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Behind-The-Scenes: Designing Your New Home

Meet Elias & Taryn, soon-to-be newlyweds and owners of a brand-new beautiful Brooks European floor plan in our Hanover Reserve Community (Wilmington, NC)! We are following their home buying and building experience from start to finish to give you a real glimpse into designing your new home.

The first part of the home buying process (and the most fun!) after signing a contract: selecting the personal touches that will make your house a home!

When you choose to build a new home with McKee Homes, you get the exciting and unique opportunity to work with our talented Design Consultants to make your dream home come to life. We have two fully-stocked Design Studios conveniently-located in Fayetteville and Leland, NC, housing a variety of selections available to touch, see and experience, including:

  • Carpet samples
  • Exterior finishes, like stone and siding
  • Lighting and plumbing fixtures
  • Kitchen cabinet options
  • Flooring, including kitchen and bath tile, as well as living area hardwood laminate
  • Countertops and backsplash
  • And much more!


So, what’s the custom design process like for Elias and Taryn (and you, too)?

EXTERIOR SELECTIONS

Once you put a contract on a home, your New Home Sales Consultant will review exterior design features with you, including home, shutter and front door colors, siding (vinyl siding or cement-board siding–per neighborhood), trim, windows, and stone.

Distinctive to the European elevation that Elias and Taryn chose, the castle-like façade of this particular home features a blend of architectural elements including stone for added texture, romantic arches, charming window shutters and graceful, yet grand front porch columns that give, all of which they were able to personalize themselves.

Pictured: Brooks European Floor Plan. Optional feature: Third-car garage.

INTERIOR SELECTIONS

Once the exterior characteristics of the home are chosen, home buyers will attend a showing at one of our Design Studios. A Design Consultant will offer you drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) and light appetizers and give you an in-depth tour of the entire design studio, educating you on the available design selections that come both standard and as upgrades for your specific floor plan. Then, the Design Consultant will guide you through selecting your home customization’s, including but not limited to:

  • Interior paint color
  • Maple cabinets: with a variety of colors and styles to personalize your bathrooms and kitchen
  • Countertops: a selection of granite and quartz colors, standard kitchen sinks (50/50 or 60/40 stainless steel sinks) or sink options to include single basin, apron front stainless steel or white farm house.
  • Cabinet hardware: included in our Autograph series, or an option that can be added to the Heritage Series
  • Kitchen backsplash: a variety of colors and styles that are continually updated to follow current trends
  • Cultured marble: for bathroom countertops
  • Flooring: a variety of laminate, carpet, vinyl, tile or upgraded engineered hardwood (depends on neighborhood included features)
  • Carpet pad: additional options or included carpet pad
  • Lighting: included neighborhood lighting or other options to fit your style
  • Plumbing fixtures: kitchen and baths in a variety of finishes/styles
  • Appliances: Whirlpool packages, or individual Whirlpool or Kitchen Aid Pro appliances

“They were a very fun couple and their Selections were right on trend!” said Lara Jimerson, Senior Design Consultant, of the couple. “Like a white kitchen with quartz and gray marble back splash and gray cabinets in the bathrooms with a tiled master bath.”

“Our experience was amazing. Lara was so helpful in both accommodating our decisions and giving us just the right amount of input to make this our dream home,” said Elias and Taryn. “This is our first home we have ever purchased and the Design Studio was one of the best parts. Lara was so welcoming and willing to help. She even stayed later since we were a little indecisive in making our decisions! She was so patient with us and we highly recommend her and McKee Homes to all future homeowners.”

It’s our experienced Design Consultants job to make the selections appointment both fun and stress-free! If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the process, be sure to check out our 10 Tips for New Home Selections.


Click images below to get a sneak peak into both of our Design Studios before you come: 

Designing Your New Home

Design Studio Fayetteville, NC

 

Designing Your New Home

Design Studio Leland, NC

To continue to follow Elias and Taryn’s home build, be sure to tune into our Facebook and Instagram pages for regular updates!

If you’re interested in learning more about designing your dream home or the home buying process in general, feel free to fill out the form below or call one of our New Home Specialists at 910-672-7296.

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How McKee Homes Gives Back to North Carolina Communities

McKee Homes gives back to various charities throughout NC, including the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, Kids Peace Foster Care Agency, Fayetteville Urban Ministry and Cape Fear Guardian Ad Litem Association, among others. The company is truly known in the industry for its passion to not only build homes but build communities, too.

As part of our dedication to the community, McKee Homes also provides a yearly stipend to each employee to support a cause of their choice. Today, we are highlighting a few committed employees who are making an impact in their very own community, with the financial support of McKee Homes.

We thank our employees for all they do to better the communities around us.

