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5 Best Restaurants in Wilmington, NC

If you are considering contacting home builders in Wilmington, NC, then you must already know some of the benefits of living in this historic, arts-oriented city. However, did you know that the area is also known for its large number of high-quality, must-try restaurants? The best places are sprinkled throughout town, from the area around the university to practically anywhere along the waterfront. As the locals say, throw a rock and you will hit a good restaurant! Here are five of our top picks:

  1. Genki Sushi
    Genki Sushi is the place to go for fresh, authentic sushi. Everything on the menu is hand-prepared or homemade, including the sauces. The restaurant offers a true Japanese taste experience, with dishes like shrimp tempura and udon noodles. Plus, the owners are candid about the menu, using pi-water for drinking and cooking, with no chemicals or MSG in sight.
  2. Nikki’s Fresh Gourmet and Sushi
    Are you looking for a top-quality menu that includes sushi as well as vegetarian and organic dishes? Nikki’s Fresh Gourmet is highly rated by locals and tourists alike. You can visit its original location on Front Street as well as its locations in the mall and near the university. Another option is Nikki’s Hibachi Steak House, featuring hibachi dining along with the restaurant’s famous sushi.
  3. Cape Fear Seafood Company
    If you prefer your fish pan-seared, grilled, or otherwise prepared, stop by the Cape Fear Seafood Company. This locally owned restaurant prides itself on offering dishes with fresh ingredients in a relaxing atmosphere. Enjoy the extensive wine list, local art on the walls, and not-to-be-missed menu.
  4. Caprice Bistro
    For a taste of Europe with French and Belgian cuisine, plan a visit to the Caprice Bistro. Stop by the upstairs lounge for drinks and hors d’oeuvres, or enjoy a meal of fresh mussels, trout, or lamb downstairs. More favorites include the French onion soup, bistro steak, and fresh pasta.
  5. Paddy’s Hollow
    If you want comfort food in a great environment, look no further than Paddy’s Hollow, a pub located in a restored cotton warehouse. The restaurant has numerous beers on tap to complement entrees including grilled salmon, shrimp po boy, and shepherd’s pie. Locals cite it as a great place to stop for dinner before going out for the night, or anytime you want a meal in a great atmosphere.

Bonus: The Peppered Cupcake
No list of great restaurants would be complete without an option for dessert! This little shop offers gourmet cupcakes crafted with unique flavor combinations. Flavors include apple crisp, bourbon black cherry and vanilla cobbler, German chocolate, maple and bacon, and crème brûlée. Their everyday menu includes seven flavors, with other varieties depending on the day.

You may not be able to try dining at all of these restaurants unless you move to the area! Contact McKee Homes, expert home builders in Wilmington, NC, for more information on finding your perfect home.

Top 5 Budget Hotels in Raleigh, NC

Are you looking at new homes in Raleigh, NC and need a place to stay for a few days? Or maybe you’ve moved out of your home while home builders in Raleigh, NC are renovating your living space. The Raleigh area has some great budget-friendly hotels for a comfortable stay. Some are even pet-friendly. Here are the Top 5 Budget Hotels in Raleigh, NC.

  1. Econo Lodge Inn and Suites
    Just a few minutes from the downtown area, off the I-440 and U.S. Highway 1, you will find the Econo Lodge. Convenient to the Convention and Conference Center, Alltel Pavilion and the North Carolina State Capitol Building, guests can enjoy free Internet access, coffee, deluxe continental breakfast and free local calls – perfect when you need to talk to your home builders in Raleigh, NC.
  2. Days Inn
    Great location, good value and free Wi-Fi are all on offer at Days Inn. Comfort and cost-savings are the key criteria here and the hotel boasts 135 pet-friendly rooms complete with all the usual amenities to make your stay feel like home-away-from-home. There are two restaurants adjacent to the property and a selection of museums nearby.
  3. America’s Best Value Inn-Crabtree/Raleigh
    Convenient location, attractive rooms and wallet-friendly prices attract guests to the three story hotel. There’s also a free deluxe continental breakfast, guest laundry and on-site fitness facilities. The hotel is situated close to the North Hills Mall and is the perfect base from which to explore Raleigh homes for sale.
  4. Super 8, Raleigh
    Free local calls, parking and free breakfast as well as pet-friendly rooms can be found at Super 8. All rooms have cable TVs, refrigerators, internet access, microwaves and work desks. Just 1 mile from the Crabtree Valley Mall, Super 8 is also close to the Exploris Museum, Convention Center and only 14 miles from Raleigh-Durham International Airport.
  5. Best Western
    If you want to stay somewhere a little more upscale without breaking the budget, try the Best Western. The hotel in North-Downtown sits in a prime location and offers guests free parking, breakfast and Wi-Fi. The three story hotel is pet-friendly and boasts premium cable, coin laundry and an outdoor pool to cool off in after a long day of looking for Raleigh homes for sale. The hotel is a quick 3 miles from many of the downtown attractions, including the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and the North Carolina Museum of Art. It also sits a mere five miles away from the Time Warner Pavilion at Walnut Creek as well as Crabtree Valley Mall. It is 15 miles from the Raleigh-Durham International Airport.

