Friday, December 14, 2012

Weather Forecast for Briar Chapel this Saturday: SNOW!

Briar Chapel is hosting a Winter Wonderland this Saturday from 2-4pm, and you're invited.

At the event, children of all ages will get to enjoy:
  • snow & sledding (!!!)
  • greeting Santa
  • decorating cookies
  • writing letters to Santa
  • hot chocolate and cider
  • making eco-friendly wreaths and snowflakes with the Scrap Exchange
  • mingling with residents to learn what the Briar Chapel lifestyle is all about
Toys-for-Tots will also be accepting donated, unwrapped toys.

If you attend the event, be sure to stop by and see Peter at the Homes By Dickerson model home located at 371 Tobacco Farm Way (right where the event is being staged).

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Briar Chapel Featured In November Issue of Builder & Developer Magazine

Builder and Developer magazine, a national homebuilding trade magazine, recently featured Briar Chapel in its November issue. Readers of the publication typically include top industry executives, sales and marketing teams, architects, desigers, engineers and suppliers.

The article explores how Newland Communities (the developer of Briar Chapel) is committed to deliver a community based on aspects of protecting the natural environment and providing a leading ecological lifestyle. It also focuses on two members of the building team, Homes By Dickerson and Saussy Burbank, and how they are creating original homes by thinking in terms of sustainability and longevity.

Read the article online.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Making Sense of Home Energy Ratings

When looking at the high-performance homes being built in Briar Chapel, you will often hear us refer to a home's "HERS" rating. Let's take a minute to explain what this is and how it helps predict energy consumption.

The HERS (Home Energy Rating System) Index is a scoring system which was developed to provide a standard measurement of a home’s energy efficiency and expected energy costs.

HERS is the housing equivalent of MPG (miles per gallon) with cars & trucks.

It is based on a standard new home built to code, which is given a score of 100 on the HERS Index. The lower a home’s score, the more energy efficient it is in comparison to the same home built to code. More specifically, each 1-point decrease in the HERS Index corresponds to a 1% reduction in energy consumption.

This translates directly into savings on utility costs for the new homeowner. For example, one particular 2004 sqft home in Briar Chapel with a HERS score of 66 is estimated to cost only $1342 to operate per year! That includes electricity, natural gas, water heating, heating/cooling, and service charges.

The high-performance homes in Briar Chapel typically score between 54-72 on the HERS Index, which means they are 28-46% more efficient than similar homes built to code. More impressive is the fact that these high-performance homes can be over 48-66% more efficient than homes which are ten years old! All builders in Briar Chapel are required to use independent energy auditors to determine the HERS scores of each home they build, so they can provide this information to new homeowners and earn the ENERGY STAR and NAHB Green Certified ratings (among others) as well.

To learn more about the HERS Index, including how it is calculated by a home energy rater, I encourage you to visit If you want to better understand how green-built homes bring you increased comfort, a healthier living environment, and lower utility costs while lessening the impact on the environment, please reach out to one of us. We would be happy to provide additional info.

Friday, November 16, 2012

4th Annual 6BC Endurance Bike Race & 7th Annual Fat Tire Festival this Sunday!

The 4th Annual 6BC Endurance Bike Race and 7th Annual Fat Tire Festival are coming to Briar Chapel this Sunday, November 18th!
Starting at 9am, join Briar Chapel residents as they cheer on the race participants, who will be ranked by how many laps they can complete within six hours. To register for the race, click here. A kids race will begin at 2pm. To register for this (shorter) race, click here.
After the race, you'll want to stick around and enjoy the Fat Tire Festival, which includes a kids race, trail rides, exhibitors, and plenty of great food and drinks. Food will be provided by Parlez Vous Crepes and Klausie’s Pizza, with drinks provided by Fullsteam Brewery.
Be sure to RSVP for the Fat Tire Festival if you plan to attend.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

For Sale: 70 Dark Forest Drive

If you love Homes By Dickerson's "Bristol" floor plan, but missed your chance to make an offer on their former model or their award-winning 2012 Parade of Homes entry, then you'll want to take a look at 70 Dark Forest Drive!

This home sits on a spacious corner lot, and has been decorated beautifully. Here are some photos of the current interior (click to enlarge):

Here is the original virtual tour of this home, which shows many of the other rooms and original lighting fixtures (which are available to buyer, if interested):

View the Tour

You really have to see this home in person to appreciate the quality of its construction. To schedule a showing, please contact Jen Winkler at 919-593-3662.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Benefits of Briar Chapel's Saltwater Pools

Residents of Briar Chapel enjoy a number of great amenities, including two saline (saltwater) swimming pools, which have a number of advantages over other types of pools:
  • Better Comfort: One of the most noticeable advantages of Briar Chapel's saltwater swimming pools is the level of comfort residents experience. Salt is softer on your skin than chlorine. Also, salt doesn't cause red eyes, itchy skin, and discolored hair as chlorine has a tendency to do.

