Benefits of Buying a To-Be-Built Home

You’re looking for a new home, and reviewing your options: Resale or new? Move-in-ready or to-be-built? 

Let’s talk about the benefits of buying a to-be-built home with Weaver Homes. 

  • Personalization: In our Design Studio, you can personalize your home’s features & finishes to fit your family. Inside and out, from the roof to the floors, it’s all yours. This is what makes your new Weaver house feel like your home. 
  • No bidding wars: When you choose a brand new Weaver home, there’s no risk of losing out on what you want or having to pay thousands of dollars over asking price in this competitive market. No stress, more fun!
  • Select your homesite: Enjoy the best of both worlds with a to-be-built home. A brand new home, personalized to your taste, on the exact homesite you want. Choose the perfect spot for your dream home in one of our amazing communities throughout Greater Pittsburgh.

Building with Weaver Homes

Oh, and did we mention how much fun it is to build with Weaver Homes? Our team of experts is ready to make your new home journey an experience you’ll love from beginning to end. 

We build detached and attached patio homes specifically designed for active adults. These homes are spacious and elegantly designed, featuring one-level living for easy mobility and entertaining, ample natural light that brings the outdoors in, and courtyards and patios that create an “outdoor living” space that is an extension of the living room. 

We also build luxury single-family homes for move-up buyers. They include our specialty features, open concept floorplans, first floor owner suite options, and plenty of square footage that can be personalized to make each one truly unique. 

Why settle for someone else’s home when you can have a home that’s brand new and all you? For more information about building with Weaver Homes, visit or call 724-609-5261.

6 Reasons to Live in Western Pennsylvania

Access to a world-class city, lush green landscapes, and a low cost of living are just a few reasons that western Pennsylvania is gaining popularity as one of the best places in the country to live. Whether you are returning home after retirement, advancing in your career, or searching for the perfect place to raise a family, western PA is an attractive place to settle in and buy a new home. Let’s explore a few reasons why:

1. Low Cost of Living

Pennsylvania ranks just below the national average when it comes to cost of living – and that’s a good thing! Your dollar will stretch further for necessities such as housing, health care, and utilities. The state sales tax is 6% and excludes pharmaceutical drugs, clothing, residential heating fuels, and food. Pennsylvania also offers attractive benefits for retirees. There is no tax on retirement incomes such as pensions, social security, 401Ks, and IRAs, and seniors over the age of 50 may qualify for property tax rebates. Working adults will be pleased to know that the income tax rate is a flat 3.07%. As always, be sure to consult with your accountant for specifics about taxes. Overall, in Pennsylvania you’ll be able to enjoy a great quality of life AND have money left to save!

2. Nationally Ranked Healthcare

The Pittsburgh metro boasts a high number of doctors per capita. That’s no surprise, given the number of excellent health organizations and universities in the area. To be precise, there are 45 hospitals in western PA, and nine of them are top-ranked facilities. Nationally ranked hospitals like UPMC-University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC offer any service or treatment necessary. When you live in suburban towns like Sarver, Valencia, Harmony, or Zelienople, world-class medical facilities are never more than a few minutes away when you need them.

3. Excellent Schools and Higher Education

If you have children, or you’re interested in expanding your own studies, western Pennsylvania offers top-notch choices in education. The majority of Pittsburgh area public school districts are rated above average, and the area boasts an impressive roster of colleges and universities. Carnegie Mellon University, University of Pittsburgh, Duquesne University, Chatham University, and various Penn State campuses are just a few of the institutions of higher learning. There are a plethora of coffee shops whenever you want to meet with friends to discuss interesting coursework or topics of the day.

4. Culture & Entertainment

With access to the second-largest city in the state comes more than enough options to enjoy art, culture, sports, and entertainment. Pop into town on a Saturday afternoon to take in one of the many museums, then head for the walkable neighborhood of Shadyside where you can dine al fresco at one of many promising eateries. There are numerous music venues and concert events, and of course, don’t forget your season tickets for the Steelers (NFL), Pirates (MLB) or Penguins (NHL). 

5. Outdoor Recreation

In western Pennsylvania we are lucky to enjoy all four seasons – which means there are different outdoor activities to enjoy throughout the year! Local state parks offer safe and enjoyable ways to enjoy the fresh air, sunshine, and beautiful green landscapes. Head to Moraine State Park for water activities and beaches. Keystone State Park has plenty of spots for camping, hiking, and cycling. Kids will love Ohiopyle State Park with its waterfalls and natural water slides. And for the history buffs, stroll through Point Park State Park at the confluence of Pittsburgh’s three rivers. There’s always a new place to explore in western PA.

6. One of the Best Areas for Active Adults

We’re not just saying that because we believe it. The Pittsburgh metro area is nationally ranked on the Milken Institute’s list of best cities for successful aging. Researchers consider 83 indicators for successful age-related living, like wellness, financial security, and community engagement. Numerous opportunities for active adult lifestyle communities in western Pennsylvania means you’ll get to enjoy the best years of life in a beautiful home with outstanding amenities, surrounded by best friends and family.

