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Prepare yourself: 7 tips to reduce Thanksgiving stress

Categories: Buying a New Home | Posted: November 21, 2017

By this point in the year, you’re looking at the calendar and counting the days. The holidays are creeping up, which brings all the stress of preparing for this frenzied time. If you’re hosting the annual Thanksgiving feast, you don’t need to exhaust yourself. Get organized so you can keep all the tasks under control. Here are some tips to reduce Thanksgiving stress so you can enjoy the day.

De-clutter your fridge and freezer.

You’re going to need all the room you can spare. Remove the leftovers that have been pushed to the far reaches of your refrigerator or freezer. Check the expiration dates on items and discard anything that is questionable (like salad dressing, which has a very short shelf life). Do you have a jar of grape jelly with just a few dabs left? Don’t let it take up valuable real estate this time of year.

Write out your menu.

Don’t rely on all those ideas dancing around in your head. It’s too easy to forget a dish, which means you won’t have the ingredients when you’re ready to prepare it. Start your holiday menu planning by making a list of every item, including the beverages, and make a shopping list of the ingredients.

Check your holiday tableware.

Before the clock starts ticking loudly, examine your dishes, silverware, stemware, serving pieces, and linens. Clean, polish, and wash everything. Discard anything that’s damaged so you don’t accidentally place a chipped glass in front of your persnickety relative. Add to your shopping list any pieces that need to be replaced.

Do the math on your turkey time.

Remember that you need 24 hours for every four pounds of bird to safely thaw a frozen turkey in the refrigerator, which is your safest option. If you wait till a day or two before Thanksgiving to pull the bird out of the freezer, you’ll face a very long day of waiting for the main course to be completely roasted.

Prep and cook as much in advance.

If you want to spend more time with your guests on Thanksgiving Day and less time tending to the meal, tackle some of the tasks ahead of time. You can, for example, make your mashed potatoes and stuffing a few days prior to the holiday and then put them in a crockpot to a few hours before serving. Make your casseroles early so you only have to slip them into the oven on Thanksgiving Day. You can even freeze your pies before baking them. Let them bake while you’re sitting down to dinner.

Delegate.

Many guests want to bring something for the holiday feast. Let them! Make a list of who has committed and what they are bringing. Three days before Thanksgiving, contact them to make sure they haven’t forgotten and are still able to bring what they promised.

Get ready for the big takeaway.

You will undoubtedly hand out leftovers as people leave. Stock up on containers for the food so you can aren’t hunting around for boxes and dishes you may never see again while your guests are ready to head out the door.

There will always be stress when you’re preparing for a big event. McGuinn Homes wants to help you enjoy your friends, family, and home during this busy time. And, if you find that your current home is no longer the haven you hoped for, contact us to explore your new home communities in the Columbia area of South Carolina. By this time next year, you could be hosting your holiday gatherings in a brand new home.

A new way to chill: Get outside and enjoy the late fall weather

Categories: Buying a New Home, News & Announcements | Posted: November 16, 2017

When the fall colors start to emerge, people get outside and travel around to enjoy the foliage spectacle. It’s time to pick apples and pumpkins and welcome the brisk air at the end of a long, hot summer. You’re raking leaves (and maybe jumping in the piles) and enjoying your favorite outdoor recreation while the weather permits.

At this point in the year, you’ve probably cleaned up all those leaves, packed away your lawn furniture, and are getting ready for the winter.

Don’t start your winter hibernation yet. There’s still plenty of things to do outdoors in the late fall in the Columbia, South Carolina region.

Fall Activities Available

Head over to the Riverbanks Zoo & Garden any evening to see the “Lights Before Christmas” display, an annual tradition for 25 years. You’ll experience the twinkling of almost a million lights. Warm yourself with hot chocolate and s’mores at the Jingle Bell Bonfire there.

For another light-filled spectacle, take a drive through Saluda Shoals Park to view more than 400 animated light displays during this annual “Holiday Lights on the River”.

