post

10 Tips to Get Your Home Ready for Winter

Autumn is a great season for fun events and holiday get-togethers with family and friends. It’s also the perfect time of year to get your home ready for winter.

Here are 10 tips to help you get your home ready for winter, so you can stay warm and dry inside when it’s cold and wet outside.

  1. Test your heating system and replace filters
    Turn on your heat before you need it to make sure everything is working properly. Don’t wait until you need to heat your home to find out there is a problem. You may have to wait days in the cold to get someone to come out for repairs. This is also a great time to replace the HVAC filters.
    Watch our short video about how to replace an HVAC air filter.
  2. Schedule routine HVAC inspection and maintenance
    Even if you have a new home it’s a good idea to have your HVAC system inspected twice a year. That way any issues that might prevent the system from working efficiently can be dealt with before the peak demand. The technician can also detect and prevent issues that could cause problems in the future, so your family stays warm and comfortable all winter.
  3. Test smoke alarms
    Protect your ears with earplugs, headphones or earbuds and test your smoke alarms by pressing the TEST button. It will issue a very loud shrill sound. If any of your alarms are emitting an occasional loud beep or have a blinking red light, replace the battery. That way even if the power goes out, you’ll be alerted to any smoke in the house.
  4. Reverse ceiling fan rotation
    Make sure your ceiling fans are blowing air down instead of pulling air up. Most ceiling fans have a switch on the housing for reversing the rotation of the blades if needed. This will pull the warm air accumulating at the ceiling down into the room to make it warmer. Reverse the rotation when the weather turns warm in the late spring.
  5. Clean gutters
    Clogged gutters can back up with rain water which will turn to ice when the temperature is below freezing. This can cause expensive repairs if not corrected. Make sure gutters are free of leaves and debris.
  6. Do a visual roof inspection
    Do a visual inspection of your roof to make sure it is clean with no damaged shingles, flashing or plumbing boots. If you have a steep roof or can’t access your roof, you may want to call a professional roofer to do a comprehensive inspection.
  7. Drain sprinkler system
    Don’t forget to drain your sprinkler system to avoid expensive repairs from broken lines and sprinkler heads. Turn off the water to the system and drain the lines. Remove the heads and shake out the water before replacing them.
  8. Disconnect garden hoses from faucets
    Water left in hoses and faucets can freeze and break the water lines just inside the wall. Disconnect all garden hoses from faucets at the house and yard. Shut off water to supply lines to exterior hose bibs in the yard or garden. Drain all hoses and put away for the winter.
  9. Remove fuel from lawn equipment, clean and stow
    Fuel left in mowers and weed trimmers can leave a buildup that can corrode the fuel lines and carburetors preventing them from starting in the spring. Drain all excess fuel from the tanks and run the engine until it stops to remove all fuel from the carburetor and fuel lines. Clean any grass buildup on the bottom of the mower and stow for winter.
  10. Prune plants and trees
    Dead tree limbs can break and cause expensive damage to your home. Even healthy trees can damage your roofing and siding in a wind storm if they are making direct contact. Late autumn in the best time to prune trees and plants. Keep limbs and branches at least three feet from your house.

A little bit of maintenance and preparation can prevent expensive and aggravating problems and repairs this winter. Use these 10 tips to help you get your home ready for winter, so you can stay warm and dry inside while enjoying time with your family.

post

Current Buyer Incentives | Fall in Love with McKee Homes

Money does grow on trees with these incentives!

McKee Homes has two new incentive programs for fall running through the end of November 2018 on select new homes. Homes must close by 12-15-18 to qualify.

Our first Fall in Love with McKee Homes buyer incentive gives our homebuyers $7,500 to “use as you choose” from a selection of options, including a price reduction from the cost of the home.

Buyer Incentive 1*

Up to $7,500 toward “Use-As-You-Choose!” Mix and Match from offering below. Offer valid only on select Showcase homes by community.

