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Save money and stay warm in an energy-efficient home

Categories: Homeowner tips | Posted: December 28, 2017

Save money and stay warm

Winter is here, and homeowners in the chilly climates are thinking about the ever-rising cost of home heating. Are you going to sacrifice your comfort to save money on your heating bills this winter?

With an energy-efficient home, you don’t have this worry. New homes are built with higher standards for conserving energy. The construction materials and methods have advanced significantly in the past decade, with more ways than ever before to build a home that delivers a comfortable environment without driving up energy costs.

Increasing your Home’s Quality

McGuinn Hybrid Homes invested in understanding how to build to a higher standard—not just because our homeowners want this feature, but because it’s also the right thing to do for the environment. We’ve explored every opportunity to increase the quality and value of each home.

Here are some ways that McGuinn Hybrid Homes gives homeowners every advantage to conserve energy and live comfortably.

Radiant barrier sheathing

An engineered roof system incorporates reflective barrier sheathing that reduces air leakage and directs more efficient heat flow. The system reduces the transfer of heat through the roof by up to 97%, and lowers your attic’s temperature by as much as 30ºF. The radiant barrier sheathing also prolongs the life of your HVAC system and increases the efficiency of your home’s air ducts.

Insulated thermal envelope

McGuinn Hybrid Homes installs high R-value insulation in your ceiling and walls to keep you warm in the winter. The house wrap we use protects your home against air leakage, which helps to lower your energy bill. We also apply a spray sealant to any unsealed areas, and mastic caulk to all HVAC connections, giving you a protective thermal barrier.

Natural gas heat

This clean-burning renewable resource is an eco-friendly choice for heating your home. The delivery of natural gas is 90% efficient—compare that to electric heat, which is only 27% efficient.

Low-maintenance vinyl siding

Vinyl siding has improved dramatically over the past decade. Today’s siding provides lasting beauty without the need for re-painting, giving you a durable exterior that is easy to clean.

Low-E vinyl windows

Low-emissive (Low-E) windows feature a Low-E coating that lowers energy consumption. McGuinn Hybrid Homes uses Low-E glass in all of the windows and doors in the homes we build, which can cut the energy loss by 30% to 50%. The low-maintenance vinyl window frames resist rotting, corrosion, salt air, termites, and air pollutants,

14 SEER air conditioning system

Our homes include the 14 SEER heating and cooling system because it provides a greater level of comfort and energy efficiency.

Programmable thermostats

Smart technology lets you control the temperature in your home, even when you’re not there, so you don’t waste energy.

Tankless water heater

The ENERGY-STAR-certified tankless water heater provide energy savings by heating water only when you need it, providing a continuous flow of hot water. The units last longer than traditional water heaters, with a life expectancy of about 20 years.

ENERGY STAR appliances

By installing only ENERGY STAR-certified appliances in your home, you have the peace of mind in knowing you’re getting the most energy efficiency.

CFL bulbs

CFL light bulbs last 10 to 25 times longer and use about 75% less energy than a traditional incandescent bulb. They also generate about 75% less heat, so CFL bulbs are a safer choice. It might seem like a minor detail, but these small savings add up—and demonstrate that we seek out every opportunity to conserve energy in your home.

Greater Return on your Investment

Homes that are being built today are more energy efficient than existing homes, an average of 30% more efficient! Your investment in a new home delivers a greater return because you can save on energy bills, as well as the security of a home warranty, new appliances, and structural integrity that will not require the cost of replacement any time soon!

If you’re dreading another long, cold winter and the rising cost of heating bills, talk to us at McGuinn Homes. We have new home communities, including quick move-in homes, throughout the Columbia, South Carolina area, and can also build on your lot.

Tips for hosting your first holiday

Categories: Homeowner tips | Posted: December 19, 2017

Hosting Holiday Parties

The holiday gathering is coming—soon. Are you in charge of the get-together? Whether it’s your first time or it’s been awhile, you can reduce the stress by staying organized. Here are some tips for hosting your first holiday.

