How To Maintain Your Home’s HVAC System

Your home’s HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system is one of the most important and expensive systems in your house. Proper maintenance of the HVAC system can not only save you time and money down the road, but will help you keep your home’s environment comfortable and safe.

HVAC maintenance

Just as you change the oil and air filters in your car to keep dirt and heat from ruining your engine, you also need to change the HVAC filters regularly to keep them from getting clogged up with dust and dirt which reduces the air flow in your system and makes your air handler work harder. If your air handler is full of dust and has to constantly work harder to move air because of clogged filters, it will have to be replaced much sooner than a unit that has clean filters and is not overtaxed. The air in your home will be cleaner as well and your vents will not be full of dust which gets blown into your home when your HVAC system is running.

Most people know better than to constantly spin the wheels of their car and race the engine at high RPM’s causing unnecessary wear and tear on their vehicle which can lead to costly repairs. However, many people aren’t aware that changing the temperature setting on their home’s thermostat more than two degrees at a time does the same thing to their HVAC system’s compressor. The compressor, which is one of the most expensive parts of the HVAC system, has to run continuously for a long time to raise or lower the temperature in your home more than a couple of degrees at a time. Forcing the compressor to work really hard too often will shorten the lifespan of the unit and may result in costly repairs.

Most car owners understand the benefits of maintaining a clean car and parking in an area that is free of debris that could damage their vehicle. An HVAC system can be looked at in much the same way. Maintaining an outside unit by keeping it free from debris such as leaves and limbs from bushes and trees and not placing anything permanent around it such as fencing or walls can greatly increase the longevity of the entire HVAC system.

Maintaining your HVAC system is crucial to its longevity and making sure it doesn’t break down in the hottest or coldest times of the year. McKee Homes provides a 2-10 Home Buyer’s Warranty which covers your home’s systems for two years. Most heating and air companies offer “maintenance warranty programs,” which usually includes annual check-ups and priority service. These programs are designed to help you to keep your HVAC System running for years to come.

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What is the TAEXX® Built-in Pest Control System?

The TAEXX® system is a built-in pest control system that is installed in all McKee Homes. It helps keep pests out of your home by installing tubes in wall voids. These tubes enable the Home Team Pest Defense technicians to provide a barrier of protection for the home without having to actually place chemicals inside the living area. This system also allows Home Team to service the home on a quarterly basis without having to go inside.

TAEXX® Built-in Pest Control System

By the time a homeowner notices bugs inside their home, they may already have a serious problem that is difficult to get rid of. With the TAEXX® system, pests are targeted at the point of entry, keeping them from living and breeding inside the walls of the home.

Home Team installs the tube system in the lower level exterior and interior wall void areas. Port boxes located outside the home allow the technicians to activate the system. Each port box contains a number of tubes that are installed throughout the wall voids.

The technician charges each tube with the chemical, Tempo SC, followed with a blast of compressed nitrogen, creating a vapor that treats the wall void area. It only takes one ounce of chemical per tube because Tempo SC is a super concentrate (SC). Tempo SC has over a 70% kill ratio for up to 120+ days after treatment. Pests entering the treated area are exposed to the chemical.Home Team is the only company that uses the Taexx® system.

Taexx® does not protect against termites. McKee Homes sprays a product called Bora-Care® during the rough mechanical stage to ward of those types of pests. (See blog Rough Mechanicals)

McKee Homes understands how busy our home buyers are and offer this innovative technology for those that don’t want the hassle of managing pest control themselves. The TAEXX® system makes pest control easy and convenient for homeowners, since they don’t have to be home when pest control materials are distributed inside the walls.

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Can You Build a House on my Land?

Homebuilders get asked about building on land that customers own quite regularly. While we can’t answer for all homebuilders, we can answer how McKee Homes looks at and answers this question.

can you build on my land

There are several factors that have to be considered when building on land that is not in a neighborhood that the builder is actively building in. We look at where the land is, if it is suitable for building on, and the time and cost.

