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Kate Gosselin’s Famous Reality Show Ranch Is the Week’s Most Popular Home

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Fertility phenom Kate Gosselin famously shared her family life with the world on “Kate Plus 8.” Now that her kids are growing up, she’s selling the family home she bought with her former husband, Jon, in 2008.

It served as the backdrop for the long-running reality TV show, and folks wanted a peek inside. Those curiosity-driven clicks made the 24-acre spread this week’s most popular home on realtor.com®.

On the market for $1.3 million, the 7,591-square-foot home is designed for a large family. It boasts a large family room, a man cave, and a separate living space over the garage.

You also clicked on a noteworthy celebrity mansion: the marvelous modern house of Washington Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer, which sits on the banks of the Potomac.

Other homes attracting attention this week include a Michigan home painted inside and out in gunmetal gray, a custom log cabin headed for auction, and a spectacular winery in Washington.

While we debate the sanity of spending $50 on a personalized greeting from Jon Gosselin, we think you should scroll down for a look at this week’s 10 most popular properties.

10. 1126 Sidney St, Saint Louis, MO

Price: $400,000
Why it’s here: Built in 1870, the Max Freuerbacher mansion is also known as the Lion House thanks to the two limestone lion statues flanking the front entrance.

According to the listing, the home’s original owner was the founder of Green Tree Brewery. The one-of-a-kind mansion is being sold as is. It has three sets of entry doors, pine inner doors with art glass, double drawing rooms, marble fireplaces, and a frescoed 14-foot ceiling. And for oenophiles, this place is a treat: The basement has two vaulted wine cellars.

Saint Louis, MO
Saint Louis, MO

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9. 129 Smithtown Rd, Pittston, ME

Price: $679,900
Why it’s here: This 20-acre property comes with 1,100 feet of Kennebec River frontage. The four-bedroom farmhouse was built in 1820 and offers 3,136 square feet of living space.

Highlights of the remodeled home include a gorgeous kitchen, spacious mudroom, wood floors, and built-ins. You can soak in the views from the home’s large front porch, take a dip in the heated in-ground pool, or make use of the many outbuildings and barn.

Pittson, ME
Pittson, ME

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8. 2 Charlands Ln, Kennebunk, ME

Price: $224,000
Why it’s here: Also in Maine, this affordably priced property comes with a six-bedroom home built in 1780. Although it looks like it could use some TLC, the property offers plenty of potential for a bargain shopper willing to take on a project.

Kennebunk, ME
Kennebunk, ME

realtor.com

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7. 1931 Alliklik Rd, South Lake Tahoe, CA

Price: $325,000
Why it’s here: We love a log cabin, and this one is absolutely adorable.

Rustic meets modern in this cute three-bedroom cabin near the lake. Built in 1953 and updated throughout, the charming home sits in a clearing of aspen trees bordering a U.S. Forest Service parcel. Close to loads of outdoor activities, the property even has a seasonal creek for an added touch of magic.

South Lake Tahoe, CA
South Lake Tahoe, CA

realtor.com

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6. 168 North St, Mattapoisett, MA

Price: $439,800
Why it’s here: One-of-a-kind and updated throughout, this lovely three-bedroom, German-style farmhouse was built in 1936. The leafy acre lot also features a barn with a second-story bonus room and an outdoor patio with a large fire pit.

Mattapoisett, MA
Mattapoisett, MA

realtor.com

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5. 100821 E Brandon Dr, Kennewick, WA

Price: $3,750,000
Why it’s here: For fans of Carménère grapes, this Washington winery looks absolutely delicious.

Known as the Naoi Cailini Oga Estate, the 6-acre property includes a luxe mansion with an indoor pool. There’s also an art studio, workout room with ballet barre, as well as several terraces and balconies. The home is surrounded by lush landscaping and comes with a tasting room for indulging in a few of your favorite vintages.

Kennewick, WA
Kennewick, WA

realtor.com

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4. 4872 Hidden Hills Cir, Howell, MI

Price: $201,000
Why it’s here: This five-bedroom log home is headed to an online auction with a starting bid of $1,000. The current owner has moved to be closer to family and wants to part with this property in a hurry. According to the listing, the custom home has an assessed value of $416,000. Get your bid in now!

Howell MI
Howell, MI

realtor.com

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3. 1139 Crest Ln, McLean, VA

Price: $15,000,000
Why it’s here: Sleek and chic, this five-bedroom mansion along the Potomac is being sold by Nationals ace Max Scherzer. The future Hall of Famer gave the home a full makeover, including multitiered decks, an infinity pool, and a rooftop terrace to take in the river views.

McLean, VA
McLean, VA

realtor.com

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2. 7162 Alaska St, Detroit, MI

Price: $69,900
Why it’s here: The owner of this house made a commitment to the color gray, and you simply have to respect it. It’s not just the exterior. All interior walls, ceilings, and floors have the same silvery hue.

