Kettler Forlines Homes Blog

Blog Archive for May, 2020

Home office tips for working from home productively

Categories: Brightwell Crossing, News, Tips | Posted: May 20, 2020 | Comments Off on Home office tips for working from home productively

Kettler Forlines Brightwell Crossing home office tipsHow is your home office supporting you these days? Whether you have a bona fide, dedicated office in your home or you’ve commandeered an area, you need to maximize the effectiveness to keep your focus on the job. Here are some home office tips for working from home productively.

#1. Understand your work habits and needs.

Your office space needs to work for you, so think about what you need to be productive. In addition to fostering productivity, the right home office will reduce your stress by supporting the way you work. If you feel closed in or squeezed into a space that’s just too small, you won’t feel relaxed, which hinders your workflow. 

Before you decide to assign a space in your home to your work, consider what the location will do for you. You might want your office to be close to your bedroom, or maybe you prefer to have it far away to broaden the separation between work and leisure.

Do you have the potential for a lot of interruptions in your home? How can your home office protect you from those distractions? If you don’t have a room you can dedicate—with a door, please—then think about your options. Your home office shouldn’t be temporary, as in seated at the kitchen counter or dining room table or on the sofa or your bed. You should be able to walk away from your office area without having to pack up your equipment and crucial supplies, and then return to everything exactly as you left it. 

If you can, put up a room divider of some sort. This can be a folding screen, curtain, or a bookcase or cabinet that’s tall enough to create a wall.

#2. Furnish it to your workflow.

What’s your preferred workstation—a desk, a big comfy chair, an area with a lot of surface space where you can spread out? Furnish your office with your comfort in mind, as long as it contributes to getting work done. Choose the style and colors that drive your deep thinking and spark your creativity. 

Do you like to move around? Consider a standing desk, or a hybrid that easily switches from seated to stand-up desk, depending on your mood. 

As you add furniture, equipment, or decor to your home office, be clear about its purpose so you can avoid clutter. Remind yourself on a regular basis that clutter is distraction.

#3. Shed light on your work.

Never underestimate the value of natural light. Sunlight promotes the production of vitamin D, which boosts your mood-regulating mechanism. If you’ve ever experienced the winter doldrums, it’s frequently caused by the lack of sunlight in those shorter days. Natural light also reduces eye strain and fatigue, headaches, and other vision-related discomforts. 

Choose a workspace that allows the flow of natural light. When that’s not available—like a basement—choose recessed lighting or place full spectrum lamps where you need good lighting. 

#4. Create a system to stay organized.

Home office organization is the most important aspect of planning your workspace. Clutter grows from disorganization—from the tendency not to file things away, but pile them up. If you’ve already cultivated a jumbled mess, it’s time to harvest it all.

Put everything—EVERYTHING!—in a box. Clean up the surfaces of your work area. Sort through them, one at a time, and stash them in an orderly place, like a file folder, desktop caddy, or a basket or bin that fits into a storage cube or cubby. 

Take out your label maker and label every storage space, bin, box, tray, folder, binder, and caddy. You don’t have a label maker? Well, you need it to stay organized. And you can thank me later. Labels will make it easier to store supplies and items where they belong so you can quickly find them later.

#5. Stick to a schedule.

Successfully working from home requires discipline. It’s tempting to sleep in a bit, take a break to do housework, or run out for a few errands. These are a few perks of working from home, but they also detour your productivity. 

Create a routine for your workday. Get up at the same time every day, start your work at the same time, and commit to a specific workflow, like answering emails in the morning and blocking out periods to achieve certain tasks. Incorporate scheduled breaks into your day. Map out the week before it starts, so you can hit the ground running on Monday morning. Assign tasks to each day. In this way, you can also stick to those duties and projects that are specifically required on a given day, rather than seeing the entire week as a busy blur. Stick to what’s due today and worry about tomorrow when it comes.

#6. Get dressed.

The massive exodus from the workplace to the home that resulted from the pandemic’s shutdown launched a trend. Workers stayed in their pajamas, workout clothes, or other casual attire they would never wear to work.

The way you’re dressed impacts your mindset. It’s fine to be casual but when you’re not dressed for work, your mind isn’t fully committed to the job. Instead, it’s teetering on taking it easy and assuming weekend mode and behavior.

