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Building a New Home Vs. Adding On

House on Sunflower showing kitchen

Are you in desperate need of another bedroom due to an impending arrival? Maybe you can no longer make do with an apartment-sized kitchen.  Regardless of the specifics, if your current home is no longer meeting your needs, it’s time to make a change.  But is the solution to build an addition to your home?  Or is it better to just move to a different home altogether?  The build an addition or move question has troubled many a homeowner.  Below, we’ll help you evaluate the pros and cons of adding-on to a house vs. building a new construction home.

Remodel Vs. New Construction– 5 Key Questions to Ask

Moving can be difficult, so many people ask themselves “Should I add on to my house?” if they think it will allow them to avoid a move. But adding-on to a house isn’t easy either. When deciding whether to build an addition or move, there are several factors to consider. Here are five questions to help you decide whether to build or remodel:

1. What Do You Need?

Make a list of essential features you must gain from build or remodel.  What’s working for you at your current house? What’s not working? Answering these questions may help you determine if adding on is actually the best way to move forward.

2. What Is Possible/Allowed?

Once you know what you need, you’ll want to figure out what you can actually do. There are a number of possible limiting factors here, such as:

  • Local zoning laws
  • HOA and historic building restrictions
  • Space limitations – you only do so much with your existing lot
  • Structural issues, especially with older buildings

Determining what’s physically possible and legally permitted can help you determine whether you should build an addition or move.

3. What Can You Afford?

Aside from the physical and regulatory limitations, there’s the matter of money. In general, additions and renovations cost less than building new, but costs can escalate quickly, especially when you run into unforeseen complications. This is especially true in older homes, in which a relatively simple addition could wind up turning into a major construction project in order to bring existing systems and structures up to code.

4. Could You Get a Return on Your Investment?

Even if you can afford it, is it worth adding on to your home? As a general rule of thumb, you don’t want yours to be the most expensive house on the block. Put another way, you don’t want to pour money into a home that you will not be able to get back when you sell.  Certain improvements, like adding a second bathroom or upgrading the closet in the primary bedroom tend to have a better ROI than adding a sunroom or a garage.

Building a new construction home is often a better investment, especially if you build in the right neighborhood. According to RCLCO, location is one area where buyers are least likely to skimp on, so relocating is often the better choice.

5. Can You Handle the Time and Stress Involved?

Finally, there’s the matter of how adding on or building a new home will affect your lifestyle. If you choose to build an addition on the house, you’ll need to either put up with the noise and dust of your construction crew or find another place to stay. This requires the added expense of paying rent on top of your mortgage payments. On the other hand, building a new home may take longer than renovating, but it’s much less disruptive.

Reasons to Build a New Home vs. Adding On

As you consider the above questions, it’s important to take into account the potential advantages of each option.

Reasons to Add-On or Renovate

Some homeowners choose to renovate for these reasons:

  • Potential ROI – A two-story add-on could get you a 65% return on your investment.
  • Lower upfront cost – Add-ons and renovations usually cost less upfront than whole new constructions—as long as nothing goes wrong, of course.
  • Less time – Renovations usually take less time than new home builds, so you could save some time, if that’s important to you.

It’s worth noting that while renovating can be a good idea in the right circumstances, you need to go about it carefully. Some additions could make a home harder to sell (depending on your neighborhood), and you might have local limitations, so do your due diligence.

Reasons to Build New

Some of the reasons you might want to build a new home include:

  • More control – You can choose your exterior design, floorplan, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, finishes, and more, right from the start.
  • Fewer surprises – When you work with an experienced builder, like the ones that build the new homes at Lilyana by Hillwood, you know the cost of your home up front. Once you choose your design and floorplan, and make your selections on optional features and upgrades, your costs are set.  You can even use Lilyana’s mortgage calculator to find out how much new home you can afford!
  • Greater efficiency– New homes are designed to be more energy efficient than older homes and some are built with sustainably sourced and recyclable materials.
  • Less stress – No need to live in a major construction zone or endure the financial stress of paying rent on top of your mortgage payment.
  • It’s all new – New homes are still under warranty, and there’s less chance that something will break. And come on, who doesn’t love that new-home smell?

When you build new, you can get the home you want from the very beginning rather than trying to fix up something that may have more issues than you initially anticipated.

Build a New Home at Lilyana by Hillwood

Another advantage to building new is the chance to live in a master-planned community like Lilyana by Hillwood in Celina, TX!  Located within the acclaimed Prosper ISD, Lilyana offers the advantages of small-town living just minutes away from the $5 Billion Mile in Frisco, TX.  Come visit our community that has over 50-acres of green space and an array of amazing amenities or take a virtual tour instead.  Contact us to learn more about Lilyana today.

What to Know About Alternative Real Estate Companies

House for sale in Prosper, TX

It seems alternative real estate companies and apps are springing up like weeds all over the world, offering homeowners and buyers various benefits, mainly the promise of savings. The number of alternative real estate options, also called third-party syndicated sites, is somewhere in the neighborhood of 175 right now. So how do these companies work, and should you use one of them?

Realtor Alternatives

Let’s take a look at a couple of the most popular alternative real estate companies on the market right now and examine how they work.