Besides the occasional pop of white furniture, all carpets, drapes, and doors are monochromatic. The three-bedroom house has a large front porch, an updated bathroom with high-tech shower, and a full basement—which looks to be the only space that evaded the gray paintbrush. The home isn’t expensive, but a buyer will need to shell out money for new paint unless he happens to be gaga for gray.

Detroit, MI
Detroit, MI

realtor.com

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1. 298 Heffner Rd, Wernersville, PA

Price: $1,299,900
Why it’s here: Supersized and customized to accommodate her large brood, the home of reality TV star Kate Gosselin is up for sale.

She’s ready to part with the 24-acre property, which includes the six-bedroom home where she’s been raising her kids for over a decade. Ideal for a large family, the home boasts a lower-level game room, two washers and dryers, and a separate living area over the detached three-car garage. For downtime, there’s a pool plus a three-stall horse barn with 10-acre fenced paddock.

Wernersville, PA
Wernersville, PA

realtor.com

The post Kate Gosselin’s Famous Reality Show Ranch Is the Week’s Most Popular Home appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

A 3-Step Downsizing Plan

Moving into a new house is often bittersweet. You are excited for the change, but sad to leave a home so full of memories. Downsizing can be even harder – a smaller place means you don’t have room for all of your current possessions.

But downsizing is also an opportunity to refresh and start anew. If you get rid of the clutter, you can fill your new place with the things you really love, making it feel like home.

Here are three steps for downsizing without sacrificing your meaningful belongings.

1. Make a plan

Take a trip to your new place and measure the size of your rooms and storage areas. This will be your guide for how much you can take with you. It is better to underestimate than overestimate.

As you’re deciding what to keep and what to get rid of, do one room at a time. Moving is a big job, and you don’t need to tackle it all at once. Plan to do a little bit each day, and leave extra time so you aren’t rushed.

Decide on your furniture first. Going from big to small will give you a better idea how much space you have left to fill. You don’t want to have to reshuffle everything if you can’t take that bookshelf with you.

2. Sort your belongings

Will you use it? It’s easy to convince yourself you might still wear that 10-year-old shirt with the tags still on someday. But if you haven’t used it in the past year, it’s likely you never will.

Also, get rid of multiples. Do you have multiple coffee pots, or several sets of china? If you can only use one at a time, you don’t need to keep both.

As you sort, follow a strict yes/no policy -no “maybes” allowed. Make a “yes” pile and a “no” pile, and force yourself to choose. If you aren’t convinced the item deserves a yes, then it’s a no. “Maybe” piles just mean more work for you later.

Decide how to divvy up your “no” pile. You may not want or need these items anymore, but they’re probably useful to someone else. Special items may handed down to friends or family members. Furniture, housewares, clothing and other items in good condition could be sold at a garage sale or on sites like Craigslist. Or, you can choose to donate reusable items to organizations like Goodwill, who sometimes offer neighborhood or even residential pickups, making your task that much simpler. Anything damaged or worn beyond repair should make its way to the recycling bin or a trip to the dump.

3. Preserve memories

Digitize photos to save space and easily share them with family. Photo albums take up a lot of room, and how often do you actually go through them? Pick up a digital frame and enjoy all of your photos in a rotating slideshow or create a slideshow screensaver for your TV or computer.

Take photos of items that bring up good memories, but you no longer have room for. You can look back on the memories without actually keeping the items.

To make sure those treasured items are in good hands, pass them on to your children, grandchildren or close friends. They will love the gift, and you get to enjoy seeing the items being used.

Another strategy is to give keepsakes a new life. If you love to craft, items like old movie stubs, letters and photos are perfect for scrapbooking, letting you create a record of your experiences. Or make three-dimensional pieces of art using shadowboxes. Gathering up your memories in one place will make them easier than ever to enjoy.

Downsizing is an emotional process. You will discover items you haven’t seen in years, and you will have to decide what to do with them. Give yourself some time to reminisce, and then make a decision. Keep in mind your space limitations. Take with you what is truly valuable – only you can decide what you can’t do without.

Just imagine: Once you’ve finished your move, you’ll be able to enjoy your new place surrounded by the feeling of home.

Related:

Originally published November 2015. 

Pending Home Sales Falter 2.2% in September

Pending Home Sales Falter 2.2% in September

Pending home sales experienced a minor decline in September after four consecutive months of growth, but year-over-year contract signings rose.
Media Contact: 

Quintin Simmons 202-383-1178

Offers Roll In for Marvelous Midcentury Modern House in New Orleans

New Orleans Mid Century

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It’s apropos that the unofficial city motto of New Orleans is “Let the good times roll.” Because it didn’t take long for offers to roll in for a rare midcentury modern masterpiece in the Big Easy.