 Work smarter at home.

Have you decided that your current home just doesn’t fit your life and work these days? Kettler Forlines Homes builds homes for discerning homebuyers in the Montgomery County area of Maryland. Many of our homes include space for at least one and often two home offices. Plus, our Structured Wiring Program ensures your new home is pre-wired to handle your technology with easier access and increased data speed.

Check out our floor plans and virtual tours, and be sure to wander around our Brightwell Crossing neighborhood in Poolesville, MD. We also welcome the opportunity to build on your lot. Reach out to George Neill to get started on your future right now.

Is virtual homebuying here to stay?

Categories: Brightwell Crossing, News, Tips | Posted: May 14, 2020 | Comments Off on Is virtual homebuying here to stay?

Kettler Forlines virtual home buyingWhen the stay-at-home orders were issued, life changed. Homes instantly became offices for many workers and classrooms for families. It was rough going in the beginning, with everyone trying to figure out a system to work within the restrictions. Within a few weeks, we found a rhythm. Now, with businesses gradually reopening, we have to wonder how much of the temporary “New Normal” will continue in our lives. Is virtual homebuying here to stay?


What have you been accomplishing through online channels that you used to do in person? Grocery shopping is a big one. Whether ordering online and opting for curbside pick-up or relying on delivery, wandering aimlessly through the aisles of a grocery store was deemed too risky. 

Telemedicine—a video conference with your healthcare provider—is another task you might have experienced. And how many Zoom meetings have you attended since the pandemic sparked the shutdown?

As a local homebuilder in Maryland, Kettler Forlines Homes has accomplished what many other builders around the country have done. We’ve moved from a physical sales center and model home to a virtual one, to protect our buyers as well as our Kettler Forlines team. 

For the past two months, we’ve maintained communication with our customers. People who had a home under construction were able to keep receiving updates. Our construction crews have been able to keep working safely with social distancing and diligent sanitizing on the job sites.

Buying a home online

What we found interesting—and exciting!—is selling homes to buyers by using our virtual homebuying process. Yes, it’s not only doable, but been done!

Here’s how it worked:

  • The prospective buyer browsed the website of our Brightwell Crossing neighborhood in Poolesville, MD. They looked at the interactive site map to see which lots were available and then explored the floor plans. The virtual tours provided a 360° view. They also visited our online Gallery to see photos and videos of the homes, community, and area.
  • The interested buyers were able to get out and drive around The Reserve at Brightwell Crossing, to see first-hand the quality and distinction of the homes and neighborhood. 
  • The buyers contacted George Neill, Kettler Forlines Homes’ Sales Manager, who “met” with them on a video conference call. 
  • George then went through all the options for customizing their new home.
  • Convinced that The Reserve at Brightwell Crossing was the right place and Kettler Forlines Homes had the right skills, design, and reputation to build their home, they signed the contract, also done online using Docusign.

We eventually met face to face. They praised that the process was so easy!

And now we’re able to schedule private, in-person appointments so you can tour any of our homes. We’re adhering to CDC guidelines for proper safety, keeping everyone protected.

Why it’s a great time to buy a home

If you thought you had to put your plans on hold, think again. Right now, the mortgage interest rates are at a historical low. We looked back almost 50 years to compare interest rates for 30-year, fixed rate mortgages, and the closest we saw to the 3.31% rate last month (April 2020) was the end of 2012, when the market was coming back from the Great Recession.

As restrictions lift and more people are moving about (safely, we hope), the demand for new homes will rise. After coming out of confinement, homeowners have learned that their homes just didn’t meet their needs. Prices will likely go up as well, along with interest rates. Inventory is already low and with the limited amount of homes built over the past few months, your options will become more limited. 

We expect that many people will remain cautious about the spread of the virus, and will limit contact as much as possible. With virtual homebuying, you can shop, plan, purchase, customize, and close on your home with as much or as little distance as you choose. Talk to George Neill to get started on a unique homebuying journey!

Does “home sweet home” still apply?

Categories: Brightwell Crossing, News, Tips | Posted: May 8, 2020 | Comments Off on Does “home sweet home” still apply?

Kettler Forlines home office flexible design
Now that you’ve had weeks of “quality time” with your home, how are you and your house getting along? Does “home sweet home” still apply? Or have you discovered flaws that you just don’t want to live with anymore?

