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Buying A Home Online: The Digital Home Buying Process

Just because you have to stay at home during this time, doesn’t mean you should stop the pursuit of your dream home. The concept of buying a home online might be foreign to some, but if you’re in the market for a new home, NOW is still the time to buy (and we’re not saying that just because we’re in the home buying & building industry).

The fact is … home buyer purchasing power is at an all-time high with interest rates at the lowest they’ve been in a decade (and they are expected to decrease even more through May 2020)! If you want to explore this unique opportunity that doesn’t come around often, we’re here to help with buying a home online (or at least starting the process), utilizing our easy-to-use digital tools.

Whether you’re looking for already-built, quick move-in ready homes or available homesites that you can build a new home from the ground up, we’re ready to give you a customized new home buying experience from the comfort of your current home.

Sounds too good to be true, right?

Wrong. Let’s break down how this process would work …

Let McKee Homes bring your new home to you …


First, Do Your Homework: Research McKee Homes Neighborhoods & Homes

McKee Homes builds new homes across North Carolina, in markets such as Southern Pines, Fayetteville, Wilmington, Raleigh and surrounding areas. You can find information on all of our communities on McKeeHomesNC.com/Find-A-Home, where you can learn about available homes and homesites, our portfolio of floor plans and features, neighborhood amenities and more.

Since home shopping online can be overwhelming, we have a few digital tools that will help you get clear on exactly what you are looking for:

  • Interactive Design App: You have an idea in your head of what you want in a new home, but don’t know how to bring it to life? Use our Interactive Design App to pick your floor plan, exterior colors, upgrades and more! Designing your new home from the comfort of your couch has never been so easy.
  • 3D Virtual Tours: Walk every single one of our floor plans as if you were in the home, right from your computer. Our interactive video tours allow you to walk through every room in the house with a click of the mouse, so you can experience the floor plan and special details for yourself.
  • Photo Galleries: Professional real estate photographers have captured every detail of each floor plan, which are showcased on our website. We also share photo galleries that feature design ideas for your future kitchen and bathrooms to inspire your inner designer and help you get a feel for what you’d like in your own home.


Try to visualize the long-term picture: an investment today will increase savings in the long run.

We can’t stress this enough … now is the time to buy. Interest rates are at a historic low and are enabling new homeowners to get more house for less at a lower monthly mortgage payment. Long-term this means saving more money for college tuitions, family vacations and retirement.


McKee Homes is here you for you, virtually, every step of the way!

McKee has always offered ways to facilitate the homebuying process electronically – including home tours via video chat, electronic purchase agreements, secure payment process for deposits and text, phone and email correspondence with our Builders, Design Consultants and New Home Sales Agents. Although nothing replaces the joy we get from face-to-face interaction with our new home buyers, we’re happy to be able to offer these virtual capabilities at a time like this. McKee allows homebuyers to tour their future homes virtually (or through a private 1:1 scheduled appointment), ask questions with our sales consultants and loan offers, sign a contract, pay deposits, pick design selections and do final walk-throughs of their homes from the comfort of their current homes. Go To Meeting, Zoom, FaceTime, Skype, Houseparty … you pick! We’ve used all of the virtual technologies and are happy to conduct a virtual home tour with your online video chat of choice.

At the end of the day, our sole mission is to match your family with a new home or homesite as quickly, easily and safely as possible. So, we’re here, virtually, ready when you are.

Have peace of mind with our trusted lender, Vision Lending

Getting a home loan for building a new home is not hard, especially digitally. Through Vision Lending’s secure online hub and mobile app, you can get pre-qualified and start your application, calculate payments with a built-in mortgage calculator, view your progress, securely scan and upload documents and easily message your loan officers as you go. Access to our loan officers via text, phone and FaceTime is available, too!

 

Private 1:1 Home Appointments: Our homes are thoroughly cleaned, top to bottom!

Your safety is our top priority, above any home sale. We have gone above and beyond to ensure the sanitation and safety of our homes – hand sanitizers, face masks for builders and trades, additional cleaning measures and strict social distancing rules as recommended by the CDC. As of right now, we are operating “By Appointment Only” for in-person tours where you can schedule a 1:1 private home showing with one of our New Home Consultants. More popular as of right now are our LIVE video home tours that you can book and conduct from any computer or phone.

