Blog Category - Home Buying

What’s Included in Your HOA?

Categories: About McGuinn Hybrid Homes, Home Buying | Posted: April 17, 2019

A homeowners association (HOA) can be a valuable resource in a neighborhood. This group of residents is committed to maintaining the look and feel of a community and protecting everyone’s investment. Each HOA charges a fee to homeowners and this cost varies from one neighborhood to the next. McGuinn Hybrid Homes advises that, before you buy a home, you know what’s included in your HOA.

HOA fees vary from one neighborhood to the next. You might pay less than $100 a month or much more. It will depend on the services included and the costs associated with those. More services require more money. In 2015, Trulia estimated the average HOA dues to be $331.

An HOA fee can cover a variety of services. It usually handles the maintenance and insurance for all common areas and amenities, like a pool, clubhouse, fitness center, and playground. It might provide for trash removal and services like Internet and cable.

In a gated community, the HOA pays for the security staff as well as the upkeep of the entrance. Someone also has to take care of the landscaping, so expect to chip in for those costs, which contribute to the curb appeal of your home.

Townhome communities often included exterior maintenance in the HOA dues. Homeowners gain the freedom from mowing and weeding their lawns, plowing the driveway, and even painting the exterior when it’s needed.

When you purchase your home, the HOA fee is ordinarily included with the closing costs. After that, the HOA will bill you directly. Some require one annual payment, while others accept dues on a monthly or quarterly basis.

Your HOA might include a “reserve”—funds tucked away in case of emergency or high-value improvements. Maybe you need your streets repaved or your neighbors want to add trees. Those choices would be covered by your available reserves. If a common area, like the pool or clubhouse, sustains severe damage and the insurance doesn’t cover the repair, the reserves can be used, as long as the members agree.

In a townhome community, reserves might be used to cover the cost of repairing or replacing roofs. The HOA members vote on the use of the funds and have the right to review all costs associated with the project.

The homeowners association in a new community is started by the developer. Once enough homes are occupied, those owners take over the management of their HOA, voting in a Board of Directors.

Every HOA should have a set of by-laws or codes, covenants, and restrictions (CC&Rs). Whichever they use, be sure you review them carefully before agreeing to live within the rules—physically and legally. Failure to comply with those rules could result in fines, prohibiting you from using the common areas, or even having a lien placed on your home. The HOA CC&Rs is a legally binding document. Protect yourself by knowing exactly what’s included and required.

McGuinn Hybrid Homes builds communities of energy-efficient single-family homes and townhomes in and around the Columbia, SC, region near the beautiful lakes. With the exception of our Lee Street homes, all of these neighborhoods provide HOAs to ensure that your home’s value and your enjoyment is protected for years to come. Let’s work together at finding the home and the location that gives you the lifestyle you deserve.


What You Should Know When You Want to Build on Your Lot

Categories: Home Buying | Posted: March 28, 2019

McGuinn Hybrid Homes Build on Your LotHave you ever looked at a piece of land and envisioned living there? Did you picture your perfect home (and life) on this property? Maybe you’re ready to pursue this dream. McGuinn Hybrid Homes has plenty of experience at this type of homebuilding, and here’s what you should know when you want to build on your lot.

Talk to a builder before you buy the land.

The location and the view might be everything you’d hoped for in a piece of property, but if it’s not buildable, find out before you sign on the dotted line and take ownership of the land. If the land fails the perc test, for example, you can’t build on it. Period.

In other instances, the land presents considerable challenges to excavate, which runs into more money that you might not want to invest.

For these reasons (and more), find a builder who has the experience in building on a customer’s property, outside of a developed neighborhood. If you’re looking in the Columbia, SC, area, talk to Tim Rawlings at McGuinn Hybrid Homes. He’s our resident expert on the subject and will gladly look at the land you’re considering and give you an honest evaluation.

Don’t be fooled by “price per square foot”.

We frequently hear the question, “How much does it cost to build a new home?”

Think of it like this: How much does it cost to go out for dinner? It depends on the place and the meal, right? You could grab a quick sandwich or go for 5-star epicurean experience.

When a builder quotes a price-per-square-foot, you need to understand what’s included. The bottom line will depend on their construction methods, ability to purchase materials affordably, and the areas where they build. A custom builder might charge more to go out of the area where he’s currently building, because he doesn’t have the same efficiency as within his current territory.

