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Top 3 Reasons To Become A First Time Home Buyer in 2017!

Buying a home for the first time is not only the smart thing to do in 2017 but it’s an important part of what most would consider the “American dream”! Let’s setup the scenario for a second. We are on the cusp of the end of the first quarter of the year already! We have officially elected a new President and the economy appears to have rebounded. You’re finally working a job that doesn’t require a Ramen noodle lifestyle only (love Ramen by the way). Your apartment is feeling cramped and you are looking for that next big purchase! With the right financial preparation and tools, purchasing a home can be the beginning of long-term wealth building, with your mortgage payment possibly lower than what you are currently paying for rent. With a fixed-rate mortgage, your payment will not go up which isn’t true with rent which seems to go up a little each year.

Check out the top 3 reasons to become a first time home buyer in 2017!

1. Mortgage Rates are still very good

Currently mortgage rates are still sitting at about 4%. Although they are not as low as they have been in previous months they are still historically low with rates going up to as high as 10% in 2006. Locking yourself into a low rate now would definitely be beneficial!

2. Down payments are low

Currently down payments are ranging from 1%-3% which is obtainable on most budgets. There are even first time home buyer credits that can assist you with your down payment or take care of your down payment completely. FHA, VA and USDA loans often have no-money-down options as well.

3. Decorate your home exactly the way you want!

Owning your home gives you the flexibility of decorating however you want. Maybe making that one room entirely purple like you imagined as a kid, or a complete gallery wall of family photos! Buying your own home allows you that flexibility which renting does not.
These are just the top 3 reasons to become a first time home buyer in 2017 but there are many more. To find the perfect neighborhood and view move-in ready homes, please visit our Find A Home web page.

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What Is A HECM Loan?

If you are close to retirement age and have been looking into downsizing your home or various refinance options to increase financial stability, you may have come across something called a HECM loan. So, exactly what is a HECM loan?

The HECM (Home Equity Conversion Mortgage) for Purchase loan option is for homebuyers who are age 62 or older. HECM is a type of Reverse Mortgage that allows the homebuyer to purchase their dream home without making any monthly payments. Depending on the buyer’s age, they will need to provide a down payment of anywhere from 35-50% of the purchase price and never make another mortgage payment for as long as they live in the home. There is also a refinancing option for those who wish to use the HECM loan program but want to stay in their current home.

Some advantages of a HECM loan over a traditional 30 year mortgage or paying cash are:

  • Compared to traditional financing, you can increase your income each month by not having to make a mortgage payment.
  • Under many circumstances, you don’t have to wait until your current home sells to use the program.
  • Purchase your next home without depleting a large portion of your life savings.
  • Interest gets added to loan balance.
  • Closing costs are included in the mortgage.
  • The HECM is the only program that if the home ever sells for less than the loan balance, neither the borrower nor the estate is responsible for paying the difference.
  • Use money saved from no monthly mortgage payments to invest, travel, spend on family, or any unexpected expenses.
  • Similar to paying cash, you are only responsible for paying property taxes, insurance, and any homeowner association fees, as well as maintain the property. However, with paying cash, you would put more money upfront for the same benefits as the HECM for Purchase.

What are the qualifications for a HECM loan?

  • You or your spouse must be 62 or older.
  • The home you are purchasing must be your primary residence.
  • Per HUD guidelines, down payment funds must come from your verified assets, including, but not limited to traditional bank accounts, investments, 401K, CD’s, money market account, money made from sale of current home, or a gift.

What types of homes are eligible for the HECM for Purchase program?

  • Single Family Home (existing or new construction)
  • Condo
  • PUD (Planned Unit Development)

What are the homeowner responsibilities?