Mark your calendar for December 2, 2017, to enjoy the 64th Annual Carolina Carillon Holiday Parade. This year’s theme, “A Superhero’s Holiday” will include floats from all around South Carolina. Of course, the seasonal superhero, Santa Claus, will be part of the parade.

Enjoy the freshest local flavors at the Soda City Main Street market. Every Saturday from 9 a.m.to 1 p.m.—rain or shine—you can browse this farmer’s market for the very best produce, meat, dairy, flowers, and fresh baked items, plus the work of local artisans. Every Thursday, head over to City Roots Farmers Market, for local food, including the organic produce grown right there. You can also pick up their ready-to-cook Market Meals.

Slip on your ice skates at Main Street ICE in Boyd Plaza any day of the week, beginning Thanksgiving Day. Start a holiday tradition with a skating party.

Try a different type of Sunday brunch at the West Columbia Riverwalk’s Brookland Brunch. Vendors and food trucks will be serving up your favorites, including Belgian waffles, mimosas, and gourmet coffee. Then, rent a kayak or canoe to get your exercise after a hearty brunch.

If your appetite leans more toward oysters, barbeque, and beer, then don’t miss the annual River Rat Brewery’s Oyster Roast and BBQ, on Friday, December 8. Feast on fresh, steaming Carolina oysters, smoked pork BBQ, and plenty of side dishes on the patio, plus River Rat’s best brews,

Discover geocaching, a fun type of scavenger hunt that uses GPS coordinates to lead you to hidden caches.

Take a bike ride or hike nature trails. Hit the golf course. Back at home, gather around the fire pit with hot chocolate and all the fixings to make gourmet s’mores.

You’ll have plenty of weeks ahead to stay inside when the temperature drops lower and lower. Right now, enjoy the brisk air, the blue sky, and all the benefits of outdoor fall fun and living in the Columbia area

Now is also a great time to think about a new home!

While you’re out and about, plan a visit to McGuinn Homes to explore our new home communities in the Columbia area of South Carolina. Contact us to include a private tour so you can see how a new home in one of our neighborhoods can make a big difference in your life.

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.

How You Can Afford a New Home

Categories: Buying a New Home | Posted: October 25, 2017

Purchasing your first home is a huge financial decision. Thankfully, there are plenty of options for financing your dream home!

From pre-qualification to available options, we’ve put together your go-to guide for financing with McGuinn – and even highlighted some of our own great buying opportunities.

First Things First: Financing

McGuinn proudly partners with home mortgage experts in order to bring you the best deals and savings on your new home.

Before diving in, the first step is to become pre-qualified. So what does that mean? Essentially, becoming pre-qualified for a home mortgage gives you an idea of how much you can borrow. It’s an estimate that your builder and lender can use to help set your budget for your new home.

By taking care of this step first, it lets your lender research the best loan programs that you can qualify for – as well as the interest rate. Your pre-qualification is based on a few factors, including:

  • Credit score
  • Income
  • Any debts
  • Employment history

Once you’re pre-qualified and have your estimate, our financing specialist provides you multiple loan products to choose from and runs through the details of each choice. After that, you’ll have your loan interview with your new Mortgage Consultant.

McGuinn partners with Ameris Bank. You can explore the full list of different types of mortgages offered by Ameris by clicking here, but here’s a quick rundown:

  • Fixed-rate mortgage – Good for families who plan to live in their house for a long time and like the stability of monthly payments.
  • Adjustable rate mortgage – Good if you think you’ll only be in the home for a short period of time and expect your income to grow.
  • FHA loan – If you have less cash available upfront, this may be an option to consider.
  • VA loan – Available for eligible service members, this loan type offers special benefits for our veterans.
  • USDA loan – If you expect to buy a home in a rural area, this could be the choice for you.
  • First-time homebuyer loan – For those buying their first home, Ameris provides special offers and benefits.

Affordable Community Options from McGuinn

Home exteriorOnce you’re pre-qualified and have settled on your financing, it’s time to pick out the home and location you want!

We offer a variety of amazing communities, as well as an option to build on your own lot if you have a piece of land you’re eyeing. If you’re still looking for land, though, be sure to check out some of the communities we have that are quickly selling out. You don’t want to miss out on these prime locations.