  • Environmentally Friendly: Another advantage of saltwater pools is the lowered use of chemicals. Briar Chapel's pool operator doesn't have to store and handle toxic chemicals on a regular basis. This means that the saltwater pools are safer for the environment, and residents won't have to suffer the odor of chlorine.

  • Lower Maintenance: Saltwater swimming pools virtually clean themselves and require less maintenance than pools that use chlorine. Since the chlorine generator converts salt into chlorine, Briar Chapel's pool operator doesn't have to keep adding manufactured chemicals to maintain water sanitation and inhibit the growth of algae. Lifeguards do, however, test the water on a regular basis throughout the pool season to be sure the water is safe.

  • No Organochlorines: Pure chlorine pools create organochlorines that mimic human hormones. These can cause reduced fertility, immune system abnormalities, and numerous cancers. There is also evidence that exposure to chloramines can contribute to respiratory problems, including emphysema and asthma. Saltwater swimming pools, such as the ones in Briar Chapel, do not have this problem because chlorine levels never drop low enough for organochlorines to form.

  • Lower Cost: Although saltwater pools are more expensive to install, they can usually pay for themselves in a few years. This is because the cost to maintain a saltwater pool is less than half the cost to maintain a chlorine pool.

How do saltwater pools work?

Both salt water pools and traditional chlorine pools use chlorine to sanitize the water. The difference is that saltwater pools use a chlorine generator to produce natural chlorine from salt by separating salt molecules into their component parts: chloride and sodium. After salt is converted to chlorine to sanitize and oxidize the water within the generator, chlorine converts back to salt when it re-enters the pool, and the process continues over and over again, conserving the salt and keeping sanitizer levels balanced.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Report Indicates Triangle Housing Market Continues Positive Growth

The Triangle Multiple Listing Service has just released their local market update for September 2012, and the trend continues to show positive growth.

Here are some of the highlights:
  • Closed Sales were up 19% in year over year data.
  • Pending Sales rose 25.3% compared to last year.
  • Inventory levels shrank by 23% over last September.
  • Median Sales Price increased slightly by 1.9%.
  • Days-on-Market (DOM) was down 12.5% to 114 days.
  • Months Supply of Inventory was also down 33.7% to 6.9 months.

The data reflects information on properties located in the 16 counties of the greater Triangle Region, including Chatham where Briar Chapel is located. The percentage changes are comparisons with the prior year’s month unless otherwise noted.

There was also good news from the housing market this week:

Friday, October 19, 2012

Four Briar Chapel Homes Named 2012 Parade of Homes Winners

Congratulations to three members of Briar Chapel's builder team for nabbing four wins during the 2012 Parade of Homes, presented by the Home Builder’s Association (HBA) of Durham, Orange and Chatham Counties.

Gold Award Winners:
  • 371 Tobacco Farm Way (Homes by Dickerson)
  • 39 Pokeberry Bend (Saussy Burbank)
  • 139 N. Serenity Hill Circle (David Weekly Homes)
Silver Award Winner:
  • 351 Dark Forest Drive (Homes by Dickerson)

Homes entered into the Parade were divided into price categories and judged by teams of builders and new home professionals from other markets. Submitted homes were judged prior to the start of the event on criteria including quality workmanship, floor plan and curb appeal.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

5th Annual Pittsboro Pepper Festival Today!

The 5th Annual Pittsboro Pepper Festival is being held today, October 14th, from 3-7pm at Briar Chapel's newest park, the Briar Commons. Come celebrate the food and drinks made from the Piedmont’s sustainable farmers, chefs, brewers and artisans!

This annual event supports The Abundance Foundation. This year’s event will be bigger than ever with 35 participating vendors, and an anticipated 800 attendees. In addition to great food, groups Diali Cissokho & Kaira Ba and The Free States, along with Justin Johnson will entertain attendees. There will also be face painting, big bubbles and The Vegetable Circus for the little ones.

Tickets are $35 at the door or free for children under the age of 12.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Virtual Tour: "Bristol" Parade Home

Homes By Dickerson's "Bristol" is one of the 2012 Parade of Homes entries in Briar Chapel this year, which just started this weekend. Situated near the cul-de-sac on Dark Forest and backing up to a wooded buffer, this home has a number of eye-catching trim details, including beautiful herringbone pattern hardwood floors, a window seat with built-in bookshelves, a cedar-encased screened porch, and carved newel posts to name a few. With easy access to the 24-mile trail system from the backyard, and a short walk to the amenity-rich clubhouse and salt-water pools, this home is worth a look.