MARK HILL: Builder (President of Parkton Youth Association)

NON-PROFIT/CAUSE:

Parkton Youth Association , a non-profit dedicated to giving children a safe place to have fun and play sports.

WHO DO YOU SERVE AND WHAT DOES THE MONEY GO TOWARDS?

“The activities that we offer build character, friendship and team building—memories they will take throughout their life. Again, thank you Pat and Julie for continuing to make a child’s activity a lifetime event. God bless McKee Homes.

Because of this organization, our 1 through 4th grade cheerleaders just placed first place in the Southeast Region Cheerleading Competition. These kids are truly amazing.”

SHANE MCCLEOD: Area Construction Manager, Southern Pines & Fayetteville, NC

NON-PROFIT/CAUSE:

Carolina Freedom Baseball, an organization based in Fuquay-Varina, NC. The goal of this non-profit is to teach the game properly so that each player will develop the skills and ability to play baseball at a high level. Additionally, the hope is to aid the players in developing a strong foundation in baseball, work ethic, and teamwork that will not only serve them well on the field, but also in life.

WHO DO YOU SERVE AND WHAT DOES THE MONEY GO TOWARDS?

We serve 12 & under boys and were able to outfit the entire team with new helmets.

The idea of this non-profit is to use baseball as a way of teaching young men about life. Baseball is a game of failure and life is too sometimes. We teach them about hard work and how you keep getting up and trying.

I have a son on each team, so this was a cool moment.”

RACHEL MCMORROW: Marketing Coordinator

NON-PROFIT/CAUSE:

The Apex Fun Run for Johnston Charter Academy in Clayton, NC

WHO DO THEY SERVE AND WHAT DID THE MONEY GO TOWARDS?

The Apex Fun Run was a fundraising event to support Johnston Charter Academy. The event encourages children to raise money for a good cause and help them understand the meaning of supporting their school, teachers and fellow classmates.

The organization’s mission:

To collaborate with school PTO/As and faculty to build student leaders through a meaningful, “hassle-free” and financially successful school fun run.

We Believe

  • Every child can change their school, and the world, in a profound way
  • Serving others brings the greatest joy and contributes to the greatest good
  • Learning by doing and exercise are both undervalued and underutilized in fundraising today
  • Encouragement and enthusiasm build others up—we will help build leaders
  • Raising money for your child’s school can also serve as a positive learning experience
  • Many people giving a little reduces the individual burden on the typical givers and donors

DIANA DELPONTE: New Homes Sales Consultant, Wilmington NC

NON-PROFIT/CAUSE:

Coastal Horizons Center, an organization that advocates for healthier lives and safer communities by providing a continuum of quality, professional services for prevention, crisis intervention, sexual assault victims, criminal justice alternatives, mental health and substance use disorder treatment services.

WHO DO YOU SERVE AND WHAT DOES THE MONEY GO TOWARDS?

“The money helps support the annual event, Coastal Duck Derby, which benefits the Open House Youth Shelter & Crisis Intervention Services of Coastal Horizons Center, a 501(c)(3) charity. In addition to meeting the basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter, Open House encourages youths’ personal growth through counseling services, vocational/educational, and life skill building.”

MORE INFO ON HOW MCKEE HOMES’ SUPPORTS THEIR CORE CHARITIES

WALK TO END ALZHEIMER’S – EASTERN NC

McKee Homes is the Platinum Sponsor for each Walk to End Alzheimer’s in the Fayetteville, Raleigh and Wilmington areas, and the Presenting Sponsor for the Moore County Walk.

KIDS PEACE FOSTER CARE AGENCY

McKee Homes is the Love Sponsor for the Kids Peace Annual Chair-i-table Auction, an event that raises money to support hundreds of children in foster care in the Greater Cumberland County and surrounding areas.

FAYETTEVILLE URBAN MINISTRY

McKee Homes supports the Fayetteville Urban Ministry through their annual Duck Derby, Boss Toss Challenge, food drives, and special projects.

CAPE FEAR GUARDIAN AD LITEM ASSOCIATION

McKee Homes supports the Cape Fear Guardian Ad Litem Association, which helps abused, neglected, and dependent children in the state court system find safe, forever homes.

 

Are you interested in supporting these causes and/or communities throughout North Carolina, too? We would love to partner with you to give back. Please reach out via the form below to get involved.

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16 Ways to Lower Your Energy Bill

Do you know that you can lower your energy bill by as much as 25% with only minimal tweaks to your everyday use? With the heat pumping on overdrive, the winter months can make the cost of your utilities skyrocket. That’s why we’re giving you our top 16 tips to lower your energy bill, from lighting, water, heating and cooling, and everything in between.

Heating and cooling

Home heating and cooling are 10 of the biggest culprits behind hefty utility bills — and the best places to look for cost-cutting opportunities.