No matter where you live now, moving to western Pennsylvania will feel like coming home. There’s no better place to enjoy a high quality of life, close to people you love, with endless activities. It’s all here, and the team at Weaver Homes can’t wait to share it with you.

For more information about building a new home in western Pennsylvania, please contact us at 724-609-5261.

Rightsizing Tips For the Best Experience

As you look around at your current home, you may realize that your wants and needs have changed. And you’re certainly not alone. Right now, you may prefer the comfort of a functional, one-level layout, over a multi-level home with rooms that are going unused. Or a private outdoor living space that connects you to the outdoors, as well as an open-concept main living area that connects you to family and friends.

Most of all, you might want a safe, secure home built with modern design that simplifies everyday living and provides comfort and convenience, no matter what life throws at you. As you enter the next exciting phase of your life, you might be ready to rightsize to a new home around Pittsburgh, where you have a peaceful, private lifestyle community that’s close to all of the attractions and opportunities downtown and beyond.

While the process of rightsizing your lifestyle may seem overwhelming at first, our team at Weaver Homes is here to guide you the entire way. We want this experience to be just as exciting and enjoyable as everything that comes next!

The Benefits of Rightsizing

Easy, Single-Level Living: In one of our single-level homes, you’ll get to experience the joy (and ease) of the “single life”! When you don’t have stairs standing in your way, your moments at home become so much easier, from doing laundry to packing luggage for a vacation. Gone are the days of worrying about accessibility issues or injuries — we build each home to be your trusted source of comfort and convenience.

First-Rate Amenities: Close your eyes and picture yourself spending your days in a peaceful, private neighborhood, where the activities you love are right at your fingertips and the people are as friendly as can be. A few of the amenities you’ll find at one of our lifestyle communities include a gorgeous clubhouse with a fitness center, a heated swimming pool, a patio with a grill, and so much more. Best of all, we take care of your home’s exterior maintenance for you, so you can spend all of your time enjoying the amenities outside your door without a worry.

Socialization Opportunities: The heart of any great community is the people that live there. All of our lifestyle communities are filled with neighbors who love to live the way that you do — and are always excited to have a conversation or join you for an activity. From social events to fitness classes, you have so many opportunities to engage with people just like you, and of course, make lifelong friends.

Staging Your Current Home to Sell

Once you’ve decided on your new home, your next task is to sell your current one. And this is where staging comes in! Effective staging isn’t just for show — in fact, staging your home the right way will ensure that you sell it as quickly as possible and maximize its sales price, especially in the current market. 

Make Quick Fixes: First thing’s first, look for the “quick fixes” — remove old area rugs to show off the hardwood floors, take off curtains and cleaning windows, change lampshades, replace light bulbs for optimal lighting, rearrange furniture, etc. Remember, even little adjustments make a big impact.

Decide on Furniture: When it comes to the furniture in your home, it’s essential to make a final decision on what should stay and what should go. Always make sure to keep color, style, and function in mind to make the most confident and informed choice, and really see your home through a buyer’s eyes.

Feel Fresh: The majority of potential buyers see your home in photos online before they see it in person, so everything you do in your home should be about that crucial first impression. Think about touch-ups that evoke a fresh and clean feeling like bright flowers, folded towels in the bathroom, and bowls of fruit in the kitchen.

Keep it Simple: Buyers want to look at your old home and envision making it their own. Packing anything that’s too “personal,” such as keepsakes, artwork, etc. make your home feel like an “open canvas” that’s ready to be personalized. Mirrors on the wall also help to create an open, inviting feel.

Preparing For Move-In Day

Packing and preparing for move-in day doesn’t have to be stressful! With a few helpful tips and tricks, the process will be easier and more enjoyable than you ever imagined. 

Keep What You Love: Emotional ties to items are normal. But remember that you don’t have to get rid of everything. Hand down precious items to your children and grandchildren, donate or sell what you don’t need, and keep what you love the most. 

Wrap Breakables in Clothing: Part of efficient packing and moving means saving as much as you can on the cost and space. In order to avoid excessive plastic, wrap breakable items in clothing. You won’t have to deal with plastic to throw away, and you’ll free up space for your boxes of clothes! 

Use Vacuum Storage Bags: You know how much room your towels, bedding, and pillows take up — but vacuum storage bags make packing them easier than ever. Once you pack the bags, you can use a vacuum to suck the air out of them, compressing them to a much more manageable size. This will maximize space (and minimize any hassle).

Pack Each Room into the Same Box: As you go through each room in your home, make sure to keep items in labeled, respective boxes. This way, when you go to unpack, you’ll know exactly where everything is and you won’t have to waste time rummaging through boxes.

Find the Right Moving Company: Of course, an incredible moving company can make a huge difference in your experience. Make sure to do your research online (take user reviews into consideration) and get a word-of-mouth recommendation if you can. Do this about eight weeks ahead of your move, so you can schedule the one you want without having to worry about them being overbooked. 

Save Space: There’s nothing more helpful than utilizing your space correctly. Use the pots and pans in your kitchen to hold smaller, loose items like a towel stand, spice containers, silverware, and more. Get creative — you can pack smaller items into their larger counterparts to save yourself the headache. 