If you're not able to tour the Parade of Homes, call Jen Winkler at 919-593-3662 to schedule a showing of this beautiful home.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Mortgage Rate & Inventory Levels Update

One of the questions I'm most often asked by homebuyers these days has to do with where mortgage rates are heading. Since I don't have a crystal ball, nor am I a mortgage broker, I usually refer them to one of my preferred lenders.

What I can tell is that this is an EXCELLENT time to purchase or refinance a home, since money is on sale! According to Freddie Mac, the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage rate slipped to a new all-time low of 3.49% last week for borrowers willing to pay 0.6 discount points at the time of closing (one discount point is equal to one percent of your loan size). Likewise, the average 15-year fixed rate mortgage rate dropped to a new all-time low last week of 2.77% with the same accompanying 0.6 discount points.

If you have a home to sell, you'll want to pay attention to another important figure... months supply of inventory. According to the National Association of REALTORS®, the national existing home supply slipped to 6.1 months last month — very close to the 6.0-month marker which separates a “buyer’s market” from a “seller’s market”. Here in the Triangle, we saw inventory levels drop by over 35% in August compared to the same period last year.

In other words, if you were thinking of putting your home on the market next Spring, you may want to reconsider and get it listed now. I'll be happy to recommend a good agent, if you don't already have one.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

2012 Parade of Homes Features Six Briar Chapel Green Homes

Now in its 29th year, the 2012 Parade of Homes in Durham, Orange & Chatham Counties will be held over the next three weekends: September 29-30, October 5-7 and October 12-14, 2012 from Noon-5pm each day. This is a free, self-guided tour showcases the latest designs and technology trends.

This year, Briar Chapel has six entries in the Parade:
  • The "Yates" - 9 Pokeberry Bend Dr. (Saussy Burbank)
  • The "Carsen" - 39 Pokeberry Bend Dr. (Saussy Burbank)
  • The "Teague" - 68 Owen Towne Rd. (Saussy Burbank)
  • The "Milliron" - 139 N. Serenity Hill Cir. (David Weekley Homes)
  • The "Millhaven" - 371 Tobacco Farm Rd. (Homes by Dickerson)
  • The "Bristol" - 371 Dark Forest Dr. (Homes by Dickerson)
This year's event also enables builders to enjoy some friendly competition, as each home on the Parade is judged by a panel of industry representatives from other markets in our region. These judges examine the design, quality, and creativity that each entry demonstrates, resulting in a numerical grade for each house. Awards are given to homes that achieve the highest scores in each price category.

If you would like a guided tour of these homes, please contact Jen Winkler at 919-593-3662. She will be more than happy to point out the various green features that are available in these homes, as well as show you the amenities that residents enjoy throughout Briar Chapel.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Annual Briar Chapel "Pups in the Pool" Event a Huge Success

Once the pool season comes to a close each year, it's a tradition for Briar Chapel residents to bring their dogs for a swim at the annual "Pups in the Pool" event. This year's event had perfect weather and was well attended.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Chapel Hill Among Money Magazine's Best Places to Live

Money magazine recently selected Chapel Hill as the 10th best small city to live in the United States.

In addition to referring to its "town within a park" beauty, the magazine noted the community's strong job opportunities, great schools, low crime, quality health care, and variety of things to do.

Residents of Briar Chapel have a Chapel Hill mailing address, but enjoy a lower tax rate in Chatham County.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Playing Golf Near Briar Chapel

Since many prospective buyers ask me about opportunities to play golf near Briar Chapel, I thought I would share some information about the courses nearby. We have a number of places to play within a short drive... here are just a few of them, listed in order of distance:
  • Twin Lakes: 9-hole course that is adjacent to Briar Chapel, but not for the serious golfer!
  • Governors Club: private club, 36 holes, about 5 minutes from Briar Chapel. They offer memberships to Briar Chapel residents.
  • Chapel Ridge: one of my favorite courses in the area, about 15 minutes from Briar Chapel.
  • The Preserve: a little more challenging due to environmentally-sensitive areas, about 20 minutes from Briar Chapel. They offer a membership ($1000 initiation + $160-207/month) that gives you access to both Chapel Ridge and The Preserve.
  • Finley: UNC’s course… a bit expensive, but a great alternative that is only 20 minutes from Briar Chapel.
  • Chapel Hill Country Club: private course across from Finley, about 20 minutes from Briar Chapel.
  • Old Chatham: very exclusive, so I haven’t had an opportunity to play this one yet, about 30 minutes from Briar Chapel.
  • Falls Village: I haven’t played this course yet, but it is part of the Traditional Clubs (similar to Chapel Ridge & Preserve), about 30 minutes from Briar Chapel.
  • Sanford Municipal: good course and very inexpensive during the week, about 35 minutes from Briar Chapel.
  • Tobacco Road: fun course (not for everyone, though), about 45 minutes from Briar Chapel.
  • Pinehurst: golf capital of the world, about 60 minutes from Briar Chapel.
We have a number of folks in the neighborhood that like to play, and even have some groups that get together and play on a regular (if not weekly) basis.