  1. Watch your thermostat. When you’re asleep or away from home, set your thermostat back 10 degrees. You can cut your annual heat and cooling costs by an estimated 10% by doing this for just eight hours. You may also want to think about upgrading from a conventional to an energy-efficient smart thermostat, which can save you up to 12% on heating and 15% on cooling. They can also adapt to your temperature preferences and adjust your settings depending on when you’re home and when you’re away.
  2. Check seals on windows, doors and appliances: Make sure your fridge and freezer are well sealed to keep the cold air where it belongs. Same goes for your doors and windows. A bad seal allows energy to seep out, draining your wallet in the process. Also consider installing Low-E windows (one of McKee Homes staple energy-saving home features). Low-E windows help save energy by reflecting harmful UV rays from the outside of the home and reflecting radiant heat back into the room. This keeps the home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.
  3. Repair leaky heating ventilation and air conditioning ducts: If the ducts are poorly sealed or insulated, they are likely hiking up your energy bill significantly. Ducts that leak heated air into unheated spaces are known to increase your heating and cooling bill by hundreds of dollars over the course of a year.

    What’s the purpose of the ducts? As one of the most important systems in your home, they carry the air from your home’s furnace or heat pump and central air conditioner to rooms throughout your house.Insulate or seal ducts, a very cost-effective process, in order to increase your system’s efficiency.

  4. Give your thermostat a nudge: Set your thermostat back 10 to 15 degrees when you’re asleep or away from home. Doing so for eight hours can lower your annual heating and cooling costs by around 10%. A programmable thermostat will do the work for you.
  5. Adjust your fridge and freezer temperature: To make your refrigerator and freezer work less hard to maintain the internal temperature, set your fridge temp to 38 degrees and your freezer to 5 degrees. And don’t worry, your food will still stay fresh at these temperatures.

Water

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, hot water use comes in second on the list of highest utility expense. Try cutting back your hot water usage in the following ways:

  1. Stick to warm or cold water when doing laundry
  2. Cut 2 minutes of your shower: Just this little amount can trim your water usage by 10 gallons a month.
  3. Install an efficient shower head: The Environmental Protection Agency says to look for one with the WaterSense label, which can reduce your water usage by close to 3,000 gallons a year.
  4. Be mindful of leaky faucets: Although the drip is slow, it adds up.
  5. Use energyefficient appliances: Buy energy efficient versions of the appliances you use most often: refrigerator, washer, dishwasher and water heater, for long-term savings. A normal dishwater uses 10+ gallons of water during one cycle compared to the new Energy Star label dishwashers that only allow 6 gallons at most to run.
  6. Adjust temperature of water heater: Lower your water heater temperate to 120 degrees (only 20 degrees lower than normal) to reduce your water heating costs by 10% or more. Remember to turn your water heater to the lowest setting when you’re away from home to max out your savings.

Power and lighting

Allowing lights and electronics to run accounts for an estimated 12% of a household’s energy bill.

  1. Educate yourself analyze your home energy usage graphs provided with your monthly bill. Becoming aware of your energy sucks can help you make alterations going forward.
  2. Get an energy audit. On top of educating yourself, request an audit from your energy company. They’ll come out and conduct a thorough inspection, sometimes for free, to identify ways for you to conserve energy.
  3. Use LED bulbs: Using bulbs with the Energy Star seal can save you upwards of $75 per year.
  4. Replace your power strips with smart power strips: Power strips never truly turn off so they are sucking power continuously! By using a smart power strip, the current is cut off to plugged-in electronics when not in use.
  5. Use light dimmers: Set the mood and save electricity all at the same time! By lowering the brightness of your lights, you conserve usage, creating savings in the long run.

 

With these tips, we hope you can lower your energy bill so you can put those savings to more important things, like experiences with family or outfitting your brand-new McKee home 😉

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The Stress-Free Guide: Hosting Your First Thanksgiving in Your New Home

Thanksgiving every year is a holiday families look forward to. But this year is extra special … you’re hosting your first Thanksgiving in your brand-new home. We know you’ll want to make this year even more memorable than usual without the added stress of doing “more.”

Try our helpful tips for creating a day that’s extraordinary yet easy for you and your family!

 

TIP 1: Plan ahead. Fail to plan, plan to … be stressed!

