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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 is 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

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Buy A Home to Build Equity

Are you on the fence about whether to buy a home or rent?

Building Equity

Home equity is the appraised value of your home minus what you still owe. Simply put, you build equity by making your monthly mortgage payments. Your mortgage payment consists primarily of interest and principle, but may also include other payments such as PMI (private mortgage insurance) and even your home insurance and real estate taxes, depending on the type of mortgage you have. Interest does not go toward paying off your mortgage but principle does. One way to build home equity faster is to make extra payments whenever possible as anything you pay above your interest amount each month goes toward paying off your principle.

Why is home equity important? Your house is considered an asset which means you can use your home equity to finance your child’s college education, remodel your house, buy another home as an investment or even supplement your retirement savings.

Buying Vs Renting

You won’t be able to build equity with your rent payment each month, but you can buy a home to build equity over time and lock in your monthly payment. With a fixed rate mortgage, you can freeze your monthly payment, so it never goes up. Rent will continue to rise over time, which could eventually price you out of your rental home or apartment.

The Zillow Housing Aspirations Report, Q1 2019 shows 52 percent of those surveyed complained that renting prevents them from earning equity and 45 percent said they regret renting instead of buying a home. Over 50 percent regret not being able to customize their home and think that their rent is too high. Other complaints about renting included problems with their property’s pet policies and not liking their neighbors.

There are certainly reasons to rent instead of buy, such as planning to be in the area for only a short time or needing to work on your credit rating in order to qualify for a mortgage.  Maintenance costs, having to pay real estate taxes and down payments are also cited as reasons to rent instead of buy.

However, if you plan on living in an area for a long time, raising a family or want your monthly payments to build equity over time, buying a home is a better option than renting. It adds stability to your life as you have more control over your home environment and can customize your home as desired. You’ll also have more flexibility when choosing a neighborhood in the best school district for your children and one that has amenities that you desire, like a pool and walking trails.

Buying New Vs Pre-owned

If you are concerned that buying a home may cost you extra money in maintenance and repair costs, consider buying a new home. Most new homes come with a builder’s warranty to cover any issues that come up within the first year. Many builders offer a “2-10 Home Warranty” that covers systems for two years and structural defects for 10 years.

Additional advantages of buying a new home are newer neighborhood amenities than older neighborhoods and being able to personalize the home with structural options, finishes and fixture upgrades to get the home of your dreams!

You can also save money every month on utility bills because new homes are much more energy efficient than homes five or more years old. The roofing, appliances and systems such as HVAC, plumbing and electrical, will be new as well so there’s less chance of unexpected repairs and maintenance. This makes the economic life of a new home longer than a pre-owned house.

Most builders have preferred lenders that can help you with new home financing and save you money at closing by paying for most, or all, of your closing costs. They can also help you get the lowest interest rate available.

Conclusion

While there may be economic or other factors in your life that make renting a better choice, you’ll need to buy a home to build equity with your monthly housing payment, which can become a major asset over time. Buying also gives you more control over your living environment and creates a more stable environment to raise a family.

Buying a new home is a more secure investment than a pre-owned home because appliances, systems and roofing are new and under warranty, and the additional energy efficiency of the home will save money each month on utility bills.

Some builders only offer a one-year builder’s warranty while others offer a more robust warranty such as McKee Homes’ 2-10 Homebuyers Warranty. It’s a good idea to research the different types of home warranties when buying a new home.

McKee Homes

McKee Homes has highly skilled team members dedicated to creating the best home building and buying experience possible in Eastern North Carolina. Areas we are building in include: Fayetteville, Pinehurst, Southern Pines and Aberdeen, Raleigh and Wilmington NC. Some of our new home resources we can provide you include: New Home Financing, Buyer Incentives and more.

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Vinyl Siding Vs Fiber Cement Siding

Two of the most popular and versatile choices for residential home siding are vinyl siding and fiber cement siding. When comparing the pros and cons of vinyl siding vs fiber cement siding, it’s important to note that they are both less expensive to buy and maintain than wood siding, as well as more durable and water resistant when properly installed.

Vinyl Siding

Vinyl siding has been the most popular siding choice for the last 20 years. It is made primarily from PVC (polyvinyl chloride) with a mix of other materials that give it color and texture. Vinyl siding is attached to the home’s exterior in a way that allows it to expand and contract with changing temperatures.

