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  1. Best (and Worst) Places to Watch July 4th Fireworks in Pittsburgh

    Glimpse of the 4th of July fireworks in Pittsburgh

    Any respectable Pittsburgher loves four things: (1) local sports, (2) fries and coleslaw as condiments, (3) Pittsburgh and (4) fireworks.

    With that in mind, it should be no surprise that the 4th of July celebrations attract hundreds of thousands to every place with a view of the fireworks. There are many great vantage points, and everyone seems to have a favorite, but there are several that leave something to be desired. Here are our favorites.

    Top 4 Places to Watch the Fireworks

    The arial views from (1) West End Overlook and (2) Mt. Washington are touted as top spots because of their iconic photo opportunities of fireworks dancing above downtown Pittsburgh and the city skyline as a backdrop. But, like WTAE reported, it can tough to find parking in those places, where narrow streets and lots of spectators cause congestion.

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  2. Making New Memories in the Morning Room

    The morning room is where memories are made. Maybe you don’t have a morning room, or maybe that’s not what you call it, but some of our favorite homes have a casual place for families to congregate around a table. Birthday cakes, vacation planning and midnight snacks all tend to be found in the morning room.

    It should be easy to see why we like it so much.

    That’s why the morning room was an area of focus when Heartland Homes decided to standardize luxury features for every new house. We wanted the morning room to evoke the same warm-fuzzies in your home as it does in ours. And we think it will with these features.

    Our Favorite Morning Room Features

    • Wood floors with 4.5-inch baseboards look as sleek as they functional. Anybody who has ever had linoleum or carpet (cringe) under a kitchen or dining room table is likely knodding in agreement.
    • 9-foot ceilings and Ply Gem windows create a wonderful blend of space and efficiency. High ceilings give the home an elegent feel while the energy-saving windows preserve a comfortable (and affordable!) atmosphere.
    • Crown moulding and two-tone paint add character to a new home and help its personality match yours. Plus, it will look great in those birthday party photos!

    Other Rooms with Standard Luxuries

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  3. Financial Advantages of Home Ownership

    Everyone has their own reasons for becoming a homeowner. A house is something to call your own. It provides families with extra space to grow or play. Plus, homeownership can be a great financial move, too.

    There are some universal financial advantages of owning a home that you should consider when deciding to buy. Here are few reasons that you can enjoy your new home and the improved financial portfolio and outlook that goes along with it.

    That’s something every family can appreciate.

     

    Scheduled (Forced) Savings

    Have you or a spouse ever had trouble setting money aside? Getting a mortgage is one way to force yourself to channel money into an investment. Your monthly payment acts as a scheduled savings plan in which you’re building equity (the difference between the current market value of the property and the amount the owner still owes on the mortgage). Renting property builds no equity, which means that you’re not building wealth for yourself, either.

     

    Build Equity Every Month by Paying Your Mortgage

    This is seen as one of the primary financial advantages of homeownership. Any payments you make that go towards the balance of your loan, and not the interest, increase your equity. Your equity is essentially your ownership of the home. The more equity you have, the more cash you’ll receive when you sell the home. Additionally, as the value of your home rises because of a favorable market or home improvements, your equity increases, too.

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  4. Building the Perfect Luxury Family Room

    The perfect family room must play different roles in different situations. One day it is lively during a Super Bowl party. The next it safe and secure during a scary movie. And don’t forget about being playful (and durable) during toddler play dates.

    It’s not an easy job, but family rooms need to versatile and look great no matter what they do or who they host.

    That is why Heartland Homes is happy to announce standard family features that really can do it all. Watch the video to see if you can imagine a family room like that one hosting your family.

    New Standard Family Room Features

    • Vinyl double-hung Ply Gem windows might be a mouthful to say, but their advantages—efficiency, longevity and security—are worth every syllable.
    • Heat-n-Glo gas fireplaces are easy to use and maintain year after year. Pittsburgh winters are making a habit of overstaying their welcome, which makes a fireplace very handy.
    • An elegant yet welcoming atmosphere with two-tone paint and 4.5-inch baseboards that can be posh for cocktails or casual on a lazy Sunday.

