Torron Group Blog

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

What are Fee Simple Lots?


If you aren’t familiar with the home-buying process you may not know what it means for a property to be “fee simple.” There are a couple different ownership types for properties, but since Springfield Commons is proudly fee simple, we will explain what that means.

The definition of fee simple according to the Cornell University Law School, Legal Information Institute’s online website, “Land owned in fee simple is owned completely, without any limitations or conditions. This type of unlimited estate is called absolute.  A fee simple is generally created when a deed gives the land with no conditions, usually using the words like "to John Doe" or "to John Doe and his heirs.”

This means that you have complete ownership of the land and the home. Not only do you have ownership of the home and land, but this also means that you have ownership of the air space above the property and the ground and minerals beneath the property. While you do own the property, you are still subject to taxes on your mortgage.

Fee simple also means you get to dispose of the property in whatever form you wish. There are no restrictions from transferring deeds or leaving the property in your will to anyone you’d like.

Springfield Commons Site Plan

We chose to make our lots fee simple because we believe in working with our community to give them the best opportunities with buying a lot and building a home.  Fee simple is the highest form of ownership and lets the home buyers get the most out of their lot and home.


Choosing your own builder and what to consider



At Springfield Commons, we sell beautiful lots to match the beautiful home you’re envisioning. To help your vision come to life, we let you pick your own builder – the one who’s just right for you. Picking your own builder means you get to hand-pick the quality and craftsmanship that goes into building your home. While this means you get exactly what you want in your home, it can be a little overwhelming, so we’re here to help! We’ll give you our recommended builders and a few pointers of what to consider when choosing a builder.
What to consider when choosing a builder

 1.      Size of the home and your price range

This is the first step and the most important in planning a home and finding a builder. Consider what you do and do not need in a home, set a price range and stick to it. Knowing your price range first can help when you go to shop around. You’ll get quotes and options that fit your needs and nothing more.

2.      Experience

You want to consider the experience of the builders you choose. Take into account both the experience of the company overall and the experience of the individual builders. Take the time to research and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

3.      Quality

Take a look at their model homes and examples of their work to get a feel for the quality they provide.

4.      Energy Efficiency

Having an energy efficient home could save you hundreds of dollars a year. That savings is important to consider in what your budget is and what you’re willing to spend now to save later.

5.      References

Ask previous clients about how satisfied they were with the process and outcome when the builder constructed a home for them.

If you’re unsure where to start or don’t want to choose on your own, you can contact us, and we’ll give you a list of our preferred builders. We’re here to help. Just call Cindy at 814-231-2800 x2.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

August 2015 Newsletter for Springfield Commons

This newsletter is a semi-regular production from the Homeowner’s Association Board to hopefully provide timely and useful information to everyone in the neighborhood.  If you have any contributions or feedback, please email any member of the Board or Bob Conn at

Alerts, Notices and Thanks!:

New Trees – Harris Township replaced many dead and dying Ash trees in the neighborhood in the right of way.  They also planted “leftover” trees in community circles.  However, due to conduit, Harris Township did not replace the trees along one side of Dearing Drive (thus the “leftover” trees).  The Board hopes to address Dearing Drive trees in the Spring.

Watering needed!  – The new trees need water to thrive.  If you have a new tree in your front yard area or within garden-hose reach, please consider watering them and filling the treegator (green bag) to help them grow.

Bugs – Japanese Beetles seem to be especially fond of one of the species of trees selected by Harris Township.  Piet has kindly offered to spray some of the trees with neem oil which is effective but is not a chemical insecticide.

Pole Lights – yard pole lights (not street lights) are the responsibility of the homeowner and must be functional and on a dusk-to-dawn controller.  These make the neighborhood look nice, help to keep our sidewalks and streets safe when the street lights are not on and are required to be operational per the HOA Rules & Regulations.

Landscaping – Lawnscape has pruned and groomed the hike/bike trail and green/buffer space in the community.   These areas had become overgrown and difficult to mow.  Additional pruning of trees was approved for Fall 2015 around the Community Center.  Several dead trees remain in the area and efforts are underway to have them safely removed.

Thanks! – Tom Songer had Neil pressure wash the outside of the community center and remove the old, unsightly wall-mounted soap dispensers and repair the wall where removed.  While there, Neil helped with a hot water tank leak and cleaned up some maintenance areas.  Thanks Tom and Neil!

Thanks! – Tom Songer paid for ½ of the cost of the trees recently planted by Harris Township.   Tom has been generous with many additional investments in the community over time.  The trees are just the most recent example.

