Cottonvale – Hot Location! Affordability!!

The LAKES at COTTONVALE – One of Chatham County’s most popular communities for price, location, and style can now be your new home address! We have 3 new homes under construction that will be ready for an early summer move in.

At Cottonvale, your neighbors care about curb appeal as much as you do, so you know your community will hold its value. Located off the Highway 17 corridor and across from the Berwick Marketplace, you’ll find that Cottonvale puts you in the heart of West Chatham County.

Shown here are some homes in Cottonvale to give you an idea of the community’s homes and how your neighbors live. Mostly cozy, homey, ranch-style homes, and the sidewalks and trees make it seem like the neighborhoods you remember, where everyone knew everyone and waved when you passed by.

Cottonvale offers families a tremendous opportunity to own a home that will steadily appreciate in value. Competition in this market niche is intense, so owning a home in Cottonvale means it will hold its own and you’ll reap the reward when its time to sell.

Area amenities include a new shopping complex, upgraded transportation routes, quality public schools, and easy access to Historic Downtown Savannah, as well as the major shopping malls.

If you’d like to see Cottonvale and learn about the Lamar Smith Signature homes we are building there, please call Robin Lance, Associate Broker of Prudential Coastal Georgia Properties in Richmond Hill, 912-756-2448.

Lamar was the developer of Cottonvale so you can be assured this new home community was planned and developed with his expert hand guiding the project from its  inception till today. Robin is one of Savannah’s most well-known and most experienced Realtors, and she has long represented Lamar Smith Signature Homes. Her knowledge of the area and of all of the satisfied homeowners in Cottonvale means she can give you detailed information on this highly popular community.

Landscaping Projects for Your New Home

Congratulations! You built or bought your beautiful new home. You have moved in, unpacked, and decorated. But the outside? Does your landscaping leave you wondering what to do? Well, now is the time to start dreaming and planning – Spring is just around the corner!

What is at the top of your list?

–Play area for children
–Pet friendly area
–Vegetable garden
–Dining / barbecue area
–A shed for gardening tools / supplies


When planning your backyard, consider what you need and want in your space.

Once you’ve decided on what you want in your backyard, then make up your lists, design your plan, and develop a realistic work schedule. Usually you should start with the bigger jobs to get them out of the way, but don’t force yourself to complete the job within a year. Your plan should be divided in stages over a span of 2-3 years, that way your budget is in alignment and you don’t overwhelm yourself. You should also incorporate things from the list below to enhance the look of your backyard

–Using water features such as fountains, ponds, hot tubs & swimming pools
–Add shade features like pergolas & gazebos
–Assign a theme for your backyard, such as color, style, scent. Or others such as a Japanese rock garden, southwest/desert, or a cottage garden.

There’s enough room for style and comfort. The trend in designing your home indoors has also led it’s way to the outdoors. It’s a trend to make your outdoor living just as comfortable as the indoors. Your backyard can be just as cozy; the main concern would be to weatherproof your outdoor furniture and to also plan for the weather you’ll encounter outside such as rain, wind and sun. For example, a gazebo or awning can help protect against harmful UV rays during the day and insects when the sun goes down. With furniture, make sure to include comfortable seating with cushions and throws when the evening gets a bit chillier.

If you have limited space to work with, consider using containers that are portable and can easily be replaced. You can move them around when guests are over, and you can use the containers to store colorful flowers to brighten dark corners.

Another tip is to include more curved walkways and paths to create the illusion of more space. The flow of space from one area to the next allows an open space feeling compared to small and boxed in.

Effingham County's Best Address!

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A terrific Effingham County address is waiting, but not for long! The new phase of home sites are selling quickly at the Lost Plantation Golf Community. Buyers must hurry in to find the best location near work and play, not to mention incredible values. A wonderful future awaits, so stop waiting and make the move of a lifetime today. For all the details on home sites and floor plans at prices starting in the $160,000’s, click on the Community drop down list on our home page and then on Lost Plantation.

This beautiful neighborhood of winding streets and intimate enclaves of single-family detached homes is a popular Effingham County setting for every lifestyle. The availability of historically low interest rates, low prices, and a low tax rate create the ideal financial advantages to transition from renter to homeowner.

Your home site selection includes a choice of wooded, golf course, or estate lots. There are also a select few new homes anticipated to be ready for late spring move-ins, and there is still time for buyers to personalize their new home to best suit their individual tastes and preferences.