Where is the land located?
If the land is in an existing neighborhood we will need to review the neighborhood’s covenants to determine if there are any restrictions on the size and/or style of the home. After understanding the covenants, the lot will have to be measured to make sure that it is big enough for the house to fit on

If the land is more rural, we have to make sure it’s easily accessible for our trade partners and builder to access. If necessary, a road may need to be built. We’ll also need to find out if the city/county will zone the land for a residential home (if it hasn’t been done already). We will also make sure that utilities are available.

Is the land suitable for building on?
Whether in an established neighborhood or in a rural area, a McKee Homes representative will visit the site and review a plat map to make sure there are no wetlands or other issues that may cause potential problems. Potential problems may include lack of useable water, extensive grading work, access issues and septic system suitability (if applicable).

Time and Cost
There is additional time and cost involved with building on your own land. When building on your land we do lose some efficiency because we are only building one home rather than several in a neighborhood. Additional time and expense will have to be allowed for inspections as well. However, some costs benefits you may find to you as well. For example, if you already own the land, provide construction financing, and pay for the utility extension fees this will result in a lower monthly mortgage payment.

So if you want to build a home on your own land, do your research on a builder that can meet your needs. A New Home Specialist at McKee Homes can talk to you about your options with building a McKee home on your land.

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What’s Happening in My House? The Rough Mechanical Stage

There are several different stages in the new home construction process. One of those stages is the “Rough Mechanicals.” This stage comes after the framing stage and before the insulation stage. Before a home can move into the rough mechanical stage it must be fully framed with the roof dried in. Once the builder inspects the home to be sure the chases (areas meant for piping and tubing) and walls are all properly installed, he walks it with the HVAC, plumbing and electrical contractors.   During these walks the builder collaborates with each subcontractor to discuss custom options and location of: returns, air conditioning condensors, air handlers, toilets , hose bibs (the outside faucet that your hose connects to) and lighting and switches.

construction stage: rough mechanical

Once all the prelimanary work is done the builder can begin the rough mechanical stage of construction. One of the first things that happens during rough mechanicals is the home is sprayed with Bora-Care®. Bora-Care® is a product that is used to ward off termite infestation.  After that, the “hard to reach” places are insulated, such as: fireplace chase, behind where the tub(s) are installed, and all mechanical chases that are located on exterior walls. Air barriers in places that require insulation and fireplace boxes are also installed during this stage of construction. If one looks up during the rough mechanical stage they may see sun tubes being installed. A sun tube is an option a buyer can choose that will allow for natural sunlight in interior areas of their home.

For the most part, the items mentioned above happen during the initial part of the rough mechanical stage. The builder then moves on to the “rough in” part of the rough mechanical stage. If a buyer happens to tour their home during this stage, they may see wires, PVC piping and other tubes running through their walls. Once the plumbing and HVAC vent pipes are installed through the roof sheathing, the roofing material can be installed.

Upon completion of the rough mechanical stage, a county building inspector will walk through the home to be sure that all the above mentioned items are properly installed and that the house is ready to move on to the next stage of construction, insulation.

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Standard Overlay or Full Overlay Cabinets – What’s the Difference?

There are several choices to consider when a homebuyer is choosing options for their home, one of which is cabinets. A homebuyer can choose from different styles, colors and wood types. An additional option that homebuyers must also consider is whether they want cabinets with a standard overlay or a full overlay. Often times, a homebuyer has not considered this option and may not understand the difference.

cabinet door overlay

Standard overlay cabinets (also called traditional overlay) tend to be less expensive and do not require hardware because there is enough finger space on the side of the cabinet door or drawer face. They also have more exposed face frame, with at least 1 ¼ inches on all sides of the doors and drawers.