Get Your Accounts Ready: Before the big move, make sure to cancel any subscriptions or accounts that you need to, and update your address on the services that will be transferred over to your new home. When all of your utility and home services are up to date, you can spend your time focusing on getting settled in. 

Unpacking After You Move In

The day has come — you’re all set to enjoy the comfort and relaxation ahead! Although unpacking and settling into your new home is a process, we have a few tips and tricks for making the transition as smooth as possible.

Bathroom and Kitchen First: Once you have your bathroom set up for your nightly routine, you’ll know you have something relaxing waiting for you once you’re finished with your first day of moving in. Next, start bringing the heart of your home to life and unpack your pots, pans, and other kitchen essentials.

Set Up WiFi: It’s easy to forget to check off a few details from your pre-move-in list. If you still have to set up your wi-fi, make sure to call your provider once you’ve set all your boxes down and are able to take a quick break. Your process will feel less stressful once you have this detail out of the way! 

Sort Dressers and Closets: It may seem like organizing your clothes in the beginning will slow you down, but once you have your things put away, you’ll free up so much physical (and mental) space to focus on everything else, from furniture placement to decor and everything in between.

Meet Your Neighbors: Your first day doesn’t have to be all about unpacking! Take a walk outside to get some fresh air and say hello to your neighbors. One of the best things about your Weaver Homes community is how much everyone cares about each other — your neighbors will be so happy to meet another friendly face and welcome you home.

If you’re ready for a new home that fits your wants and needs, keeps you comfortable, and opens a new world of possibilities every day, all of us at Weaver Homes can’t wait to meet you! For more information about our lifestyle communities in the Pittsburgh area, please contact us at 724-609-5261.

Quick-Delivery Home at the Villas at Spring Valley

They say that finding your new home is a marathon and not a sprint… but with us, you can get to the finish line right away. At the Villas at Spring Valley in Zelienople, a resort-style community where every day is both a new adventure and a relaxing vacation, we have a beautiful new home that is ready to be moved into shortly. This year, say goodbye to waiting for what you want and hello to your best days — starting now!

With our quick-delivery options, you can enjoy all the luxuries of new construction, from high-end, modern details to all-new everything from top to bottom, while getting to move in as soon as possible. Best of all, when you live at the Villas at Spring Valley, you get a social hub, a relaxing retreat, and a community of friendly, like-minded neighbors all in one. 

Featured Home

Available March 28

701 Spring Valley Drive

2 Beds, 2 Baths, 2-Car Garage, 1 Story

Plan: Canterbury

Price: $369,590

Features: Open-concept living area with a dining room, guest room, and living room, study, sunroom, fireplaces, vaulted ceilings, walk-in closets

When you choose one of our quick-delivery homes, you’ll enjoy an easy (and stress-free) personalization process that allows you to make your home entirely your own. Go ahead and bring your unique vision to life with a quick-delivery home.

New Home Community in Zelienople

At the Villas at Spring Valley, you won’t just enjoy a new home that fits you just right — you’ll enjoy a world of opportunities, just beyond your front door. With amenities like a gorgeous clubhouse with a fitness center and heated pool, a bocce court, a patio with a grill and lounge area, and so much more, you have endless options to fill your schedule, whether you want to socialize or simply relax. And because we take care of your exterior maintenance, from snow removal to lawn treatments, you can truly sit back, relax, and enjoy your time without anything standing in your way.

If you’re ready for your greatest adventure to begin, all of us at Weaver Homes can’t wait to meet you and get started! For more information about our quick-delivery homes, please contact us at 724-609-5261.

Home Design Trends For 2021

There’s no better time than the beginning of a new year to give your home a “mini makeover.” As you continue to enjoy more time at home, think about the areas that you’d like to spruce up a little (or a lot)! From two-tone kitchen cabinets to the Pantone colors of the year, there are so many fun trends to try out in your favorite spaces. Take a look at a few of our top home design trends for 2021.

Interior Home Design Trends

Two-Tone Cabinets: When it comes to your kitchen cabinetry, two is better than one! We love the eye-catching look of upper and lower cabinets in two different colors, and the best part is that you have a variety of unique combinations to try. Whether you enjoy soft, light colors like white and powder blue, or a “farmhouse chic” look with black and gold, you’re bound to find the perfect color scheme to reflect your style.

Statement Headboards: Nothing says “relaxation” quite like a beautifully designed bedroom. And nothing completes a well-rounded look than a statement headboard for the bed. This year, it’s all about vibrant, lively headboards that become a focal point in the room. From tufted and nailhead styles, to geometric patterns and bright colors, the options are endless. Plus, you can paint an accent wall behind it to complement the look!

House Plants: If you love the calming, natural aura of house plants, situate them throughout your favorite spaces, like your kitchen, bedroom, or living room. This is an easy way to spruce up your home without having to make a big adjustment. Try herbs, peace lilies, English ivy, pothos, Chinese evergreens, and more to brighten up your rooms. You can also add pops of color and personality with unique planters.

