Best Budget Hotels in Wilmington, NC

Planning a trip to the largest historic city in North Carolina but are not sure where to stay? Whether you are visiting on vacation or are in town for a business trip, you just may find yourself wanting to stay! While you begin dreaming about new homes in Wilmington, NC, here are several suggestions for your upcoming short-term stay.

Types of Lodging
In addition to the numerous hotels and motels around town, there are many different types of lodging available. There are condos for rental, quaint guest rooms available by the night, and suites with full kitchens for those who want to eat in occasionally. Some hotels are located on the beach while others are conveniently placed in the historic downtown. Here are four budget-friendly hotels worth considering:

Ramada Inn Conference Center
This hotel offers standard rooms in a convenient location, with affordable and competitive rates. The room includes free breakfast, with an on-site restaurant if you want to stay in for lunch or dinner.

TownePlace Suites by Marriott
The TownePlace Suites by Marriott prides itself on being friendly and welcoming, the perfect base for your Cape Fear getaway. It offers competitive rates, even over holiday weekends, and each suite includes a full kitchen with a stovetop and refrigerator. The hotel is close to downtown and includes a 24-hour on-site business center.

Beach House Inn and Suites
Although located about twenty minutes from the city, the Beach House Inn and Suites might be worth considering! The property includes a variety of suites and oceanfront rooms, with easy access to sites and events in the area.

Riverview Suites at Water Street Center
Depending on when you are traveling, you may be able to get a decent rate at the Riverview’s affiliate, the Hilton Riverside. However, staying at the Riverview might be worth it thanks to its all-suites design, complete with full kitchens so you can prepare some of your own meals. Guests at either hotel can enjoy the fitness center, heated outdoor pool, and more.

A Word to the Wise
If you are traveling for vacation, you may want to consider staying at a bed and breakfast or in a vacation rental. However, these may be more costly than a hotel for a short-term stay. Do you have flexible travel dates? If you are looking for a place to stay on a budget, consider traveling during off-peak times. Hotel rates tend to rise during the summer tourist season, so try coming a few weeks before or after. With some competitive shopping, you should be able to find the perfect place to stay within your budget.

If you decide that coastal living is for you, contact McKee Homes for more information on new construction in Wilmington, NC. Our energy-efficient homes are expertly crafted and built in the area’s most attractive, up-and-coming neighborhoods. Let us help you find your dream home.

Top 5 Budget Hotels in Raleigh, NC

Are you looking at new homes in Raleigh, NC and need a place to stay for a few days? Or maybe you’ve moved out of your home while home builders in Raleigh, NC are renovating your living space. The Raleigh area has some great budget-friendly hotels for a comfortable stay. Some are even pet-friendly. Here are the Top 5 Budget Hotels in Raleigh, NC.

  1. Econo Lodge Inn and Suites
    Just a few minutes from the downtown area, off the I-440 and U.S. Highway 1, you will find the Econo Lodge. Convenient to the Convention and Conference Center, Alltel Pavilion and the North Carolina State Capitol Building, guests can enjoy free Internet access, coffee, deluxe continental breakfast and free local calls – perfect when you need to talk to your home builders in Raleigh, NC.
  2. Days Inn
    Great location, good value and free Wi-Fi are all on offer at Days Inn. Comfort and cost-savings are the key criteria here and the hotel boasts 135 pet-friendly rooms complete with all the usual amenities to make your stay feel like home-away-from-home. There are two restaurants adjacent to the property and a selection of museums nearby.
  3. America’s Best Value Inn-Crabtree/Raleigh
    Convenient location, attractive rooms and wallet-friendly prices attract guests to the three story hotel. There’s also a free deluxe continental breakfast, guest laundry and on-site fitness facilities. The hotel is situated close to the North Hills Mall and is the perfect base from which to explore Raleigh homes for sale.
  4. Super 8, Raleigh
    Free local calls, parking and free breakfast as well as pet-friendly rooms can be found at Super 8. All rooms have cable TVs, refrigerators, internet access, microwaves and work desks. Just 1 mile from the Crabtree Valley Mall, Super 8 is also close to the Exploris Museum, Convention Center and only 14 miles from Raleigh-Durham International Airport.
  5. Best Western
    If you want to stay somewhere a little more upscale without breaking the budget, try the Best Western. The hotel in North-Downtown sits in a prime location and offers guests free parking, breakfast and Wi-Fi. The three story hotel is pet-friendly and boasts premium cable, coin laundry and an outdoor pool to cool off in after a long day of looking for Raleigh homes for sale. The hotel is a quick 3 miles from many of the downtown attractions, including the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and the North Carolina Museum of Art. It also sits a mere five miles away from the Time Warner Pavilion at Walnut Creek as well as Crabtree Valley Mall. It is 15 miles from the Raleigh-Durham International Airport.