Full overlay cabinets give cabinets a more custom look. They require cabinet hardware because there is only ¼ inch of space between doors and drawers, which can make them difficult to open without hardware. Double door cabinets with full overlay come with an additional benefit. They do not have a vertical face frame stile between the two doors, which allows homeowners to store larger items in the cabinet without having to work around the center stile needed in a standard overlay cabinet. Full overlay cabinets do come with an additional charge.

At McKee Homes, we encourage our buyers to choose the options and upgrades that best fit their lifestyle. Whether a buyer chooses standard overlay or full overlay, we ensure that they have been given enough information regarding the choices to make an informed decision, and one that best suits their needs.

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McKee Homes 2014 in Review

McKee Homes continued its growth in all areas including homes built, homes sold, staff, and community involvement in 2014 and even made the Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing private companies in the U.S. ranking no. 562 nationally and no. 13 in North Carolina.

McKee Homes staff, 2014

While some of our most popular neighborhoods such as Patriot Park Village in Fayetteville, N.C. and Forest Hills Pointe in Aberdeen sold out last year, we opened some highly anticipated new communities including Plantation Pointe in Mid South Club which is within walking distance of the clubhouse, pool and tennis courts and close to the Talamore Golf Resort in Southern Pines. Another popular new neighborhood is Hanover Reserve in Wilmington, within five minutes from downtown and some of the best beaches in the area. Construction began in The Willows and Lanvale Forest in Leland in 2014 as that area continues to see growth and has become a popular tourist and retirement destination. While we started Summerwind Plantation in Garner at the end of 2013, it saw major growth in 2014 and has become one of our most popular and fastest growing neighborhoods.

The McKee Homes staff grew dynamically in 2014 with the expansion of our construction team to include Kevin Kozlowski as Director of Construction and two additional builders, Paul Endricks and John Sykes. Tish Oakley joined our team as Director of Purchasing, Matthew Meyerhoeffer is our new Purchasing Estimator, Jennifer Buckwalter became our new Production Coordinator and Erin Buchanan joined the team as our new Purchasing Coordinator. McKee Homes continues to attract some of the best professionals in the area and has become one of the area’s premier builders.

McKee Homes settled in to the new office and Design Center in downtown Fayetteville in 2014, and our Selections Coordinator Amy Kahler has done a great job adding the finishing touches and samples to the Design Center where she meets with new home buyers to walk them through the selections process.

McKee Homes’ commitment to giving back also grew in 2014 as we became the Presenting Sponsor for the Eastern North Carolina Chapter Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s. The Eastern North Carolina Walks, which include the Smithfield, Wilmington, New Bern, Fayetteville and Raleigh areas, raised a grand total of $349,971.41 to help North Carolina families dealing with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.

McKee Homes has continued to grow and build a dynamic company through the past five years and is looking forward to more growth, prosperity and community involvement in the coming years.

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Secure Your Dream Home with a Contingent Offer

You’ve crossed the threshold and stepped into the foyer, and you suddenly realize that you have entered your dream home. Adding to your excitement is the for sale sign on the front lawn. The perfect home is within your reach.

Most people who are considering upgrading to a newer home, or are relocating because of job or military transfer, begin their home search before they have sold their existing home. What do you do if you’ve found the perfect new home but still need to sell your existing home first? Consider making a contingent offer.

Secure Your Dream Home with a Contingent Offer

What is a Contingent Offer?

A contingency means that the buyer makes an offer, and the seller accepts the offer, but the final sale is based upon certain criteria such as the sale of an existing home. Most importantly, a contingent offer means you will not miss out on buying the home, especially in this environment of low interest rates, while you take care of selling your house.

New Home Construction

Using a contingent offer will safeguard you in the purchase of a new home that has not been built. Frequently, the builder will wait until the contingency has been satisfied prior to beginning construction. However, if the builder begins construction ahead of the contingency being met, the builder assumes all of the risks if the sale should fall through. Either way, you will have secured your neighborhood lot choice and don’t have to worry about waiting to start the process until after you sell your home.