Swing straight!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Virtual Tour: "Oberlin" Ranch Model

Homes By Dickerson's "Oberlin" is the only true ranch plan currently being built in Briar Chapel. This particular home features an open kitchen, breakfast area and family room with gas log fireplace and access to a covered porch and beautiful courtyard garden with water fountain feature. A large owner suite (16x16!) has an extra large shower and walk-in closet. Two additional bedrooms are located off the foyer and share a second bath.

View the Tour

Friday, August 17, 2012

Briar Chapel Builder Launches New HomeBuilder iPad App

Homes By Dickerson, a member of the Briar Chapel builder team, has just released the first edition of its new HomeBuilder iPad App. This app enables users to find and design their home, search floorplans, and get ballpark pricing on some plans. You can download it for free from the Apple App Store by searching for "Homes By Dickerson" or simply click on the link above.

Homebuyers and REALTORs will especially enjoy the features of this app:
  • Search for communities where Homes By Dickerson is building, including Briar Chapel
  • Search a catalog of available floorplans that can be built in each community, or as part of their "Build on Your Lot" program
  • See multiple elevation options for each plan and change exterior color schemes
  • Select structural options to customize the home
  • See available home sites within each community
  • Create a brochure with custom selections under the "Your Home" option, which can be saved and shared with others
  • Using the built in mortgage calculator, show changes in monthly payments based on interest rate, down payment and price of the home
Please keep in mind this is the very first introduction of the app, so Homes By Dickerson is eager to get your feedback as they continue to make enhancements and additions to it. To ensure you have the latest updates, use the refresh button in the lower righthand corner of the screen.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Just Listed: 208 Windy Knoll Circle

Homes By Dickerson's former model has been listed for resale in Briar Chapel. Located at the heart of the development near the clubhouse and saltwater pools, this "Bristol" plan was a Gold Winner in the 2010 Parade of Homes and includes a number of upgraded features.

You really have to see this home in person to appreciate the quality of its construction. To schedule a showing, please contact Jen Winkler at 919-593-3662.

This post was made with permission of the listing agent.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Virtual Tour: "Franklin" Model

It's been awhile since I posted photos of some of the homes being built in Briar Chapel, so I thought I would start sharing some on a more regular basis. Here is a tour of the Tudor elevation of the "Franklin" plan that was built on Lot 16 along Dark Forest Drive by Homes By Dickerson.

To schedule a showing, please contact Jen Winkler at 919-593-3662.

View the Tour

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Education Programs Near Briar Chapel

Home to some of the country’s finest universities, the Triangle has a long-standing tradition of academic excellence. Chatham County upholds this tradition with a number of innovative schools and educational programs for Briar Chapel residents:

· Preschool: There are a number of options for preschool education near Briar Chapel, including Central Carolina Community College Preschool, Perry W Harrison Elementary Preschool, and a variety of other private options in Chapel Hill.

· K-12: In addition to Woods Charter School (on-site), residents attend Perry W. Harrison Elementary School, Margaret B. Pollard Middle School (on-site) and Northwood High School. View comparisons of these schools. Please let me know if you would like to tour any of these schools or meet with school officials.

· Higher Education: Residents of Briar Chapel enjoy proximity to several top-rated educational institutions, including The University of North Carolina, Duke University and NC State University.

· Lifelong Learning: Since learning doesn’t stop when you earn a diploma, residents in Briar Chapel often take advantage of enrichment programs in the area. These include UNC’s Carolina College for Lifelong Learning, Duke’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, and NC State’s Encore Program, as well as numerous continuing education programs across the Triangle. Popular ones include CCCC, DTCCAbundance Foundation, and UNC Friday Center.  

If you would like to learn more about any of the educational opportunities listed above, please do not hesitate to let me know. If I do not know the answer, I’ll be sure to connect you with someone who can.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Video Tour: "Bynum" Model

Saussy Burbank's "Bynum D" is one of their more popular plans in Briar Chapel. This particular home has 4 bedrooms, 3.5 baths, and is approximately 2370 sqft.

To schedule a showing, please contact Jen Winkler at 919-593-3662.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Home Sales Up & Mortgage Rates Down

The big housing news here in the Triangle is that home sales were up 19% in June, according to the most recent data out from the Triangle Multiple Listing Service, while inventory is down 27% overall.

These are fantastic numbers, particularly if you're in the process of selling your existing home in order to purchase a new one in Briar Chapel. Otherwise, if you're on the fence about when to list your home for sale, this means NOW is the time to do it.

