Multi-Generational Homes With First and Second Floor Owner’s Suites

Homes with first and second floor owner’s suites, often referred to as multi-generational homes, have become very popular in the last 10 years. Some multi-generational homes have separate entrances and small kitchens in guest suites for more privacy and independence, however all areas are typically connected to the main house for security and economy.

According to a 2015 report from the National Association of REALTORS®, 13% of all homebuyers in 2014 bought multi-generational homes with the main reasons being cost savings, children over 18 moving back into their parent’s home, caretaking of aging parents and spending more time with aging parents.

multi-generational family

While the initial cost of multi-generational homes can be a little higher than the typical 3 bed/2.5 bath home, the total cost for everyone living in the home is much less when you consider the cost of a mortgage or monthly rent for aging parents and/or kids just out of college.

A popular new home feature is first and second floor owner’s suites. Even if a house doesn’t have separate entrances or kitchens, this design allows parents to sleep upstairs near their children while the kids are young and then move downstairs once the kids get older or are out of the house. Having a full owner’s suite on both floors allows for much more flexibility in lifestyle. As homeowners age they can live on the first floor of the home and not have to go up and down stairs to the bedroom. That can also save money as the second floor of the home does not need to be heated and cooled as much, but is still available for visits from family and friends when needed.

Many new home builders are now offering multi-generational homes and homes with first and second floor owner’s suites, guest suites with optional kitchenettes and separate entrances. McKee Homes has a dozen floor plans with first and second floor owner’s suites, optional guest suites or optional second floor guest suites with kitchenettes.

First and second floor owner’s suites: Brooks, Clark and Sanborne

Optional first floor guest suite: Beaufort

Optional second floor guest suite: Canterbury and Riddick

Optional second floor guest suite with option for wet bar or kitchenette: Palazzo, Portico, Promenade, Salerno, Torino, and Verona

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5 Things To Do To Improve Your Credit Score Before Buying a New Home

The home buying process begins long before your start looking at new home listings online. One of the first steps in the home buying process is getting a handle on your finances and understanding your credit. Here are five things to do to improve your credit score before buying a new home.

5 Things to do to Improve Your Credit Score

  1. Know what’s on your credit report.
    When was the last time you checked your credit report? If it hasn’t been in the last year, then you could be missing something that could be hurting your credit score. Every year, you can get your credit report, for free, from TransUnion, Equifax and Experian by going to annualcreditreport.com. While this doesn’t provide you with your credit score, it does show you what the lenders see.
  1. Identify and fix any errors.
    Once you’ve reviewed your credit report with a fine-toothed comb, you need to start fixing any errors. On each of the credit bureau websites there are step-by-step instructions on how to dispute errors, and your credit report will have instructions as well. When contacting the credit bureaus, keep detailed notes on what you submit to them and copies of any documents.
  1. Always be on time.
    It may seem like commonsense but if you’re looking to increase your credit score pay your bills on time every month and don’t miss a payment. Paying more than the minimum balance, even if it’s just a little more, looks good to the lenders. It also helps you pay your bills off faster.
  1. Pay off your credit cards, but don’t close them.
    Paying off your credit cards is a great way to lower your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio. Every lender has different standards for DTI ratios, but according to Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a DTI of 43% is, in many cases, the highest ratio a borrower can have and still qualify for a mortgage.
  1. Be smart with new and old lines of credit.
    If you are under contract to buy a new home, opening up new lines of credit or making any large charges on your current credit card can negatively alter your DTI. This makes you look risky to lenders. If you are building a new home, it can sometimes be a six-month or longer process, so be sure to plan ahead. It is recommended to wait until after closing to buy a new car, new furniture or book that all-inclusive vacation. If you have any thing that comes up before closing consult your lender. While not opening new lines of credit is important, keeping old lines of credit open is advised. These old lines of credit show your credit history and closing them could change your DTI for the worse.

Source: Forbes.com; HGTV.com

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Should A Veteran Always Use A VA Loan?