If the builder accepts your contingent offer on a move-in ready new home, you may be in a “bumpable” position. In this case, if another buyer makes an offer on the same home for which you have made a contingent offer, you may have only 24-to-48 hours to lift the contingency or lose the house to the other buyer.

What if I’m waiting on mortgage approval or transfer orders?

In North Carolina, as of 2011, everything other than the sale of an existing house has moved from contingency criteria to “due diligence.” There is no longer a financing contingency. In addition to earnest money, a due diligence fee is paid by the buyer to the seller and a due diligence period is agreed upon. During the due diligence period the buyer, at their own expense, will conduct inspections, appraisals, document review and obtain financing and insurance for the home. If the buyer backs out of the deal before the end of the due diligence period, they will usually have their earnest money returned but the due diligence fee is the seller’s to keep. However, as long as the deal goes through, the buyer will have the due diligence fee amount credited back to them at closing.

New Home Financing

McKee Homes makes securing favorable financing easier through our preferred lenders, and when you use one of them, McKee Homes will pay the closing costs on the purchase of your new home. We have the experience and expertise to help prospective homebuyers through the entire process. Our preferred lenders have knowledge and experience with a wide array of new home financing options, and they will help you find the right mortgage to fit your needs.

McKee Homes will work with you on a contingent offer to make sure you get the home of your dreams even if you still need to sell your existing home.

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Best Neighborhoods near Fort Bragg, NC

Whether you are a looking to purchase your first home or anticipating retiring close to world class golf courses to master your putt, McKee Homes in the Fort Bragg area of North Carolina has the ideal neighborhood for you. You may be facing budget constraints, looking to upgrade your existing residence or simply want a more maintenance free home. McKee Homes carefully designs and plans its neighborhoods to meet your specific needs and fulfill your desired wish list as well.

country club living

For first time homebuyers, military families, retirees on a fixed income and renters looking to begin the rewarding journey of home ownership, McKee Homes has several delightful neighborhoods from which to choose. River Glen, close to Fayetteville, offers family friendly floor plans that start in the high $100’s. This affordable community has walking trails, country living and a clubhouse with pool to be built next year, in addition to being located within the Cumberland County School District.

Another budget-friendly community is Sinclair with over 200 acres of lush countryside and views of the greenbelts from nearly every home, as well as a community pond for fishing and other recreational activities. Sinclair is just 15 minutes from Fort Bragg’s Manchester Gate. If extra security is on your must-have list, the neighborhood of Oakmont features a gated entry. For those who simply cringe at the acronym DIY, The Cottages at North Ramsey feature maintenance-free exteriors with long lasting cement board lap siding, soffits and eves. In addition, The Cottages offer excellent proximity to Fort Bragg, the Goodyear plant, hospitals, diverse restaurants and easy access shopping. Moreover, each neighborhood is located within excellent school districts: Sinclair in Moore County School District, Oakmont in Harnett County School District and The Cottages at North Ramsey in the Cumberland County School District.

Perhaps your family is growing or you and your spouse simply want more room, then McKee Homes has neighborhoods that offer larger homes with square footage that ranges from 2,000 to 3,900 square feet and prices from the low $200’s. Liberty Hill at King’s Grant offers close proximity to golf courses, Fort Bragg, the Goodyear plant as well as easy access to highways, shopping and dining. If you want to live near Pinehurst, NC on the west side of Fort Bragg, Forest Hills Point is within 15 miles of 43 golf courses, while the golf community of Legacy Lakes is nestled on over 400 verdant acres of pine trees and natural lakes.

Whether you are retired and looking for a community that offers easy access to professional level golf courses or just like to get out on the course during the weekends, avid golfers can tee off at one of the many golf communities offered by McKee Homes. Legacy Lakes offers the Nicklaus Design Legacy Golf Links, or if slicing a fuzzy yellow ball over the net is more your style, The Racquet House Racquet and Fitness Club has six stunning clay courts, as well as a pool and clubhouse. Legacy Lakes and Forest Hills Pointe are in Moore County close to west gates at Fort Bragg.

