Texas 4000 Riders Bike to Help Fight Cancer

Texas 4000 Riders Bike More Than 4,000 Miles to Help Fight Cancer

Rows of bikes fill the Builder Homesite Inc. facilities on Friday, June 3, as Texas 4000 riders prepare for the 70-day ride from Austin to Anchorage, Alaska, to help raise awareness and money for cancer research.

By Amy Olivarez

Every year they gather in the heat of the summer, traveling more than 4,000 miles through parts of the Mojave Desert, the Rocky Mountains and the Ozarks.

They make this harrowing journey to spread awareness, hope and raise contributions toward cancer research. They are the Texas 4000 riders.

This summer, the Texas 4000 cyclists — all students from the University of Texas at Austin (UT) — go on the 70-day journey for the 12th year from Austin, Texas, to Anchorage, Alaska. This year, their goal is to raise $825,000. As of day 48, where they stopped in Longview, Wash., they raised $557,007.

The Texas 4000 ride is not only important to the Austin community, to but Builder Homesite Inc. (BHI) as well. Employees of BHI, New Home Source’s parent company, have been involved with the organization for several years, leading to the company to becoming a sponsor of the annual ride.

Texas 4000 2016

According to Texas4000.com, the organization was started by University of Texas engineering students, Chris and Mandy Condit, in 2004. Chris is a cancer survivor himself, diagnosed at age 11 with Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Texas 4000 is Chris’s way of continuing the fight against cancer and helping others. The non-profit organization has become the longest annual charity bike in the world, raising more than $7 million in contributions for cancer research.

Every year a select few UT students are chosen to participate in the Texas 4000 ride. The chosen riders often have one thing in common: not cycling experience, but a passion to fight cancer. This passion often comes from being affected by the illness in one way or another, sometimes through surviving it themselves.

BHI and Texas 4000

Over the past several years, BHI has become more involved with Texas 400 because it complemented one of its core values: philanthropy.

BHI Senior Vice President Melissa Morman has been involved with the organization for a few years and ultimately joined the Texas 4000 board of directors. Morman says BHI’s involvement with the group is a great way to expose employees to the world of philanthropy and the importance of giving back.

“Texas 4000 especially resonates with us because it is a great cause; as everyone is affected by cancer either personally, through a family member or a friend,” says Morman. “So we love that not only does Texas 4000 raise money and awareness around cancer prevention and research, they also turn out around 80 young people each year who are very philanthropic and prepared to take on anything in life. The ripple effect of developing these young people each year is very exciting.”

Every year Morman organizes a “send-off” party for the riders, their family members and local community supporters. This year, the party included a sleepover in BHI’s facilities, which is a former athletics gym. The company provided food, drinks, music and entertainment from the University of Texas alumni band.

Get Involved

There are several ways for cyclists and non-cyclists alike to become involved with the Texas 4000:

  1. Support a rider. Each rider needs to raise a minimum dollar amount before embarking on the ride, though it’s not too late to donate to an individual rider: http://www.texas4000.org/riders/
  2. Join the Atlas send-off bike ride. Beginners, their families and friends can participate in riding various distances. If you were unable to attend this year’s ride, learn how to get involved: http://www.texas4000.org/get-involved/ride/
  3. Volunteer through BHI. Work at the BHI Texas 4000 events or volunteer directly with Texas 4000. Leave a comment below if you’d like to help with next year’s event.
  4. Attend the annual gala fund raising event. Each August, a gala fundraising event is held to welcome the riders back home and celebrate their achievements. This year’s gala will be Aug. 27 at the JW Marriott in downtown Austin: http://www.texas4000.org/event/tribute-gala/.

This passion, determination and hard work that the Atlas Riders demonstrate makes this notable cause one of a kind. That is why Builder Homesite Inc. is proud to support the Texas 4000.


Amy Olivarez is a digital content intern for New Home Source.

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Pokémon GO: Even Pocket Monsters Love New Homes

Pokemon Go Kingler

On our new-home community tour with Pokémon GO, we found this Kingler enjoying the views at Travisso in Leander, Texas.