Do a head count

Yes, it seems like an obvious detail, but some people don’t pay enough attention to this critical point. The number of guests affects how you handle the seating, serving, and quantity of food. Knowing dietary restrictions—like diabetic, gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan—helps you plan a menu that includes items for every guest. You also should know how many children will be attending, and their ages, so you can accommodate their needs, including beverages.

Create the menu—and stick with it

Are you planning a traditional dinner or introducing a new take on the holiday meal? Don’t feel you have to stick to “what we’ve always done”. Even if you want to prepare a traditional feast, try adding new holiday recipes, whether it’s an appetizer, side dish, or dessert. Take a different approach on a conventional holiday dish, like the stuffing or vegetables. If you’re feeling adventurous, try making a piecaken, with layers of pie and cake in one devilish dessert.

Once you have chosen your holiday menu, don’t let yourself be diverted by recipes you see on television, online, or in magazines. The distraction will only elevate your stress with confusion.

Write a detailed menu and post it on your refrigerator as a steady reminder. Keep a grocery list on your phone so that you can pick them up when you see them on sale.

Decide on your party floor plan

Your day-to-day interior layout can be changed to accommodate your party plans. Whether you need to set up a buffet for a large crowd or make room for overnight guests, look objectively at your spaces. Shop the rooms of your house to look for furnishings that can be repurposed for holiday entertaining.

Prepare a schedule

Give yourself the luxury of staying on track by mapping out the holiday preparation schedule, day by day, leading up to the celebration. For Christmas day, make an hourly schedule so that your dinner’s menu items are ready at the desired time. Make a list of the cooking temperatures and times so that you know what goes into the oven and when.

Get a head start

There are many chores on your Holiday To Do that can be completed in advance of your holiday party. Set the table and cover it with a cloth or clean sheet. Prepare casseroles and refrigerate or freeze them, depending on when you are going to serve. Wash your linens and holiday serving ware, and keep it tucked away where it will stay clean until you need it.

If you’re giving gifts to your guests, make sure everything is wrapped and ready to share. It’s also a good idea to have a few generic gifts ready for those unexpected visitors. A bottle of wine, box of fine chocolates, a gift bag with something decorative or scented, or a gift card is always a welcome gift.

Be your own DJ

Music is often overlooked, but a steady song stream enhances the ambience. You can build a playlist to play continuously throughout the holiday. If you have a personal digital assistant (Siri, Alexa, Google Home), you can simply ask for holiday songs.

It’s holiday time—festive and fun

Don’t let details and deadlines create unnecessary stress. From everyone at McGuinn Homes we hope your holiday entertaining is a success, and you can enjoy lasting traditions, start new ones, and create lasting memories. In the year ahead, if you’re ready to make the move to a new home to host more holidays, talk to us about in our new home communities, including quick move-in homes, throughout the Columbia, South Carolina area. Contact us to learn more!

Buying a new home in winter: 5 reasons why buying off-season is a great time!

Categories: Buying a New Home | Posted: December 12, 2017

wintertime homebuying

Spring and summer are the most common times of the year to buy or sell a home. Being the “most common”, however, doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t make a move in the winter. In fact, there are some very good reasons for buying a new home in the winter.

Here are 5 reasons why buying off-season is a great time!

#1. Fewer buyers = Less competition

It’s true that many people dismiss the winter as the less desirable time to buy a new home. That just means there are fewer buyers out there competing with you. While the inventory is not as broad as in the warmer months, you still have a good selection. Once you find the home of your dreams, you’re more likely to have your offer accepted when the competition isn’t as heated.

#2. Less competition = Better buying power

Slower buyer traffic gives you another edge. Sellers may be more likely to bend to your bargaining when the supply is higher than the demand. You might negotiate a better price, closing costs, or other terms of the sale that lean in your favor.

#3. Sellers are motivated.

Given the opportunity, sellers will often wait until the warmer months when buyer traffic is more active. If they have chosen to sell their home during the winter, the reason could push them to act quickly, such as relocation, financial problems, or a divorce. Knowing the seller’s circumstance can help you determine how anxious they are to sell quickly.

#4. Winter is a good test of a home’s structural condition.

