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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.

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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.

Pros and Cons of Custom Homes Vs Personalized Production Homes

This is part three of our series of articles comparing custom homes to personalized production homes. This article will focus on the pros and cons of custom homes vs. personalized production homes.

If you are considering the purchase of a new home, you may be trying to decide whether to have a custom home built or buy a personalized production home. There are very distinct differences between the two, so you should spend some time learning the specific details of each before you make a final decision.

custom homes vs production homes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Custom Homes

Advantages:

  • You will be able to choose the location of where your home is to be built.
  • You will get to decide the details for every product and feature of the home.
  • Your new home will be unique from every other home.
  • The quality and functionality of the home will meet all your requirements and standards.

Disadvantages:

  • Custom homes are expensive to build compared to personalized production homes.
    • A custom home builder is not able to buy the supplies needed in bulk, making the materials for the home more expensive.
    • Labor will be more expensive as a custom home has never been built before and many details and problems will have to be worked out during construction.
  • In most cases you will have to find and purchase your own land to build the home on.
  • Custom homes take significantly longer to build than production homes.
  • You will have the added expense of hiring an architect to design the home, or have purchased plans modified, as well as finding a contractor who builds custom homes.
  • A custom home will depreciate faster than a production home.
  • It is difficult to get the home appraised for the total build cost. Thus, most banks will not lend the entire amount needed to build the home requiring a significant down payment from the homebuyer.

Personalized Production Homes

Advantages:

  • You have the flexibility of choosing from a variety of price points.
  • The land comes with the price of the home.
  • Production home builders offer a variety of floor plans to choose from.
  • There are fewer decisions to make which leads to less stress and less hassle.
  • A personalized production home is much less expensive to build than a custom home.
  • A personalized production home can be built much faster than a custom home.
  • A selections coordinator will help you make the best selections for your new home to personalize it to fit your needs.
  • Production homes are priced to meet comparable appraisal values enabling homebuyers to borrow the entire amount of the cost of the home depending on the type of loan chosen.
  • Many production builders offer comprehensive warranties such as the McKee Homes 2-10 Warranty Program that covers the structure for up to 10 years.
  • In many cases, you will have the added benefit of living in a community with access to amenities such as: golf course, clubhouse, fitness center, pool, tennis courts, basketball courts, baseball, volleyball, a park, playground and walking trails.

Disadvantages:

  • You won’t be able to design every aspect of your new home.
  • You won’t have as much input in how the home is constructed.
  • You won’t have unlimited land options from which to choose.
  • Because production builders build a large number of homes each year, they cannot offer as many touch points with their homebuyers as custom home builders.

The Bottom Line

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

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

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10 New Home Selections Tips for Homebuyers

Buying a new home is an exciting, sometimes overwhelming event in anyone’s life, especially if you buy the home before it is built and get to choose options and make selections. One of the most personal aspects of buying a new home from a builder is getting to choose the selections for the home such as paint colors, cabinets, countertops, floor coverings, fixtures and finishes.

Doing your homework and understanding the choices you will be making at the selections appointment will save time and stress. The following new home design center checklist and selection tips can help you come to your appointment prepared so you don’t feel overwhelmed and can make the best selection choices for your new home.

Before:

  1. Walk some of the builder’s houses to see the types of materials used for cabinets, flooring, tile, etc. This will give you a better idea of what to expect at the selections appointment.
  2. Find out what brand appliances the builder uses so you have a chance to review their appliances by going to the stores or Online. Most builders only show one set of appliances in their design center and not the entire line. Most builders are able to give you a better price than you could get yourself, even if you find a sale. However, don’t expect the builder to match a bargain basement or closeout price that you find Online.
  3. Find out what siding company the builder uses so you can look at choices before your meeting. Many siding companies allow you to upload a picture of a house and add siding, trim, shakes, shutters, roof color and door color so you can get an idea of what your house will look like when finished. It’s also a great idea to drive through neighborhoods to see the exteriors of other houses that the builder has built. McKee Homes offers an Interactive Design App that allows you to choose a floor plan and play with the exterior colors for siding, doors/windows, roofing and stone.
  4. Most builders offer at least five interior paint and accent colors. Find out what the builder offers before the appointment so you can pull color swatches and put them against your furniture. This will help you decide on the best color beforehand as you will have a lot on your mind with many decisions to make during the selections meeting.

During:

  1. Remember that carpet padding is more important than the actual carpet. Upgrading your carpet padding is an inexpensive way to have your carpet last longer and feel softer.
  2. Upgrading a kitchen backsplash with tile is often an inexpensive way to dress up your kitchen.
  3. Remember that it’s less expensive to upgrade during the building process than to remodel later. Plus it’s less hassle as remodeling can be disruptive, noisy and messy once you are living in the house. Think about adding hardwoods or laminates to living areas and tile in wet areas.
  4. Don’t forget the little things like cabinet hardware. Adding your own hardware takes a lot of time and precision.; Going through the builder is normally less expensive than buying the hardware at a retail shop and paying someone to install it. Another good reason to have the builder install the hardware is liability. If you install your own cabinet hardware, or hire a handyman to do it, and the cabinets are damaged, it is up to you to have them repaired.
  5. Many times buyers like to upgrade their light fixtures and plumbing fixtures to Oil Rubbed Bronze, but forget to think about the doorknobs and hinges. Make sure to upgrade your cabinet hardware to match any other finish upgrades.