Built in 1963, the home on Marquette Place landed on the market for $1,850,000 less than two weeks ago—and received multiple offers within days.

The distinctive dwelling features four courtyards, two with water features and large windows. Glass corridors connect the living areas.

“Like a lot of contemporary homes, it’s just light-filled. It’s indoor-outdoor living,” says listing agent Ricky Lemann.

Architect Nathanial “Buster” Curtis—part of the design firm Curtis and Davis that designed the New Orleans Superdome—built the home as his personal residence.

The home’s current owner is just the second and also happens to be an architect. Lee Ledbetter purchased the house in 2014 from the Curtis family and made a few updates.

Exterior wall

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One of four courtyards

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Hallway

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Another courtyard

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Another courtyard

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Exercise room

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Dining space

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Office space

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Ledbetter “carefully restored the house with respect to the architecture. He’s quite frankly a really big deal locally, nationally, and internationally. He was the perfect person to get the house.” Lemann explains.

Bathroom

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Bedroom

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Bedroom

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Bedroom

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Bathroom

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Bathroom

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Bathroom

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The 4,160-square-foot home has four bedrooms, four bathrooms, and two half-bathrooms. However, the current configuration isn’t how Curtis originally designed the place.

The Curtis family “had seven children, so [Ledbetter] very carefully converted a few bedrooms into fabulous guest suites,” Lemann explains.

By tearing down some interior walls, Ledbetter took four small kids’ bedrooms and turned them into two suites, each with a bathroom and a living area.

Kitchen

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He also updated the kitchen, while retaining the original door and cabinet hardware.

Ledbetter “refinished the original wood cabinets. He made modifications in some of those cabinets, too, but I mean you can’t even tell it’s been done. Honestly, it’s that good,” Lemann says. “He made some modifications to accommodate updated equipment. He was so careful with the restoration of that kitchen—the refurbishment without any bastardization.”

The home sits on a quarter-acre lot and is close to Audubon Park and Tulane University. It’s one of the few midcentury modern homes in the area.

Curtis’ widow fought to get the home listed on the National Register of Historic Places after she made an aborted attempt to sell the property many years ago.

“A neighbor had called to offer her money to buy it and tear it down, and she just went ballistic. From that point on, she took the steps to put it on the national registry so that would never happen,” Lemann says.

The home was listed on the National Register in 2014 as the Curtis Residence.

Exterior

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The exterior offers little clue to what lurks behind the white wall. Most folks wouldn’t expect the vintage beauty that awaits them.

“It just takes your breath away when you walk in the house and you look to the right and the left—it’s just dramatic,” Lemann says. “There is a surprise factor.”

Stairway

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Dining space

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Living space

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Hallway

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The post Offers Roll In for Marvelous Midcentury Modern House in New Orleans appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

The Property Brothers Reveal a Clever Hack To Hide a Huge TV

property brothers

HGTV

Drew and Jonathan Scott know that owning a home often comes with some expensive surprises. And in the latest episode of their HGTV show “Property Brothers: Forever Home,” they face a doozy: A huge storm topples a tree right onto the house, in the middle of the pandemic no less!

In this episode, “When Tragedy Strikes,” homeowners Chris and Charlotte are hoping the Scott brothers can bring some retro midcentury style to their Toronto home. They have a $185,000 budget—which seems ample, at least until that wayward tree comes crashing through their roof.

Still, despite delays and added repair costs, the brothers are determined to turn this house into a forever home. Here’s how they pull that off with some design moves you might be inspired to try on your own abode, too.

A wood balcony railing adds a natural look

house
This home looked outdated—even from the outside.

HGTV

In the wake of the wayward tree, Jonathan does an amazing job repairing the house. The house looks just like it did before the storm, with a few key changes.

Drew and Jonathan decide to give the home a fresh coat of paint on the exterior, painting the top floor gray instead of brown and darkening the white windows and doors. But perhaps the biggest change is with the old balcony railing.

The old iron railing had made the home look dated, so the brothers replace it with a railing made of wood.

house
With just a little paint and a new railing, this house looks much more welcoming.

HGTV

The new railing is a welcome addition to the exterior, adding some dimension and a natural style that complements the trees surrounding the property.

“What started out as a tired, dated-looking house is now a stylish modern home,” Jonathan says of the exterior.

Ditch the large TV in favor of a projector

living room
This living room has both a library and a film projector.

HGTV

Charlotte and Chris love their first-floor living room, but they each plan to use the space in different ways. Charlotte sees it as a lounging space with lots of book storage, while Chris wants to use it as a media room.

