Instant Reaction: Mortgage Rates, April 8, 2021

Mortgage rates dropped this week, following the trend of the 10-year Treasury yield. Freddie Mac reported today that the average rate on the 30-year fixed rate home loan fell to 3.13% from 3.18% the previous week.

In the meantime, the job market is gaining momentum, adding nearly 1 million jobs in March. In fact, that was the fastest acceleration since August last year. As more people reenter the work place, the demand for housing is expected to increase as Americans set their sights on homeownership and mortgage rates remain historically low. As a result, with housing supply at record lows, we need to add more homes in the market. Housing starts may have cooled off in February but it seems that this was mostly due to weather effects. Expect construction to wrap up in the following months. Meanwhile, 11.7 million single-family homes are occupied by renters which implies that 15% of single-family homes are owned by investors. However, investors are hesitant to sell their property due to the capital gains tax. By reducing the capital gains tax, investors would be more motivated to sell their properties, thus increasing housing supply.

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$1.5M Rustic Ranch in Southern California Is Handcrafted From Reclaimed Materials

A Southern California ranch on the market for $1,495,000 is a unique, handcrafted throwback.

The 5.17-acre property on El Prado Road in Temecula, CA, is a dream property for lovers of repurposed material.

The original owner built the whole property in 1986, with mostly reclaimed wood, according to Gustavo Banuelos, who has owned the property since 2019.

“He brought all the lighting and all the fixtures from old train stations” and the like, he says. “Very vintage stuff. I had to get in this man’s head and to continue the work that he was doing. So, we got it back up to speed, and we kept using reclaimed items and materials.”

Banuelos, like his predecessor, has made inventive use of what he has salvaged elsewhere.

“I’m making paths out of broken concrete that I’m taking out of other properties,” he says. “I’m an investor, and when I’m demolishing old properties that are over 100 years old, I use that material to keep on going over here.”

The result is a rustic property that looks as if it’s been dropped straight out of the Wild West. It harks back to a different era, thanks to the smart reuse of all types of materials.

“Reviews on Airbnb all say the same thing. When they walk into the property, all their jaws drop. The first thing they say is that the pictures do not do this place justice,” Banuelos explains. “They’ve never seen anything like it.”

Several structures dot the property, including a main house, barns, horse stalls, outhouses, and a chapel.

Part of the Temecula, CA, property

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The main house consists of three separate units, with a total of four bedrooms and four bathrooms.

“The upstairs has a high-pitched ceiling, a wood-burning fireplace, and a wonderful balcony. There’s one bedroom, a kitchen, and living room area,” explains the listing agent, Karin McCoy.

Two more units are downstairs. All have the same rustic aesthetic, with lots of stone and wood. One of the downstairs units even has a tree growing through it.

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The land the ranch sits on is also unusual.

“It’s got a running creek. It’s got beautiful oak trees. It’s a very spiritual place,” Banuelos says.

He says it’s his understanding that way back, native settlers used to meet by the creek and pray there for their beloved ancestors.

“You can feel the energy,” he says. “You feel safe in there, and you feel a sense of calmness.”

Bridges and fire pits sit outside for guests who wish to commune with nature.

“There are meandering trails all throughout the ranch, with paths and artwork throughout. The workmanship on the trails alone is amazing,” McCoy says.

Both McCoy and Banuelos say the ranch would be a perfect second or third home for a buyer in search of a quiet place to escape urban life.

It could also make a perfect retreat or event space for an entrepreneurial buyer. Both agree that the serenity of the place will attract buyers.

“When you get in there, you want to turn off your phone, because it’s so peaceful and so beautiful you just don’t want to deal with the city,” Banuelos says. “When you’re on the property, you don’t see the roads. You don’t see anything and you don’t hear anything.”

$1.5M Rustic Ranch in Southern California Is Handcrafted From Reclaimed Materials appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

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Fixed mortgage rates fall for the first time in 7 weeks

After seven consecutive increases, fixed mortgage rates reversed course this week.