A Greener Garden – Christine Coleman and possibly Tom Songer are investing in eco-friendly landscaping in the common areas behind Christine's house and that area.  That area will be planted with pollinator-friendly plants and grasses and should drastically reduce the need for mowing while beautifying the area.  If this is successful, more common areas may follow.  See their Web site for more information:

Meetings and Partys

BJ Hale ( is interested in hearing from you about a Summer community picnic.  Please email her if you would like to have one and if you'd like to help organize.

Board Q3 Meeting October 13 at 6:30 p.m. in the Community Center


Garden Committee – contact Christine Coleman.  Lots of watering to be done!

Community Center ReminderPlease remember that the community center is not used regularly and the Board has adjusted the cleaning schedule per demand.  If you are planning to use the center and have signed up using the calendar, do check on it the night before or earlier in the day of use. You may need to air out the center by opening windows for a short while or a quick touch-up dusting may be needed. By simply checking out the center in all areas and touching up as needed will ensure that it appears the way that you want it to when you will be using it for your guests. Cleaning equipment and supplies are in the closet for when your event is over.  Please remember to take your trash with you.  As demand increases, the cleaning schedule will be reevaluated.

Updates from the Developer, Tom Songer II

Ownership Change to Fee Simple – All of the documents to change the form of ownership at Springfield Commons from Condominium to Fee Simple were recorded on July 24, 2015.   Corrective deeds will be recorded for each individual property owner to reflect this change. Each property owner will now own the lot on which their home is located.  I want to thank all of the owners of lots within Springfield Commons for their cooperation on this issue. 

Carriage Home (duplex) owners will have their own insurance on their homes just like Village Home owners.

Construction and Sales – The spec house on lot 47 has been sold.   I want to thank Vic Campbell for his assistance in talking with the buyers and answering their questions about Springfield Commons. 

We are working on plans for another spec home that will be built on one of the lots on Rubin Way as you enter the development.

We have an agreement of sale on lot 54 on Brisbin Way.  The buyers are working with representatives of Pinehurst Homes to construct a new home.

We have a potential buyer for lot 63 on Emma Court.  This buyer has met with representatives of Pinehurst Homes.

Useful Information

Sign up for the Harris Township Newsletter and Visit their site and Facebook page:

Send your e‐mail address to  and ask to be added to their e‐Newsletter list

Springfield Commons HOA Board Members:

Jill Brubaker, Treasurer,

Christine Coleman, Secretary,

Bob Conn, Vice President,

Lisa Edwards,

Piet Van Ogtrop,

Tom Songer, Developer,

Kevin Zarnick, President,

Continental Real Estate Management (CREM):

Centre County Non-Emergency Number:



Wednesday, July 29, 2015


Good news!!! Springfield Commons is no longer a condominium development. As of July 27, 2015, Springfield Commons is now a Fee Simple community. This means that you own the lot on which your home is built. The title to the land is yours!

This is great news. You can now apply for a conventional mortgage, FHA loan or participate in a HECM Mortgage which is a Reverse Mortgage.  You must be at least 62 years old to qualify for a Reverse Mortgage. Furthermore, because your lot is Fee Simple, you may get a lower interest rate on your loan and your homeowners insurance may be lower.  
We just sold our model home at 80 Emma Court in Boalsburg, but we'll be starting a new model soon.  Call Cindy at 814-231-2800 #2 or the Realtor of your choice if you are interested in a new home in Springfield Commons.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

High Performance Housing Tour - August 1, 2015

High performance home building is catching on here in Centre County and two local businesses are presenting some of their most unique homes that have been constructed or renovated in our community.  On Saturday August 1st, 2015 from 10 am to 7 pm visitors may stop by any and all locations throughout the Centre Region. Informational presentations and discussions will be offered from 10:00 am to 11:00 am at the Springfield Commons Community Center in Boalsburg and the Happy Valley Vineyard & Winery from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm. The High Performance Housing Tour will give people a unique opportunity to visit homes that are built to exceed ENERGY STAR standards, incorporate passive solar design, utilize local materials and renewable energy, as well as homes that have been renovated to significantly reduce energy costs and increase comfort. At each site, local builders will be meeting attendees to discuss what makes each a customized, high performance home.

For more information, please visit
This event is brought to the community in part by Torron Group, Envinity, Happy Valley Vineyard and Winery, and organized by Scot Chambers.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Thank You to the Boalsburg Fire Company!

The Boalsburg Fire Company has graciously offered to fill the water gators on our newly planted trees in Springfield Commons. They have agreed to water them every week or as needed depending on weather conditions. This is especially helpful since their location makes it a hardship for residents to get them the water they need to survive.