“Charlotte really wants a quiet place to curl up with her books, while Chris wants the total opposite: a giant home theater screen and projector,” Drew says.

living room
This screen is much bigger than a typical TV.

HGTV

Luckily, the brothers are able to give both Chris and Charlotte what they want. They build a beautiful bookshelf around the fireplace and then install a projector with a screen that comes down from the ceiling.

While many family homes may have a TV above the fireplace, this screen provides a better solution because it gives the space a more classic feel when the projector isn’t being used. Meanwhile, when the family does feel like watching a movie, they have a screen that’s bigger than any TV they’d be able to put over the fireplace.

Dark cabinets can work if the rest of the kitchen is white and bright

kitchen
These kitchen cabinets are dark and dated.

HGTV

Chris and Charlotte want their home to have a midcentury modern look, so Drew and Jonathan decide to go with a retro style in the kitchen: dark cabinets.

Dark cabinets are practically unheard of these days, with most homeowners preferring light cabinets for a brighter, more modern look. However, Drew and Jonathan are careful to avoid making this space seem too dark and dated. They choose a light flooring that makes the space look larger and install a bright backsplash that makes the retro cabinets appear fresh and interesting.

kitchen
The cabinets may be dark, but this kitchen now looks modern.

HGTV

“I love working with statement backsplash tile,” Jonathan says. “An interesting shape or bold color can add a healthy hint of design interest and texture to an otherwise neutral space.”

In the end, the kitchen looks amazing. The midcentury-style cabinets look warm and inviting, and bright kitchen accents keep the space feeling contemporary.

Bathroom tile should be interesting but not overwhelming

bathroom
Drew and Jonathan Scott’s tile selection is perfect for a midcentury modern style.

HGTV

Drew and Jonathan do a great job choosing the kitchen backsplash, so the pressure is on to find a bathroom tile that also provides a dramatic look.

Luckily, the tile they settle on is perfect. Made of multicolored triangles, this tile is bright and bold while also keeping with the theme of the house. It’s unique and, since it doesn’t cover the whole bathroom, not overwhelming.

“That pop of color is so nice,” Drew says of the tile. “It’s dramatic, but it’s not too in your face.”

Add some greenery to your backyard

yard
This house is surrounded by trees, but the view in the backyard is mostly concrete.

HGTV

Chris and Charlotte’s house is surrounded by large trees, but their small backyard is boxed in by a cement wall.

The brothers know that they need to improve this space, so they paint the wall white and add a trellis with vines. The paint makes the space look brighter and more open, while the greenery connects the yard space with the surrounding foliage.

back yard
The brothers decide to paint the concrete wall white and add some greenery.

HGTV

“It felt like a prison yard before; it was just all concrete,” Drew says of the revamped yard. “Now it actually has style.”

After dealing with the stress of the storm damage and the frustration of trying to renovate in a pandemic, the Scott brothers know that Charlotte and Chris deserve a special space where they can relax. This stylish yard is now the perfect place to unwind, and it may even be a good place for Charlotte and Chris to reconnect with nature after the stressful tree damage.

“We wanted you guys to replace any bad memories of a tree falling with great memories of an entertaining space,” Jonathan says.

Do the Scott brothers deliver?

While Drew and Jonathan start with a healthy budget of $185,000 to fix up this home, they admit that their budget is blown out of the water when a tree comes crashing down on the roof. Still, they are able to repair the house and give it the stunning midcentury modern style Charlotte and Chris love.

While the project takes three months instead of the estimated seven weeks, the homeowners are thrilled when they finally see their new home.

The post The Property Brothers Reveal a Clever Hack To Hide a Huge TV appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

HGTV Ultimate House Hunt Winner: Historic Craftsman Home for Sale in Florida

ST PETE HGTV

Anthony Boue/ AB3 Visuals

You can now own an award-winning HGTV home for $1,985,000.

This fully restored 4,000-square-foot house on Bay Street NE in St. Petersburg, FL, snagged the title in the Homes With History category of HGTV’s nationwide Ultimate House Hunt 2020.

“It’s Craftsman style, and it is absolutely stunning. It has been restored over the years pretty much down to the studs and redone,” says listing agent Tracy Reyes. “I like a home with history. I like a home with character. This house definitely has both.”

Built in 1910, the home is on the market for the second time this year. The previous owners entered the property in the HGTV contest, and the current owner bought it in June before the award was bestowed.

“The home was very beautiful when he bought it. He just kind of put the finishing touches on it,” Reyes says, adding that the owner is selling so he could move closer to the water.

Exterior

Anthony Boue/ AB3 Visuals

Exterior

Anthony Boue/ AB3 Visuals

Exterior

Anthony Boue/ AB3 Visuals

Porch

Anthony Boue/ AB3 Visuals

Location

Anthony Boue/ AB3 Visuals

This house is located close to the Tampa Bay–area waterfront parks and just a few blocks from downtown St. Petersburg’s museums, shops, and restaurants.