According to the latest data released Thursday by Freddie Mac, the 30-year fixed-rate average slipped to 3.13% with an average 0.7 point. (Points are fees paid to a lender equal to 1% of the loan amount and are in addition to the interest rate.) It was 3.18% a week ago and 3.33% a year ago.

Freddie Mac, the federally chartered mortgage investor, aggregates rates from about 80 lenders across the country to come up with weekly national average mortgage rates. It uses rates for high-quality borrowers with strong credit scores and large down payments. Because of the criteria, these rates are not available to every borrower.

The survey is based on home-purchase mortgages, which means rates for refinances may be higher. The price adjustment for refinance transactions that went into effect in December is adding to the cost. The adjustment, which applies to all Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac refinances, is 0.5% of the loan amount. That works out to $1,500 on a $300,000 loan.

The 15-year fixed-rate average slid to 2.42% with an average 0.6 point. It was 2.45% a week ago and 2.77% a year ago. The five-year adjustable rate average rose to 2.92% with an average 0.1 point. It was 2.84% a week ago and 3.4% a year ago.

“Mortgage rates fell this week, holding firm even as key economic data reports show signs of continued improvement,” said Matthew Speakman, a Zillow economist. “Rates have paused their consistent ascent several times in the past few months, but for the first time since the beginning of the year, there are some indications that this reprieve from rates’ upward trend could be a lasting one. . . . With coronavirus cases beginning to rise again in most U.S. states and many countries around the world, investors have a renewed reason for caution, which tends to push bond yields, and mortgage rates, downward.”

The yield on the 10-year Treasury, which climbed to 1.73% on Monday, has since fallen back to 1.68%.

The minutes from the Federal Reserve meeting in March were released this week. In them, central bank officials indicated optimism about the economic recovery but signaled that they would keep interest rates low through 2023 and continue their bond-buying program. Since early in the pandemic, the Fed has been buying $120 billion in bonds each month, which has held down mortgage rates.

The Fed does not set mortgage rates, but its decisions can sway investors. Mortgage rates are influenced more by investors’ expectations. Good economic news is often bad for rates because a strong economy prompts concern about inflation. Inflation causes bonds to lose value and yields to rise.

Bankrate.com, which puts out a weekly mortgage rate trend index, found more than half of the experts it surveyed expect rates to remain about the same in the coming week.

“Mortgage interest rates have been creeping higher for well over a month,” said Elizabeth Rose, sales manager at AmCap Mortgage in Dallas. “Finally, it looks as though mortgage bonds may have caught a break. Mortgage bonds have broken the trend and are making a strong attempt at bouncing. While a modest improvement in rates is possible, it could be short lived. It is more likely that rates will hang onto the improvement and trend sideways.”

Meanwhile, mortgage applications were down for the fifth week in a row. According to the latest data from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), the market composite index – a measure of total loan application volume – decreased 5.1% from a week earlier. The purchase index fell 4% from the previous week, and the refinance index dropped 5%. The refinance share of mortgage activity accounted for 60.3% of applications.

With mortgage rates rising, refinance demand has retreated. Refinance volume has dropped by more than 30% over the past 10 weeks.

“The ongoing improvement in the economy and labor market is fueling buyer demand,” said Bob Broeksmit, MBA president and CEO. “Applications to buy a home decreased last week, but activity during the first quarter of 2021 outpaced year-ago levels. . . .With mortgage rates rising to the highest level since last June, borrower demand for refinances continues to cool.”

The MBA also released its mortgage credit availability index (MCAI) that showed credit availability increased in March. The MCAI ticked up to 125.4 last month, rising by 0.6%. An increase in the MCAI indicates lending standards are loosening, while a decrease signals that they are tightening.