By Drew Knight and Amy Olivarez

If you’ve taken a step outside recently, you might have noticed a new trend taking over. No, you won’t see real-life monsters running rampant in the streets, but you will notice crowds of people staring at their smartphones.

This is all thanks to a new game called Pokémon GO, a smartphone app that brings back the ever popular Pokémon from the kids’ TV show, card-trading game and video games that are still going strong after more than 20 years on the market.

The game’s premise is to get people moving, hitting the streets to virtually capture these Pokémon through their phone’s cameras and then use them for battles in “gyms,” which are located at locations like churches, parks and popular landmarks, along with Pokéstops where you can stock up on items like potions and Pokéballs to help you catch the pocket monsters.

So, what does all of this have to do with new homes?!

Well, we decided to go on a Pokémon hunt of our own in the nearby neighborhood of Travisso, a new-home community located just outside of Austin in Leander, Texas. Our discovery? These pocket monsters like new homes just as much as we do!

While we toured the beautiful model homes there, featuring builders like Toll Brothers, Taylor Morrison, Grand Haven Homes and Highland Homes, we whipped out our Pokémon GO app to see if we could find any Pokémon nearby. Here’s what we found:

Pokemon GO Zubat

Maltese Plan by Toll Brothers

We found this poison/flying type Pokémon called Zubat flying around this beautiful home by Toll Brothers. Despite our attempts to catch him with our Pokéballs, he just didn’t want to leave. But can you blame him?

This striking two-story home had plenty of space for Zubat to flex his wings with four bedrooms, four-and-a-half baths, a three-car garage and a whopping 4,225 sq. ft. Inside, we found an open kitchen with ample counter space, a two-story great room with a fireplace, a beautiful study and a roomy master bathroom complete with a Roman tub.

Because we admired his stubborn spirit, we decided to leave Zubat alone in peace in the game room.

Pokemon GO Paras

Florian Plan by Taylor Morrison

We found Paras, the bug/grass type, hanging out at the Florian Plan model. After taking a tour, we can see why.

With three bedrooms, three baths, a two-car garage and 1,933 sq. ft., the Florian Plan included a gourmet kitchen and plenty of flexibility for outdoor living, which is perfect for Paras, as she works to tend the mushrooms that grow on her back, which, in the Pokémon universe, are known to have great healing powers.

This single-story home also has the option to extend the patio to wrap around the home, making it an ideal place for Paras to entertain her fellow grass types and enjoy the Texas sun.

Pokemon Go Weedle

Merida Plan by Toll Brothers

We didn’t find this Weedle until we ventured upstairs at the Merida Plan model and after learning about the acute sense of smell Weedles are known for, it was no shock to find him next to the wall of wine.

Perhaps an aspiring sommelier, we found this poison/bug type Pokémon bugging out over this dynamic second-floor game room/wine room. Weedle was also in awe of the home’s foyer, which greets guests with two elegant circular staircases. With four bedrooms, four-and-a-half bathrooms, a three-car garage and 4,816 sq. ft., it’s clear this bug has great taste.

Bon appétit, Weedle, bon appétit.


Drew Knight is a digital content associate and Amy Olivarez is a digital content intern for New Home Source.

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Dwell On Design 2016: The New Home Source Highlights

Dwell On Design

New Home Source highlights key exhibitors at the 2016 Dwell On Design conference in Los Angeles, Calif.

By Drew Knight

It has more than 300 of the world’s leading brand exhibitors, more than 2,000 modern furnishings on display and dozens of onstage presenters throughout three days at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

We’re talking about Dwell On Design, people, the largest design event in the nation. And this year, New Home Source was there to bring you the latest in design.

As we got a behind-the-scenes look of the convention, interviewed all of the presenters below (videos are coming soon, so stay tuned to NewHomeSource.com) and got a first-hand look at some of the new designs and products unveiled at the event, here are a few of the top things that stood out to us:

LivingHomes and Plant Prefab

One of the highlights of the Dwell On Design event were the full-scale prefab homes constructed inside the convention center. As exhibitors don’t have much time to prepare their displays, the not-so-easy feat of constructing a home had to be completed in only days, adding a sense of wonder and amazement to the show floor.