Buyers who are looking for a home in the center of it all, where popular retail destinations and restaurants are just around the corner, and who enjoy recreation pursuits from golf to swimming to tennis or fishing, will love Lost Plantation. For special occasions and celebrations, families can enjoy fine dining in Savannah before enjoying a wide array of entertainment or the breathtaking scenery of Savannah’s historical squares or the beaches of Tybee Island.  Lost Plantation’s easy access to the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport and Interstate 95 are great advantages for business commuters and leisure travelers.

And remember, it matters who your builder is. Lamar Smith Signature Homes means it when they say that they put themselves into their homes. They build each and every home as if it were their own and have earned a solid track record for constructing quality homes throughout Coastal Georgia.

To visit Lost Plantation, take I-95, Exit 109/Hwy 21, and travel west about 6.5 miles to the city of Rincon. Continue to the center of Rincon and the light at Fort Howard Road. Watch for Lowes on your left and Walmart on your right. Turn right on Fort Howard Road and go about a mile to Lost Plantation. Take the second entrance into Lost Plantation and watch for our sales office on the right within the first block.  We’re open daily, and Sonya Lowry, our New Home Consultant, lives in Lost Plantation, so if she is not at the sales office, just call 912-826-5321 and she will make arrangements to meet you.

Buying Your First Home

Finding the right first home starts with a price range and a short list of desirable neighborhoods. But there are many other factors you’ll need to consider before investing in what may be your biggest asset.

Before You Start:

Grab your current household budget so you can consider your financial situation and your ability to make mortgage payments.

Ask family and friends if they can recommend experts, like a lawyer and an inspector, who can help with the home buying process.

Think about your lifestyle and how it might affect your choice of home and neighborhood.

Do a little research on current home prices in the neighborhoods you plan to target.


Buying Your First Home

Home ownership is the cornerstone of the American Dream. But before you start looking, there are a number of things you need to consider. First, you should determine what your needs are and whether owning your own home will meet those needs. Do you picture yourself mowing the lawn on Saturday, or leaving your urban condo for the beach? The best advice is to look at buying a home as a lifestyle investment, and only secondly as a financial investment. Read more…

Why Buy a Home?

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Realty Times for Real Estate News & Advice

You’ve probably heard it all over media outlets. “Affordability is at an all-time high.” “Interest rates are below 4.0 percent!” The question remains, however, why buy a home? What do these proclamations actually mean for you?

Let’s look at these claims. Affordability is at an all-time high. This is calculated by a ratio of median household income to median home prices for any given area.

According to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI) this record level is around 73 percent of all new and existing homes. To put this number into perspective, before recent years’ developments it was rare to see the HOI go above 60 percent.  Read more…

Military Buyers' Home Search Stops Here!

We honor and welcome our military community around Savannah! Our strategic location on the southern Atlantic Coast has made us a prime setting for military forts and bases since our country’s beginning. Our historic Fort Pulaski and Fort McAllister stand testament to the military’s long presence around Savannah. Our Rice Creek community in Port Wentworth is popular with our military families, but we wanted to establish additional communities to provide more location choices and varied price ranges.

If you’d like to live closer to Savannah and a wealth of shopping, dining, and recreation then TEAL LAKE is a great spot to check out. Most home sites are either on the lake or back up to wetlands and woods. A new pool and cabana overlooking the lake will be a popular gathering place, and King’s Ferry on the Ogeechee River is your gateway to fantastic fishing and boating. Hwy 17 is your shopping and dining corridor only minutes from your door, and the good schools of West Chatham County will rank high on your checklist. Teal Lake is situated just minutes from the I-95 interchange at Exit 94/Hwy 204 and south on Hwy 17, near Love’s Seafood Restaurant.

If you prefer country quiet but still want to be convenient to town, you’ll love TIMBERLANDS, which is slightly southwest of Fort Stewart and Hinesville  —  only minutes from Fort Stewart’s main gate. It’s a planned subdivision with large homesites that can accommodate any of our home plans, including our popular MINI-MANSIONS. If a short commute to Fort Stewart is very important to you, then come see Timberlands.

For standalone homesites, you might want to drive a little further towards Ludowici and check out MILL POND. There are limited homesites available, so if you like living outside of a planned development, you’ll want to hurry out. Our first two homes built sold before we got them completed. We have two new homes on the drawing board or we’ll build for you!

