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Checklist for New Homeowners

Moving into a new home can be both exciting and overwhelming at the same time. That’s why we’ve compiled a checklist for new homeowners. This step by step list will help keep you organized and less stressed leading up to your big move … we promise. We encourage you to hang the “print-friendly” version (see below) on your refrigerator so you don’t miss any important steps!

Congratulations on your new home and happy moving! 🚚 🏠

LEADING UP TO YOUR MOVE:

Do Your Due-Diligence:

  • Get a professional home inspection.
  • Talk to an agent about your home owners insurance policy.

Locate & Test All Operating Units In Home:

  • Locate and label your main circuit breaker.
  • Find shut-off valves for water, gas, electricity, toilets, faucets, etc.
  • Test your heating and cooling units.
  • Check your switch plates and outlet covers and replace if necessary.
  • Install a programmable thermostat.
  • Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Test your microwave, stove and oven.
  • Test your toilets & faucets
  • Kid proof the house: Install outlet covers if you have small children in the house.
  • Test your washer and dryer units.
  • Research local tax credits for solar panels and/or energy-saving appliances.
  • Ask your realtor where gas and water meters are located

Update Personal Information:

  • Research utility providers and schedule connection of gas, water, electricity, sewer, cable, internet, telephone and trash disposal
  • Schedule disconnection of utility services at your old home
  • File a change of address with USPS, IRS, and DMV
  • Send change of address notifications to family and friends
  • Change your bank’s billing address and any credit cards
  • Update your license, registration and voter card
  • Order new checks with updated address

Do a final walk-through with your builder or realtor for last minute repairs:

  • Check for chipping or fading paint, cracks, etc
  • Jiggle doorknobs and tighten screws in entryways
  • Make sure all drywall holes are filled
  • Examine ceiling for water leaks and stains
  • Look for wet spots in attic, basement or crawlspace

Cleaning:

  • Arrange for cleaning of carpets, bathrooms, kitchen and utility areas
  • Arrange for initial pest control

Safety:

  • Kid proof the home: Install outlet covers & cabinet latches
  • Develop a family escape plan in case of a fire
  • Have a first-aid kit on hand
  • Install security systems and cameras for property
  • Purchase locks and have them installed

Waste Management:

  • Ask neighbors when garbage and recycle pick-up days are

 

AFTER YOU’VE MOVED IN: Maintenance and Inspection Schedule Monthly & Yearly

MONTHLY MAINTENANCE CHECKLIST:

January:

  • Replace HVAC filters (follow these instructions)
  • Clean garbage disposal: crush ice (sharpens), baking soda & orange rinds (freshens)
  • Test smoke/carbon monoxide detectors

February:

  • Vacuum/dust HVAC
  • Clean stove & oven
  • Dust window blinds, ceiling fans & light fixtures
  • Clean garbage disposal

March:

  • Replace HVAC filters
  • Check batteries of smoke/carbon monoxide detectors
  • Clean baseboards/doors
  • Clean garbage disposal

April:

  • Replace HVAC filters
  • Schedule air conditioning service
  • Aerate & fertilize lawn
  • Make adjustments to sprinkler system
  • Clean garbage disposal

May:

  • Replace HVAC filters
  • Power wash & apply sealer to deck
  • Plant plants
  • Clean garbage disposal

June:

  • Vacuum/dust HVAC
  • Hose exterior of home
  • Plumbing: check for leaks on supply lines
  • Clean garbage disposal

July:

  • Replace HVAC filters
  • Range hood fan: check & clean
  • De-clutter garage
  • Clean garbage disposal

August:

  • Replace HVAC filters
  • Steam carpets
  • Tighten & lube doors
  • Electrical: test & reset
  • Clean garbage disposal

September:

  • Replace HVAC filters
  • AC: Shut off, clean & cover until Spring
  • Check heating system
  • Garden: Rake leaves, dispose of mulch
  • Test smoke/carbon monoxide detectors

October:

  • Vacuum/dust HVAC
  • Trim branches & shrubs, rake leaves
  • Turn off & disconnect water hose to sprinklers (before 1st freeze)
  • Clean garbage disposal

November:

  • Replace HVAC filters
  • Dryer: Check vents & hoses for lint
  • Clean garbage disposal
  • Range hood fan: Check & clean

December:

  • Replace HVAC filters
  • Inspect roof & exterior of home
  • Plumbing: check for leaks on supply lines
  • Clean garbage disposal

ANNUAL MAINTENANCE CHECKLIST

  • Drain & inspect water heater
  • Inspect fire extinguisher
  • Check water main/meter for leaks
  • Inspect washing machine hose connections
  • Check for termites, rodents & other pest
  • Clean refrigerator coils
  • Redo tile grout and caulking if necessary
  • Redo window caulking if necessary
  • Check bathroom & kitchen exhaust fans
  • Check dishwasher hoses
  • Pump septic tank (every 3-5 years)
    • Last pumped: _______________________

 

To make it easy on you, we’ve included a “print friendly” checklist for new homeowners for you to hang in your home.

Instructions to print:

  • OPTION 1: Right click on image, click “save image as” and save to a folder on your computer. Open the image on your computer, click “file” and “print.”
  • OPTION 2 (if possible): Right click on image, click “print.”

Checklist for New Homeowners

Home Buyer Tips

If you have any questions regarding your moving, maintenance and inspection timeline, fill out the form below or call our New Home Specialists at: 910-672-7296.

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Fairfield North Model Home Now Open

The new model home in Fairfield North is now open and homesites are going quickly.

Fairfield North is in the Pine Forest School District, nestled just behind the beautiful and well-established Fairfield Farms community on North Ramsey Street in Fayetteville, NC. It is just minutes to the I-295 connector and 15 minutes to Fort Bragg and downtown Fayetteville. Come check out this conveniently located and family-friendly neighborhood in North Fayetteville.

fairfield north model home

The Fairfield North model home is our Brooks Craftsman floorplan. The main floor boasts a formal dining room with ample space.  The living room is spacious and opens to the expansive kitchen that has an adjacent breakfast area.

Moving on into the home you will find a charming guest suite and full bathroom on the main level.  The master suite is beautifully appointed with a large walk in closet and private master bath with a dual sink, garden tub and a separate shower.  This lovely home also features two additional bedrooms upstairs along with a remarkable bonus room that can be upgraded to a fifth bedroom.

Other options include a sunroom off the family room and breakfast area that adds over 200 sq. ft. of living space, a deluxe kitchen, and finished third floor which adds approximately 549 sq. ft. of living space to the home.

While every room of this Brooks Craftsman floorplan is appointed with eye-catching detail, the features that garner the most attention are the open kitchen with farmhouse sink, the huge tiled and glass master bath shower and the mud bench drop zone just inside the garage entry door.

brooks craftsman floorplan kitchen

brooks craftsman floorplan shower

brooks craftsman floorplan drop zone

The Fairfield North grand opening is slated for sometime in the first quarter of 2020 once additional Showcase homes have been finished. However, the model is now open, and many presales have already been contracted and started, or scheduled for start.

For more information about Fairfield North and available floorplans, Showcase homes and homesites, please contact us using the form below or give us a call at 910-672-7296.

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Top 7 New Home Special Features

McKee Homes introduces our top seven list of new home special features! We have been designing and building new homes since 2010. In that time, we have found a number of special features that really resonate with our home buyers. Many of these new home special features could also be added to existing homes to make them more livable.

  1. Drop Zone (a.k.a. Mud Room) at Garage Entry
    drop zone mud benchKeep your home organized and clean with a bench seat and cubbies for shoes and miscellaneous items. These drop zones are strategically placed by the door from the garage into the home. Our drop zones include hooks for coats, hats and umbrellas, too! Drop zones are a great way to add convenience and livability to your home.
  2. Nine-Foot Ceilings
    nine foot ceilingsNine-foot high ceilings give your home a feeling of spaciousness and elegance. No chance of claustrophobia in an open floor plan home with nine-foot ceilings. A National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) survey reported that about 65% of respondents said they prefer a house with nine-foot ceilings compared to a similar size house with eight-foot ceilings.