If you don’t know what’s included in the price—and, more importantly, what’s NOT included—you’re at risk for unwanted price increases. We had a homebuyer who was interested in building a home. We estimated it would be $320,000. He talked to a custom builder who made a lot of promises, committing to $360,000 for the home that this buyer described. Before the contract was signed, that price soared to $420,000. This customer returned to McGuinn Hybrid Homes and we built him that home, as specified, for $320,000. We don’t like surprises any more than our homebuyers, so our price is our price. It doesn’t change unless the customer changes their mind.

In our area, McGuinn Hybrid Homes builds new construction, single-family homes for $60 to $84 per square foot. Custom builders here cost about $120 per square foot. We leverage economies by using our own floor plans. We’ve built each one many times, and we know how to do them efficiently and correctly. There are no glitches to be worked out, no unforeseen “uh oh’s”. Because we keep to our portfolio, we can also purchase building materials more cost-effectively, rather than buying custom items here and there.

Be clear on the warranty coverage.

Your new home is a major investment. Be sure you have a home warranty included in the purchase. This protection usually covers the structure for a specified period of time, often the first year. It’s during this time that construction defects are noticed, as the house settles a bit. The warranty gives you peace of mind that the builder takes responsibility for their work.

Some homebuilders contract the warranty service to an outside company to handle any claims. At McGuinn Hybrid Homes, we chose to keep this process in-house. We take pride in our work and our commitment to our customers, so we don’t divert them to a third-party when an issue arises. We prefer to continue our relationship with the homeowner long after the home is finished.

When you’re ready to build a home on your land, talk to Tim at McGuinn Hybrid Homes. He’s available to answer your questions, look at your property, review floor plans and options, and discuss the process so you have all the information you need.

Columbia, SC: Ranked “One of the Best Cities” for These Jobs

Categories: Columbia, Home Buying | Posted: March 6, 2019

McGuinn Hybrid Homes Columba SC Best Cities for JobsIn spite of all the efforts to the contrary, business and pleasure overlap. Smartphones are always within reach, so business contacts can reach you outside of work—texts, emails, calls, and social media messaging. Why not give in and choose a location where you can enjoy your career opportunities and lifestyle in harmony? McGuinn Hybrid Homes saw a recent study that showed Columbia, SC, ranked as “One of the Best Cities” for jobs in healthcare and legal occupations.

The analysis was conducted by PropertyShark and showed that choosing the right location can make it easier to buy a home sooner. The study examined the median income of every occupation in each city they reviewed. Then they looked at the disposable income remaining after deducting median costs for rent and living expenses for those areas.

“Most of the younger generation is mired in student loan debt and stuck paying high rent, with slim chances of saving even a penny for a down payment. Homeownership is especially hard for graduates that remain in high-cost cities after completing their studies,” the report stated. “Luckily, if you’re not too attached to the big city life, the right job in the right place can do wonders for your quest to save for a down payment.”

Columbia was determined to be a great city for people pursuing careers in healthcare and law. The city ranked #2 overall for healthcare occupations, showing that an average earner in this industry could save up a 20% down payment in less than 2 years. Healthcare jobs span every aspect, from practitioner to technology professionals.

Professionals in the legal field in Columbia could reach that goal even faster. The PropertyShark report showed that, based on a monthly median income of $7,851 and a median home price of $192,500 in this housing market, the 20% down payment—$38,500—could be saved in just 11 months.

Buy a home sooner and with less money down

The study calculated a median monthly rent at $1,035. Your monthly mortgage could be lower than your rent payment when you buy a home from McGuinn Hybrid Homes. We have a move-in ready home at 452 North Lee Street in Batesburg, SC, just a short drive from Downtown Columbia. Priced at $164,900, the mortgage payment is estimated to be $882, with no money down. Move into this new construction, single-family home right away and start using your money toward an investment instead of an expense.

McGuinn Hybrid Homes’ new Leesville community, Hallman Meadows, is located near Lexington and Lake Murray. Live close to the city while enjoying life in the country—and take advantage of 100% financing through the USDA home loan program. Our energy-efficient, single-family homes here start in the mid-$100,000s. We have several nearing completion, with mortgages estimated from $958, based on zero down payment.

Maybe you’d prefer a community with more amenities. Our Centennial at Lake Carolina community features a beautiful home at 905 Layton Way in Columbia. With just 3.5% down, you could own this home, priced at only $209,000—a great value for the included features, like granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, wood flooring, crown molding, tankless hot water heater, and energy efficiency that lowers your cost of ownership.

Before you postpone your decision to buy a home, get the facts on financing and new home prices. Columbia is an exciting city with plenty to offer, and McGuinn Hybrid Homes is ready to guide you on a direct path to homeownership.