There are only a few items you will need to take care of once you move into your new home after closing. These include:

  • Property Taxes
  • Homeowners Insurance
  • Flood Insurance (if applicable)
  • Homeowners Association Dues (if applicable)
  • General maintenance of the home

Other advantages of the HECM for Purchase program include:

  • Asset protection
  • Independent HUD counseling
  • Title to home stays in borrower’s name
  • No pre-payment penalty
  • No maturity date
  • You can stay in your home until the last borrower vacates

Each person’s financial and life situations are different so it’s a good idea to investigate all your options before choosing your next mortgage. If you are interested in learning more about the HECM for Purchase program, ask your lender if they offer HECM loans and have them go over the advantages and disadvantages of HECM versus other types of mortgages with you.

If you are interested in using the HECM for Purchase program to purchase a McKee home, please contact us at 910-672-7296 for more information or to set up an appointment to go over the program, answer any question you may have and find out what you can expect during the entire loan process.

If you are thinking about down-sizing and looking for a single-story or ranch-style home for ‘aging in place’, please visit our single story homes web page for floor plan and neighborhood information.

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2017 Top Home Trends

2017 Top Home Trends
By Miriam Bornstein

Your favorite seat in the house may be that worn out, bargain-priced love seat you scored at a local estate sale, but the faded and unfashionable piece might have you debating a replacement. So when do you bite the bullet and revamp your décor? Keeping up with home-design trends is one way to find inspiration for a fresh style. If you’re not quite ready to ditch that sofa, consider revamping your living room with some minor upgrades that will keep you on-trend.

Here’s what’s in — and what’s out — for home trends in 2017.

Velvet

2017 Top Home Trends - Velvet

Source: Lukas Machnik on Zillow Digs®

Add an instant elements of luxury by incorporating velvet. Upholstery, pillows and curtains are popular ways to layer texture throughout multiple rooms of your house. This soft, forgiving material is especially striking in dark blue, rose and green hues. If you’re hesitant about purchasing a large velvet piece of furniture, consider starting small with accessories. Try swapping velvet pillows during the fall and winter months to add a cozy texture in your living room, or buy a velvet ottoman to create stylish extra seating for guests.

Jewel Colors

2017 Top Home Trends - Jewel Colors

Source: Lora Coburn on Zillow Digs®

Amethysts, sapphires and pearls are glamourous when worn as jewelry, but jewel tones are equally stunning on your walls — and they’re gaining popularity for the richness and depth they add to a room. A large room painted in emerald green or plum can make your space feel more intimate, while applying a similar jewel hue to an accent wall in a smaller area, like an entryway, helps it appear lively. If you consider yourself the ultimate décor trendsetter, combine jewel tones with Pantone’s color of the year: Greenery. A topaz statement piece coupled with shades of green or even live plants creates a relaxing ambience.

Marble Surfaces

2017 Top Home Trends - Marble Surfaces

Source: Jamie Herzlinger on Zillow Digs®

 

Marble countertops are a staple in many homes thanks to their durability, versatility and neutral palette. For those looking to incorporate marble without committing to a major resurfacing project, try decorating your living room with stylish marble accents such as coasters, a tray to hold your remotes, candles or bookends. Marble looks especially striking when paired with mid-century modern or modern-style décor, so keep these two architectural styles in mind when dressing up your space.

Built-In Bars

2017 Top Home Trends - Built-In Bars

Source: McKee Homes

Built-in bars are on-trend for 2017, providing a more permanent solution for those who enjoy entertaining at home. However, if you like the mobility of a bar cart, you can still create the look of a permanent built-in bar by adding horizontal shelves above the bar cart to store barware, liquor and recipe books. This alternative is also accommodating to renters that don’t have the same customization flexibility as homeowners.

What’s Out?

  • Overly industrial furniture that’s more about fashion than practical function.
  • Cool gray tones that lack warmth. Opt for punchy jewel hues instead.
  • Quote art is finally old news, even if their messages are inspiring.

If you are looking for a few ways to refresh your space, consider any of these trends to complement your current home furnishings without replacing your favorite pieces. Or, go big by swapping that worn love seat with a sapphire-blue velvet sofa. Check out previous trend reports to get more inspiration and style guidance.