Zillow

People love Zillow. People love it so much that there was a sketch on Saturday Night Live earlier this year about how people escape the stress of the pandemic by looking at Zillow homes. Zillow is useful for researching neighborhoods, getting an idea of the style and size of a home you want, viewing photos of homes, and seeing what’s on the market in your desired area. You can even get pre-qualified for a mortgage. But can you actually buy a home through Zillow? And more importantly, should you?

The primary complaint about Zillow among homebuyers is that its information isn’t always accurate. Zillow gets most of its information from the multiple listing service (MLS) which is a database where realtors input information about homes they are selling. (Zillow users only see the most basic MLS information–the rest is only visible to realtors within the MLS.)  Zillow’s data is only as fresh as its last database download, that’s why price, availability, and other information about a home can be wrong.

If you’re lucky and the home is available, you can ask the listing agent to show it to you. Some people think you don’t need a realtor if you’re buying a home you find online, but there is actually little benefit to going at it alone. The seller pays both the buyer’s agent and the listing agent’s fees from the proceeds of the sale, so there’s no financial downside of using a realtor.

The listing agent may offer to represent you in the transaction, but this is a tricky business. Some states don’t even allow a “dual agent” arrangement because it is so difficult for one realtor to represent both parties fairly in such a transaction. Texas does allow a realtor to act as a dual agent but be careful here.  You may not want the person representing you in the purchase to also be representing the buyer as it can be a conflict of interest.

A much better choice is to select your own trusted realtor and let them arrange for the showing of any homes you come across on Zillow. Chances are that your agent will have already found them for you anyway. According to the NAR 2020 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 91% of recent buyers found a realtor to be a very or somewhat useful information source. And 91% said they would use their agent again and recommend their agent to others.

A local real estate agent learns what you want and can find it much faster than you can through their network of other agents and their knowledge of the market. Realtors make it their business to know what is about to come on the market and a good realtor can get you in to see a home soon after it has been listed, before it even shows up on Zillow.

Redfin

Redfin is another alternative real estate website that offers a database of homes for sale. Like Zillow, Redfin pulls its data from the MLS. Redfin is a discount real estate broker, and their realtors are paid a salary rather than receiving a percentage of each sale. Redfin’s listing fees are about half of a traditional realtor’s although the company does have a minimum listing fee.

You can use a traditional realtor to buy a home listed with Redfin and many people do. Homes sold with Redfin typically pay a standard commission percentage to the buyer’s agent to ensure the home gets plenty of traffic and a quick sale.

You can also buy a Redfin-listed home with a Redfin agent. When this happens, Redfin receives the buyers commission, which is typically 2.5%-3% of the sales price. The company claims it will then rebate the buyer a percentage of the buyer’s commission, depending on various factors such as your location, home value, closing costs, etc. It’s important to note that Redfin will not disclose how they calculate their rebate amounts. This rebate might sound good in theory, but this is an example of “you get what you pay for” because Redfin is able to give the buyer a rebate by paying their realtors less.

Traditional realtors, on the other hand, are paid by the seller, so there’s no money out of your pocket to use them. They most likely have a wealth of knowledge about the local area, have a huge network to draw on, and have a tremendous incentive to do a great job for you. They know if they do, you are likely to use them again and refer them to others!

So, what’s the bottom line with alternative real estate services that claim to save you money? Online real estate services have to make their money somehow, but how can they afford to do it? If you work with one of these companies, you might save some money, it’s true. But it’s probably not worth it if you lose at the negotiating table because you don’t have the right representation. In general, traditional real estate agents have much more to offer their clients than the online real estate services. Online home databases are great for getting ideas and choosing neighborhoods, but it’s hard to beat the personal touch of a full-service realtor.

Ask Your Realtor to Show You the New Homes at Lilyana

If you’re looking for a new home within Prosper ISD that’s just minutes from Frisco but has small town appeal, take a look at Lilyana by Hillwood in Celina, TX. Your realtor can work with you to find the home that’s perfect for you and can guide you through the purchase process. Take a virtual tour of Lilyana today.

Busting Myths about Master-Planned Communities

Lilyana by Hillwood

Are you asking yourself “Should I live in a master-planned community?” Many people are drawn to planned communities for their many benefits, but there are a few misconceptions about these neighborhoods than can give folks pause. Below, we dispel these myths and misconceptions and explain why buying a home in a planned community like Lilyana by Hillwood in Celina, TX is a great decision!

Myth #1: The Houses All Look the Same

One of the most common myths about planned communities is they are full of “cookie cutter” houses that all look the same. When it comes to Hillwood Communities such as Lilyana, this is simply not the case. Most master-planned communities have anti-monotony codes that keep houses from all looking the same. In fact, the zoning codes (pages 102 and 110) in Celina, Texas where Lilyana is located have rules governing matters like elevation and materials, all in order to keep homes in neighborhoods from looking too similar.

At Lilyana, we have a variety of home designs, with different options for both internal layout and exterior appearance. The homes in our neighborhoods are constructed by a number of builders, each with their own specialties and styles. You can check out our different styles with virtual tours here.

Myth #2: The Community Rules Are Too Restrictive

Homeowners associations, or HOAs, are a common part of living in a master-planned community and all homeowners become members when they buy a home. A common misconception is that HOAs wield an unreasonable level control over homeowners. The reality is, the HOA is there to support the community, take care of common facilities, and improve the neighborhood overall.

