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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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How McKee Homes Gives Back to North Carolina Communities

McKee Homes gives back to various charities throughout NC, including the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, Kids Peace Foster Care Agency, Fayetteville Urban Ministry and Cape Fear Guardian Ad Litem Association, among others. The company is truly known in the industry for its passion to not only build homes but build communities, too.

As part of our dedication to the community, McKee Homes also provides a yearly stipend to each employee to support a cause of their choice. Today, we are highlighting a few committed employees who are making an impact in their very own community, with the financial support of McKee Homes.

We thank our employees for all they do to better the communities around us.

MARK HILL: Builder (President of Parkton Youth Association)

NON-PROFIT/CAUSE:

Parkton Youth Association , a non-profit dedicated to giving children a safe place to have fun and play sports.

WHO DO YOU SERVE AND WHAT DOES THE MONEY GO TOWARDS?

“The activities that we offer build character, friendship and team building—memories they will take throughout their life. Again, thank you Pat and Julie for continuing to make a child’s activity a lifetime event. God bless McKee Homes.

Because of this organization, our 1 through 4th grade cheerleaders just placed first place in the Southeast Region Cheerleading Competition. These kids are truly amazing.”

SHANE MCCLEOD: Area Construction Manager, Southern Pines & Fayetteville, NC

NON-PROFIT/CAUSE:

Carolina Freedom Baseball, an organization based in Fuquay-Varina, NC. The goal of this non-profit is to teach the game properly so that each player will develop the skills and ability to play baseball at a high level. Additionally, the hope is to aid the players in developing a strong foundation in baseball, work ethic, and teamwork that will not only serve them well on the field, but also in life.

WHO DO YOU SERVE AND WHAT DOES THE MONEY GO TOWARDS?

We serve 12 & under boys and were able to outfit the entire team with new helmets.

The idea of this non-profit is to use baseball as a way of teaching young men about life. Baseball is a game of failure and life is too sometimes. We teach them about hard work and how you keep getting up and trying.

I have a son on each team, so this was a cool moment.”

RACHEL MCMORROW: Marketing Coordinator

NON-PROFIT/CAUSE:

The Apex Fun Run for Johnston Charter Academy in Clayton, NC

WHO DO THEY SERVE AND WHAT DID THE MONEY GO TOWARDS?

The Apex Fun Run was a fundraising event to support Johnston Charter Academy. The event encourages children to raise money for a good cause and help them understand the meaning of supporting their school, teachers and fellow classmates.

The organization’s mission:

To collaborate with school PTO/As and faculty to build student leaders through a meaningful, “hassle-free” and financially successful school fun run.

We Believe

  • Every child can change their school, and the world, in a profound way
  • Serving others brings the greatest joy and contributes to the greatest good
  • Learning by doing and exercise are both undervalued and underutilized in fundraising today
  • Encouragement and enthusiasm build others up—we will help build leaders
  • Raising money for your child’s school can also serve as a positive learning experience
  • Many people giving a little reduces the individual burden on the typical givers and donors

DIANA DELPONTE: New Homes Sales Consultant, Wilmington NC

NON-PROFIT/CAUSE:

Coastal Horizons Center, an organization that advocates for healthier lives and safer communities by providing a continuum of quality, professional services for prevention, crisis intervention, sexual assault victims, criminal justice alternatives, mental health and substance use disorder treatment services.

WHO DO YOU SERVE AND WHAT DOES THE MONEY GO TOWARDS?

“The money helps support the annual event, Coastal Duck Derby, which benefits the Open House Youth Shelter & Crisis Intervention Services of Coastal Horizons Center, a 501(c)(3) charity. In addition to meeting the basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter, Open House encourages youths’ personal growth through counseling services, vocational/educational, and life skill building.”

MORE INFO ON HOW MCKEE HOMES’ SUPPORTS THEIR CORE CHARITIES

WALK TO END ALZHEIMER’S – EASTERN NC

McKee Homes is the Platinum Sponsor for each Walk to End Alzheimer’s in the Fayetteville, Raleigh and Wilmington areas, and the Presenting Sponsor for the Moore County Walk.

KIDS PEACE FOSTER CARE AGENCY

McKee Homes is the Love Sponsor for the Kids Peace Annual Chair-i-table Auction, an event that raises money to support hundreds of children in foster care in the Greater Cumberland County and surrounding areas.

FAYETTEVILLE URBAN MINISTRY

McKee Homes supports the Fayetteville Urban Ministry through their annual Duck Derby, Boss Toss Challenge, food drives, and special projects.

CAPE FEAR GUARDIAN AD LITEM ASSOCIATION

McKee Homes supports the Cape Fear Guardian Ad Litem Association, which helps abused, neglected, and dependent children in the state court system find safe, forever homes.

 

Are you interested in supporting these causes and/or communities throughout North Carolina, too? We would love to partner with you to give back. Please reach out via the form below to get involved.

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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 😉

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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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8 Easy Ways to Naturally Detoxify Your Home

Our homes are meant to make us feel safe, happy and healthy. To keep it that way, it’s important to know how to detoxify your home from certain toxins, germs and other hazardous substances that can have adverse health effects on your family.

Unfortunately, the sad truth is that your home can have upwards of 500 various chemicals trapped inside its sealed-up, insulated walls. Furthermore, the air inside your home is estimated to be 2-5 times more polluted than outdoor air (yikes!). Given these facts, more and more serious conditions are being linked to environmental toxins – autoimmune and reproductive disorders, just to name a few.