Get organized early and you’ll fly through the holiday with ease. Start here:

  • Create a menu & grocery list of all ingredients and supplies:
    • Include alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages to provide options for those that don’t drink or aren’t of age
    • Look up the grocery store’s current promotions & coupons to save as much as you can
    • Don’t forget non-food items:
      • Festive napkins
      • Appetizer plates
      • Table cloth
      • Tables and chairs
    • Create a guest list and send invites well in advance
      Most families plan ahead for the holidays. Get the word out that you are hosting and encourage people to RSVP as soon as possible. As a nice gesture, create a mail-delivered or specially-designed online invite to show your closest friends and relatives that you would really enjoy their company!
    • Prepare a schedule for the weeks leading up to dinner. Assign roles to different family members to help with the prep.
    • Think about logistics: Where will you set up tables? Where will the guests sit? Where will the food be served – on the dinner table or buffet-style in the kitchen? Will you have a separate help-yourself bar? Are you serving appetizers prior to dinner? Where should you designate the kids-only area? Do you need to acquire more tables and chairs? Will sports or music be playing? If yes to music, create a festive playlist that would appeal to everyone’s tastes.

TIP 2: Decide on your decorations.

Since you’re fresh off a new home build, your dream home is likely to look like just that … a dream. That means you just need to spruce it up with a few seasonal staples, and they don’t even need to be fancy or expensive!

  • Go out in nature to grab holly or berries.
  • Get a couple bouquets of flowers and mix and match them throughout the house (Trader Joes has fabulous floral finds that are budget friendly). The best fall flowers are Snakeroot, Sweet Alyssum, Goldenrod, Helenium (comes in red, orange or yellow), Pansy and Purple Fountain Grass. Mums are also a pretty touch to the front porch.
  • Mini pumpkins and gourds in a variety of colors and sizes to sprinkle on the dinner table, entry way bench, bathroom vanity and living room side tables.
  • Small and large bowls of season fruits for an extra aesthetic “pop”

TIP 3:Prep the high-traffic rooms beforehand.

Begin the day with a clean kitchen, as well as empty dishwasher and trash cans (don’t forget the small bathroom ones). Remove breakable items and fragile furniture so they aren’t ruined by hyper children or red wine sipping guests. Double line your trash cans so when one bag fills up, you can easily move to the next. Make room in your hallway closet for guest’s shoes and coats.

 

TIP 4: Prepare for overnight guests:

For the planned overnight guests and the ones that may have indulged a little too much in your bloody mary bar … follow the below check-list to ensure they have a hotel-like stay:

  • Make guest beds with fresh linens
  • Set out large towels and washcloths on the beds
  • Stock the guest bathrooms with necessities. Grab a few mason jars and fill with q-tips, cotton balls, face wash toothpaste and extra tooth brushes, mouthwash and any other consumable your guest might need during their stay.

TIP 5: Get your stash of cleaning supplies ready to go …

Thanksgiving never goes by without a spill or two! For all-natural home cleaning remedies, be sure to read our previous blog. Here’s a quick guide though:

    • Coffee splatters: White vinegar
    • Red wine spots: White wine (believe it or not)
    • All other major food and drink slips: Tide to Go or baking soda in warm water

TIP 6: Cook in Advance:

Don’t bring on unnecessary stress for yourself by cooking everything on Thanksgiving Day. When creating your menu, make sure to include a timeline for yourself, too. Outline which dishes can be made ahead of time and which ones need to be cooked the day of. For a quick reference, foods that can be pre-made:

  • Casseroles
  • Chopped veggies (slice and bag, but don’t cook)
  • Stuffing, rice or any pasta-based concoctions
  • Salads

Rule of thumb: Almost everything can be pre-made besides the turkey or meat of choice. The rest can be prepped, so it’s ready to be popped in the oven or on the stove top.

TIP 7: Set the table as well as the appetizer and drink area a few days before.

Taking care of smaller tasks, like setting the table, will lessen your load leading up to the “big day.”

A little word to the wise: When planning a seating chart, place yourself closes to the kitchen and seat lefties at the corners, so they’ll be able to eat without hitting their neighbor. Have a “grown ups” table and a “kids-only” table and use place cards to make people feel special (and to avoid any confusion come dinner time).

If you’re providing a drink and/or appetizer bar, neatly line up wine, beer and cocktail glasses, lay out cocktail napkins, appetizer plates and serving china (or dishes). Serving and regular utensils can be placed in a decorative basket for easy organization.

TIP 8: Set-Up a Kid-Focused Area/Room

Well all know that parents enjoy their mingle time on holidays. To make sure the kids are taken care of and enjoying themselves too, designate a specific room or area that’s in sight and outfit it with toys, games, crafts and other activities. Mom and Dad will thank you.

TIP 9: Add a nice holiday scent to your home.

Light candles or add air freshers to the main rooms that your guests will be enjoying themselves: the bathrooms, kitchen and living room. Pumpkin Spice, Apple Cinnamon, Pine Needles or Fireside Smores are the best fragrances for the Fall season.

Not settled in your dream home yet, but would love to enjoy the holidays in it? It’s your lucky day. Our Year-End Savings promotion is going through the end of the year: put a contract on a new home and get up to $5,000 in closing costs plus a “Move-In Package” complete with a FREE Whirlpool washer, dryer and refrigerator!

