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U.S. Pending Home Sales Drop for Fifth Straight Month in October

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The numbers: U.S. pending home sales fell 4.6% in October, the fifth straight monthly decline, the National Association of Realtors said Wednesday.

Economists polled by the Wall Street Journal expected pending home sales to fall 5.5%.

The index captures transactions where a contract has been signed, but the home sale has not yet closed.

Key details: On a year-on-year basis, pending home sales were down a sharp 37%.

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Bryan Harsin Selling $3M Alabama Mansion After His Ouster as Auburn Coach

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A 9-12 record doesn’t exactly excite the football fans and big-money boosters at Auburn University. This is why head coach Bryan Harsin was given his walking papers last month. Next on his to-do list? Selling his Auburn, AL, home for $2,950,000 and leaving the SEC after just a couple of years.

With four bedrooms, 4.5 baths, 5,100 square feet of interior space, and a 5-acre lot, this well-appointed home is the priciest place on the market in the college town.

Classic style and interior details will no doubt appeal to a host of buyers—and perhaps the team’s new coach.

A free-flowing dining and living room feels spacious and welcoming at the same time. The stunning kitchen sports a massive island with seating for four as well as top-of-the-line appliances, including a cooktop with multiple burners and a griddle in the middle.










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Extremely On-Trend: 5 Popular Decor Looks Inside This HGTV Star’s House for Sale

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Kim Wolfe, host of HGTV’s “Why the Heck Did I Buy This House,” knows a thing or two about rehabbing a less-than-pretty property for buyers who fear they’ve picked up a lemon.

So it makes sense that she took her well-earned interior design and construction experience and applied it to her home in Olmos Park, TX. Wolfe and her husband, Bryan, purchased the four-bedroom, 3.5-bath fixer-upper in 2021 for $550,000.

Now, the impeccably updated property is for sale, and there’s already a buyer. But if the deal falls through, it can be yours for the tidy sum of $1,250,000.

Built in 1937, this home has good bones.

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2023: The Year of the Homebuyer? Our Bold Predictions on Home Prices, Mortgage Rates, and More

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It’s safe to say we’ve never encountered a housing market nearly as unpredictable as the one we’re in right now. After months of navigating wild fluctuations, homebuyers, sellers, owners, and renters are now desperately trying to read the tea leaves to figure out where real estate prices, inventories, sales, and mortgage rates are going in the coming year.

And just in time, Realtor.com® is here to help them all figure it out with our annual housing forecast.

The bottom line: Homebuyers and renters hoping for some financial relief in 2023 will likely be disappointed. But they won’t get whiplash either. The dramatic swings and wild gyrations in the housing market are expected to taper off as the real estate ecosystem continues to slow.

While the Realtor.com 2023 forecast anticipates home and rental prices will keep climbing next year, the increases will be much more modest than the huge surges seen earlier this year. Mortgage interest rates, which have become the bane of many first-time and other buyers who can’t pay all in cash, will remain high. But they aren’t expected to substantially rise again.


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What Is an APR? Annual Percentage Rate, Explained

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The annual percentage rate, or APR, is how much you’ll pay in interest and other fees when borrowing money (e.g., when you get a mortgage loan or a credit card). APR can also be considered the total cost for borrowing money over a one-year period.

The “and other fees” clause is key here. When home buyers get a loan, they often obsess over the annual rate alone—say, that 5% extra you’ll pay every year for the life of your $300,000 loan. But that’s not where your expenses end, and that’s where APR comes into play.

“The APR includes the interest rate and other charges, which is why it’s usually higher than just your interest rate,” says Michele Lerner, author of “Home Buying: Tough Times, First Time, Any Time.”

What to know about APR, and which fees are included?

People tend to think of annual percentage rate as the “true” amount they pay, because it includes all of the major upfront fees associated with the loan (e.g., closing costspoints, origination fees, and private mortgage insurance). It’s also known as the effective APR.

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Can You Show Your Home With an Offer on the Table?

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Can you show your home with an offer on the table? Sure, you’ve found a (nearly) perfect buyer. You’ve accepted the offer, which means you’re in wedded bliss and off the market, so to speak, right? Not so fast! Just as a romantic relationship can go sour, so can your real estate transaction. No matter how perfectly matched your buyers are to your property, issues can arise that are out of your control, and sometimes the buyers’ too.