When the sun is shining on a warm spring or summer day, you can see how your home could be in beautiful weather, but what about when there’s snow on the roof and the driveway is icy? How can you determine if the house is well-insulated when the temperatures don’t put it to the test? By house-hunting in the winter months, you see your potential new home under the toughest conditions.

#5. Interest rates are low.

Mortgage rates have been inching higher, and this trend is expected to continue, along with appreciation in of home values in the housing market. These market conditions indicate that the longer you wait, the more you will pay for your new home.

McGuinn Homes currently has a good selection of quick move-in homes in our new home communities throughout the Columbia, South Carolina area. Discover why the winter can be the best time of year to buy a new home. Contact us to learn more!

Homemade holidays: DIY decorations

Categories: Homeowner tips | Posted: December 6, 2017

Holiday decorating can be fun, if you let it. You don’t need to spend outrageous amounts of money to purchase sparkling new decorations for your home. Instead, make your own! There are so many readily available supplies and ideas (thank you, Pinterest!) that you can craft your own homemade holidays.

Here are some easy projects that produce eye-catching results.

Gift-wrap your wall art

Surround yourself with the beauty of festive wrap, ribbons, and bows. Take down your framed artwork and wrap it up like a gift. Then place it back on the wall. If you have young children, give them a roll of plain paper and let them put their artistic talent to work with handprints, drawings, and maybe even a list to Santa. Use that artwork to wrap up and re-display your wall art over the holidays, or to cover a door.

Light up your glassware

Fill mason jars, wine bottles, stemware, and other glassware with miniature lights. You can create a centerpiece by placing them in a wreath or garland on the table. This soft light is a wonderful way to add a decorative touch to any space in your home, including your powder room and foyer.

You can also make a festive luminaria using just some mason jars, frosted glass spray paint, and adhesive letters or designs. Then add LED tea lights, which you can buy in bulk at a dollar store!

Fill ‘er up

Purchase clear ornaments (plastic or glass), remove the top with the hanger and fill them with anything that is meaningful to you. You can start with fake snow and draw on a snowman’s face, or stuff the ornaments with colored paper shred that is used in gift baskets. Sprinkle with glitter, if you like. Do you have children who love Lego? Put some blocks in a ball. Use anything that will fit into the ornament’s opening: jingle bells, crystal beads, pom-poms, and even tiny marshmallows or colorful cereal! Or how about a hot cocoa ornament?

Hang your ornaments differently

Those colorful, sparkling holiday ornaments can go more places than on your tree. Hot glue an assortment to a wreath or craft an ornament topiary. Hang them from an empty picture frame. If you don’t have any frames, visit your local thrift shop to find affordable frames, then spray paint the frame in your favorite holiday color. Fill a large jar, bowl, or hurricane lamp with an assortment of ornaments in different sizes and the color palette you choose.

Recycle your literary genius

Here’s an idea for the book lover. Remove pages from books that you no longer want, or purchase them from a thrift shop or library. Tear the pages into small pieces and decoupage them on a plastic ornament. Embellish with raffia or holiday tags. You can also print out maps and decoupage them to make ornaments that showcase special places in your life.

Once you get the hang of ripping pages from a book (and it can be hard for a book-lover), you can repurpose the paper and make a leaf wreath or “well-read wreath”.

Here are some simple DIY holiday decorations you can craft with supplies from your local craft or dollar store!

Turn your creative endeavor into a festive event by bringing together friends and family

Set out the supplies and instructions for each project and let your guests pick and choose. You’d be amazed at what you can accomplish with a little glue and creativity!

If all this holiday spirit sparks your wish for a new home to decorate, please talk to us at McGuinn Homes. We build new home communities throughout the Midlands and surrounding areas. If you plan to move soon, check out our quick move-in homes.

Happy holidays from McGuinn Homes!

How to thrive in the season of giving

Categories: Buying a New Home, Home Buying, Homeowner tips, Hybrid Home | Posted: November 28, 2017

Thanksgiving is done for this year. I hope you have some good memories and didn’t add too much to your waistline with all the feasting.