 

Our home buyers are part of the McKee Family and we take care of family members. Have the comfort of knowing that we are here and doing everything we can to meet your needs, even during these trying times. If you’re ready to take advantage of the low-interest rates or need to move quickly due to work or family, let us know how we can help make your new home dreams come to life!

Feel free to reach out to us on the phone at 910-672-7296 or fill out the short form below!

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Buy A New Home or Existing Home? Debunking Common New Home Construction Beliefs

When it comes to buying a house, the million dollar question is: Do you buy a new home or existing home?

Home buyers can be hesitant to build a new home over buying a home that’s being resold. However, this typically stems from fear of the unknown. Essentially, home buyers haven’t been equipped with all the facts when it comes to new home construction.

So we’re debunking popular common held beliefs when it comes to building a home vs. buying older real estate, so you can feel educated when making the right decision for you and your family.

THE ASSUMPTION THAT NEW CONSTRUCTION HOMES WILL EXCEED YOUR BUDGET
The main factor driving a home buyer’s choice between new home construction and an existing home is price point. Home buyers automatically assume that building a new home will exceed their budget.

However, there are a few contingencies that the home buyer should take into consideration:

  • Home Buyer Incentives: Unlike buying an existing home, home builders often offer lucrative incentives to help the home buyer up front. Incentives can include closing costs, upgrades, free appliances or other attractive offers that make the home more affordable and/or comfortable long-term.
  • Less Repair Costs: When home buyers build a new home, they are investing in the ease of a turnkey home, which often comes with fewer unexpected repairs than buyers of existing homes.
    • According to Zillow’s 2019 Consumer Housing Trends Report, more than 8 in 10 (83%) of existing home buyers say they repaired or renovated their homes within the first year of ownership.
    • More than half (54%) had to make a major repair or renovation within the first month of getting the keys.
    • Compared to new construction buyers: 48% of buyers who purchased a brand-new home in the past two years still haven’t had to make a single repair or renovation.

TIMING & HASSLE TO BUILD A HOME:
Home buyers think that buying a new home means the hassle of choosing a lot, picking designs and features and waiting for the home to be built. Although those reasons are why a lot of home buyers choose to build a new home, others need a more immediate solution for their family. Therefore, they think their only option is existing homes.

The reality is that more than half of a home builder’s inventory is quick, move-in ready homes. Meaning, these home are already built yet brand new and waiting for their forever family. The beauty of buying a quick, move-in ready home is that you get the newness of a home with the move-in timeline of an existing home. It’s a win/win!

To view our available quick, move-in homes, click here.

CONCERN ABOUT QUALITY OF CONSTRUCTION OR MATERIALS

According to Zillow, 26% of buyers who didn’t follow through with a new construction home had concerns about the quality of construction or building materials.

Over time, residential building codes and materials have significantly improved to ensure top-notch safety, design and construction of a new home.

Existing single-family homes, town homes and other real estate were likely built 10, 20, 30+ years prior to a home buyer purchase. Although the home likely sustained numerous updates throughout the aging of the home, in addition to quality inspections before closing on the home; a home buyer really never knows the state of an older home they are inheriting

HOME BUYERS THINK THAT SOME COSTS AND UPGRADES FOR NEW HOME CONSTRUCTION WEREN’T TRANSPARENT UNTIL THEY PURCHASED THE HOME

To be exact, 26% of home buyers who bought a new home in 2019 say that they did not understand the full breakdown of costs prior to building a new home.

We are unsure of the home cost transparency that’s afforded by other home builders; however we pride ourselves on handling the home buying process as if it were us buying the home.  Our New Home Sales Consultants provide price sheets and itemized personalization costs, as well as set clear expectations for the home buyer during model and showcase home walk-throughs. Costs and fees pertaining to lots, upgrades and everything in between, in addition to when each installment is due throughout the process is communicated from the beginning.

HOME BUYERS BELIEVE THAT THEY CAN’T GET THE SAME “CHARM” THAT COMES WITH AN OLDER STYLE HOME

The good news is with a new home build, you get to make your new home what you want! With a variety of floor plans, exterior colors and features, design selections, unique upgrades and more, you get to personalize each part of your home. The uniqueness you infuse into your new construction home will give it the exact “charm” you were envisioning.