    After oohing-and-awing at the family room photos below, explore luxury features in other areas of the house:

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  5. Two Model Grand Openings in Marshall Township

    Looking for a small town lifestyle with an uptown twist? A robust community full of luxurious upgrades with the tranquility and privacy of living in the suburbs without sacrificing the amenities of the city? Look no further.

    The relative hustle and bustle of Marshall Township fades away as you pull into Venango Trails. Far enough away for peace, quite, and plenty of green spaces, yet only a couple of minutes drive from the Cranberry Commons shopping center, Venango Trails is truly a chameleon community. The exceptional Venango Trails is built around what is already present. And what is already beautiful. Tranquil lakes and ponds. Acres of woodlands. And a historic Native American Indian trail. What was once a golf course has been transformed into a neighborhood with a rhythm all its own. With cozy front porches. Tree-lined sidewalks. Parks made for playing. Clusters of traditional homes. And a bustling village at the center of it all. Other new homes in the area can’t offer this combination of convenience, beauty and exclusivity.

    Featuring a new luxury townhome and single-family home designs. Its accessibility isn’t just limited to a floor plan, however, since its location means it has everything a prospective homeowner wants within reach. Located just a stone’s throw from I-79, homeowners can expect a pleasant commute north to Cranberry for shopping, dining, and entertainment. Businesspeople will be even more pleased with the commute into Pittsburgh, just a quick drive down the highway, and with the shortest commute on tap in the area to boot.

    The decorated Abingshire model and the decorated John Jacob Astor model at Venango Trails are hosting their Grand Openings on Sunday, June 1st from noon until 4pm!

    LOCATION OF MODEL GRAND OPENINGS

    Single-Family Model The Abingshire Model

    Address 199 Seneca Place – Mars, PA 16046

    Townhome Model The John Jacob Astor Model

    Address 218 Venango Trail – Mars, PA 16046

     Abingshire

    THE ABINGSHIRE MODEL FEATURES

    Featured Luxury Single-Family Home Design

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  6. Questions to Ask When Building a House in Pittsburgh

    Practice makes perfect is something that many of us heard often while growing up. Our multiplication tables, free throws and kissing were all things that luckily got easier with practice.

    The rule also applies to building a house, but most of us do not build enough times to learn as we go. When building our dream home, we typically get one shot. That’s why we generated a list of important questions (with helpful hints) to shorten the home building learning curve.

    Lifestyle Questions

    building a dream home image

    Where do family members spend most of their time?

    If your family tends to congregate in the kitchen, investing in an island with stools or an open floor plan with room to move might be wise. Or maybe you are movie lovers, and the perfect home theater is a top priority. Make sure that you do not have to completely change your lives and relationships with each other to live in your new home.

    How will those habits continue or change in your new home?

    Your house’s current layout often leaves something to be desired—after all, isn’t that why you are building? Just because you are not a sit-around-the-fire family today doesn’t mean that you won’t be in your new house. Think about how your new home will add to your daily life and make you a stronger, closer, happier family.

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  7. Model Grand Opening in Cranberry Township

    custom-home-builder-cranberry-townshipFranklin Crossing is centrally located in the Cranberry Township within Seneca Valley School Districtat the corner of Franklin and Goehring Roads. Cranberry Township is one of the fastest-growing areas in the United States in both population and business so it’s not a surprise why prospective homebuyers are flocking to live in the area.

    Franklin Crossing features large home sites that are convenient to Routes 19 & 228 and is close in distance to shopping at Cranberry Mall, fine restaurants and local parks. The Butler County YMCA, North Boundary Park, Graham Park, Cranberry Community Park and Cranberry Highlands Golf Course are all just a short drive away from Franklin Crossing.

    All new well-appointed homes in Franklin Crossing come standard with brick fronts, HardiePlank siding, concrete driveways, upgraded landscaping package, sold planted on StonebridgeModel_Exterior_Night_WEBfront & rear yards, 9’ ceilings on the first & second floor, gourmet kitchen island, granite kitchen countertops, built-in GE stainless steel appliances, maple cabinets, hardwood floors in the foyer, kitchen, powder room & first floor hall, ceramic floors in the master & secondary bathrooms, fireplace in the family room, crown moulding and much more. Five beautiful luxury home designs to choose from — starting in the high $440s.