 

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3 Biggest Obstacles Facing First Time Homebuyers

First time homebuyers could make up over 50 percent of all buyers in 2017 with over 60 percent of borrowers under the age of 35. In other words, millennials are poised to be the largest demographic in the housing market this year if they can overcome a few obstacles.

The 3 biggest obstacles facing first time homebuyers in 2017 are affordability, availability and down payment.

Affordability was an issue for many first time homebuyers in 2016 and it will continue to be a problem in 2017 with housing prices continuing to rise. Home prices have continued to rise year-over-year since 2012 and are up 40 percent from 2011 according to the NAHB Housing Opportunity Index.

While the S&P Dow Jones reported home prices climbed at more than twice the rate of inflation in 2016, Zillow and CoreLogic predict home values will rise between 3.6 percent and 5 percent in 2017, with some areas seeing double-digit growth.

Availability of affordable housing is another ongoing issue for first time homebuyers. While new housing starts are up, builders struggle with labor shortages and lack of developed lots. The number of construction workers in housing this year is 40 percent lower than what it was 10 years ago, according to industry research firm Redfin.

With fewer houses available to meet the growing demand in many areas, first time homebuyers may not have as many choices as they did a few years ago, or even last year.

Down payment for a new home continues to be an issue for many new homebuyers, especially if the cost of new homes continues to go up. Five percent of the cost of a home a couple years ago may not be enough for a down payment in 2017.

With the interest rate rising as well, monthly payments for new homes in 2017 are likely to be higher than the same houses in 2016. Fortunately there are loan programs available for first time homebuyers with low-downpayment options as well as 100 percent financing.

McKee Homes is committed to helping first time homebuyers overcome all of these obstacles and more in their path to home ownership. We are developing many new neighborhoods geared toward first time homebuyers with smaller, affordable new homes. These homes have our beautifully designed floor plans with highly functional features and options as well as our 2-10 Homebuyers Warranty program that protects your investment for up to 10 years.

Whether you want to live in the Fayetteville, Pinehurst, Southern Pines and Aberdeen, Raleigh and Wilmington areas of North Carolina, we have beautiful, affordable new homes available as well as preferred lenders that will work with you to make sure you get the right mortgage to make your dream of owning a new home come true.

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Lanvale Forest New Home Community in Leland, NC

Lanvale Forest by McKee Homes is a charming community of new homes that boast both quality and value.

Lanvale Forest is nestled in the heart of North Brunswick County only minutes from Downtown Wilmington. The Community offers a pool and bath house, sidewalks and street lights.  Enjoy living near Wilmington with the lower cost of living & taxes that are associated with the town of Leland.  Leland is a new, up and coming area that gives residents the convenience of proximity to Wilmington while choosing from a variety of beaches in either Brunswick or New Hanover County.

Lanvale Forest Video

With 1,300-2,400 square feet homes starting in the mid $100’s just a short drive from downtown Wilmington and some of the best beaches in the area, it’s easy to understand why Lanvale Forest is such a popular community.

The Leland/Wilmington area is a fantastic place to explore with your family and show off to visiting guests. From strolling brick-lined streets to splashing in the sea at Wrightsville Beach, there’s something for everyone. There’s also Battleship North Carolina – a time capsule of 70-year-old naval history for you to explore. And Middle Sound Marina is a beautiful, hassle-free place to launch your boat.

After a day of work or play, come home to the tranquil streets of Lanvale Forest. The community has its own private pool and bathhouse for splashing with the kids and catching up with the neighbors.

Elegant home exteriors give a welcoming first impression, with charming entries and professional landscaping. Step inside and you’ll find large, spacious layouts with designer details such as decorative light fixtures, cottage-style arched doors, granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances.

From the beach life to a quiet haven, have it all at Lanvale Forest by McKee Homes – a place your family can grow for years.