Being close to the best Raleigh has to offer doesn’t have to cost a fortune.

Staying in a budget-friendly hotel is one of the best ways to spend more time discovering the Raleigh, NC area while looking for new construction in Raleigh, NC.

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McKee Homes Warranty

One of the most common questions new homeowners have is ‘how do I submit warranty requests and schedule the work to be done?’ McKee Homes enrolls all new homeowners in our 2-10 Home Buyers Warranty program upon closing. This program provides 1-year workmanship, 2-year systems and 10-year structural coverage. In an effort to provide exceptional customer service we have partnered with 2-10 Home Buyers Warranty, one of the nation’s leading home warranty companies, to handle all homeowner warranty requests under their Front Line Warranty Service Program.

During your Pre-Closing orientation, your Builder will show you a sample McKee Homes homeowner’s manual and cover some of its key points. Shortly after closing, you will receive an email with login information for your BuilderTrend account. This is where your personalized homeowner’s manual will be located. Your homeowner’s manual provides a wealth of information, including:

  • 2-10 Home Buyer’s Warranty information and warranty manual
  • Emergency service numbers for plumbing, HVAC and electrical
  • Seasonal maintenance guide
  • 30-day and 11-month warranty service request forms

The 2-10 warranty manual explains what is covered under warranty and what is not covered, so it is a great reference tool. The emergency numbers are for the trade partners who helped build your home. If something happens with your electrical, HVAC or plumbing that needs immediate attention, you know whom to contact. The seasonal maintenance guides are informational and provide suggestions on how to help maintain your home and avoid costly repairs later on.

The warranty service request forms can be used to fill out at 30-day and 11-months after closing to address any issues you may find in your home. These forms are optional, as 2-10 Home Buyers Warranty will take your warranty items over the phone, through email, fax and mail. All contact information can be found in your homeowner’s manual. We do recommend keeping a running list so you can be sure to get all of your items addressed at one time. Once our Front Line Warranty Service team receives your warranty items they will determine what is covered and what is not covered. The items that are covered under warranty will be scheduled for repair with you by the Builder in your neighborhood. Our warranty system does not offer reminders at 30-day and 11-months after closing, so putting a reminder on a calendar may help remind you when it’s time to turn in the lists.

If you have a warranty issue with your appliances you will need to contact the appliance supplier directly. Their contact information can be found in your homeowner’s manual.

It is our goal to make sure any issues with your new home are resolved in a timely manner. From minor issues such as nail pops to more complex issues that occasionally occur, our 2-10 Home Buyer’s Warranty Program will protect your investment in your new home. Should you ever need to sell your home, the warranty is fully-transferable, which increases the resale value of the home.

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Maintaining Your Septic System

When you think about the maintenance of the systems in your home your first thoughts are probably HVAC, electrical and plumbing. However, one overlooked and undervalued system in your home is actually outside your home, the septic system. As with all the systems in your home, if you properly maintain your septic system you can avoid costly repairs.

First, understanding how a septic system works will help you maintain it. The wastewater from your home leaves through a pipe and goes to the septic tank. The waste separates into solid waste (sludge) that sinks to the bottom and oil and grease (scum) rises to the top. There are bacteria in the septic tank that helps to breakdown the sludge. The wastewater then exits the septic tank and goes into the drainage field. The wastewater is released into the soil which removes harmful bacteria, viruses and nutrients.

So one thing you have to watch is what you put down your drains (that goes into your septic tank). Everything that goes down your drains should be biodegradable and septic safe. Flushing things like dental floss, feminine products, paper towels, coffee grounds and other kitchen and bathroom products can clog the tank and drain field. Also, household chemicals, paint, oils and grease can kill the good bacteria in your septic tank. If you have a garbage disposal, you will want to use it sparingly as it will increase the accumulation of sludge and scum.

