Your Building Blog for the Rochester Area

Don’t Forget These Numbers When Calculating the Mortgage on Your Rochester-Area Home

Posted by John Graziose on Sat, Mar 9, 2019 @ 07:03 AM

Don’t Forget These Numbers When Calculating the Mortgage on Your Rochester-Area HomeFor many people planning to build a new home in the Greater Rochester area, getting a good handle on what their mortgage payments are going to be is a critical early step.

As a matter of fact, it’s smart to get your finances in order first when building a new home (and here’s an article that talks about why that’s true). It can be easy to focus just on the final monthly payment. There are, however, other numbers that will influence your payments. So don't forget these numbers when calculating the mortgage on your Rochester-area home.

Get a Quick First Look

You may want to start off with a quick look at what your payments might be—just to have a ballpark figure. There are a number of free online mortgage calculators you can use to help you approximate your monthly payments. Here’s a simple one from that lets you adjust a number of the variables that can affect your monthly payments (home value, down payment, interest rate, length of term, etc.). Here’s another calculator from It’s not a bad idea to look at a couple of different sources.

Either of these tools can be helpful for providing a rough idea of your expenses. However, many homeowners overlook some figures a free mortgage calculator just doesn’t include.

  • Interest Rate Changes: We have enjoyed very low interest rates on mortgages for a long time. Current rates may not be quite as low as they were a couple of years ago, but mortgages are still very affordable. According to a February 21, 2019, New York Times article, “The average interest charged on a 30-year, fixed rate mortgage this week was 4.35 percent this week, down from an average as high as roughly 5 percent last year, according to mortgage buyer Freddie Mac.  Still, those rates can change pretty quickly. It’s also not unusual for them to change daily, so keep that in mind as you budget. If you’ve budgeted too tightly, a small increase in the rate could put your mortgage out of reach. Make sure you have a bit of flexibility built in to accommodate those shifts.
  • Rising Taxes: While nobody really expects taxes to go down, many homeowners don’t consider that their property taxes could actually go up. As with the interest rate increases mentioned above, this could push your mortgage out of range if you’ve calculated too closely. While this is unlikely to happen overnight, you’ll still want to make sure you have a bit of wiggle room to accommodate increases.
  • Emergency Expenses: Nobody likes to deal with emergencies, but unexpected events sometimes occur (car repairs, education expenses, medical bills, etc.). Make sure the loan you qualify for leave you so strapped that you can’t handle those emergencies.
  • Those Pesky Fees: It's easy to forget about those additional expenses for things such as utility connections, inspections, access fees, and HOA dues. Individually, they may not be overwhelming, but they can add up, so make sure you take those into account when calculating your budget.
  • Changes to the Plan: Often homeowners want to make changes to the original building plans in order to make their homes fit their wants, needs, and desires. Sometimes the changes aren't extravagant, but there are times when they can be significant. If it’s a change you really want to make, it will probably never be cheaper to do it than while you’re building. But if you haven’t allowed a buffer in your budget, you won’t be able to take advantage of the opportunity.

Be Realistic

A major key to creating a good budget is to be realistic. That means not over-budgeting (and taking on more debt than you need) and not under-budgeting (trying to cut corners to save money). Here’s a helpful article about how to arrive at a realistic budget for your Rochester home.

Go ahead and use a generic online mortgage calculator to get a general idea of where your budget will land. Be keep in mind that there are some numbers those calculators won’t figure for you. If you plan for these “surprises” ahead of time, you’ll be a lot more confident and relaxed when it’s time to begin building.


Topics: Mortgage Rochester NY, Rochester Home Builder, Free Rent Rochester NY

Essentials for Evaluating the Suitability of a Model Home

Posted by John Graziose on Sat, Sep 22, 2018 @ 23:09 PM

Essentials for Evaluating the Suitability of a Model HomePeople looking for a home in the greater Rochester area often assume that they either have to choose an existing home that's on the market or build from the ground up. While both of those may be good options for some people, there is another option: Purchasing a model home. Could that be a good option for you? Let’s take a look at some of the essentials for evaluating the suitability of a model home for your family’s needs.



We all know about the importance of location when choosing a home. Where you choose to live is every bit as important as the kind of home you choose to live in. Choosing the location of your home can be a little tricky. Sure, you can get a feel for how far it is from important locations such as schools, shopping, and other family activities. But that’s only part of the picture.

If you’re purchasing an existing home, you can get a bit of a sense for the existing community. But what if you want a newer home? If you’re building a brand new home, it’s a little harder to do that because if the homes are being built it can be hard to visualize what the community will look like. With a model home, you’ll often have the ability to see the community that is developing around it. We build homes in a variety of different communities in the greater Rochester area and we have model homes in numerous communities. Click here for a look at the communities you can visit and actually walk through a model home.