Give one of our friendly new home specialists a call today (910- 672-7491) or fill out the form below to ask any questions and/or schedule a tour.

From the McKee Homes family to yours, we wish you a magical Thanksgiving season!

 

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8 Biggest Mistakes Home Buyers Make When Building a Home

Today we’re giving you the 8 biggest mistakes that we see home buyers make when deciding to build a home in hopes that you don’t make the same errors. The phrase “hindsight is 20-20” should never be used when referring to your new home build. Just saying.

MISTAKE #1: Being your own general contractor

A lot of homeowners see a general contractor as just a project “supervisor,” and therefore think they are qualified to be said contractor.

Yes, the contractor’s job is to oversee the home build, which includes but isn’t limited to gathering bids, identifying and sourcing sub-contractors, overseeing timeline and budget, and making sure that progress is being made. What you don’t consider the contractor’s long-standing authority in the industry and their deep-seeded relationships with sub-contractors (electricians, plumbers, etc.). Because of these trusted connections, sub-contractors want to perform exceptional work for general contractors. If they do, general contractors will continue to enlist them for future jobs, thus keeping the sub-contractors in business.

Unfortunately, sub-contractors will be less likely to do quality work (stick to your budget or finish within the agreed-upon time-frame) when working with someone, like a homeowner, whom they’ll never work with again or whom won’t provide any subsequent opportunities for work.

You might see hiring a general contractor as an unnecessary, added expense, but working with a notable, qualified professional will save you time, money and headache in the long run.

MISTAKE #2: Being frugal

Building your home is not a time to cut corners on your budget. When sourcing bids for a builder, beware of outlying low offers. It might sound like music to your ears when a builder promises to build your dream home two months faster and $40,000 less than other builders, but don’t fall for it.

If there’s a significant difference in the timeline or price compared to other bids, the builder is likely just offering what they think will get them the business. The problem lies in the added expenses that will likely ensue as the project progresses due to being excluded in the original offer. The difference in pricing could also hint to the quality of materials this builder is using.

Your home is an investment. Spend your money wisely on the front end so you’re not wasting your money replacing or fixing home features in the future.

MISTAKE #3: Not Covering Your Back

This is one of the biggest investments you’ll ever make, so we recommend being an active participant in the home-building process and overseeing all the details. This means reading, understanding and reviewing all documents with a lawyer, asking for copies of contractor and sub-contractor insurance policies (if the contractor isn’t insured and an employee gets hurt on the job site, the homeowner could be held responsible), and serious deliberation over your floorplan and home feature selections – once construction commences, changes to a home can be very costly.

MISTAKE #4: Not Asking About Incentives

A builder almost always offers some type of incentive program. Before you sign a contract, be sure to ask the builder or New Home Sales Consultant about special offers that can either reduce the final amount you pay out of pocket (either on the home price or closing costs) or add value to the home (discount to the Design Studio, upgraded features or included appliances and/or amenities).

We at McKee Homes make an effort to provide our homebuyers with as many incentives as we can. Through the end of the 2019 year, we are offering $5,000 off closing costs, as well as a ‘Move-In Package’ complete with a free Whirlpool refrigerator, washer and dryer! Get more details on current incentives and available homes included in the special here.

MISTAKE #5: Not taking location into consideration

When considering a home, take into account the following:

  1. Resale value of the home (don’t concentrate on the cheapest lot). Think about your ROI (return on investment) in the long run.
  2. Land viability. Do your homework on things like the water table, terrain, slope, utility providers, etc.
  3. Size of lot. Do you like to be situated close to your neighbors for a close community feel or do you want a more spacious lot for privacy and tranquility?
  4. Convenience to a grocery store or gas station. Depending on who you are, being close to the busy life is important. To other families, a more quiet, private location suits them better.

MISTAKE #6. Having a budget without a buffer

It’s important to establish a budget when building a home. The budget should include a slush fund that takes into consideration unforeseen circumstances and overages, because even with the best-intentioned bid, incidentals will likely still come up.

There’s also a big difference between the base line price and the actual price of the home. A sales consultant will sell you on the base line price of the home, but it’s your job to know that any upgrades to the floorplan or feature selections (sun room, patio, bonus third floor, deluxe kitchen, decorative lighting packages, L-shaped master shower, etc.) will come with a price. Calculate the base line price and your upgrade costs before putting a deposit down.

MISTAKE #7: Assuming your home will sell during your build timeline

Even if you get financing for your new home build before you have sold your current home, there’s always a chance your home won’t sell before the new home is done (your realtor will tell you otherwise!). Depending on the location and economy, there are many factors that could affect the sale of your home: slow market, appraisal problems, buyers lacking financing, etc.).