“Credit availability inched higher in March, driven by the ongoing economic and job market recovery,” Joel Kan, an MBA economist, said in a statement. “This has increased the amount of low credit score and high [loan-to-value] products. All the market segments covered by our sub-indexes increased over the month, notably government and jumbo indexes. The government index, which includes FHA, VA, and [Rural Housing Service] mortgages, increased for the sixth time in seven months to its highest level in a year. . . . Jumbo credit supply increased for the sixth consecutive month, a strong rebound after many lenders pulled back in the first half of 2020 at the onset of the pandemic.”

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California First-Time Home Buyer Assistance Programs for 2021

First-time home buyers are often daunted by the financial hurdles of buying a house—particularly in California, a state famed for many of the most desirable (and expensive) real estate markets in the country, from Los Angeles to San Francisco and beyond.

But the good news is that many first-time home buyers in California qualify for special loans and financial assistance that can lower the costs of homeownership. While these programs are geared toward home buyers with low or moderate income, many may qualify who might not realize they do—so it’s definitely worth checking out if you’re stressed about making those monthly mortgage payments.

Here’s a rundown of the various Golden State–sponsored programs for first-time home buyers, as well as who is eligible and how they can help lower the costs of homeownership so that it’s more within reach.

CalHFA’s first-time home buyer loan programs

The majority of financial assistance programs for the state’s first-time home buyers is offered by the California Housing Finance Agency, or CalHFA. Established in 1975, this institution was chartered as California’s affordable housing lender—although to be clear, it doesn’t actually loan you money. Rather, it puts applicants in touch with approved lenders who can grant a variety of affordable loans that home buyers might not qualify for on the open mortgage market, as well as additional financial assistance.

CalHFA home buyer requirements

Here is a list of home buyer eligibility requirements to help you understand whether or not you qualify for these loans.

  • First-time home buyer: In most cases, to qualify for a loan you must be a first-time home buyer. If you’ve bought a home in the past, that does not necessarily mean you don’t qualify. You’re considered a first-time home buyer if you haven’t owned a home in the three years prior to applying for a loan.
  • Decent credit score: You must have a minimum credit score of 660 for a conventional low-income-rate loan, and a minimum credit score of 680 for a conventional standard-rate loan.
  • Acceptable debt-to-income (DTI) ratio: Your debt-to-income ratio, which compares the amount of money you owe to what you make, cannot exceed 45% for automated underwriting, or 43% for manual underwriting.
  • Income cap: Your earnings can’t exceed CalHFA’s income limits, which are based on the specific area you are looking to buy in.
  • Nationality: You must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or qualified alien.
  • Complete a home-buying course: You must complete a home-buying counseling course and present a certificate of completion. A course can be taken online, or in person through a HUD-approved housing counseling agency.

Note: Meeting these qualifications is no guarantee you’ll qualify for a loan, because each CalHFA-approved lender may have additional borrowing requirements.

“While California has many options regarding first-time homeowners needing financial assistance, it is important to remember that many of these assistance programs will have their own set of regulations and standards that must be met before being approved,” says Simon Ru, CEO of UpNest. Still, if you meet the above criteria, it’s a good start.

CalHFA property requirements

In addition to seeing if you qualify as a borrower, properties must meet certain CalHFA standards, too.

  • Sales price: The home’s sales price can’t be above $765,000.
  • Location: The home must be located within California and used as your primary residence.
  • Property type: The property must be a single-family, one-unit home with a maximum lot size of 5 acres. Some condos, accessory dwelling units (e.g., guesthouses and in-law quarters), and manufactured homes are permitted.

6 types of CalHFA home loan programs

The California Housing Finance Agency offers a variety of loans for first-time home buyers. Here’s a rundown of the main options:

Government loans

  • CalHFA FHA Program: The CalHFA FHA Program offers a 30-year fixed-rate loan insured by the Federal Housing Administration. Note that the FHA has specific borrowing and property requirements that must be met in addition to those of CalHFA.
  • CalPLUS FHA Program: The CalPLUS FHA Program is an FHA-insured first mortgage with a slightly higher 30-year fixed rate than the standard FHA program, but the upside is it can be combined with other financial assistance programs (outlined below).
  • CalHFA VA Program: The CalHFA VA Program is a 30-year fixed-rate loan insured by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Note that the VA has its own requirements for eligibility.
  • CalHFA USDA Program: The CalHFA USDA Program offers a USDA-guaranteed 30-year fixed-rate loan. Note that to qualify for this loan, a property must be located in a USDA-eligible rural area.

