February 19th, 2014

Smooth Moving

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

There are many components to consider during your move into your new home. Grand View Builders has helped and seen hundreds of families move over the years and we have learned what steps need to be taken to make the transition as smooth as possible. Our team wants to share our expert advice with you to ensure you have an excellent move.

For your convenience, we’ve put together a general moving timeline to help you stay organized during your move. Stick to this schedule to avoid as much moving chaos as possible.

Since the busiest time of year for moving is June through August, moving prices are higher and companies’ availability is lower during these peak months. If possible, plan your move during the off-peak season of September through mid-May as movers are less busy and more willing to offer a competitive rate.

Six Weeks Out
While planning for your move this far in advance may seem unnecessary, the farther in advance you plan, the more options you’ll have for your move. We recommend hiring a mover at least one month in advance. Ask your friends, neighbors and real estate professionals for recommendations on reliable and trusted movers in your area. Once you’ve selected a handful of choices, request quotes to price out your options. Having at least three licensed moving companies quote your move allows you to compare and negotiate the best price. While pricing movers, take into consideration their insurance policies, overage rates, on-site estimate options and included supplies and equipment. Once you’ve selected a moving company that suits your needs, set a date and sign the contract before the offer expires.

Five Weeks Out
Packing is the most time consuming portion of a move.  Start the packing process by going through room-by-room and sorting your items into piles labeled “keep,” “donate,” discard” and “sell.” Before packing any of your valuable items, you’ll need to get them appraised in case the items are lost or broken during the move. If you find you have an abundant amount of items in your “discard” or “sell” piles, consider having a garage sale. Starting the de-cluttering process five weeks in advance allows you enough time to plan and host a garage sale or to make a few trips to your local Good Will Donation Center.

boxes

Four Weeks Out
Gather all your packing supplies: boxes of varying sizes, packing, masking and blue painters tape, tape dispensers, labels, colored stickers and wrapping materials including plastic wrap, bubble wrap and tissue paper. Labels and colored stickers will help you keep your boxes organized. We recommend assigning a color to each room and placing the corresponding colored sticker on boxes containing items from that room.

Three Weeks Out
Start packing contents of the attic and garage, as well as other infrequently used items three weeks before your move.

If you are moving into a previously owned home, you’ll want to call a locksmith and schedule to have your new home’s locks changed a few weeks before moving day.

We also recommend arranging for all the utilities in your old home to be disconnected ahead of time. We recommend reaching out to your service providers three weeks before your move and scheduling your last day of service for the day after your move.

Two Weeks Out
Roughly two weeks before your move, you’ll need to complete a change-of-address form so your mail can be forwarded to your new address. You can fill out the form online here or do so at the post office. Additionally, notify your credit card companies, banks, magazine and newspaper subscriptions of your new address, as it usually takes a couple of weeks for all those change to be completed.

usps address change

One Week Out
Print an information sheet with your old and new address, directions and your cell phone number for the movers. It’s best to do this a week in advance so that it doesn’t slip your mind during the craziness of move day. Finish packing and labeling all your boxes, with the exception of setting aside what you’ll need for the week ahead, and organize your boxes by room to maximize efficiency on moving day.

Moving Day
Make sure someone is available at both your old and new house so he or she can direct the movers. At your old home, do a walk through before the movers arrive to ensure everything is organized, so that nothing is left behind. Once boxes start arriving at your new home, check these items off of your inventory list as they are unloaded.

unpacking

Once all your belongings have been successfully transported to your new house, take a minute to celebrate, because you survived moving day!

Stay tuned for our upcoming “How to Pack” series where we’ll provide tips and tricks on the best packing techniques for each and every room of your home.

February 12th, 2014

A Valentine’s Day Date at Home

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

Valentine’s Day is only three days away and we can already feel the love in the air.  We want to help make this Valentine’s Day unforgettable for you and your special someone, so here is a list of everything you will need to serve the most memorable Valentine’s Day dinner date at home. Look no further, because we have entrée recipes, romantic décor ideas and delicious wine and dessert options below!

Entrée
Working away in your kitchen to prepare the perfect meal for your loved one is sure to show him or her how much you love and appreciate them. Cooking your significant other’s favorite meal is a lovely gesture for Valentine’s Day. If you’d like to elevate your entrée options, the Grand View Builders team has picked a few of our favorite elegant, but manageable, recipes like chicken breast wrapped in bacon with shallots, filet with apples poached in red wine or brandied shrimp that will be easy for you to whip up this Friday evening. Remember, food is the way to one’s heart!

steak

Décor
Red and pink are great colors for this holiday and incorporating softer versions of these colors in the napkins in your dining room and pillows on your living room furniture will create a romantic feel. Don’t forget the flowers and candles, too! Nothing says romance like soft lighting and fresh flowers. Dim the lights, arrange candles on your dining room table and add flower arrangements throughout your home to transform your house into a romantic sanctuary.

romantic table

Wine and Dessert
Wine and Champagne are the perfect beverages for special occasions. Whether you’re a red, white or sparkling wine fan, we recommend splurging for a nice bottle to accompany your romantic at-home meal. If you want to keep everything homemade for your Valentine’s Day dinner date, try making a Godiva Chocolate Martini. It’s a drink and dessert all in one.

