The Top Mistakes Homebuyers Make (And How to Avoid Them)

Whether you are a first-time buyer or you are searching for your next house after a previous purchase, buying a home can seem like a daunting prospect. There are so many things to consider, both on paper and off, and it is easy to get overwhelmed. Not to worry — Lafferty Communities has you covered. From the moment you start your home buying journey with us, we’ll be with you every step of the way to ensure the process is as smooth as possible. We’re the experts — which is why we’ve put together this list of the most common home buying mistakes we come across, and what you can do to avoid them.

 

Not Starting the Approval Process Early

Although it might be tempting to start touring houses the second you decide to move, starting with a mortgage pre-approval is crucial. There is nothing worse than finding your dream home and finding out after the fact that you aren’t able to get approved for the mortgage you need. Luckily, avoiding this problem is easy. Before you start actually searching for a house, ensure you talk to one of our Preferred Lenders about a mortgage pre-approval. Learn more about how Lafferty Communities has partnered with our Preferred Lenders to make getting prequalified easier than ever.

Not Keeping an Eye On Your Credit Report

Your credit score is perhaps the most important thing lenders consider when you apply for a mortgage. Early on in your conversations about purchasing a home, you should check your credit score and decide if you need to boost it before attempting to apply for home financing. Generally, aiming for a credit score of at least 620 is a good rule of thumb. Of course, the higher, the better — the more you can boost your credit score, the more likely you are to be offered a better interest rate.

Fixating On the House Over the Neighborhood

You might have found the home of your dreams — but if it’s in an unsafe area, has unfriendly neighbors or makes for an inconvenient commute, it might not be the one for you. Your family’s individual needs might vary widely, so it’s a good idea for the whole household to explore the nearby community of anywhere you are seriously considering. Thankfully, you’ll have no trouble finding family-friendly communities ready to welcome you to your Lafferty home with open arms. Check out each of our available communities to see which one might be the right fit for your family.

 

Assuming You Need a 20% Down Payment

You may have heard that a 20% down payment is required to secure a mortgage on your home. However, this is, in many cases, a myth. In fact, many homebuyers can secure financing with a down payment of as little as 3%. While it might seem counterintuitive to encourage you to aim for a smaller down payment, letting go of the “20%” myth will allow you to focus on what really matters — that is, your credit and working on a pre-approval, as we mentioned above.

Moving Too Quickly

Buying a home isn’t like buying a new car or a new phone. Sure, it can be exciting to start sprinting once the finish line is in sight, but you run the risk of burning yourself out before you are able to reach the end. Moving too quickly through what is a considerably complex process can come back to haunt you in the form of unexpected closing costs, skipped lines of fine print and more.

 

Finding Your Lafferty Communities Home Is Simple

Although buying a home is a complex process, it is ultimately one of the most rewarding things you can do. We’re here to help every step of the way. We’d love to hear from you — let’s start the process of finding your next forever home, right here at Lafferty Communities.

Turn Your Backyard Into a Stylish Place to Gather

When the weather begins to turn warmer, there is something truly magical about those backyard bonfire nights, when you and your family or friends gather under the stars to eat, talk and connect. If you’re just moving into a new home, your backyard is essentially a blank canvas, full of possibilities for you to turn into the gathering space of your dreams. Check out our tips on how to upgrade your backyard and become the best outdoor host in the neighborhood.

Upgrade That Outdoor Furniture

A great gathering place starts with comfortable places to lounge. When you are decorating your backyard, you will want to look for outdoor furniture that can withstand the elements, but still looks stylish and is above all, comfortable. Create an inviting atmosphere with plush couches, or make a space for those summer dinner parties with an outdoor dining set.

Go For Green

A well-maintained lawn is a great start, but if you really want to make your space guest-friendly, incorporate plants and flowers to add a little more life to your yard. Opt for a mix of potted plants, hanging baskets, and garden beds with a variety of textures and heights for visual interest. The more plant life you have in your backyard, the more pollinators you’ll attract, which can be a great added bonus. A backyard filled with buzzing bees, hummingbirds and dragonflies — what’s not to love?

Create a Bright Ambiance

For those long summer nights where the conversation — and drinks — just keep flowing, you’ll want to enhance the ambiance of your backyard with some strategically placed outdoor lighting. Install string lights overhead for a magical glow, place lanterns or torches along pathways and highlight architectural features with spotlights or uplighting. That way, you can keep the atmosphere warm and inviting as well as keeping the space well-lit.