So, you’ve installed a filtered fresh air intake system to improve the air quality in your home, tested your tap water for lead and routinely changed your HVAC air filters. Give yourself a pat on the back … this is a good start!

The question is: what else can you do to be proactively keep your family healthy and safe?

Try these easy, all-natural steps to instantly make your home healthier.

Use all-natural cleaners

Replace harsh cleaners and poisonous chemicals with mother nature’s homemade alternatives.

    • Wooden Cutting Boards & Surfaces: Lemon and Salt
      Cut a lemon in half horizontally. Sprinkle the wooden surface with coarse salt. Scrub the surface using the lemon, squeezing slightly as you scour the surface to release the lemon juice. Let it sit for 5 minutes, then rinse with a clean wet sponge.
    • All Purpose Cleaner: Dissolve 4 tablespoons baking soda in 1 liter of warm water.
    • Drain and Burnt Pots and Pans Cleaner: Baking soda and vinegar. It’s a proven fact that the combination of baking soda and vinegar can pretty much clean anything.
      • To clean the drain: Pour a half-cup baking soda down the drain. Add a half-cup white vinegar. Cover and wait five minutes. Rinse drain with a full pot of boiling water.
      • To clean burnt pots and pans: In a burnt pan, bring 1 cup water and 1 cup vinegar to a boil. Once boiling, remove it from the heat and add 2 tablespoons of baking soda. When the mixture stops fizzing, empty the pan and scrub with a rough sponge. For any tough spots, add additional baking soda. Rinse.
    • Kitchen sink: Baking soda and rubbing alcohol
      Baking soda works well on stainless steel surfaces as it’s abrasive enough to scrub away hard water deposits and stuck-on food and grease, but not too harsh as to scratch shiny stainless surfaces. To create the mix, combine baking soda with a bit of water or rubbing alcohol until a paste forms. Cover your sink with the paste, scrub, rinse and enjoy the sparkle!
    • Oven Cleaner: Water and salt
      Mix water and three tablespoons of salt in a spray bottle. Spray the spills and scrape them away once the oven has cooled.
    • Toilet Bowl Cleaner: Lemon juice and borax
      Make a paste with lemon juice and borax. Apply the paste to the toilet bowl, let set for two hours, then brush and rinse.

No shoe policy

Shoes bring in contaminants from outside, including soil, that in many cases, still contains lead compounds.

No artificial air fresheners

Health experts preach that plug-in air fresheners use of phthalates (air polluting chemicals) that can cause harmful side effects, like asthma and allergic symptoms. Essential oil diffusers are a great alternative and smell just as delicious.Beware that phthalates are also used to soften plastics in children’s toys and as sealants and adhesives in nail polish – likely consumer products you already have around your home.

Use untreated fabrics

Man-made fabrics, like acrylic, polyester, rayon, acetate, and nylon are treated with thousands of harmful toxic chemicals during production. Stain-resistant surfaces as found on furniture and flame-retardant clothing, including children’s pajamas, have volatile organic compounds (VOCs), like formaldehyde.Stick to shopping for fabrics that are good for your skin, such as bamboo, wool, synthetic fabrics, vintage clothing and wrinkle-resistant apparel.

Beware of mold

When your kids are coughing or wheezing, it’s likely due to mold spores in your home versus the pollen outside. Mold flourishes where there is too much moisture in the air. Make sure there aren’t roof leaks or dripping faucets and that any space heaters, furnaces or fireplaces are properly calibrated and well-vented. To keep humidity under control, try a dehumidifier that keeps the relative humidity below 50%.

Ditch the chlorine

Although chlorine is an effective germ killer, it increases the risk of coronary heart disease and has been linked to linked to cancers, specifically bladder and rectal.Since chlorine is lurking in your tap water, try a kitchen faucet with an activated charcoal water filter and a similar showerhead filter to minimize the chlorine-containing compounds you inhale during a hot shower.

Be mindful of germs

    • Wash your hands after every meal and trip to the bathroom.
    • Try not to touch your hands to your mouth or eyes.
    • Use disinfectant sprays on doorknobs and other frequent touch points.
    • Use a dry toothbrush. Many viruses, including those that cause the flu, can survive for more than 24 hours on moist bristles. Alternate between a few brushes so you’re always using a dry toothbrush.
    • Replace sponges weekly. Kitchen sponges are breeding grounds for bacteria and can easily transfer food-borne bugs, such as salmonella and campylobacter, from countertops and cutting boards to dishes and cookware. The rule of thumb is to change your sponge weekly and make sure you air-dry it between uses.

Watch out for lead

Most of us think that lead isn’t an issue in a home anymore. Think again. The toxic metal can still be found in tap water, old paint, newspaper ink, as well as topsoil that remains highly contaminated due to the fallout of automobile exhaust that ran on leaded gas years ago.

 

To detoxify your home, the first step is awareness. If you’re reading this article, we’re guessing you’re ready to make the necessary changes. Check! ☑ The next step is implementation. Luckily, these easy, all-natural, non-toxic home cleaning remedies should have you worrying less about your family’s health and enjoying more memories together in your home.

Let us know how these DIY cleaning hacks work for you!

all natural cleaning hacks