Interior

Anthony Boue/ AB3 Visuals

Dining area

Anthony Boue/ AB3 Visuals

Bedroom

Anthony Boue/ AB3 Visuals

Bedroom

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Bathroom

Anthony Boue/ AB3 Visuals

The home has five bedrooms, four bathrooms, and two half-bathrooms. The hardwood floors are original, and all of the woodwork, coffered ceilings, and moldings have been restored.

Living space

Anthony Boue/ AB3 Visuals

Living space

Anthony Boue/ AB3 Visuals

Living space

Anthony Boue/ AB3 Visuals

It’s also available as a totally turnkey purchase. What you see in the listing photos is what you get—the home is being sold fully furnished, minus the artwork.

“He had some furniture made. There’s a particular couch in the living room that he had specially made so it has a lower back so it doesn’t block the windows,” Reyes explains.

Kitchen

Anthony Boue/ AB3 Visuals

Kitchen

Anthony Boue/ AB3 Visuals

Kitchen

Anthony Boue/ AB3 Visuals

The kitchen is a gorgeous combination of old and new.

It has quartz countertops, high-end Thermador appliances, and wood in the ceilings. There is an island with seating for two, a fireplace, and easy access to the dining room.

Butler’s pantry

Anthony Boue/ AB3 Visuals

A butler’s pantry is nearby with a sink, wine fridge, and storage space.

Outside, the landscaping requires minimal maintenance and there are three covered porches as well as a pool.

Pool

Anthony Boue/ AB3 Visuals

Porch

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Pool

Anthony Boue/ AB3 Visuals

“In the front of the house, you have a beautiful L-shaped patio and you can see the pool from that patio as well,” Reyes explains.

Carriage house

Anthony Boue/ AB3 Visuals

The pool is in the backyard surrounded by an open courtyard and sits next to a carriage house.

Carriage house

Anthony Boue/ AB3 Visuals

Carriage house kitchen

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Carriage house bedroom

Anthony Boue/ AB3 Visuals

The carriage house is a 700-square-foot legal guest cottage with separate water, gas, and electric meters. It could provide rental income for a new owner.

The owner “just replaced that countertops out there. He replaced the balcony. I mean the guest cottage is amazing in itself. It’s beautiful,” Reyes says.

Garage

Anthony Boue/ AB3 Visuals

The 600 square feet of garage space is also finished with an industrial fan and new flooring and ceiling.

“You can fit two cars in the garage. They’re just manual trifold doors that you have to get out to open them to put your vehicle in, so they’re not automated at all,” Reyes explains.

The new owner wouldn’t have to lift a finger to feel right at home in this award-winning residence.

“The perfect buyer for this home is someone who is going to live in it and love it and take care of it and be the next caretaker,” Reyes says. “Someone that appreciates history and appreciates the craftsmanship in a home like this.”

Living space

Anthony Boue/ AB3 Visuals

Bedroom

Anthony Boue/ AB3 Visuals

Office

Anthony Boue/ AB3 Visuals

Bedroom

Anthony Boue/ AB3 Visuals

Hallway

Anthony Boue/ AB3 Visuals

Laundry

Anthony Boue/ AB3 Visuals

Outdoor space

Anthony Boue/ AB3 Visuals

The post HGTV Ultimate House Hunt Winner: Historic Craftsman Home for Sale in Florida appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Lessons From Listing Photos: A Houston Home Goes From Dilapidated to Dreamy

realtor.com

It doesn’t matter how perfect your home is—if your listing photos don’t stand out, potential buyers won’t come by to take a look. In our series “Lessons From Listing Photos,” we dissect the smart updates sellers have made to their homes, and how their listing pictures highlight the home’s best assets.

When the previous owners of this three-bedroom, two-bathroom home in Houston stumbled upon it, they knew they had found a diamond in the rough. And by rough, we mean rough.

The house, built in 1929, was partly gutted, and what was left was dated and in disrepair. But the house’s run-down state didn’t hinder the previous owners from seeing its potential. Plus, it’s located in a desirable (and seriously cute) neighborhood that’s just outside downtown.

So they took a leap and purchased the home for $89,000 in 2011. Over the next nine years, they really put in the work. When they listed the home in September 2020, it sold for $479,900. Talk about a gain!

So yes, dramatic returns on investment are possible—and the process doesn’t necessarily have to drag on for the better part of a decade. We tapped our team of experts to find out what these owners did that made this transformation such a success, and how you can pull off a similar feat.

Front


The front of this home has gone from dreary to bright, warm, and welcoming.

Natasha Nicolaou, owner of NatNico Designs, a Boston-based interior design and home-staging company, says these images embody everything a home renovation should be.