  • Price Reduction
  • Closing Costs
  • Refrigerator – value $1,135–$2,260 (models vary by neighborhood)
  • Washer/Dryer – value $1,000 (models vary by neighborhood)
  • Screened Porch – value $3,450 (existing covered porches only)
  • Fence Allowance up to $2,500 (Buyer pays balance; other stipulations may apply)

Our second Fall in Love with McKee Homes buyer incentive includes move-in ready homes that have already been reduced in price and will receive seller-paid contributions up to 1.5% toward closing costs.

Buyer Incentive 2*

Up to 1.5% Seller-paid contributions toward closing cost.

Offer valid only on select Showcase homes by community.

*Incentive program subject to change without notice. Incentive 1: valid only on select showcase homes by community from 10/5/18 through 11/30/18. Homes must close on or before 12/15/18 (see McKee New Homes Sales Consultant for details). Incentive 2: Seller contribution of up to 1.5% of sales prices toward eligible closing costs. “Fall in Love” incentive program cannot be combined with any other offer or promotions. No program substitutions or modifications. McKee Homes reserves the right to adjust incentives program as needed and substitute “use as you choose” offering.

Featured Homes of the Month

We are also continuing our Featured Home of the Month buyer incentive through the end of 2018. Move-in ready homes selected as the Featured Home of the Month include a free Whirlpool washer/dryer set!

More Info

With the new Fall in Love with McKee Homes buyer incentives and our Featured Homes of the Month, it’s easy to turn your Dream Home into a Reality!

For more information, please visit McKee Homes Current Incentives or give us a call at 910-672-7296

post

McKee Homes Installs Smart Garage Door Openers

McKee Homes has added to our Apple® HomeKit™ compatible devices by installing smart garage door openers by LiftMaster. The Liftmaster belt drive WiFi garage door openers are quiet, and with the MyQ Home Bridge and mobile app, homeowners can receive alerts and use Siri voice commands to control the opener from anywhere**.

SIMPLIFY YOUR LIFE

Smart garage door openers can simplify your life in many ways. You can operate them remotely to let someone in to your home if necessary or even open and close it to allow a package delivery. You can check to see if you left your garage door open and close it remotely or even set it to close automatically if you leave it open.

McKee Homes is currently installing the LiftMaster 8155W, 8160W and 8165W belt drive WiFi garage door openers in our new homes. These smart garage door openers use a belt drive system for quiet, maintenance-free performance and have built in WiFi.

SECURITY FEATURES

LiftMaster smart garage door openers include:

  • SECURITY+ 2.0®: Sends a new code with every remote click.
  • POSILOCK®: Electronically protects against forced openings.
  • ALERT-2-CLOSE: signals when a door is being closed by MyQ.
  • THE PROTECTOR SYSTEM®: Invisible light beam auto-reverses the door if there is an obstruction.

The LiftMaster smart garage door openers come with a multi-function control panel which includes lockout controls and accessory programmability. They also include a 3-button remote control which operates up to three openers or MyQ light accessories.

POWERFUL ADD-ONS

Add-ons available for the LiftMaster smart garage door openers include:

  • MyQ HOME BRIDGE: Adds Apple® HomeKit™ compatibility and Siri® voice control to WiFi-enabled openers. Installs easily in the garage within WiFi range**
  • MINI UNIVERSAL REMOTE: Compact and portable to provide quick, easy garage access
  • REMOTE LIGHT CONTROL: Plug in any lamp to this device to control it with a smartphone or garage remote
  • REMOTE LIGHT SWITCH: Replaces an existing wall switch to control home lighting with a smartphone or garage remote
  • GARAGE DOOR AND GATE MONITOR: Monitors and closes up to 4 garage doors from any room in the house

For more information about our smart garage door openers and how they can simplify your life, give us a call at 910-672-7296 or contact us by email.

** Controlling the HomeKit-enabled accessory automatically and away from home requires an Apple TV® with tvOS™ 10.0 or later or an iPad® with iOS 10.0 or later set up as a home hub. With this setup all HomeKit-enable devices installed in the home can be controlled remotely.

post

What Is the Purpose of a Neighborhood HOA?

Many neighborhoods and community developments in the United States have a Homeowners’ Association (HOA) or Property Owners’ Association (POA) that require membership of anyone that buys a home in the neighborhood or development.