First-time Homebuyer Tips: What You Should Know About Financing

Categories: Buying a New Home, Home Buying | Posted: February 27, 2019

McGuinn Hybrid Homes FinancingBuying your first home is exciting, particularly when you’re fully prepared for the journey. When you’ve never traveled the path to homeownership, you should learn the route. McGuinn Hybrid Homes has these first-time homebuyer tips to cover what you should know about financing, the key to achieving your dream!

1. Talk to a lender first.

Before you click on a listing or contact a Realtor, talk to a mortgage professional. This vital step will help you understand what you are likely to be approved for, and the mortgage pre-approval works in your favor when you’re making an offer; the seller has proof that you’re a qualified buyer, which is a competitive edge against those who missed this step.

2. Learn the facts about down payments.

You might have accepted the misinformation that you need 20% of the purchase price to put a down payment on a home.

Not true!

The average down payment on a home these days is about 10%. With mortgage programs like USDA, Veterans Affairs, and FHA home loans, you might be able to finance as much as 100% of the purchase price, including closing costs. The USDA home loan and VA home loan allow for zero down payment for qualified buyers and homes. The FHA mortgage program requires only 3.5% down when your credit score is 580 or above. If your FICO score is between 500 and 579, you could still qualify but will the program will require a 10% down payment. Even a conventional home loan can require as little as 3% down (known as the conventional 97% loan-to-value program).

If you put less than 20% down payment on a home, you could be required by the lender to purchase private mortgage insurance (PMI). This cost is about 0.3% to 1.5% of the loan amount per year, and determined by your credit history. The PMI is included in your monthly mortgage payment. Once you’ve reached the point where the balance of your loan is equal to 80% of the home’s assessed value, you can cancel the PMI.

3. Estimate what you can afford.

Just like you should know how much of a mortgage you qualify for, you need to know how the purchase price impacts your monthly payment. Expenses like homeowner’s insurance, property tax, PMI, and HOA fee will be incorporated into your mortgage. Those fees are paid directly from your escrow account so you don’t need to worry about them.

Use this Zillow mortgage calculator to see how the purchase price and associated fees leads you to a payment you can afford.

4. Research mortgage lenders.

Not every lender has the expertise to handle your mortgage needs. It pays to shop around. Some are more familiar with programs like USDA, FHA, and FHA. If that’s the direction you’re heading, ask your prospective mortgage company about their experience with these programs. Find out about the interest rates and fees they charge, too, because those usually vary from one company to the next.

McGuinn Hybrid Homes works with Southern First because they’ve proven their expertise in guiding our homebuyers through financing a new home. Whether someone is buying a move-in ready home or building with us, Southern First’s Carter Weston knows the process and makes sure every step is handled in a timely way.

When your new home search steers you to the Columbia, SC, area, we invite you to talk to us. Browse our communities  of townhomes and single-family homes. Or let’s discuss how we can build one of our energy-efficient homes on your own land!


Minimalism and Tidying Up: Ways to Clear Up and Clutter Out

Categories: Community & Local Events, Home Buying, Homeowner tips | Posted: February 21, 2019

McGuinn Hybrid Homes Clear Up Clutter OutYou’ve probably been hearing a lot about home organization, particularly with the recent popularity of Marie Kondo, best-selling author and expert on decluttering (and who has proclaimed 2019 as “the year of tidying up”). Since your home is intended as your place of joy—and clutter disrupts it—the effort to seek peace in organization is a valuable one. McGuinn Hybrid Homes can help you with some suggestions for pursuing minimalism and tidying up. Follow these ways to clear up and clutter out your home.

Start with a goal.

Just like you wouldn’t build a home without a blueprint, you need a plan for your decluttering adventure. What do you want to achieve? Better organization? More space for other things (furniture, hobbies, a new baby)? A total cleansing of the past??

When you clearly understand your purpose, use it as your focal point. Weigh every choice against how it supports that mission.

Visualize your results.

Now that you know your goal, picture what you want your home to look like when you’re done. If you’re aiming for minimalist design, what do you want to do with the space you create? Minimalism isn’t just about reducing the clutter, but creating functional space. Everything you keep should provide purpose. As you go through the tidying and decluttering process, ask yourself how your possessions contribute to your new and improved decor.

Map out your route.

Depending on the amount of clutter you need to tackle, the process could take more than a few hours. Avoid the urge to wander through your home, randomly grabbing things. Instead, decide on a plan that keeps you focused on one space at a time—like the garage, bedroom closet, or kitchen cabinets. Don’t go on to anything else until one area is completed.

Purge with power.