“If you look closely, you can see there are very few major structural changes. This owners really understood where to spend their money to get the most bang for their buck,” she explains. “The addition of the private front deck, staircase, and matching window boxes makes the home appear larger and more substantial. … The added window in the front bedroom creates a beautiful continuity to the front of the house.”

“The makeover of the front of the house is simple but completely changes the feel of the home,” adds Rachel Street, interior designer, real estate agent, and the host of the DIY Network show “Philly Revival.” “Clean, white siding is complemented with natural wood accents in the fence and window box, and the pop of yellow on the front door creates an inviting and cheery entry.”

Living room


“This living room is a great example of how a few simple, yet effective changes can completely alter the look and feel of the living room,” says Nicolaou. “By adding built-in shelves and a barn board wall, the previous owners have taken a forgettable fireplace and two tiny windows and created a beautiful focal point to anchor the room. The new look gives the home a more custom, high-end feel that buyers are attracted to.”

Street says those built-ins serve another smart purpose: adding storage, something that’s very important to buyers looking at smaller homes.

“They also made a smart choice to save money by painting the fireplace a deep charcoal color instead of refacing or entirely replacing the unit,” Nicolaou says. That likely saved the owners big bucks for their renovation budget. Because the goal is to make a good profit, right?

Kitchen


There’s almost nothing left of the original kitchen, and that’s probably a good thing because the complete overhaul paid off.

“Having an attractive kitchen is the key to selling a house, and they did a great job focusing on the details and fully utilizing the space,” says residential real estate investor Bill Samuel. “I especially like the contrasting colors of the upper and lower cabinets.”

Janci Deetz, stager and designer at studio D, loved all the changes in the kitchen.

“Bringing the hardwood in from the living room helps connect the rooms and adds the illusion of more space,” she says. “New appliances and a compact island add functionality and appeal to potential buyers.

“The kitchen is the heart of the home, and always a safe place to invest money if you are trying to see a return on investment,” adds Deetz.

Bedroom


Change is good, especially in this formerly drab bedroom. Street says much of that change comes from the additional (and now blind-less) windows, which help bring the outside in.

But the windows aren’t the only changes Street noticed.

“The sliding barn door adds character and also saves space in the narrow room, increasing its functionality and making it feel more open,” she says.

Nicolaou has nothing but good things to say about the bedroom.

“I’m in love with the designer touches that have completely elevated the look of this room,” she says. “The shiplap wall, sliding barn door, updated ceiling fan, even the added touches to the molding show that the previous owner understands and appreciates a buyer’s eye for detail and style. Even the paint colors, while simple, really add a level of style and sophistication to the new master bedroom.”

Bathroom


Every flipper knows you need to have a spa-quality bathroom, and so did this home’s previous owners.

Deetz confirms that renovated bathrooms are always high on the wish list of potential buyers.

“This bathroom looks much better after the addition of light-reflecting surfaces,” says Street. “Subway tile is not an expensive tile choice, so this is an inexpensive upgrade that provides significant bang for your buck.”

Nicolaou agrees. “Wall-to-wall tile is a smart investment that has totally updated the look of this bathroom,” she says.

She also notes that buyers will fall in love with the designer touches in this bathroom: “The double sinks with varying heights will appeal to families with children, while the updated mirror and lighting will appeal to a buyer looking for a bathroom with a little designer glam.”

Guesthouse


Some potential buyers may have spotted that sorry-looking guesthouse out back and immediately started calculating the price of demolition. But Samuel says tearing it down would have been a bad idea unless it was completely beyond repair—and it wasn’t.

“I absolutely agree with keeping the in-law suite on the property as the additional square footage adds a considerable amount of value to the property,” Samuel explains. “Having the extra living space on the property is a great selling point for buyers when they host guests from out of town.”

He also suggests some buyers may view the renovated guesthouse as potential rental space—either through Airbnb or as a long-term rental. Offering a way to offset a mortgage payment is a smart way to entice buyers to pay a higher price for a home.

The post Lessons From Listing Photos: A Houston Home Goes From Dilapidated to Dreamy appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

As Pending Home Sales Fall in September, Concerns Emerge About a Housing Rebound

JGI/Tom Grill

The numbers: The index of pending home sales dropped 2.2% in September compared with the previous month, breaking a four-month streak of increases, the National Association of Realtors reported Thursday.

The index measures real-estate transactions where a contract was signed for a previously-owned homes but the sale had not yet closed, benchmarked to contract-signing activity in 2001.

Compared with a year ago, contract signings were up 20.5%.

What happened: The Northeast was the only region that experienced a monthly increase in pending home sales, with contract signings rising 2% in September.

