What Mom Wants For Mother’s Day

by Sheila Schmitz

What Mom Wants For Mother’s DayWe asked more than 750 moms about what would please them for Mother’s Day this year. A special meal and time with you took the top spots, but hold that dinner reservation for a moment — nearly half of the moms said their ideal Mother’s Day activity would take place at home. Twenty-seven percent of Houzz moms would like something for their home or garden; 24 percent would like a personal gift, such as jewelry or clothing; and 22 percent say they’d prefer no gifts at all. Here’s what we asked them, and the top responses:
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Gardening Tips: What To Plant For Spring

by Sarah Davis

Gardening Tips: What To Plant For SpringIt can be difficult to think about your spring garden when it is still winter, but the best way to be ready is to plan ahead now. There are several steps you need to take before spring to ensure that your spring planting in the Raleigh area will be successful.
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The 5 Latest ‘Must-Have’ Amenities Of Home Shoppers

by Melissa Tracey

The 5 Latest ‘Must-Have’ Amenities Of Home ShoppersBesides an upscale kitchen and plenty of space, what are new-home buyers’ looking for when house hunting? Surveys by the National Association of Home Builders and homebuilder Pulte Group shed some light on a few of the latest in-demand amenities.

1. Walk-in closets: Large closets, particularly in the master bedroom, is among one of home shoppers’ top priorities, according to the NAHB survey of builders and remodelers. Indeed, 31 percent of 1,000 homeowners recently surveyed by PulteGroup said they’d sacrifice another household feature in order to have his-and-hers closets in the master bedroom.

 

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Getting A Grip On Homeowner Maintenance Costs

by Anne Miller

Getting A Grip On Homeowner Maintenance CostsSo you’ve braced yourself for a hefty down payment and maybe some new furniture. But homeownership expenses don’t end there routine maintenance costs can really add up. Imagine getting socked with a $10,000 bill for roof repair. Are you prepared for that?

It’s important to have a handle on some of the day-to-day expenses you may incur to keep a home in good repair. Keep these costs in mind as you tour prospective homes, too, so you don’t fall madly in love with a property that needs expensive TLC.

 

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Solid Housing Starts Report For November

By Robert Dietz

Housing StartsData for housing construction activity in November indicated ongoing high levels of activity as builder confidence remains positive.

According to the data from the Census Bureau and HUD, the pace of total November housing starts was down slightly (1.6%) from an upwardly revised October number. The October housing starts estimate was revised up from the initial reading of 1.009 million units (on a seasonally adjusted annual pace) to 1.045 million, with increases for both single-family and multifamily construction.

 

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35 Dolores Now Unofficially Selling One-Bedrooms for $800K – Construction Watch – Curbed SF

by Dylan Pilaar

35 Dolores Now Unofficially Selling One-Bedrooms for $800K - Construction Watch - Curbed SFRight across from the recently completed Whole Foods, at the nexus of one of San Francisco‘s fastest-changing neighborhoods, is Thirty-Five Dolores. The boxy four-story building, designed by Levy Design Partners for the Lightner Property Group, is already in the final stages of construction, and should be completed in late November. Amenities include an on-site guest studio, a huge communal backyard, and bicycle storage, as well as car- and dog-wash areas. Unsurprisingly, despite the lack of an official sales office, a majority of the units have already been snapped up by eager buyers with deep, deep pockets. Last we heard, fewer than 10 units remain, which means that those hoping to call Thirty-Five Dolores home had better be ready to shell out.

The available one-bedroom units are hovering in the $800,000 range (sorry, the cheaper ones, and the ones with parking, are sold out). The remaining two-bedrooms are priced between roughly $1.2 million and $1.4 million, just above the neighborhood median for a two-bedroom condo, according to Paragon’s handy interactive map. Only two three-bedrooms remain, priced in the mid-$1 million range, and we hear neither one gets quite enough light. Anyone up for slumming it in New York?

 

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via Curbed SF.