More Bang for Your Buck

More Bang for Your Buck

I’ll let you in on a little secret. When builders build a model home they like to show off just a little bit. OK, that’s really not a big secret, but it’s true. We builders use model homes as showcases. That means we tend to put our best foot forward. A model home will often have upgraded floor plans. It’s likely to have upgraded finishes for flooring, cabinets, and countertops. What that means is that you can get top-of-the-line materials and design for a great price. Builders also tend to use interior designers to decorate the interiors of model homes. And while you won’t get to keep the furniture and pictures they use to stage the model, you’ll still get the benefit of having had a professional’s touch in color-coordinating things. You can also tap into a professional’s design flair by taking pictures of the staged home and then adapting that interior look to your personal tastes.  That’s one of the things that taking a visual tour can really help.



What can you do when you have your heart set on a new home—but simply don’t have the time to wait? That’s where a model home can really shine. You may need to make a move quickly for a number of reasons:

  • You could be relocating to take a new job.
  • You could have an addition to your family on the way.
  • Maybe you have mature parents moving in with you that you weren’t planning on.

Building a brand-new home takes time, and involves a lot of decisions up front and during the building process. With a model home, you don’t have to make a lot of those choices. Plus, the home is already built. That means a faster move-in time frame. We regularly post listings of available model homes that you can either visit in person or visit online with a virtual tour.

Eliminate Guesswork

Eliminate Guesswork

For some people, one of the toughest things about building a new home is visualizing how things are going to look. Some potential homeowners can look at floor plans and see the end results in their minds. For others, the floor plans are just lines and numbers on a piece of paper. It’s hard for them to envision the end result. With a model home, you can actually walk through every room in the house. Not only do you then get to experience what each individual room looks and feels like—you also get a sense of the flow of the entire house. You can experience what it's like to move from the kitchen to the family room. You'll have a first-hand look at how each bedroom is set up. You'll know what it feels like to take linens from the bedrooms to the laundry.

Even if you decide that you still want to build, taking the time to tour a model home is a valuable experience. Model homes can help you take the guesswork out of choosing a home that’s right for you and your family.

Take Advantage of Trends

Take Advantage of Trends

I mentioned above that builders often use model homes to showcase their craftsmanship. Another thing that model homes are good for is to introduce potential homebuyers to new homebuilding trends. While we try to keep prospective clients abreast of new trends that will make their homes more comfortable and convenient, there’s nothing quite like seeing it for yourself. So if you buy a model home, you’re probably buying something that’s in step with the latest home design trends. That makes it more enjoyable for you—and it also means more value later on if you should decide to sell your home.

What If You’re Not Sure That New Is Right For You?

What If You’re Not Sure That New Is Right For You?

Building a brand new home isn't the right answer for everyone. If you're trying to figure out if it's right for you, visiting a model can help answer some of those questions because you'll see things first-hand (without having to look past other peoples' "stuff" in an occupied home. If you'd like some additional insights, here’s a helpful post that delves into the topic in a bit more detail.



Topics: Rochester Home Builder, Purchasing a Model Home

Farmhouse Chic for Your Rochester-Area Home

Posted by John Graziose on Tue, May 8, 2018 @ 17:05 PM

Farmhouse Chic For Your Rochester-Area HomeWhether you’re planning to build a new custom home or remodel your existing Rochester-area home, you’ll want a home that reflects your own sense of style, comfort, and personality. If relaxed, casual comfort is high on your list you might want to take a closer look at Farmhouse Chic for your Rochester-Area home.

Not New But Still Trending

The style has been around for at least 10 years or more, but it continues to grow in popularity—thanks, no doubt to HGTV’s Joanna Gaines who has been somewhat of an evangelist for the style. Part of the appeal of Farmhouse Chic is that it has so many different sub-categories. You can find examples of Classic, Western, Cottage, French, or Bohemian Farmhouse Chic all over and Pinterest.

Common Farmhouse Chic Elements

Despite their different nuances, the various versions of Farmhouse Chic share some common elements. Almost all of them feature some (if not all) of the following things:

  • Use of reclaimed wood, leather, or metal
  • Wide plank floors (often with a distressed look)
  • An emphasis on pine furniture (or other woods)
  • Comfortable, casual furniture that tends to be larger (clean lines are important)
  • Wrought iron accents
  • Accessories with a vintage look and feel (including weathered accents such as shutters, barn doors, and windows)

Let’s Take a Peek at Chic

Perhaps the best way to describe Farmhouse Chic is to take a look at a few examples. Your particular sense of taste and style will vary of course, but here are some images that illustrate the beauty and feel of this popular style.

You can see some of the elements of Farmhouse Chic in this master bedroom with the wide-open space, the use of stonework, and the clean, comfortable look of the furniture.