One of the most buzzed about prefab homes was the LivingHomes and Plant Prefab CK4.2, which debuted for the first time at Dwell On Design. The CK4.2 is a low-cost, two-story prefabricated home and is the first project built by LivingHomes’ spin-off company, Plant Prefab, the nation’s first prefab company focused on sustainable construction. It boasts 1,700 sq. ft. with three bedrooms and two-and-a-half bathrooms. Dwell attendees were able to tour its spacious master suite, reconfigurable second bedrooms, kitchen, bathrooms and more.

“The CK4.2 is our first lower-cost two-story LivingHome,” said LivingHome founder Steve Glenn in a press release. “It’s designed for narrow lots in cities and it gives people a much faster and more cost-effective solution versus site-built homes.”

Monogram Modern Home

Another popular attraction at the convention center was the Monogram Modern Home, a custom prefab outfitted with Monogram’s most innovative appliances, built by Method Homes, presented by Dwell.

Currently on a cross-country tour, the Monogram Modern Home is set in a completely custom 1,100-square-foot Method Homes prefab.

Monogram Industrial Design Director, Lou Lenzi, was on hand to walk us through the exhibit and some of its great appliances.

On the Monogram Modern Home, Lenzi says, “We get out a lot of the design studio — conducting over 100 consumer studies each year — gathering insights that translate into real-world innovations like the bottle wash feature in the Monogram dishwasher, the ergonomic extension racks found in our Monogram wall oven or the beautifully lit interior of the new Monogram French Door Refrigerator featuring LED lighting.”

Signature Kitchen Suite

Plant Prefab wasn’t the only brand unveiled at Dwell On Design – a new luxury appliance label also made its debut. Dubbed Signature Kitchen Suite, the brand showcased its line of refrigerators, ranges, cooktops, ovens and dishwasher to convention attendees with demonstrations and a free kitchen giveaway.

New Home Source got an interview with Zach Elkin, general manager with Signature Kitchen Suite, and a hands-on demonstration of these consumer-friendly appliances designed to inspire creativity in the kitchen to match the extraordinary nature of those who use it.

“Signature Kitchen Suite marries luxury and elegant design with advanced technology and superior customer service, giving consumers the opportunity to transform their kitchen and make their mark in ways never before imaginable,” said Elkin in a news release. “The new Signature Kitchen Suite embodies the style and personality that American families bring to the kitchen, delivered in an innovative, aesthetically pleasing package that will elevate the décor of any high-end kitchen.”

Jamie Durie’s Dwell Outdoor

The ever-popular Dwell Outdoor exhibit was this year curated by award-winning international designer and TV host Jamie Durie.

This 30,000-square-foot showcase featured contemporary outdoor furnishings designed by Durie himself, as well as a beer garden and the prefab buildings mentioned above. Durie’s design collections ranged from Danish-inspired teak furniture, vertical gardens, transterior textures and more, alluding to his unique philosophy of taking the outdoors in and the indoors out.

Durie took the time out of his busy schedule during the event to walk us through his designs, sharing the reasoning and inspiration behind it all, including his aptly named “Love Dome.” Stay tuned to NewHomeSource.com for our exclusive interview with him and the others mentioned above.

Drew Knight is a digital content associate for New Home Source.

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U.S. Census Data Shows New Homes are Getting Bigger

new homes getting bigger

Churchill Classics’ Cascade Model illustrates an open floor plan in Poolesville, Md. U.S. census data shows that new homes are getting bigger, entering the market with more square footage now than ever before.

By Drew Knight

If you’ve been active in your new home hunt, you’ve probably noticed one similar trend about the homes and communities you’ve been checking out: homes are getting bigger.

Well, you’re not just seeing things. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the size of single-family homes has been rising for decades. In fact, the median size of a single-family home completed in in the United States in 2015 was 2,467 sq. ft., up 14 sq. ft. from the previous year and up 240 sq. ft from 2005.