Many of the HOA’s rules are designed to help preserve property values. The HOA works with homeowners who wish to customize their home to help them stay in line with community standards. According to survey data from the Community Associations Institute, 71% of homeowners know their association’s rules both protect and enhance their property values.

HOA rules also govern noise, lawn care, yard signs, use of common areas such as pools and pavilions, etc. These reasonable rules set expectations for the community so there are no surprises. The end result is a community everyone can be proud of.

Myth #3: HOA Dues Aren’t Worth It

Another common misconception has to do with HOA dues—that people don’t want to pay them and question what they are for. HOA dues cover maintenance of the amenities and common areas of the community and in most cases are reasonable. For example, annual dues for Lilyana’s HOA are $805 per year, or a little over $67 per month. These dues go cover the maintenance of the community’s common areas, parks, and amenities, such as:

  • An outdoor kitchen and pavilion
  • Paths for walking and biking
  • A catch and release fishing pond
  • Playgrounds & parks
  • A resort-style pool

Each of these amenities adds value to the community. At Lilyana, your HOA dues go toward creating and maintaining a wonderful neighborhood for everyone.

Myth #4: Planned Communities Are Too Remote

A common misconception about master-planned communities is that they’re located too far from shopping and other needed services and resources. With Hillwood Communities, this just isn’t the case. Lilyana, for example, is conveniently located just 10 miles North of Frisco and the $5 Billion Mile, which is jam-packed with shopping, restaurants, health care services, commerce, sports and entertainment venues, and just about anything else you could want!

Great schools are close by and convenient to Lilyana, as well.  The community is located within the Prosper Independent School District, which has some of the best schools in the state, including:

  • Johnson Elementary School
  • Rogers Middle School
  • Prosper High School

In the future, Lilyana will have an on-site elementary school, making it even more convenient for parents and their kids to walk or bike to school!

Myth #5: The Homes Won’t Hold Their Value

Some people believe, incorrectly, that homes in a master-planned community may not hold their value. Again, in Hillwood Communities like Lilyana, this is simply not true.  With a combination of top builders, favorable locations, award-winning school districts, and country-club-like amenities, homes built in master-planned communities typically maintain or increase in value over time.

There’s no doubt homes within master-planned communities are in high demand. In fact, sales at the top master-planned communities grew over 40% in the last year according to RCLCO’s most recent mid-year report, and Texas is among the top locations in terms of home sales in master-planned communities.

Buying a New Home? Try Lilyana by Hillwood!

Still just thinking of buying a new home in a planned community? Now that we’ve busted the common myths, there’s no reason not to! If you’re looking for a great place to live, drop by Lilyana in Celina, TX within Prosper ISD for a visit or get in touch!

Employment Opportunities Abound in Collin County

In recent years, Texas has been the scene of massive growth, both in terms of population and job opportunities. Collin County in particular has seen tremendous expansion, adding more than 202,000 jobs between 2010 and 2019 and nearly 220,000 residents between 2010 and 2020.  With gains like these, it’s no surprise Collin County is one of the fastest growing counties in Texas.

As more people move into the county, so have more businesses, creating an attractive job outlook for residents in the area. If you’re looking for a great place to live and work, Collin County is an excellent choice.

What’s Drawing Businesses to Collin County?

Aside from the booming population, other factors that are helping to draw employers to Collin County include low tax rates and business-friendly policies, especially in the wake of the recent pandemic.

Low Tax Rates

Texas has no individual state income taxes, and the state franchise tax rates (what Texas calls its business tax) are extremely low.  Businesses with less than $1.18 million in receipts pay no tax and those with $1.18 million to $10 million pay a rate of only 0.375%.  The maximum franchise tax rate in the state is 0.75%. These favorable tax rates make it easy for employers great and small to operate, and many businesses have moved into the area as a result, including quite a few from out of state.

Collin CARES Assistance Programs

Smaller businesses in particular have prospered in Collin County as a result of the small business grants provided through the Collin CARES program. The program was created to help those impacted by the pandemic and offers grants up to $25,000 to businesses that saw gross revenue losses in excess of 15% in the last year. As a result, businesses that might not have survived have had a fighting chance to pull through.

Largest Employers in Collin County, TX

Collin County has brought businesses of all sizes into the area. Some of the largest employers in the county include:

  • FedEx
  • Frito-Lay
  • Hewlett Packard Enterprises
  • JCPenney
  • JP Morgan/Chase
  • Toyota
  • Fannie Mae

These are just a few of the large businesses that have moved into the area in recent years. Countless other employers have found their place in Collin County, and they provide many opportunities for residents to land fulfilling careers. In coming years, the county’s future job growth is projected to be over 48%, much higher than the national average of 33.5%. Median household income in the area is also well above that of other states, exceeding $84,000 per year.

The Time is Right to Move to Collin County

The area’s massive growth makes it a great place to live if you’re looking for fulfilling work with successful companies. However, that very fact makes it attractive to other people too. That means the time to move to Collin County is now.

If you’re on the lookout for a great place to live in Collin County, look no further than Lilyana by Hillwood. This picturesque community in Celina, TX within the acclaimed Prosper ISD has all the charms of small-town life yet is  conveniently located just 10 miles north of Frisco with an easy commute to many Collin County employers. For more information on Lilyana, get in touch with us today or take a virtual tour.