What is an HOA?

HOAs and POAs are private associations that oversee and manage neighborhood common areas and amenities as well as insuring property owners obey the Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&Rs), Articles of Incorporation, By-Laws and any other governing documents.

Board of Directors

HOAs generally consist of a voluntary board of directors elected by their fellow residents to make decisions on the residents’ behalf. The board of directors includes the president, secretary and treasurer.

HOA Duties

The duties of an HOA vary depending on the neighborhood. A simple neighborhood with few amenities may have one HOA meeting per year to vote on board and committee members, new rules, resident concerns and issues and set a budget.

A large community with high-end country club amenities may have many meetings each year to plan projects, create committees, arrange for maintenance and strictly enforce rules, with predetermined fines for residents that breach the by-laws. Some of these neighborhoods even include lawn maintenance in the HOA fees charged to residents.

Advantages of an HOA

The primary advantage of living in a neighborhood with an HOA is that it provides a safeguard for residents’ property values. Money is collected for landscape and other maintenance including any neighborhood amenities. Residents are generally not allowed to collect junk in their yards, raise farm animals, or otherwise let their house and property descend to a point that would lower their neighbor’s property values. This secures the residents’ investment in their neighborhood and maintains a certain curb-appeal.

Disadvantages of an HOA

Some HOAs can impose covenants that might seem overly restrictive such as needing HOA approval to make minor changes to their house or property including changing the color of their front door. Some HOAs will fine residents for not cutting their lawn regularly or if they leave their garage doors open. These are somewhat extreme examples which are sometimes found in high-end neighborhoods and communities.

Conclusion

If you’ve found a home you love but are concerned about being controlled by the HOA, it’s best to learn as much as you can about it before buying. Your Realtor or homebuilder can supply you with the HOA fees, CC&Rs, By-Laws and other documents which you can review before making a purchase decision.

If maintaining your property value and living in a neighborhood that is safe and clean is important to you, a neighborhood HOA is a necessity. Most homeowners have a positive experience living in neighborhoods governed by an HOA.

If you are not happy with your HOA, or feel it needs to be improved, consider getting involved by attending meetings, submitting a complaint or even volunteering to be on the board.

More Info

If you would like to know more about the Homeowners Association and CC&Rs for any McKee Homes neighborhood, please contact us by phone or email.

post

Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Fayetteville, NC, Sept. 8th, 2018 at Festival Park

The annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Fayetteville, NC, scheduled for September 8, 2018, at Festival Park has everyone so excited! Let’s rewind and highlight the Walk Kickoff Party that took place in August. Each year the Walk committee members, volunteers, and sponsors come together to discuss details pertaining to the Walk, celebrate how well fundraising is going, and to discuss what is needed to reach their goal. This event was a great opportunity to network with other volunteers, learn about the Walk subcommittees, and how to get involved in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease.

2018 Sponsors

Carillon Assisted Living

Cape Fear Valley Health

Home Instead Senior Care

Fonville Morisey Barefoot

Key Group Enterprises

Anderson Creek Club

Visiting Angels

CMG Financial

The Crossings at Hope Mills

Hutchens Law Firm

Belton Septic Tank Service

McKee Homes

Beasley Broadcasting

Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce

H & H Homes

Builders FirstSource

Edward Jones

The Spa Fitness and Wellness Center

Ways to Get Involved:

  1. Walk with us on September 8th! Register yourself, join a team, or start your own team. Currently, there are 95 teams and 577 participants registered.
  2. We are currently at $65,969.71 toward our $100,000 goal!
  3. To find out more information on volunteering click here.
  4. Come out on Bank Night, Wed., 9/5 at the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce, 159 Maxwell Street from 5-8pm to drop off donations early and pick-up t-shirts or register for the Walk.

If you are unable to attend the Fayetteville Walk click here to find other Walk locations and dates!