Location: Old Forest Dr NE, Leland, NC 28451

Price Range: From the high $100’s
Sq.Ft. Range: 1,300-2,400 Sq.Ft.
Schools:
Elementary School: Town Creek
Middle School: Leland
High School: N. Brunswick

Amenities: Pool and pool house

Lanvale Forest Location Map
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Legacy Lakes Golf Club Community in Aberdeen, NC

As you enter the stunning Legacy Lakes golf club community in Aberdeen, NC you realize why so many have decided to call it home. Legacy Lakes is nestled in the heart of the Sandhills and provides easy access to all that this wonderful area has to offer. Legacy Lakes is just a short distance from downtown Southern Pines and The Village of Pinehurst. Both towns are charming, historic areas that feature local shops, arts and many restaurants. Legacy Lakes is also a short commute to Ft. Bragg and Camp Mackall, making it a unique place to call home for our local service members.

Watch Video to see amenities and homes in Legacy Lakes.

Legacy Lakes Video

Here at Legacy Lakes you have all the amenities at your fingertips. Panoramic views of the Legacy Links golf course is just one of the perks of living in a golf course community. The Sandhills region of North Carolina is a golf mecca featuring over 40 championship courses. Right here inside Legacy Lakes there is a 4.5 star, Jack Nicklaus Design Group golf course that has ranked one of GolfWorld’s top 25 public courses. If golf is not your thing, don’t worry! We have a wonderful clubhouse, pool, fitness center, Pilates studio and 6-clay tennis courts for you to enjoy.

McKee Homes features two different sections of homes inside Legacy Lakes. We offer single family homes in the patio-lot section with sizes ranging from 1,700-3,600 square feet and our newest project, The Preserve at Legacy Lakes, features 20-golf front lots that will feature single story homes geared to the active adult lifestyle with sweeping views of the 2nd and 3rd holes of The Legacy Links golf course.

No matter what cycle of life you are in, McKee Homes offers a comfortable, affordable, home for you to enjoy inside Legacy Lakes. Many of the residents gather for special events hosted by the HOA throughout the year, to include a movie night by the pool, live music on the activity lawn and the annual holiday party at the clubhouse. Homeowners even host their own residents’ happy hour at the clubhouse once a month.

Amenities

  • Golf-Course: Nicklaus Design Legacy Golf Links
  • Clubhouse: Clubhouse with fitness center
  • Tennis: 6 lighted clay courts
  • Pool: Ourtdoor Swimming pool
  • Nature: 3 natural lakes and walking trails

Model Home Hours
Mon, Tue, Fri, Sat: 11 am ─ 5 pm
Sun: 12 pm ─ 5 pm
Wed, Thu: By Appointment Only

legacy lakes map

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Will interest rates continue to rise in 2017?

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose by just over a quarter of a percent recently to around 4 percent. That’s the largest one-week increase in over three years. What does that mean for home buyers? Will interest rates continue to rise in 2017?

Even though the rate hike has many home shoppers hitting the pause button on signing up for a new home mortgage, it’s important to remember that the rates are still at an historic low. In case you’re a Millennial and don’t remember interest rates above 7 or 8 percent, the rates in the 1980’s were in the teens. Although they’ve been historically low for the last six years, you have to go back 60 years or more to find interest rates below five percent before 2010. I got my first mortgage in 1992 and was thrilled to get 9.9 percent on a fixed rate loan. I would have killed for 4 percent.

Will interest rates continue to rise in 2017? The most likely answer is yes, but that’s not necessarily a bad sign. Generally speaking when the economy is strong the interest rates go higher, and when times are economically tough, the Fed lowers the rate in order to make it easier for consumers and businesses to borrow and spend, which pumps more money into the economy to help it recover.