We invite you to come see any or all of these three new communities. To see a map to each one, just click on the COMMUNITIES tab on our home page and find your community of choice. If you have questions, call the New Home Consultant listed on each community’s webpage or contact Andrea, our Online Consultant.

Top 5 Home Finance Blogs

If you’re getting ready to buy your first home, get your financial house in order first. To approve you for a loan, banks want to see credit scores, bank statements, credit history and more, so it helps to have a clean path for a lender to navigate.

Whether you are drowning in debt or just not sure if you are ready, the following blogs will help you get on the right track toward home ownership – or at least provide some humorous or insightful input while you navigate your own journey.

My Open Wallet

What: An anonymous 40-year old single woman living in New York is quite honest in her personal finance life on My Open Wallet, from what she makes to what she spends to how her net worth changes. She’s been blogging since 2005, so she’s seen the economy through all highs and lows.

Look for: Her 20 rules to getting on track financially are easily found on the right-hand side of the page, and labels such as “Best Don’t-Buys,” “Get Rich Quick” and “Weird” separate her from the rest.

Get Rich Slowly

What: Blog author J.D. Roth tells his story of conquering $35,000 in debt from consumer and home-equity loans on Get Rich Slowly and now has regular guest bloggers.

Look for: Get Rich Slowly offers up-to-date CD rates and mortgage quotes, as well as tips on lowering your utility costs, living on less in other countries, renting out your home and making drastic changes to afford what you want, including financing a house.

2million’s Personal Finance Blog

What: With a goal of having a net worth of $2 million, Brian, a 34-year-old IBM engineering manager, chronicles his net worth’s ups and downs.

Look for: Find Brian’s spreadsheet breakdown of exactly how much a baby costs pre-birth (including 529 plan contributions), what’s financially involved when you marry someone and how to buy, sell and refinance your home on 2million.


What: Live. Earn. Invest. LearnVest’s mantra came to be in 2008, when Harvard Business School attendee Alexa von Tobel created an online platform to help women gain control of their finances. She was frustrated that she was in line to become a Wall Street fund manager and had never taken a single finance class in school.

Look for: If you want to get financially fit in a disciplined hurry, LearnVest’s boot camp programs get you on the road to learning personal finance basics, getting out of debt, cutting costs or building wealth within 15 to 17 days.


What: Noted in The New York Times and Business Week for its financial savvy, Bargaineering is the brain child of Jim Wang, who began the publication as a 20-something university graduate who knew nothing about managing money. In the five years since its inception, the blog has covered credit cards, CDs, high yield savings accounts, tax brackets, banking and frugal living.

Look for: The Bank Deals section of the sites lets you know how to make a quick $100 to $150 through current bank promotions, and the Frugality section offers tips on how to overcome frugal fatigue and encourages new savings-habits inspiration.

This great blog is courtesy of Check it out, too!

How Will Your New Home Live?

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If you are looking to build or buy a brand new home, you should consider many things and not focus solely on your “dream” home.

Among things to consider is whether you are building for the next buyer. If so, having kids share a larger bedroom with a good closet is usually better than each of your kids having a private cubbyhole bedroom. Keep in mind that a small 9 x 10 bedroom holds a single bed and small dresser and not much else. If children are expected to use their bedroom for study then space for a desk and chair is required. Be realistic with yourself – do the kids HAVE to be separated?

Decide how many bathrooms are needed to service the bedrooms: toddlers may have trouble waiting for potty availability and many teenagers are notorious for extended showers and hairstyling sessions. Bathrooms are not cheap, so cost vs. comfort must be taken into consideration. Also consider how long each bedroom will actually be used – allow for each kid’s age to see what is likely to be wanted at move-in time and then add another five years to see what may be needed in the near future.

Ashburn Floor Plan - Opt. Bonus Room

Keep in mind that toddlers who happily share now may not be as easily accommodated when they become adolescents; teenagers go to college or jobs away from home; someone who can easily trot up and down steps now may need to have accommo-dation made later on; eldercare may be an issue (if not for your parents then for yourselves as time goes on). No house is going to be perfect at all times and in all situations, but some can be adapted more easily than others.