Additionally, although your new home may not have the same look as an aged home, the communities we build in are mature and preserve a beautiful and homey feel.

HOME BUYERS FEEL THEY MAY BE OVERWHELMED BY THE UNKNOWN OF THE HOME BUILDING PROCESS

With any home builder, the New Home Specialist should create a road map for the home buyer that includes the following to help create transparency and trust and set expectations up front.

Home Building Process

  • Expected timeline
  • Cost breakdown
  • Design Studio Selections
  • Warranties
  • Home Owner Walk-Throughs and Orientation
  • Estimated Closing
  • …and everything in between.

In general, the home building process looks a lot like the below:

  1. Get a pre approval letter. Special incentives offered by using our preferred lender, Vision Lending.
  2. Pick a neighborhood
  3. Pick a floor plan, pick your structural options
  4. Pick from our available lots
  5. Sign the contract. We can conveniently send you our contract via email so you can sign from anywhere in the world.
  6. Pay builder deposit. We can also email you an invoice for your builder deposit to pay online. The builder deposit amount will vary depending on the sales price amount.
  7. Attend your design appointment within 2 weeks of signing your contract. We can also do a video call so you can design your home remotely. We can also email you an invoice if you want to add any additional items.
  8. Meet with the builder 4 times throughout your home build process.
  9. Sign your closing documents at the attorney’s office. Congratulations on your New Home purchase!
  10. Transfer utilities in your name
  11. Register with your neighborhood HOA for access to amenities
  12. Warranty will follow up. Our warranty team will be there for you with your 1 year builder warranty.

Throughout the home buying process, the home buyer should also have constant communication with either their New Home Specialist or their builder so they know where their home build stands at any given moment.

HOME BUYERS THINK THAT THE LOANS, SPECIFICALLY FOR NEW CONSTRUCTION, WILL BE A HASSLE OR CONFUSING

We offer our home buyers our preferred lender, Vision Lending. Our Vision Lending loan officers, Chung and Jason, will handle your mortgage pre-approval that will give you a realistic idea of your down payment and budget, and give you more negotiating power when you make an offer.

Our home buyers have a peace of mind through the process as our preferred lender goes above and beyond to hold their hands every step of the way.

So what do you think, should you buy a new home or existing home?

If you’re in the market for a new home and are trying to decide whether buying a new home or an existing home is right for you, we’d love to have a conversation with you. We’ll be happy to answer any questions about the home buying and home building process, so you feel like you have full clarity when it comes time to make an offer – on new home construction or older real estate.

Feel free to fill out the form below and one of our friendly and knowledgeable Online Home Specialists will be in touch with you shortly.

 

Our home buyers become family … thank you to all of our home owners for choosing McKee Homes!

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Top Reasons to Live in Wilmington, NC

From affordable seaside homes to a relaxed, yet active beach lifestyle, people across the country are discovering the lure of living on the North Carolina Coast. For those of you still pondering a move, we are highlighting the top reasons to live in Wilmington NC and surrounding areas.

DOG & BEER LOVER PARADISE:
Home to Wilmington are many dog-friendly establishments and walking trails as well as unique beer and wine shops, including Cape Fear Wine, Wilmington Brewing Company, Flytrap Brewing and Waterline Brewing Co.

PRISTINE COASTAL BEACHES:
Unlike most beach towns, Wilmington boasts an assortment of beaches close to one another, each with their own local flare. Choose from Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, Oak Island, Southport, Topsail Island and Masonboro Island. Whether you’re in the mood for boardwalks, fishing, swimming, sunbathing or nature walks, the Wilmington area has you covered.

SEASIDE LIVING THAT’S AFFORDABLE
Wilmington and Leland have been featured on the “Best Places to Live” lists for the last 10 years. Although Wilmington has seen a boom since 2015, both cities are still considered up-and-coming and thus are still very affordable compared to other coastal towns.

HEALTHY LIFESTYLE
The year-round warm climate and access to the water makes for a very active, healthy lifestyle. You’ll find locals outside enjoying nature around the clock, whether they’re running the Wrightsville Beach Loop, surfing, boating or paddle boarding on any body of water or enjoying a stroll on the waterfront Riverwalk in Downtown Wilmington.