Grandmillennial: Yes, you read “grandmillennial” right! This up-and-coming style is all about comfort, and incorporating the “homey” decor pieces you might find in your grandparents’ home into modern spaces. The grandmillennial trend includes things like floral wallpaper, rattan coffee tables, antique paintings, scalloped lampshades, delicate china, crocheted throws, and more. Get creative and see what feels right!

Ultimate Gray and Illuminating (Yellow): Every year, Pantone announces a “color of the year” that embodies a unique message. For 2021, they chose Pantone 17-5104 Ultimate Gray and Pantone 13-0647 Illuminating (yellow), two uplifting colors that convey strength and hopefulness. These soft, modern hues work beautifully together (and apart) in any space — try using them as wall colors, in furniture accessories, throughout table displays, and more. These yearly colors provide endless opportunities to give your home the fresh, contemporary vibe you’re looking for in the new year. 

From all of us at Weaver Homes, we hope you have a fun time sprucing up your new Pittsburgh area home in 2021!

Featured Community: The Villas at Spring Valley

At Weaver Homes, we believe that the little things in life create the most happiness: a cozy seat by the fireplace, an afternoon stroll on a balmy day, a dip in the pool, a game of bocce with friends, morning coffee in your sunroom. When you live at The Villas at Spring Valley, all of the little things are a part of your daily routine — because you deserve nothing less than the best every day.

In this resort-style community in Zelienople, you’ll enjoy easy living in every sense of the word. From a modern, one-level home to first-rate amenities, you have endless opportunities to explore, play, socialize, and of course, relax. You can choose between our two most popular floorplans, the Canterbury and the Abbey, which come with bright open great rooms, cathedral ceilings, cheery sunrooms, and large windows for plenty of natural light — and just outside your front door, you have a world of new adventures waiting for you.

Zelienople New Home Community

Community Amenities: When you’re here, your schedule is wide open for fun and relaxation. A few of our community amenities include a beautiful clubhouse with community rooms, a patio with a grill and lounge area, a pool deck with lounge furniture, a bocce court, and more. Whether you love to socialize or simply relax, there’s always something fun to do and a friendly face to see.

Comfort and Convenience: The Villas at Spring Valley is a getaway from the outside world — a close-knit oasis where you have peace and quiet in a scenic country setting, and a close proximity to everything you need, from shopping, dining, and attractions to major routes and the airport. Step outside and take in the fresh air; when you’re here, you know you’re right where you belong.

Easy Living Features: We want to make your life as easy as possible, which is why we take care of maintenance outside of your home so you can sit back, relax, and experience all of things you want to do without a worry! Apart from snow removal of driveway and sidewalks, we also take care of grass cutting, lawn treatments, mulching, plant replacement, and installation of starter lawns and landscape beds. Plus, with low Butler County taxes, you can truly enjoy your time with more peace of mind!

Nearby Attractions: One of the best parts about living here is having everything you need — either right outside your door or just a quick drive away. From the area’s best golf courses and state parks to restaurants and stores, you’re always close to the attractions you love. Stop into your favorite local coffee shop, play a round of golf with friends, experience the fun of downtown Pittsburgh… you have every opportunity to fill your days with the things you love. 

There’s no better time than the beginning of a new year to make a fresh start — and there’s no better place to plant your roots than The Villas at Spring Valley. Best of all, we just opened up a brand new model home, so you’re welcome to tour and get a feel for how incredible life is here! For more information about purchasing a new home in Zelienople, please contact us at 724-609-5261. We can’t wait to meet you!

Personalize a Quick-Move-In Home Today

At Weaver Homes, we love being able to give you the exact home you want, the way you want it, when you want it. That’s why we offer an exclusive personalization process that makes it easy for you to purchase a quick-move-in home, make it your own, and move within 90 days!* Other builders don’t offer personalizations this late in the process, but we believe that you should be able to move into your home quickly and make the adjustments you want. 

New Homes Available Now

701 Spring Valley Drive, Zelienople, PA 16063

The Villas at Spring Valley | Canterbury

2 Beds | 2 Baths | 2-Car Garage


1041 Tilly Drive, Valencia, PA 16059

Millcreek Farms | Canterbury

2 Beds | 2 Baths | 2.5-Car Garage


415 Northview Drive, Harmony, PA 16037

Scenic Ridge | Capri III

2 Beds | 2 Baths | 2-Car Garage


134 Pearce Road, Mars, PA 16046

Hickory Glen | Ashton

4 Beds | 2.5 Baths | 3-Car Garage


30+ Days Out

Available 5/24

136 Pearce Road, Mars, PA 16046

Hickory Glen | Millcreek

4 Beds | 2.5 Baths | 3-Car Garage


Personalized Homes in Western PA

In all of these beautiful homes — expertly crafted with an open, airy design for plenty of natural light — features like an open-concept living area with a kitchen, dining room, and living room; flexible rooms that can be used however you wish; outdoor areas; a retreat-like master suite; and walk-in closets come standard. And of course, the distinct personalizations you choose are what make your house a home!

Whether you want to add a den to create a home office, add a veranda for dinners al fresco, or add a bar to your basement for entertaining, we have unique personalization options to ensure that your home fulfills your wants and needs. If you’re ready to move into your dream home now, all of us at Weaver Homes can’t wait to meet you! For more information about these quick-move-in homes, please contact us at 724-609-5261.