The Midwest, meanwhile, had the largest decline in pending sales, with a 3.2% decrease. All regions saw higher contract-signing activity than a year ago, however.

The big picture: The dip in pending sales came as a surprise, with most economists expecting a modest increase. The decline may have been a function of seasonality — even as summer was winding down, home-buying activity remained elevated because of the delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic during the normally busier spring season.

But the slowdown in contract signings last month could also point to some of the hurdles buyers are now facing in the market. “Many buyers struggled with steeply rising prices and shrinking inventory of homes for sale,” said George Ratiu, senior economist at Realtor.com.

Buyers have bought up most of the available inventory of homes, causing home prices to skyrocket. As a result, affordability will be a growing concern for Americans looking to buy a home in the coming months, even as mortgage rates remain at record lows.

What they’re saying: ” In one line: The housing rebound is stalling, for now at least,” said Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics.

“The demand for home buying remains super strong, even with a slight monthly pullback in September, and we’re still likely to end the year with more homes sold overall in 2020 than in 2019. With persistent low mortgage rates and some degree of a continuing jobs recovery, more contract signings are expected in the near future,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors.

Market reaction: The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 turned positive in Thursday morning trading  as investors digested the latest GDP figures.

The post As Pending Home Sales Fall in September, Concerns Emerge About a Housing Rebound appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Former Chicago Bulls Star Toni Kukoc Sells His Highland Park, IL, Home for $920K

Toni Kukoc Illinois home

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Former Chicago Bulls star Toni Kukoc has sold his Highland Park, IL, home for a bearish price. The upgraded contemporary dwelling finally closed for $920,000, according to Crains Chicago Business. The NBA star purchased the 1990s era home in 1993 for $1.19 million, realtor.com® records show.

Last year, Kukoc and his wife, Renata, placed the high-end mansion on the market for $1.15 million, essentially the price the couple had originally paid decades ago. But the ultramodern home had failed to find a buyer, and had gone off market.

In June, the home returned to market for the lowered price of $1 million. That eventually caught the attention of a buyer, who purchased it earlier this month for the slightly lowered amount. What a score!

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Watch: Not a Slam Dunk: Why Won’t Michael Jordan’s Massive Mansion Sell?

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The original model in the Hybernia neighborhood comes with “many upgrades.” With 5,035 square feet of living space, the layout has an open foyer, family room, and a living room with two-story ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows looking out to the pond and serene grounds.

A private den or office can be found on the main floor, along with a bedroom and bathroom. Upstairs, another four generously sized en suite bedrooms fill the second floor, along with a large master suite with three walk-in closets, two vanities, and two water closets.

A finished basement features a custom wet bar and exercise room, as well as an area set up as a game room, along with a bedroom and full bathroom. In the listing photos, NBA memorabilia hangs on some walls.

In addition, a large mud and laundry room is located off the heated three-car garage.

Outside, the quarter-acre lot features a patio with a fire pit, hot tub, outdoor grill, and seating. A lawn backs onto a pond.

“This is a lot of house,” the listing notes helpfully.

The former teammate of Michael Jordan has fared better than “His Airness” on the sales front. Jordan’s Highland Park home has been on and off the market for years, with no movement. The massive, 56,000-square-foot home, on over 7 acres, is still available for $14.85 million.

Kukoc, 52, starred in Europe before landing in the NBA with the Bulls in 1993. He became an integral part of the team’s second NBA title three-peat from 1996 to 1998, a role that was described in “The Last Dance.” The three-time NBA champion is now serving as a special adviser to the owner of the Bulls, Jerry Reinsdorf.

Ted Pickus with @properties Highland Park represented the seller. Aviva Ginzburg with Baird & Warner Gold Coast represented the buyer.

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Need Cash? 3 Ways To Tap Your Home Equity—and Which One’s Right for You

home equity

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You need to come up with some cash, fast. Maybe you have a leaky roof that desperately needs fixing or you need help paying for your kid’s first semester of college. But where do you turn?

If you’re a homeowner, you have options that involve tapping into your home equity—the difference between what your home is worth and how much you owe on your mortgage.

There are three main ways to tap into home equity, but sorting through those options can be confusing. To help, we’ve boiled down what you need to know about some of the most common home financing options—cash-out refinance, home equity loan, and home equity line of credit—and how to determine which one is right for you.

1. Cash-out refinance

How it works: A cash-out refinance replaces your existing mortgage with a new loan that’s larger than what you currently owe—and puts the difference in your pocket. With a cash-out refinance, you’re able to receive some of your home’s equity as a lump sum of cash during the process.

“This only works if you have equity in your home, either through appreciation or paying down your mortgage,” says David Chapman, a real estate agent and professor in Oklahoma.

