Showing posts from October, 2018

Thinking of Buying A Haunted House?

According to a survey, 49% of prospective home buyers said they would not consider a haunted house under any circumstances, regardless of price cuts or added perks. However, 18% of respondents said the perception of a house being haunted  wouldn’t  factor into their decision-making, nor would they need a concession in order to buy. The rest said they’d need some type of perk—a lower price, a larger kitchen, or a better neighborhood. “Haunted” houses are considered “stigmatized,” an official designation that, though it means there’s no material defect with the house, still elicits an emotional response—usually the heebie-jeebies. Murders, suicides, drug manufacturing, general criminal activity, devil worshiping, extreme hoarding, and other unseemly practices, occurrences, and presences tend to scare off buyers who would otherwise be interested in a house, presenting realtors with the challenge of getting market value for what is otherwise a perfectly fine structure. If

Disputes That Will Impact Homeowners' Associations

New trends have emerged in housing that may impact homeowner associations soon, and they'll likely impact the financial well-being and the investments of property owners too. Drones:  Drones can cause headaches for condo boards when they snap photos of windows, said Marvin Nodiff, a community association attorney in  St. Louis  and a member of the College of Community Associations. Some residents, he said, have sued their boards for that reason. Safety and privacy are concerns for all communities. Boards should adopt rules regulating, controlling and monitoring who can use a drone and when. Fines should be spelled out in the rules for any violations. And association boards — and their property managers — should consult their insurance agent to make sure there is adequate coverage should a drone fall and damage property or injure a person. Copyright:  Copyright doesn’t seem like an obvious HOA issue. But the potential for copyright infringement issues and huge fines are becom

New Start Up Buys Homes From Sellers And Rents Back Until Buyers Can Close

A new start up is buying homes directly from homeowners and selling them to buyers, reports  HousingWire 's Ben Lane. Ribbon, which is currently operating in the Carolinas, offers a novel concept. The company works with homebuyers and their real estate agents to provide home sellers with a guaranteed sale, providing sellers with an all-cash offer regardless of where the buyer is in the mortgage process. Basically, if a homebuyer can’t close on their mortgage in time, instead of losing out on the house of their dreams, Ribbon will buy and reserve the home on their behalf. The buyer then rents the home from Ribbon until they get their financing in order. Lane says the deal offers benefits for those on both sides. Sellers get a guaranteed cash offer and buyers don’t have to worry about losing the house they want because their funding is slowed for whatever reason. The company currently only operates in a few markets in North and  South Carolina , but recently raised $225 mill

New Credit Scoring Model Would Boost Scores

A new credit scoring model could have major impacts on the credit scores of Americans, says  HousingWire 's Kelsey Ramirez. UltraFICO, would look at more than just information reported to the three credit-reporting firms, Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. It would go deeper still and look at the consumer’s banking data, including their checking and savings accounts, in order to see how the applicant manages their money. FICO explained that its new model will help expand access to credit. The consumer will grant permission to contribute information from their bank statements, including the length of time accounts have been open, frequency of activity and evidence of saving. The information will be electronically read by Finicity and combined with consumer credit information from Experian. The three companies estimate the new model will provide the most benefit to consumers with credit scores in the upper 500s and lower 600s. FICO said it will launch UltraFICO’s pilot program

Economics For Zero Energy Homes Are Changing

The economics for zero-energy (ZE) and zero-energy ready (ZER) homes, or homes that produce as much energy as they use, is changing. According to  Green Building Advisor ’s Alisa Petersen and Michael Gartman, ZE homes are often marketed as luxury, due to their high-cost premiums, but they have quietly become cost-effective. The duo looked over the Rocky Mountain Institute’s  Economics of Zero-Energy Homes: Single Family Insights  report and learned the following. 1. ZE homes already approach cost parity Contrary to popular belief, ZER homes fall under a 3% incremental cost in most parts of the country, with that cost dropping under 1% in select locations such as  Houston , Texas. Developers may even be able to construct these homes at cost parity in locations with stricter baseline codes (our analysis assumed construction meeting the 2009  International Energy Conservation Code ) and aggressive incentive offerings from local utilities (which we did not consider in our work). The so

Patios On New Homes Are The New Norm

More than half of newly constructed homes now include patios, signaling a demand for outdoor space, reports Paul Emrath for the NAHB's  Eye on Housing blog. In addition to patios, 23.8% of homes started in 2017 had decks, while 64.7% had porches. From the start of the downturn in 2007 through 2011, the share of new homes with patios was consistently under 50 percent—as low as 44.8 percent in the trough of 2009. In 2012, the share jumped to 52.4 percent and has been consistently climbing ever sense, finally breaking above 58 percent in 2017.