    The decorated Chapel Hill model home at Franklin Crossing (102 Fairview Drive – Cranberry Township, PA 16066) is hosting its Grand Opening on Saturday, May 24th from noon until 3pm!

    The Chapel Hill model home features 6,072 square feet of living space; including 4 bedrooms, 4 ½ bathrooms and a 3-car side entry garage. The inside is charming with a spacious open kitchen and a morning room, master suite with sitting area & a finished basement with recreation room, home office, media room and a full bathroom.

    The Chapel Hill Video

    Click here for turn-by-turn directions to Franklin Crossing.


  8. Luxury Bathrooms for Every New Home

    I like to call them whoa-moments. During a visit to one of our furnished models, a family member strays from the group and throughout the house you can hear:

    Whoa!  Hey, come check out this room!”

    It’s my favorite part. Sometimes I even keep a mental tally. Kitchens usually collect a few whoas. A home theater always scores a few, too. But which room in the house gets the most whoas?

    The answer might surprise you at first. The master bathroom almost always wins. Nothing says luxury like a beautiful master bath with ceramic tile, granite counters, a big showerhead and a deep tub. That’s luxury!

    We are happy to announce that luxury bathrooms are now a Heartland Homes standard. Watch the new video and see why our bathrooms are definitely whoa-worthy.

    New Bathroom Features Include:

    Granite countertops make a room, especially a bathroom. All practical benefits aside, granite is wonderfully elegant. It is something you have to see to believe. Consider visiting one of our upcoming open models.

    Ceramic tile on the floors and in the shower is easy to clean and always durable. Anybody who has ever suffered through old linoleum—curling at the corners—will feel even more comfortable with tile below their toes.

    See Standard Features in Other Rooms:

    Now on to the most important part—the photos!

     

    The Monticello II

     

    The Chapel Hill

     

    The Abingshire

     

    The Remington Place

    *See a sales & marketing representative for details.  Townhome features may differ.


  9. Dream Home Kitchen Upgrades Are Now Standard

    Kitchens are no longer confined to cooking. They are a place for sharing stories, taste testing, homework help and all of the other things that occupy our evening hours. Kitchens are a place for living.

    That’s why we are kissing kitchen upgrades goodbye with new standard features.

    New Kitchen Features Include:

    • Hardwood floors that keep kitchens looking clean longer, even during seasons with sandy sandals or snowy boots.
    • Kitchen islands that add both style and function with bar seating for lunches on the go–who has time for dining room china these days?
    • Granite countertops that resist red wine, Crayons and airborne toddler toys.
    • Stainless steel appliances from GE are built-in, providing a sleek finish and extra space for cookie dough and cutting boards.
    • Maple cabinets that are as durable as they are beautiful. Don’t be afraid to booty-bump a drawer or kick a cabinet door–they can take it!

    Sure, the descriptions are great, but we know what people really want. What about the photos? Here are some photos from Heartland Homes models with the newly standardized kitchen upgrades.

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  10. 14 Pittsburgh Real Estate Trends in 2014

    You might remember from December that there is rising interest in Pittsburgh real estate this year. But how can a seller make these optimistic trends work for them?

    We asked five Pittsburgh real estate experts to provide insight on local trends and share their selling secrets.

    Meet the Experts

    Brandon Yeager - PittsburghSellers that hope to build in the future should be aware of several low-cost and high-impact improvements that increase the WOW-factor that sets their home apart from the crowd.

    1) Add some “smart” technology, like heating and air conditioning sensors or home security, that people did not have in their last home.

    2) Consider a theater room or Man Cave in the basement.  A simple HDTV, some affordable surround sound, and a couch can go a long way toward hooking half of the decision makers.

    3) Make your existing home move-in-ready with appliances. That offers buyers $3,000 in up front in cost savings.

     

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