So, if you are considering buying a new home in 2017, should you buy or should you wait? Most mortgage advisors would recommend locking in your rate as soon as possible to get the best rate.  It’s important to remember that your credit score is probably a much larger determining factor in what rate you might pay when getting a mortgage than the benchmark interest rate at this point. So, make sure to manage your credit rating and don’t make any large purchases on your credit cards or buy a new car anytime soon if you plan on buying a house this year.

McKee Homes works with a few mortgage companies which we refer to as our preferred lenders. These companies all provide excellent customer service and are going to give our homebuyers the best rates so they get a mortgage that works for them. We continue to see very positive survey reviews from our homebuyers in regards to our preferred lenders. In fact we pay all closing costs when buyers use one of our preferred lenders, and to lighten the sting of the interest rate hike, we are even giving our homebuyers free blinds and an upgraded refrigerator on all homes that are currently under construction or move-in ready until March 31, 2017.

For more information on our preferred lenders and our buyer incentives, please visit our Buyer Incentives web page or give us a call at 910-672-7296.

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New Home Values Expected To Rise

When you begin your new home search, you think about how much you want to spend and where you want to live.  Determining where you want to live can be a good starting point.  You’ll have to decide if you’re looking for something contemporary in the city, maybe something traditional the suburbs or maybe something coastal near the beach.  Maybe you are looking for something close to work or you want your children to attend a particular school district?  There are so many considerations when deciding where to look for a new home. The location of where you choose to live can impact how much you’ll need to budget for your new home as different areas have drastically different home values.

 

Home values across the state of North Carolina have risen over the past year by as much as 8.2% and are expected to rise by as much as 4.8% over the next year, according to Zillow.  With increasing home values, the sales prices of new homes will rise as well.  So, if you are on the fence as to whether or not to buy a new home, now may be the right time to buy before the prices increase.

Home_Value_Infographic

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7 Hottest Trends in New Home Design

When you build a new home, you get to pick everything from the homesite your home will be built to the exterior colors and the flooring to the light fixtures and everything in between.  As you consider how you’re going to design your new home, our design team has come up with a list of the seven hottest trends in new home design.

  1. Reviving a classic tile

You can add a bit of pizazz to your new home up by upgrading your kitchen and bathroom backsplashes to subway tile.  These tiles have been around since 1904 when they were used in the first New York subway station.  Subway tile is a great option because it’s easy to clean and the shiny surface reflects light helping to make the surrounding area brighter.  There are many color options available, so you’ll only be limited by your imagination.  You’ll want to consider what color grout to use with these tiles.  For example, white grout makes a charcoal gray tile pop as does a gray grout with white tile.

  1. Getting rid of the tub

In the past, the master bathroom has always had a bathtub and shower combination and more recently it has had a large garden tub with separate shower.  However, now many homebuyers are getting rid of the tub and opting for a larger walk-in shower.  We’ve seen this change happen more frequently as many have expressed they just don’t have the time to soak in a bathtub and would rather use the extra space for a larger shower.

  1. Bigger is better when it comes to tile

Tile has been a popular option for master bathrooms for decades.  We’ve recently seen homebuyers steering towards large-format tiles for the floors and in the shower.  Popular sizes include 12”x24”, 4”x16” and 6”x36”.  These tiles help make bathrooms look larger and can help highlight a room with a contrasting wall color.  You’ll find that larger tiles is easier maintain as there are less grout lines.

  1. Gray, gray and more gray

Gray is all the latest craze in home décor.  As you drive through neighborhoods, you see more and more homes in various shades of gray, but the gray trend doesn’t end there.  We are seeing gray on the walls, cabinets, backsplashes, fireplaces, bath fixtures and more.  This versatile, neutral color can work with just about any style, whether old world, modern, traditional or contemporary.  There are many shades to choose from as this color ranges from a light silver to a dark charcoal color.  If you enjoy changing up your décor, gray could prove to be a great option as a little change to an accent color can change the feel of a whole room.

