After a year of house-hunting, the North Jersey couple knew the minute they saw Whispering Hills that this was the ideal community for them where they could build their dream townhome and plan their retirement. "We think living in southern Ocean County will be great," said Chris Schultz, who along with his wife is planning to move into their new Bayberry townhouse this spring. Being avid boaters, the couple was familiar with the Jersey shore and the numerous local marine facilities available to residents.
"The price of the townhouse was very reasonable, and we loved the setting," added Schultz. The community was built on 85 wooded acres, which encompass a 28-acre tree preservation area. Also, residents have easy access to the adjacent 15.6-mile Barnegat Branch Rail Trail Bikeway.
The couple opted for the spacious three-bedroom, 2 ½ bathroom Bayberry model, which included a free finished basement. The next step involved selecting the customized details that add value and personalize a new home. By working with Danielle Edreff, design consultant for Walters Homes, the couple added roughly $50,000 in options and upgrades to their townhouse.
The design process normally takes two to three weeks, according to Edreff. And the completion of each townhouse doesn't begin until after homebuyers have finalized all of their design choices. "It's important to have a budget in mind and know what you want," she said. "Basically, we use a guideline of 75 days to complete the unit after a ‘start date' has been issued."
Beyond picking the location and floor plans, buyers have a long list of options and upgrades, including lighting and plumbing fixtures, countertops and flooring, cabinet styles and door handles, carpet colors and design accents. "At our design center, we help customers make a lot of decorative decisions without being overwhelmed or confused," said Edreff.
"Walters was fine with all of our changes," said Schultz. "They've been very easy to work with throughout the process. And I liked the fact that they're local builders."
Edreff advises clients to familiarize themselves with the many options offered before they meet with her at the Design Center. "There are lots of decisions whether it's a design change or a color choice; I am happy to take as much time as they need and give them guidance," she said.
"We had a general idea of what we wanted and what it would cost," said Schultz. "Many of the upgrades seemed like a very good value and Danielle helped with her suggestions. There were some options we hadn't even considered such as laminate flooring in the basement instead of tiles, which were expensive. Danielle also helped us coordinate colors."
The kitchen was a focal point for the Schultzes, who added cherry wood cabinets with raised panel doors, a granite countertop, and tile backsplash. In addition, they added numerous upgrades throughout the house, including custom paint, recessed lighting, under-cabinet lighting, upgraded fixtures, central vac, wood flooring, wood stairs, and a deck.
Owning a LEED® Silver-certified home was another selling point for the couple. "We talked with people who live at Whispering Hills and they said that their homes were very energy efficient," said Schultz. "There were some upgrades Walters couldn't offer because they weren't environmentally friendly. But I liked that, and Danielle helped us get the upgrades that were similar."
For the Schultzes the process of watching their townhouse turn into their dream home was a great experience from start to finish. "One of the biggest advantages to buying a Walters home is we work closely with our homebuyers to make sure they get exactly what they want," said Edreff.
Whispering Hills is located in the historic town of Barnegat, offering lifestyle amenities such as miles of nearby beaches, walking trails, parks, and golf courses. The community is situated off Rose Hill Road, between Barnegat Boulevard and Route 9 where a sales office and three models are open to the public. For more information about Whispering Hills, please contact the sales office at (609) 607-9400 or visit www.waltershomes.com.