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The First Courtyard Series Home

By Chris Schell, in The Villages at Herring Creek

The Mulberry Courtyard at The Villages at Herring Creek

We’ve finished our first Courtyard Series model at the Villages at Herring Creek and will be launching the full series in the next few weeks.  I think you’ll really like this home series.  The Courtyard Series is based upon extensive research about what Boomers are looking for in a home.  Here are just a few of the design aspects of these houses that are unique:

  • Courtyards: By far the most unique aspect of these homes is the Courtyards.  The feedback provided by boomers was that they wanted more “usable”, private, and comfortable outdoor living space.  The research indicated that backyards are very rarely used and that production homes don’t allow for a usable practical outdoor area.  So, all Courtyard Homes live around an outdoor courtyard space.  The living area and the master bedroom open onto this space.  The outdoor space is raised so that there is not a big drop between the indoor and outdoor spaces.  It can be made private via fencing or planting an evergreen border.  There are also multiple “spaces” or outdoor rooms to the Courtyards.  For example, the Courtyard at the Villages at Herring Creek has 3 “outdoor rooms”:  an outdoor dining area, a sunbathing/lounge area, and an outdoor living area (sofas/chairs with a fireplace).
  • No Formal Dining Room but enlarged dining area in place of breakfast nook:  all the homes have bar seating in the kitchen and an enlarged breakfast nook type area for a large dining table.  The feedback we received was that formal dining rooms are never used and are a waste of money & space.  Plus, most people like open floor plans so it made more sense to have the dining area off the kitchen and open to the kitchen & living area.
  • Flex Room: most plans have a flex room on the 1st floor that can be used as a study, den, living room, bedroom, or formal dining room.  Our research showed that many people want a “cozy” spot to watch TV, surf the internet, or do home office/hobby type work.
  • Oversized 2 car garages with ample Storage Space: by far one of the biggest gripes people had with the homes offered by the large National Builders is the tight garages.  The garages are barely large enough for two cars and with two cars, there is no space for bikes, tools, beach gear, golf clubs, etc.  All of the courtyard garages have ample storage space in addition to plenty of room for two cars.
  • First Floor masters with ample closet space: this one is obvious.  We also offer a bunch of luxury master suite options.
  • Storage Closet on first floor: another gripe buyers had was lack of easily accessible storage space for things like vacuum cleaners, platters, Christmas decorations, etc.  So, most Courtyard Series plans have a first floor walk-in storage closet.
  • Open Kitchen/Dining/Living: All the plans have very open living areas which seems to be desired by most buyers nowadays.

Anyway, we invite you to visit the Villages at Herring Creek to tour our new Courtyard model.  We haven’t planted the flowers yet in the courtyard space because it’s too early but once we do that, the Courtyard area should be even more impressive.

Now is the best time in our lifetime to buy a new home!

By Chris Schell, in All Communities

I totally agree with this article about why now is such a great time to buy a new home..  When markets are down is when you want to buy.  Unfortunately, it is natural human behavior to feel comfortable buying when prices have been up for awhile and is scary to buy when prices have been down.  However, history has shown that, financially, you are much better off buying after prices have been down for awhile.  This will most likely be the best time in our lifetime to buy a home from an investment standpoint.

“Real estate: It’s time to buy again” by Shawn Tully via CNN Money

It’s exciting to think that this is only just the beginning for Schell Brothers!

By Chris Schell, in All Communities

Schell Brothers was highlighted in the February 2011 Editor’s Notes in Builder Magazine for not only an impressive number of awards but also for our indomitable spirit. Our company has made it through the worst housing marketing in history but I wouldn’t trade the past few years for anything in the world. The challenging times not only forced us to become a better company but more importantly, really brought our team together.  Our mission to bring happiness to ourselves and our homeowners has shaped our company into what it is today and given our entire team a “higher” purpose.  The National recognition we have received is really a testament to how the pursuit of a worthy goal unrelated to financial gain can yield amazing results.  It’s exciting to think that this is only just the beginning for Schell Brothers.

“And the builder attendees showed similar grit and innovative thinking in the face of adversity. Schell Brothers, a small Delaware home builder, scored a major upset at the National Sales and Marketing Awards, earning five golds. The company’s secret weapon? Happiness. While other companies were cancelling holiday parties and forgoing incentives in order to cut costs, Schell Brothers upped the ante big time on morale-boosting for their employees. The employees responded in kind, and their increased efforts are reflected in those awards, yes, but more importantly, in the company’s doubled sales and revenues in 2010.”

Pretty cool stuff. Check out the whole article: True Grit – Attendees of this year’s International Builders’ Show displayed the indomitable spirit of the home building industry.

Summer is in full swing at the beach

By Chris Schell, in All Communities

Vacationers and second home owners alike are once again visiting the beach at “The Nation’s Summer Capital.” The team at Schell Brothers is also enjoying summertime. The person standing next to you at Funland or seated near you at the beach could very well be one of our employees!

Recent media reports about a national housing slowdown and possible real estate bubble obviously haven’t effected Schell Brothers’ workload. We are actually growing in size and have recently hired our 50th employee. June was a big hiring month for us with seven new employees starting.

We love this time of the year as we can accomplish so much more with longer days and warmer temperatures. Each of our communities is alive with activity:

Breakwater hosted a Bar-B-Q last Saturday to show off the completed pool area. The whale slide in the kiddie pool was a popular place to be for the under-five set. The event was well attended by home owners and potential buyers. The party gave everyone a chance to get to know their new neighbors. If you are in the Lewes, feel free to stop by for a visit. The models are open daily from 10 AM to 4 PM. The Provence model received some special attention a few weeks ago. The architect, nationally renowned Donald A Gardner, sent their Marketing Director and a professional photographer for a photo shoot. The pictures came out very well. We were excited about the attention we have received on these models.

Heritage Creek also has models that are open to the public. The community’s Grand Opening is scheduled for the first weekend in August to coincide with Milton’s 200th Anniversary celebration. Please come by for a tour!

Independence started construction a few weeks ago and already the skeletons of four houses have risen from the foundation. The community is very popular for those looking to live in a 55 and older beach community. The clubhouse is scheduled to start construction in August.

The pre-construction phase has started for The Vineyards at Nassau Valley. The team hosted a record number of guests at the Pre-Release Party recently held at The Vineyards. The guests participated in a Wine and Cheese Tasting while listening to a local youth Steel Band.

Stay tuned for more updates.