With only seven spots remaining, Glen Eagle is a limited opportunity that’s selling out fast! Served by award-winning Lexington 1 White Knoll schools, this community is only seven minutes from Lexington and offers the market’s lowest prices.

Meanwhile, Phase 1 is close to selling out in Burnside Farms. Located in Columbia, Burnside Farms offers a charming environment combined with a great in-town location. The on-the-go homeowner will appreciate the close proximity to Shaw Air Force Base, USC School of Medicine, and I-77, along with plenty of shopping and entertainment options.

And even though Pleasant Springs is close to selling out, there’s still plenty of move-in ready options to choose from. Give us a call at (803) 917-5583 to schedule a time to tour this gorgeous community in the award-winning Lexington 1 school district, including Pleasant Hill and Lexington High schools.

Additional Options

Home interiorOf course, we also have spectacular deals on our available homes as well – and some new homes that are coming soon.

In Panorama Point, the Cleveland on Lake Murray is priced to sell at $849,900! This Lexington home will not last long, so don’t wait on this unique opportunity to be directly on the lake with boat dock access.

And if you’re a buyer looking for a single-story home in an all-brick community, keep checking back for more updates! We’re opening new homes soon in Lake Carolina at Centennial. We’ll share more updates as they come in, but for now click here to learn more about this up-and-coming location.

Have Questions?

As always, if you have any questions or want to learn more about these opportunities, don’t hesitate to contact us!

Build Anywhere!

Categories: Buying a New Home, Home Buying | Posted: October 18, 2017

BOYL

Ever wonder what the pros and cons are between building on your lot or building in a community? Here, we’ve covered the top reasons to build on your lot – as well as how to navigate the process.

Why On Your Lot?

We proudly offer an On Your Lot program here at McGuinn, but we also build in great communities around West Columbia. So why do we believe offering an on your lot option is important?

  • It removes limits. When you choose your own lot, you aren’t limited to just what we have available or in the communities we’ve chosen. Been dreaming of a piece of land for years? Buy it! Then let us build your dream home right where you want it. Have your home, your way.
  • It can save you money. By choosing your own lot, you’re also able to pick the perfect price since you’ll be bringing your lot to us. We’ll also customize your price based on the lot – different pieces of land have different build requirements, which will be taken into consideration.
  • It gives you options. We like to think of ourselves as your dream home builder – not just an on your lot builder. We’ll help find the perfect home for your lot, instead of limiting you to choices only available in specific communities.

We believe in providing you, the homeowner, with the right mix of quality and style at an amazing price point. Whether you build in a community or on your own land, you’ll receive an interactive building experience and a dream home you can’t wait to show off.

What Do I Get With an On Your Lot Home?

The answer is simple – you get all the amazing features included in a McGuinn home built in a community! Here are just a few of the items you can expect from one of our homes:

  • It’s designed with the environment in mind, including all the energy efficient features you need and leaving out ones that add no benefit to you
  • Significant savings on utility costs
  • Unparalleled customer service
  • Superior selections in our Design Center
  • Innovative home designs to choose from
  • Competitive pricing
  • And more!

What’s the Process?

Involve us in your journey as early as possible! We want to be there for you every step of the way to guide you to your new home. If you’ve just purchased a lot, or if you’re only beginning to consider purchasing one, set up a consultation meeting to talk through your questions with us.

In that meeting, we’ll get your questions answered as well as get a better idea on how we’ll make your dream home come to life. Once you have your home site, we’ll physically visit the site to assess it and figure out the best building options. That way, we’ll be able to walk you through choosing the best floorplan design and get you a price estimate.

After we’ve gotten all the needed information and provided an estimate, we’ll start getting things finalized. By this point, we’ll have the final price of your home settled. You’ll also have the final plan for your home and have made all your selections in our Design Center. We’re getting ready to sign the contract! We’ll also start discussing financing at this point – keep your eyes out for an upcoming blog post with even more details on that part of the process.