Marie Kondo promotes the idea that everything should bring joy to your life. Anything less than that isn’t worth keeping. As you move from one clutter collection to another, be ruthless in your choices. If something has been tucked away in a box for months or years, it’s probably going to stay that way. A real treasure needs to be where it can be appreciated. Put it on a shelf, hang it on the wall—display it!

While you rid yourself of the excess, think about places that would welcome and use what you’re discarding. When you can rehome these pieces, you’ll feel a lot better about parting with them.

Here are some suggestions for purging with purpose:

  • Animal shelters welcome donations of towels, blankets, sheets, pillowcases, quilts, and other bedding.
  • Senior centers appreciate books, magazines, games, puzzles, and craft supplies.
  • Books for Soldiers is a great way to give your used books to our service men and women around the world.
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of America and homeless shelters need clothing for people of all ages. BBBSA would also love your used sports equipment, games, and toys.
  • Shelters for victims of domestic violence in your community are helping families restart their lives. Any household items, clothing, and gently used toys are a big help.
  • Local thrift shops turn your discards into income that supports the charitable work of non-profit organizations.
  • Suiting Warriors dresses veterans for success, helping them return to the civilian workplace, so donate your suits and suitable interview clothing to this organization.
  • Habitat for Humanity ReStore sells donated household goods, furniture, building materials, and accessories, with the profits going to support their mission.

Peruse your donations carefully. Charities are not dumping sites. If your items are broken, stained, scratched, or just don’t work, don’t pass them along to busy volunteers. It’s okay to throw them out.

Once you finish decluttering and tidying up your home, it’s possible you discover that it no longer meets your lifestyle needs. You might be ready for something that offers low maintenance, like a townhome, which provides the spaciousness of a single-family home, without the exterior upkeep. McGuinn Hybrid Homes build communities of both new construction homes and townhomes throughout the Columbia, SC, area. With floor plans from just over 1,400 square feet to more than 3,600 square feet, we can build the energy-efficient home that gives you the minimalist or maximalist style you crave—and check out our move-in ready homes to see what’s available right now. Let’s find you a home that fits you just right!


Start New and Leave the Home Repair Behind.

Categories: About McGuinn Hybrid Homes, Home Buying, News & Announcements | Posted: February 20, 2019

McGuinn Hybrid Homes Leave Home Repair BehindThe holidays are behind us. The weather is warming up. Spring is coming. Why are you waiting to buy a new home? Do you really want to spend weekends doing home repairs and renovations? Imagine moving into a brand home where everything is brand new and all you need to do is enjoy it. McGuinn Hybrid Homes has some advice that will save you time and money. Start new and leave the home repair behind.

Maybe you’ve been planning to replace your roof or air conditioning system. While you’re at it, how old is your water heater? Is it running efficiently or are you spending too much money to get the hot water you need? An energy-efficient home could save you about $1,200 a year, depending on the home’s size and design. McGuinn Hybrid Homes delivers high-efficiency in every home we build.

A tankless water heater, for example, heats water on demand so you’re not paying to heat up water that’s just sitting in the tank. The tankless water heater lasts 15 to 20 years, more than twice a standard water heater, so you won’t have the worries about replacing it any time soon.

We also use the most advanced construction methods and materials for conserving energy in your home. The radiant barrier sheathing, R-38 attic and R-13 wall insulation, house wrap, and air sealant all contribute to an airtight, comfortable home.

The efficiency of our homes contributes to the resale value, something to think about when you’re considering a new home. In addition, a newer home has a strong resale value because of the updated features and innovations that might be missing from your current residence.

Don’t keep wondering whether it’s the right time to buy a new home. McGuinn Hybrid Homes is now offering a $3,000 buyer incentive if you sign your purchase agreement by February 28, 2019. DON’T WAIT! Explore your opportunities. McGuinn Hybrid Homes has new communities and new homes in and around Columbia, SC.

Bush Gardens, Columbia, SC

One of our newest neighborhoods, Bush Gardens is located in an excellent location in Columbia’s St. Andrews area, not far from Lake Murray and the Saluda River. From your home here, it’s a short trip to I-20 and I-26—perfect for commuting or just getting to all the recreation, entertainment, shopping, and dining that the Columbia area offers all year long.

Although Bush Gardens is close to the city, this small community to give you serenity. The natural surroundings that embrace the neighborhood enhance privacy and relaxation.

McGuinn Hybrid Homes has completed some new construction homes in Bush Gardens and has some nearing completion. These single-family homes start at only $202,900, and the floor plans range from 1,700 to 2,317 square feet of interior living space. For as little as 3.5% down payment, one of them could be yours.

