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Electric Heat Pump Benefits

Electric Heat Pump Benefits

Heat pumps are pretty neat as they offer an alternative to running your air conditioner. If your home needs moderate heating or cooling a heat pump is a great alternative because it moves heat from a cool space to warm space, which makes the cool space cooler and the warm space warmer. During the heating season, heat pumps move heat from the cool outdoors into your warm house and during the cooling season, heat pumps move heat from your cool house into the warm outdoors. Because they move heat rather than generate heat, heat pumps can provide equivalent space conditioning at as little as one quarter of the cost of operating conventional heating or cooling appliances.

On average you save $1,000-$2,000 annually according to energy reports. On top of those savings heat pumps come equipped with filter systems so bacteria spores don’t have an opportunity to settle in your home. Heat pumps are extremely efficient in brand new constructions homes so definitely check out McKee Homes to find your next home with the electric heat pump already installed! To see this electric heat pump feature as well as read about all of our other energy-efficient features click here.

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Cost-Efficient Thermostat Temperatures to Save You Money This Summer!

Cost-efficient thermostat temperatures are so important to save you money this summer on your electricity bill! During this time of year with temperatures reaching the high 90s in most areas, thermostat adjustments to keep your home cool and your bill low are necessary. Cooling your home with your air conditioning unit depending on the size, could sky rocket your bill into the high hundreds! Though it is tempting to adjust your thermostat really low during the summer in an effort to cool your home faster, this could actually be counter productive because your unit is working harder and burning more energy. Consistent set temperatures maintain energy output levels and reduces your out-of-pocket cost.

Before you receive your next bill and its causes you to break into a sweat, let me share a couple of cost-efficient thermostat temperature tips below!

  1. If you plan to be away from your home for an extended amount of time during the day (4 hours or more) keep the temperature set at a higher number. Once you arrive back home, adjust the temperature to 78 degrees. Based on your comfort level your thermostat should stay at this temperature throughout the warmer months.
  2.  Use your windows at night, turning off the A/C unit completely which allows the breeze to keep you cool while you are sleep. Also, utilize ceiling fans while you are in the room and then turn them off once you leave. It is unnecessary to leave ceiling fans on when you are no longer in the room as the fans do not keep the room itself cooler but cools the people who are in it.

According to Energy.gov for every degree higher you set your thermostat over 78 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer you could save six-eight percent off your energy bill per degree! These savings can be used to entertain your family and friends grilling in your backyard! Or a fun-filled water day at the local pool or water park! Making these small adjustments could add up significantly over time. Comment on this post and let me know if these tips would work for you! Also check out all of our available homes today!

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New Home Values Expected To Rise

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

 

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

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5 Common Mistakes First-Time Homebuyers Make with New Construction

So, you’ve been going back and forth but have decided that now is the right time to buy your first home. You’ve worked on your credit score and you’ve saved up for a down payment and are ready to get started. So before you get too far into the home buying process you should take a few minutes to read these five common first time home buyer mistakes made with in new construction.

  1. Thinking you can’t afford new construction.
    There are many options available in the real estate market, but thinking you have to settle on a used home is not your only option. New homes are available in many price ranges and in areas you want to be. New construction can even save you money compared to used homes. New homes are more energy efficient with lower maintenance costs; where as used homes are typically less energy efficient and may require expensive maintenance much sooner. Replacing roofing, appliances, HVAC system components or water heaters can be very expensive.
  2. Running up debt after the pre-approval.
    The construction process on a new home can take up to six month and sometimes even longer. Some first-time homebuyers can get excited about getting new things for their new home, like furniture or a new car, and doing this can effect your chances of getting your home loan. From the day you sign your contract to the day you close on your home, the general rule of thumb is don’t open any new lines of credit or increase the amounts on any open credit accounts.
  3. Not knowing the plans for the community.
    You may think the charming community with only 12 homes is just what you’re looking for, but if you ask the Builder’s representative this charming neighborhood is actually the beginning of a 300-home community. Or you could have selected a home that backs up to a vacant field, but there are plans to build an apartment complex in the next six months. Be sure to ask the Builder’s representative what the future plans are so you can make sure you are selecting the right neighborhood for you and your family.
  4. Not speaking up or asking questions.
    Sometimes speaking up or asking questions can be difficult, but it is key that you do this. If you have questions at any stage in the process, from contract to closing to warranty, you need to be sure to ASK. There are no silly questions. Since you’ve never built a new home you may not know what that “doohickey” in the attic is or if that “doodad” is covered under warranty, so you need to ask. Your agent and the Builder’s representative are there to answer those questions for you.
  5. Going overboard with upgrades.
    Remember that model home you fell in love with? There is a high chance that that home was heavily upgraded. So when you go to your selections appointment you should go with a budget in mind. You’ll need to weigh the cost of getting everything you want versus having just the options you really want and staying within your budget. Some upgrades can pay off in the long run, like upgraded carpet padding as it can extend the life of your carpet. However, you should also consider the resale value when doing your upgrades. The average first-time homebuyer usually lives in their home for 11 years before selling. You may have always dreamed of lavender countertops in your master bathroom, but when you go to resale your home that might be a turn off for potential buyers. Maybe lavender on your walls could be a nice compromise.