When developing your Plan B (because you should have one), consider the following options:

  • Move into your new home and rent your old home while it’s still on the market
  • Make both house payments until your old home sells
  • Walk away from the new home and lose your deposit
  • Explore a new realtor with more creative selling approaches

MISTAKE #8. Working with the wrong builder

Before you choose a builder, do your research:

  • Look at their website not only for examples of work, but also who the builder is. Do they give back to the community? What are their values? Do they take the time to respond to their customers on social media? All these factors will give you a glimpse into the character of the builder.
  • Check reviews online (Google, Facebook, Angie’s List)
  • Ask potential builders to provide examples of their work (photos and in person)
  • Tour neighborhoods in which a builder has built and ask people about their experience

 

It’s important to take the time to find the right builder for you (not just based on the timeline and budget they promise). You will be working with them for the duration of the project and will forever be living in the home they build for you. Pick wisely.

If you’re on the fence about building a home and want to make sure you make the right choice regarding a builder, we’re happy to hop on the phone and answer any questions you may have. Simply fill out the form below or give one our friendly, knowledgeable online home specialists a ring at 910-672-7491.

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8 Easy Ways to Naturally Detoxify Your Home

Our homes are meant to make us feel safe, happy and healthy. To keep it that way, it’s important to know how to detoxify your home from certain toxins, germs and other hazardous substances that can have adverse health effects on your family.

Unfortunately, the sad truth is that your home can have upwards of 500 various chemicals trapped inside its sealed-up, insulated walls. Furthermore, the air inside your home is estimated to be 2-5 times more polluted than outdoor air (yikes!). Given these facts, more and more serious conditions are being linked to environmental toxins – autoimmune and reproductive disorders, just to name a few.

So, you’ve installed a filtered fresh air intake system to improve the air quality in your home, tested your tap water for lead and routinely changed your HVAC air filters. Give yourself a pat on the back … this is a good start!

The question is: what else can you do to be proactively keep your family healthy and safe?

Try these easy, all-natural steps to instantly make your home healthier.

Use all-natural cleaners

Replace harsh cleaners and poisonous chemicals with mother nature’s homemade alternatives.

    • Wooden Cutting Boards & Surfaces: Lemon and Salt
      Cut a lemon in half horizontally. Sprinkle the wooden surface with coarse salt. Scrub the surface using the lemon, squeezing slightly as you scour the surface to release the lemon juice. Let it sit for 5 minutes, then rinse with a clean wet sponge.
    • All Purpose Cleaner: Dissolve 4 tablespoons baking soda in 1 liter of warm water.
    • Drain and Burnt Pots and Pans Cleaner: Baking soda and vinegar. It’s a proven fact that the combination of baking soda and vinegar can pretty much clean anything.
      • To clean the drain: Pour a half-cup baking soda down the drain. Add a half-cup white vinegar. Cover and wait five minutes. Rinse drain with a full pot of boiling water.
      • To clean burnt pots and pans: In a burnt pan, bring 1 cup water and 1 cup vinegar to a boil. Once boiling, remove it from the heat and add 2 tablespoons of baking soda. When the mixture stops fizzing, empty the pan and scrub with a rough sponge. For any tough spots, add additional baking soda. Rinse.
    • Kitchen sink: Baking soda and rubbing alcohol
      Baking soda works well on stainless steel surfaces as it’s abrasive enough to scrub away hard water deposits and stuck-on food and grease, but not too harsh as to scratch shiny stainless surfaces. To create the mix, combine baking soda with a bit of water or rubbing alcohol until a paste forms. Cover your sink with the paste, scrub, rinse and enjoy the sparkle!
    • Oven Cleaner: Water and salt
      Mix water and three tablespoons of salt in a spray bottle. Spray the spills and scrape them away once the oven has cooled.
    • Toilet Bowl Cleaner: Lemon juice and borax
      Make a paste with lemon juice and borax. Apply the paste to the toilet bowl, let set for two hours, then brush and rinse.

No shoe policy

Shoes bring in contaminants from outside, including soil, that in many cases, still contains lead compounds.

No artificial air fresheners

Health experts preach that plug-in air fresheners use of phthalates (air polluting chemicals) that can cause harmful side effects, like asthma and allergic symptoms. Essential oil diffusers are a great alternative and smell just as delicious.Beware that phthalates are also used to soften plastics in children’s toys and as sealants and adhesives in nail polish – likely consumer products you already have around your home.

Use untreated fabrics

Man-made fabrics, like acrylic, polyester, rayon, acetate, and nylon are treated with thousands of harmful toxic chemicals during production. Stain-resistant surfaces as found on furniture and flame-retardant clothing, including children’s pajamas, have volatile organic compounds (VOCs), like formaldehyde.Stick to shopping for fabrics that are good for your skin, such as bamboo, wool, synthetic fabrics, vintage clothing and wrinkle-resistant apparel.