6 Things That Make a Good Neighborhood Great

Not all neighborhoods are created equal. How do you find a great neighborhood for your family, especially now when home inventories are at record lows?  What should you look for in a neighborhood?  Many things can make a neighborhood good like attractive homes and steady home values. While no two neighborhoods are going to be exactly alike, the best ones tend to share the same critically important characteristics. So just what is it that makes for a good neighborhood?

1.    Homeowners Care About Their Neighborhood & Their Neighbors

One of the most important qualities of a good neighborhood is that the residents care about the neighborhood and want to see it develop into something special. This means folks own their homes and take a sense of pride in ownership. The homeowners in the area care about their community, and they want to contribute to make it a better place to live.

It’s easy to care about your neighborhood and your neighbors at Lilyana by Hillwood. The master-planned community in Celina, TX is made to be walkable so neighbors can meet each other on their way to the pool, heading to the fishing pond, or while walking the dog.  It’s not unusual for neighbors to meet at the outdoor kitchen and event pavilion and enjoy fellowship while their kids play at the parks and playgrounds.  That’s all part of the design at Lilyana.

2.    Outdoor Recreational Opportunities

Another aspect of what makes a good neighborhood is plenty of places for recreation. Outdoor activities are a great way to get exercise, meet your neighbors, and improve your mental health. In fact, studies have shown that those who have high exposure to green space have better psychiatric health, while those without green space nearby are 55% more likely to develop mental disorders. It’s clear that having natural beauty near your home is good for your health.

Lilyana offers many opportunities for fun outdoor activities including:

  • Miles of paths for biking and walking
  • Multiple parks
  • Outdoor pavilion and kitchen
  • A catch and release fishing pond
  • A luxury swimming pool

Opening soon is Bluebonnet Park, which will offer an outdoor pavilion, sports courts, a children’s play area, and more.

3.    Superior Schools

If you have kids, the local school system is probably high on the list of must-haves when looking for a good neighborhood. You want to make sure your children are getting the education and support they need at school. Not only that, but homes within good school districts tend to have higher resale values.

Lilyana is located within the award-winning Prosper ISD, which is known for academic excellence and commitment to student success. The district currently ranks as one of the best in Texas. In the near future, Lilyana will be home to a new on-site Prosper ISD elementary school making it extra convenient for kids to walk or bike to school.

4.    Proximity to Amenities

Speaking of convenience, proximity to important services and amenities is another essential quality of the perfect neighborhood. Master-planned communities like Lilyana are ideal for walkability since it’s one of the main tenets of the design. Pathways and roads are designed to accommodate pedestrian traffic and minimize congestion from vehicles, all while keeping local amenities within convenient walking distance of everyone in the neighborhood.

Besides having easy access to our on-site amenities, Lilyana’s great location in Celina, TX means residents can also easily reach Frisco’s “$5 Billion Mile” which is just 10 miles away. It takes a short drive to reach the city’s offerings like entertainment, shopping, restaurants, medical care, businesses, sports venues, and much more.

5.    Safety

Naturally, you want your neighborhood to be safe. A local crime rate is a good indicator of the neighborhood’s quality, with a low or decreasing rate showing improvement in the area as a whole.

For instance, Lilyana is located in Celina, Texas, which has an A+ rating when it comes to local crime rates. That top rating means it is safer than the majority of cities throughout the U.S., with Celina’s total crime being about 70% below the national average. In addition, crimes are currently decreasing in the area by 23% per year, meaning it’s still improving as a community.

6.    In Sync with Your Lifestyle

Finally, the perfect neighborhood is not only going to be objectively good in terms of amenities, walkability, schools, etc., but it will also be a subjectively good match for you and your family. Each person has their own preferences and lifestyle, after all, and you want your community to match what you value most. The best communities often cater to specific interests.

Each of our communities is designed around common interests and lifestyles that bring people together. For instance, Lilyana is the ideal place for those with an active lifestyle since it provides plenty of opportunities for walking through nature, fishing, swimming, or just getting together for a picnic outside. You’ll find people with shared interests and enjoy time with like-minded neighbors.

Looking for a Great Neighborhood? Lilyana Has it All!

If you’re currently in the market for a new home, Lilyana by Hillwood has all the makings of a great neighborhood. From excellent outdoor amenities to thoughtful neighborhood design, we take pride in providing one of the best master-planned communities in North Texas. To learn more about our community, get in touch today!

Is a One-Story or a Two-Story Home Better for You?

Break Houses

Choosing between a one-story and a two-story home can be challenging. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. Your decision will come down to your family and your needs.

Read on to figure out which home is best for you.

Advantages of a One-Story Home

There are both pros and cons of a one-story house. Some of the pros include:

  • More usable living space
  • More affordable to heat and cool
  • Better for aging in place
  • Safer for children & older folks
  • Easier to add square footage in the future

Living Space

One of the biggest advantages when it comes to a one-story vs two-story house is more usable living space. You won’t lose space to staircases and you can truly maximize your square footage by minimizing hallways. One-story homes also tend to feel more expansive, especially if you have an open floor plan.

Lower Heating & Cooling Bills

Because heat rises, it’s more difficult to cool the second floor of a two-story home. One-story homes tend to be less expensive to heat and cool overall.