That’s why it’s in your best interest to let your real estate agent play the field and allow your home to be shown, even if you’ve accepted an offer.

Can you show your home with an offer on the table

“Until all contingencies on a contract are removed, anything can happen,” explains Jane Peters, broker and owner of Home Jane Realty in Los Angeles. “Each side has to meet certain contractual obligations, and if one side doesn’t, then the other side can initiate a cancellation of the contract,” she says.

Such contractual obligations can include both sides not agreeing on a request for repairs after an inspection, says Peters. Other times, the buyer believes there’s too much to deal with and decides not to go forward. It’s also possible that your buyer can’t get the loan approved. And if your home doesn’t appraise at the contracted price and you decide not to lower it or grant the buyer concessions, then the buyer can walk, too.

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How to Remove Stains From Marble Counters and Floors

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To celebrate our first night in our new home, we ordered a feast of Chinese food. The next morning, to our horror, we found a huge stain on our kitchen’s marble counter where the moo goo gai pan had seeped out of its cardboard container into the stone. We went into a frenzy to try to find out how to remove stains from marble.

I know I’m not alone here. Even though marble counters and floors look like they can withstand whatever a cook can throw at them, these surfaces in fact are extremely porous and can soak up liquids. If it’s just water, it usually dries without a problem. But if you leave wine or grease spills on marble, you’ll have to deal with a stain.

The good news is that whatever goes in can come out, says Mark Meriaux, accreditation and technical manager of MIA + BSI: The Natural Stone Institute, based in Oberlin, OH. “But sometimes it takes a long time.”

How to prevent stains on marble

The best cure is prevention, of course: Always seal marble when it’s installed.

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FHA Loan Requirements: What Home Buyers Need to Qualify

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FHA loans, which are insured by the Federal Housing Administration, help home buyers secure financing to buy a home despite their low income, lack of savings, or poor credit scores—the kind of things that often prevent people from getting a conventional loan.

“FHA loans are a great option for a lot of home buyers, particularly if they’re buying their first home,” says Todd Sheinin, mortgage lender and chief operating officer at New America Financial in Gaithersburg, MD. And while not all lenders offer FHA loans, many do, because their government backing guarantees that lenders won’t lose their money if the buyer defaults. So it’s win-win all round!

Yet although FHA loans have looser qualification requirements than traditional mortgages, that doesn’t mean they have none at all. While the exact rules and thresholds will vary a bit by lender, here’s a ballpark guide to what you can expect you’ll need to qualify.

1. A minimum down payment of 3.5%

With conventional loans, it’s generally recommended that you make a 20% down payment, which would amount to a whopping $50,000 on a $250,000 home. FHA loans lower the bar to a far more realistic level, requiring as little as 3.5%. So, on a $250,000 house, you would only need to plunk down $8,750 to qualify for an FHA loan.

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What Is a Site Condo? A House-Condo Combo Many Buyers Adore

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In your search for a new home, you may have seen the term “site condo” in listings. Unlike regular condos, which are typically apartments or townhomes attached to at least a few other units, a site condo looks like a freestanding single-family house; it even has its own yard. Nonetheless, a site condo is located in a condo community with all the benefits (and restrictions) of condo living, explains Realtor® and blogger Norm Werner.

Here’s how to tell if a site condo is right for you.

Characteristics of a site condo

There are five criteria that must be met in order for the units in the complex to be considered site condos, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development:

Units must be single-family and completely detached from each other. This includes garages, archways, breezeways/porches/decks, or any other attached buildings.No part of the house, land, or airspace can be considered a common area.Insurance and maintenance costs of the individual unit and property fall solely on the unit owner.Any condo fees collected are for amenities that are outside the bounds of the property.Owners must abide by all condo association rules, known as covenants, conditions, and restrictions, or CC&Rs.

 

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Annuals and Perennials: What’s the Difference? Flower Facts You Ought to Know

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If you’re a novice gardener, you’ve probably asked yourself all about annuals and perennials when picking out flowers at your local garden store.

Annual and perennial are classifications based on the lifespan and bloom cycle of a particular flower. It’s something that gardeners need to pay particular attention to so they can make sure their blooms thrive. 

Annuals and perennials bloom at different times and need to be maintained differently, so be sure you know what type of flower you’re planting before putting it in the ground (or flowerbed, or pot).

What kind of plants should you choose? We’re here to help you decide. Dig in to discover everything you ever wanted to know about annuals and perennials. 