*The 90-day time frame may be higher or lower depending on the amount of personalizations.

See sales associate for details.

Rightsizing vs. Downsizing—Making A Positive Lifestyle Choice

Last month my best friend Thom came across an article in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) with a headline that said, “Everybody Says You Should Downsize. Everybody May Be Wrong.” We both found that statement to be so incredulous that we had to reread it. And we weren’t alone in our surprise. Most of the other comments online also questioned many of the negative points offered in the article. Clearly the author herself had not downsized and it was also obvious that her focus came from an outdated definition of the concept. Naturally that got me thinking that maybe most of us approach the topic from the wrong direction to begin with. Instead of thinking of it as “down” sizing—maybe we should consider it to be “right”-sizing. And once we get the label right—it is much easier to consider the real benefits that come from living a lifestyle that is right-sized from the beginning.

Thom and I didn’t start out searching for a way to right-size. In fact, it wasn’t until about five years ago that the shift inside us began. Just like many people at the time, we never actually considered that there was a difference. Up until that point we were like many Americans who thought success was having a large impressive house, all the money necessary to buy things we enjoyed, and work that would continue to make more and more money to keep that lifestyle growing. But what might have made us different from many of our fellow Americans was the awareness that at some point something had to give. Growth without adjustment is unsustainable. Striving for more and more at all cost is unnatural. Breathing in, without breathing out, just doesn’t work for very long.

We suspected that the American economy was headed for trouble. Most people we knew were deeply in debt (luckily we’d learned that lesson during the previous recession). Real estate prices had exploded to unrealistic highs with mortgage terms that few people could ever pay back. The square footage on most homes had swelled from 1,400 in 1970, to 2,700 in 2009. By the same token, both men and women in America packed on weight, on the average, of around 20 pounds more than they did back in 1990. Our country was addicted to bigger, more, and growth at all cost, but something needed to change.

Maybe because Thom and I have been self-employed for most of our lives and have spent quite a bit of time on self-awareness and reflection it helped us to see what was heading our way and embrace the shift looming on the horizon. Whenever anyone senses something like that happening, it’s best to figure out a way to flow with, or ride, the wave that is surely coming.

That’s when Thom and I sat down and started redefining what was important to us and where it was we wanted to go. Thom has always been attracted to the green and sustainable movement, and particularly how that fits within the real estate world. He convinced me that energy conservation and sustainability needed to be part of the future of our country, the planet, and our lives.

We also realized that having a big house in the suburbs packed with amenities wasn’t really that important to us. Instead we craved community, walkability and connection. The more specific we got about what was important to us and what we wanted to experience in our lives on a regular basis, the simpler the solution. Right-sizing was the path to creating a lifestyle that uniquely fit what our hearts desired.

While that explanation might make it sound like it was an easy solution—it really wasn’t. It took several years and is still being fine-tuned nearly every day. Truthfully, in the beginning we thought we’d just scale our lifestyle back a bit. While our mortgage was never excessive, our original goal was to cut it in half. But as time went by, and we got more and more clear about what it was we really wanted, the idea of having a home with no mortgage or association dues became more and more desirable. That decision saved us $1,600 per month.

To be honest, in the beginning some of it felt like compromise. I was under the impression that going from a big house to less than 1,500 would be unworkable. But when we found a house in a neighborhood that we really liked—that contained a number of benefits that we were convinced were highly valuable to us—we bought a house at nearly half the size of our previous one and have been happy ever since. Something I discovered was that even more important than square footage of a house is the layout and location. If you take the time to find a layout that works for you, the size is usually secondary. And if the neighborhood/location is good and close to things you find important, then the value is greatly enhanced.

Another thing that most people don’t realize is that the larger your home, the more you need to furnish and maintain. A more compact house doesn’t need to be filled with as much stuff (there is NO WHERE to put it!) When you take the time to carefully furnish and decorate your house with only a few things that you love and need, it frees up both your mind and your heart to focus on those things that bring you happiness.

In addition to needing less inside your new smaller home is the advantage of far less maintenance and utility costs. Most people seldom consider the true costs of what it will take to cool, heat or light up their property until after those first few bills start arriving. Not only did our smaller home come with smaller utility costs, we have also been able to add a number of energy saving features (like solar) that has practically eliminated our energy costs. By rightsizing our house size, we’ve managed to save another $250 dollars a month in that department. And don’t forget taxes, insurance and general maintenance. Those amounts save us another $250 every single month.

Something else that felt a bit like a compromise in the beginning was the small yard that came with our new house. The yard at the last house was twice the size and contained a lovely pool, spa and grassy lawn. While it was certainly beautiful and I was quite proud to own the previous property—a person shouldn’t forget the ongoing price to maintain those amenities. Specifically, that previous yard w/pool cost us on an average around $550 per month. Truth be told, we seldom swam in the pool or used the yard. On top of that, we routinely spent time and energy managing the gardeners, pool man and ongoing repairs. At our new house we designed our desert-scape yard that we maintain ourselves. After taking the time to create it right from the beginning, it is not only beautiful, but we feel more connected to it than our previous yard because we take care of it ourselves. Sure it’s nice to be able to have a gardener, a pool man and other helpers, but all that takes both money AND time.