Safety & Aging in Place

Staircases can be dangerous and difficult for both the elderly and small children. Climbing a staircase can be difficult for those who suffer from arthritis or other health issues. And even if you have no problem climbing stairs now, that may change later. A one-story home will be easier to navigate into your golden years.

For families with young children, there are a few considerations. First, stairs can be dangerous for little kids who aren’t steady on their feet. Even older kids can fall if they’re running up and down the stairs several times a day.

If the main bedroom is on the first floor and the children’s rooms are on the second floor, you’ll also want to consider that you’ll be a floor away from your kids at night. If you have a baby, you may be carrying the baby up and down the stairs several times a day.

Finally, while nobody wants to think about the possibility, single-story homes are easier to evacuate than two-story houses in the event of a fire.

Potential for Adding on

If you plan on adding square footage to your house in the future, it’s much easier to do with one story. You can just extend your roofline as much as you need. With a two-story home, it gets much more complicated and expensive.

Disadvantages of a One-Story House

Now that we know the pros, realize there are also some cons to a one-story vs a two-story house.

These include:

  • More expensive to build
  • A larger footprint and therefore a smaller yard
  • Less privacy

Higher Cost

In most cases, when it comes to the cost of a one-story vs a two-story house, it’s more expensive to build a one-story house. A home’s foundation and its roof are typically two of the more expensive line items and both of these will cost more in a one-story home versus a two-story home. Your plumbing and electrical systems will also require longer runs, which will make costs higher.

Since a one-story house has a bigger footprint, you may need a bigger lot, which will cost more as well.

Larger Footprint

While it’s easier to add on to a one-story house, you’re going to have a larger footprint. If you don’t opt for that larger, more expensive lot, you’ll have less yard space.

Less Privacy

All the windows of a one-story home are at street level, meaning that passersby can see into your home. Rooms on the upper floor of a two-story home have some measure of privacy based solely on their distance from the ground.

In a one-story home, public and private spaces are all on the same level, which may be inconvenient if you have young children and want to entertain guests after bedtime. Depending on your floor plan, you may have guests walking through bedrooms to use your bathroom which isn’t ideal.

Advantages of a Two-Story House

Two-story homes are popular. Here are a few reasons why people love two-story homes:

  • Lower building costs
  • More outdoor space and better views from inside
  • Privacy

Lower Cost

Two-story homes are typically cheaper to build. They have less foundation to pour and less pipe to run, which means you’ll most likely save on materials.

Outdoor Space & Views

Two-story homes have larger outdoor spaces. You’ll have a smaller footprint, which means a bigger yard. Two-story homes work well on narrower lots that won’t always accommodate a one-story home.

Since you have a second story, you’ll also have better views. You can often see out and appreciate the nature around you, whereas with a one-story home, you’ll be at eye-level with your neighbors’ homes.

More Privacy

If you prefer a house with separate living and entertainment spaces, a two-story may be right for you. You can have all of the bedrooms upstairs if you want privacy. This way the windows are not at street level and there’s less of a chance of someone looking in while walking or driving by.

If you have older kids or teens, you may enjoy the separation that a two-story home can offer. You can have the main bedroom on the bottom floor and put your kids rooms upstairs.

Disadvantages of a Two-Story Home

When considering the pros of a two-story house, there are also some cons to consider:

  • Safety issues
  • Less usable square footage
  • Longer build time

Safety Concerns

Stairs can pose a safety hazard, especially to the elderly or children. You may want to consider a staircase with a landing. If you have small children, you’ll need to use a gate to keep them protected.

Stairs Take Up Space

Not only are stairs dangerous, but they also take up a lot of space. If you’re working with less square footage, you may not be willing to give up some of it on stairs.

Longer Build

Two-story homes typically take longer to build. If it’s imperative that you get into your home as quickly as possible, you may want to consider one story.

Is a One- or Two-Story Home Better for You?

If it comes down to if it’s cheaper to build one-story or two-story houses, a two-story home will be less expensive to build but more expensive to maintain and expand. It’s not really the best strategy to let cost be the primary determining factor, though.

When you’re deciding between a one-story vs a two-story house, consider everything. Do you like the look of one- or two-story homes better? How long will you stay in the home? How large of a yard do you want? What are your privacy requirements? Consider how you will use your home, who will live there with you, and what features are most important to you before you decide.

A master-planned community like Lilyana by Hillwood offers both one- and two-story homes in a range of prices and styles! Plus we have a variety of amenities that homeowners love. Take a virtual tour of Lilyana and contact us today to discuss your dream home!

4 Reasons to Move to Collin County, Texas

Relocating to a new area can be quite overwhelming, especially when you’re trying to choose the right city for you and your family. If your next move is to the Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) area, the growing cities in Collin County, Texas should be at the top of your list.

Where Is Collin County, Texas?

You may be wondering where Collin County is. Collin County, TX, is situated in the northern part of the state, just south (about 30 miles) of the Red River. The county seat, McKinney, is less than 35 miles northeast of Dallas. As a part of the DFW metroplex area, Collin County is an ideal choice for people who are looking for access to all that DFW has to offer while still enjoying the benefits of a smaller city.

