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Blog Category - Homeowner tips

Bring the change of seasons indoors

Categories: Buying a New Home, Homeowner tips | Posted: November 7, 2017

Daylight savings time has ended for this year. Yes, we gained the hour we lost back in March, but in return, the days get shorter, the air grows colder, and here in Columbia, South Carolina, thoughts are turning to heading back inside.

Bringing the Outside, In

That doesn’t mean we have to abandon our enjoyment of the great outdoors. Just bring it inside with you. There are many ways to bring the change of season indoors. Here are just few ideas for using natural elements in your fall and winter décor.

  • Pumpkins and gourds are plentiful. Hollow them out and insert a potted plant, like mums. Use smaller pumpkins and gourds in a mix of colors as a seasonal centerpiece on your Thanksgiving table, or the fireplace hearth or mantle.
  • Gather long, narrow twigs and place them in a tall container. Add a splash of colorful branches, like bittersweet, or even a string of battery-operated mini-lights.
  • If you’ve been lucky enough to have hydrangeas in your garden, gather up the blooms before they wither, and dry them out. You can even retain the color if you dry them correctly. Use your dried hydrangea blossoms as a floral decoration or make a wreath.
  • Collect pinecones and dip them in melted wax that is scented with essential oils (like cinnamon) to make fragrant fire starters to use all winter.
  • Convert a log into natural décor by slicing it into segments of varying heights. Use a wood-boring drill to make a hole and create a set of tree stump candle holders.

Using your Kitchen to Create Fall Scents

  • Were you a bit over-zealous with your apple-picking? Slice and dry them, adding the wonderful fragrances of cinnamon, allspice, and cloves. Make a wreath, add them to a garland, or craft ornaments.
  • Create a simmering potpourri of your favorite fragrances and let them fill your home with seasonal scents. Add fresh pine needles to enjoy that pleasant aroma, too.
  • From spiced cider and soups to savory soups and stews, a slow cooker lets you take it easy in the kitchen while preparing tasty treats.

Harvest Glenn’s Popular Floor Plan

In a home like the Edisto, you can bring these decorating ideas inside to your foyer and throughout the open floor plan, as well as add curb appeal to your covered front porch. But don’t forget to include these fragrant accents to areas like the bedrooms and bathrooms, too.

Find Your Perfect Fall Home

McGuinn Homes wants you to enjoy the months ahead, no matter what the weather brings. When you’re ready to make your move to a new home, consider one of our hybrid homes in the Columbia region that provide you with comfort, style, and energy-efficiency. Contact McGuinn Homes to learn more.

Tips for the Perfect Halloween

Categories: Homeowner tips | Posted: October 31, 2017

Whether you’ve just moved in to your new home or are looking to take on your annual spooky celebrations, we’ve collected our favorite tips for having your best Halloween yet.

Set the Stage

It all starts at home! Before you head out with your children (or get ready to welcome wandering trick-or-treaters to your own home), make sure you’re giving off the perfect vibe.

The first place to start? Your front porch! The entrance to your home, this will set the tone for all visitors. Try out one of these ideas for decorating your front porch:

  • For a twist on the typical carved pumpkin, try creating a pumpkin vase! Start by carving out the inside of your pumpkin as if you were going to carve a Jack-o-Lantern. Then, pour in some potting soil and plant in some flowers!
  • Or, try painting pumpkins! Stick with typical spooky silhouettes, or paint them with patterns, your monogram, or simply one solid color.
  • Pick up witch hats and small bats from your local Halloween pop-up or dollar store, then use fishing line to string them across your porch for an eerie, floating vibe.
  • Store your candy in a cauldron for a simple yet decorative way for trick-or-treaters to scoop up their treats.

Stay Safe on the Streets

While escorting your children on their trick-or-treating adventure, there are just a few safety tips to keep in mind:

  • Decorate costumes with reflective tape or stickers so your children don’t disappear in the dark and can be easily seen by passing cars
  • Remind children to always walk on sidewalks and check both ways before crossing the street
  • When driving, drive slowly and keep an eye on your surroundings

And even if you aren’t trick-or-treating, be sure to keep your eyes out if you’re out and about between 5:30 – 9:30 P.M. These are the prime hours for trick-or-treaters.

Join the Teal Pumpkin Project

Ever seen those painted blue pumpkins on people’s doorsteps? There’s actually a hidden meaning behind them!