So how much did we save? Here is a breakdown of the amount we save every month by living a “right-sized” lifestyle. (FYI…I’m not trying to boast by sharing these numbers but rather encourage people to be honest about what their lifestyle is actually costing them. With the right knowledge it is easier to make changes.)

Of course the biggest point I want to make about right-sizing is not just about the money. Sure it’s nice to have extra money every single year to spend on investments or other things we truly enjoy, but the best benefit is how liberating the experience of living debt free turns out to be. By not having a large financial commitment hanging over our head for things we didn’t really need and had grown tired of caring for, we freed ourselves to use that same amount of money to follow our dreams and desires and/or to be of help to causes we believe in supporting.

Other highlights from the change include now living in a neighborhood that is tremendously rewarding. Our current neighborhood offers a handful of free amenities that we consider much more desirable than our previous yard and bigger home. We also have a great deal more free time to devote to exercise and creativity that we would have unknowingly devoted to just maintaining a larger lifestyle.

So why do people call such a positive change “downsizing?” As the article in the WSJ pointed out, calling the change a downsize puts the focus on sacrificing and giving up. Instead of focusing on the positive, the idea of downsizing is that something must be “wrong” and you are only doing it because you have to do it.

We prefer instead to know that right-sizing is a conscious choice for a better lifestyle that more closely fits you and your family in the best way possible. It has nothing to do with constant striving toward more or bigger, or putting yourself at risk with unsustainable debt. It has nothing to do with stressing yourself to the max by trying to outdo your neighbors, family or co-workers. Instead, right-sizing is about being honest with yourself enough to figure out what you are spending money on and whether that money is worth the time, effort and spirit you invest earning it. Best of all, right-sizing is about finding what brings your life meaning, makes you smile, and allows you to sleep well and deeply every single night. If you don’t have that now, maybe it’s time to right-size your life.

By Kathy Gottberg

Rightsizing vs. Downsizing

The Pines at Camp Trees Site Survey

All of the lots in The Pines at Camp Trees are at least 1 acre. We chose lot 220 for our model home the Ashton because of its size, its location and the incredible views. The Site Survey is key to correct house placement on any site. Weaver Homes ensures that the Ashton will be positioned to get the best views, most hours of natural sunlight and noise reduction. There are many details involved in placing a home onto a site. Weaver Homes Vice President Chad Weaver, our engineers and field directors address each one of those details to maximize optimal plot positioning. In the Weaver Homes family, you can be sure your home’s placement is positioned to get the maximum usage out of lot space. Unlike other home builders in the area, Weaver Homes considers you one of our family and will work diligently to ensure you are happy with your new custom home. Details really do Define the Difference.

Cheering on the Pittsburgh Penguins

With the Penguins moving one game closer to the Stanley Cup, it is a good time to talk hockey. Weaver Homes is a local new home builder who takes pride in building community- one way they do this is by sponsoring youth hockey for both Allegheny and Butler County families. The Baierl Iceplex located in Warrendale, PA has a solid youth program. Just north of the Iceplex is the Penguins training ice rink that is open to the public for leagues, lessons, and open skates. The Penguins moved their training facility to Butler County two years ago with a multi-million dollar investment in the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in the primary practice and training facility for the Pittsburgh Penguins as well as a comprehensive outpatient facility for UPMC Sports Medicine. This first of its kind facility in the Pittsburgh region.  Many pro hockey players live in the area and skate with their kids. Some of our areas’ best businesses such as Dick Sporting Goods, PPG Paints, and Weaver Homes sponsor youth leagues and programs.

Youth hockey continues to boom in our region. It’s a great way to bring families together. Not only is it fun but it’s a great workout. Hockey is one of the best cardiovascular games you can play. Alternating between skating and rest (what is known as interval training in the fitness world) improves the efficiency of the cardiovascular system, allowing it to bring oxygen to the muscles more quickly. It also helps to prevent injuries that often come with other sports that engage in repetitive movements. Playing hockey burns a ton of calories. Many children are facing problems with weight and diabetes as a result of eating foods that are high on taste, but low on nutrition. Playing hockey one or two times a week can offset those foods kids enjoy so much and give them the energy and desire to go outside instead of laying on the couch. Hockey requires a high level of coordination; regularly playing can develop a child’s gross motor skills, which leads to improvement of the more difficult fine motor skills, and improves eye-hand coordination, which can translate to a better understanding of spatial relationships. It also requires strength, something that can benefit a child in whatever activity he or she pursues. Stronger muscles improve endurance and create stronger bones.

Along with great exercise is learning teamwork, making friends and being coached. We have great coaching in our area, often the coaches are dads, and sometimes these dads are pros.  Last month ESPN featured some Western PA families when discussing zealous hockey parents. Here is an excerpt from the April article.

