Wounded Warrior Homes: Housing Veterans in Need

Wounded Warriors Homes

With the help of Wounded Warrior Homes, Robert Caudill was able to find permanent housing. Here, Caudill, sitting on the lower left next to his service dog, Bravo, takes a break from moving into his new home, along with a moving crew from Wounded Warriors Homes.

By Drew Knight

The dream of homeownership is one that New Home Source supports 100 percent.

But, we know that there are many folks out there who have not seen that dream come true due to many circumstances. Take veterans, many who struggle with physical disabilities and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that make the path to homeownership difficult.

Just in time for Memorial Day, New Home Source is highlighting those who are helping deserving veterans with transitional housing through Wound Warrior Homes (WWH).

About Wounded Warrior Homes

Founded in 2009 by real estate investors Steve and Mia Roseberry, Wounded Warrior Homes began as an idea the pair created when they were looking to serve the community in a bigger way. To do so, they contacted Camp Pendleton’s Wounded Warrior Battalion, who in turn said there was a need for long-term transitional housing for single service members with traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and PTSD. Thus, Wounded Warrior Homes was born.

The Roseberrys helped band together a board of directors of active, former and retired military and business leaders to get program operations moving by September 2012. Since this time, WWH has successfully transitioned 17 veterans, some of which were living in shelters, couch surfing or living in their vehicles on the street, says Gene Jennett, executive assistant at WWH in Vista, Calif.

According to Jennett, these veterans are chosen for transitional housing after WWH compares submitted online contact forms to the organization’s basic criteria: the veteran must be male, single or living as single, local or seeking housing locally and they must have a history of TBI and/or PTSD. If the criteria is met, then the veteran is sent an application form.

“Our philosophy is to never say ‘we don’t do that; we can’t help you’ to any veteran,’ ” Jennett says. “So for those not matching our program or who are seeking other kinds of services, our staff researches resources in the veteran’s area to connect them with other organizations that can provide the services they need.”

Making a Difference for a Wounded Warrior

Having served nine years in the U.S. Marine Corps, including four combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, Robert Caudill was medically discharged in 2012 in San Diego with no home to go to.

“After four deployments to Iraq and a short mission to Afghanistan during a four-and-a-half-year window, I broke down and was sent to the Wounded Warrior Battalion,” Caudill recalls. “I thought I was worthless and useless as a Marine, leading to depression.

“My first six weeks out, I had a plan and saved $3,000 up and then my anxiety and post-traumatic stress spiraled out of control and I ran out of options,” Caudill says. “During that time, my service dog, Bravo, and I rented hotel rooms for the night.”

Caudill became the very first veteran to be housed by Wounded Warrior Homes. He was on the verge of checking into a homeless shelter when he got a call from Mia Roseberry telling him the first WWH apartment was available, he says.

Four and a half months passed by after he moved into the WWH apartment, he and Bravo were able to move out on their own.

“[WWH] had a huge impact on my life,” Caudill says. “All I needed was a place to rest my head for the night and have someone look over me while I figured things out.”

He has since spent the last few years living only a mile from the beach in Oceanside, Calif., in a two-bedroom home with a yard for Bravo. He is currently working on his bachelor of arts in psychology with plans to teach and perform sound healing sessions with different groups as a way to overcome post-traumatic stress without pharmaceutical medication. He is also serving in leadership positions in Toastmasters International and as a spokesman for WWH to share his experiences with others to help them find hope.

How You Can Help

If you’re looking to help out with Wounded Warrior Homes’ mission, Jennett says volunteers can come out to work on the property or help with fundraising events or administrative tasks in the office.

“Ultimately, to see our guys brighten and flourish with the support we are able to provide because of the generosity of others is an amazing, humbling experience,” says Jennett.

The organization does not receive any government funding and relies on grassroots support of individuals and business. If you’d like to donate to the organization, visit www.classy.org/Homes4OurHeroes.

Drew Knight is Digital Content Associate for New Home Source.

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How to Host the Perfect Backyard Barbecue

How to Host a Backyard Barbecue

May is National Barbecue Month! Are you prepared to host a backyard barbecue in your new home?

By Drew Knight

May is here and with it comes beautiful weather and a multitude of opportunities to host a barbecue; that must be why they call it National Barbecue Month (we don’t know who “they” are, but “they” certainly call it that).

As a new or future homebuyer, you may be wondering how to host the perfect backyard barbecue in your new or future home.