A Great Room’s shape is mostly a matter of size and personal preference and is greatly affected by which rooms are located near it. Do you like space used as a hallway along walls to permit access to rooms on either side of the Great Room? On the other hand, that open walking space makes a room ‘feel’ larger. So look at how often your family will use the floor space to just go from point A to point B. Your preference in furniture should also be considered: large-sized furniture (whether it’s big for big people or over-stuffed for comfort) quite literally requires more floor space.

Do you like a single grouping or do you prefer more than one seating area so that conversation is separate from multimedia? Will the Great Room be used almost solely for group gatherings and/or formal entertainment, or will it do multiple-duty as a family room for kids to play while others watch TV, study, read, do crafts, or balance the checkbook? You may decide it’s better to opt for that bonus room upstairs.

A formal living room can transform itself time and again. It can be a home office, a private den for adult TV watching or reading, and it can even double as a guest room in a pinch if you have a sofabed or daybed. Some young families have let it become a temporary play room so the little ones can keep their toys in there and feel close to all family activity. Again, remember that no room is going to be perfect at all times for all ages; decide what you want, what is likely to be most comfortable for your family, and what you can afford.

Why Buying a New Home is Better

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Homebuyers have many choices these days as the market is flooded with homes – new and old. Interest rates are the lowest they’ve been in 50 years, and the Wall Street Journal says this is the time to buy! There are many options to weigh when selecting the right home, and there are quite a few factors to consider. Check out the following reasons that buying a new home instead of a resale may be the best choice to make.

Homes Are More Energy Efficient. Homes that are built new offer better energy efficient features and systems. Heating and cooling systems are new and wall insulation is better quality than homes that were built years ago. Low-e windows are the normal as well as other cost saving features. In the end, you will have the peace of mind that almost everything is covered under warranty. AND, it will all save you money on utilities.

They Include a Homebuyer’s Warranty. Our new homes come with a one-year builder’s warranty and a premium-paid 2-10 Home Buyers Warranty for years two through ten. It will give you a sense of security for years to come. Most resale homes do not come with as comprehensive of a warranty, and if they do, it often isn’t included in the price. Your brand new heating and cooling systems and appliances are also covered under their manufacturers’ warranties.

New Appliances! In our new homes, brand new appliances such as a smooth top, self-cleaning range, an over-the-range microwave, and a dishwasher are included in the price of your new home or mortgage. And in some instances, you qualify for a new refrigerator, too. You won’t be settling for old outdated appliances that may need to be replaced.

Custom Design Options Available. When you’re building and buying new, you will usually have the freedom to make choices of colors, stains, flooring, cabinets and countertops. Buying a resale means either living with someone else’s style choices or remodeling, which can be expensive.

More Storage Space. When you are buying a new home, you’ll be able to choose floorplans that offer more space saving and storage options such as walk-in closets, pantries, and larger garages and bonus rooms that you’ll be able to grow into. With older homes, the storage space is often limited or customized to someone else’s liking.

Being faced with the decision to purchase a new home or resale can sometimes be difficult – but making a smart decision is looking at the long-term investment and remembering that these factors will matter. If buying a new home sounds like it’s the way to go, we hope you’ll check out our new floor plans and the options we offer. You’ll be glad you did.

The "Red Shoes" Experience for Homebuyers

Women will relate to this. Say, you need a new pair of red shoes. You go to the mall. At the first shoe store, you find a fabulous pair of red shoes. You try them on. They fit perfectly. They are glamorous. Priced right, too. Do you buy them? Of course not! You go to every other store in the mall trying on red shoes until you are ready to drop from exhaustion. Then you return to the first store and buy those red shoes. Do not shop for a home this way. When you find the perfect home, buy it.

The best decisions, with no regrets, come when we think logically and listen to our gut. If a home has all the things on your “needs” list, is in the right location, and just feels right when you walk through it….then there is no need to keep looking. Your brain will go on overload, you’ll start second-guessing yourself, and all this frustration will ruin the excitement and experience of buying your new home.

The average motivated homebuyer usually can make their decision in two days. That’s right, two days! Why? Because homebuyers today start their search online and have already eliminated most communities and homes before ever setting out to look in person. So, if you have done your research online, then you can easily find that new home by visiting only the places you know you’d like to live. Keep in mind, there is never the perfect home, so knowing what is important to you and what you didn’t like in your old home will help you know when the right home is right there in front of you.