But wait – did you think of something else needing to be tweaked in your plan? No problem! Our Pre-Construction Meeting gives us the opportunity to make plan revisions before we obtain building permits. Once we have this meeting, we’ll “build your home on paper” to eliminate any errors. It’s an extra step, but we go above and beyond to make sure you get a better home and a better home buying experience.

And then we start building! Here are just a few key highlights from the building process:

  • Foundation and framing go in and your new home begins to take shape.
  • System rough-ins are set before drywall goes in – this includes things like plumbing, the heating and cooling systems, wiring, and more.
  • Your personal style begins to come to life as we paint the inside, add trims, and add the exterior finish to your home.
  • We all know the difference is in the details, and here’s where they come out to play. Remember all those items you chose in the Design Center? Here’s where we begin installing them! Everything from cabinets to door hardware goes in at this point.
  • Let there be light! With everything in place, we turn it all on. This includes your heating and cooling, lights, gas, and more.

Once the home is built, we don’t stop there. Each McGuinn home goes through a grueling inspection process to make sure it meets our extremely high standards and delivers our Gold Seal Promise:

  • A Quality inspection by a McGinn inspector
  • A Quality inspection by you, the homeowner
  • Complete verification the home is ready

Once we’ve given your new home the seal approval, we’re ready to close on the home. And just like that, you’ve built a home on your own lot with McGuinn Hybrid Homes!

Learn More

Have more questions, or are you ready to start your own On Your Lot journey? Contact us today! You can also download our brochure by clicking here.

Choosing the Right Plan for You

Categories: Buying a New Home, Home Buying | Posted: October 11, 2017

McGuinn Floor Plan

How to Navigate Choosing Your Floor Plan

Building a new home is a huge decision, and it doesn’t just end when you find a builder or sign the contract.

Thankfully, we not only offer plenty of options, but we also help you select the perfect plan for you and your family.

Consider Your Family’s Needs

Arguably the most important reason you’re buying a new home, the wants and needs of your family play a huge role in the kind of home you build. If you have a large family, multiple bathrooms and a spacious living room will be key! Or, if one of you is a budding chef, a gourmet kitchen with beautiful countertops will likely top your must-have list.

Before searching through available home plans, sit down with your family to decide what your ideal home looks like. Not all items will make the cut, but it gives you a better idea of what to look for when scrolling through photos and descriptions!

If there are items you absolutely cannot do without, star them and put them and the very top of your list. That way, you can let your sales representative know. They can make sure the home you choose incorporates these high-priority items.

Confirm Availability and Locations

Many builders limit their plans to certain locations – and of course, prices can vary depending on the city or county you choose to build in.

Quite a few factors play into why a home might be more expensive in one area. For example, the lot itself may cost more, or region-specific regulations could affect how the home is built.

Before you decide on a plan, be sure to ask your builder where the plan can be built! That way, you won’t fall in love with a plan only to find out it won’t quite work with your lot.

At McGuinn, most of our home plans are available on most lots. If you ever have questions, though, just give us a call. We consider the size of the lot and your desired home design in order to get you an amazing price.

Know Your Options

Here, we offer opportunities to customize and personalize your floor plans as needed – letting you design your home and truly make your home, your way. This isn’t the case with all builders, though. Be sure to ask any builder you’re considering about their options for personalization and customization – as well as how much it costs.

With our various level options, you’ll be sure to find the right option for you:

  • Level 1: The Best Value Home, choose a “Your Home, Your Way” plan and choose from a wide selection of available options to personalize.
  • Level 2: One step up, the Value Custom Homes let you personalize any of our stock plans.

Explore Available Floor Plans

Now comes the fun part! Most builders have an online gallery of their available floor plans, and our site is no different. Be sure to click through our plans to find one that strikes your fancy.

Below, we’ve curated a list of our team’s personal favorite plans.

Anderson – A two-story design, the Anderson offers three bedrooms and 2 ½ baths with over 1,300 square feet of space with a flexible room layout. The gourmet eat-in kitchen is perfect for prepping meals, while a breakfast bar seamlessly connects the kitchen with the dining room. Part of our Main Street Series, a covered front sitting porch and a back patio make this home perfect for those who enjoy relaxing outside at the end of the day.