Builders Throw In Goodies To Lure Buyers Amid Slow Sales

By Prashant Gopal

 Builders Throw In Goodies To Lure Buyers Amid Slow SalesJoseph Beben wasn’t in the market for a new house until he heard about a year-old community in suburban Phoenix called the Bridges at Gilbert, where 10 homebuilders are offering buyers incentives such as swimming pools, built-in barbecues, and subsidized mortgages. Beben, a general manager at Best Buy, visited three sales offices before settling on a house built by Woodside Homes, which agreed to cover as much as $10,000 of his closing costs, plus another goody he wanted. “When I saw this deal, it looked like a good business decision,” says Beben, who will pay $332,000 for a 3,000-square-foot house scheduled to be completed by February. “And I wanted a pool.”

Builders in volatile housing markets such as Phoenix, Sacramento, Las Vegas, and Orlando are sweetening offers as sales slow. Large price increases in 2013, driven by investors purchasing homes to rent out, discouraged buyers. And the market is feeling the impact of cuts in the size of mortgages made by the Federal Housing Administration. “Phoenix is very slow; Sacramento is spotty,” says John Burns, a housing consultant based in Irvine, Calif. “The investors came in and pushed prices a little too high. And then FHA rocked the new-home market really hard.”

Borrowers can qualify for FHA loans, insured by the federal government, in just three years after going through a foreclosure. The waiting period can be as long as seven years for would-be Fannie Mae borrowers. That makes FHA loans crucial in Phoenix and other markets hit hardest by the housing bust, which are full of people who lost homes to foreclosure. FHA loans can require down payments as low as 3.5 percent of the purchase price, and their underwriting requirements, including credit scores, are more flexible than those associated with many other conventional mortgages.

 

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The 4 Trends That Predict The Home Of Tomorrow

The 4 Trends That Predict The Home Of TomorrowThe home of tomorrow isn’t about Jetson-esque wonders and smartphone apps. It’s about home value, the environment, and our lifestyles. In an effort to predict what home features will be most valued in 25 years, we focus on four rising trends:

1.  Extreme Energy Efficiency

Utility bills are expected to skyrocket over the next couple of decades. This will result in sustainable updates that push the green needle of household standards.

Waterless toilets: Nope, we aren’t talking about porta potties, but clean and sanitary indoor thrones that will one-up low flush loos.

Why we picked this prediction: It makes sense since residential water rates are rising in the U.S., and toilets are responsible for nearly 27% of our total water use. Plus, Dow Chemical says waterless toilets will become a household standard.

 

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PulteGroup To Acquire Dominion Homes

By Jim Weiker

PulteGroup buying Dominion Homes
PulteGroup buying Dominion Homes

Dominion Homes, central Ohio’s largest homebuilder, is being acquired by the PulteGroup, one of the largest builders of homes nationally, according to several sources.

The deal instantly changes the landscape of central Ohio homebuilding, which for years has been dominated by Dominion and M/I Homes, both home-grown.

The two companies, which build more than 40 percent of central Ohio homes, have kept their dominance despite efforts by some of the nation’s largest homebuilders to move into the market.

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Housing Recovery Continues At Slow Pace According To Latest Leading Markets Index

Housing Recovery Continues At Slow Pace According To Latest Leading Markets Index
Housing Recovery Continues At Slow Pace According To Latest Leading Markets Index

Markets in 56 of the approximately 350 metro areas nationwide returned to or exceeded their last normal levels of economic and housing activity, according to the National Association of Home Builders/First American Leading Markets Index (LMI), released today. This represents a year-over-year net gain of seven markets.

The index’s nationwide score moved up slightly to .89, meaning that based on current permit, price and employment data, the nationwide average is running at 89 percent of normal economic and housing activity. Meanwhile, 78 percent of markets have shown an improvement year-over-year.

“Things are gradually improving,” said NAHB Chairman Kevin Kelly, a home builder and developer from Wilmington, Del. “As the job market grows, we expect to see a steady release of pent up demand of home buyers.”

 

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