Work Station Kitchen Sinks Gaining Popularity

Work-station sinks, also known as chef sinks, are gaining popularity in residential kitchens, according to kitchen designers. Unlike ordinary sinks, the chef sink includes a traditional under-mount sink with accessories that aid in meal prep, such as cutting boards, knife holders, ingredient holders, and colanders. The sink type isn’t necessarily new, but pricing and selection for the product has improved, making it more readily available in the industry. Check out more details below. It also typically includes accessories for easier cleanup, like drain boards, drying mats and sponge holders. These accessories usually slide across the single or double basin on built-in sink ledges, or secure to the side of the sink. Many of the accessories are dishwasher safe, as well, which further shortens kitchen cleanup chores. Costs are going to vary widely by features, size and brand. For example, the recently-released Franke Chef Center from the Swiss manufacturer starts at $1,885 on Fergus

Weaker Housing Market Ahead?

California's red-hot housing market appears poised for a cool-down.  The Mercury News  reports: 2018 home sales are expected to be lower for the first time in four years. The C.A.R. “2019  California  Housing Market Forecast” projects a modest decline of 3.3 percent in single-family home sales next year, with 396,800 sold units, down from the projected 2018 sales figure of 410,460. The 2018 figure is 3.2 percent lower compared with 424,100 homes sold in 2017. According to C.A.R. senior vice president and chief economist Leslie Appleton-Young, who delivered the 2019 forecast at the C.A.R. fall business meetings in Long Beach last week, the surge in home prices over the past few years due to the housing supply shortage has finally taken a toll on the market. While it is not yet a buyer’s market, indicators are moving in this direction. As sales continue to decline, prices will drop. “Buyers are exhausted. They’re done for a while,” said Appleton-Young. “Buyers can’t afford and

Home Prices Versus Family Incomes

Given rising interest rates, decelerating home price growth, and a steady but modest rise in the median income, National Association of Realtors research data specialist Michael Hyman examines how much of a person’s income now goes toward housing costs – and how that share has changed over the past 18 years. As of the second quarter of 2018, family incomes have risen by 52% since 2000, according to the National Association of Realtors’ Family Income Index. Housing prices have risen by 95% over the same period, growing nearly twice as fast as incomes to almost double 2000 price levels. In 2000, when interest rates were 7.90 percent, homeowners had to spend about 19.6 percent of their income to be able to afford a home… In the wake of the Great Recession in 2009-2010, mortgage rates started to fall, so the share of income that went to paying a mortgage declined. Since that time rates have continued to decline, much to the benefit of potential homeowners… On a regional level, the W

What's Trending In Bathroom Sinks?

Sinks are large staples of kitchens and bathrooms. However, the attention the element receives depends on the room. While choices surrounding kitchen sinks center on cleaning, hygiene and functionality, bathroom sinks can be more stylish and bold, with more artistic flourishes. Trends on the Upswing Undermount sinks: Unlike traditional drop-in sinks, undermount sinks hang from below, so there's no rim between countertop and sink. The result is a modern, streamlined look, an easier-to-clean surface and a little bit of extra counter space. “These sinks work best with nonporous countertop materials, like granite, marble and man-made quartz,” said Mark Burns, owner of Boerne Kitchens and Baths. Wall-mounted faucets: Emerging from the wall behind the sink, wall-mounted faucets are increasingly popular for their clean, open, more luxurious appearance. Because there's no hardware in the way, these faucets make the area behind the sink easier to clean.

Hot And Cold Kitchen Trends

This past year was the year of the bathroom. HomeAdvisor's research indicates that in 2018, homeowners focused their renovation efforts on bathrooms "to accommodate the needs of a growing family." But this same research indicates that 2019 will be the year of the kitchen, with homeowners "aiming to create an in-home oasis that reduces stress and boosts wellness." According Elle H-Millard, the Industry Relations Manager for the National Kitchen and Bath Association, homeowners may create wellness by purchasing appliances like steam cookers, connecting indoor and outdoor spaces, and playing with earthy tones in the kitchen color scheme. "Manufacturers are really picking up on the wellness trend and trying to give consumers as many options as possible for cooking healthy meals at home in the kitchen," HomeAdvisor's Smart Home Strategist and Home Expert Dan DiClerico said. One way to help homeowners create connected indoor and outdoor spaces is

What's Killing Affordability In Housing?