Hallman Meadows, Leesville, SC

McGuinn Hybrid Homes chose this location for our new community because it combines the benefits of a Leesville address with the quality of the acclaimed Lexington One School District. Lexington is only 12 minutes from Hallman Meadows, Hop on Route 1 or take Priceville Road and you’ll discover that everything you need and want is conveniently close.

For Hallman Meadows, we’ve developed a selection of floor plans designed exclusively for Hallman Meadows. The Woodland Series offers a variety of home designs—single-level ranches and two-story homes. Take your pick of 3- and 4-bedroom floor plans—1,700 to 2,334 square feet—and we’ll personalize the details to make it uniquely your own. Each one reflects our high standard for energy efficiency, as well as quality appointments, like granite countertops, decorator cabinets, luxurious master suite, and a covered rear porch. Did we mention these homes have large lots?

Come and see how Hallman Meadows is blooming into a desirable neighborhood. Take a look at the move-in ready homes that are just about ready.

SummerLake, Lexington, SC

Even the name reflects the relaxing lifestyle you’ll experience here. The swimming pool and clubhouse bring residents together in a resort-like atmosphere, for swimming, cookouts, parties, basking in the South Carolina sun, and socializing. Take a leisurely walk down the nature trails or let the kids play at the neighborhood’s park. SummerLake also features a 15-acre lake that’s fully stocked for a day of fishing. Just off Highway 378, the Lexington community is an easy drive to and from the many things to do, from recreation at Lake Murray to the action in Downtown Columbia.

Living here also means your children reap the rewards of the Lexington One School District. Rocky Creek Elementary School earned a perfect score of “10” from GreatSchools Pleasant Hill Middle School continues the academic excellence, followed by a stellar performance at Lexington High School.

McGuinn Hybrid Homes is building single-family homes at SummerLake, with 6 distinctive floor plans that are sized from 2,003 to more than 2,800 square feet. Take your pick of move-in ready homes so you can be living here before spring.

Build on your land

If you have a particular location in mind, let’s talk. McGuinn Hybrid Homes is experienced at building on your lot. From site preparation through construction, get personal attention, craftsmanship, and in-depth knowledge that comes from our extensive experience.

Stop delaying and start looking. Contact McGuinn Hybrid Homes to take the next step toward a new home and a new life.


These New Homes Are Move-in Ready. Are YOU?

Categories: Buying a New Home, Home Buying | Posted: January 16, 2019

McGuinn Hybrid Homes Move-in Ready 2019Our crews have been busily building over the last few months and we’ve got a lot to show for that effort. McGuinn Hybrid Homes has communities of single-family homes and townhomes all over the Columbia, SC, area. Right now, these new homes are move-in ready. The question is, are YOU?

Hillcreek, Columbia, SC

112 Aspen Court is a custom home on a wooded lot. With 2,313 square feet of indoor living space, this new construction home combines comfort, style, and energy efficiency. The master suite and 2 more bedrooms are located on the second floor, while the main floor features an open concept—a large, center island kitchen, family room, and dining area—plus a flex room by the foyer. $219,900

Crystal Cove, Irmo, SC

106 Crystal Manor Drive is the only move-in ready home now available in this popular community, and it’s a great choice for families. With 5 bedrooms—each with its own walk-in closet—3.5 baths, an upstairs loft, deluxe kitchen, and large, covered porch, this new home welcomes your busy household. $299,900

Panorama Point, Gilbert, SC

511 Sunny Cove Court presents a stunning home in an equally distinctive neighborhood. We expanded the Cleveland floor plan to 3,618 square feet that includes 5 bedrooms, 4.5 baths, a gourmet kitchen, loft,  and a wealth of details in a luxury home. Details include coffered ceiling, expansive kitchen island, large windows that stream natural light into the home, and an awe-inspiring owner’s suite. $799,900

Harbour Watch on Lake Murray, Leesville, SC

115 Southpark Place will set you up right away for lakeside living. Check out the curb appeal on this two-story, brick home with a large covered porch. Inside, you have 3,343 square feet that features 4 bedrooms, 3.5 baths, an open concept in the main living area, and a flex space that could be used as a formal dining room, home office, playroom, or other function.  Take a virtual tour now! Boat storage is also available with this home for just $300 a year. $379,900

Summerlake, Lexington, SC

249 Garden Gate Way presents a unique exterior that combines stone, board and batten, and horizontal vinyl siding. Inside, the Wilshire floor plan offers a first-floor master suite, with 3 more bedrooms upstairs—each with a walk-in closet—a total of 3.5 baths, loft, and designer kitchen. The covered patio extends the living area outside. $320,792