Become a Grill Master

No gathering is complete without a meal or some snacks alongside it. Take the cooking outdoors with a decked-out grill station. Invest in a high-quality grill with ample cooking space, add built-in storage for utensils and supplies and create a designated prep area for convenience. That way, you’ll never have to miss a moment of your gathering while you are cooking.

Make It Rain

But only a little. Consider incorporating water elements such as a fountain, pond or small waterfall. The sound of running water adds a soothing and tranquil touch to your backyard oasis and can add visual intrigue as well.

Create a Playful Space

If you have children or enjoy outdoor games, dedicate a section of your backyard to recreational activities. Adding a volleyball or badminton net is a great way to encourage your kids to be more active, and provides a perfect activity for when you have company over. Even something as simple as a pair of cornhole boards can take your backyard from a simple outdoor space to an inviting, fun-filled area.

Add Your Personal Flair

Of course, your backyard should be a reflection of your personal style and taste, just as the interior of your house is. Add outdoor rugs, throw pillows, artwork and accessories that tie everything together and make your backyard feel like an extension of your home.

Make Your Lafferty Communities Home Yours

No matter how you want to make your home your own, you can be sure that your Lafferty home will have the space for you to unleash your design personality. Discover your next home today.

Community Spotlight: Herriman, UT

Community is Key in the Search for a New Home

As you consider which Lafferty Communities home is your next forever home — Sky Haven Estates, for example, in beautiful Herriman, UT — there are many factors to consider beyond the home itself. Certainly, your quality of life starts at home, so you want to ensure you find exactly the right fit — beyond that, though, you need to ensure that the community you are thinking of moving to has everything you and your family need to truly thrive. Lafferty Communities offers stunning new builds in many places across the West, so rest assured that wherever you are looking, you’ll find a place where you will be welcomed with open arms. Let’s take a further look into the surrounding area of Sky Haven Estates by Lafferty.

A Look Inside Herriman: Utah’s Premier Community for Families

Nestled in the stunning Salt Lake Valley, Herriman offers families the best of both worlds — here, you can enjoy a quiet, small-town feel to your daily life, while still sitting a short thirty-minute drive from the exciting attractions available in nearby Salt Lake City. With a population of around 55,000, Herriman boasts a tight-knit community where your neighbors will be more than simply neighbors — they’ll be your friends for life. Plus, with friendly faces around every corner, you’re sure to become part of the community in no time.

Top-Rated Schools

In Herriman, UT, education is a top priority, and families with children of all ages will find a variety of excellent schools to choose from.

Of the 10 elementary schools in the area, more than half have a GreatSchools rating of 5 or above. Test scores at Herriman elementary schools tend to be far above the state average, while student and parent testimony are incredibly positive across the board. At certain schools, such as Herriman Elementary, many teachers have earned additional certifications beyond the state requirement, making them exceptional educators for your children.

As children move into the upper grades, their education remains stellar. Several middle and high schools in the area offer dual-immersion programs for secondary language learning. Through these, students have the chance to become extremely fluent in their chosen language, as they study the structure of the language alongside their immersion in the culture and history.

For those looking to further their education beyond the K-12 level, there are also a number of accredited universities and vocational schools nearby, ranging from community colleges to private institutions.

Things to Do

Whether you’re looking to explore the beautiful outdoor scenery of Utah, to learn something new and fascinating or simply to enjoy an evening of fun, there’s plenty to do in and around Herriman. This cheerful town is a short drive from Salt Lake City, where you’ll find amusement parks, aquariums, historical sites and a thriving food scene.

Of course, you don’t need to drive beyond Herriman to find something fun to do. In town, you can find all sorts of hidden gems — such as an exact replica of the iconic house from Pixar’s animated film Up.

There’s no shortage of outdoor adventures to be found in the area, as well. No matter what time of year it is, a visit to Butterfield Canyon brings stunning views as well as lots of opportunities to hike and reconnect with nature. Or, you can take the family out for a picnic at Blackridge Reservoir, where you also have the chance to swim and paddleboard during the warmer months.

Discover Your Next Home at Sky Haven Estates

If you’re looking for the perfect community for you and your family, Herriman might be it. Discover your beautiful Sky Haven Estates home with Lafferty Communities today and see what kind of life could be waiting for you.

5 Ways to Help Transition Your Family Smoothly Into a New Home

Moving can be a thrilling experience for families — but it also comes with its fair share of challenges. Children, especially younger ones, can have difficulty adjusting to a new space, and that is even more true if you are moving to a new town or school district. While it is certainly a big change for everyone, moving to a new home can — and should! — be an exciting adventure full of potential for positive change. To make sure your family stays excited, check out our tips on easing the transition from one home to another.