Another thing to be aware of when you have a septic system is how much water you are using. Per the EPA, the average single-home family uses 70 gallons of indoor water per person per day. Leaking faucets and running toilets can waste as much as 200 gallons per day. Faucet aerators and high efficiency toilets and showerheads can help reduce excess water usage. Many people like the convenience of washing all their laundry in one day, but with a septic system you need to give your tank time to recover. So it’s recommended to spread your washing, otherwise you risk flooding your drainage field.

Knowing where your septic tank and drainage field are is also very important. You don’t’ want to put anything heavy like a shed, parked car or RV, cement or pool in this area as it can damage the tank and pipes as well as compromise the drainage field. Another thing that can damage your septic system are large trees and shrubs. Roots, especially aggressive roots that come with Willows, can damage pipes and the tank.

Having your tank pumped regularly is part of proper maintenance. Professionals typically charge between $200-$300 for this service, however, it can vary by region. Keep in mind that if they have to dig to find your septic tank that will incur additional fees. When your tank is pumped they should also inspect the tank to make sure everything is in good working condition. The frequency of pumpings varies between owners. No matter the size of your family, if you have a garbage disposal it is recommended that you pump your system annually. If you are a family of four with no garbage disposal, it’s recommended every 2-3 years. If you are a family of two with no garbage disposal, it’s recommended every 4-5 years.

Every few months using a septic tank system treatment, like Rid-X®, by pouring into your toilet can add the bacteria necessary to keep your septic tank performing optimally. For those of you who like homemade treatments, you can pour a liter of spoiled buttermilk down the toilet every few months, as it too is a great source of bacteria. If you notice anything that seems off with your septic system, it is best to contact a professional immediately to address any issues as early as possible.

While this system doesn’t need constant supervision, remembering these key things will help prolong the life of your septic system.

Sources: http://www.epa.gov/owm/septic/pubs/homeowner_guide_long.pdf; http://www.wikihow.com/Care-for-a-Septic-System

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McKee Homes Partners with Helping A Hero

McKee Homes Partners with Helping A Hero to Build Home for Wounded Army Veteran SGT (Ret) Jonathan Rivenbark

dedication ceremony

Residents of the Legacy Lakes community in Aberdeen, NC, welcomed new neighbors on Tuesday, August 18, when SGT (Ret) Jonathan Rivenbark and his wife moved into their new home. Built by McKee Homes and provided to the Rivenbark family with only a $50,000 mortgage, the home is part of the Helping A Hero program which works with builders, suppliers, landowners and communities nationwide to provide homes for disabled veterans. The Rivenbark residence features wider door openings and hallways, lower counters in the kitchen and bathrooms, zero-threshold entries at showers and exterior doors, and a sidewalk surrounding the home to better accommodate SGT (Ret) Rivenbark’s disabilities and wheelchair.

“We were delighted to be a part of this worthy effort to provide for our nation’s veterans in a manner that honors their service, supports their families, accommodates their continued recovery and assures their independence,” said Pat McKee, president of McKee Homes. Each Helping A Hero home is provided with a minimal mortgage in planned communities where veterans receive ongoing support from neighbors, home owners associations, and other nearby service and veterans organizations. McKee Homes has previously built three adaptive homes for military veterans, though this is the first time we have partnered with Helping A Hero.

McKee Homes contributed $50,000 toward the price of the home through its Joe McKee Memorial Alzheimer’s Fund. They also coordinated well over $200,000 in contributions of labor, material or both from building suppliers and vendors eager to support the project. Developer Mountain Real Estate Capital donated the lot at Legacy Lakes, near Pinehurst. The Dedication Ceremony at which SGT (Ret) Rivenbark and his wife, Yulia, assumed ownership of their home drew a crowd of neighbors, friends and dignitaries, including Lt. Governor Dan Forest and Congresswoman Renee Ellmers.

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Laminate Floors vs. Engineered Hardwood Floors

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Things to Do with Kids in Fayetteville – Part Two: Indoor Activities

Summer is here and that means finding something for the kids to do other than texting and playing video games. Whether your child likes sports, animals, music, technology, nature, reading or academics — or has other interests — there are plenty of kid-friendly things to do in Fayetteville NC! These activities are great for those days you are trying to beat the heat.