Beware of mold

When your kids are coughing or wheezing, it’s likely due to mold spores in your home versus the pollen outside. Mold flourishes where there is too much moisture in the air. Make sure there aren’t roof leaks or dripping faucets and that any space heaters, furnaces or fireplaces are properly calibrated and well-vented. To keep humidity under control, try a dehumidifier that keeps the relative humidity below 50%.

Ditch the chlorine

Although chlorine is an effective germ killer, it increases the risk of coronary heart disease and has been linked to linked to cancers, specifically bladder and rectal.Since chlorine is lurking in your tap water, try a kitchen faucet with an activated charcoal water filter and a similar showerhead filter to minimize the chlorine-containing compounds you inhale during a hot shower.

Be mindful of germs

    • Wash your hands after every meal and trip to the bathroom.
    • Try not to touch your hands to your mouth or eyes.
    • Use disinfectant sprays on doorknobs and other frequent touch points.
    • Use a dry toothbrush. Many viruses, including those that cause the flu, can survive for more than 24 hours on moist bristles. Alternate between a few brushes so you’re always using a dry toothbrush.
    • Replace sponges weekly. Kitchen sponges are breeding grounds for bacteria and can easily transfer food-borne bugs, such as salmonella and campylobacter, from countertops and cutting boards to dishes and cookware. The rule of thumb is to change your sponge weekly and make sure you air-dry it between uses.

Watch out for lead

Most of us think that lead isn’t an issue in a home anymore. Think again. The toxic metal can still be found in tap water, old paint, newspaper ink, as well as topsoil that remains highly contaminated due to the fallout of automobile exhaust that ran on leaded gas years ago.

 

To detoxify your home, the first step is awareness. If you’re reading this article, we’re guessing you’re ready to make the necessary changes. Check! ☑ The next step is implementation. Luckily, these easy, all-natural, non-toxic home cleaning remedies should have you worrying less about your family’s health and enjoying more memories together in your home.

Let us know how these DIY cleaning hacks work for you!

all natural cleaning hacks

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McKee Homes Earns Ranking on the 2019 Inc. 5000 List of America’s Most Successful Companies

For six years in a row, McKee Homes has landed a spot on the Inc. 5000 list of the most successful companies in America. The company earned the rank of 3585 in Inc. Magazine’s annual guide of the nation’s 5000 fastest-growing privately-held companies. Companies that made this year’s impressive list, on average, have grown six-fold since 2015 – at a time in which the economy only grew 12 percent.

McKee Homes’ Ranking on the Inc. 5000 list & Growth in the Past Six Years:

  • 2019 Rank: 3585, growth 98%
  • 2018 Rank: 2580, growth 165%
  • 2017 Rank: 1872, growth 205%
  • 2016 Rank: 1654, growth 227%
  • 2015 Rank: 1065, growth 405%
  • 2014 Rank: 562, growth 856%

This honor is a rarity and one that most businesses only dream of. Joining this elite and exclusive group of Inc. 5000 companies, McKee Homes is now among other notable global brands, like Microsoft, Timberland, Vizio, Intuit, Chobani, Oracle and Patagonia, who once graced the same list.

In addition to this accolade, McKee Homes has been recognized by some of the most prestigious national home building magazines and organizations. The company landed 2016’s Build of the Year award by the Home Builders Association of Fayetteville, NC; Builder Magazine’s 2016 Next 100 as one of America’s up-and-coming home builders; Professional Builder’s Housing Giants List, among others.

As an Inc. 5000 list honoree, McKee Homes will be celebrated at Inc.’s 2019 Conference and Gala held in Phoenix, Arizona on October 10-20, 2019. As part of this event, the company will have the chance to join America’s top companies in person and commemorate each brand’s success in the last year.

A special note to our home buyers:

We sincerely thank you for trusting us with your home buying and building experience. Without you, this honor wouldn’t be possible.

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Blue Inspired Home Designs

There will never be a reason for week-day blues ever again with these blue inspired home designs …. 🤩

We have to admit: we love a blue accent. In color psychology, blue tones are known to evoke tranquility, clarity, purity and increased intuition, and have been proven to elevate health and well-being. You can infuse blue hues throughout your home in a variety of different ways from paint, décor and furniture to decorative pillows, linens, wall art and more. No matter the depth of the blue–dramatic deep navy or subtle pale robin’s egg — a blue-centered design will always create an immediate calming and welcoming feel for your home.

Today we’re sharing examples of our blue-inspired home designs, both interior and exterior details, to help you create the home vision that your little blue heart desires. 💙 Read More

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PROPANE or NATURAL GAS: Which is best for your new home?

When dreaming about spending summer evenings around the fire pit on the patio or snuggling in front of the fireplace in your new home, should you plan on using PROPANE or NATURAL GAS?