Pros: If you need cold, hard cash in your hands, a cash-out refinance can help you get it. You can use this money for whatever you want—upgrades to your house, even a vacation. Another positive? If interest rates are lower than when you first got your loan, you’ll get to lock in lower interest rates than you’re paying now.

“Now is the time to look at a cash-out refinance due to the low interest rate environment,” says Michael Foguth, founder of Foguth Financial Group.

Cons: You’ll have to pay closing costs when you refinance, though some lenders will let you roll them into your mortgage. The costs can range from 2% to 5% of your loan amount. And, depending on the circumstances, if interest rates have gone up, you could end up with a higher interest rate than your existing mortgage.

Also, you’ll be starting over with a new loan and, unless you refinance into a different type of mortgage altogether, you’ll ultimately be extending the time it takes to pay off your home loan. Even if you get a better interest rate with your new loan, your monthly payment might be higher.

When to get a cash-out refi: A cash-out refinance makes the most sense if you’re able to get a lower interest rate on your new loan. (Experts typically say that at least a 1% drop makes refinancing worth it.)

This option also works well for home renovations, since (ideally) you’ll be increasing your home’s value even more with the updates. In essence, you’re using your home’s existing equity to help pay for even more equity growth.

While you could use your cash-out refinance to pay for anything, financial experts typically advise that you spend the money wisely, on something that you see as a good investment, rather than on something frivolous.

2. Home equity loan

How it works: Unlike a cash-out refi, which replaces your original loan, a home equity loan is a second additional mortgage that lets you tap into your home’s equity. You’ll get a lump sum to spend as you see fit, then you’ll repay the loan in monthly installments, just as you do with your first mortgage. The home equity loan is secured by your house, which means that if you stop making payments, your lender could foreclose on the home.

Pros: With a home equity loan, you get a huge chunk of cash all at once. A home equity loan lets you keep your existing mortgage, so you don’t have to start over from year one. Your interest rate is typically fixed, not adjustable, so you know exactly what your monthly payment will be over the life of the loan. And, another plus is your interest may be tax-deductible.

Cons: Compared with a cash-out refinance, a home equity loan will likely have a higher interest rate. Home equity loans also come with fees and closing costs (though your lender may opt to waive them). Another downside? You’re now on the hook for two mortgages.

When to get a home equity loan: A home equity loan makes more sense than a cash-out refi if you’re happy with your current home loan, but you still want to tap into your home equity, says Andrina Valdes, chief operating officer of Cornerstone Home Lending. It can also be handy for home renovations that add value, though of course you’re free to use it however you want.

“A home equity loan could be used in cases where you may already have a low mortgage interest rate and wouldn’t necessarily benefit from a refinance,” says Valdes.

3. Home equity line of credit

How it works: A home equity line of credit, aka HELOC, is similar to a home equity loan—it’s a second mortgage that lets you pull out your home equity as cash. With a HELOC, however, instead of a lump sum amount, it works more like a credit card. You can borrow as much as you need whenever you need it (up to a limit), and you make payments only on what you actually use, not the total credit available.

Since it’s a second mortgage, your HELOC will be treated totally separately from your existing mortgage, just like a home equity loan.

“With a HELOC, the homeowner will need to make two payments each month—their mortgage payment and the HELOC payment,” says Glenn Brunker, mortgage executive at Ally Home.

Pros: You borrow only what you need, so you may be less tempted to spend this money than a lump-sum home equity loan. You pay interest only once you start borrowing, but you can keep the line of credit open for many years, which means your HELOC can act as a safeguard for emergencies.

HELOCs typically have lower interest rates than home equity loans, and they typically have little or no closing costs. (Again, your lender might offer to waive these fees.) HELOCs are often easier to get because they’re subject to fewer lending rules and regulations than home equity loans.

Cons: HELOCs usually have adjustable interest rates, which means you can’t necessarily predict how much your monthly payment will be. Most HELOCs typically require the borrower to pay interest only during what’s known as the draw period, with principal payments kicking in later during the repayment period. If you don’t plan properly or you lose your job, you might be caught off guard by these higher payments down the road. As is the case with other second mortgages, your bank can foreclose on your house if you stop making payments.

“Once a HELOC transitions into the repayment period, the borrower is required to make both principal and interest payments,” says David Dye, CEO of GoldView Realty in Torrance, CA. “Many borrowers forget about this transition and are often startled by the sudden increase in minimum payments.”

When to get a HELOC: A HELOC makes the most sense if you want the flexibility and peace of mind of knowing you can easily access money in the future, says Mindy Jensen, a real estate agent in Colorado.

“A HELOC is great to have just in case,” says Jensen. “You have access to it, but are not committed to taking it or paying for money you don’t have an immediate need for.”

And compared with an actual credit card, a HELOC has a much lower interest rate, so it’s likely a cheaper financing option for you.

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