“But it’s an example of what many youth coaches — even former pros — sometimes deal with when they leave the game and step behind the bench of minor or youth hockey teams.” One dad was even trying to question Mario Lemieux’s coaching. “If someone is willing to tell Mario Lemieux, who is in the top five players to ever play in the National Hockey League — how to run a power play, then anyone is open to criticism,” said former NHL goalie Brian Boucher, who coaches his son Ty’s bantam team. “Parents are unbelievable.”

Hockey means gear. The average player has 35 to 40 lbs in the duffle. A smelly equipment bag is the bane of every hockey parent’s existence. The key to a sweet-smelling season lies in the airing out of gear after each use.  Good advice is to have a clothes tree and make sure the bags are emptied so everything can dry out.

A new home can be designed to have vents and air where you need it most and sports lockers large enough to hold all the gear. Think about a making your new home a hockey home and working with a builder who understands your needs- featuring an extra large garage with the equipment and laundry room at the ready right off the garage to keep hauling equipment and clothes easy. 

Weaver Homes has two perfect move-in ready hockey homes located in Vista Ridge only 15 minutes to the rink and around the corner from Mars schools.

How Megan Prazer Defines the Difference

From the beginning as a specialist in high-end fashion, Megan Prazer learned the ins and outs of working to help clients make the right style choices to fit their personality. It is not that far off from choosing luxury home materials with new homebuyers to personalize their home. The details define the difference, and Weaver Homes is all about the details, especially with Megan Prazer, Design Studio Coordinator.  Megan loves working with clients and gets excited to help new homeowners make short work of choosing finishes that match their needs, style and design appeal to create their dream home. The First Impressions Design Studio is a homebuilder’s dream showroom that sets Weaver Homes apart from other area builders. Here you can put all of the pieces to your design puzzle together and for an interactive view of what your home will become.

Megan is responsible for selecting finishes and staging all of Weaver Homes’ models in addition to working with every single buyer to make personal choices for their future home.  Megan likes that her job allows her to use her extensive product knowledge and friendly people skills to help clients make choices that reflect their personality. Her love of creativity and shopping are added bonuses: “Working with homeowners is truly the perfect fit for me. Together we make it happen. Over the years, I have met and worked with the most amazing, interesting people. I listen, I am patient, I am interested in what the customers have to say. I want everyone that walks through our doors at Weaver Homes to feel welcome and fully appreciated for trusting us to build their dream home.”

Weaver Homes is grounded in the beliefs of Quality*Local*Tradition and Megan Prazer exemplifies all of these characteristics.  Being a native of Southern Butler area, she currently lives in Mars with her three children and two Weimaraner’s.  Megan volunteers in the local Mars community, and it is important for her customers to have a great experience as most likely she will bump into them at the grocery store, at church or even Cross Fit. Her approachable style mixed with a thorough understanding of current design trends, helps her to guide every new homeowner through making choices that are right for their families. Megan makes the process seamless, fun and clear every step of the way and loves every minute of the job she does!

Experience what Weaver Homes quality looks like with Megan Prazer at the First Impressions Design Studio located at 361 Mars-Valencia Road Mars, PA 16046.  Visit our open houses every weekend. 

FAQs About Moving Day

How do I prepare for Moving Day?

A representative of the moving company should contact you at least 24 hours prior to Moving Day to let you know time of arrival. Be sure to share any changes that have taken place that may affect them. (E.g. The street in front of your home is under construction, preventing a large moving truck from getting near the house. Or a family emergency took you away from packing and you haven’t been able to finish. Your mover can send professional packers to complete the job for you.)


By Moving Day, remove anything from the porch and walkways that may obstruct movement of your belongings. Take doors off the hinges if you know certain items will not fit through. Remove throw rugs from traffic areas that could cause someone to trip or slip. Have water, juice or soda on hand, especially on a hot day. Your crew will be grateful for your thoughtfulness.


What should I wear on Moving Day?

Moving Day will be long and busy, so dress for comfort. Professional movers wear clothing that’s roomy but not baggy. They also wear tough fabrics that stand up to abrasion and other rough treatment.


Jeans are ideal, but pick ones with extra room for freedom of movement. Stretchy fabrics are also comfortable, and pockets are good for keeping small, valuable items safe. If your ID/wallet is in your pocket, you know where it is at all times and don’t need to worry.


Moving can be dusty and dirty. Choose darker shades and less expensive clothes. If you’re handling your own move, take a change of clothes with you. That way you won’t have to spend the whole day sweaty and dusty.


If you have heavy boots, wear them. Boxes get dropped and thick boots will protect your toes from injury. Avoid sandals and anything with an open toe.


While warmer clothing may make you sweaty if you’re going to be packing things and moving boxes and furniture, remember to leave a sweater or jacket unpacked. After a long and exhausting day, being cold is the last thing you want. (No matter how organized you are, you’ll never be able to find the box with your warm clothing in it.)


Can I just leave things in the drawers of my dresser or desk?

No. All items should be packed in boxes to prevent loss or damage.


What should I do with jewelry and other valuable items?

Items of extraordinary value (jewelry, money, antiques, collections) can be included in your move, but you need to notify your moving company about them BEFORE Moving Day. Each mover has a slightly different procedure for handling high value items. Make sure that you clearly understand the procedure prior to Moving Day. You may feel more comfortable taking irreplaceable and expensive articles with you or making other arrangements for their transport.