Fiber Cement Siding

Fiber cement siding is sometimes referred to as “hardiplank” or “hardie board” after one of the most popular brands of fiber cement siding manufactured by James Hardie. It is made from a combination of wood pulp and Portland cement and can be formed into long planks or shingles which do a great job of mimicking traditional wood products. Fiber cement siding is directly attached the home’s exterior using nails in much the same way as wood siding.

Vinyl Siding Pros & Cons

vinyl siding

Pros

  • Energy efficient: Using an insulated version of vinyl siding increases the R-value of the exterior walls and limits the transfer of heat into the wall during summer months.
  • Durability: Vinyl siding doesn’t crack, chip or fade and is highly water resistant.
  • Less maintenance: Vinyl siding only needs to be washed with soap and water to retain its vibrant look.
  • Lower Cost: The initial cost of vinyl siding is less than fiber cement. With lower installation costs and no painting or caulking required, vinyl is significantly less expensive overall.
  • Variety of color and styles: More styles and colors than fiber cement with panel designs such as clapboard, board-and-batten and Dutch lap, in addition to the traditional plank and shingle designs.

Cons

  • Not fire resistant: Vinyl siding can melt when exposed to high heat. Even an outdoor grill or other heat source in close proximity can damage it.
  • More easily damaged: Hurricane force winds can blow entire sheets of vinyl siding off a home and hailstorms can dent and damage the siding, requiring it to be replaced. However, some new, thicker vinyl siding products can handle winds up to 240 mph with extra rigidity in the nail hem, panel projections and locking system
  • Less eco-friendly: While PVC is a recyclable #3 plastic, it is not recyclable in many facilities and emits hazardous dioxins when burned. However, the lightweight vinyl doesn’t take as much fuel to transport, and doesn’t require painting which reduces the deposit of paint, stain and other maintenance-related materials into the environment

Fiber Cement Siding Pros & Cons

fiber cement siding

Pros

  • Durability: When properly installed, fiber cement siding is unlikely to be damaged by high-wind storms or hail. With caulk and paint maintenance, it is water resistant and should last 50 years or longer.
  • Fire resistant: Fiber cement has the same rating as brick giving it the highest flame resistance compared to vinyl and wood siding.
  • More eco-friendly: Fiber cement is made from fairly sustainable materials, such as wood waste, unlike vinyl which requires PVC made from fossil fuels.
  • Looks more like real wood: Fiber cement is thicker than vinyl and looks similar to wood siding. Some historic districts will accept the use of fiber cement instead of wood. Since it can be painted, there is an almost unlimited color variety and it’s also available in pre-painted colors to reduce the initial cost of painting.

Cons

  • Requires more maintenance: Fiber cement does need to be caulked and painted initially, unless the pre-painted version is installed. Paint will fade, and caulk will dry out over time, so periodic maintenance is required to avoid water intrusion.
  • Higher Cost: The initial cost of fiber cement is generally higher than vinyl as is the installation cost. When coupled with the extra cost of caulking and painting, fiber cement may cost approximately 50% more than vinyl siding overall.
  • Absorbs moisture: Fiber cement will absorb moisture which can be an issue in an area that is constantly exposed to water. However, with proper caulking and painting, as well as periodic maintenance, it holds up well over time.

Conclusion

So, which is the best siding when comparing vinyl siding vs fiber cement siding? There are many factors that need to be weighed as mentioned above, such as initial cost, maintenance, durability, longevity, insulating ability, water resistance and eco-friendliness.

If cost and durability are your main concerns, then vinyl siding may be the best option. You’ll have more style and color options, and very little maintenance is required to keep it looking new and vibrant.

However, if you live in an area that is prone to hurricanes or wildfires and are concerned about using eco-friendly materials, you may be better off with fiber cement siding.

More Info

Whichever choice you make when looking at vinyl siding vs fiber cement siding, there are plenty of style and color options, and either siding will last 40-50 years if properly maintained.

For information about which McKee Homes’ neighborhoods have vinyl siding and which have fiber cement siding, please use the form below or give us a call at 910-672-7296.

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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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What selections can I choose for my home?

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

Once a homebuyer, chooses their floor plan, and finalizes the paperwork involved in securing the home of their dreams, the fun begins.  Some of the personalization can be done at the same time as the initial paperwork.

new home selection appointment

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

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

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

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

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

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

new home selections options

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

By Julie Russo and John Rives