Collin County, TX, is one of the fastest-growing counties, not just in Texas but in the entire nation! The county had more than 1 million residents in 2018, and an estimated 80 people a day move to Collin County. The Collin County area includes fantastic cities such as Frisco, Plano, Celina, Prosper, Melissa, and many others. Consider these notable Collin County demographics:

  • There is a female-to-male ratio of 51 percent to 49 percent.
  • The median age of residents is 37.3 years.
  • More than 93 percent of the residents have completed high school, and 52 percent of them have acquired a bachelor’s degree or higher.
  • The average household income is approximately $118,000.

Now that you have a snapshot of Collin County, let’s take a look at a few reasons that the county is the best place to call home.

1. Employment Opportunities

Collin County’s tax rate of .208395 per $100 of assessed value has remained the same for more than 20 years, making it an attractive location for large corporations, small businesses, and startups alike. The area is home to Toyota, Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems, Texas Instruments, NTT Data International, JP Morgan/Chase, FedEx, and Frito Lay, to name a few. The area is home to many innovative mixed-use projects and is expected to provide over 1.16 million job opportunities by 2054.

2. Housing

Along with all that business growth comes a bustling housing market. Collin County, TX is home to the number one place to live in the country, Frisco. It also offers a number of smaller cities where residents enjoy the benefits of small-town living just minutes from the excitement of the big city. There are many affordable options for those who want to own a piece of land in the country and those buyers who are seeking the vast array of amenities that master-planned communities can provide. Collin County offers an unmatchable blend of affordable and high-end neighborhoods featuring historical and newly built homes in urban and rural settings. You’re sure to find your forever home here.

3. Educational Opportunities

Collin County has the highest concentration of top-ranked schools in the state. It is home to 267 public schools and 108 private schools, as well as Collin College. According to the Public-School Review, Collin County, TX, public schools average math proficiency scores of 68 percent compared to the state average of 48 percent and reading proficiency scores of 65 percent compared to a statewide average of 45 percent. The county’s schools rank in the top 1 percent of Texas public schools. High-quality education is one of the main reasons families are choosing to move to Collin County.

4. Quality of Life and Things to Do

You’ll never run out of fun things to do in Collin County. Outdoor recreational opportunities are plentiful, and the county has numerous public parks, lakes, and natural areas for hiking and biking. Several professional sports teams have practice venues and stadiums in Collin County including the Dallas Cowboys, FC Dallas, the Dallas Stars, and the Frisco Rough Riders. There are also small-town farmers’ markets, a wide range of year-round cultural and community activities, and a slate of seasonal events and festivals including the Celina Cajun Fest, the Wildflower Festival, and the Anna Glowfest. And of course, there are fantastic shopping, dining, and entertainment options throughout the county and in nearby Dallas. 

Visit Lilyana by Hillwood

If you’ve decided Collin County, Texas is for you, take a look at Lilyana by Hillwood. Our 400-acre wooded master-planned community in picturesque Celina offers homesites for those seeking a tranquil life in a beautiful, natural setting, within minutes of the bustling city of Frisco. Our holistic approach to neighborhood design helps develop a community rooted in shared values, connection, and stewardship. We think you’ll find Lilyana is the perfect place to call home. Take a virtual tour or contact us to learn more.

Benefits of Buying a Home in a Small Town

Lilyana fountain

One of the best parts of our great country is its friendly small towns. No matter where you live or what state you come from, you have likely experienced small-town charm and hospitality at some point in your life. The NCES classifies small towns as an incorporated area of 25,000 residents or less, meaning that many of our country’s most charming areas are considered small towns.

Despite this average, most small towns have around 6,000 residents, meaning that there is a real range of population sizes for U.S. small towns. Many people love small-town life for a variety of reasons, and there are certainly small-town advantages. Living in a small town means less traffic, lower crime rates, and a more relaxed way of life. For many, the pros of living in a small town far outweigh any negatives, which is why thousands of people are dropping their big city, stressed-out lifestyles for the joys of small-town life.

So why is it better to live in a small town? Let’s find out.

Close to Nature

One of the main advantages of living in a small town is increased time spent outdoors. Many small towns are located in areas with significant wildlife and open spaces. This extra green space and fresh air can improve mental health, and often inspires residents to get outside and do something active, as well. Living close to nature is one of the biggest benefits of living in a small town.

Affordability

Another of the advantages of living in a small town is affordability. According to Wealth Meta, prices on just about everything, from groceries to insurance to basic services are often cheaper in small towns. Additionally, in a small town, you may find that you can afford more home than you can in the city. Property tax rates are usually lower in smaller towns, too. This means you can create a home to your exact specifications and save in many other areas. Greater affordability is definitely one of the pros of living in a small town.

Safety

When talking about the benefits of living in a small town, one of the major topics of conversation is safety. As you may assume, crime rates are much higher in metropolitan or urban areas, where there are many more people. The number of violent crimes per 100,000 people in cities with populations of 500,000 or more is roughly double that of cities where the population is 100,000 or less.

The farther you move away from a large city, the more the crime rates go down. This is one of the small-town living benefits for families, as you are more likely to feel comfortable leaving your children unsupervised outdoors than you would be in a large urban area.