WARMER CLIMATE YEAR-ROUND
The Wilmington weather is fairly mild throughout the year, allowing locals to escape the extreme temperatures of winter.

ELEGANT DINING ON THE WATER: (On the rivers, Intercoastal Waterway and Atlantic Ocean)
Smell the salty air or watch the sunset while noshing on fresh, local seafood atop terrific outdoor patios around the city. Bluewater Grill, Dockside, Pilot House Restaurant, Fish House Grill and Smoke on the Water are just a few local favorites.

TOURIST ATTRACTIONS
As a historical coastal town established in 1542, Wilmington has an array of captivating visitor attractions for kids and adults:

  • Battleship North Carolina: Envision what it was like for the crew during World War II aboard the Battleship North Carolina docked in Downtown Wilmington.
  • NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher: Discover aquatic wildlife at free daily dive shows and animal encounters. Explore more with behind-the-scenes tours, outdoor adventures and kid friendly camps. From touching stingrays and climbing the adventure reef to talking with expert shark divers and looking alligators in the eyes, there is something for everyone at Fort Fisher!
  • Tregembo Animal Park: Experience 100+ species of animals, including bears, tigers, lions, birds, reptiles and more.
  • Airlie Gardens: Airlie Gardens, a premiere garden of the coastal South, features 67 acres of walking paths, formal gardens, seasonal blooms, mighty live oaks, historic structures, and contemporary sculpture.
  • Poplar Grove Plantation: Tour the Manor and grounds at Poplar Grove, formerly a sweet potato and peanut plantation that’s one of the last remaining plantations open to the public in southeastern North Carolina.

DREAM HOMES AT AN AFFORABLE PRICE – FOR NOW!
As many are discovering the lure of Wilmington and surrounding growing communities, many are buying and/or building their dream homes now. Prices are predicted to skyrocket as people continue to discover this hidden gem of a coastal town.

As a longstanding home builder in Wilmington and surrounding areas, we have a variety of new and established neighborhoods throughout historic Wilmington and up-and-coming Leland. We have available homesites for you to choose the ideal location for your new home or you can choose from a plethora of quick move-in ready homes.

We build new homes in the following communities throughout Wilmington and Leland:

ESTABLISHED NEIGHBORHOODS:

Lanvale Forest (NEW PHASE SELLING!)
Lanvale Forest is nestled in the heart of north Brunswick County only minutes from Downtown Wilmington. The community offers a pool and pool/bath house, sidewalks and street lights. Leland is a new, up and coming area that gives residents the convenience of proximity to Wilmington while choosing from a variety of beaches in either Brunswick or New Hanover County. Enjoy Leland and it’s exciting activities such as, the annual Town of Leland Founder’s Day Celebration on the second Saturday of September at Founders Park.

Model Home: 4505 Combs Forest Court Leland, NC 28451
homes for sale in leland, nc

Clay Crossing (FINAL OPPORTUNITIES!)
A quaint twenty-one lot community perfectly situated off Darden Road between Middle Sound Loop Road and Wendover Lane in Wilmington.

Clay Crossing features our European elevation floor plans, giving the neighborhood a unique look. Just minutes from the intracoastal waterway, the new Ogden Market Place, local restaurants, Pages Creek Park Preserve, and beaches!

Clay Crossing is in the Ogden Elementary school district!

Model Home Address: 404 Middle Grove Ln at Darden Rd, Wilmington, NC 28411

New Homes in Leland NC

Cameron Trace
Cameron Trace is in a quiet, private part of Wilmington yet has easy access to I40 / College and N. Market offering privacy and convenience! There are several ponds in the community, the largest of which is over 3 acres. Cameron Trace will have approximately 120 single family homes. The exterior elevations will showcase the McKee Homes’ unique coastal characteristics and most homesites will allow for an optional 3rd car garage.

Model Home: 1621 Flushing Drive Wilmington, NC 28411

homes in wilmington nc

Hanover Reserve (NEW PHASE SELLING!)
Location and value are the biggest draws to Hanover Reserve. It offers the opportunity to be in Wilmington with easy access to everything in town, great beaches and parks.

Hanover Reserve is convenient to Ogden Park, one of Wilmington’s largest and most complete parks, with playgrounds, picnic areas, lighted playing fields and tennis courts, perfect for youth leagues.