Stonebridge Extended – One of our most innovative homes, this plan is stunning! An extension of our Stonebridge plan, the Stonebridge Extended adds four feet throughout the home. Perfectly designed for those looking for space and character, the dining greets you immediately upon entering, before you’re guided to the airy great room and kitchen. Upstairs you’ll find three bedrooms and a spacious owner’s suite.

Woodland – Not into stairs, or want an owner’s suite on the main floor? Then the Woodland could be the plan for you. The nine foot ceilings complement taller windows, while a gourmet breakfast bar and garden tub in the owner’s suite add luxury.

Prescott – If you’re looking for options, the Prescott plan is the perfect place to begin. Offering four or five bedrooms, 3 ½ baths, and a guest suite on the main floor, this home presents itself as the definition of luxury. A loft open to the main floor opens up the plan, while two bedrooms upstairs share a jack-and-jill style bathroom.

Of course, these are just a few of the plans offered at McGuinn! Scroll through the other plans we have available to see which one suits you.

Even if photos are not currently available on a builder’s website, always ask if they have any examples of the home they can show you! They may have a portfolio or recent photos they took of a completed home that the sales representative can walk through with you.

Make Use of the Selections Gallery

Often called a Design Studio or Design Center, the Selections Gallery provides you with all the options available to use in your new home.

No matter what your budget, McGuinn’s Selections Coordinator walks you through your available choices for both exterior and interior selections.

To make the most of your Selections appointment, keep the following in mind:

  • If you have a Pinterest page dedicated to your dream home, keep it handy! Your Selections Coordinator will look at your examples and provide you with advice.
  • If you have fabric samples, paint swatches, pillows, etc., bring them to your appointment. This helps your Coordinator to find the perfect features for your new home.
  • Keep your style and taste in mind – after all, this appointment is about you. Our team provides expert recommendations, but ultimately it’s your home.

Need Help?

If you still need help navigating the building process, rest easy! Our team is here to help. Just reach out to us and our team will walk you through everything you need to know.

What’s the Deal with Buying New?

Categories: Buying a New Home, Energy Efficient, Hybrid Home | Posted: October 3, 2017

Cleveland-E-Floor-Plan

New Homes Vs. Resale

As a first time home buyer, it can be tempting to go straight for a resale home. After all, aren’t the prices usually cheaper? And doesn’t that mean it’s better?

The truth is, there’s a lot more that goes into a home than the price tag you see on Zillow – and there are a lot of benefits to buying new, especially for your first house.

No Hidden Surprises

While a resale home price may be initially less expensive than a new build, there are other factors that could drive that cost up over time – and make it the more expensive choice in the end.

Number one, you won’t always know the history of the home. A house may look good in your first walk-through, but you never know when you might discover the pipes are corroding. Meanwhile, a new home is built from the ground up so you know exactly what you’re getting.

Lower Utility Costs

Depending on when the resale home was built, it likely won’t have the best and most efficient appliances. A new construction home, on the other hand, will have been built with your utilities and the environment in mind.

On average, energy efficient or hybrid homes save homeowners over $100 each month in home maintenance costs. Considering that the typical family lives in their home for 7-8 years, that’s over $9,000 dollars that could go towards vacations, cars, or college!

Hybrid homes also keep your family healthier. With higher quality products, the indoor air in your home carries less dust, pollen, bugs, and humidity. Damaging sunlight stops at the enhanced windows, while durability increases with comprehensive water protection.

Each builder addresses energy efficiency and hybrid living differently – be sure to talk with your representative before signing and make sure you know the options and features available. To see the full scope of a McGuinn hybrid home, click here.

Choices, Choices, Choices

If you’re purchasing a resale home, you’re stuck with whatever decisions the previous buyer and builder made. And depending on what state the home is in, you may be looking at an extensive (and expensive) DIY process to get the home to where you want it.

With a new home, you choose the plan, the location, even the features included in your home! Your first home is truly built just for you. And with a custom home, you have even more flexibility. Depending on the builder, you can choose a pre-designed plan, customize a stock plan, or even bring your own plan and work with the team to design it from the ground up.

