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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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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!