Other communities offering easy access to world-class golfing are The Cottages at Carriage Creek and Valley Streams in Anderson Creek Club. Enjoy living in a secure, gated community with a golf course as well as a clubhouse with a state-of-the-art fitness center, pool, tennis, basketball, baseball, volleyball, parks, playgrounds and tranquil walking trails.

One of the most upscale McKee Homes neighborhoods is Plantation Pointe, which is located in a private gated community in Southern Pines. This beautiful community features all the amenities and extras for those seeking the country club lifestyle. A trip to the clubhouse, tennis courts, pool, driving range and golf course is an easy stroll from your home. Moreover, Plantation Pointe offers such upscale amenities as energy efficient open floor plans, granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances and designer cabinets to create a unique ambience that truly reflects your individual personality.

We all have different needs and wants at various times in our lives. Whether you’re looking for your family’s first new home, a new home for a growing family, or want to retire in an active adult or golf community, McKee Homes offers new homes in a perfect neighborhood for your family. From entry level new homes to upscale communities with invigorating hikes along verdant trails and lush golf courses, McKee Homes has a neighborhood for you.

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Custom Home Vs Personalized Production Home Builder Touch Points

This is part five of our series of articles comparing custom homes to personalized production homes. This article will focus on the touch points with the homebuyer offered by custom home builders vs. personalized production home builders.

If you are considering the purchase of a new home, you may be trying to decide whether to buy a custom home or a personalized production home. There are very distinct differences between a custom home and a production home; therefore, you should spend some time learning the specific details of each before you make any decisions.

home builder touch points

Some of the questions you will need to have answered are:

Cost: What is the square foot cost for each type of home?

Time to Build: How long does it take to build each type of home?

Pros/Cons: What are the advantages and disadvantages of each type of home?

Options and Selections: What options and selections will you get to choose?

Warranty: What level of new home warranty should you expect with each type of home?

Touch Points: How much personalized service will you get from each type of builder?

Learning everything you can about the different types of new homes selections available will allow you to make a more educated decision about which option is best for you and your family. Please read our series of articles on this topic for more information and answers to all the above questions.

Custom Homes

When building a custom home, you generally acquire your own land, design your own floor plan (or have it designed) and submit it to the builder. Additionally, you will be directly involved in the planning and development of every aspect of your new home.

Custom home builders are able to offer you a more personalized service because they only build a limited number of homes each year and therefore have the extra time to spend with each individual customer.

Being involved in the building and decision making processes can be exciting but it also requires a fair amount of time and effort on the part of the homebuyer, so if you decide to have a custom home built, be prepared to spend many evenings and weekends with the builder working out issues and making decisions and choices for your new home.

Once the home is complete the builder will walk through the home with you and explain how to use all the systems in the home as well as create a punch list to deal with any unfinished items or issues that need to be corrected before move-in.

Personalized Production Homes

When having a personalized production home built, it’s customary for the home and land to be offered as a package deal. You will have the ability to choose from a variety of home floor plans and new home options; therefore, with a personalized production home, you will still have the opportunity to customize your home to a certain extent.

Production home builders may build hundreds of homes per year and therefore cannot offer as many personal touch points as a custom home builder. However, good production builders have well trained project managers and customer service representatives who will meet with homebuyers and their agents at specific times during the new home building process. Each team member will help the customer make their new home selections, review the progress of the home and make sure all options and selections are correct.

While you won’t have as much input into your new home with a production home builder, you also won’t have to spend as much time and energy making decisions and selections for your new home. You will generally have a comprehensive selections meeting before the home is started to make selections and choose options for your new home. You will also get to see the home being built and should get at least two or three detailed walks through the home with the project manager during construction of the home. Once the home is complete you will have a final walk through the home with the project manager who will show you how to use the systems in the home and make sure all selections are correct and the home is move-in ready. The project manager will create a punch list to take care of any issues that need to be addressed before you move into your new home.