Well, whether you’re a first-time barbecue host or a regular barbecue master, here are some tips on how to host the perfect backyard barbecue:

The Right Food

Without the food, it’s likely no one would even show up to your party, that’s why we’re beginning with the grub.

AskMen.com, a site designed to help you “become a better man” (not that women can’t host a great barbecue), suggests the following foods: coleslaw, salads, salad dressing, chips, crackers, raw veggies and dip for starters; burgers, hot dogs, chicken breast, salmon (“if you want to get fancy”) and corn.

And, if you want to stray from the norm, you can supply new items like pizza, lobster and vegetarian options like veggie burgers and dogs. And for condiments, no barbecue is complete without ketchup, mustard, relish, barbecue (obviously) and hot sauce, cheese slices, pickles, grilled red peppers and chopped onions.

Don’t forget the drinks and desserts! AskMen suggests supply water, soft drinks, beer and wine to “keep everyone happy.” For those guests with sweet tooths: pies and cakes, ice cream, fruit and cookies. They also note to make sure ice is always readily available — nothing bums out a barbecue like hot liquids.

The Right Gear

You can’t host a barbecue if you don’t have the supplies! GQ Magazine has five essential tips for gathering the right gear.

  • Invest in a three-piece grilling set (a griller’s apron, a cookbook and grilling utensils at minimum) and borrow the carving set from your kitchen;
  • Ditch the Dixie plates and invest in a new breed of disposable and compostable dinnerware;
  • If you plan to entertain often, invest in a bar cart;
  • Add some entertainment! Work up their appetites with a friendly game of badminton, bocce ball or croquet; and
  • Keep it lit with a little outdoor lighting such as a few string lights, antique oil lamps or a tiki torch or two.

And, if you’re not quite sure on what type of grill to use, consult this handy guide from Epicurious on grilling essentials: http://bit.ly/1dY77US

The Right Host

No perfect backyard barbecue is complete without the perfect backyard barbecue host. RealSimple.com suggests four foolproof tricks for hosting this classic all-American party.

  • Be smart during set-up.

Set up one table for food and drinks and one table for actual dining. Let guests serve themselves. Stack plates and silverware at each end to prevent traffic jams.

  • Make easy look elegant.

If your party is casual, decorate subtly (i.e., with nothing but small pots of herbs).

  • Reinvent the home bar.

For an easy bar, maybe don’t offer any drinks that call for ice cream or mixers. Set a colored tray with glasses, bottle openers and cloth napkins near the tub of beverages to catch spills.

  • Prep for a perfect ending.

If you’re guests are having so much fun they don’t want to leave, drop a little hint by asking “What food can I send you home with?”

Drew Knight is Digital Content Associate for New Home Source.

Posted in Buying a New Home, Home Entertainment & Automation, Outdoor Living | Leave a comment

From the Ground Up: Radiant Flooring

radiant flooring

Electric wires or tubes of hot water, like in this hydronic system, are run beneath your floor to deliver heat from the ground up. Photo via Warmboard Inc.

By Seve Kale

You know those cold, gray winter days where the thought of leaving the sanctuary of your warm bed is almost unbearable (we know, it’s warming up, but now’s the time to think about how to heat your home, promise!)?

Imagine if, instead of touching down on an ice-cold floor, your toes instead made contact with a warm, cozy surface. Sounds pretty great, doesn’t it?

Radiant flooring, an under-the-floor heating system that conducts heat up through the floor, might just be the perfect option for your new home. To help us sift through the pros and cons of radiant flooring, we’ve enlisted the help of both experts and homeowners:

Efficient Comfort

Because warm air rises, radiant flooring is around a 25-percent more energy-efficient heating solution than a conventional forced-air system. Waves of infrared radiation rise up through the floor, resulting in less heat lost to surrounding surfaces and even heating throughout the area. “There’s no blowing air, no noise, no hot and cold areas — heat goes where you go,” says Ross McCord, brand manager at Warmboard, Inc.

Radiant flooring also improves your indoor air quality because there’s no forced circulation. “You can actually significantly reduce or eliminate instances of asthma while limiting the transmission of airborne viruses,” McCord adds.

Tread Lightly

Despite all the wonderful things about radiant flooring, there are some disadvantages. “Radiant heating can take a while for you to feel the effects — it is a slow-building system,” says Michael Kenealy, founder and CEO of REDRHINO Flooring. In other words, if you live in an area with rapid temperature changes, your radiant flooring system might be slow to adjust.