Conventional loans

Financial assistance for down payments, closing costs, and more in California

In addition to affordable loans, the California Housing Finance Agency also offers a variety of financial assistance programs that can be combined with their loans that help lower the costs of a mortgage even further.

More good news? “Since this program will be considered subordinate or junior loans, the payments are deferred until their homes are sold, refinanced, or paid in full,” says Tal Shelef, Realtor and co-founder of California’s CondoWizard. “That makes your monthly mortgage payments more affordable.”

Here are the options, who qualifies, and how the programs work.

MyHome Assistance Program

The MyHome Assistance Program provides up to 3.5% of a home’s purchase price or appraised value (whichever is lower) to help pay for down payment or closing costs associated with a home purchase. The maximum amount you can acquire is $11,000.

School Teacher and Employee Assistance Program is designed for first-time home buyers who are teachers, administrators, school district employees, and staff members who work at California’s K-12 public schools.

These loans provide funds of up to 4% of the purchase price that can then be used toward down payment and closing costs.

CalHFA Zero Interest Program

CalHFA Zero Interest Program, also known as ZIP, is a second mortgage that can work with certain CalPLUS loans. The program makes homeownership more affordable for low-income buyers by providing borrowers with a zero-interest loan amounting to 3% of a borrower’s first mortgage.

And since this is a junior loan, payments for the loan can be deferred as long as you live in your house. However, keep in mind you’ll have to pay for the loan if you ever default on your mortgage, sell, refinance, or transfer the title to someone else.

Can you combine CalHFA loans with financial assistance programs?

Finding it hard to pick among these many financial aid options? You may not have to choose.

“Sometimes, California Housing Finance Agency loans can be combined with other assistance offers, while others can’t,” says Tony Mariotti, a licensed real estate agent and the CEO of RubyHome in Los Angeles.

The trade-off, however, is that you might need to pick a loan with a slightly higher interest rate—but it may pay off, so it’s worth crunching the numbers. For instance, while the CalPLUS FHA Program comes with a slightly higher 30-year fixed rate than the CalHFA, a CalPLUS loan can be combined with the CalHFA ZIP, which can assist with closing costs and prepaid items, including the FHA’s mandatory mortgage insurance premium.

In some cases, you can even combine a CalPLUS loan with two financial assistance programs, offering home buyers three ways to save money. For instance, while the CalPLUS Conventional Program comes with a slightly higher 30-year fixed rate than the CalPLUS FHA loan, you can combine it with the MyHome Assistance Program and the CalHFA ZIP.

Just know that some loans, however, can’t be combined. When in doubt, ask your loan officer or real estate agent for guidance.

The post California First-Time Home Buyer Assistance Programs for 2021 appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

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These Are the Best Cities for First-Time Home Buyers in 2021

With home prices rising just about everywhere, first-time buyers are set to enter one of the most competitive markets imaginable this spring. Across the country, homes are selling within days and after multiple offers, pricing out buyers of all ages—especially millennials, who’ve made up the majority of first-timers for the past few years.

No getting around it, things are tough out there. So where are the best cities for stressed-out first-time home buyers to nail a deal in 2021? Realtor.com crunched the numbers to find out.

Bottom line: Competition is expected to heat up in the coming months, so buyers looking for affordable homes in places with plenty of good jobs and ample things to do may need to expand their home search outside large urban meccas like New York and San Francisco, and even the newer real estate darling Austin, TX. Smaller, less-hyped cities could offer more options for first-time buyers, especially as more people can work from home or only go into the office a couple of times a week.

