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McKee Homes Wins Prestigious Homebuilding Awards

In April of this year, Epcon Communities, a national homebuilding leader, awarded McKee with prestigious homebuilding awards, including Best Philanthropic Outreach Event and Construction Project Manager of the Year.

Epcon Communities, a nationally-acclaimed franchise homebuilder, presented the awards to McKee at the 2020 National Conference, Opportunity Unleashed, held in April. Seasoned Builder, Mark Powell, was the recipient of the ‘Construction Manager of the Year’ and the company as a whole won ‘Best Philanthropic Outreach Event’ for its charitable work with the Alzheimer’s Association of Eastern North Carolina. The Epcon® Communities’ annual awards are granted only to the homebuilding industry’s most notable players.

As a long-standing Franchise Builder for Epcon® Communities, McKee Homes is proud to build the Epcon portfolio of homes designed specifically for low-maintenance, one-story living. Each Epcon floor plan is thoughtfully laid out with wider doorways, no steps to the outdoors, resort-style back courtyards and unique, upscale features that come included in each home. McKee also offers a Bungalow elevation that adds a versatile second-story bonus room with full bath and optional kitchenette for extra guest, entertainment or storage space.

“We are so proud to be recognized by a group of our peers at Epcon® Communities for the Best Philanthropic Outreach Event of the Year. Giving back to our communities is who we are and an integral part of our company culture,” said Julie Russo, Vice President of Community Involvement and Co-Owner of McKee Homes. “Every year, McKee Homes is a major sponsor of the Alzheimer’s Association’s annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s in each of the regions we build.  The first-ever Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Fayetteville, NC was held at our Cottages at North Ramsey Epcon Community! Our support for the Alzheimer’s Association extends even further as we donate a percentage of every home to the Joe McKee Memorial Alzheimer’s Fund in honor of Pat’s Dad. It takes a village to make a difference though, and we commend all Epcon franchisees who do a great job serving the people and the communities where they build and work.”

“Winning this award for ‘Project Manager of the Year’ means so much to me. I work extremely hard to build the best home that I can. I believe in building each and every home like I was building it for my own family. It’s nice to be recognized by my peers and am very honored to have been selected,” says Mark Powell, Raleigh-based McKee Homes Builder. He goes on to praise the Epcon product line, “I’m so passionate about building the unique Epcon floor plans. At this point in my career, it’s really nice to be able to build homes that embody a design I really love.”

McKee Homes has a wide array of Epcon® Communities throughout the Raleigh, Southern Pines, Fayetteville and Wilmington areas, including Evergreen at Flowers Plantation (Clayton, NC), Mid South Club (Southern Pines), Cottages at North Ramsey (Fayetteville) and just-opened neighborhoods, Bellaport and Courtyards at Mallory Retreat (Wilmington, NC). Scott’s Hill in Wilmington and High Ridge in Fuquay Varina will soon feature Epcon-style homes starting Summer of 2020. McKee is the first-ever homebuilder to bring the Epcon blueprint to Wilmington, NC.

With a specific demographic Epcon Homes appeals to, McKee Homes recognizes the unique and valuable position Epcon has in the housing market. As the company continues to grow at rapid speed, McKee will be persistent in adding to its existing Epcon neighborhoods in the near future.

Homebuilding Awards: 2019 Epcon Awards

 

About McKee Homes
McKee Homes, one of North Carolina’s fastest growing homebuilders, has began developing new home communities in Fayetteville/Fort Bragg and Moore County in 2010. Since then, we have expanded our housing footprint in the Research Triangle and Wilmington metro areas. As a locally- and family-owned business that believes in the power of doing the right thing for its customers, vendors, employees and community, we are involved in several local and national charities, and donate a percentage of every new home sale to support Alzheimer’s care and research. Giving back is our mantra and is why we focus not only on building homes, but communities too.

About Epcon® Communities
Headquartered in Dublin, Ohio, Epcon is one of America’s largest home builders (Builder Magazine, 2018). Epcon has integrated smart, innovative designs with the most desirable modern amenities to appeal to the lifestyle of the 55+ home buyer for more than 30 years. By leveraging its proven designs, technology, marketing and sales resources, Epcon Franchise Builders are given a competitive advantage to build smarter, maximize potential and scale faster.

 

For more information on McKee Homes and its communities, please visit www.McKeeHomesNC.com, call or text (910) 672-7296 or fill out the short form below. For a complete list of Epcon® Communities 2019 Award Winners, click here.

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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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‘Before and After’ of Building A Home in 82 Days

We’ve all seen the ‘before and after’ of building a home on Instagram or HGTV, but do you ever wonder what happens on a daily basis to make a home buyer’s dream house a reality? If so, you’re in luck.

We’re giving you real, behind-the-scenes footage of building our brand-new model home in Mid South Club, a beautiful, gated, golf course community nestled in the charming town of Southern Pines, NC. From laying the foundation to final photography, you’re about to witness a specially-designed Winston Craftsman floor plan come to life in just 82 days (a pretty big feat for any home builder!).

Israel Demus, head builder for the Southern Pines region, oversaw this project from start to finish. Although his original goal for this new home construction was 77 days, all new home build’s run the risk of falling behind schedule due to unforeseen hiccups, like weather, issues with sub-contractors or delayed permits. One of the most important aspects of keeping a home build on track is managing the trade partners in the field. Each step of the home-building process is crucial, and if one piece of the puzzle is missing, it can derail the entire timeline. Luckily for us, our trade partners made this goal attainable (thanks to you all!).