Model Home: 1353 Eastbourne Drive Wilmington, NC 28411
buy a home in wilmington nc

NEW NEIGBHORHOODS

Bellaport
Bellaport is a new single family home community 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.

Model Home: 131 Bellaport Lane, Wilmington NC 28412

build a home in wilmington nc

Courtyards at Mallory Retreat
The Courtyards at Mallory Retreat is a new phase of the established Mallory Creek Plantation community in Brunswick County near Leland, 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 will showcase 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.

Address: Salter Path at Mallory Creek Drive, Leland, NC 28479

Homes in Leland NC

If you choose Wilmington as your new home, we look forward to calling you “neighbor” and welcoming you to town!

Whether you choose to buy a resale home or build a new home, we’re here to answer any questions about real estate in Wilmington, the home buying process in general and our available new homes in Wilmington and Leland. We know moving to a new city, like Wilmington, can be overwhelming and we’re happy to help ease the transition however we can!

Please feel free to reach out to one of our friendly and knowledgeable New Home Experts through the form below or call us 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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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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9 Tools Every First Time Homebuyer Should Have

You’ve purchased your first home and are getting settled, you get to start decorating and making it your own. Something you’ll quickly find you need are tools. There are a ton of tools out there, but here are the nine tools every first time homebuyer should have.

  1. Cordless Drill – This power tool will become your best friend. With its many uses you’ll find yourself using it for all your home projects. Cordless drills start around $40.
  2. Screwdriver Set – If you’re trying to tighten something or putting together new furniture, you’ll find yourself needing both flathead and a Phillips head screwdrivers in varying sizes. A 6-in-1 reversible screwdriver set start as low as $5.
  3. Combination Wrench Set – As you begin putting things together in your new home, you will find that you need to tighten and/or loosen nuts and bolts, so you’ll find yourself in need of wrenches. A set of combination wrenches can be found for around $14.
  4. Tape Measure – Whether you’re hanging pictures, measuring furniture or working on a project, a tape measure is a necessary tool for your toolbox. Don’t forget the old saying “measure twice, cut once.” A 30-foot tape measure starts at $14.
  5. Hammer – Whether you’re trying to hammer something into place or remove a nail from a wall, no toolbox is complete without a hammer. They range in cost, but start at about $5.
  6. Stud Finder – This is going to be an indispensable tool when you start hanging things on the walls or trying to do any in-wall projects. Stud finders start at about $15 each.
  7. Putty Knife – This tool will come in handy if you need to fill in holes on your walls. Putty knives on average are $4-$5 each.
  8. Level – Nothing is worse than a crocked picture or shelf and that’s when a level comes in handy. A two-foot level starts around $7.
  9. Ladder – While it won’t fit in your toolbox, this is an essential tool for your new home. Whether you’re cleaning out gutters, painting walls or hanging Christmas lights, you’ll find that you need a ladder. Type II fiberglass ladders start at $55.

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 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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Odd Shaped Window Covering Options

Moving into your new home is such an exciting time. Your new home is a blank canvas and you get to decide where to put everything and how to decorate it. As you start looking at your windows thinking about coverings, you see it…that odd shaped window. You think to yourself “how do I cover that window?”

There are all kinds of odd or specialty windows available: full circle, half circle, eyebrow, octagon, trapezoid and palladium to name a few. Specialty windows can add elegance and character to your home. Sometimes these windows are in places that it may not be critical to cover, like a hallway, a kitchen or the living room. However, when you have these in a bathroom or bedroom, you may be more apt to cover them.

There are several window treatments available depending on your tastes and intended uses. If you want to block but still be able to let light in when you want, you can use blinds. Blinds come in all shapes and sizes and can be ordered to fit the exact dimensions of your window. You can also use cellular shades that help filter light as well as keep out the heat and cold. Curtains can be an option as well. You can install a track that allows you to attach a curtain that you can still open and close. If you’re looking for an option that lets in light but doesn’t allow others to see into your home, self-adhesive window films may be what you’re looking for. These self-adhesive films come in a frosted or matte finish, etched with different designs or some come in colorful designs that can resemble stained glass.

So you may have wondered how you were going to cover that odd shaped window before, but now you know there are several options available that will fit exactly what you’re looking for.

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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