So what’s behind this steady increase in home sizes? It all comes down to the need to stretch out.

“Builders are building bigger because buyers want more space for their money,” says Eric Tovar, owner and president of Churchill Classics, a homebuilder based in Rockville, Md., noting trends like commercial-style gourmet kitchens, master bathroom suites with oversized showers, screened-in porches that extend the family room for outdoor living, oversized garages and open floor plans.

While desirable trends like these certainly add square footage to a floor plan, there are plenty of other factors that might help explain this year-to-year growth.

Participants in the New Home Source Insights Panel, a panel of new-home shoppers, say they want a larger home. Here’s what they’re looking for:

  • 31 percent of respondents say they want an open floor plan
  • 29 percent say they are upsizing because of an increase in family size
  • 16 percent cite an increase in income as their reason for upsizing

One panelist specifically mentioned family as his reason for moving:

“I’ve lived in my home for about 14 years and it suits me fine, but I want a larger home to have a bit more enjoyment for my entire family,” says home shopper Ronald Gawronski of Miami, Fla.

Another listed a desire for an efficient open floor plan, despite living in an open concept previously. “The longest I’ve ever lived in one home was in a small two-bedroom home with an open floor plan,” says Joseph Hester, an active shopper in Charlotte, N.C. “So, I guess the bottom line is that an open floor plan is nice, but it works better in a larger home.”

While the everyday shopper may be dreaming about homes with open concepts, room for family growth and trendy and spacious rooms, how might this affect the first-time homebuyer who may be searching for something entirely different? According to The Bank of America Homebuyer’s Insights Report, many have similar wants and needs as current and previous homeowners.

The report found that 75 percent of first-time buyers would prefer to bypass the starter home and buy a home that will meet their needs in the future, even if that means waiting to save more. More interesting still, 35 percent said they actually plan to retire in this first home.

Yet there are still plenty of option for those who choose not to bypass their starter home. Homebuilders like D.R. Horton, TRI Pointe Homes and Meritage Homes are increasingly switching focus to the younger generations, building starter homes that cater to Millennials.

No matter which stage in the in home-shopping process you may be in, we’d love to hear from you.

Are you seeking a larger home? Why? If not, why are you seeking smaller?

Let us know in the comments below, or consider joining the New Home Source Insights Panel to earn rewards just for giving us your opinion.

Happy home hunting!

Drew Knight is a digital content associate for New Home Source.

Posted in Buying a New Home, Did You Know? | 2 Comments

What Do Dads Look For When Buying a Home?

what dad wants in new hom

Dads love their garages. And why not? Part of it can be converted to a man cave with storage space and an exercise room, like this one in the Town House Plan 4 by Brookfield Homes in Anaheim, Calif.

By Patricia L. Garcia

When it comes to homebuying decisions, often the matriarch of the family has the final say. But, let’s not forget dad when it comes to buying a home. It is 2016, after all.

No longer does dad silently sulk in the background while Mom oohs and ahs at the model home. He will ask questions too and will probably want to take a look around. Maybe he’ll head to the garage, where he can imagine his own Dad kingdom (let’s call it Dad-ville). Or maybe he wants to head outside to scope out the patio and figure out where to put the grill. Or maybe he just wants a room where he can have some alone time.

In honor of dads everywhere, we asked fathers and real estate professionals just what dad wants when buying a home and here’s what they had to say:

Dads Love a Good Garage

An informal survey of Orlando Regional Realtor Association (ORRA) members found one feature that typically tops dads’ lists when hunting for a new home: a garage.

“My colleagues and I find that men really focus on the garage’s potential,” says Bruce Elliot, ORRA’s president-elect and a Realtor with Regal R.E. Professionals LLC. “It’s not at all uncommon for garages to be carefully assessed for the ability to store a specific length of boat, a tool chest or workbench and the plethora of kids’ sports stuff, of course.”