Start the Conversation Early

Surprises are fun, but in situations like this, it is better to be clear and open from the very beginning with your family. Get their input on the move early on, and that way, you have more time to talk through any issues that might arise during the process. Keep them in the loop about updates on the move, and start to encourage excitement about the new house. You can help your children, for instance, plan how they will decorate their new room, something they are sure to be looking forward to. By communicating often and openly, your move will truly feel like something you can all be excited about.

Involve Your Family in the Moving Process

How the move as a whole goes is largely based on your attitude about it. If you are outwardly stressed and frustrated through every step of the process, your family will reflect that back to you. However, if you can focus on the positive, and share your excitement with your family throughout the move, settling into a new home is sure to be smoother. Try to make sure the process is as collaborative as possible. Allow your kids to accompany you on house showings, or ask for them to weigh in on customizations. After all, it’s their home, too — giving them some say in the matter will make the whole process feel like it is a step you are undertaking as a family.

 Make Room for Closure…

Looking forward to what’s next doesn’t mean ignoring what you are leaving behind. It is completely normal to feel sad about leaving your current home for somewhere new, even if everyone is feeling largely optimistic about the move. Make sure that, as you prepare to begin a new chapter of your life, you give your family the space they need to turn the page on the old one. Find a way to commemorate your previous home, however small. Perhaps this means drafting a goodbye letter to the memories you shared in that home or putting together a craft that you can take with you to the next house. No matter what you do, just be sure you do it as a family.

 …and Make Room for Excitement

On the other hand, make sure you and your family aren’t getting too caught up in mourning your previous home — after all, you’re on to bigger and better things now! See if, in the first few weeks of settling into your new place, you can find a way for the family to commemorate the new house. Maybe you do that by simply turning the process of unpacking into a fun activity for everyone: put on some music and add your personal touches to your new home as a family.

 Explore the New Neighborhood

One of the most exciting parts of a new home is having a whole new world to explore beyond your doorstep. Ahead of the move, scout out the surrounding area and note any places you and your family might be excited to try. Then, once you have arrived at the new home, you have a list of things to look forward to, even among all the stress of settling into a new space. Plus, it’s always fun to introduce yourself to new neighbors. Within the first week or so, bring the whole family out on a stroll through your new neighborhood and start to get to know some of your new community. Exploring the area beyond the house itself will help everyone get familiar with the new circumstances, and will ultimately make the transition process much more smooth.

Designed with Your Family in Mind

At Lafferty Communities, our primary goal is always to create a space where your family can settle comfortably in the home you always dreamed of. Discover your Lafferty home today, and start planning the next exciting step in your family’s journey.

Creating a Stylish, Comfortable Living Space for Your Furry Friends

Anyone who owns a pet will tell you that they’re more than just a pet. They’re a member of the family. When you’re settling into a new home, you want to make sure that your four-legged companions are just as comfortable as you are. At Lafferty Communities, we welcome all members of your family with open arms, furry or otherwise. Read on for our tips on how to create space in your new place for your pet to feel truly at home.

Give Them Their Own Room

Not sure what to do with that extra bedroom? You could turn it into a craft room or a second guest room, sure — or, you could turn it into your pet’s dedicated space, and give them their own room to lounge in. In addition to making your pet feel like the most pampered pup in the neighborhood, having a separate room for their sleeping, eating and playing needs keeps the pet-related clutter and mess out of more communal spaces, such as your living room. You don’t need to get fancy with it. All your buddy needs is a comfy bed or crate, food and water bowls (bonus points if you opt to personalize them) and their favorite toys. You can get creative with some dog-themed decor, too, such as wall hangings or fun throw pillows.

Try a Pet Nook

As much as your pet would love its own space, our four-legged friends love being close to the action of the household. To keep them a little closer to the rest of the family, consider turning a corner of the house into a dedicated pet nook. They’re fairly easy to put together, and they can go anywhere in the house without adding too much clutter to a room. Why not turn that understairs cabinet into a cozy resting place for your best friend? Or, simply find a corner of the family room to set up a plushy bed — and of course, keep their toys close by.

Utilize Pet Gates

When you move into your stunning new home, you’ll want to preserve it as much as you can. To that end, consider utilizing pet gates to stop your mischievous furry friends from getting into trouble in certain areas of the house. This keeps your home safe, and your pets safe — there’s less of a chance they’ll get into something they shouldn’t if you can keep them contained in one section of the house.