As if the sales numbers weren't enough, interest rates also dropped again to a ridiculously low rate. A 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is hovering around 3.25-3.5% and a 15-year is at 2.75%!!! Money is on sale and virtually free right now, which means buying power has never been stronger.

For those of you who are interested in seeing the market data for June, here is the TMLS report.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Video Tour: "Villa Nandina" Model

M/I Homes built this "Villa Nandina A" as their model in Briar Chapel. This particular home has 3 bedrooms, 3 baths, and approximately 2243 sqft.

To schedule a showing, please contact Jen Winkler at 919-593-3662.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Interview on Triangle Business Today: Customization Sells Homes

Jeremy Salemson, CEO of Corporate Investors Mortgage Group, blogs about economic trends and data and their impact on Triangle business. Each week, he interviews a Triangle-area business leader for a personal look at the local economy.

This week, Jeremy interviewed Jenn Nowalk with Homes By Dickerson, one of the builder teams in Briar Chapel. In addition to discussing the local market, they talk about how flexibility and customization - from floorplan design to finishes - has enabled the builder to remain strong through the recession and almost double sales from 2011 to 2012.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Green Partners of the Year Award Ceremony at Briar Chapel

Green Home Builders of the Triangle Council and the NAHB Research Center hosted an awards presentation yesterday to honor the local building industry companies who were named 2011 NAHB Research Center Green Partners of the Year this spring. The ceremony took place in the Briar Chapel community clubhouse.

Pictured from left to right: Tom Kenney (NAHB Research Center), Cindy Sheldon (representing Home Builders Association of Raleigh-Wake County), Dermot O'Brien (Saussy Burbank), Jaime Hager (Southern Energy Management), Al McNeil (representing Home Builders Association of Durham, Orange and Chatham Counties), Ed Kristensen (M/I Homes), and Jon Showalter (Homes By Dickerson)  

Saturday, June 9, 2012

CHS Celebrates Graduation at Briar Chapel - Aerial Style

Congratulations to the Class of 2012 of Carrboro High School, who recently had their graduation party at the Briar Club in Briar Chapel. Check out this incredible aerial photo they took...

Monday, May 28, 2012

Infographic: Why Buy in Briar Chapel?

Located just eight miles from downtown Chapel Hill, Briar Chapel is the Triangle's largest green home community with wonderful amenities. Intentionally integrated into the natural landscape with 900 acres of preserved open space, this unique development offers a healthier way of life, and is the perfect backdrop for reconnecting with family and friends, and getting to know your neighbors.


Monday, May 14, 2012

Infographic: Why Buy Here?

The Triangle – Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, NC – has it all. Whether you're looking for top-notch education, excellent medical care, a great job market, delicious food, tons of cultural opportunities, or Southern hospitality and charm, this is the place for you. The infographic below explains why so many people choose to call the Triangle home.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Infographic: Why Buy Now?

With interest rates at record lows and home prices at amazingly affordable levels, it’s a great time to buy! Check out the infographic below for more information.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

7th Annual Green Home Tour Starts Today!

The 7th Annual Triangle Green Home Tour starts this weekend! This free, self-guided event will feature 26 entries, and will be held on May 5-6 and 12-13, 2012 from Noon to 6pm.

As always, the tour will allow you to examine a number of green building features in a wide variety of homes in all styles and price points -- ranging from Habitat for Humanity and entry-level homes to custom luxury entries.

This year, Briar Chapel will have seven homes on the tour, which are listed below. However, it is important to remember that ALL homes in Briar Chapel are required to achieve at least the bronze-level of green certification upon completion. So, if there is a particular home for sale that you like that's not on the tour, I would be happy to arrange a private showing for you.

74 Owen Towne Road (Saussy-Burbank)
38 N. Serenity Hill Circle (Saussy-Burbank)
379 Tobacco Farm Way (Homes By Dickerson)
314 Tobacco Farm Way (Saussy-Burbank)

26 Serenity Hill Circle (M/I Homes)
139 N. Serenity Hill Circle (David Weekley)

230 Dark Forest Drive (Morningstar)

To learn more about the tour, visit the HBA-DOC website. You can find a complete list of homes on the tour here. Otherwise, I have some extra tour guides if you need one - just let me know or stop by my office at 371 Tobacco Farm Way in Briar Chapel. You can also view a virtual list of homes on the tour by downloading the iPhone or Android app.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Nationwide Open House April 28-29, 2012

To kick off the Spring-buying season, Briar Chapel will be joining thousands of Realtors across the country in a Nationwide Open House this weekend, April 28-29, 2012. Everyone is encouraged to come out and preview available inventory and take advantage of record-breaking housing affordability conditions.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Video: Reasons to Love Briar Chapel

Kudos to Emily Pike again for another excellent video for Briar Chapel's Best Buddy Contest. This one is entitled, "Reasons to Love Briar Chapel," and does a great job capturing the great lifestyle we enjoy here. Be sure to come out on the 21st for a screening of videos under the stars on the Briar Commons during the Earth Day Celebration.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Video: Briar Chapel's Community Garden

Kudos to Emily Pike, a resident of Briar Chapel, for this video of The Briar Patch Community Garden for the Best Buddy Contest...