“For a first-time home buyer in this generation, the issue of affordability is front and center, and that’s especially true for many millennials who moved to big cities to start and build their careers,” says George Ratiu, senior economist at realtor.com®. “Between student debt, slow-growing wages, and fast-growing home prices, when the pandemic hit they were still in these large cities but no closer to being able to afford a home.”

At the top of our list of best markets for first-time home buyers was Bloomington, IL, where the median list price last month was $160,000—less than half of the national median price tag of $370,000 in March. Located within two hours of Chicago, St. Louis, and Indianapolis, Bloomington offers plenty of jobs, low commute times, and affordable housing, according to Becky Gerig, a real estate broker at Re/Max Choice.

“Because it’s in the middle of the state of Illinois, it’s a great little spot,” Gerig says. “For young people, there is a lot of opportunity for jobs.”

Big employers in the area include State Farm Insurance and multiple colleges, including Illinois State University. Commute times are also low here.

“We can get from one side of the town to another in 20, 25 minutes,” Gerig adds.

To help find other places that could be a good fit, realtor.com looked at nearly 800 cities, all with at least 50,000 residents. We took into account six factors, including home prices compared with local incomes; the percentage of 25- to 34-year-olds living in these places; the number of homes for sale; job opportunities; distance to work; and amenities such as bars and restaurants. To achieve geographic diversification, the list was limited to one city per state.

So where are the best places for newbies to take their first splash into the housing market? Let”s take a look.

These cities offer more affordable home prices

Price is one of the most important factors in choosing a home, but as a group, millennials haven’t exactly been able to bank much cash over the past decade or so. The pandemic-fueled recession is the second economic crisis many in this age group have lived through, and crippling student loan debt hasn’t helped matters. According to a recent realtor.com survey, 44% of potential first-time home buyers say they haven’t saved enough for a down payment.

“Millennials’ experience with recessions has taught them that economic success isn’t guaranteed and sometimes living below your means makes sense,” says Ali Wolf, chief economist at housing research firm Zonda.

All of the top 10 markets had median home prices below the national median price of $370,000. Kalamazoo, MI, has the lowest median home price, at $155,000, while Taylorsville, UT, had the highest, at $350,000.

These cities have plenty of young people and things to do

Young adults, of course, tend to prefer to be around other people their age. Nine of the top 10 cities on this list are home to at least one four-year college or university, which is likely part of the reason why residents in these places tend to be younger than the country overall.

Savannah, GA, has the largest share of adults aged 25-to-34, making up 16.9% of the city’s total population. It has a thriving nightlife scene with a mix of live music venues, bars, and dance clubs.

Rapid City, SD, and Harrisonburg, VA) had a lower share of younger adults than the national estimate. However, what Rapid City and Harrisonburg lack in their share of younger Americans, they make up for with lower unemployment, more bars and restaurants, and shorter commute times than the rest of the country. Harrisonburg also has more homes for sale, while Rapid City offers more affordable listing prices.

These places have more homes to choose from

A big part of the reason home prices are so high these days is because there aren’t enough properties on the market for everyone who wants them. That’s leading to bidding wars, and savvy buyers are listing their homes for higher prices—sometimes way higher—than they would have just a few months ago.

Several of these markets have a higher proportion of home listings than some of the inventory-squeezed cities. That provides more of an opportunity for first-time buyers to close the deal on a home they can actually afford.

Schenectady, NY, with a median home price of $210,000, tops the inventory list with nearly 18 listings per 1,000 households. Iowa City, IA, offers 13.3 listings per 1,000 households, followed by Savannah, GA, at 13.1 listings per 1,000 households. To be clear, this still doesn’t mean there are a ton of homes on the market in these places. (For context, the historical national average number of homes per 1,000 households had been 17 since the year 2000.)

The housing market is expected to remain hot this year

No matter how you slice it, the housing market is expected to remain very heated for the foreseeable future. That’s because even as more sellers are vaccinated and feel comfortable listing their homes, housing experts still don’t expect enough listings to go up for sale to meet demand.