Athletic / Sports

  • The Climbing Place is the largest indoor rock climbing facility in North Carolina. You and your kids can literally climb the walls with over 70,000 climbing holds, 60 top ropes, a massive overhang area, a 300-ft. gym traverse and thousands of square feet of bouldering surface as well as a top-out boulder.
  • Triangle Rock Club is one of Fayetteville’s premier indoor climbing gyms with bouldering and belaying available for all skill levels. The youth programs encourage kids to set and accomplish goals, conquer fears and venture out and try new things, whether your child is an adventure seeker or merely looking to try out the ropes of a new activity.
  • Paraclete XP Indoor Skydiving is the closest thing to true human flight as you soar on a column of air inside a vertical wind tunnel. The Youth League teaches kids the aspects of bodyflight while learning in a team environment. For ages two and up.
  • Round-A-Bout Skating Centers feature roller skating, in-line skating and video arcades at two locations in Fayetteville. The 71st Place location also offers Round-A-Golf miniature golf.
  • The Hit’n Mill is a 10,000 sq.ft. indoor baseball and softball training center that also provides instruction and guidance in the principles of teamwork, sportsmanship, perseverance and commitment.

child climbing on a wall in an outdoor climbing center

Arcades / Laser Tag / Miniature Golf

  • Omni Family Amusement Center is the largest fun center in Cumberland County, offering over 100 games for the entire family. You can also play miniature golf at Mountasia Golf & Games next door and indoor golf at Pirate Black Light Golf.
  • Putt-Putt Fun Center provides fun for the entire family, including Putt-Putt golf, go karts, bumper cars, bumper boats, batting cages and arcade games. They also offer group pricing, party packages and daily specials.
  • Chuck E Cheese’s is a great place to take the kids for everyday fun or for special occasions. It features games, rides, prizes, food and entertainment that children of all ages will love.

Museums

  • Fascinate-U Children’s Museum is a hands-on children’s museum in downtown Fayetteville where children can explore and learn through sight, sound, touch, role playing and interaction with each other and their environment.
  • Fayetteville Area Transportation Museum is the hub for history in downtown Fayetteville. Located in the beautifully restored 1890 Cape Fear and Yadkin Valley Railroad Depot, the museum has two floors of engaging exhibits from pre-history through the early 20th There is a model train room, steamboat interactive and re-created station agent’s office. The Museum Annex next door continues Fayetteville’s story with automobiles and airplanes, including vintage cars and a re-created 1920s gas station.
  • Museum of the Cape Fear Historical Complex is Fayetteville’s premier historical facility, including a museum with exhibits of North Carolina’s rich history; the 1897 Poe House, a late-Victorian house museum; and Arsenal Park, the remains of an ordnance factory that served both the Federal and Confederate governments.
  • Airborne & Special Operations Museum preserves the extraordinary feats by airborne troops and special operations forces with artifacts, life-size dioramas, AV displays and a new motion simulator.
  • Airborne Division Museum presents the history of the 82nd Airborne Division from World War I with artifacts, military aircraft and war memorials.

Spectator Sports

  • The Rogue Roller Girls are Fayetteville’s premier women’s flat track roller derby league. Bouts are held May through October in a family-friendly environment.
    Crown Arena, 1960 Coliseum Dr, Fayetteville, NC

Misc.

  • Fayetteville has nine different public library branches with ongoing events and activities for kids and teens. Go to Cumberland County Public Library & Information Center for more information.
  • The Little Gym offers a diverse selection of summer programs filled with movement, music, learning and laughter for every stage of your child’s development from four months to 12 years.
  • Megaplay Play Center & Party Venue is a new indoor children’s playground and party facility in Spring Lake. A two-level play structure has a variety of activities such as a four-person wave slide, bridges, obstacles and spinning plates, as well as an area with soft play rides and inflatables and a space just for toddlers.
  • Monkey Joe’s is an indoor bounce house facility that offers bouncing, sliding and jumping fun for kids 12 and under. The Mini Monkey Zone offers age-appropriate activities for toddlers.
  • Play Date is a convenient hourly drop-in childcare facility that provides various activities addressing the cognitive, social and physical development of children 12 months to 12 years.
  • Greg’s Art Pottery & Gifts is a paint-your-own-pottery studio in downtown Fayetteville where your children can paint their own pottery or take a pottery class. Starting this summer there will be Children’s Punch, Paint & Party events – drop off your kids while they paint a canvas painting.
  • Just Claying Around gives your kids a creative outlet where they can paint their own pottery masterpiece. Come as a family or drop the kids off for Kid’s Night so you can have some well-deserved time to yourself.

There are many activities in Fayetteville to keep your child busy and satisfied, you just have to look around the corner!

Additional source of things to do in Fayetteville NC with your kids:
http://www.visitfayettevillenc.com/forkids/index.html