The Boalsburg Fire Company does a lot for the people of Boalsburg and we’re incredibly grateful to have them as a part of our community.

If you’re interested in the Boalsburg Fire Company, please visit their website at or check out their Facebook page at


Wednesday, May 13, 2015


Hurry up! We only have FIVE units left in our new building at Wiltree Condominiums!

Our Wiltree homes are selling fast so don’t miss out! If you commit to a condo now, you still have time to choose your own finishes!

All of our homes boast 3 bedrooms and 2.5 baths in 1,700 square feet! And, they’re equipped with energy-efficient gas heat to keep you warm during those chilly winter nights.

Our $235 homeowner’s fee includes:

·         Grass Cutting
·         Snow Plowing
·         Basic Cable
·         Trash
·         Sewer
·         Water

 These townhomes are in a great location, too! Only two miles away from Penn State Campus! Close enough to go to all the fun events and far enough away to go home and relax in a nice, quiet community.

Take a look at our floor plan:

Custom options include:
·         Hardwood in the Kitchen, Living Room, Dining Room, and halls
·         Range, refrigerator, microwave, dishwasher, disposal, washer and dryer
·         High-quality kitchen cabinets
·         Ceramic tile in the bathrooms
·         Finished one-car garage

We'd be glad to show you around the neighborhood. Call Cindy at 814-231-2800 x2.
Like us on Facebook Wiltree Condominiums

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

HECM for Purchase Program

If you are at least 62 years of age, you may qualify for the HECM for Purchase program.  It may be possible to move into your dream home with only 40% down and no monthly mortgage payment. And on top of that, you don’t have to wait for your current house to sell. Even though the Springfield Commons and Wiltree neighborhoods are not age-restricted communities, you can use this program to purchase the home of your dreams. You just need to be at least 62 years old and have equity in your current home.
The HECM program is insured by FHA and is an age-based program for people who are 62 or older.  Because you do not have a monthly mortgage payment under the program, the loan balance increases each month by the amount of interest that is accrued. The primary benefit of the program comes from not having to make a monthly mortgage payment which improves your monthly cash flow. A side benefit comes to your estate when you and your spouse pass away. Under the HECM program, your estate is not liable for the debt incurred on the home. All you have to do is pay the taxes and insurance while you are living there, and keep up the maintenance. Then, even if the debt on the house is more than the house is worth when you and your spouse pass away, you and your estate are not responsible for the difference between what you owe and the selling price. You never owe more than the value of the house upon sale.

The purpose of the HECM program is to allow older homeowners to use the equity in their home to provide cash without having to make a mortgage payment. With a traditional mortgage, you make monthly principal and interest payments, and over time (usually 30 years), your mortgage balance is paid in-full. But over those 30 years, when you consider interest payments, your house is costing you significantly more than just the purchase price. For example, if you have a $200,000 mortgage for 30 years, you may pay $150,000 to $200,000 in interest, assuming a fixed rate of 5% and depending on the amount of your down payment. That means that your house is actually costing you $350,000 to $400,000!
However, if you participate in the HECM program and purchase the same home for $200,000, you have no monthly mortgage payment, and the monthly interest payment is just added to the principal balance of the amount you borrowed. So over time, the amount you owe on the house increases, but the amount of cash you have available to save, invest or spend on other things increases because you have no monthly payment.
There is a matrix based on your age and the value of the home that you want to purchase that is used to determine how much cash you need to bring to the table and how much you are allowed to borrow. Let’s assume that my spouse and I are 75 years old and we want to buy a new home in Wiltree Condominiums for $300,000. We would need to bring $126,886 in cash to the table to buy the home. But after that, we would have no monthly payments to the bank. And if I sold my current home, which is paid off, for $400,000, I would have $273,114 ($400,000 - $126,886, less closing costs) to invest, put in savings or use to for whatever I want. And I never have to make another mortgage payment. And the cash that I take out of my old home can work for me and my estate.



** This information is provided by Security 1 Lending. “The information being provided is for illustrative purposes only. Interest rates and funds available may change daily without notice. This is not an offer, an application or a commitment to make a HECM mortgage to you. In order to be considered and qualified for a HECM mortgage, you must submit a completed HECM mortgage loan application. Please check with your HECM Specialist for actual figures.”

This program sounds too good to be true, right? But it’s not. There is no catch. You own your home outright and have your cash working for you. If you would like more information, let us know and we can put you in touch with a certified HECM specialist who can make your dream home in Springfield Commons or Wiltree Condominium a reality.