578 Hopscotch Lane shows off the qualities of our 2,507-square-foot Meadowbrook floor plan—a 2-story home with 4 bedrooms and 3.5 baths, second-floor laundry, a chef’s kitchen with granite countertops, and a spacious open floor plan that’s perfect for entertaining. $244,900

Woodmill, Lexington, SC

202 Woodmill Circle is now ready! Explore all the possibilities for decorating the versatile Stonebridge design. The spacious master suite provides a well-deserved haven in this home. You’ll also appreciate the hardwood floors, crown molding, 9-foot ceilings, and design details that McGuinn Hybrid Homes included in the 4-bedroom, 2.5-bath home’s 2,307 square feet. $247,900

Centennial at Lake Carolina, Columbia, SC

913 Layton Way offers an inviting home in the award-winning Lake Carolina community! Live lakeside where you have an abundance of amenities. This single-level, Woodland design features 3 bedrooms and 2 baths. Perfectly sized for the first-time homebuyer, empty-nester, or as a vacation retreat, this home’s 1,700 square feet are creatively used for convenience, comfort, and style. $209,000

932 Layton Way presents a real charmer. The single-level brick home is accented with board and batten siding. Step inside to 1,506 square feet of energy efficient living, without compromising the features you want in a new home—3 bedrooms, 2 baths, a comfortably sized kitchen with an open concept to the great room and dining area. $199,000

Cumberland Place, West Columbia, SC

219 Shell Mound Court and 211 Shell Mound Court each reflect McGuinn Hybrid Homes creativity with the Stonebridge floor plan, a 2.317-square-foot, 2-story design with 4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, and both a covered front porch and rear patio. The first-floor master suite is accented with a tray ceiling and luxurious master bath, with convenient access to the laundry. $200,900

Harbison Grove, Columbia, SC

435 Angel Grove Lane, 437 Angel Grove Lane, and 439 Angel Grove Lane present the first 2-bedroom townhomes available in this brand new community. Each one provides 1,428 square feet that includes a large kitchen, open floor plan, 2.5 baths, walk-in closets in each bedroom, and a rear covered patio that includes a locking storage closet. $133,900

Find your new home and a new lifestyle in one of these move-in ready homes, or check out the floor plans available in our communities or to that we can build on your land. McGuinn Hybrid Homes takes pride in the quality of our craftsmanship, energy-efficient design, and the personal service you’ll always experience with our team. Let’s see where life will take you!


Looking to Buy a New Home in 2019? Consider These Tips.

Categories: About McGuinn Hybrid Homes, Buying a New Home, Home Buying | Posted: January 3, 2019

McGuinn Hybrid Homes New Home Buyer Tips

The new year is still fresh. Maybe you haven’t given a lot of thought yet to the next 12 months. Or maybe you have. No matter how good or bad 2018 was for you, you’ve got a fresh start right now. How are you going to make the most of it? Are you looking to buy a new home in 2019? It’s a good time right now. If you’re a first-time homebuyer, consider these tips, courtesy of McGuinn Hybrid Homes.

It’s a big decision but doesn’t have to be a permanent one.

You might fear the commitment of buying a home. What if you decide to move in a couple of years? You can’t predict the future, but don’t postpone your life for the “what if’s”. If you decide to move in a couple of years, you can sell or rent your home, and likely turn a profit. Instead of paying rent, invest in a home. Real estate values are on the rise—but so are home prices and interest rates. The longer you wait, the more you’ll pay.

Add up the total cost of ownership.

The price you pay for a home isn’t the same as the cost to own it. You might find that a resale home is less expensive than a new one, but you should consider the other funds you’ll need to invest. Add in everything necessary to make this home the way you want it—like replacing a roof or air conditioning system, buying major appliances, redoing the floors, and rewiring for your smart technology.

While an existing home might appear to save you money, there could be a lot more costs involved in actually owning it. Remember that a new home comes with brand new systems and appliances. It comes with numerous warranties. You don’t have to worry about footing the bill for repairs. How much is THAT worth to you?

Pay attention to the energy efficient features.

Don’t underestimate that value of a well-built home that reflects a builder’s commitment to energy efficiency. From the construction and HVAC system to the appliances, insulation, and fixtures, everything contributes to the carbon footprint of your home. A home should be designed, engineered, and built to “perform”—creating a comfortable, safe atmosphere while using less energy. Why pay more to heat or cool your house because it doesn’t have top-notch insulation in the walls and ceilings, and radiant barrier sheathing in the attic? Plus, systems like a tankless water heater save energy, work better, and last longer.