Now that we’ve had that day to reflect and give thanks, we launch right into the season of giving. Before you forget all the kindness and good thoughts that were shared at the Thanksgiving table, think about what the weeks ahead really mean. You don’t need to wipe out your bank account to pay for lavish gifts, or even moderate gifts to a lengthy list. Slow down and make this year one where giving comes from the heart, not the wallet. Be kind to yourself, as well as others. Do some things for yourself so you don’t become exhausted before the big day arrives and your home is flooded with guests and all the activity that comes with it.

At this point, you’ve survived Black Friday, perhaps supported Small Business Saturday, and found some online deals on CyberMonday. Here are some tips for not just surviving the holidays, but thriving!

Give in a different way.

Today is #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. #GivingTuesday was created to kick off the charitable season at the end of the year. The organization’s website offers a wide variety of ideas for giving back to a charitable cause. Make a contribution or volunteer your time—or both. You can do it on behalf of someone on your list and let them know how you’ve chosen to “give” this year.

Haiti Children’s Project

At McGuinn Homes, we continue to support Haiti Children Project—Next Generation Program. This charitable organization was started by Wade and Janet McGuinn after they traveled to Haiti on a mission trip in 2003. This group actively raises money to pay for Haitian children’s education, as a means to steer them out of poverty.

Learn more about this great cause: www.haitichildrenproject.org

Give yourself the gift of a home makeover.

Another way to enjoy the season of giving is by sprucing up your home. A little makeover, de-cluttering, and repair can do wonders to your spirit! After all, you’ll be spending a lot of time indoors over the coming winter, so make your space a home sweet home for the holidays and beyond.

While you’re adding festive decorations to your home or maybe moving furniture around to make room for a tree or a gathering, take it a step further. Pick a space and do a room makeover. You can shop from your own home to find furnishings that will refresh this space. Change the window treatments and light fixtures. Add a new area rug. Replace the wall art. Consider this a gift that no one else could give you!

Rethink your giving process.

It can be exhausting—physically, emotionally, and financially—to shop for everyone on your list. Make this the year you shop differently. Ask yourself why you’re buying a gift for someone on your list. Is it kindness, a show of love, or an obligation? Each one has a different shopping purpose. When you can categorize the gifting objective, you can shop for one group at a time.

Consider paring down that list and finding different ways to give.

  • Give an experience, like a gift certificate to try a new hobby or activity. Make it a two-for-one deal so you can go along! Check out Groupon for ideas.
  • Donate to a charity that matters to you, in the name of your gift recipient.
  • Give of yourself. Offer to share your talent, skill, or time. You can offer to give busy parents a night to themselves by watching their kids. Bring someone a fully catered meal you have prepared. Teach someone who is interested in learning your craft. You can create your own redeemable vouchers and wrap them up in a box.

Complete a home maintenance checklist.

Plan some time this season to make sure your home is safe and comfortable. You can avoid repairs later by spending some quality time with your home right now.

  1. Start by having your chimney cleaned and inspected before you use it for the season. Creosote can quickly build up inside your chimney and it’s highly flammable.
  2. Check your doors, windows, and any areas that expose your home to the outdoors. Look for cracks and caulk them to prevent drafts.
  3. Inspect your roof and repair or replace any damaged shingles. The dead of winter is a terrible time to suffer through roof repair!
  4. Have your furnace serviced to ensure it’s working efficiently so you can avoid higher fuel bills than necessary.
  5. Check your home’s insulation (e.g., attic, pipes)

If all the prep you’re doing is prompting you to think that a new home is in your future, McGuinn Homes can help. We build throughout the Columbia, South Carolina region. Contact us to learn about our quick move-in homes, new home communities, and floor plans.

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.

Tips for the Perfect Halloween

Categories: Homeowner tips | Posted: October 31, 2017

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

Set the Stage

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

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

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

Stay Safe on the Streets

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

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

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

Join the Teal Pumpkin Project

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

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

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

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

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

Visit a Halloween Event

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

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

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

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

Bring Halloween to the Kitchen

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

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

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

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

Have Fun!

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

Happy Halloween from McGuinn Hybrid Homes!

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!