Need more information? Visit ALZ.ORG you will find valuable information and resources available for Alzheimer’s patients, family members, and caregivers. Make sure you sign up for the Alzheimer Association e-newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest news and advances in Alzheimer’s treatments, care and research. Get tips for living with Alzheimer’s as well as simple ideas on how you can support the fight to end Alzheimer’s

post

10 Most Popular New Home Selections Upgrades

McKee Homes presents the 10 most popular new home selections upgrades our customers choose at their selections appointment when building a new home.

If you are thinking of building a new home with a custom or production home builder, you may be overwhelmed with all the choices and decisions that need to be made before the home is even started. This is your chance to get the home of your dreams, but how do you know which finishes, upgrades and options to choose?

One of the great aspects of working with a production builder like McKee Homes is that we have a design studio decked out with samples of all the latest design upgrades and options. With the help of our expert selections coordinator and design studio manager, homebuyers have everything they need to make the best decisions and get exactly what they want in their new homes. We are currently building a second design studio in the Wilmington, NC area.

We thought it would be helpful for you to know what design upgrades other homebuyers have chosen for their homes and which upgrades are the most popular.

The following list is the 10 most popular new home selections upgrades our customers have chosen in 2018.

  1. Quartz vs. standard granite kitchen countertops
    Quartz countertops are man-made from crushed quartz, pigment and resin. The pigment allows for a more consistent coloration with a wider array of colors than granite. Quartz does not require the level of care that granite does, such as needing to be sealed, and is better at resisting stains from spills. However, quartz can be damaged from hot pans being placed directly on the countertop.
  2. Glass or mosaic kitchen back splash
    Glass and mosaic kitchen back splashes are a popular and easy way to add color and pop to your kitchen. They look gorgeous and are easy to clean.
  3. Single Basin or Farmhouse-style kitchen sink
    Another popular way to add style to your kitchen. Single basin and farmhouse-style sinks have more room for washing large pots and pans and an apron that sticks out enough to protect the cabinet doors underneath.
  4. Slow-close cabinet doors and drawers
    You may not be able to see the difference, but you can feel and hear it. Or, not hear it, as slow-close cabinet hardware prevents doors and drawers from slamming shut. Just give them a gentle push and the hardware does the rest.
  5. Trashcan or spice rack pull-outs and pots & pans drawers for kitchen cabinets
    One of the greatest parts of building a house is customizing your cabinets with special features that add practicality and style to your kitchen.
  6. Hood vents in a Deluxe kitchen over a cook top
    Upgrade the standard microwave/vent hood into a beautiful stylish statement with a modern designer vent hood.
  7. Premium painted cabinet colors like navy or grays in kitchen, on island only or in bathrooms
    Wow your house guests with striking colors in select kitchen or bath areas!
  8. Upgraded 8-pound carpet pad
    Higher density carpet pads provide better support for your carpet, help prevent wear and wrinkles, and feel firmer underfoot.
  9. Oak tread staircase
    Another great way to add style to your home is with oak stair treads.
  10. Adding decorative pendants over kitchen island
    Pendent lights come in a variety of forms and decorative styles and can be an impressive focal point in your kitchen.

For more information about popular new home selections upgrades offered by McKee Homes and what to expect during your selections appointment, please visit the McKee Homes Design Studio web page or give us a call at 910-672-7297.

post

New Home Prices Going Up In 2018

With new home prices going up in the last year, many home buyers are wondering how high new home prices will go in 2018 and whether they will be able to afford a new home.

There is a shortage of new home inventory on the market with homes that are available getting more expensive by the month. In addition, 30-year fixed rate mortgage interest rates are predicted to go over 5% in 2019. Increased prices plus higher interest rates could make waiting to buy a new home an expensive decision for homebuyers.

Shortage of buildable lots and increased land prices

The lack of buildable lots is one of the largest issues facing home builders and one of the reasons that new home inventory is not keeping up with demand. Many builders don’t have the resources to develop their own land and depend on large developers to create buildable lots. This has created a backlog and increased the cost of new lots.

Increased regulatory costs

Local land use policies have made it more difficult to develop buildable lots and increased regulations have made the lots more expensive. This is leading to smaller lots and homes with higher costs that can make it difficult for builders to deliver new homes at a price the market can bear.