Opt for Dog-Friendly Decor

One of the best parts of moving into a new home is decorating it to match your personal taste and style. You can finally bring all those Pinterest boards to life! But, before you head to your nearest HomeGoods, Hobby Lobby, local boutique or online shop, make sure you plan to pick up decor pieces that won’t accidentally harm your pet. If you want to get houseplants, for example, make sure they’re non-toxic for animals. Some beautiful, pet-safe plant options include spider plants, sword ferns, African violets, Calatheas, parlor plants and radiator plants. When considering other decor, you might want to go for choices that are more sturdy, such as wall-mounted art or heavier statement pieces that won’t fall and shatter as easily.

Pick Somewhere with Plenty of Space to Play

Your four-legged companion is sure to be happier if you are able to find a home where they will have plenty of yard space and places to run around. To really elevate their backyard experience, you can get your pet an outdoor bed for lounging around on sunny days. In addition to ample yard space, you also want to look for properties that are surrounded by beautiful natural scenery, so your daily walks are a new adventure every time. Luckily, many Lafferty Communities homes offer expansive backyards that your pet will love and are situated near rolling hillsides, large lakes and more. It’s a win-win!

Not Just a Home — Your Home

Lafferty Communities is proud to offer homeowners the chance to live in homes they will truly love living in, and that extends to every member of your family. Explore our different options and find the Lafferty home that is perfect for both you and your furry friend.

Your Home as a Holiday Destination

Hosting for the holidays — some people love it, some people will do anything they can to avoid it. Even if it is your cup of tea, it’s likely the prospect of hosting extended family or friends for the holidays brings its fair share of stress. Whether you’re a first-time host or a seasoned party pro, we’ve got you covered with some expert tips on how to turn your home into a holiday destination that will leave your loved ones buzzing.

Plan a Warm Welcome

A successful holiday gathering starts at the front door. Prep for your guests’ arrival by making a fun, seasonal welcome cocktail, such as a classic Wassail or a holiday twist on a traditional Moscow Mule. As they step into the winter wonderland of your home, they’ll appreciate that the party starts right away. To pair with your perfectly crafted welcome drink, consider having a few light appetizers out when everyone arrives. A simple charcuterie platter will give your guests plenty to graze on while they’re waiting for dinner. Or, you can level up the appetizer game a little, with something like these Cranberry Brie Bites and these Christmas Ornament Cheese Balls.

Set the Mood Early On

Once your guests are happily sipping on festive drinks, chatting and snacking, the last thing you want to do is have to scramble to set the mood. Before your guests arrive, put on some classic holiday tunes, or a simple, cheerful instrumental playlist to underscore the evening. Maybe pop a holiday movie on the television on low volume or on mute, too, for added ambiance. You’ll definitely want to invest in a scented candle or two, as well as lots of votive candles dotted around the kitchen, living and dining areas. 

Festive Flair

Turn your holiday gathering from good to great with the right decor. It doesn’t need to be flashy — some simple, elegant wintry touches added around the home make a world of difference. Brighten up your living room and kitchen with some soft, twinkling string lights, and hang a holiday garland over the mantle. Consider purchasing fun, holiday-themed cocktail napkins and servingware ahead of time, so you can keep the festive vibes going down to the smallest detail. Tying the decor into unexpected places, such as the guest bathroom, can also add a sense of cohesion to your home and make every room feel a little more magical.

A Soft Place to Land

If you’re hosting people overnight, you’ll want to make sure you put extra care towards preparing the areas they’ll be sleeping. Freshen up any bedding, and add a few touches of holiday cheer, such as through the use of festive pillows and a candle or two. To ensure your guests have everything they need for a comfortable rest, stock up your bathrooms with overnight essentials. A welcome basket is also a nice touch that your guests will truly appreciate. Grab a wicker basket and stock it with a comfy pair of slippers, a few bottles of water, a spare phone charger, a fresh toothbrush — really, anything that you think would make your guest’s stay more pleasant.

Maximize Your Hosting Space

Depending on how many people you are planning on hosting, consider rearranging some of your furniture in the areas where guests will spend most of their time. Pull any tables to the edges of the room and leave the center more open, so your guests can mingle freely without the room feeling crowded. Add additional seating, which can be anything from cushy ottomans to sleek folding chairs, to the space as well. You’ll also want to put away anything breakable or valuable to you ahead of time — you don’t want to have to deal with someone accidentally bumping into your favorite flower vase in the middle of all the festivities. Make it clear where the party boundaries end by simply closing off any doors you don’t want curious guests wandering into. If you have pets — especially pets that aren’t as comfortable with people — be sure to provide them with space to easily relax away from all the excitement.