The Bottom Line

The decision about whether to buy a custom home or a personalized production home is a very personal one and one only you can make. You should take as much time as you need to study all your options, and then will you be able to make the decision that is right for you and your family.

If you find yourself torn about which direction to take, you may want to visit some personalized production home builder locations to get a feel for what they have to offer. If after that you don’t find anything that suits your needs, you can always contact a custom home builder to compare the costs and options they have available.

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Custom Home Warranties Vs Personalized Production Home Warranties

This is part four of our series of articles comparing custom homes to personalized production homes. This article will focus on the warranties offered by custom home builders vs. personalized production home builders.

If you are considering the purchase of a new home, you may be trying to decide whether to buy a custom home or a personalized production home. There are very distinct differences between a custom home and a production home; therefore, you should spend some time learning the specific details of each before you make any decisions. Some of the questions you will need to have answered are:

Cost: What is the square foot cost for each type of home?

Time to Build: How long does it take to build each type of home?

Pros/Cons: What are the advantages and disadvantages of each type of home?

Options and Selections: What options and selections will you get to choose?

Warranty: What level of new home warranty should you expect with each type of home?

Touch Points: How much personalized service will you get from each type of builder?

Learning everything you can about the different types of new homes selections available will allow you to make a more educated decision about which option is best for you and your family. Please read our series of articles on this topic for more information and answers to all the above questions.

Custom Homes

When building a custom home, you generally acquire your own land, design your own floor plan (or have it designed) and submit it to the builder. Additionally, you will be directly involved in the planning and development of every aspect of your new home.

Each builder will have their own specific new home warranty and levels of that warranty. Most custom home builders cannot afford to include a custom warranty that will cover a home’s structure for up to 10 years. They generally only give the home buyers a one year builder’s warranty. However, some custom home builders will take care of problems with their homes beyond the required warranty. Each builder is different and it’s up to the home buyer to find out the specifics of the different new home warranties that each builder offers.

There are numerous home warranty companies that offer extended warranties for new and older homes, so even if your builder only offers a one-year builders warranty it is possible to buy additional coverage. It’s important to research new home warranty companies before purchasing coverage to make sure you are getting the coverage you need at a fair price from a reputable company.

Personalized Production Homes

When having a personalized production home built, it’s customary for the home and land to be offered as a package deal. You will have the ability to choose from a variety of home floor plans and new home options; therefore, with a personalized production home, you will still have the opportunity to customize your home to a certain extent.

When it comes to offering a warranty, each production home builder is required to offer a one year builders new home warranty for their homes. However, some builders offer custom home warranties, such as the 2-10 Home Buyers Warranty® offered by McKee Homes that covers the material and defects for one year, the home’s systems for two years and the structure for 10 years.

Having a good quality home warranty provided by your home builder saves money over the years as you don’t need to purchase additional coverage after the first year. Another advantage of the 2-10 Home Buyers Warranty® is that it is fully-transferable, which increases the resale value of the home, should you ever need to sell it.

210 Home Buyers Warranty

2-10 Warranty Coverage Details:

  • Ten (10) years of structural defect coverage for load-bearing components.
  • Two (2) years of systems surety coverage against defects in wiring, piping, and ductwork in electrical, plumbing, heating, cooling, ventilating, and mechanical systems.
  • One (1) year of surety coverage against defects in workmanship and materials.

The Bottom Line

The decision about whether to buy a custom home or a personalized production home is a very personal one and one only you can make. You should take as much time as you need to study all your options, and then will you be able to make the decision that is right for you and your family.

If you find yourself torn about which direction to take, you may want to visit some personalized production home builder locations to get a feel for what they have to offer. If after that you don’t find anything that suits your needs, you can always contact a custom home builder to compare the costs and options they have available.

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