How do I prepare appliances for moving?

Appliances such as washers, dryers and refrigerators must be disconnected, and the washer must have a stabilizer installed. You or your moving company will have to contact the local service providers that handle these services.


How much should I tip the movers?

Most movers will not pressure you for a tip, but if you’re happy with the service you received, a $5 tip per worker/per hour is a reasonable sum. Usually, you’ll see that movers work extremely hard, and it’s a nice gesture to acknowledge the efforts that they have made to ensure your move is a success.

De-Stress Your Home Buying Process – Get Organized

Buying a home is one of the biggest decisions you’ll ever make. It may seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. The best way to keep on top of everything? Get organized. Develop a system and stick to it! Many financial institutions have apps, checklists and guides you can download to create a smooth home buying experience.

Here are some tips to stay organized as you search for and/or buy a home:

  • Keep track of where you’ve been—and what homes you like

As you search various homes, it’s easy to forget what features stood out to you. Did it have walk-in closets? A finished basement? Does it have enough bathrooms? To help you remember the amenities of each house, use a homebuyer’s checklist with detailed information about each property you see, including:

  • The location and style of home
  • Type of construction
  • Number of bedrooms and bathrooms
  • Features, such as fireplace, fenced-in yard and laundry room

There are also many smartphone apps, such as the My New HomeSM app, that can help you keep track of these items and allow you to rate homes and store photos.

  • Have your paperwork together, so you’re ready to apply for a mortgage

You’ll need to collect several documents when you apply for a mortgage. Gathering those now will save you time later. Mortgage lenders usually need:

  • All pay stubs for the past month
  • W-2 tax statements from the past two years (If you’re self-employed, you need two years personal and business taxes.)
  • Bank or investment statements for the past three months
  • The home purchase contract between you and the seller

You should also think about how to best store your documents, such as in an envelope or tabbed binder that fits legal-sized papers, for easy access.

  • Stay on top of contact names, phone numbers, emails.

Your new home search may take months, and involve dozens of people – realtors, salespeople, contractors, appraisers, inspectors, mortgage professionals, consultants, etc.  Making yourself a chart or spreadsheet of contacts with all of their pertinent info will help you keep track of everything – and is easier to maintain than an unwieldy stack of business cards.

  • Get ready to move into your new home

It’ll take some time and organization to prepare for the big move, especially since you’ll likely be closing on your new home at the same time. Even though it will seem as though there aren’t enough hours to get it all done, don’t rush it. Make sure you plan properly, so you have time to do it right and don’t miss, lose or break anything along the way.

Try using a moving timeline to organize your move. It has hints for what to start packing from six weeks out right up to moving day. Plus, there are handy reminders for things you may have not considered, such as filling out a change of address form, notifying your children’s old and new schools, and transferring prescriptions to a new pharmacy.

The bottom line: Buying a new home doesn’t have to make you a ball of stress. By getting organized, you can make the whole process as stress-free as possible.

Weaver Homes is a Pittsburgh and Mars area new homebuilder featuring single family homes patio homes and custom homes. Visit for more information.

How we Celebrate our Mums

Saturday, May 13, 2017, one of Weaver Homes’ communities, Vista Ridge, held it’s first annual yard sale. Along with the yard sale, to help celebrate Mother’s Day, Weaver Homes distributed mums to all the mom’s that stopped in. Students from Mars Elementary School raised money for Food Network’s campaign “No Kid Hungry” by selling baked goods. We hope your Mother’s Day was just as fun as ours here at Weaver Homes. Vista Ridge is a great community for families who want a private, but connected neighborhood. Weaver Homes doesn’t just build homes, they build communities.

Channeling the Irish Spirit at Home This St. Patty’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day is today, and it’s the perfect time to break out your green attire, and celebrate the Irish spirit of fun and tradition!

Why not celebrate this holiday with a traditional Irish-themed party for friends and loved ones? With a little effort, your party will be a memorable event featuring delicious Irish food and drinks.

There are simple baked treats like Irish soda bread or scones.  If you’re a little more ambitious, Irish pub foods like corned beef and cabbage, Irish stew, or shepherd’s pie are always a big hit.  And you can always make green cookies or cupcakes with a bit of food coloring.

On the liquid side of things, options range from the sublime (Irish whiskey) to the ridiculous (green beer). Or you can try your hand at making a variety of Irish-themed drinks – Everybody’s Irish, the Irish Martini, or Irish Eyes. (If you serve drinks with green coloring, make sure you protect rugs and furniture from spills… otherwise you’ll have green everywhere!)

A St Patrick’s Day blast is also an excuse to step up the bar in your basement! In honor of the occasion, install a Kegerator or a beer cellar.  (A steady stream of Guinness would not go amiss.)

However you celebrate, remember to raise a toast by saying “Sláinte!” (Cheers in Gaelic), and to express your love for the Emerald Isle with a hearty “Érin go Brágh!” (Ireland Forever in Gaelic.) 

Weaver Homes is a Pittsburgh and Mars area new home builder featuring single family homes patio homes and custom homes. Visit for more information.