    Unfortunately, if you currently have a home with eight-foot ceilings, you are stuck with them unless you upgrade to a new home or add on to your existing home. Any new rooms added to the footprint of your current home could be built with taller ceilings.

  3. Arched Doorways
    arched doorwaysAnother way to infuse spacious elegance into your home is with arched openings instead of the standard straight-line openings. Participants in a study by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) were more likely to judge spaces as beautiful when they had curves than when they only had straight lines.

    One of the simplest ways to add curves to your home is to convert straight openings into arched openings.

  4. Kitchen Islands
    kitchen islandA kitchen island creates a beautiful and functional focal point in the kitchen that brings everyone together and increases enjoyment for your family and friends. It’s a place kids can do homework and family and friends can hang out while meals are being prepared. You also gain under-counter storage, an additional work area, and casual seating.

    Adding a kitchen island to a remodel project or buying a new home that includes an island in the kitchen is a great way to improve your home living experience.

  5. Walk-in Shower Without Door
    walk-in shower with no doorGlass shower doors are much nicer than curtains, but they can be difficult to keep clean. You can keep a squeegee nearby to clean the glass after a shower but the sealant around the door frame can attract mold and mildew and take regular maintenance to keep clean and looking new.

    An alternative to shower doors and curtains is an “L-shaped” walk-in shower with a low curb or sloped floor that doesn’t need a door or curtain. The water never gets to the opening as it is 90 degrees from the shower head and a few feet from the main shower area.

    Any shower still needs regular cleaning but taking the doors and curtains out of the equation makes cleaning easier and faster.

  6. Outdoor Living Spaces
    outdoor living spacesSpending time outdoors is healthy and enjoyable. Living in a home with a beautiful outdoor patio, screened porch or deck increases usable space and makes entertaining and relaxing at home easier and more fun.

    Buying a home with outdoor living spaces, or adding a patio, deck or screened porch to your existing home, is one of the best ways to increase comfort. Should you ever need to sell your home, outdoor living spaces make your home more desirable to homebuyers and increase its value, too.

  7. Low Maintenance Siding
    low-maintenance sidingAnother way to make your home more enjoyable is to reduce the amount of maintenance required. Some types of siding, like wood and pressboard siding, require regular maintenance and don’t hold up well to weather and extreme conditions.

    Other types of exterior siding and applications, such as brick, stone and vinyl siding require very little maintenance, which saves time and money over the long haul. Fiber cement siding is another good alternative. It looks more like real wood than vinyl siding but does require some maintenance as it needs to be caulked and painted when installed and every ten years or so.

    Brick and stone can be very expensive, especially if the entire exterior of the home is covered. That’s why we recommend looking into vinyl and fiber cement as a lower cost alternative.

    Read our Vinyl Siding Vs Fiber Cement Siding article for the pros and cons of both types of popular and affordable siding.

Conclusion

Whether you are looking for a new home or thinking of remodeling your existing home, these new home special features are worth taking into consideration during that process. They add value to your home and make it more enjoyable for you and your family.

More Info

For more information about McKee Homes new home special features, our design studio selections and options, floor plans and neighborhoods, please contact us using the form below or give us a call at 910-672-7296.

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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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McKee Homes Epcon Floorplans

McKee Homes is currently building Epcon single story floorplans in seven of our Eastern North Carolina communities.

What’s an Epcon floorplan? Epcon is a home building company offering franchises to other builders  dedicated to serving the luxury, low-maintenance, ranch-style home niche for consumers looking to downsize from their existing home. The homes are specially designed with high-end features and options and built with wide doorways inside the house and easy access with no stairs between the inside and outside areas. With an Epcon home, homebuyers know they can live in the home into retirement without having to make any modifications to home.