“What I tell my clients is that the comfort of a warm floor on a cold day can’t be matched, but it is not a system that you can set and forget about,” says Ryan Thewes, an architect in Nashville, Tenn. “You have to be active with it and on top of what the weather is going to be like in the next few days. Otherwise, it will be your enemy.”

The Nuts and Bolts

Though not impossible, it’s certainly more difficult to retrofit an existing flooring system as opposed to installing a radiant system in a new home. On average, radiant systems can be two to four times more expensive than conventional forced-air systems. “However, if this is a place you plan to live in for a long time, energy savings will start chipping away at the price difference for as long as you’re in the home — I just heard from a guy who doubled the size of his house while cutting his gas bill in half, thanks to (radiant flooring),” McCord says.

Homeowner Mary Maynard, currently living in her second home with radiant flooring, shared her key advice: “It’s very important to hire a very experienced contractor — the systems can be complicated, and you want yours to work correctly.”

If you lay the groundwork, radiant flooring will allow you to reap heating benefits for years to come.

Seve Kale is a contributor to NewHomeSource.

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6 Mother’s Day Gift Ideas that Mom Can Use Around the House

Mother's Day Gift Ideas

Make a memorable Mother’s Day with a gift that Mom can use around the home, like this personal and customizable family tree print.

By Drew Knight

Mother’s Day is only days away! Have you found the perfect gift for Mom yet? If not, look no further.

Chances are, your mom is an empty nester. With all her birds having flown the coop, she could probably use some thoughtful and unique gifts to help her around the house. This year, consider these ideas that will make her heart soar throughout her nest.

Custom Family Tree Print by Almost Sunday Designs, $45 or $68, Almost SundayInc Etsy shop 

Get personal with this customizable family tree print found on Etsy. You can capture your family lineage with a custom family tree, which comes with a chocolate brown branch and your choice of ink color for the leaves. You can add a list of family favorite activities, memories, traditions or a quote along the bottom. It’s the perfect addition to any nest!

Grand Dame Recipe Tin by Anthropologie, $38

Is your mom one of those who leaves junk drawers full and scattered with knickknacks and recipe clippings? Help her get organized with this whimsical, vintage-inspired recipe tin. Each tin is assembled by hand and stuffed with environmentally friendly cards. It also comes in a white, citrus floral theme.

Mother's Day Gift Ideas

DIY Marbled Clay Ring Dish by YOU, approx. $15:

Nothing shows Mom you care like a gift you made with your own hands. To make this ring dish, all you need is a few supplies, including some oven-bake clay in her favorite colors, an oven and a little bit of TLC. She will be reminded of your love and talents every morning as she gets ready for her day. Here are the instructables: http://bit.ly/11e5oF2

Mother's Day Gift Ideas

Complete Garden Kit by Crate & Barrel, $19.96

What about a gift to get her active? Color her thumb green with this everything-included kit to get a garden growing. She’ll get tomato, pepper and cucumber seeds, growing pellets and even fertilizer — she just needs to add water! Seeds will start out in sprouting trays and grow to maturity in accompanying grow bags. Instructions are included if Mom is not garden savvy.

Mother's Day Gift Ideas

Learn to Knit Kit by Purl Soho, $11.50-$62

If you think your mom could be looking for a new hobby, here is your opportunity! Inside each of these Learn to Knit Kits, you’ll find two skeins of Purl Soho’s Super Soft Merino, a pair of birch knitting needles, a yarn needle for finishing and an instruction booklet. There are package options to exclude certain items if Mom already has some of the supplies.

Mother's Day Gift Ideas

Bluetooth Tracking Tag by UncommonGoods, $40:

We all misplace things, including Mom. Help ease her struggles with a handy Bluetooth Tracing Tag. Mom can attach it to those items that are commonly misplaced — keys, the remote, a wallet, Dad — and be able to find them in a moment’s notice using Bluetooth technology through a free and downloadable app.

Mother's Day Gift Ideas

 

Drew Knight is Digital Content Associate for New Home Source.

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Tips For Approaching Your Front-Yard Design

front-yard design

A front-yard design plan will add curb appeal to your new home. In this eye-appealing home in the Coral Ridge at Blackstone community by Shea Homes in Brea, Calif., pillars with red plantings flank a tiered walk that leads to an arched entry.