Sharp increase in construction materials due to tariffs

Another reason for new home prices going up is a recent effective 20% tariff rate on Canadian softwood lumber which is partially responsible for increasing the cost of a new home by approximately $9,000 in the last year. This acts much like a tax on homeowners and renters as even a typical apartment has gone up by as much as $3000. Other factors in the sharp rise in lumber are storm related repairs, especially in Texas and Florida, as well as increased demand as the result of a healthy home building market.

Many steel and aluminum products used in construction are also being affected by new tariffs. Homebuilders are having a hard time keeping up with the rapid rise in construction material prices while trying not to raise prices to the point where they can no longer sell their homes.

Shortage of Skilled Labor

With approximately 230,000 unfilled construction jobs, new home production has been greatly constrained which is another factor preventing home builders from meeting the demand for new homes. When the recession hit in 2008, many workers left the construction industry for other careers. Fewer young people are interested in construction related careers these days with parents steering them toward technology and white-collar careers.

Higher interest rates on home mortgages

The Federal Reserve raised its benchmark rate for a second time during its June meeting and is predicting four rate hikes in 2018. 30-year fixed rate mortgages averaged around 4.86% in May and are predicted to go above 5% in 2019. While this is historically still a very good rate, it lowers the amount homebuyers can pay for a home at a time when new home prices are going up.

Conclusion

The combination of fewer buildable lots, increased regulatory fees, higher material costs and skilled labor shortages are keeping new home inventory low and new home prices continue to rise. When higher home mortgage interest rates are added to the equation, the number of people who can afford a new home gets reduced.

With new home prices going up quickly in 2018, anyone considering buying a new home in the next few years should consider doing so sooner rather than later or they could find it difficult to find an affordable home or to qualify for a mortgage loan.

More Info

To find out more about new home availability and prices in Eastern North Carolina, please visit McKeeHomesNC.com/Find A Home or give us a call at 910-672-7296.

post

New Home Design Idea Photo Galleries

McKee Homes has just added design idea photo galleries to our website, including kitchen and bath collections from some of our most popular floor plans. The new Design Ideas section of our photo gallery page includes kitchen, bath and design studio photos. Additional collections will be added in the future such as drop-zone areas with hooks and cubbies as well as screened porches, patios and outdoor fireplaces.

The new kitchen and bath galleries include single family home, Epcon home and townhome kitchen collections.  The majority of the homes we build are single family homes from elegant, highly functional floor plan designs which we have developed over the years, each with up to four different front elevation styles.

McKee Homes is also an Epcon franchise and we build homes based on six beautiful Epcon floor plans in some of our neighborhoods. Epcon homes are cottage-style open floor plans with large rooms. They have few, if any, steps between indoor and outdoor spaces with beautifully design courtyards ready for entertaining.

We also included some of our custom townhome kitchens and baths and will be adding more as our new Villas at Forest Hills townhomes in Pinehurst, NC are completed.

Kitchen Collections

The new kitchen collection galleries showcase a variety of cabinets, countertops, appliances, plumbing and electrical fixtures and flooring we have used over the last few years. Some of the kitchens also show upgraded options and features available through our design studio with pre-sale home purchases. Each photo is labeled with floor plan, neighborhood, lot number and date so when you see something you love, we can look up the selections for that home and give you the details.

Bath Collections

The bath collection galleries showcase a variety of cabinets, countertops, glass, tile, tub and showers and plumbing fixtures we have used over the last few years. Some of the bathrooms also show upgraded options and features available through our design studio with pre-sale home purchases. As with the kitchen photos, each bath photo is labeled with floor plan, neighborhood, lot number and date so we can give you the details by looking up the selections for that home when you see something you love.

Design Studios

Our design studio gallery shows many of the selections available in our Fayetteville design studio including flooring, kitchen and bath tile, exterior finishes, lighting and plumbing fixtures, as well as kitchen cabinet options. We will soon be adding a new photo gallery of the Wilmington area design studio which is currently under construction in Leland, NC.