Dads Want to Entertain and Play

patio with grill and fire pitAccording to Eric Tovar, owner and president of Rockville, Md.-based homebuilder Churchill Classics, dads are just as interested in entertaining as mom is, so a screened-in or back porch for grilling and entertaining is popular, while a spacious yard is ideal for throwing the ball around with the kids.

In addition to entertaining and grilling spaces and a yard, Tovar says other top requested options in a new home by dads are a bar, office and good schools.

And, let’s not forget technology, says Brian LeBow, a Realtor with Coldwell Banker in Arcadia, Calif. Dads want a smart home (Nest thermostat, anyone?) and other tech-y toys in their new abode to not only manage the home better, but to have some fun with.

“Home automation and awesome tech that includes a home theater or man cave,” LeBow says. “Around LA, we see this taken to extremes — huge home theaters with digital projectors with leather recliners and in-seat stereo sound.”

Give Dad Some Space

“I would say that most (dads) are, in general, looking for a place to get away from the family and just be a
guy,” says Jay Seier, a father of two and a real estate agent with the Jolly Homes Team Resident Realty in Fort Collins, Colo. “That could be as little as a bench with a radio in the garage to a full blown, themed man cave.”

Living in “craft beer country,” Seier says a lot of fathers that he works with express an interest in having space to brew their own beer, while ample storage for bikes and gear is a high priority because of his area’s many biking and outdoor activities.

Elliot agrees that dads want spaces to explore their hobbies or to get away from the hustle and bustle of work: “Other common checklist items for dads include things like nice flooring and a split floor plan, a built-in barbecue and a pool, private office space, etc.,” he says. “Then there are more uncommon requests, like space for a home brewery, a quiet napping room or cigar lounge.”

So, if you’re shopping for a home with dad any time soon, ask if he has a particular feature in mind for the new home — chances are, he’ll be ready with a dad space he’s been dreaming of for quite some time. Happy Father’s Day!

Patricia L. Garcia is content manager for NewHomeSource.com. For her husband’s first Father’s Day, she will give him one hour to hang out at their house alone — or a grill.

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Flag Day 2016: Tips for Displaying the U.S. Flag in Your New Home

Flag Day

This Flag Day, why not display the U.S. flag in your new home? But before you do so, check out these tips to make sure you don’t break code. (Photo Courtesy of Lowe’s Home Improvement)

By Drew Knight

Flag Day is June 14, so why not take the holiday to show off some patriotism in your new home?

But before you decide to raise the U.S. flag in celebration, did you know there’s actually a lengthy list of rules and regulations in regards to how you should display our nation’s stars and stripes? It’s true.

Keep on reading to learn the law, as we hope to see your flags flying high — and properly — this Flag Day.

The “Flag Code”

According to usflag.org, prior to the Flag Day of June 14, 1923, there weren’t any federal or state regulations that governed how you could display the U.S. flag. But on this date, the National Flag Code was adopted by the National Flag Conference. However, it was not until June 22, 1942, that the exact rules for use and display of the flag became law.

While the full code can be found at usflag.org (including regulations for flag respect, conduct for hoisting, lowering or passing of the flag and more), we thought we’d highlight a few regulations:

  • “It is the universal custom to display the flag only from sunrise to sunset on buildings and on stationary flagstaffs in the open. However, when a patriotic effect is desired, the flag may be displayed 24 hours a day if properly illuminated during the hours of darkness.”
  • “The flag should not be displayed on days when the weather is inclement, except when an all-weather flag is displayed.”
  • “When the U.S. flag is displayed from a staff projecting horizontally or at an angle from the window sill, balcony or front of a building, the union of the flag [the blue area] should be placed at the peak of the staff unless the flag is at half-staff. When the flag is suspended over a sidewalk from a rope extending from a house to a pole at the edge of the sidewalk, the flag should be hoisted out, union first, from the building.”
  • “The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.”
  • “The flag should never touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water or merchandise.”
  • “The flag should never be fastened, displayed, used, or stored in such a manner as to permit it to be easily torn, soiled, or damaged in any way.”