You’ll be paying energy bills as long as you own your home, so be sure to consider everything that impacts those costs. Also, remember that an energy-efficient home carries a higher resale value than those that are not as eco-friendly. Take a look at these “green building” features included in McGuinn Hybrid Homes so you can see how they affect your investment.

Talk to a mortgage lender first.

There are plenty of mortgage programs out there. Before you start looking for a home, learn which one best fits your financial situation. If you don’t have a large down payment, ask about programs, like FHA home loans, that require as little as 3.5% down. A mortgage professional can also give you guidance on preparing to buy a home. Find out how to improve your credit score, how much to set aside for closing costs, and what’s involved in getting a mortgage. You should also get pre-approved so you can shop for a home that’s within your reach.

If your new home search brings you to the Columbia, SC, area, talk to us at McGuinn Hybrid Homes. Our communities of new construction, single-family homes and townhomes are located near the lakes, in good school districts, and close to all the amenities you need. Want to build a home on your land? We have experience with that, too.

With mortgage payments that could be less than your current rent, you owe it to yourself to make this important move in 2019.


Renting Versus Buying: Which Choice is Right for You?

Categories: Buying a New Home, Home Buying | Posted: December 19, 2018

McGuinn Hybrid Homes Renting Vs Buying

Your biggest monthly living expense is probably the rent or mortgage payment. Every month, when you write that rent check, do you wonder how long you’ll be repeating this process? Buying a home is a scary proposition for some people. They fear the long-term commitment to the property and the return on investment. As you’re pondering, renting versus buying, McGuinn Hybrid Homes offers these things to consider to determine which choice is right for you.

When renting makes sense.

For the short-term, renting can be a viable option, particularly when you’re just getting to know an area. You can take your time checking out towns and neighborhoods, looking at schools and commutes, and exploring the local amenities. If that’s your plan, look into tenant-at-will agreements, where you don’t need to sign a long-term lease, but can simply offer 30-day notice that you’re leaving.

People who are in an uncertain situation—with employment or financial struggles, for example—may also opt for renting. Again, it should be viewed as a temporary solution, while you build up your buying strength.

The value of buying a home.

The biggest difference between buying a renting a home or apartment is in the equity. Rent is an expense. A mortgage is an investment. With every mortgage payment, you gain equity—getting closer to ownership. As your property value increases, so does your equity. With housing values on the rise, the return on your investment grows. If you had bought a home last year for $200,000, it could be worth $220,000 today, even if you made no upgrades whatsoever.

As a renter, the equity goes in the landlord’s pocket.

Buy a home. Get tax deductions.

Homeownership comes with the benefit of deductions on your income tax return. Every year, you can deduct the mortgage interest, property tax, and mortgage insurance premiums. When you buy your home, you can claim the points you paid for closing costs.

If you have a dedicated home office, you gain even more deductions as a homeowner. A portion of your mortgage, home insurance, and utilities is deductible for space that is used exclusively for business.

Either choice is getting more expensive.

Every year, you can expect your rent to go up. The landlord may call it a “cost of living” increase, even though the property’s mortgage has likely stayed the same. Your landlord is profiting from your decision to postpone buying a home. Wouldn’t you rather be in that position?

The cost of homes and mortgages is going up, so the longer you wait to buy, the more it will cost you. As you put off making the decision, you’re missing out on the equity you could be reaping. The affordability of a new home is getting tighter, as the home you could buy now might be out of your reach in six months, with the rise in the home’s price and interest rate.

Plus, if the rate actually drops, you can refinance. If you decide to move, you can become that landlord who makes a profit on someone else’s decision to rent.

The best step to take when you’re uncertain is to contact an experienced lender. This professional can discuss the mortgage programs that are available to you now, so you can make an informed decision. With so many choices—including 100% financing or low down payments—you might be surprised at your buying power.

Take a look at McGuinn Hybrid Homes’ communities of single-family homes and townhomes in Columbia, SC, and the surrounding cities and towns. Our energy-efficient features conserve energy, lower utility bills, and increase the resale value. In the month of December, McGuinn Hybrid Homes is offering special pricing and incentives on a selection of our move-in ready homes.

Stop wasting your money. Get on the path to homeownership. Contact McGuinn Hybrid Homes to get started.


The 12 (Now 9) Deals of Christmas: Reduced Prices on Move-in Ready Homes

Categories: About McGuinn Hybrid Homes, Home Buying, Specials & Incentives | Posted: December 12, 2018

McGuinn Hybrid Homes 12 Deals of Christmas

As you’re counting down the days to Christmas, we have another countdown for you. McGuinn Hybrid Homes presents “The 12 Deals of Christmas”. Take advantage of reduced prices on move-in ready homes. We’ve made it even easier (and more affordable) to buy a new construction home in prime locations around the Midlands of Columbia, SC.