A reason we don't see more innovation in home building, development, residential investment, etc. that could improve productivity and "bend the cost curve" to lower home prices and rents? Too many believe improved productivity wouldn't matter. Too many believe that working American households' access to quality housing options they can afford is a political issue, not a business issue. And too many believe that putting effort into trying to turn the tide of political will toward more development of more housing for more moderate household income levels is fighting a losing battle in more communities every day, not less. Not worth the energy. Even as an opportunity to leverage technology and data to modernize, improve, and suck wasted money, time, and labor expense out of the building process becomes more and more real, counter-forces gain traction at an even faster pace. Those forces-- NIMBY activism , locally elected officials and appointed agencies,

Benjamin Moore's 2019 Color Of The Year

Benjamin Moore has announced its 2019 Color of the Year—Metropolitan (AF-690), a "stylish gray with cool undertones." “Comforting, composed and effortlessly sophisticated, Metropolitan AF-690 exudes beauty and balance,” says Ellen O’Neill, Benjamin Moore's director of strategic design intelligence. “It’s a color in the neutral spectrum that references a contemplative state of mind and design. Not arresting nor aggressive, this understated yet glamorous gray creates a soothing, impactful common ground,” she says. The subdued selection is a stark contrast to last year's fiery red " Caliente ".

Vote No On Prop 10


Millennials Rank Home Ownership High

A new survey from Bank of America finds that 23- to 40-year-olds are placing homeownership above nearly all else, with 72% of millennials saying owning a home is a top priority, second only to being able to retire (80%), and far outranking marriage (50%) and having children (44%). Millennials also tend to equate homeownership with personal (53%) and financial (45%) success. Prospective millennial buyers also associate the purchase of a home with being mature (47%), acting like an adult (47%), and feeling independent (36%).

Island Features That Are Trending In Kitchen Design

Kitchen islands are one of the most popular and useful design elements in the kitchen sphere. Builders can take this popular element to a different level for homeowners by integrating several features like waterfall countertops, under-counter appliances, and hidden charging stations.   Here's a list of elements to consider on your next kitchen island. Waterfall Countertops Homeowners are falling for waterfall countertops. The countertop material doesn't stop at the edge of the island; it flows down along the sides, showcasing the beauty of the chosen countertop material from multiple angles. With this look, any island becomes a true statement piece New Takes on Old Classics  Kitchen islands that imitate classic furniture are on the rise. And as their popularity grows, this is becoming more easily accessible. In keeping with the modern farmhouse trend, dining room tables and armories are popular sources of inspiration. High Contrast The mix-and-match is making its way int

Navy Blue Is The New Black

Navy blue continues to emerge as a popular color in kitchen and bath design. Some designers have even gone on to say “navy blue is definitely the new black.” As homeowners start to steer clear of the all-white kitchen and bath trend, they are looking for something that will create impact without being too bold. The blue hue pairs well with white and stained wood cabinets and is also starting to show up in quartz countertops, upholstery, and window coverings. While there’s little reason to assume that navy blue will dominate the $134.1 billion kitchen and bath industry in 2018 or beyond the way white has, (think Shaker cabinets, marble look countertops and bathroom fixtures), it’s also safe to predict that it won’t create the type of risk in your remodel that a transient color of the year might, as leading design professionals and their clients continue to embrace it through the decades.


Whatever floats your boat. For hip-hop fans, an L.A. group has released a video that could be the most unique marketing gimmick yet seen in the land of real estate. The  New York Post  reports: The promotional (but extremely entertaining) video also features a 14,000-square-foot mansion owned by real-estate developer Craig Atkins in affluent Newport Beach, Calif. that is coming to market Monday for a whopping $44.99 million. That asking price makes it one of tony Orange County’s priciest listings. “We’re Newport Beach — we’re not  Miami , we’re not Los Angeles, we’re not New York,” says Tim Smith, head of the Smith Group at Coldwell Banker and the lead broker on this listing. The goal, Smith says, is to “create energy around the listing.” The result is an over 4-minute-long rap song that’s a riff on “Teach Me How to Dougie” called “Teach Me How to Duffy.” (A Duffy is a party barge-style electric boat that’s popular in Newport Beach — which this waterfront listing has plenty of r

More Glass Is Being Utilized in New Homes

Updates in technology for window and door glass have allowed builders to design homes a little bit differently. From floor-to-ceiling windows to retractable glass walls, more of today’s homes are being built to incorporate copious amounts of natural light in all rooms. While these type of designs have been prominent in warmer areas for indoor/outdoor living, Midwest builders in colder climates are also now including more glass features. A retractable glass wall in the living room and a basement workout room that's delineated by sliding glass, barn-style doors is not uncommon out West but now you're seeing them everywhere because they too have undergone improvements that allow them to be used in colder climates. The see-through doors help incorporate the other areas into a main room and provide natural light to the whole space.