By Drew Knight

When you buy a new home, you might spend a lot of the time picking out appliances, furniture, décor and more for the interior that you may be so worn out that you don’t even want to begin thinking about the exterior.

However, improving curb appeal and landscaping can add tremendous value to your home. We’ve talked with several experts and compiled a list of tips that will make approaching your front-yard design a seamless process.

Make It Your Own

“Even if you’re not selling your house any time soon, pulling up to an attractive house is a warm and comforting feeling for you and your family, any time,” says Jennifer Adams, CEO of home décor brand Jennifer Adams Worldwide Inc. and former designer on the HGTV show My First Place.

Here’s why she suggests these tips on adding curb appeal to any home — new or resale:

De-Clutter Your Porch

Clutter is stressful, no matter where you see it. Store the recycling elsewhere, compost any dead plants, clean the porch light, move the toys to the garage or donate them and fix or remove the screen door.

Paint the Front Door

Go bold and bright — a bright color that contrasts with the rest of the house is charming. For a rich, sophisticated look, choose a darker shade of some other color on your house.

Add Seating

Porch furniture such as rocking chair, a bench or stool implies relaxation and leisure and makes a great place to set a grocery bag when you’re fumbling with house keys or your phone.

Add Interesting Artifacts Instead of High-Maintenance Flowerpots

Why fuss with flowers? Adding your own unique décor adds personality. An antique milk jug, an interesting stone or fountain, a large “bouquet” of sticks in an urn, a charming bench or table need no maintenance, look better with age and add interest without any of that pesky watering, fertilizing or weeding schedules!

Keep Your Porch Light On

Or put it on a timer. Use an energy-efficient LED or CFL bulb. Not only is light welcoming, it’s a safety thing. You can easily see where you’re going and it helps your house look occupied even if you’re gone.

Launch Into Landscaping

The next place to begin is to plan out your landscaping.

Josh Kane, president and head designer of Kane Landscapes in Sterling, Va., and member of The National Association of Landscape Professionals, suggests starting by checking out websites or magazines to find a unique style.

“Once they have a general idea of the style and some of the plants they like, they should visit a garden center and look at some plants they like, then contact a landscape architect or design professional to help them properly design the space and make sure the plants they like will do well in their yard,” he says. For those in ranging climates, Kane suggests contacting the local extension agent or garden centers for information on selecting the right vegetation.

He says the quickest and easiest way to boost curb appeal is to maintain a green, healthy and weed-free lawn. This is particularly important to new homebuyers who plan to sell their home within a few years of moving in.

“The lawn/landscape is the first thing any potential buyer sees as they drive up to your home,” he says. “If you don’t take care of your lawn and landscape, they may assume you did not take care of other basic maintenance items for your home … or may be turned off and not even enter your open house.”

Abide By HOA Regulations

Now, wait up a moment. Before you get into painting your exterior or go crazy installing garden beds, you need to check and see if your new community has a homeowners association, or HOA, that can legally issue fines if you don’t abide by their rules.

Sandy Arons, a master gardener who happens to be the president of her neighborhood HOA in Brentwood, Tenn., says HOA rules include following the covenants regarding the outward appearance of your home and building requirements from size, color, external building materials, type of windows and much more.

“The covenants are there to ensure your home is harmonious with other homes in the neighborhood and you keep your lot and home maintained because these things affect property values,” she says.

Arons says one of the most common violations that come through HOAs often involve not getting prior approval before landscaping is installed. Working with an HOA-authorized landscape architect to get approval is a good place to start (be aware that not all HOAs provide such a service).

“Many times the landscape architect makes improvements to the plans,” she says. “These improvements include substituting plant material that will do better in our climate, revising the shapes of beds to be more appealing and any other subtle changes that can have a big impact on curb appeal.”

Though, when getting an approval, Arons says it’s a “win-win” solution. “The homeowners get a credentialed professional’s advice at no cost and the neighborhood benefits from a better-looking home.”

She advises anyone who plans to make major changes to their landscape or home exterior to gain approval from their HOA or Architectural Review Committee, which only meets once per month in some communities.

A well-thought-out landscape plan adds curb appeal to your new home and provides a stress-free way to enjoy your outdoor space. With these quick and simple tips, you will be well on your way to a front-yard design that’s appealing and enjoyable.

Drew Knight is Digital Content Associate for New Home Source.

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Tips for the Spring Homebuying Season!

By Drew Knight

Spring is a time for renewal and regrowth. And if you are into real estate, you know that it’s also the spring homebuying season: the peak time to find the home of your dreams.