Friday, April 13, 2012

Briar Chapel Developer & Builders Win Top Honors at 2012 MAME Awards

Briar Chapel was a big winner at this year's MAME Awards (Major Achievements in Marketing Excellence) from the Triangle Sales and Marketing Council of the N.C. Home Builders Association. The event was held last night at the LEED Silver Certified Raleigh Convention Center.

This competition recognizes local advertising, marketing, merchandising and product design efforts, as well as sales volume. Honor recipients included area builders, developers, advertising agencies, graphic firms, interior design firms, landscaping firms, sales professionals and sign and display designers/fabricators. Winners of these coveted awards are recognized as leaders in the industry, providing cutting edge solutions to the home building industry.

Kudos to the following winners at Briar Chapel for this accomplishment!

Building Company of the Year
Homes By Dickerson

Best Bronze-Level Green-Built Home
Homes By Dickerson

Best Use of Social Media by a Company
Homes By Dickerson

Best Use of Social Media by a Community
Newland Communities

Best Merchandising for a Detached Home
Homes By Dickerson

Marketing Professional of the Year
 Hillary Morrow, M/I Homes of Raleigh

Building Superintendent of the Year
Mike Mehringer, Homes By Dickerson

Internet Specialist of the Year
Reyna Estrada, M/I Homes of Raleigh

Sales Volume Milestones
Linda Bohling, Homes By Dickerson
Michele Upchurch, Saussy Burbank
Rob Jamison, Homes By Dickerson

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Video: Homes By Dickerson's High-Performance Model Home

Kudos to Merle Braley, a resident of Briar Chapel, for this video on some of the green features of Homes By Dickerson's high-performance model home for the Best Buddy Contest...

Monday, April 9, 2012

Save the Date: 7th Annual Green Home Tour in May

Please mark your calendars and plan to join us for the 7th Annual Green Home Tour, which will be kicking off in Briar Chapel this year! The tour will be held on the following Saturdays and Sundays in May: 5-6 & 12-13, 2012 from Noon to 6pm.

The annual Green Home Tour is a free, self-guided event that enables potential homebuyers and other interested individuals to examine a variety of green building features in homes of all price ranges and styles. There will be 26 homes on the tour this year, including 7 homes in Briar Chapel alone. 

Tour guides for the event will become available in late-April. I'll post a link to the online version here once it becomes available, so check back often.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Several Briar Chapel Builders Named 2011 Green Partners of the Year

Congratulations to Homes By Dickerson, M/I Homes and Saussy-Burbank for being named 2011 Green Partners of the Year by the NAHB Research Center. These members of Briar Chapel's builder team were among only a handful of residential building companies from across the U.S. who were recognized for their outstanding commitment and leadership in building high-performance green homes.

"This is the first year since the Research Center began offering certification services that we have presented awards to our program partners," said Research Center President Michael Luzier. "After administering the program for three years, we felt compelled to recognize the significant commitment to green certification, innovation in building science, and leadership in the residential construction industry that our partners have displayed. We are awed by what these companies are achieving in the field and the market transformation they are accomplishing."

In addition to these builders, Southern Energy Management was also named a Green Partner of the Year for being a advocate of the certification program. They are responsible for certifying the high-performance homes being built in Briar Chapel.

For more information on the Research Center’s certification program, visit

Saturday, March 31, 2012

20th Annual Parade of Playhomes Fundraiser

Saussy Burbank, one of the builders here in Briar Chapel, is participating in the 20th Annual Parade of Playhomes Fundraiser going on now.

Their entry, "Firehouse #1" (pictured here) is on display until April 7th at The Streets at Southpoint in Durham, and at the American Tobacco Campus in Durham from April 9-May 6, 2012.

This custom playhome, along with one other, is being raffled off and a third playhome will be auctioned off on eBay. 100% of the proceeds will be donated to local organizations that help prevent child abuse.

For details on the raffle and auction, or to see photos of the other two entries, visit the Parade of Playhomes website.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Briar Chapel's "Best Buddy" Contest Ends April 15th

Do you love Briar Chapel and living a green lifestyle? If so, Newland (the developer) is running a fun "Best Buddy" contest to encourage you to share your enthusiasm with others through YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, personal blogs, and other social media outlets.