Speaking of dessert, if you’re sweet on someone, there’s no better way to show him or her than by making a special treat on Valentine’s Day. Your romantic dinner at home would not be complete without a decadent treat to top it off. If you’re a chocolate lover, try making Valentine’s Day chocolate bark, chocolate strawberry cake or chocolate champagne truffles. If you’re looking for something a little lighter, we recommend this rhubarb soufflé or these lavender shortbread cookies.

souffle

From everyone at Grand View Builders, we wish you a happy and romantic Valentine’s Day!

February 5th, 2014

Move-In Ready Homes

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

While Grand View Builders has many beautiful homes and communities to share with you, we want to highlight two of our move-in ready homes for a February spotlight. These homes offer their residents a brand new and comfortable space to call home.

home

This beautiful 3,927 square foot, two-story home boasts features like a three-car garage, lofted ceilings and arched doorways and is available in our Lakes of Bella Terra community in Richmond, Texas. With five bedrooms and four bathrooms, the house showcases an open and modern floor plan and is complete with our finest upgrades. The kitchen has elegant tile floors, unique colored wood cabinets, granite counter tops with a bold backsplash and stainless steel ENERGY STAR appliances.

kitchen

The living room and dining room are complete with hardwood floors and the grand entryway of the house has tile flooring with a stunning split staircase.

staircase

Not only does this home offer beautiful finishes inside and out, but the Lakes of Bella Terra community also features many recreational amenities for the community members. All residents have full access to the state of the art fitness center, volleyball court, junior Olympic pool, water playground and lighted tennis and basketball courts.

This community is perfect for those looking to live in a spacious and showstopping house outside the hustle and bustle of Houston’s city limits.  Learn more about this home here.

If our Lakes of Bella Terra home is too large for your needs, our Painted Meadows community in LaMarque, Texas also has a beautiful move-in ready home available. This classic, one-story brick house has a two-car garage and a large front yard.

house

This home features three bedrooms and two bathrooms. The master bathroom is complete with a large garden tub in addition to a separate standing glass door shower giving the homeowner the best of both worlds.

shower

This ENERGY STAR certified home sits on an oversized corner lot and includes features such as double pained windows with great insulation, easy to clean vinyl floors throughout the home and a large family room perfect for entertaining.  Learn more about this property and Painted Meadows in our community video.

If you’re interested in one of these two homes please contact us today. Happy house hunting, from everyone at Grand View Builders!

January 29th, 2014

What to Ask Your Builder

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

Are you contemplating buying a recently built home? The team at Grand View Builders wants to help make your home buying process as easy as possible. We understand that moving into a new home is an extremely exciting time, but it can also be a stressful event.

We’re sharing our expert advice so your experience working with a builder is a positive one. Here is a list of questions that every person should ask their builder before purchasing a newly built home.

GVB home

1. How many years has the building company been in business?
A home is where you and your family will settle and make memories for a lifetime. It’s monumentally important that the company and people who built your house have the proper training and expertise. Make sure the homebuilder has a positive track record in the industry.  Ask to tour model homes to see their work up close.

2. What would other homeowners say about your work?
Along the same lines as above, we recommend researching testimonials or reviews on the company before you move forward with your purchase. Other homeowners who have purchased homes from the same builder can offer a unique and useful perspective on the company and the quality of their work. Ask your builder what others are saying about them to see if their feedback aligns with what you’re seeing and hearing from outside sources. Negative responses and reactions could be a warning sign.

3. What type of warranty do you offer?
Most home building companies offer some type of warranty for your home. It is important to understand what type of warranties the company offers and exactly what is covered in that warranty.

4. Are there any energy-saving features in your homes?
Having an energy efficient home will significantly cut the cost of your bills. Look beyond appliances and fixtures and ask what techniques were used during the building process to ensure the home is energy efficient. Looking for a builder that is qualified as an ENERGY STAR partner will ensure they utilize the proper techniques that will make your home as energy efficient as possible.

5.  If applicable, who will oversee the final stages of construction of my home and who is my contact?
When buying a newly developed home from a builder, it is not uncommon for construction to still be in progress when you’re ready to purchase. If this is the case, it is important to have a strong working relationship with your builder and the contractor who is overseeing the construction of your new home.  Ask how they will keep you updated on the final stages of construction and what their protocol is for on-site visits.

builder

We hope these questions give you some insight into the important questions to ask a builder before purchasing a newly constructed home. If you are currently looking for a new home, browse our communities and floor plans today.

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.

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