If the builder offers build on your lot options, your personalization opportunities just keep on growing. Now you don’t even have to limit yourself to a specific neighborhood – simply pick your own perfect lot, whether it’s one with plenty of acreage or a city lot with quick access to the hustle and bustle of the metro.

Newer Appliances Mean Less Maintenance

An older home also means older appliances. When buying resale, you’re at the mercy of the previous homeowner. If they haven’t kept up on their maintenance, you could be in for a long cleanup process or stuck with the bill of purchasing a whole new set.

A new home, on the other hand, ensures you have brand new appliances. Not only does this mean they’ll be cleaner (no old grime left in the microwave!), but you’ll also rest easy knowing they won’t quit on you out of nowhere.

Take Comfort in Warranties

Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of buying new as a first time home buyer, the new home warranty gives you much-needed peace of mind. Builder warranties often last for a year after the home is built, and cover items like the mechanical, electrical, and structural aspects of your new house.

Ask your builder about their warranty program and the customer service they provide, as each builder has their own process. At McGuinn, we provide you an individual new home warranty program that’s fully explained to you during your homeowner orientation meeting. By making sure you understand everything about your new home, we ensure your satisfaction and a happy home for you and your family.

Financing Options

We can’t talk about buying a new home vs. resale if we don’t address the cost issue. For first time home buyers, there are actually quite a few opportunities available to get you the best savings.

By connecting with a home mortgage expert, you can find the home loan that’s just right for you. A mortgage expert links you with savings you might not have known about before.

Many builders also offer a financing program or have a preferred lender they recommend. Ask your builder about their financing options, and make sure to get pre-qualified if you haven’t already!

At McGuinn, we go the extra mile and offer our first time home buyers the opportunity to attend a mortgage seminar. Completely free, this seminar covers different mortgage options, first time home buyer programs, and more.

If you’re unsure about the financing process, this is the perfect chance to find out more! Keep checking back for our next seminar, or please feel free to contact us.

The Takeaway

Buying your first home is one of the biggest financial decisions you can make, so be sure to consider all of your options. New homes can be surprisingly affordable, especially when you consider all the benefits that come with buying a new home vs. resale.

Keep in mind that the benefits to buying new also apply to available or quick move-in homes builders sell, not just their floor plans! Builders will often build inventory homes to sell, which include all the great benefits like energy efficiency, new appliances, and more. If this seems like a better fit for you, be sure to contact your builder and ask about available homes they have nearing completion.

And if you have any questions about the home building process or how to start looking, just give our team a call!

Why Does Location Matter?

Categories: Buying a New Home, Home Buying | Posted: September 26, 2017

Location Matters

The Importance of Location in Your New Home Search

You know the mantra: location, location, location. It can affect the quality of your schools, the resale value (and current cost) of your home, as well as your family’s overall satisfaction with your lifestyle.

Not sure how that all comes together? That’s why we’ve put together this comprehensive guide to choosing the right location and neighborhood for you.

Safety First

Let’s get right to the point: you probably want to live in a safe location. No one willingly relocates to an unsafe area, right? The less crime in an area, the better.

Not only that, but a safer area typically means you’ll have more neighbor-to-neighbor interaction. You’ll feel comfortable taking long walks in your area, and the trust you feel when leaving your home for the day will be higher. You won’t worry about letting your children play outside.

School Districts

A home is a long-term investment, so your kids are likely to go through quite a few (if not all) of the levels available in your area. With that said, you want to make sure they have a good school district. The reasons for that seem pretty obvious: you want your children to get a better education so they’ll be well-prepared for the future.

This doesn’t necessarily mean the district has to be rated number one – there are plenty of other items in play when choosing a district. Here’s some key factors to consider:

  • Standardized tests aren’t going to give you the full details. Many children don’t perform well on standardized tests, but are still plenty successful later in life.
  • Talk to the teachers. These are the people who will be educating your child – high rankings mean nothing if your child isn’t going to retain the knowledge.