There is no better feeling than the profound pride that comes with owning your first home. And just imagine if your new home is brand new. So avoiding these five common mistakes first-time homeowners make with new construction can lead to making the right home buying decision for you and your family.

McKee Homes, North Carolina’s #1 Choice for New 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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5 Things To Do To Improve Your Credit Score Before Buying a New Home

The home buying process begins long before your start looking at new home listings online. One of the first steps in the home buying process is getting a handle on your finances and understanding your credit. Here are five things to do to improve your credit score before buying a new home.

5 Things to do to Improve Your Credit Score

  1. Know what’s on your credit report.
    When was the last time you checked your credit report? If it hasn’t been in the last year, then you could be missing something that could be hurting your credit score. Every year, you can get your credit report, for free, from TransUnion, Equifax and Experian by going to annualcreditreport.com. While this doesn’t provide you with your credit score, it does show you what the lenders see.
  1. Identify and fix any errors.
    Once you’ve reviewed your credit report with a fine-toothed comb, you need to start fixing any errors. On each of the credit bureau websites there are step-by-step instructions on how to dispute errors, and your credit report will have instructions as well. When contacting the credit bureaus, keep detailed notes on what you submit to them and copies of any documents.
  1. Always be on time.
    It may seem like commonsense but if you’re looking to increase your credit score pay your bills on time every month and don’t miss a payment. Paying more than the minimum balance, even if it’s just a little more, looks good to the lenders. It also helps you pay your bills off faster.
  1. Pay off your credit cards, but don’t close them.
    Paying off your credit cards is a great way to lower your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio. Every lender has different standards for DTI ratios, but according to Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a DTI of 43% is, in many cases, the highest ratio a borrower can have and still qualify for a mortgage.
  1. Be smart with new and old lines of credit.
    If you are under contract to buy a new home, opening up new lines of credit or making any large charges on your current credit card can negatively alter your DTI. This makes you look risky to lenders. If you are building a new home, it can sometimes be a six-month or longer process, so be sure to plan ahead. It is recommended to wait until after closing to buy a new car, new furniture or book that all-inclusive vacation. If you have any thing that comes up before closing consult your lender. While not opening new lines of credit is important, keeping old lines of credit open is advised. These old lines of credit show your credit history and closing them could change your DTI for the worse.

Source: Forbes.com; HGTV.com

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Should A Veteran Always Use A VA Loan?

The VA loan program is a great benefit for veterans and with 21 million VA home loans it seems like a no-brainer that veterans would take advantage of this benefit. But should a veteran always use a VA loan? The answer is no, but let me explain.

There are many reasons to use the VA loan program. One of the biggest perks of this program is the no down payment. The VA does not issue the loans but they are guaranteed by the government which gives lenders confidence in issuing the loans.

  • You don’t have to have a down payment as long as your loan doesn’t exceed $417,000.
  • Lower closing costs as the VA restricts the types of closing costs a veteran can pay.
  • No monthly mortgage insurance premiums like you find with other loan programs.
  • VA loans also allow for those with higher debt ratios and lower credit scores to qualify for loans.

Now all this may make you wonder, well why wouldn’t I want to use a VA loan? Well there are a few things that may make you consider not using a VA loan.

  • If you’re buying a fixer-upper home, you won’t be able to use a VA loan as they are mainly for “move-in ready” homes.
  • While you can reuse a VA loan, you can’t get another VA loan before you pay the other one off.
  • If the home you’re buying isn’t going to be your primary residence then you’ll need to consider another loan program.
  • There is a limit on VA loan co-borrowers who are not a spouse or another veteran.
  • If you have a 20% or larger down payment it may be wise to consider not using a VA loan to avoid the VA funding fee.

So when you start your home search it would be a good idea to check into all of your home loan options. Knowing what’s available to you can save you time and money, and even if you are a veteran, you may not always want to use a VA loan.

Source: Marketwatch.com; VeteransUnited.com; Military.com

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Should I Buy a New Home Now or Later?

If you’re like many people, you may be asking yourself should I buy a new home now or later? While there are many things to consider when asking this question, here are a few things to get you started:

  • Are you in a good place financially?
  • Are you ready to be your own landlord?
  • Are you committed to staying in one place?