Called the Teal Pumpkin Project, these blueish pumpkins are meant for raising awareness for food allergies. The color of food allergy awareness, placing teal pumpkins on your doorstep originated in Tennessee and launched as a national campaign in 2014. The end goal? Making sure all trick-or-treaters are included in this Halloween tradition.

So how can you participate in the project? Simple! Here are a few steps to get started:

  • Provide non-food options for trick-or-treaters.
  • Place a teal pumpkin on your doorstep to indicate you have non-food options available.
  • Display a free printable poster or flyer from FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education) to explain the meaning of the pumpkin.
  • You can absolutely still pass out candy – just keep the candy and non-food items in separate bowls (or cauldrons).

Non-food options are an incredibly affordable option – think inexpensive items like glow bracelets, pencils, or stickers.

Visit a Halloween Event

Of course, Halloween isn’t just about those trick-or-treaters! There are plenty of events in the Columbia, SC area perfect for families of all sizes to visit during this spooky season.

Here’s just a taste of the many local events available:

  • Visit the American Farmer corn maze at Clinton Sease Farms. Tickets cost $12, with children 2 or under able to get in for free.
  • Check out the free Scarecrows in the Garden exhibit at the Gardens of the Robert Mills House! Handcrafted by local families, businesses, organizations, and classrooms, these scarecrows are all unique and range from historic to ghoulish to simply charming.
  • Need a corn maze perfect for pint-sized children? Try the one at Wingard’s Nursery and Garden Center! Only $3 per ticket, this corn maze offers children the chance to explore the maze and win a pumpkin at the very end. Tickets must be purchased in the Fresh Produce Market at Wingard’s.

Of course, this is only a taste of all the events available! Check around your local area for more fun autumn happenings to head to this Halloween season.

Bring Halloween to the Kitchen

Don’t just snack on candy this season – there are plenty of other spooky treats to munch on while waiting for trick-or-treaters to stop by.

Even better, turn cooking into a fun family activity! Host a caramel apple decorating contest, for example. Hand out prizes for the most creative or the most hilarious apple before digging into all the sweet goodness.

Or, turn on the oven and whip up a batch of pumpkin cupcakes. And no, we aren’t just talking about pumpkin flavoring. Go crazy with the orange icing and make the perfect pumpkin topper! Even better, use icing to create Jack-o-Lantern faces for each cupcake.

Do you have any favorite Halloween recipes? Share them with us on Facebook! We love to see what our residents are cooking up.

Have Fun!

Most important of all, make sure you’re having fun! Whether you’re out wandering from house to house with your children, waiting to see all the adorable costumes in your own neighborhood, or heading out to an event as a couple, you’re sure to have a blast.

Happy Halloween from McGuinn Hybrid Homes!

Breaking Down Energy Efficiency Terms

Categories: Buying a New Home, Energy Efficient, Homeowner tips, Hybrid Home | Posted: September 19, 2017

Energy Terms

Going Green and Energy Efficiency

In your home buying search, you’ve probably come across the “green” trend. Going green, hybrid homes, energy efficient – these terms are everywhere, but what do they actually mean?

Much of the energy in the U.S. is wasted in transmission, heat loss, and inefficient technology – costing you money and worsening the environment. Builders constantly advertise that they are energy efficient or use green building standards, but they don’t always go into details.

Lucky for you, we’ve compiled the most popular energy-efficient terms here so you can decode what a builder means when they list out all their features.

Air Sealant

To reduce the amount of air leaking into or out of your home, you can use an air sealant. Air leakage happens when outside air enters and conditioned air leaves your home through unsecured cracks or openings. To reduce this happening, a spray sealant can be applied to unsealed areas. At McGuinn, we apply this sealant around window and door frames, exterior framing, attic stairs, knee walls, as well as any exterior utility penetrations.

CFL Bulbs

Electric lighting accounts for up to 25% of a home’s total energy budget. Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFL bulbs) are miniature versions of full-sized fluorescents that work with standard light sockets, allowing them to give off light similar to the common incandescent bulb. The benefit? CFL bulbs are four times more efficient and last ten times longer than their incandescent counterparts. Although initially more expensive to install, a CFL bulb will end up using less than a third of the energy – saving you money on energy bills.