  1. And the gray continues…

One of hot trends for the kitchen is gray cabinets. Gray is that neutral that looks good with just about everything, from your laminate floors to a colorful wall paint.  You will be happy with your choice to go gray.  You will want to think about the size of your space when deciding on gray cabinets.  If your space is small you may want a lighter gray as a darker gray would make your kitchen look smaller.  Another consideration is whether or not to have your cabinets painted gray or stained gray as you get different effects each option.

  1. A cook’s kitchen

The kitchen is the main gathering place in most homes.  Whether you are cooking a weeknight dinner or for a holiday gathering, the kitchen sees a lot of use.  Many homebuyers have been upgrading their kitchens to deluxe kitchens.  They enjoy having the stove cooktop with separate built-in double wall ovens.  For multi-generational or larger families, the double oven is an especially nice feature to have.

  1. An extension of your home…outdoors

Over the past few years, we’ve seen homebuyers investing more in their backyards to create outdoor extensions of their new homes.  These outdoor spaces have become a cherished part of the home for many as little time off doesn’t allow for many getaways and these spaces allow them the relaxing retreats they desire.  The most popular outdoor living trends we have seen are screened-in covered porches, stone fireplaces, wiring for surround sound systems and outdoor kitchens.

Designing your new home is an exciting process and only gets more exciting as you see everything coming together.  However, it can sometimes be overwhelming and that’s when an experienced new home design team is so important.  McKee Homes has highly skilled team members dedicated to creating the best home building and buying experience possible in Eastern North Carolina.  Communities we are actively involved and building in include Fayetteville, Pinehurst, Southern Pines and Aberdeen, Raleigh and Wilmington, NC.  Our homes feature a variety of desirable floor plans, and you can even design your new home in our interactive design app.

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Fun Things To Do With Kids In Wilmington

With the cooling temperatures and the changing colors of the leaves, there is no double that Fall is in full swing.  If you are excited to get out and enjoy the season, there are lots of fun things to do with kids this Fall in Wilmington, N.C.

Pumpkin Patches & Corn Mazes

  • Maze Craze – Hallsboro, NC – You and your family will have fun venturing through the 13-acre corn maze as well as the numerous other activities, including hay rides, rubber duck races and the critter corral.
  • The Pumpking Patch at Wesley – Wilmington, NC – It’s a tradition for many Wilmington residents to choose their pumpkins at the Pumpkin Patch at Wesley.
  • Mike’s Farm – Beulaville, NC – This year-round farm offers hayrides and in October you can stop by the pumpkin patch. Your family will also like visiting the farm animals.

Wilmington Riverfest

  • Typically held the first full weekend in October, the Wilmington Riverfest draws in nearly a quarter-million people. With the street fair, arts and crafts and live music, you will surely have a great time!  This year, Riverfest will be held Nov. 19-20 due to Hurricane Matthew.

Cucalorus Film Festival

  • The 22nd Annual Cucalorus Film Festival celebrates independent and international films in Historic Downtown Wilmington from Nov. 9-13. Most of the daytime films are family-friendly, but you can ask the staff to be sure.

Cape Fear Kite Festival

  • What’s better than flying a kite at the beach with the family? Well, if you’re near Kure Beach on Nov. 5 or Nov. 6, you may want to stop and see as the sky is painted with colorful kites of all shapes and sizes. This event can be effected by the weather and the wind, but be assured, something will fly.

Riverfront Farmers’ Market

  • Your Saturday mornings just got a whole lot more exciting. Located in Historic Downtown Wilmington, this farmers market features local farmers, producers, artists and crafters.  You’ll assuredly find fresh produce, tasty treats and unique gifts.

Halloween Ghost Trolley and Haunted Barn

  • Your children will love riding in a horse-drawn trolley while listening to ghost stories, tailored for young children. They will also get to experience the haunted barn.  Your children will also be delighted by the free treats along the way.

No matter what your interests, there is something fun happening this Fall in Wilmington, NC.