Display Tips

So, if you’ve decided to display the U.S. flag on your home this year, Lowe’s Home Improvement spokesman Natalie Turner has a few technical flag flying tips to help you raise the banner:

According to Turner, there are three options for displaying a flag from your home:

  1. Hang it from a window. Just make sure the stars are on the viewer’s top left.
  1. Get a flag pole mounting bracket. Most people will mount it on either side of their garage or front-door entrance. This is an affordable and easy way to showcase your patriotism.
  1. The third option is to get a free-standing flag pole to place in your yard. Depending on the height, this can be quite the project, but this is where you can get poles up to 20 feet high to display giant flags.

“Find the best look for your home’s style,” adds Turner. “Try to pair the pole color and type with your home so the main focus is the flag and not the hardware behind it.”

Happy Flag Day and let those star-spangled banners wave!

Drew Knight is a digital content associate for NewHomeSource.com.

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The Emotional Steps in the New Home Journey

homebuying process

Getting ready to embark on your new home journey? Take a look at our guide to help you through the mental and emotional steps of buying a new home.

By Drew Knight

In the decision to buy a new home, there are a few more steps involved then just visiting a model home and signing a contract within a single day.

If you really want to find a dream home that suits all of your wants and needs, it’s going to take a little bit of research and a lot of dedication. After all, buying a home is often the largest and most important decision in your life, so it’s no wonder emotions will be involved.

To help you mentally prepare for buying a new home, we thought we’d outline those steps for you. If you’re ready to embark on new home journey the right way, take a look at the five steps below:

Step 1: Think About What You Want

As you’ve probably already done already, the first step involves a lot of internal thinking and reflection.

You’ll ask questions like: What do I want in a new home? What’s best for me and my family? Is buying a new home a good investment for me right now?

If you’re not a single buyer, at this point in the new home process you’ll want to sit down with your family to determine your priorities in your life and career. Now is also a good time to assess your finances and clarify that you can commit financially to a new home at this point in your life.

Step 2: Find a Starting Point

If after step one you’ve decided to move forward in the new home journey, it’s time to get started in the hunt for your next home.

At first, you may ask questions like: How do I approach the homebuying process? What locations are best for me? What will my money get me in an area like this?

To get these questions answered, you should set goals to identify reliable sources of information, like NewHomeSource.com, create a game plan, and forecast the complete costs of your new home.

At this point, it might be wise to seek out a Realtor for guidance, or head online for information. Google Maps and home search websites are a great way to explore your area and what’s available to give you some direction.

Step 3: Do Your HOMEwork

Once you’ve found the direction for your new home journey, it’s time to solidify what you want by some in-depth research.

By now, you’ve probably amassed even more questions. Don’t worry, that’s totally normal. After all, how could you do your research if you had no questions?

To begin your studies, start by searching for new construction in your area, visiting builder websites, or speaking with a Realtor.

Some important things to discover by this point in the process are interactive floor plans, video or virtual home tours, builder locations and desirable floor plans.

At the end of step three, you should finally start to have an accurate visualization of what your new home will look like.

Step 4: Make Sure Everything’s Right

Step four involves validating everything you learned by your research in step three by heading to the homesites of your favorite builders.

Here, your action items will include visiting model homes in your desirable communities, collecting educational materials from builders, talking to builder representatives and taking plenty of notes and photos.

At the end of step four, which could take multiple visits and back-and-fourth to step three, you should feel confident that an informed decision can be made.

Step 5: Make It Yours

Congratulations! You’ve done all the hard work and it’s time to make a decision.

By now, the only questions that should remain will look something like: Is this what I want? Does this actually feel right? Do I have all the information I need to make the right decision?

Your final action items here including talking with your family when applicable, reflecting on the entire experience and reviewing all of your notes, physical materials and online information.

If you’ve found the home and builder that makes you happy after this emotional journey, then you should feel confident in signing your contract.

We know, this sounds like a lot if information to take in at once. So, we summarized all these steps in an easy-to-read infographic just for you. If you feel like it, save it and print it out to use as the map to your new home journey. Check it out below:

homebuying process

Drew Knight is a digital content associate for NewHomeSource.com.

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