VA Loan

The VA loan program is a great benefit for veterans and with 21 million VA home loans it seems like a no-brainer that veterans would take advantage of this benefit. But should a veteran always use a VA loan? The answer is no, but let me explain.

There are many reasons to use the VA loan program. One of the biggest perks of this program is the no down payment. The VA does not issue the loans but they are guaranteed by the government which gives lenders confidence in issuing the loans.

  • You don’t have to have a down payment as long as your loan doesn’t exceed $417,000.
  • Lower closing costs as the VA restricts the types of closing costs a veteran can pay.
  • No monthly mortgage insurance premiums like you find with other loan programs.
  • VA loans also allow for those with higher debt ratios and lower credit scores to qualify for loans.

Now all this may make you wonder, well why wouldn’t I want to use a VA loan? Well there are a few things that may make you consider not using a VA loan.

  • If you’re buying a fixer-upper home, you won’t be able to use a VA loan as they are mainly for “move-in ready” homes.
  • While you can reuse a VA loan, you can’t get another VA loan before you pay the other one off.
  • If the home you’re buying isn’t going to be your primary residence then you’ll need to consider another loan program.
  • There is a limit on VA loan co-borrowers who are not a spouse or another veteran.
  • If you have a 20% or larger down payment it may be wise to consider not using a VA loan to avoid the VA funding fee.

So when you start your home search it would be a good idea to check into all of your home loan options. Knowing what’s available to you can save you time and money, and even if you are a veteran, you may not always want to use a VA loan.

Source: Marketwatch.com; VeteransUnited.com; Military.com

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Is Seed or Sod Better For A New Lawn?

If you want to establish a new lawn, or reestablish an old lawn, you have two basic choices: you can plant seed and sprout your own new turf, or you can buy sod and roll it out like new carpet, ready to go.

seed or sod for new lawn

The end result should be about the same if done correctly so what are the differences between the two options?

Seed Advantages

  • Significantly lower initial cost than sod.
  • More species of grass available as seed for sun and shade.
  • Lawn develops in native soil.

Seed Disadvantages

  • Takes longer to establish a new lawn as seed must germinate.
  • Water requirements are critical during germination.
  • May require reseeding after heavy rain.
  • Ideal time of year for seeding is limited to late summer and early fall.
  • Weeds can be a problem until lawn is established, especially if seeded in spring

Sod Advantages

  • Creates an instant lawn, which can be walked on almost immediately.
  • Virtually no weeds when installed.
  • Stops soil erosion right away even on slopes.
  • Can be installed any time during the growing season.

Sod Disadvantages

  • Much higher initial cost to establish lawn.
  • Choice of species is very limited, not shade tolerant.
  • Possibility of importing problematic non-native soil.
  • Large volume of water needed initially.

Whichever way you choose to go, the quality of the seed or sod is essential to establishing a healthy lawn. Initial soil preparation is also important. If possible, get a soil test done before starting so any amendments can be added to the soil. Compost may be necessary for clay soils. Rough as well as fine grading is crucial and control of perennial weeds is necessary before seeding or sodding to prevent them from taking over your new lawn. Tilling or covering with sod will not kill perennial weeds and an initial application of a non-selective herbicide may be necessary.

Newly seeded lawns must be watered frequently, but not deeply. It’s only necessary to keep the top ½ inch of soil moist, but you don’t need to deep water initially. Once the seedlings have emerged, watering should be done deeply and less frequently. Limit heavy traffic on lawn for first year until it has become well established.

Newly sodded lawns need a good deal of water initially to keep them healthy, however they will hold up well to foot traffic and can be fertilized on a regular schedule. Beware of shrinking as weeds can grow between the sections of sod. If you decide to go with sod, it’s best to hire a professional to do the installation and insure you get fresh sod.

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Should I Buy a New Home Now or Later?

If you’re like many people, you may be asking yourself should I buy a new home now or later? While there are many things to consider when asking this question, here are a few things to get you started:

  • Are you in a good place financially?
  • Are you ready to be your own landlord?
  • Are you committed to staying in one place?