“This was an extremely exciting opportunity presented to me to show our trade partners we appreciate all of their daily efforts. The trades were excited about this project as much as the rest of the McKee team. In the end, we have this greatly built home that we can reflect on of all our efforts.” – Israel Demus, Head Builder

ABOUT MID SOUTH CLUB: SOUTHERN PINES, NC
The private, gated community of Mid South Club in Southern Pines, NC, near Pinehurst, is a gorgeous, upscale neighborhood that meets the wants and needs of those looking for all the amenities of resort-style country club living. You’ll enjoy a newly remodeled clubhouse, pool, tennis courts, driving range, golf course, walking trails and 24-7 security. Each home features a designer kitchen with large chef-like island and eating bar, granite countertops, exquisite tiered cabinets and crown molding and state-of-the-art stainless steel appliances. As Pinehurst is a golf mecca in North Carolina, golf fanatics will get one of the best golf courses in the area at Mid South Club.

If you decided Mid South Club was the perfect living location for you and your family, you’d have a variety of floor plans in the Mid South Club – Palmer’s Preserve neighborhood to choose from, including:

The Clark (Craftsman and European):

The Beaufort (Craftsman and European):

The Brooks (Craftsman and European):

The Biltmore II (Craftsman and European):

The Winston (Craftsman and European):

If you’re looking for more low-maintenance living, feel free to explore our Eagle Point neighborhood within Mid South Club. This community features homes from our EPCON portfolio of floor plans specially designed on a one-story foundation, in which you’ll glide through wider interior doorways, relax on a country club style private courtyard and never worry about stairs from the outside.

Have questions about the ‘before and after’ of building a home or the home buying process in general? Fill out the form below and one of our New Home specialists will be in touch shortly!

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16 Ways to Lower Your Energy Bill

Do you know that you can lower your energy bill by as much as 25% with only minimal tweaks to your everyday use? With the heat pumping on overdrive, the winter months can make the cost of your utilities skyrocket. That’s why we’re giving you our top 16 tips to lower your energy bill, from lighting, water, heating and cooling, and everything in between.

Heating and cooling

Home heating and cooling are 10 of the biggest culprits behind hefty utility bills — and the best places to look for cost-cutting opportunities.

  1. Watch your thermostat. When you’re asleep or away from home, set your thermostat back 10 degrees. You can cut your annual heat and cooling costs by an estimated 10% by doing this for just eight hours. You may also want to think about upgrading from a conventional to an energy-efficient smart thermostat, which can save you up to 12% on heating and 15% on cooling. They can also adapt to your temperature preferences and adjust your settings depending on when you’re home and when you’re away.
  2. Check seals on windows, doors and appliances: Make sure your fridge and freezer are well sealed to keep the cold air where it belongs. Same goes for your doors and windows. A bad seal allows energy to seep out, draining your wallet in the process. Also consider installing Low-E windows (one of McKee Homes staple energy-saving home features). Low-E windows help save energy by reflecting harmful UV rays from the outside of the home and reflecting radiant heat back into the room. This keeps the home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.
  3. Repair leaky heating ventilation and air conditioning ducts: If the ducts are poorly sealed or insulated, they are likely hiking up your energy bill significantly. Ducts that leak heated air into unheated spaces are known to increase your heating and cooling bill by hundreds of dollars over the course of a year.

    What’s the purpose of the ducts? As one of the most important systems in your home, they carry the air from your home’s furnace or heat pump and central air conditioner to rooms throughout your house.Insulate or seal ducts, a very cost-effective process, in order to increase your system’s efficiency.

  4. Give your thermostat a nudge: Set your thermostat back 10 to 15 degrees when you’re asleep or away from home. Doing so for eight hours can lower your annual heating and cooling costs by around 10%. A programmable thermostat will do the work for you.
  5. Adjust your fridge and freezer temperature: To make your refrigerator and freezer work less hard to maintain the internal temperature, set your fridge temp to 38 degrees and your freezer to 5 degrees. And don’t worry, your food will still stay fresh at these temperatures.

Water

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, hot water use comes in second on the list of highest utility expense. Try cutting back your hot water usage in the following ways:

  1. Stick to warm or cold water when doing laundry
  2. Cut 2 minutes of your shower: Just this little amount can trim your water usage by 10 gallons a month.
  3. Install an efficient shower head: The Environmental Protection Agency says to look for one with the WaterSense label, which can reduce your water usage by close to 3,000 gallons a year.
  4. Be mindful of leaky faucets: Although the drip is slow, it adds up.
  5. Use energyefficient appliances: Buy energy efficient versions of the appliances you use most often: refrigerator, washer, dishwasher and water heater, for long-term savings. A normal dishwater uses 10+ gallons of water during one cycle compared to the new Energy Star label dishwashers that only allow 6 gallons at most to run.
  6. Adjust temperature of water heater: Lower your water heater temperate to 120 degrees (only 20 degrees lower than normal) to reduce your water heating costs by 10% or more. Remember to turn your water heater to the lowest setting when you’re away from home to max out your savings.

Power and lighting

Allowing lights and electronics to run accounts for an estimated 12% of a household’s energy bill.

  1. Educate yourself analyze your home energy usage graphs provided with your monthly bill. Becoming aware of your energy sucks can help you make alterations going forward.
  2. Get an energy audit. On top of educating yourself, request an audit from your energy company. They’ll come out and conduct a thorough inspection, sometimes for free, to identify ways for you to conserve energy.
  3. Use LED bulbs: Using bulbs with the Energy Star seal can save you upwards of $75 per year.
  4. Replace your power strips with smart power strips: Power strips never truly turn off so they are sucking power continuously! By using a smart power strip, the current is cut off to plugged-in electronics when not in use.
  5. Use light dimmers: Set the mood and save electricity all at the same time! By lowering the brightness of your lights, you conserve usage, creating savings in the long run.

 

With these tips, we hope you can lower your energy bill so you can put those savings to more important things, like experiences with family or outfitting your brand-new McKee home 😉