UPDATE: Make that “9” because these homes are going fast! Three homes have already sold. But you have 9 more ways to benefits from McGuinn Hybrid Homes’ season of giving.

Have you made a wish to life in an award winning community? Centennial at Lake Carolina in Columbia presents all the amenities you’d want, like a swimming pool, clubhouse, park, lighted walking trails, 200-acre lake, a YMCA, and an active community. Here are 5 ways to make your Christmas wish come true:

#1. 909 Layton Way is a single-level home with 1,506 square feet, perfect as your year-round residence or a vacation getaway on the lake. This Calhoun floor plan features 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, an open concept floor plan, 2-car garage, and private patio. Reduced from $224,900 to $209,900

#2. 905 Layton Way offers 1,700 square feet of stylish space. From the brick exterior to the grandeur of the open concept and lavish master suite, this 3-bedroom, 2-bath Woodland design includes hardwood flooring in the foyer, a fenced back yard, and energy-efficient appliances and systems. Reduced from $249,900 to $219,900

#3. 932 Layton Way also reflects the 1,506-square-foot Calhoun home design from McGuinn Hybrid Homes. Starting with eye-catching curb appeal with the brick facade and covered porch, this new construction home provides the comfort and convenience of single-level living. Reduced from $224,900 to $209,900

#4. 913 Layton Way is distinctive at first glance. Architectural details of this Woodland floor plan continue from the exterior to the smartly designed 1,700-square-foot interior. The master suite includes both a garden tub and step-in shower. With 3 bedrooms and 2 baths, this unique home could be the perfect fit for you. Reduced from $249,900 to $219,900

#5. 908 Layton Way is getting its finishing touches. With our holiday special, you’ll save $30,000 on this Woodland home design, one of our most popular. This ranch-style home provides energy efficiency that increases the value even more. If you want 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, 9-foot ceilings, and a spacious, open living area, this home and special offer are waiting for you. Reduced from $249,900 to $219,900

Our Hill Creek community in Irmo is a short drive from Lake Murray, and offers easy access to I-26 for a quick trip to Columbia. McGuinn Hybrid Homes has included one home on our “12 Deals of Christmas List”.

#6. 112 Aspen Court is a stunning, 2-story home with a spacious deck and front porch. Step inside to 2,313 square feet of living space that includes 3 large bedrooms, 2 baths, a center island kitchen, open floor plan, and large yard. Reduced from $247,900 to $219,900

Lexington, SC, is close enough to Columbia to keep you connected with city life, but far enough away to enjoy suburban serenity.  Woodmill is one of McGuinn Hybrid Homes’ Lexington communities, not far from Lake Murray and the Saluda River, as well as close to great schools. Our Christmas “gift list” continues with 2 Woodmill single-family homes for sale at a reduced price.

#7. 274 Woodmill Circle shows off our Stonebridge floor plan, a 2-story home with 2,307 square feet, 4 bedrooms, and 2.5 baths. We’ve incorporated quality details throughout the brick home’s interior, like a butler’s pantry, pendant lights, granite countertops, crown molding, and a luxurious master suite. Reduced from $267,900 to $247,900

#8. 202 Woodmill Circle showcases how McGuinn Hybrid Homes personalizes every home. We approach each one with a vision of the family that will live there. Like 274 Woodmill and 206 Woodmill, this single-family home includes 4 bedrooms and 2 baths, and so many more details to appreciate. Reduced from $267,900 to $247,900

Panorama Point in Gilbert is close to Lexington and I-26 to take you to Downtown Columbia in just 25 minutes. In addition to convenient access, this lakefront community offers scenic views and plenty of recreation. We wrap up our “12 Deals of Christmas” with one move-in ready home in Panorama Point that presents an outstanding opportunity,

#9. 511 Sunny Cove Court is an executive home that is worthy of a closer look. We built this exceptional, 2-story home in our Cleveland floor plan, which provides 3,18 square feet, 5 bedrooms, 4.5 baths, and the smart use of space. This luxury home features a gourmet kitchen with a butler’s pantry, and a flex room that could be transformed to a home office, library, media room, or hobby studio. The dining area is accented with a coffered ceiling and six-foot windows. Live in high style at the lake!  Reduced from $824,900 to $799,900

Whether you’ve been naughty or nice in 2018, end the year on a positive and powerful note. Come and see any of these new construction homes and reap the rewards of huge savings! Contact McGuinn Hybrid Homes for more information and to schedule your personal tour.