But what if you don’t have kids, and never plan on having any? The school district still matters! Here’s a few quick reasons why:

  • The better ratings a school district has, the higher the prices of homes in that neighborhood. That means your home will have great resale value in the future.
  • They provide stability even when the market tumbles. A home in a good school district will still fetch a higher price than one that isn’t.
  • On the other hand, this also means that a home will be more expensive initially. This is usually a good investmentment in the long run but will take more planning when setting your budget.

All of this combines to affect your overall satisfaction with the home. If you don’t feel safe, you won’t enjoy being home – even if your kitchen island is perfectly on point. And if your kids aren’t happy at school, well, we’re sure they’ll make that known!

Live Near What You Love to Do

Schools and neighborhood safety aren’t the only things that affect the attractiveness of a location. You’ll also want to consider what sort of amenities the community offers, the entertainment and other options in the city nearby, as well as your ease of access to major transportation routes.

At this point, things are going to get pretty subjective. Some homebuyers might want a home with a lot of land, far from the nearest superstore, whereas other homebuyers want to be right in the middle of it all.

And if you’re working from home, access to a highway isn’t a big deal. If you have a commute, though, you’re going to want to get on the road quickly and easily in the morning. Access to a major transportation route could be just what you need.

Here are just a few things to keep in mind when looking at amenities and nearby entertainment options:

  • Pool access, playgrounds, and sporting fields can often be part of a planned community
  • Proximity to major roadways or public transportation – it can help shorten your commute, but can also mean more traffic in your immediate area
  • Hospitals, fire stations, and other emergency centers – good for if you have an emergency, but you’ll also constantly hear their sirens
  • Future development projects in the works – your dream location may be quiet now, but if a major hospital or office building is going up nearby, it could quickly become crowded

Putting it Together

You’ve probably noticed by now that much of this is subjective, and that’s going to happen with a lot of your choices at this point in the home research process. After all, you’re the one who is going to live in this home – not us.

We recommend creating a list of what you’re looking for in a location in order to get a visual representation of it all. Do you want to be close to bars? Or do you need to be in walking distance of great parks? Whatever it is you’re looking for, creating a list will help narrow that down.

Once you have that list, you can start looking up areas that fit your descriptions. If you want an area with great walkability, you’re likely going to look for a community or a location closer to downtown instead of a more rural location. And on the flip side, if you’re desiring an abundance of parks and recreation, a rural area might be your best bet.

Of course, you’re always welcome to bring those lists into a builder’s sales office and ask them to help narrow down your options. Builders will be knowledgeable about the areas they build in, and can help you find the best spot for you and your family.

Our Locations

At McGuinn, we take pride in building in beautiful, inviting neighborhoods as well as on your own lot.

In Lexington, for example, features a large variety of parks, museums, and other entertainment perfect for families and couples alike. Just under a thirty minute drive from Columbia, it offers access to the best the metro area has to offer.

Lexington is served by the Lexington 1 School District – which does have pretty solid rankings, but by this point we know that rankings don’t always tell the whole story. The good news here is that this school district has some pretty fantastic reviews left by both parents and former students – giving you the full story.

If Lexington sounds like the place for you, we have several fabulous locations ready. Choose from Summerlake, a master planned community perfect for those who want an active lifestyle. Featuring a sparkling pool, nearby pocket park, and nature trails, you’ll never run out of things to do.

Or, explore Pleasant Springs, also served by the Lexington 1 district. A sidewalk community, Pleasant Springs is nearby to a large variety of amenities (remember our note about living near what you love?) and even offers certain plans with downstairs master suites.

So what are you waiting for? Start narrowing down the location of your dreams – and if you have any questions on how we can help make that dream a reality, just give us a shout.

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!

What’s the Best Home Option for You?

Categories: Buying a New Home | Posted: September 15, 2017

Making your Decision

With so many options to choose from, how do you choose the right home for you and your family?

Whether it’s a move-in ready home, resale, or building on your lot, we’ve got your definitive guide to it all right here.

Resale Homes

A common way to purchase a “new” home, resale homes are houses that have already been built, lived in, and are now being sold by the previous owner.