More Information

If you would like more information about any of the items, finishes, and design selections in our new design idea photo galleries, please feel free to contact us by email or phone at 910-672-7296

post

Buyer’s Agents Profit Working with McKee Homes Online Sales Team

McKee Homes is offering Realtors working as buyer’s agents a unique opportunity to partner with our skilled and knowledgeable online sales team to streamline and simplify the sales process. This relationship frees up the buyer’s agent to work with more buyers and takes much of the work out of the process for them.

How McKee Homes’ Online Sales Team works with you as a buyers’ agent:

  • Our online sales team will answer questions and provide pricing, feature sheets and floor plans seven days a week.
  • We will Cc buyer’s agents when dealing directly with their clients so the agent is always in the loop.
  • We work side-by-side with buyer’s agents to promote the sale.
  • We deliver an incredible and unique home buying experience to buyers and their agents.
  • Our online sales team has been trained to work with any member of the sales team, whether it is a McKee Homes’ sales consultant, or a buyer’s agent.

According to Jayne James, the McKee Homes Online Sales Manager, “You have a loyal online sales team working with, and watching out, for you. We’re going to confirm with every lead that comes in to us who their agent is and then report back to you. We are going to answer the phone (even at 9:30 on Friday night)—okay, maybe we’ll respond with a text…

We’re going to begin an experience for you and your buyers that I know you’ll appreciate. We’re going to keep an eye on who’s visiting each of our models and let you know so-and-so snuck in last weekend without telling you. We’re also going to give you the details on our hottest inventory before it hits our marketing channels.

Bottom line—we’re going to help each other make money as well as help your buyers attain the home of their dreams”.

In addition to the benefits of using our online sales team, McKee Homes onsite representatives work for McKee Homes and can only sell McKee Homes.  They also take the work out of writing a contract by preparing our own McKee Homes contract with the buyer’s info and delivering it directly to the buyer’s agent to present to their buyer.

“Scharina and the Online team have provided great product updates and always keep me informed about current sales promotions.  I don’t have to look far to help my buyers discover something to meet their price point and must-haves in local McKee Homes.”
Audra Holland
Agent with GO Realty
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate

To find out more about creating a working relationship with the McKee Homes Online Sales Team, please give us a call at 910-672-7296 to speak with Jayne, Tracy or Scharina or contact us via email.

post

Build Equity Faster and Pay Lower Taxes With A New Home

Buying a new home will help you build equity faster and pay lower taxes compared to buying a used home. New homes help you build equity faster because you don’t have to spend as much money on maintenance and repairs. Owners of newly built homes generally pay lower taxes over the first two years as well.

Build Equity Faster

Owners of newly built homes can save up to 15% on homeowner’s insurance and their homes have higher resale value and appreciate more than used homes.

The expensive systems in a new home such as HVAC, plumbing and electrical, as well as kitchen appliances, are new and under warranty so there’s no worries about spending large amounts of money on replacing them.

A 10-year-old home can cost as much as 580% more in annual maintenance and improvement than a newly built home. It’s hard to build equity in a home if you have to replace expensive systems and appliances.

Average cost to replace these common items:

  • Roofing: $15,000
  • HVAC System: $5,000
  • Kitchen Appliances: $2,500
  • Water Heater: $2,000

Lower Taxes

According to NewHomeSource.com, owners of newly built homes generally pay lower taxes over the first two years. In addition, home owners in general can deduct their mortgage interest from their taxes.

The Tax Benefits of Home Ownership in 2018 page at MortgageCalculator.org has quite a bit of information on deducting mortgage interest and states that “In the new tax bill for 2018 interest paid on HELOCs and home equity loans is no longer tax deductible, while interest on up to $750,000 of mortgage debt still is.”

Lower Closing Costs

Many home builders work with lenders to reduce or eliminate closing costs for their home buyers. McKee Homes will pay closing costs up to 1.5% of the sales price when using one of our preferred lenders.

Conclusion

Because you can build equity faster and pay lower taxes, and in many cases pay lower or no closing costs, it makes sense to buy a new home as one of the best investments in your family’s future