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How Long Does It Take to Build Credit History From Scratch?

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If you ever plan to buy a house, establishing a track record of past payments is essential, because it proves to mortgage lenders that you’ve paid people back (which means they’ll be more apt to loan you money for a home).

Still, if you have no credit history—because you’re young or just never bothered—how long does it take to build it from scratch?

Here’s the straight dope: Done right, it can take as little as six months. Done wrong? It can take several years. So if you’re in a rush to establish credit to buy a home, you’ll want to know the right way to go about it! Heed this advice to learn what to do.

Building credit: A timeline

At a minimum, you need to open at least one credit card in your name. From there, you just need to make a purchase using the card, and then make a payment. Once you’ve made your payment, your creditor will report your payment to one or more of the major credit bureaus (TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian).

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What Is Chintz? A Flowery History of ‘Chintzy’ Decor and Why It’s So Hot Today

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Chintz, a textile featuring flowery patterns on curtains, couches, and wallpaper, was all the rage in the 1980s. Since then, it’s fallen from grace, hard. In fact, after its long history of ins and outs in fashion, the word “chintzy” has become synonymous with decor that’s considered gaudy or cheap.

But as trends tend to do, the pendulum has swung back. Chintz is coming back strong, baby!

So don’t knock chintz until you’ve taken a good look: Here’s a brief history of this bright, attention-grabbing fabric and the fresh new ways it’s being used in modern-day home decor.

A brief history

Based on the Hindi word for “spotted,” chintz originated as calico cottons in 17th-century India. “It began as quilts and curtains [there], then later spread throughout Europe,” says Amanda Evans, an interior designer and home stager based in Salt Lake City, UT.

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'Trousseau Chintz III Framed Floral Art Print, 28x28' width=500
'Chickaprint Chintz Shower Curtain' width=500




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What Is a Pre-Qualification Letter? Not a Guarantee You’ll Get That House

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What is a pre-qualification letter? A mortgage lender will give you this official document once you decide you might want to borrow money from the lender. But how much will that letter actually boost your chances of successfully making an offer on a house? Experts say it offers very little help.

“I tell most people they can take that pre-qualification letter and throw it in the trash,” says Patty Arvielo, a mortgage banker and president and founder of New American Funding, in Tustin, CA. “It doesn’t mean all that much.”

Of course, this letter does serve some purpose for home buyers, otherwise it wouldn’t exist, right? So is it worth pursuing pre-qualification before bidding on a house? Read on.

What to know about a pre-qualification letter

Of the two kinds of letters buyers typically obtain before they start house hunting—pre-qualification and pre-approval—the pre-qualification letter is the lesser of the two when it comes to buying power, says Denise Shur, a Realtor with 1:1 Realty in San Jose, CA.

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What Is a Multifamily Home? Owning Many Units Can Lead to a Steady Cash Flow

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Unlike single-family homes, multifamily homes are dwellings with more than one unit that each have their own bathroom and kitchen. Interested in how this type of property could pay off for you? Read on for our breakdown of multifamily homes.

Multifamily home characteristics

The most attractive part of investing in and renting out a multifamily home is the steady revenue stream you can get from collecting rent. Most people living in a multifamily home are looking to offset mortgage payments by using the income from renting out the other unit, says Lee Kiser, principal and managing broker at Kiser Group in Chicago.

There are also tax advantages to buying a multifamily home. You can write off expenses related to your rental income and deduct the prorated portion of the mortgage interest.

Also, an owner-occupied property may be a wise choice for homeowners living with members of their family, such as their adult children or elderly parents. They can live in one of the units for a period of time and not have to fork over all their savings on rent or a mortgage.

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What Is a Storybook House? A Home Straight Out of a Fairy Tale

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A storybook house is a quaint style of architecture known for its cottage-inspired sloping roof, turret, and other fanciful features. Also called fairy-tale homes, they essentially look like a family of elves or maybe Snow White herself would answer the door if you knocked.

Although these houses evoke visions of the European countryside, this style is wholly American—specifically, Hollywood in the 1920s. At that time, soldiers had recently returned from Europe after World War I, and those who went to work in Los Angeles’ film industry (including Walt Disney, who drove an ambulance in Europe) often built sets inspired by the villages they saw in England, Belgium, and France.