Energy Star Certification

This one appears everywhere! You’ll often see homebuilders touting their “Energy Star” ratings – we do it too. If an appliance is Energy Star Certified, that means it is a government-backed certification identifying it as a quality choice for energy efficiency. If a home earns the Energy Star, it’s 15%-30% more efficient than the typical new home. With either, you can rest easy knowing you’ll be saving money on utility costs while also benefiting our environment.

House Wrap

It may sound like a diner sandwich, but it’s actually a space-age synthetic material that helps keep your house dry and insulted! Acting as a water-resistant barrier, house wrap works with other insulting measures to keep your home safe and temperature-controlled. Overall, this contributes to lowering energy costs by helping your AC system to work more efficiently – without worrying about air seeping through the cracks.

Hybrid Homes

Hybrid homes are designed with the environment in mind. A hybrid home focuses purely on the sections of the home that will offer the most in savings and energy efficiency, without wasting money on the sections that won’t have much impact.

Low-E Windows

Often used when describing windows, the “E” here stands for emissive. A Low-E window is one that is treated with a low-emissive coating, allowing it reduce energy consumption, decrease fabric fading, and increase the overall comfort inside your home. A Low-E window helps reflect heat and can actually help reduce energy loss by as much as 30%-50%!

Low-flow or Low-flush Plumbing

Toilets alone are responsible for about 40% of water use in a home, and in older models, as much as six gallons of water is used for each flush! If a plumbing fixture is classified as low-flow or low-flush, it’s been proven to reduce the amount of water released when used. Not only does this save money on your water bill, but it also reduces the amount of water normally wasted.

Low-VOC Paint

We’ve all heard of lead paint, but what about volatile organic compounds (VOCs)? For years after application, paints and finishes have been releasing low-level toxic emissions. A Low-VOC paint is not only more cost-effective, but it also is less harmful to both your family’s health and the environment.

Radiant Barrier Sheathing

Installed in the attic, radiant barrier sheathing reflects up to 97% of the sun’s heat, allowing your home to stay cooler. In some cases, the attic temperature reduced as much as thirty degrees due to the sheathing! Radiant barrier sheathing in your new home saves money on energy costs, makes attic ductwork more efficient, and prolongs the life of your AC system.

R-Value Wall Insulation

When talking about home insulation, the R-Value measures the resistance to the flow of heat into or out of the home. The higher the R-Value, the better it insulates. The better the insulation, the cooler your home will be in the summer and the warmer it will be in the winter. We use high R-Value wall and ceiling insulation to ensure your home is prepared for any weather.

SEER Air Conditioners

In AC terms, the higher rated a system, the less power it uses. Standing for the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, SEER simply measures the ratio of cooling capacity as compared to the power used to do so. It all boils down to this: the higher the rating, the more bang for your energy buck. Our homes use 14-SEER Efficient AC Systems, which meets the EPA standards set in 2015.

Tankless Gas Water Heaters

With a life expectancy of 20 years, tankless gas water heaters last much longer than any conventional water-heater model. Save hundreds of dollars over the lifetime of a tankless model with a heater that only heats water when you need it. Bonus: the risk of tank leaks and water damage is no longer an issue.

The Takeaway

Of course, these are only a few of the energy efficiency terms in play in the world today! Each builder handles energy efficiency uniquely, and we encourage you to ask each builder what makes them different. Here are just a few of the items we offer that weren’t already mentioned in this post:

  • Programmable thermostats
  • Use of natural gas heat
  • Engineered roofing systems
  • Low-maintenance vinyl siding

If you have questions on how a McGuinn Hybrid Home uniquely serves your energy efficient needs, please feel free to contact us!

Step 1 in the Credit Repair Process

Categories: Buying a New Home, Home Buying, Homeowner tips | Posted: May 18, 2016

 Credit RepairThe Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) entitles you to one free credit report each year from Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion and you can get this through or by calling 1-877-322-8228. Please obtain a copy of your report and come see us at our Homebuyer 101 Seminar May 25, 2016 @ 6pm 3300 Sunset Blvd West Columbia, SC 29169.

We have Ameris Bank on site to help you evaluate your report and show you what the bank in looking for in financing you for a mortgage. We have had people move through the process in less than 30 days. Everyone has a unique situations and you will not know what you need to do until you come out to one of our seminars and let Ameris along with the McGuinn Hybrid Home family give you the tools to achieve the American Dream of home-ownership!

Visit our website @ today and register! We will serve light refreshments for our guest, so come on over right after work!

We Want to Help You,

Wade McGuinn, CEO