That’s particularly difficult for first-time buyers who can’t use the equity in their current house to help pay for their next one. These buyers also often don’t have the cash to waive the inspections and contingencies that many sellers are requesting. (In case it needs to be said: It’s never a good idea to waive contingencies.)

“Competition for housing is fierce,” Zonda’s Wolf says. “First-time buyers have to figure out a way to make their bid stand out when competing with all-cash buyers or older buyers bringing a large down payment to the table.”

The post These Are the Best Cities for First-Time Home Buyers in 2021 appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

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8 Must-Follow Instagram Accounts To Inspire Your Next Decor Makeover

We’re all spending more time on our phones than we probably should, so while you’re there, why not get some fresh inspiration for your next makeover project?

We believe that not all scrolling is created equal, which is why we created this list of some of the best home design accounts on Instagram—and a few hints on where to snag their one-of-a-kind decor.

From modern interior design to funky “jungalow” looks, this list has a little something for every style. So go ahead—take a look and dive into the world of Instagram’s best and brightest design accounts.

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A post shared by Justina Blakeney (@justinablakeney)

By now you’re probably familiar with jungalow style—that tropical-escape design aesthetic that seems to be everywhere these days. Want more of it? Skip the copycats and head straight to the source by following the bright and beautiful design account of artist Justina Blakeney, creator of @thejungalow.

“Let yourself be transported to some fabulous place with color, texture, and style,” says Michelle Harrison-McAllister of Michelle Harrison Design. “Are we in Greece, Morocco? No, just here at home. Justina Blakeney’s Instagram feed is never without that burst of happiness we need.”

Get the look: One of the best ways to bring some jungalow magic into your home is with a colorful tribal runner like this Ofelia tribal bohemian rug from The Home Depot.

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A post shared by Studio McGee (@studiomcgee)

If you’re looking for some all-around gorgeous (and modern) home inspiration, look no further than the interior design studio of Syd and Shea McGee. Filled with clean lines and neutral colors, this account is rife with ideas for creating the ultimate modern farmhouse style in just about any room of the home.

“This couple’s designs are so effortless, with an organic intuitive approach, that you would never know the years of sacrifice it took for us to be able to enjoy and drool over their designs,” says Harrison-McAllister. “This block-print throw adds that fresh organic texture and subtle pattern without being overwhelming.”

Get the look: Bring some of that effortless modern chic into your bedroom with this floral block-print throw from Etsy.

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A post shared by Elisabeth Heier (@elisabeth_heier)

If your interior style embodies “less is more,” then you’re going to love the ultraminimalist look of stylist Elisabeth Heier’s account.

“Her Instagram gives a true sense of casual luxury, an effortless and ocean-swept minimalism,” says designer Megan Dufresne of MCDesign. “Scrolling through her IG page is the visual equivalent of having a glass of white wine on a hammock. And having a great statement piece—like this cluster pendant—makes a huge impact in any space. Even though it looks super modern, it actually works in traditional environments as well.”

Get the look: Take your space from sad-minimal to white-wine-in-a-hammock with this five-light cluster globe from Wayfair.

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Trump Adviser Stephen Miller Selling His Luxury DC Condo for $1.2M

Stephen Miller, former senior adviser to the Trump administration, has left the White House. Now, he’s leaving his luxury condo. The political aide is asking $1,199,000 for his unit in Washington, DC.

The conservative aide credited as the architect of the Trump administration’s controversial immigration policy purchased the newly built condo in 2014 for $973,000.

The Santa Monica transplant married Katie Waldman, the former communications director to Vice President Mike Pence, in February 2020, and may be on the hunt for more space. The couple became parents in November 2020.

In 2018, the deluxe apartment complex was the site of protesters targeting Miller to express their opposition to his hard-line immigration views.

Miller’s apartment is a high-end urban retreat. Built in 2013, and located in the upscale CityCenter, the two-bedroom, 2.5-bathroom layout has 1,176 square feet of living space. Details include wide-plank floors, full-height windows, and custom details incorporating environmentally responsible materials, according to the listing.