If you answered yes to these questions then you may be ready to buy a home. The next question you may ask yourself is should I buy now or later? With interest rates still at all time lows, that may sway your opinion. Maybe, knowing that Freddie Mac predicts that by January 2017 interest rates will rise to 4.5% or that CoreLogic predicts that home prices will increase by 5.5% over the next year may help make your decision to begin the home search now. If you wait until next year, that $250,000 budget you have would need to increase by $13,750 to get the same home.

Should I Buy a New Home Now or Later

If you have questions about the home buying process or what McKee Homes has to offer, contact us today and we would be happy to answer your questions.

Additional Source: Forbes.com

 

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10 Tips to Get Your Home Ready For Spring

It’s been a long cold winter with snow, ice and rain. Your house has been closed up for months and the garage is a mess. Here are 10 tips to get your home ready for spring.

10 tips to get your home ready for spring

  1. Inspect and clean out gutters and downspouts
    Inspect and clean debris from gutters and downspouts. Check for signs of leaks or any loose sections. Leaky gutters can cause water damage to your home. If you are not comfortable on a ladder you may want to hire someone to do this.
  1. Inspect roofing shingles for damage
    Do a visual inspection of roofing from the ground to make sure there aren’t any loose or missing shingles from winter storms. High winds can often cause damage to your roof especially if there are trees close to the house with overhanging limbs. If necessary, hire someone to inspect and repair any damaged areas. A leaky roof can cause expensive damage to the structure and interior of the home as well as allow mold to grow inside the walls.
  1. Clean yard and inspect drainage
    Clean debris from yard and look for low areas with poor drainage, especially near the house. Spring rains can cause flooding in the yard which can cause foundation flooding and damage. Pools of water in the yard are also a breeding ground for insects such as mosquitoes. Repair any drainage issues with the yard and landscaping to make sure you don’t have any problems related to standing water or flooding.
  1. Power-wash driveway, walkways, decks and siding
    After a long winter with rain, snow and ice your driveway, walkways, decks and siding need some TLC. Rent or buy a power-washer or hire someone to clean these areas. It’s amazing how a good cleaning can make the exterior of your home look like new again. This is also a good time to clean patio furniture to get it ready for use in warmer weather.
  1. Inspect windows and doors
    Once the exterior of your home has been power-washed, take some time to inspect the windows and doors for damage. Inspect the seals and weather-stripping, the glass, and any exterior caulking and paint. Replace or repair any damaged areas and glass and re-caulk and paint as necessary. This will save money on heating and cooling your home as well as prevent water damage from leaks.
  1. Clean out the garage
    The garage can really take a beating during the cold winter months. No one wants to clean the garage when it’s cold and wet outside. Take some time to open it up and clean the inside of the garage from top to bottom. Throw away any junk or garbage that has accumulated inside the garage and put everything back in its place. Clean mud and debris off the floor from vehicles and boots and check for cracks in the concrete.
    It’s also a good time to thoroughly clean your vehicles, especially the undercarriage, to wash away any mud and salt brine that may have accumulated from driving during the winter months. If you live in an area where the roads are salted to prevent ice and snow buildup on the roads, you want to make sure to wash the residue from your vehicles so it doesn’t cause rust and other damage.
  1. Thoroughly clean and air-out home
    The first warm weekend of spring is a great time to clean the inside of your window and door glass and open them up to let fresh air in, and stale air out, of your home. It’s best to do this before the pollen gets bad later in the season so it doesn’t get inside your home while the windows are open. Months of cooking and living with the windows and doors closed can lead to dust and odor buildup inside your house. A thorough cleaning of rugs, carpets, curtains and furniture will make your home clean and fresh again.
  1. Clean out the Refrigerator
    How long has it been since you took everything out of the refrigerator and cleaned all the shelves and inside surfaces? If it’s been awhile, spring is a great time to mark that chore off the list and get rid of any science experiments that might be growing in the back of the fridge.
  1. Change your home decor
    Most people don’t have the money to change the decor of their homes with each changing season but there are low-cost ways of giving your home a fresh look inside for spring. While you are cleaning your home, think about rearranging the furniture, replacing any old damaged items and possibly doing some painting. Add some flowers and new plants and you’ll be amazed at how new and fresh your home can look on a budget.
  1. Get your garden ready
    Early spring is the time to plan your garden and start sprouting veggies and herbs in small plastic cups inside under grow lights or in a greenhouse. That way you don’t have to wait until it’s warm outside to plant and your garden gets a head start. It’s also a good time to prep the soil in the garden and put up or repair planters and trellises. Take some time to determine what you want to plant, and where, so you know exactly how to proceed when it’s time to get the garden planted.
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McKee Homes Donates $30,000 to Alzheimer’s Association