The kitchen in this Farmhouse home highlight the wood accents; from the wide plank wood floors to the tables, cabinets and paneled walls. You’ll also note the neutral color scheme.

This rustic kitchen/dining area really emphasizes the distressed wood look—from the floors to the ceiling and even the barn doors handing on the outside walls. You can also see the metal accents in the barn door railings, and in the chandelier.

Here’s one more look at a Farmhouse Chic kitchen that is a blend of rustic and modern. The wide plank flooring is much lighter. The kitchen table is very rustic—but matched beautifully with more modern chairs and a modern chandelier that brings in a dark metal color. Even the glassware on the table fits: It’s a subtle accent color that adds interest without dominating the room. This homeowner used the hanging barn door as a nice accent to separate the pantry from the kitchen and dining area.

A Few Words of Caution

While there may not be hard and fast rules about how to incorporate Farmhouse Chic into your home, here are a few suggestions that can help guide you.

Keep it Uncluttered

One of the keys to successfully pulling off the Farmhouse Chic style is to keep things uncluttered. The clean, airy look is a huge part of the appeal. This is one of the subtle differences between Farmhouse and Country styles. It’s a bit more sophisticated and sleek. It doesn’t need to be austere, but it should be a bit more open

Don’t Overdo It

Because accessories are an important element in the style, it can be tempting to go a bit overboard. Don’t overload rooms with accessories (that goes back to the uncluttered idea). You’ll also want to use some restraint with the reclaimed woods and metals. If you use too many varieties (or either wood or metal) the elements can start to compete with one another. Farmhouse Chic is a bit subtler.

Be Sparing with Accent Colors

Because Farmhouse style tends toward more neutral colors, it begs for some accent color. The key here is to make sure the accents are truly accents and don’t dominate the room.

Trends come and go. That’s why, as a general rule, it’s a good idea to go for classic design and staying power rather than what’s “hot.”  Still, when tastefully done, Farmhouse Chic looks like it may still be popular years from now.



Topics: Homerama Rochester NY 2018, Rochester Home Builder

The Ellington Floor Plan in Magnolia Manor—A Great Home for a Great Community

Posted by John Graziose on Tue, May 8, 2018 @ 15:05 PM

EllingtonMagnoliaIf you’re looking for a great place to live in the Rochester area, the town of Perinton really should be on your shortlist. You’ll find it just minutes from the Village of Fairport—so it’s easy to pop in for their Farmer’s Market. There’s easy access to the New York State Thruway (Exit 45 is only 15 minutes away), and it’s close to Eastview Mall, which puts great shopping within easy reach. Twice the town of Perinton has been selected as “The Best Place to Live in America.”

Our newest community, The Magnolia Manor Community, located in between Route 31F and Whitney Road just east of Wakeman Road in Perinton, builds on that reputation. Residents can enjoy walking trails, plentiful sidewalks for strolling, and open park spaces. Nearby Center Park provides great entertainment during the summer months.

The Ellington Floor Plan in Magnolia Manor—A Great Home for a Great Community Of course, a great community deserves a great floor plan. That’s exactly what you’ll find with the Ellington located in Magnolia Manor. This 4- Bedroom, 3-1/2 Bath home offers 2210 square feet of comfortable living that includes:

  • A partially finished walkout lower level w/ full bath
  • 9’ Ceilings on the main level
  • A spacious 3-Car Garage
  • Wood/Laminate & Ceramic Tile Floors plus Granite Countertops
  • Heat Pump / Air Conditioning
  • Fireplace
  • Luxury Bath with Tile Shower & His / Her Sinks

Click here for a larger and more detailed look at the floor plan.

If you’re after comfort and convenience, this home has them in abundance. Enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning room off of the open kitchen. You can then move easily to the adjoining Great room where you can enjoy a warm fire in the colder months. There’s also a study on the main level that makes a great home office in case you want to work from home.

The upstairs of this model is spacious and comfortable as well. The Master Bedroom has it’s own bathroom with a tile shower and dual sinks and walk-in closets that make getting ready for the day a convenient pleasure. There are three additional bedrooms on the upper level. There is also a laundry room on the upper level so that you don’t have to haul clothes and bed linens up and down the stairs.

In short, this home provides all the comfort and space that you can imagine. What’s even better is that you don’t have to imagine it. You can visit this completed model and check out all the amenities for yourself! It’s open weekends from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM. Contact us to set up an appointment so you can check it out for yourself. Or, if you want a preview, click here for a virtual tour!

Magnolia Manor in Perinton offers you a great family-friendly floor plan in a great community. Come and see it for yourself! We’d be delighted to show you around!



Topics: Rochester Home Builder, The Ellington Floor Plan, Magnolia Manor Community

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