McKee Homes has created our own customized version of the standard Epcon single story floorplans. For more information and to download printable, high-resolution PDF files of our floorplans, please visit our Single Story Homes web page.

Epcon P Series Floorplans

Epcon R Series Floorplans

McKee Homes Epcon Communities

Fayetteville / Fort Bragg

Cottages at North Ramsey

120 Nandina Ct, Fayetteville, NC 28311
From the low $200’s | 1,400-2,700 sq. ft.

The Cottages at North Ramsey is a unique new home community offering beautiful, single-story Epcon floorplans. And, you can finally welcome your weekends back as exterior home and lawn maintenance is taken care of by the HOA.

There are only a few opportunities left in this upscale neighborhood voted best-looking neighborhood in the Fayetteville area in 2015.

Cottages at Carriage Glen in Anderson Creek Club

125 Whispering Pines Dr, Spring Lake, NC 28390
From the mid $200’s | 1,300-3,000 sq. ft.

The Cottages at Carriage Glen in Anderson Creek Club offers high-end single-family Epcon floorplans. Homesites are beautifully wooded, with many located on the community golf course or near ponds, parks, and waterfalls. Carriage Glen homeowners can enjoy all the amenities of Anderson Creek Club including a private clubhouse, pool and fitness center. This community is located near Ft. Bragg, NC and has convenient access to Fayetteville and the Raleigh, NC area.

Moore County

Eagle Point at Mid South Club

Holly Springs Court, Southern Pines, NC 28387
From the low $300’s | 1,700-3,000 sq. ft.

Located in the gated community of Mid South Club in Southern Pines, NC, Eagle Point is the ideal upscale private community for those seeking country club living. Located near the golf course and lake, homes in Eagle point offer scenic views of the fairway and clubhouse.

Eagle Point offers McKee Homes’ Epcon floorplans with upscale features including granite counter tops, designer cabinets, stainless steel appliances, and open plan living.

The Preserve at Legacy Lakes

Keowee Circle, Aberdeen, NC 28315
From the high 200’s | 1,650-3,000 sq. ft.

The Preserve at Legacy Lakes is not age-restricted but is designed for those seeking an active retirement lifestyle. This community features single-story Epcon floorplans, which have wide interior doorways and no stairs between indoor and outdoor spaces.

Amenities in the Legacy Lakes community include a Nicklaus Design golf course and The Racquet House Racquet and Fitness Club with six clay tennis courts, a pool, and a clubhouse. Just minutes from Pinehurst, Southern Pines and Fort Bragg, Legacy Lakes is home to over 400 acres of beautiful pine trees, rolling fairways, and natural lakes.

Raleigh / Clayton

Evergreen at Flowers Plantation

13 Balsam Lane, Clayton, NC 27527
From the high $200’s | 1,780-3,000 sq. ft.

Evergreen at Flowers Plantation is an Active-Adult, Gated Community in Clayton, NC that features our Epcon floorplans. Built for an active retirement lifestyle, Epcon homes feature wide interior doorways and no stairs from the outside. Living in Evergreen means you can enjoy your weekends; yards are maintained by the HOA, and low maintenance living will give you plenty of time to enjoy the organized activities and resort-style amenities.

This community is approximately 20 miles from downtown Raleigh, NC, and offers easy access to great restaurants, shopping, museums, entertainment venues, sports, and leisure.

Wilmington / Leland

Bellaport

131 Bellaport Ln, Wilmington, NC 28412

Bellaport is a new single-family home community featuring our Epcon floorplans just minutes away from Carolina Beach, NC. It is convenient to shopping, restaurants, and the beach! Historic Wilmington is also a quick trip to visit. Enjoy the quiet surroundings of the Cape Fear River and Snows Cut Park on River Road as you watch boats sail by.