Friendly Competition

Who doesn’t love a little competition during the holidays? Get your guests to engage with each other over a fun, casual group activity or game. Avoid a game that requires your guests to learn a whole rulebook cover to cover — instead, opt for a low-stress, easy-to-understand game that allows everyone to chat while they play. Set up a card game in a corner of the living room, for instance, or make the party itself a themed competition, such as an ugly sweater contest.

Fabulous Festive Feasts

At any holiday gathering, dinner is the star of the show. However, you don’t want to be stuck in the kitchen all night, stressing over a stovetop while your guests enjoy an evening without you! Make dinner as hassle-free as possible by prepping as much as you can ahead of time. Something like a lasagna or a casserole can be made a few days before your gathering and stored in the freezer. Then, when it’s time to serve, simply pop it in the oven and you’re set. For something a little fancier, go for a Beef Wellington, which can be almost fully prepared (up to the pastry wrapping stage) 24 hours in advance, too. Of course, you can’t forget about dessert. Cap the night with some holiday cookies or seasonally-flavored ice cream.

There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays

This holiday season, take the opportunity to showcase your stunning new Lafferty home and host the ultimate holiday get-together. Even if it’s your first time hosting, these tips will help you plan and execute a holiday party that will be the highlight of the year.

Kitchen Trends to Look Out For in 2024

For new home buyers, one of the most exciting parts of the move is customizing your living experience to mirror the home you’ve always dreamed of. In personalizing your home, oftentimes, the kitchen gets overlooked as a place to explore your decor personality. However, as the heart of a home, the kitchen is a great space to add some vibrant colors, stylish hardware accents and more. Need some inspiration? Check out some of these design trends sure to be popping up in kitchens everywhere come 2024.

 Skip the Starbucks Trip

Whether you’re a morning person, a working-from-home professional or just someone who loves a good cup of coffee, a dedicated space to make your coffee brewing a little more special is essential. Instead of tucking your coffeemaker into a corner of an overcrowded counter space, opt for a dedicated beverage station. The great part is, you can take this infinitely versatile upgrade as far as you’d like, whether you’re looking to add dedicated cabinets for glasses and syrups, a built-in coffee machine or keep it simple but just dedicating a piece of your kitchen space to a next-level home barista setup.

 Green with Envy

In recent years, many designers, builders and homebuyers have shifted their interests to emphasize sustainability. Lafferty homes, for instance, feature Energy StarⓇ appliances, which work together with our green-focused design to create a home that isn’t just good for the individual, but is good for the environment, too. Why not pair a sustainable kitchen with a pop of color? You can easily incorporate soothing earthy vibes by choosing furniture and accessories in a variety of shades of green, from light sage all the way to bright emerald. For a more subtle touch, simply add some indoor plants in the windows.

 Layers All the Way

A great way to add some life to a kitchen is by adding lots of unique lighting options. Forget the bright overhead lights — this year, go for layering your lighting from the ground up. Soft LED strips underneath the counters or along the edges of cabinets provide a gentle glow any time of the day. From there, consider a larger, statement lighting fixture above the kitchen island to add some interest to the space as well as reinforce the lighting. This way, you can vary the amount of light you are using to suit your mood, and you can express your personality through dynamic lighting fixtures.

 Maximize Your Storage

Everyone loves a clean kitchen. To keep your counters uncluttered, there are a wide variety of sneaky storage spaces you can add that will blend right in with your counters, drawers and cabinets. For instance, why not move the paper towel roll off of the counter and into its own drawer space, tucked away but easy to access? Additionally, a walk-in, butler-style pantry can provide lots of added storage space that you can keep out of sight and out of mind.

 Make It Inviting

The kitchen is more than simply a place where you prepare food. It’s a gathering place in its own right, so why not make it a little more inviting for any guests you might have over? For a fun, casual communal eating space, place a little more focus on comfortable seating around a breakfast bar. These are a great spot to enjoy some appetizers and drinks during a dinner party or to dig into some home-cooked brunch on a weekend afternoon.

 Your Taste, Your Choice

When you are buying a home with Lafferty Communities, you can be sure that you will have the freedom to make your home truly yours. With the ability to tailor your kitchen — and the rest of your home beyond that — to your unique tastes and style, you’ll feel right at home the moment you move in. Start looking for your new home today and discover which Lafferty Community is right for you.

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