Before Leaving:

  1. Make sure you feel 100% satisfied with your home selections before you leave your selections appointment because many items for your house such as windows and doors are ordered before construction even begins to make sure the home is completed on time. Changing selections while your home is being built can cause delays in construction and result in additional costs.

Coming to the selections meeting prepared and taking the time to make sure you are satisfied with all of your decisions will help make the new home building process more enjoyable, go smoother and be less stressful for everyone involved.

McKee Homes has an expert Design Consultant who works closely with our buyers to make sure they have the most positive experience possible while making selections for their new home. The design center has a variety of selections available to touch, see and experience, including carpet samples, kitchen and bath tile, exterior finishes, lighting and plumbing fixtures, and kitchen cabinet options.

If you are interested in finding out more about the McKee Homes new home selections process please read our Selections Process and Additional Options articles or call us at 910-672-7296.

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Can I Choose Options That Are Not Part of the Standard New Home Package?

Once a homebuyer chooses their floor plan, and finalizes the paperwork involved in securing the home of their dreams, our expert Design Consultant will schedule an appointment with them at our design studio located at 109 Hay Street, Suite 101 in Fayetteville, NC to go over all their selection options. See our New Home Selections Process article.

Some of the selections or personalization can be done at the same time as the initial paperwork.  Also, at this point, some homebuyers may want to choose their interior colors, exterior colors and features, bathroom and kitchen tiles, and plumbing and lighting fixtures.

McKee Homes come with beautiful standard features, which are listed on the “Standard Feature Sheet”, available on our website neighborhood pages, and can be found at the model home in the homebuyer’s desired neighborhood.  A McKee Homes’ Sales Representative and/or Design Consultant will also be able to share these standard features with you.

If a homebuyer would like to choose an option that is not included in the standard feature package, then the Design Consultant will create a “Change Order,” which will be added as an addendum to the homebuyer’s contract.  If the change increases the price of the home, the homebuyer is required to pay 50% of the additional cost in order to have the change order accepted.

To ensure that McKee Homes adheres to the time allotted to build a home, change orders should be completed within 21 days of signing the initial contract.  If a change order is requested outside of the allotted change order time, an additional $250 will be charged per change order, if McKee Homes can accommodate the change at that time.

It is important for the buyer to understand that any changes made after drywall completion will extend the closing date by the number of days that it takes to complete the work specified in the change order.

It is normal for a homebuyer to feel excited and a little bit anxious during the home-buying process.  McKee Homes’ employees are committed to making this experience a positive one.  They are available to answer questions and help the homebuyer in anyway they can.  The homebuyer can also visit the McKee Homes website at www.mckeehomesnc.com.

By Amy Kahler and John Rives

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What selections do I get to choose for my home?

When a homebuyer asks the above question, they are really asking, “How much can I personalize my new home?” The answer depends upon if the homebuyer is purchasing a presale home, which is a home that has not yet been built, or an available Showcase home, which is a home that is either completely built or is in the process of being built.  This article will focus on the presale home-buying experience.  If a homebuyer purchases an available inventory home, the amount of personalization that can still be done will depend on the house’s build process stage.  Please see the McKee Homes Building Process article for more information on each stage of the building process.

Once a homebuyer, chooses their floor plan, and finalizes the paperwork involved in securing the home of their dreams, the fun begins.  Some of the selections or personalization can be done at the same time as the initial paperwork.  Also, at this time, some homebuyers may want to choose their interior colors, exterior colors and features, bathroom and kitchen tiles, and plumbing and lighting fixtures.

If the homebuyer is not sure of what selections they want, that’s okay as our expert Design Consultant will schedule an appointment with them at our design studio located at 109 Hay Street, Suite 101 in Fayetteville, NC. The design studio has a variety of selections available to touch, see and experience, including carpet samples, kitchen and bath tile, exterior finishes, lighting and plumbing fixtures, and kitchen cabinet options.

Normally the selection’s process follows the sequential order listed below:

  1. Exterior selections: siding type and color, front door and color, roofing type and color, window, trim and shutter color.
  2. Interior selections: paint color, counter tops, cabinets and flooring.
  3. Plumbing and lighting fixtures
  4. Appliances

For a complete list of selections, please see the McKee Homes Selections Process article.

If a homebuyer is unable to visit the design studio, other arrangements will be made to accommodate the buyer’s needs.  All the homebuyer’s questions regarding selection options will be answered during this appointment.  To ensure that McKee Homes adheres to the time allotted to build a home, we encourage the homebuyer to make their selections within 14 days of signing the new home contract.

McKee Homes come with beautiful standard features, which are listed on the “Standard Feature Sheet”, available on our website neighborhood pages, and can be found at the model home in the homebuyer’s desired neighborhood.  A McKee Homes’ Sales Representative and/or Design Consultant will also be able to share these standard features with you.

If a homebuyer would like to choose an option that is not included in the standard feature package,  the Design Consultant will fill out a “Change Order Form”, which will be added as an addendum to the homebuyer’s contract. See our Additional Options and Change Orders article for more information about this process.

It is normal for a homebuyer to feel excited and a little bit anxious during the home-buying process.  McKee Homes’ employees are committed to making this experience a positive one.  They are available to answer questions and help the homebuyer in anyway they can.  The homebuyer can also visit the McKee Homes website design studio page.

By Julie Russo and John Rives