Being close to the best Raleigh has to offer doesn’t have to cost a fortune.

Staying in a budget-friendly hotel is one of the best ways to spend more time discovering the Raleigh, NC area while looking for new construction in Raleigh, NC.

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USDA Loan Fee Increase Scheduled for October 1

How much is the cost of a USDA loan going up? If you are shopping for a new home and are considering getting a USDA loan, you should hurry, as there is a USDA loan fee increase scheduled for October 1. USDA loans are one of the few loans that offer home buyers in rural areas a no-money-down option for their mortgage. The current loan guarantee fee for USDA loans of 2% is going up to 2.75% on October 1, 2015.

According to Bloomberg, an e-mail from USDA spokesman David Sandretti, states the move will enable the $24 billion program “to continue to sustain itself without a congressional appropriation to offset credit-related costs.”

The current guarantee fee of 2% for an $180,000 USDA loan is $3,600. This cost is usually included in the loan increasing the total loan amount to $183,600. When the guarantee fee goes up to 2.75% in October, the new fee for an $180,000 loan will be $4,950. That’s an increase of $1,350, increasing the total loan amount to $184,950.

While the guarantee fee which is a one-time fee charged by all government mortgage programs including USDA, FHA, and VA is increasing, the annual fee (monthly PMI) for USDA loans will remain the same at 0.50 percent.

The USDA has invested more than $117 billion to support rural home ownership but the home loan program was temporarily halted in 2010 when the USDA ran out of money. Last year, over $19.9 billion was invested by USDA which helped approximately 140,000 families purchase homes in rural areas.

If you are considering buying a home with a USDA loan, you can save money by purchasing the home before October 1 of this year. For more information on which McKee Homes neighborhoods qualify for USDA loans and details about the loans, contact us at 910-672-7296.

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The Difference Between Due Diligence and Earnest Money

What Is The Difference Between Due Diligence Money and Earnest Money?

If you are shopping for a home and are hearing terms you aren’t familiar with such as due diligence money and earnest money, you might be wondering what the difference between the two is, how they affect you, how much they will cost you, and if you can get your money back if the contract is cancelled. This article should help answer some of your questions starting with the difference between due diligence money and earnest money.

“Due Diligence” is the buyer’s opportunity to engage in a process of further investigation of the property and the transaction as described in the Offer to Purchase form within a period of time agreed to by the seller and buyer. The buyer will want to inquire about anything bearing on a decision to either move forward with the contract or to terminate it.  Some common considerations of the “Due Diligence” period are; home, pest, and septic inspections, property survey, appraisal, title search, loan qualification and application, repair negotiation, etc. The buyer has until 5:00 PM on the expiration date of the due diligence period to terminate the contract for any or no reason at all. The due diligence fee is Non-Refundable however, if the buyer terminates the contract during the due diligence period, the Earnest money deposit is refundable.

Deciding how much due diligence time is needed requires thinking about how long it will take to schedule appointments for inspectors to come out and inspect the home and how long it takes to review documents like the HOA rules and regulations. During the due diligence time the buyer is able to cancel the contract for any reason, or no reason at all.  Due diligence money is non-refundable The good news is the money is typically credited towards the purchase of the home at closing.

Earnest money is “good faith” money. The buyer is showing the seller they are serious about buying the home.  If the seller is unable to fulfill the contract the buyer will get the earnest money back.  If the buyer is unable to fulfill the contract the seller can keep the earnest money.  Earnest money is refundable if the contract is cancelled within the due diligence time period and is credited toward the purchase at closing if the sale goes through.

In general, there is no definite amount set for due diligence or earnest money.   The amount of earnest money paid could be a percentage of the purchase price but both the due diligence fee and earnest money deposit will be decided between the buyer and seller and written into the contract.

For more information, please visit http://www.ncrec.gov/Brochures/EarnestMoney.pdf
North Carolina Offer to Purchase and Contract, standard form 2-T Revised 1/2015

“Due Diligence” Questions and Answers

Contact us for more information about how much earnest money is required to start building a new home.

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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® 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 Pest Contol 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 Pest Contol 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 Pest Contol 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.

For more information about the TAEXX Pest Contol System, please visit https://pestdefense.com/faqs/

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 I build a house 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.

For more information please visit our Build On Your Lot webpage.

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: mechanical rough in

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.

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 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.

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.

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.  We feature some of the best places to live near Fort Bragg.

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, Foxcroft is within 15 miles of 43 golf courses, while the golf communities of Legacy Lakes and Mid South Club have all the amenities of country club living.

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, Mid South Club and Foxcroft 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, The Cottages at Carriage Glen 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 of Mid South Club 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.