Although the contest started on March 2nd, you still have until April 15th to participate. Here is how it works... each week, you will have the opportunity to earn a maximum of 50 points by completing various tasks, such as checking in on FourSquare at the Bark Park. Up to 25 of these points can be earned by completing challenges posted on Newland's blog each week, which are mandatory. The other 25 points can be earned by promoting the community through a number of different methods mentioned here.

Participants with the most points each week will be rewarded with iTunes cards, certificates to local restaurants, gas cards, and the like. The Grand Prize winner will win a “Buddy” scooter at the Earth Day Celebration on April 21st, similar to the one pictured above.

For official contest rules and registration information, visit Newland's blog.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Homes Sales Up 35% in the Triangle

Over the past few weeks, there have been a number of indications that consumer confidence continues to improve.

First, there was the report that Warren Buffett was bullish on real estate.

Then, Bloomberg reported that consumer confidence rose to a four-year high, which seems to coincide with gains in employment and a rally in stock prices.

Better-than-estimated economic reports sent the S&P's 500 Index over 1,400 for the first time in almost four years, and gave the Dow Jones Industrial Average its longest rally in 13 months.

Most recently, our local News & Observer ran a cover story showing the Triangle had its strongest sales jump in four years in February and home sales are up 35 percent over 2011. We have certainly felt the surge in activity at Briar Chapel - what are you waiting for?!?

Friday, March 9, 2012

Course Map Now Available for 2012 Briar Chapel 5K

The 2012 Briar Chapel 5K is six weeks away... still plenty of time to get prepared!

This year's race follows a brand-new, USATF-certified, scenic course throughout Briar Chapel. Why certified, you might ask? Well, courses must be certified for any road running performance to be accepted as a record or to be ranked nationally. Furthermore, running a race on a certified course allows you to accurately compare your time to performances run on other certified courses because you can be sure the distances were the same. No one can truly establish a personal best if the course distance is not accurate.

For more information about registering for the race and the Earth Day celebration afterwards, please see my previous post.

To download a larger copy of the course map above, visit the Abundance Foundation's website. All proceeds from the race benefit this great organization.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

"Art of Living" Showcase this Saturday

If you have some free time this weekend, I encourage you to stop by and take a walking tour of the neighborhoods of Briar Chapel.

Homes will be open for you to see from 10am-5pm on Saturday and from 12-5pm on Sunday.

On Saturday, there is also going to be an "Art of Living" showcase from 3-5pm in several of the model homes throughout the community. During this event, you will have an opportunity to view the work of local artists while sampling a variety of international wines selected by Fearrington's Wine Director and Sommelier, Maximilian Kast.

See a list of wines he has chosen for the tasting.

I certainly hope to see you this weekend. If you do come, be sure to visit the model home at 371 Tobacco Farm Way and say hello!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Briar Chapel's 2011 Sales Up 13% Over Previous Year

Inman News recently ranked the Triangle as the top real estate market to watch in 2012. This was primarily due to the strength of our local economy, which is being fueled by demand for our universities and research facilities and a strong job market.

In a recent interview with Jeremy Salemson for, Kristy Yule (regional VP of Marketing for Newland Communities) discusses how Briar Chapel is doing in the Triangle real estate market, and how its performance compares to the other 36 communities Newland is building across the country. Watch the entire interview below.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

4th Annual Briar Chapel 5K & Earth Day Celebration Scheduled

A number of festivities are planned to celebrate Earth Day 2012 in Briar Chapel this year!

On April 21st, 2012, Briar Chapel will be hosting a 5K race at 9am to benefit The Abundance Foundation, which will be followed by a kids' fun run. Featuring a brand-new course this year, the 4th Annual Briar Chapel 5K has something for everyone. Whether you are a serious competitor, spectator, or just want to come out for a fun run or walk, I hope you will make plans to attend this annual event. You can even bring your running buddy this year -- that's right, dogs and strollers are welcome!

During and after the race, there will be music, local food, massages and more! Advanced registration is $20, or $25 on race day, and includes a locally-made organic cotton t-shirt, goodie bag and a Fullsteam beer ticket you can be redeemed at the afternoon's event. Awards will be given for the top 3 male and female finishers. The course is USATF-certified (pending).

The Earth Day Celebration continues in the afternoon from 3-5pm with hands-on demos and exhibitions from local businesses and organizations, artists and athletes, food and drink artisans, and Chatham County's first ever Food Truck Rodeo! The food trucks already confirmed are Chirba Chirba, Pie Pushers, Parlour, Will & Pop's, Fullsteam Brewery, and Carolina Brewery. Similar to the recent Pepper Festival, there will also be bubbles, hoopers and face painting for the young and young at heart.

At dusk (from 5-7pm) there will be some short films shown from Briar Chapel’s sustainability PSA contest, as well as a screening of Wall-E on the lawn. The event is free, but the more you support the food & beer trucks, the more you support The Abundance Foundation. Bring your hungry friends and family!