The modern interior features an open plan with a dining and living area that opens out to a narrow balcony that spans the length of the apartment.

The immaculate kitchen features sleek wood cabinets and white counters, stainless-steel Bosch appliances, and a built-in banquet. A built-in desk nook allows for a small workstation across from the kitchen island.

An owner’s suite includes a large window, and an en suite spa bathroom with dual vanities, a dressing room, and walk-in closet. The second bedroom includes an en suite bath. A small powder room can be found just off the foyer.

Other details include a stacked washer and dryer, high-tech stereo equipment throughout, and a parking space that comes with the unit.

reportedly next plans to start a legal group aimed at challenging the administration policies of President Joe Biden.

Alix Sartorius with Compass holds the listing.

The post Trump Adviser Stephen Miller Selling His Luxury DC Condo for $1.2M appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

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‘Unsellable Houses’ Reveals What Home Buyers Hate Seeing in a Bathroom

On HGTV’s “Unsellable Houses,” twin sisters Lyndsay Lamb and Leslie Davis make over properties that just won’t sell—and often, the reasons they’re sitting on the market aren’t as obvious as you might think.

In the Season 2 episode “Two-Bedroom Dilemma,” Lamb and Davis work on a house with zero personality. This Snohomish, WA, house is empty and unexciting, and has been languishing on the market for two months. While the owners, Brian and Diane, listed this house for a reasonable $440,000, Lamb and Davis are convinced that with $50,000 worth of upgrades, they’ll be able to sell this home for $510,000!

Read on to see which updates help sell this family house, and learn which looks buyers love—and hate.

A fridge shouldn’t be the first thing you see walking in the door

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This kitchen looked too big and too empty.

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The kitchen in this house is huge, but it looks dated, bare, and unimpressive. Plus, it has a strange layout.

“This is nice and open,” Davis says, “but to be honest, I opened this front door and I immediately was, like … fridge.”

So Lamb and Davis update the kitchen by giving it a new layout that will impress buyers when they first step in the door.

“The overall design for the kitchen is really to go with something that is universal,” Lamb says. “Any buyer could walk in and feel like, ‘Wow, this is something I can relate to, something that I can connect with.’”

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This kitchen has a neutral style most people will love.

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They bring in new cabinets and new counters, and add some bold color by installing a dark backsplash tile over the range. The style is warm and inviting, but it’s also neutral. It looks contemporary but still feels safe enough to appeal to the masses.

Add furniture to show buyers how to use the space

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This empty living room looked unwelcoming.

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Lamb and Davis love this home’s open concept, but they know that wide-open spaces can be unattractive to buyers who don’t know how to use the space. A large living space can feel less like an asset and more like a nightmare.

“When you have an open concept like [Brian and Diane’s] home, it’s crucial that you stage the furniture in a way that it creates separate spaces,” Lamb says.

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With some furniture, this space feels more like a living room.

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Lamb stages the large living space so that there are defined dining and living areas. Now, the house feels homier and buyers can imagine themselves in this large space. It’s an easy upgrade that doesn’t even require renovation!

Buyers hate seeing a plain old bath—so add a shower

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Lindsay Lamb and Leslie Davis wanted to make this bathroom more user-friendly.

HGTV

In the master bath, Lamb and Davis find a large tub that seems to take up a lot of space.

These sisters know that most people would prefer a shower in the master bathroom, so they decide to switch out this tub with a large, elegant shower. With a mix of three tiles, some wood accents, and a new double vanity, this awkward bathroom has transformed into a relaxing spa-style suite.

bathroom
This bathroom looks much more welcoming.

HGTV

“This was probably the biggest transformation in this house,” Davis says of the finished bathroom. “Even though there was that huge soaking tub, it was really not usable. What we wanted to give this main bathroom is a really high-end custom shower so that they felt like this wasn’t a letdown of a bathroom.”

Double doors can help let in light and show off the view

‘Unsellable Houses’ Reveals What Home Buyers Hate Seeing in a Bathroom appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

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