Community

One of the best reasons to live in a small town is the friendliness they are known for. Small towns often have a greater sense of community than big cities. Urban environments can create an atmosphere of stress and overachievement, which leaves little time for community bonding. What’s more, massive populations in cities make it easier to feel anonymous and harder to get to know those around you. In small towns, your neighbors are more likely to stop and say hello, and you can easily get to know others in your area. Small towns often have community events as well, which is a great way to bond with your neighbors. Community is at the top of the list of good things about small towns.

What It’s Like to Live in a Small Town

As you can see, there are plenty of reasons to live in a small town. Living in a small town sets the scene for relaxation and family togetherness. Without the long commutes that are common in the city, your family will have more time to spend together at home. With more natural green spaces, you’ll likely find yourself spending more time outside enjoying nature, which is good for the mind and body.

Explore Lilyana By Hillwood

If the small-town life is calling your name, contact us at Lilyana by Hillwood. With our passion for nature, community, and smart living, we can help you find a home that fits your lifestyle.

Is It Better To Build Or Buy A House?

Electrical installations

Have you ever thought about having a house built? It’s not uncommon for people to dream about designing their ideal home, from the floor plan to the fine details. However, building a new house vs buying an existing one can be complicated, depending on the circumstances. If you’re uncertain about building vs buying a home, we will take you through some important points to consider before you decide.

Building A New Home

Having a house built within a master-planned community offers a more structured process than you would have if you buy a vacant lot in a subdivision. The infrastructure of a master-planned community will be established and there will be amenities like fitness centers, event pavilions, pools, parks, and playgrounds that are either available to residents now or planned for the future.

Additionally, the building process in a planned community is simplified as well. You can start by choosing your lot or the home design you want from an array of available options. Then, construction begins. The home builders at Lilyana by Hillwood offer homebuilding sites in our master-planned community in Celina, Texas and work with you to help you create your ideal new home.

Benefits of Building

There are several benefits of building a house including greater control and options for customization, among others.

  • Customization. You can select the design, features and finishes from the start rather than remodeling an existing house.
  • Control. When you choose to build, you will have much more control over the final product. An existing home may have features you do not like that you accept because you like other elements of the house.
  • Competition. Some cities have very few existing homes for sale. This means homeowners receive multiple full price offers before their home is even officially on the market. When you build a house vs buy a house, you don’t have to worry about competition from other buyers.
  • Newness. A home you have built will be brand new! It will have sparkling new appliances, updated finishes and likely be more energy efficient and tech savvy than an existing home. So, while the cost of building a home vs buying is likely more per square foot, you ultimately will get what you want (or very close to it) and great value for your money.

If you’re concerned about affording the cost of building new vs. buying existing, it may be possible to qualify for a Federal Housing Association (FHA) One-Time Close Construction loan that will significantly offset the construction costs of your new home. These are just a few of the reasons why many people opt for building versus buying their homes.

Buying an Existing Home

Buying a home can be a more straightforward process than building one, but you will face certain limitations. You may not face construction costs, but you must still account for certain expenses beyond just the market price of the house. You’ll need to prepare for your closing costs, the cost of an appraisal and home inspection, and any remodeling you require before you move.

There are many different loan programs available that can make buying a home easier and more affordable. The FHA, USDA, and VA all offer loan programs for first-time homebuyers, some of which may include zero down payment and lower interest rates. It’s worth taking time to investigate all of your options for financing to get maximum value from your home purchase.

When considering buying vs building a house, these factors may make buying more attractive:

  • Timing. Provided you don’t do an extensive remodel, there is no need to wait for construction when you choose a move-in ready existing home. If your moving timeline is urgent, then it may be in your best interests to choose an existing home to buy instead of having a house built
  • Price. Depending on the neighborhood, you may pay less for an existing home than you would for a newly built home. But then again, you may not. An existing home in a sought-after neighborhood can cost more than a newly built home in a brand-new development.
  • Decision Making. If you find it difficult to make decisions, building a house may not be for you. You will have a lot of choices to make from the lot to the home design, countertops, paint colors, flooring, etc. Buying an existing home will not require as many choices.

These are just a few of the benefits of buying vs building a house. Of course, if you decide to buy instead of build, you’ll need to decide what type of home you want to buy. The age of the home is one of the most important factors to consider.

Buying an Old Home vs. a New Home

There are some key considerations to evaluate with a new home vs old home. An established older home has a certain charm that many homebuyers will find attractive. New homes may have modern features and amenities, but some homebuyers find them less personal and attractive than older homes. Ultimately, buying a new home vs an old home comes down to personal preference.

Is It Better to Buy or Build a House for You?

If you are torn between the decision to build a house vs buy a house, it is vital to consider your family’s needs. If you are still unsure about building vs buying a home, Lilyana by Hillwood can help. You can take a virtual tour of our model homes or schedule an appointment with a builder to visit our community. If you are leaning toward building vs buying a home, Lilyana offers a wide range of amenities and community-driven features that will help you make your homesite selection with confidence. Contact us today for more information about building and buying options in Lilyana.

Things To Do and See In McKinney, TX

Local Businesses

Whether you’re new to the area or are a native Texan, if you’ve never explored the many fun things to do in McKinney, you are in for a treat. There’s a lot going on in this Collin County town that is home to more than two hundred thousand people. Take a look at all this historic town has to offer. Our collection of fun stuff to do in McKinney includes something for everyone!