check presentation by Pat McKee and Julie Russo of McKee Homes

McKee Homes sponsored the Fayetteville Chamber’s Business After Hours event at Marquis Market in downtown Fayetteville Thursday evening, Feb. 25 at 5:30 pm. The Business After Hours event brings together many local residents, professionals and business owners from the Fayetteville area for a popular networking event.

Pat McKee, President of McKee Homes and President of the Home Builders Association of Fayetteville, along with wife Julie Russo who is VP of Human Resources at McKee Homes, presented the Alzheimer’s Association® with a promotional check for $30,000 which covers all the donations made in 2015 by McKee Homes. Lisa Roberts, Executive Director, Eastern North Carolina Chapter Alzheimer’s Association, accepted the check at the Business After Hours event. From 2011 to 2016, McKee Homes has donated approximately $135,000 to the Alzheimer’s Association® through the Joe McKee Memorial Alzheimer’s Fund.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association® website at alz.org®, North Carolina is home to more than 160,000 individuals living with Alzheimer’s and half a million unpaid caregivers. The Eastern North Carolina Chapter is responsible for providing programs and support services, information, referral, education and advocacy to the 51 counties of Eastern North Carolina.

“Our mission is to utilize our resources and good fortune to support the Alzheimer’s cause in the greater Fayetteville, Wilmington and Raleigh areas by raising awareness of this devastating disease, supporting initiatives of the Alzheimer’s Association® and helping fund Alzheimer’s care and research,” said Pat McKee.

The Business After Hours event was well attended with great food and door prizes given away by McKee Homes.

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McKee Homes Featured in Builder and Developer Magazine

McKee Homes is featured in Homebuilders Prosper with Epcon Franchising, a recent Builder and Developer Magazine article about Epcon Franchise Builders.

The Cottages at North Ramsey

According to the Builder and Developer article Another Franchise Builder, Pat McKee, owner of McKee Homes has seen success with Epcon Franchising as well. Since 2007, McKee has been a developer and homebuilder in the Fayetteville, N.C. market.

Most recently he is responsible for developing and building one of Fayetteville’s most successful communities, The Cottages at North Ramsey. He attributes part of its success to being an EpconFranchise Builder. McKee sold close to 100 homes last year and 150 this year, becoming a large regional builder in [the] Fayetteville area.

Epcon is a home building company offering franchises to other builders dedicated to serving the luxury, low-maintenance, ranch-style home niche for consumers looking to downsize from their existing home. Epcon is the 38th largest homebuilder in the nation and is the 19th largest privately-owned homebuilder. Franchise Builders have sold more than 28,000 homes since 1986.

In addition to the Builder and Developer article, McKee Homes has been featured in Epcon articles about their Franchisees and Epcon’s Pathways of Hope Foundation.

How Epcon Franchises Enables Home Builders to Quickly Grow from Niche to Regional Markets features Pat McKee, owner and President of McKee Homes. This article is largely an interview with Pat McKee (see video below) about the advantages of being an Epcon Franchisee. According to the Epcon article Traditional single-family home builder Pat McKee was able to quickly become a large regional builder with assistance from the Epcon homebuilding franchise system.

“Our depth of knowledge is difficult to achieve. Large regional builders often partner with Epcon to develop specific sections within their developments because they recognize that Epcon is the best way to satisfy a particular market niche,” says Rob Krohn, Epcon’s Franchise Marketing Manager.