If you answered yes to these questions then you may be ready to buy a home. The next question you may ask yourself is should I buy now or later? With interest rates still at all time lows, that may sway your opinion. Maybe, knowing that Freddie Mac predicts that by January 2017 interest rates will rise to 4.5% or that CoreLogic predicts that home prices will increase by 5.5% over the next year may help make your decision to begin the home search now. If you wait until next year, that $250,000 budget you have would need to increase by $13,750 to get the same home.

Should I Buy a New Home Now or Later

If you have questions about the home buying process or what McKee Homes has to offer, contact us today and we would be happy to answer your questions.

Additional Source: Forbes.com

 

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Laminate Floors vs. Engineered Hardwood Floors

Laminate flooring is fast becoming a popular choice over engineered hardwood floors for homeowners across North America because of its durability and cost effectiveness, both important aspects to consider in today’s economy. Laminate is also more environmentally friendly and easy to install.

The core of laminate flooring is made of highly pressurized wood fibers, agricultural waste and resin. A decorative paper is added to the surface and covered with a durable melamine resin. The special backing creates a moisture barrier, making it the ideal flooring choice for kitchens, bathrooms and basements.

Laminate typically has three rating levels, based on the use of the room it will be installed in. Low-use laminate is perfect for the bedroom or similar rooms that have low traffic. Average-use is made for the rooms that the whole family frequents, but where the flooring wouldn’t receive as much abuse, such as living rooms and dining rooms. High-traffic laminate is designed for just that, heavy traffic. This rating is ideal for rooms where durability is most important, such as kitchens, bathrooms and utility rooms.

Many people look to solid hardwood because of its natural beauty and use of all natural materials. This type of flooring is comprised of solid pieces of wood, but homeowners may want to consider which room they are planning to place it in. Solid hardwood floors do not hold up to water and moisture well. When placed in a high humidity environment, the boards will warp and buckle over time. Homeowners should check to see if the materials were obtained in a sustainable forest in order to maintain an environmentally friendly project.

Although engineered hardwood is made similar to laminate (with a high density core), its top layer consists of a thin piece of natural wood covered by several layers of veneer. Both engineered hardwood and laminate flooring are comparable in durability, but there’s a distinct difference in price-point. Laminate varies in price from $1-$6 per square foot whereas engineered hardwood costs anywhere from $5-$15 per square foot, depending on the finish and type of wood. That’s a considerable difference especially if you’re planning to cover hundreds of square feet.

Thanks to today’s technological advances, laminate flooring has come a long way from the boring designs and feel of the 1980s. Homeowners can now enjoy a floor that looks, feels and sounds like real wood without having to empty their wallet.

Source: http://www.house-energy.com/Floors/Laminate.htm ; http://cleanmyspace.com/hardwood-vs-laminate-vs-engineered-hardwood-floors-whats-the-difference/

As a Buyer, How do I Pay my Real Estate Agent?

When most people begin their home search, they typically enlist the assistance of a real estate agent. With everything an agent does for the buyer, many buyers ask how do I pay my agent? Typically, the seller pays agent’s commission as it comes out of the sales prices of the home.

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A real estate agent does many things for their buyers on new construction homes, including explaining and negotiating the contract, attending the selections appointment and construction orientations, communicating with the Builder on the progress of the home and attending closing. They can also suggest mortgage lenders and home insurance companies. So with everything they do to benefit you, the buyer, it’s important to understand their commission.

The seller makes an agreement with the listing agent on what the commission will be. That amount is added into the sales price of the home. A typical commission can be between 5%-6%. If the seller is offering a total of 6%, the list side will get 3%, and the listing side will offer the buyer’s agent 3% commission to bring a buyer to their listing. If the list agent brings a buyer to their listing directly without a buyer’s agent bringing the buyer, it is called dual agency, the list agent will now get paid a 6% commission as they are representing both the seller and buyer.

For example:

The home you’re purchasing is $200,000 and the commission rate is 6%. ($200,000 house price X 0.06 = $12,000) The agent split can vary, it could be 60% to the agent and 40% to the firm, or it could be 50/50, 60/40, 70/30 or whatever the firm and agent agreed upon. In a 60/40 split, the commission breakdowns would be:

Dual Agent Example

  • Agent: $7,200 (office fees are taken out of this commission)
  • List Firm: $4,800

Buyer Agent and List Agent Example

  • Buyer Agent: $3,600 (plus office fees)
  • Buyer Agent Firm: $2,400
  • List Agent: $3,600 (plus office fees)
  • List Agent Firm: $2,400

Real estate agents make their money from the commission of the sale. So you, the buyer, won’t have any upfront fees while working with your agent.