Things to Do in McKinney

Wondering what to do near McKinney, TX? You’ll find a variety of activities for all ages. McKinney is a historic town that offers art galleries, live performances, outdoor recreation, shopping, great dining, and nightlife.

Explore McKinney’s History

McKinney was founded in 1848 as the county seat for the newly created Collin County. Visitors can learn more about the area’s history at the Collin County History Museum which is located in the historic 1911 post office building.

Just a five minute walk away is the Chestnut Square Historic Village which houses many historic buildings and is home to the 1854 Faires House, known as the oldest house in McKinney. The 501(c) (3) non-profit Heritage Guild of Collin County operates the village and offers tours of the village, larger city tours, and community farm tours. The guild also hosts a Saturday Farmer’s Market at the village and puts on various fun events such as family workshops, holiday tours, murder mystery dinners, ghost walks, and much more!

Visit Downtown McKinney

McKinney’s historic downtown square is a lovely marriage of historic architecture and modern commerce. The centerpiece of the square is the majestic old Collin County courthouse which was thought to be the tallest building north of San Antonio when it was completed in 1875. Visitors can take a self-guided walking tour of McKinney’s downtown historic district. Guided and trolley tours are also available.

Downtown McKinney is home to more than 100 businesses. Browse for antiques, books, clothing, jewelry, and art. Stop in for a relaxing spa treatment, a fresh baked treat, a coffee or a gourmet meal. Even geocaching enthusiasts will find treasure hunts to enjoy.

Enjoy Outdoor Recreation in McKinney

Some of the best things to do in McKinney, TX involve outdoor activities. Here are a few examples of great places to visit in McKinney, TX when you are feeling active and ready to burn off some energy.

Towne Lake Recreational Area is maintained by McKinney Parks & Recreation and offers activities for all ages including paddle boating on the lake, a fishing pier, a disc golf course, volleyball and horseshoe courts, and baseball fields. There is also a recreation center with a gym, a weight room, an outdoor play structure, a nature trail, and a multi-purpose rec room where programs and classes are held. Contact the rec center for more information on programs and hours of operation and any restrictions due to COVID-19.
Another outdoor option is Erwin Park, a beautiful 110-acre suburban park in North McKinney. There are swings, picnic areas with grills, overnight camping, 3 pavilions, and a 9.5-mile natural-surface trail for hiking and mountain biking.

Visit a Brewery or Vintner

If you are a fan of adult beverages, you’re in luck. You may find the local breweries and wineries to be among your favorite places to visit in McKinney, TX. Franconia Brewing Company produces Bavarian-style beers using traditional German methods. This environmentally-friendly brewer offers weekend tours with tastings. Tupps Brewery is located on the premises of an old cotton mill. Though they are not currently offering brewery tours, the taproom is open.

Wine lovers wishing to try a new varietal have two places to go in McKinney, both located in the historic downtown area. Lone Star Wine Cellars offers food and wine pairings, flight tastings and live music. Landon Winery offers their award-winning wines along with appetizers. You can enjoy them on site at their location or take anything with you to enjoy at home.

Places to Go in McKinney

If you’re looking for more exotic things to do around McKinney, read on. How about a thrilling high-altitude adventure or an all-natural experience? Here are a few more exciting places to visit in McKinney, TX.

Hot Air Balloon Ride

One of the coolest places to go in McKinney, TX is up! Yes, you read that right! Rohr balloons offers hot air balloon rides year-round on weekdays and weekends. Rides can accommodate large groups, you can arrange a private ride for two, three or four passengers, or you can book a shared ride. Free digital photos and video are included with each flight. Special options such as tethered flights, proposal packages, and wedding packages are also available.

Heard Wildlife Museum

One of the best things to do with kids in McKinney is to visit the Heard Wildlife Museum. This 289-acre nature preserve and museum has been connecting people and nature for more than fifty years. Heard is a wildlife sanctuary with an amazing assortment of wildlife, natural science exhibits, animatronic dinosaurs, miles of nature trails, a native Texas plant and butterfly garden, a ropes course with a zip line and much more. The museum hosts events and programs for kids and adults throughout the year such as night time hikes, summer and break camps, and Halloween and holiday themed events.

Events Near McKinney, TX

The greater North Texas area is home to so many great things to see and do, there’s no wonder it’s growing by leaps and bounds. That’s one reason so many families are buying new homes in Celina, just minutes away from all fun things to do in McKinney. In addition to all the attractions we’ve reviewed above, our area hosts some wonderful seasonal festivals that offer additional excitement for residents and visitors alike.

Some examples of the wonderful events near McKinney, TX include the following:

Arts in Bloom in Historic Downtown McKinney. For this April festival, more than 100 artists set up on the streets surrounding the performing arts center in downtown. The festival includes fine arts, dance, performance art, music, food vendors, Texas wineries, and more!

Red, White and BOOM! This July 4th celebration offers free fireworks, entertainment, and family activities.

McKinney Oktoberfest. Held in late September/early October, this festival features local breweries, food trucks, and live entertainment.

Home for the Holidays, a McKinney Christmas. Celebrate the season in historic downtown McKinney with Santa Claus, a Christmas carousel, family activities, an art market, and much more.

We hope you find a few things to try amongst all these McKinney, TX things to do! When you are ready to explore master-planned residential communities in North Texas, get in touch with us at Lilyana by Hillwood.