First off, did you know you had a choice? Well, for the most part you do! We’ll explain further …

To help you make an informed decision for your family and future home, we’re breaking down the PROS and CONS of PROPANE and NATURAL GAS.

  • Both can be stored as a liquid
  • Both produce carbon monoxide
  • Both are domestically-produced fossil fuels
  • Both are considered cheaper than electricity
  • Both are considered low emission fuels

But, the more important question is: what are the differences?

PROPANE

Pros:

  • MORE CONVENIENT: Widely distributed, so it’s most always available.
    *Ensure there is ease of access to small tanks & availability in your area.
  • MORE EFFICIENT: Since propane produces more than twice the energy of natural gas in any given time, it’s much more efficient.
  • MORE ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY: Propane is considered to be better for the environment as it does not contain any greenhouse gas, is low carbon, and emits virtually no air pollutants (https://propane.ca/environmental-benefits/).

Cons:

  • MORE COMPLICATED TO INSTALL AND MAINTAIN
    • Some applications require propane to be delivered and injected by the distributor.
    • The level of propane in the home must be monitored to ensure that the tank isn’t close to empty.
    • Conversion to a natural gas source could be inconvenient, as it requires removal of existing propane tank and digging a trench to make way for the gas pipeline to reach your home.
  • MORE COSTLY
    • Up-front costs for any propane injected into a tank, regardless of whether the propane is used.
    • Conversion to natural gas is very costly, if you ever decide to switch gas sources.
    • Appliances set up for use with natural gas cannot be used with propane. Purchase of a conversion kit or new appliances suitable for propane would be required.
  • MORE OF A SAFETY RISK
    • It’s important to note, neither propane or natural gas is completely “safe,” as both produce carbon monoxide.
    • Propane is heavier than air, so it does not dissolve into air as quickly or exit enclosed spaces as easily as natural gas.

NATURAL GAS

Pros:

  • MOST CONVENIENT IF: There is a natural gas pipeline to your home.
    *Some neighborhoods or municipalities don’t have pipeline access, which means natural gas isn’t an option.
  • CHEAPER: Homeowners only pay for the amount of natural gas they use in any given month. Natural gas rates tend to be low.
  • SLIGHTLY SAFER: Although both gases emit carbon monoxide, Natural gas is lighter than air so it will rise and exit enclosed spaces more easily.

Cons:

  • LESS ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY: While natural gas dissolves into air quickly, it does contain high amounts of the greenhouse gas methane
  • LESS EFFICIENT: It takes more natural gas to generate the same energy output as propane.
  • NOT AN OPTION: If your neighborhood does not have pipeline access.

CONCLUSION

So, what’s the better source for your home?

Only you can decide! There are certainly advantages to both forms of gas, but hopefully we’ve given you enough information to make an informed choice as to which type of fuel is best for your home.

QUESTIONS OR INTERESTED IN MORE INFO?

Leave a comment below or contact us directly.

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McKee Homes Floor Plans with a Large Garage

Traditionally, a garage was viewed as a very practical section of the home. Often used for the sole purpose of housing the homeowner’s personal vehicle, it is sometimes nothing more than a cement floor and four walls.

Not all new homes offer a garage with enough space for more than one vehicle, or indeed provide an attached garage at all. While a detached garage is certainly useful, it doesn’t provide direct access to a new home, or protect homeowners from the weather when exiting their vehicle. Clearly, there is a certain convenience and security that attached garages provide. Additionally, it can provide an alternative space for storage, a play or hobby area, a gym, or even a “man cave”. All McKee homes have attached “2 car” garages.

However, some new home buyers may be looking for a larger space to accommodate their lifestyle. To suit these new home buyers, McKee Homes has many floor plans that offer garages at 21” x 21” wide or larger.

McKee Homes Floor Plans with Large Garages

Having a large garage can sometimes mean sacrificing the aesthetic of the front of a new home. Most garage door entrances are placed on front of the home, making a large portion of the façade consist of a bay door. McKee Homes understands that, when possible, a new homeowner may want the option of having the door on one side of the home instead of the front. Because of this, some McKee Homes floor plans offer a side-entry option for new homes, known as a “side-load”. When a new homeowner chooses to build a new home with a side-load, the façade of the home is free of a garage door.

Additional modifications for some McKee Homes floor plans include the option of a third bay garage. These third bay garages are separate spaces that also provide a separate bay door. Adding a third bay garage allows a new homeowner to park in an attached space but have the flexibility of using the traditional space for something other than storing a vehicle.

Floorplans with Large Garage & Optional Side Load or Third Bay

More Info

For more information about any of our McKee Homes floor plans or new homes, please contact one of our friendly online sales consultants at 910-672-7296.