One benefit of buying resale is you can often get these homes at a discount, but unfortunately, that discount can often come with a price to pay in quality. Here are just a few risks you can run when buying a resale home versus a new home:

  • You won’t have any control over selections, finishes, etc.
  • The builder will be able to address any imperfections before move-in.
  • A new home typically comes with a builder warranty for at least one year.
  • Resale homes often have older appliances, amenities, etc. and may be outdated.
  • A desperate seller can have a negative impact on property values.

Quick Move-In or Move-In Ready Homes

If you’re short on time, or just don’t want to wait through the building process, buying a quick move-in home (also called a move-in ready, spec, or inventory home) could be the right choice for you. A quick move-in home offers the same shortened process of a resale home, but with the benefits of a brand new build.

You’ll have less control over the selections and finishes – and, depending on what stage of construction the home is in, you might not be able to adjust them at all.

However, you’ll still get the big benefits of buying a new home directly from the builder:

  • Newly constructed homes are the best option for “green” living – this can save you money on utility bills while also protecting the environment. Our hybrid homes, for example, offer significant energy savings where it matters most.
  • Choices, choices, choices! With a builder, they’ll be able to show you around various floor plans they build that are available for sale. This means that if you really love a builder’s work but aren’t quite sold on a specific house, they’ll still have more they can show you.
  • Save on replacement costs. Since a quick move-in home will have brand new appliances, you won’t need to make updates or upgrades. A resale home, on the other hand, will likely need appliances or features replaced depending on how old the home is.
  • Safety. Newly built homes come with the most modern safety features to protect your family.
  • Resale value is better for newer homes. You’ll be able to get a better price for a more recently built home than for a home built 30+ years ago.
  • Many builders work with a preferred lender to offer you more options on financing. You’ll often be able to get special deals or customized financing depending on the financer.

Semi-Custom Homes

The next step up from a quick move-in home, semi-custom homes offer all the benefits of a new home along with more choices during the process.

Since you’ll be a part of the building process from beginning to end, you’ll have a lot more say in the final look of the house. At McGuinn, we offer two options that fall within this category: Best Value and Value Custom Homes.

With the Best Value Home by McGuinn, you’ll be able to choose from one of our “Your Home, Your Way” plans and then choose from a selection of options to personalize your style.

A Value Custom Home, on the other hand, goes a little bit more in depth. You may customize one of our stock plans, as well as receive expert advice from our team. You’ll still receive the same amazing amount of options.

A semi-custom home is a great option if you just want to add some personalization and have more to say in the final product.

Custom Homes

For the ultimate personalization experience, the custom home could be for you! A custom home typically has very few or even no pre-designed choices. Bring your own plan, work with the builder to create a new one, or take one they like and expand on it – the choice boils down to your preference.

At McGuinn, we call these our True Custom Homes. If you want it, it’s yours. You can bring us your plan, and we will work with you to make it a reality. Unlimited selections choices will make sure your home perfectly suits you, while our buying power ensures you’ll get the best prices for your features.

On Your Lot Homes

The ultimate custom home, a home built on your lot means that you are not limited to the lots a builder has available or one of the communities or neighborhoods they build in.

This gives you the flexibility to pick the perfect location for you and your family. With this option, you won’t have to sacrifice a home style you love just because it isn’t in the location that works best for you.

At McGuinn, we proudly offer the opportunity to both build in one of our communities or on your own lot.

The Takeaway

The options for choosing a home can be overwhelming – who knew there were so many types of houses out there!

At the end of the day, just ask yourself these questions to narrow down what level works best for you:

  • How much do you want to be involved in the building or design process?
  • Is your heart set on a certain set of selections or features?
  • Do you already have a lot or have one in mind to purchase?
  • Do you want limitless options, or do you prefer choosing from preselected varieties?
  • Are you looking for a house that offers the newest appliances and energy efficient features, or are you okay with a home that needs some updating?

If you already know you want a new construction home, you can always talk to your chosen builder as well. They can help guide you to the right option for you and your budget. Our sales representatives are happy to help you with any questions you may have about building with McGuinn!