Courtyards at Mallory Retreat

Salter Path at Mallory Creek Dr, Winnabow, NC 2847

The Courtyards at Mallory Retreat is a new phase of the established Mallory Creek Plantation community in Brunswick County near Leland in Towncreek, NC. This community features a natural setting with wooded areas and ponds and is only 15 minutes from Wilmington with its historic downtown and access to some of the best beaches the area has to offer.

The Courtyards at Mallory Retreat features our single-story Epcon floorplans designed with minimal stairs for easy access between indoor and outdoor areas, wider interior doorways and open areas perfect for entertaining.

Verona Craftsman

More Information

For more information about our Epcon communities and floorplans, please contact us using the form below or give us a call at 910-672-7296.

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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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HECM for Purchase Program

As more and more Baby Boomers reach retirement age, there is an increasing demand for single-story homes with finance options such as the HECM for Purchase Program (H4P). With the H4P Program, you can purchase a $350,000 home for around $220,000 and never have a monthly mortgage payment, if you or your spouse are 62 years old! If one of you is 70, you can buy that home for around $200,000.

Many retirees want a smaller single-story home close to family and friends and amenities like walking paths and a community clubhouse. In order to secure the home of their dreams, retirees would traditionally pay cash from the sale of another home or secure a traditional mortgage. The drawback of these two options is the amount of money required, which can put stress on available funds needed for paying bills or emergencies.

Cash Flow Remedies

If you pay cash for your new home or have a traditional mortgage and then later need to solve cash flow issues, your options include securing a traditional line of credit or a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) refinance. However, the line of credit option requires making additional monthly payments and both options create another round of closing costs.

The H4P Program fixes these problems with a single transaction, meaning a significant portion of your nest-egg is preserved by not having to go all in with a cash purchase. Your monthly cash flow is essentially freed up by not having a monthly mortgage payment. To date, the H4P Program is the only mortgage that uses age as a preliminary qualifying factor. So, if you’re at least 62 and can qualify for the HECM for Purchase Program, this is one time it pays to be older. Smile and celebrate your retirement years!

The H4P Program is unlike a traditional home mortgage in that monthly payments are deferred and the loan balance increases over time. However, there is a consumer safeguard built into the program. Because the loan is insured by the FHA (Federal Housing Administration), neither you nor your heirs have any personal liability for the repayment of the debt.

Selling Your Home

If you use the H4P Program to purchase your dream home and decide to move in 10 years. When you sell your home, you’ll receive 100% of the net proceeds after paying off the loan balance at the time of sale, which is exactly how a traditional mortgage works. So the primary benefit to you is that you don’t tie up all your savings by paying cash and you increase your monthly cash flow by not having a monthly mortgage payment. Also, if your home has increased in value greater than the mortgage balance when you sell it, you participate in the equity growth.

But what happens if you sell your home during a market downturn and the loan balance is greater than the current market value of your home? In a traditional mortgage scenario you or your estate would be forced to sell the home at a loss and cover the negative balance owed. The FHA non-recourse clause governing the H4P Program states that the home is the only asset securing the loan. That means neither you nor your estate have any personal liability for a deficient loan balance if your home is sold for a loss.

Simply put, it’s not your problem and no one is coming after your estate for a settlement. In addition, if your heirs wanted to retain ownership of the home after your death, they can do so by paying off the lesser of the reverse mortgage balance or 95% of the appraised value of the home.

If you end up in a nursing home, or you pass away, then it’s time for your heirs to get the house appraised and see if there is enough equity remaining for them to realize a profit from the sale. If not, they can simply sign the deed over to the lender and not have to deal with it.

With the H4P Program, you can live in your home until the last borrower vacates as long as loan terms are met. The borrower/s must occupy the home as their primary residence and remain current on property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, the costs of home maintenance, and any HOA fees.

More Information

Use the resources below to learn more about the details of the HECM for Purchase Program, including qualifying rules, down payment, disqualifying factors, personal liability, homeowner responsibilities, consumer safeguards and more.