Sheltering at home has enlightened quite a few homeowners and their families. There are certain features lacking in homes that are prompting them to rethink their current abode. On Google, the search phrase “Should I buy a house?” has reached its highest rate since 2004. Some buyers have continued their search during the pandemic’s shutdown, using virtual tours and appointments to narrow down their choices. Then they schedule a private appointment, respecting social distance while walking through the home that interests them. Other buyers follow the path to homeownership all the way to (or through) closing entirely online.

From what we’ve seen at Kettler Forlines Homes over the past month, homebuyers have expanded—or perhaps re-prioritized—their new home wish list of the features that matter most.

What do you want in your next home?

First and foremost, flexible design is a critical element in new homes. Flex rooms and bonus spaces have grown in value as people shifted to working from home, but without a suitable home office. Using the dining room table as a home office and home school just isn’t cutting it with families. While one flex room might have been enough to satisfy homebuyers a few months ago, that acceptance has changed. The den or study now becomes a home office, a place where all non-work people and items are excluded. Some of our floor plans include two flex rooms, allowing for two offices or one office and a homework station.

With the high risk that the coronavirus posed, particularly to the elderly, we’re seeing homeowners look for two owner’s suites in their next home. The first-floor owner’s suite is given to the Kettler Forlines multigenerational homegrandparents, while the homeowners utilize a suite on the second floor. 

An option we’ve added is a first-floor multi-gen suite that’s added to the floor plan’s main level. This multi-gen family suite features a private entrance, a bedroom, living room, kitchenette, full bath, and laundry closet. 

Where do the kids do their homework? And with all this closeness, where do you find privacy from the daily noise? A finished basement makes sense, because it can become a homework zone, rec room, fitness 
studio, or a man cave/she space.

That finished basement could also be converted to a suite. If you have college students —who would rather be back on campus—and/or teenagers who want to feel more independent, this basement suite presents a great solution.

Kettler Forlines better kitchen flexible designThe next item on the new home wish list is a better kitchen—whether that means larger or better equipped is up to you. A walk-in pantry is a must now. Those massive packagKettler Forlines walk in pantryes of toilet paper and paper towels just aren’t sized to fit in an average pantry. Then you add in all the non-perishables you’ve stocked up on and you need more storage space!

A kitchen island has become a must. The extra workspace for food preparation, combined with the ability to enjoy casual meals and snacks there, have elevated the importance of the center island.

Speaking of storage, homebuyers are also adding priority to having a second refrigerator or freezer, either in the garage or perhaps an expanded utility room. A floor plan that offers this flexibility shows buyers that the home was thoughtfully designed.

The next item on the new home checklist is smart home automation. There are so many conveniences available—like a smart thermostat, video doorbell, security system, garage door opener, lights, and appliances. Wouldn’t it be great to move into a home that makes it easy to hook up your smart home technology? Kettler Forlines Homes includes Smart Home Plus with our new homes. Two Wi-Fi-enabled thermostats, a Wi-Fi-enabled garage doo
opener, Wi-Fi-enabled front door lock, and a video doorbell give you a head start on boosting your home’s “IQ”.

Having, using, and adding smart technology, however, sparks another need for homeowners. Living with several people who are using multiple devices puts an enormous strain on your home’s bandwidth. With streaming, gaming, and all the daily messaging, surfing, and communication that happens online, you’re probably seeing your network speed slow to a crawl. If you’ve also added smart home automation, you’re expecting far too much from your outdated network infrastructure.

We’ve added structured wiring to our new Kettler Forlines homes. These residences are pre-wired to accommodate more technology and the added bandwidth that comes with it. The package includes hard-wired ports, which enable a faster, more consistent signal. Working with our New Home Technology Specialist, homebuyers have every room of their home configured to their needs—with outlets where they need them.

If all of this time at home has you climbing the walls and ready to change, please look at The Reserve at Brightwell Crossing in Poolesville, MD, a sought-after location. Choose one of the remaining homesites and the floor plan that fits your lifestyle—sized from 2,493 to more than 7,000 square feet. Use the interactive floor plan feature with each home design on our website so you can start envisioning your new home. Then talk to George Neill, our Community Sales Manager, to take the next step toward a home you’ll love for a long time.