“Silent films were often set in Europe in an earlier era, and actors, set designers, and audiences alike fell for the charming look of the houses in these film sets,” says Douglas Keister, photographer and co-author of “Storybook Style: America’s Whimsical Homes of the 1920s.”

A history of storybook houses

The home thought to be the original storybook house was known as the “Witch’s House,” built in 1921 on a studio lot, designed by an art director to serve both as offices and a film set. In 1926, the house was converted to a residence and moved to a corner in Beverly Hills, CA, where it remains today (and where it scored a cameo in the movie “Clueless”).

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How to Become a Landlord: Do You Have What It Takes?

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In today’s hot housing market, rents are on the rise, which may have you wondering whether it’s time to consider becoming a landlord and buying a rental property. After all, who doesn’t like the idea of raking in rent checks from tenants every month? Still, being a landlord isn’t a cakewalk; it takes work, and sometimes being a landlord may seem like you’re shelling out more than you’re bringing in from rent.

And let’s face it, knowing how to be a landlord and knowing how to be a good landlord to your tenants are two different things.

Just so you know what you’re getting into, here are some tips on becoming a landlord who not only makes money from rent but also keeps tenants happy.

Figure out if you can afford to become a landlord

Renting out real estate on which you’re paying a mortgage is a balancing act. To be a successful landlord, you have to make sure that the money coming in from rent covers what goes out—or else you’re operating at a loss on your real estate.

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What Is a Micro-Apartment? Even Tinier Than a Tiny House. A Huge Trend Explained

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A micro-apartment is the urban equivalent of a tiny house—a small dwelling, typically under 300 square feet, some as little as 100—that is gaining popularity in pricey cities where larger apartments are financially out of reach.

These pint-sized pads give people a chance to live in the thick of things without blowing their paycheck … that is, if they’re willing to do some serious downsizing. Here’s the lowdown on micro-apartments, where you can find them, and how they make diminutive dwellings far more comfortable than you might imagine.

Where to find micro-apartments

A decade ago, micro-apartments would have been illegal in most cities. But the dearth of affordable housing options for singletons and lower-income individuals prompted a change in zoning regulations so developers could build smaller dwellings to meet this pent-up demand.

“Cities like New York City had size regulations amended in order to accommodate construction for these über small apartments,” says Steven Giles, a real estate agent with Douglas Elliman.

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How to Paint Brick (It’s Not Like Painting Any Old Surface)

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Painting brick, for the most part, is entirely doable—and can give your old fireplace or brick house an easy face-lift. But you’ll want to plan carefully and do your research first. Painting brick isn’t like painting any old surface.

First up, you should know that not all brick should be painted.

Rick Watson, director of product development at Sherwin-Williams, recommends against painting brand-new, porous brick. Instead he advises opting for at least a year to pass so the brick can weather. This will also allow for leaching, a process in which alkali (mortar) and efflorescence (the white powder you sometimes spot on brick) have time to leach out of the brick before painting.

And while you can paint the outside of a fireplace, it is typically not recommended that you paint the brick inside a masonry fireplace, he says, as there is no guarantee the finish will withstand contact with open flames from a fire.

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How Old Is This Mysterious Home in New Mexico? Does It Date to the 1700s?

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Offers came in quickly for a home with centuries of history in Santa Fe, NM.

Property records show two dwellings on the land date to at least 1848. Unofficial records reveal that a structure sat on the one-third-acre parcel even earlier. The property listing indicates the original dwelling was built in 1786—more than 125 years before New Mexico became a state.

“We’re a very old city, and many of the properties go back that far,” explains listing agent Clara Dougherty, of Dougherty Real Estate. “It may have just been one or two rooms, but it is very typical of Spanish colonial homes—they add on to them. If you have another child or need another room, you go ahead and add another room.”

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Not a Pretty Sight: 8 Reasons To Fall in Love With Your Ugly Home (Really!)

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Your home might not be a contestant on the “Ugliest House in America,” but do you have a sinking feeling it could still compete strongly on the HGTV show?

Alas, some homes are downright ugly—inside and/or out. Yet, there are often plenty of silver linings to even the unseemliest spaces, and we’re here to remind you of them all!

So don’t beat yourself up just because your dwelling isn’t the pristine palace you always dreamed you’d have! Instead, check out some of the smart reasons to love (or at least appreciate) your homely home.

1. You’re saving money, honey

Owning an ugly home means it was probably more affordable than its lovelier cousins. Your mortgage is likely smaller, too.






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