Download the 2019 HECM for Purchase Home Buyers Guide

HECM for Purchase Home Buyers Guide

By the time you finish reading this guide you will know the following:

  • How to increase your home purchasing power
  • How to eliminate monthly mortgage payments (You remain responsible for property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, home maintenance, and any HOA fees)
  • How to get the house you really want and preserve your life savings
  • How to qualify for the HECM for Purchase Program
  • Answers to frequently asked questions

Disclaimer

Due to the unpredictability of the housing market, you are encouraged to consult a financial planner prior to making a decision that could affect your retirement plan. The reverse mortgage is not a time-sensitive product.

Questions?

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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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Affordable New Homes on Large Homesites

With homesites in the US averaging around 8,560 sq. ft., under one-fifth of an acre, it can be difficult to find affordable new homes on large homesites. Many homebuyers assume they would have to build a custom home to get a large homesite of an acre or more.

The size of homes and homesites have been getting smaller as the cost of land and construction materials have gone up in order to keep new homes affordable to the average homebuyer.  For families that want more space between their home and their neighbor’s home than what’s available in the majority of new home communities, the dream of buying a new home may seem out of reach.

Large Homesites

There’s good news though. There are production builders that still develop large homesites in some of their neighborhoods. These builders are not only able to offer the economy of production building, but also the opportunity for homebuyers to choose structural options and finish upgrades to get the home they’ve been dreaming about at a price they can afford.

McKee Homes, in Eastern North Carolina, has five neighborhoods with large homesites between ½ acre to over an acre in the Raleigh Triangle and neighboring areas, such as Pinehurst and Fayetteville.

Raleigh

Heather Glenn

heather glenHeather Glen in Raleigh offers large homesites from ½ acre to 1 acre in a quiet country setting just 12 miles south of downtown Raleigh for the best of both worlds. With large homesites, a variety of floor plans to choose from and just minutes from Lake Benson, Heather Glen is an ideal family-friendly neighborhood.

Copper Pond

copper pondCopper Pond in Fuquay-Varina near Holly Springs offers large homesites from ½ acre to over an acre in a quiet country setting just minutes from downtown Fuquay Varina. We have several floor plans on crawl spaces to choose from, some with Owners Suites on the first floor. Enjoy the town’s attractions, such as the Fourth of July Fireworks Show and historic downtown with great restaurants and shops.

Pinehurst

Meadows at Farm Life

meadows at farm lifeMeadows at Farm Life is a beautiful new home community offering large ½ acre homesites close to the Village of Whispering Pines and the Town of Carthage, NC, the county seat for Moore County. The community is located approximately 10 miles from Pinehurst and Southern Pines with all these areas have to offer. Only two opportunities left in the family-friendly community less than two miles from the highly-acclaimed Sandhills Farm Life Elementary School.

Fayetteville / Fort Bragg

Oakmont

oakmontOakmont offers country living with large homesites from ½ acre to over an acre in a family-friendly, gated community near Anderson Creek Club in Harnett County, North Carolina. It’s close to Fort Bragg, Lillington, and Fayetteville. Oakmont amenities include a neighborhood swimming pool with pool house and exercise room, covered bus stop, and small park area making it an outstanding family-friendly neighborhood.

Sinclair

sinclairSinclair is a peaceful new home community in Moore County comprising over 200 acres of beautiful countryside offering large ½ acre homesites. Most homes will have a view of permanent green space, making this community a must see for relaxing family living. Just 15 minutes from Fort Bragg at the Manchester Gate and a short drive to quaint shops, restaurants, and world class golfing at Pinehurst and Southern Pines.

More Info

If you’re looking for beautiful, affordable new homes on large homesites, please visit our website or contact us using the form below to get more information about our communities. Or give us a call at 910-672-7296 to talk to a friendly, knowledgeable new home specialist. They can answer any questions and schedule an appointment for you to come out and view our beautiful new homes and large homesites waiting for your family to enjoy!

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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