On the move and moving up: Epcon Communities Franchisee Pat McKee gives back to NC residents by Nanette Overly covers McKee Homes’ commitment to giving back to the community, especially as it relates to their work with the Alzheimer’s Association® through the Joe McKee Memorial Alzheimer’s Fund and sponsorship of the Fayetteville Walk to End Alzheimer’s. From 2011 to 2016, McKee Homes has donated approximately $135,000 to the Alzheimer’s Association® through the Joe McKee Memorial Alzheimer’s Fund.

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McKee Homes Epcon Communities

McKee Homes is currently developing over 20 communities in Eastern North Carolina, three of which are Epcon communities.

The Cottages at North Ramsey an Epcon Community

What’s an Epcon community? Epcon is a home building company offering franchises to other builders dedicated to serving the luxury, low-maintenance, ranch-style home niche for consumers looking to downsize from their existing home. The homes are specially designed with high-end features and options and built with 36″ wide doorways inside the house and easy access with no stairs between the inside and outside areas. With an Epcon home, homebuyers know they can live in the home into retirement without having to make any modifications to their home.

The Salerno floor plan

McKee Homes offers Epcon homes in The Cottages at North Ramsey in Fayetteville with all exterior home and yard maintenance taken care of by the HOA. It’s an ideal situation for busy professionals, military families and retirees who don’t want spend their free time maintaining their home’s exterior and yard.

We also offer Epcon homes in The Cottages at Carriage Creek and Carriage Glen in Anderson Creek Club where landscaping and yard maintenance is taken care of by the neighborhood association. With all the luxury amenities of a golf club community available there, it’s a real benefit to homeowners not to have to spend their weekends maintaining their yards.

Epcon Communities Franchising Inc. (Epcon) celebrates two important milestones in 2016: 20 years of franchising anchored on a rock-solid foundation of 30 years of homebuilding experience.

“Over the past 30 years, we’ve mastered the concept of low-maintenance, lifestyle housing down to a science,” says Tim Rini, Vice President of Franchising, “Population demographics indicate that we’re just now at the tip of the iceberg in terms of demand. As we celebrate these important milestones in Epcon’s history, we’re ready to meet this underserved market with fast-to-market, winning home solutions for our Franchise Builders.”

Read more about Epcon

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Housing Outlook Very Strong For 2016

By John Kamin

2016 Housing Outlook

The housing outlook for 2016 looks very strong. For the first time in three years it seems even the most conservative economic experts are in agreement. This year will be the best since the housing recession of past years.

The indicators that these experts rely on are all looking better for the coming years, starting with this year. Household formations will top 1.25 million in 2016…this is a large driver of new home sales. The rental market is very tight causing rents to increase significantly. Combined with low mortgage interest rates, buying a home looks even more affordable. The “Home Purchase Sentiment Index” from Fannie Mae has two compelling improvements for December of 2015. First consumer sentiment improved with regard to income, job security, and economic outlook. Secondly, more consumers now believe that it is a good time to sell a home.

What does all this mean for McKee Homes? First time buyers are coming into the market and we are well positioned to appeal to them. Great plans at very affordable prices…and we include features that are optional elsewhere. With special financing available many buyers will not need a down payment…usually a barrier to purchasing.

Why is being confidant about selling a home good for McKee? Because most move up buyers need the equity from their current home…and do not want to sell in a “down market”. Selling their current home gives them the opportunity to purchase a new home with the features they want.

With an improving economic forecast and the government raising interest rates, most of these experts are predicting mortgage interest rates to be 4.75%-5% by the end of the year. This may not seem like much…but here is what it means.

For the average buyer of a McKee home, the principal and interest payment will be $134 higher by the end of 2016…over thirty years this amounts to $48,240!!!

Or put another way, a buyer could add $28,000 in options today for that same $134 per month additional payment.

The other compelling factor for purchasing sooner rather than waiting is the increasing price of homes. Even Robert Schiller, the foremost housing expert, is anticipating prices rising 4-5%. Based on our average sales price that means prices will go up by almost $12,000 this year.

All this bodes well for McKee homes in 2016. Let’s make it happen together!

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