However, because so many buyers are looking for a home at this time, you might face higher homes prices and increased competition than you would if you were trying to purchase a home at other times of the year. Because of high demand, many buyers will make offers that are well above the asking price. (That’s why newly built homes are great; there’s no haggling prices or competition from other buyers who might outbid you, but we digress.) Don’t fret; there are a few things that you can do to make your homebuying experience smoother.

Sharon Voss, president of the Orlando Regional Realtor Association, shared with NewHomeSource some tips that can help increase your chances of landing your dream home this spring homebuying season in this seller’s market. First things first, get your finances in order — here’s why:

To embed this infographic, copy and paste the code below:

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Drew Knight is Digital Content Associate for New Home Source.

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The Fight Against Cancer Comes Home — New Home Source and the Texas 4000 Ride

Starting in Austin and ending in Anchorage, Alaska, Texas 4000 is the longest annual charity bike ride in the world. Since being founded in 2003, it has raised more than $3.5 million for the fight against cancer.

Starting in Austin and ending in Anchorage, Alaska, Texas 4000 is the longest annual charity bike ride in the world. Since being founded in 2003, it has raised more than $3.5 million for the fight against cancer.

By Drew Knight

Nearly 80 University of Texas at Austin students will slather on more than four gallons of sunscreen, scarf down about 15,000 energy bars and PB&J sandwiches and wash it all down with about 700 gallons of sports drinks.

No, it’s not the biggest spring break party you’ve ever seen — it’s the Texas 4000, the longest annual charity bike ride in the world that has raised more than $3.5 million in the fight against cancer.

Founded in 2004 by two former UT students, Chris and Mandy Condit, Texas 4000 is back yet again with its annual trek from Austin to Alaska to help raise funds for cancer research. And, for the second year in a row, New Home Source’s parent company Builder Homesite Inc. (BHI) will be hosting the team’s kick-off event. In June, BHI will also host the team at Vallecitos Mountain Ranch, located in northern New Mexico.

BHI’s involvement with Texas 4000 started last year, when the company also hosted the team’s kickoff event as part of the company’s philanthropic philosophy.

“We at BHI have always believed in giving back, both financially as well as with time,” says Melissa Morman, BHI’s senior vice president of client experience. “Texas 4000 has been a great non-profit for us to adopt, as it speaks to our core values of philanthropy and personal development and, well, of course, we love biking!”

Mormon continues: “For our employees, Texas 4000 affords many opportunities for involvement — from helping host the riders to participating in the kickoff ride,” Mormon says. “So, while we are helping the riders, we are also developing our own associates as well.”

On the eve of the ride on Wed., May 29, 2015, BHI will host all 78 student riders in our facility gym. On this day, known as “Day Zero” to those familiar with Texas 4000, riders will arrive at our facilities after spending the day riding around Austin in an unofficial send-off by Austin city leaders. BHI will welcome these riders with a party, live music and more before they begin their 70-day odyssey.

“Not only are we helping a great cause (fighting cancer), we are helping to develop approximately 90 new young adults each year who will go out into the world with a philanthropic philosophy,” Mormon says.

The Texas 4000 is more than just a 70-day journey for these students — it’s an 18-month commitment that includes a pledge to raise a minimum of $4,500 per rider, a 1,500-mile prep ride and hours and hours of fitness, leadership and speaking training. These riders become well-versed, dedicated and disciplined warriors.

Texas 4000 is a community of cancer fighters comprised of student riders, volunteers and community supporters who strive to spread hope to those fighting cancer through three main pillars: hope, knowledge and charity:

  • Hope in letting those touched by cancer know that there are people who are willing to ride cross-country for them and are determined to eliminate the disease,
  • Knowledge in bringing life-saving information about cancer prevention to communities large and small and
  • Charity by making a commitment to support cancer research and lead the charge in overcoming cancer.

To spread these talking points, riders will divide among three different routes (the Sierra, Rockies and Ozarks) after leaving Austin. Along the way, they will sleep in churches, schools and parks and they’ll visit hospitals to meet with children fighting cancer and speak to countless other groups.

BHI will stay in contact with some of the Texas 4000 riders (in fact, we’ve got a BHI team who will bike the first 25 miles with the riders), so keep checking back in to see how these riders are doing on their trip to raise funds for cancer research and hope for those affected by cancer.

Drew Knight is Digital Content Associate for New Home Source.

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