to make your guests feel right at home!

bedroom

Hostess Gifts
If you’re traveling to a relative’s home for the holidays, you should give the hostess a gift.  According to the Huffington Post, the price point for the gift should stay around $20 and should reflect the season.

Our favorites hostess gifts include the beaded leaves table runner, pumpkin scented soaps and turkey salt and pepper shakers.  Find more gift ideas here.

scented soap

Kitchen Preparation

There’s always a good chunk of time spent in the kitchen when you’re hosting the Thanksgiving Day meal at your home, which means your dishwasher will be put to good use!  Here are some instructions and tips for keeping your dishwasher clean and odor-free.

dishwasher

We love traditional Thanksgiving food and we’re sure you have your favorite recipes that you always cook, but be sure to properly put away and store your leftovers so they stay fresh.  You can keep the party going by using the leftovers in other recipes.  Try making turkey and mashed potato potpies or turkey chili with cornbread topping.

pumpkin pie

Grand View Home Builders hopes these tips help make your Thanksgiving a bit easier and stress-free!

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