There are 11 weeks until the race - plenty of time to get ready! If you need a little help, I suggest you check out the Couch-to-5K program.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

New Model Home Open in Briar Chapel

Throughout the month of January, Briar Chapel has been featuring Homes By Dickerson in its "Builder of the Month" series. If you haven't had a chance to read about the interviews, I encourage you to check out my earlier post.

Homes By Dickerson currently offers a dozen floorplans to choose from in Briar Chapel, ranging in size from 2,000-2,900 sqft with prices starting in the $250s. Five of these plans offer a first-floor master bedroom, including the new Millhaven model home that recently opened across from the Briar Commons park in Phase 5 North (shown here).

This particular plan has a flexible layout with optional one- or two-sided fireplace, open kitchen, and elegant master suite on the main floor. The model also features a large screened porch with plenty of room for dining and entertaining, and a 2-car detached garage.

The second floor includes two additional bedrooms with a full bath, large loft area, and abundant storage. For more photos of the model, check out the virtual tour.

Whether you are searching for the privacy of a more wooded homesite, or something closer to the action - just steps away from the parks and pools - Homes By Dickerson may have just what you're looking for.

Take some time to visit their new model home at 371 Tobacco Farm Way, and see why they have such a great reputation as a green builder.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Consider Energy & Cost Savings Before Finalizing Purchase Decision

If you are in the market to purchase a home, you are likely considering both new homes and older ones listed for resale. Since Briar Chapel consists only of green-certified homes, I would suggest you also consider a third category of homes before finalizing your purchase decision: high-performance homes.

In some cases, location may trump all other buying considerations. For example, if you want to live in a particular neighborhood or area, an older existing home may be your only option (unless you tear it down and rebuild). Otherwise, newly built homes can offer fewer hassles/repairs, less maintenance, higher efficiency, and increased customization. Just keep in mind - not all new homes are built the same!

Consider the chart above, for instance, which compares the annual energy cost for three different sized homes. For example, it shows the annual energy cost of a 2,400 sqft home in Briar Chapel to be approximately $390 less than a similar new home built to code elsewhere. That amounts to $3,120 in savings over an 8-year period, the average amount of time folks tend to live in a home. Similarly, it shows you could save about $6,304 over the same period compared to a home that is 15-years old - the equivalent of several mortgage payments!

Of course, energy cost savings is only one of the reasons you should consider buying a new high-performance home. Other benefits include a healthier indoor environment, increased level of comfort, more durable materials, higher market and resale value, and the list goes on...

Source: Southern Energy Management, the third-party company that conducts performance testing and green program verification on all homes built in Briar Chapel.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Introducing Briar Chapel's Newest Park

Finishing touches are being made to the Briar Commons Park, Briar Chapel's newest addition to an ever growing list of amenities enjoyed by residents. Located in Phase 5 North, this 1.5 acre park features an amphitheater and large formal lawn area for festivals, concerts, and movies. All that remain to be installed are the two structures at each end of the park, which should be complete by early-April.

Most recently, Briar Chapel hosted the 4th Annual Pittsboro Pepper Festival in October and the 3rd Annual TORC 6BC Endurance Race in November near this park. Preparations are underway for another great event in April to coincide with Earth Day celebrations.

When the park is not being used for an event, residents love to use the space to kick a ball around, take a break from riding bicycles, host an informal picnic, play catch, and relax with friends and family. In addition to this park, there is another one in the works for Phase 5 North, which I will cover in a future post.

There are 174 new home sites in Phase 5 North, the newest neighborhood in Briar Chapel. These have been divided among three builders: Saussy Burbank, Homes By Dickerson & David Weekley Homes. Browse a list of available inventory homes, or contact the information center at 888.249.9429 to plan a visit. If you haven't done so already, I also encourage you to check out the interactive home designer that Homes By Dickerson offers for their Village Collection of homes being built in this neighborhood.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Briar Chapel Launches Builder of the Month Series

In January, Newland (the developer of Briar Chapel) launched a new "Builder of the Month" series to learn more about the people behind the companies who are helping to make Briar Chapel a success.

The first builder being featured is Homes By Dickerson. Read about their interview with Jenn Nowalk, Director of Sales & Marketing. In addition to discussing what sets them apart from other builders, she talks the team, its longevity in the Triangle market, and its commitment to quality craftsmanship and green building practices (they are the second largest NAHB Green Certified builder in NC by volume).

View Homes By Dickerson’s current offerings at Briar Chapel.

Update #1: Interview with Brant Chesson, VP of Construction.
Update #2: Interview with Homeowners, Brian & Chandra.
Update #3: Interview with Linwood Strickland, President.