Follow this advice, and you’ll be very satisfied and content with your new home…not to mention you’ll suffer little or no stress during the process. Happy New Year and Happy Home Buying! We look forward to seeing you in one of our great new home communities located up and down the popular I-95 corridor from Savannah to Brunswick!

Holiday Sale – 50% Off Upgrades

Do you want to give your family the most memorable Christmas gift imaginable this year? Would a brand new home with your favorite upgrades do the trick? If you act quickly, we’ve worked out a deal with Santa to make it happen!

Until December 31st, you can get 50% OFF of your choice of upgrades worth up to $20,000! That means a savings for you of up to $10,000. Have you dreamed of granite counter tops? Hardwood flooring? Designer cabinetry? How about a jetted, garden tub? Recessed lighting? Stainless appliances? Crown moulding? Choose from our huge list of ways to upgrade your new home!

We have new home communities up and down the I-95 corridor from Savannah to Brunswick. All you have to do is decide where you want to live, choose one of our floor plans, and sign your agreement to build a new home before the strike of midnight on December 31, 2011. It only takes about 4 months to build your new home, so you’ll be ready to move in before summer!

What better way to spend your winter and spring months than watching your new home go up? Check out the new home community that fits your lifestyle and preference of location…then call or pay a visit to that New Home Consultant to take advantage of this fantastic opportunity!

New Floor Plans Just Released!

Home buyers’ lifestyles are changing right along with the new economic realities. Lamar Smith Signature Homes keeps a finger on the pulse of what buyers want and need. This fall we have added 8 new home plans to our library of plans. These plans offer the look and feel of Low Country and Craftsman designs and range from 1500 to 3500 square feet. One of the most popular requests is for single story floor plans, so we’ve added new single story plans as well. The most appreciated aspect of all of our home plans is the ability for our customers to choose their exterior “elevation” — such as all vinyl, brick, stone, or the mixture of horizontal and vertical siding, as well as architectural elements to highlight the home’s exterior.

The signature feature of our larger plans is the master suite. Any of our plans that are considered to be in our “Mini-Mansion” collection will have huge master suites with sitting areas, spacious walk-inclosets, and spa-like master baths. Our plans also include a “rear foyer” that is not only useful, but attractive. Instead of the usual mudroom, we offer built-in cabinetry with cubbies, desk area, closets, benches, or a combination of these to create a “drop zone” and organization area for busy families. Most of our plans also include a full laundry room, not just a closet for your washer and dryer. And finally, we incorporate walk-in pantries in a large majority of our homes.

Our new plan collection that we just introduced includes solutions for various lifestyles. Check out these brand new plans in our “Floor Plans” section of this web site. Be sure to browse the  Magnolia, Clayton, Ashburn, Camelia, Burlington, Madison, Grayson, and Hampton floor plans. Then, give one of our New Home Consultants a call and arrange to meet with them to learn about our communities and these beautiful new plans.

Pictured here is our very popular new plan called The Burlington. It offers a master on the main floor, and then an upstairs layout that can expand to four more bedrooms and a bonus/media room. This is just one of over a dozen new plans we have added in the past couple of months! Browse our plans online and come see them in person!

You Know It's the Best Time to Buy – And You're Ready!

How long has it been? Has it been years, months, weeks, days, or perhaps only minutes ago that you began dreaming about a new home. Maybe you’re tired of renting. Maybe you’ve had some good fortune. Perhaps you need to relocate. Or, it could be that your family has outgrown your current home. Whatever your reason for shopping for a new home, your first consideration may be location (and living in the Savannah area is part of your dream), but you should also look closely at the builder. They’re not all the same.

One thing that’s unique about Lamar Smith Signature Homes is that we don’t build just one kind of home for one kind of buyer. We build homes for every lifestyle, for different price ranges, and for people at all stages of life. Your home purchase represents one of the largest investments you’ll ever make. It goes without saying that you’ll want full confidence in your builder’s future. Our success at Lamar Smith Signature Homes testifies to our staying power. While our inventory includes new residences for immediate occupancy, we typically collaborate with our customers to build homes to their needs.

So, now that you’re ready to make your move, we thought that we’d offer you some tools to help you become a member of the Lamar Smith Signature Homes family. The tools and information offered here on our web site will help you understand some of the home building or buying basics, learn what you should know about your builder, and appreciate the people with whom you’ll work.