230,000 Jobs Added In Septemeber

The U.S. economy added 230,000 private, non-farm jobs in September, according to the monthly  employment report  released today by payroll-management firm ADP and its partner Moody's Analytics. The seasonally adjusted result is a 38.5 percent increase from August's upwardly revised addition of 166,000 jobs, and marks a 173 percent increase from last September, when 84,000 jobs were created.

Value In Green Home Features

The Appraisal Institute was out Thursday with a report that claims making energy-efficient improvements to homes pays off for the homeowner. "The latest research shows that green and energy-efficient home improvements have the potential to pay dividends for buyers and sellers," said Appraisal Institute President James L. Murrett, MAI, SRA. "However, it depends on the improvements made. Some green renovations, such as adding Energy Star appliances and extra insulation, are likely to pay the homeowner back in lowered utility bills relatively quickly."

New Design Trends

Aside from equipment breakdowns, few phrases are more likely to provoke a kitchen or bath remodel than the phrase “this looks dated.” Styles and tastes evolve constantly. So, to help keep you up to date, here are six trends to consider incorporating when your clients say they want a fresh look. Blue Cabinets   Color blocking—pairing opposites on the color wheel to make complementary color combinations—is common in fashion design. Now the practice is making its way to the home design space in the form of colored cabinets. Several Design Award submissions incorporated bold-colored cabinets. Sharp blues were a common color used in both kitchen and bathroom cabinetry. Barry Graboski, senior vice president of sales for kitchen and bath at Wolf Home Products, said grays and blues have been gaining popularity on the classic white as the color of choice for cabinets. To appeal to the growing demand for colored cabinetry,  Hastings Tile & Bath  recently released a new line of vanities

New Home Consumer Trends

Per Zillow's New Home Consumer Trends Housing Report: Among several home types they consider, 38 percent of total buyers add new construction to their list. Only 11 percent of total buyers purchase a new construction home. Two-thirds (65 percent) of new construction buyers are age 39 and older. Nearly 3 in 4 (71 percent) new construction buyers are repeat buyers. Among new construction buyers who used financing to purchase a home, 45 percent used funds from the sale of a previous home to fund at least a portion of the down payment, compared with 38 percent of existing home buyers. More than half (53 percent) of new construction buyers move from a different city, state or country, compared to 47 percent of existing home buyers who move that far. Nearly half (46 percent) of new construction buyers view a mobile website using a smartphone or tablet. During their search, new construction buyers most want to take a private tour; more than 3 in 4 (77 percent

White Is The New Hot In Kitchens

Kitchen designers report that many kitchens today have a new function other than cooking. Designers indicated that entertaining is more popular in today's kitchen than actual cooking. As such, designs are more open and include smaller storage areas to accommodate homeowners' desire to entertain. Several of the trends that facilitate entertaining kitchens are slab tiles and white design. Since fewer people are actually cooking in the kitchen, they're being designed "to look more like furniture." That means appliances that blend seamlessly with the cabinets. You don't see appliances--in a contemporary kitchen it would be impossible to spot the refrigerator. Larger slab kitchen tiles are also growing more popular. Slab tiles of marble, quartz, granite or quartzite are now being use to cover enter walls, counters or floors. Large format tiles are a big trend along with multi-piece tile and recti-linear tiles, or rectangular tiles

The New “Hue”

“You can’t solve a problem if you don’t know it exists. In our busy world, important local social issues can often go unnoticed," says nonprofit organization United Way, which has collaborated with the Pantone Color Institute to develop a new color designed to highlight social issues including poverty, youth unemployment, domestic violence, hunger, education inequality, homelessness, and mental health. The hue, a strikingly bright shade of orange hue dubbed "Unignorable," will debut at Toronto’s Nuit Blanche on September 29 backdropped by an immersive, interactive art installation designed to "emulate the feelings of isolation, helplessness and uncertainty that millions of Canadians experience," according to the release. Visitors are encouraged to share their experience on social media using "#unignorable".