The Home Feature Millennials Love Most: You’ll Never Guess What It Is

Home Feature Millennials Love Most

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What would you guess is the most important feature millennials look for when buying or renting a home? A fabulous kitchen? Smart home technology? Lots of storage space? Wrong, wrong, and wrong again.

According to recent research from the National Association of Landscape Professionals, a nice-sized lawn is the No. 1 priority among millennials, even beating out an updated kitchen. A whopping 82% of millennials report that having a lawn is the most important feature when renting or buying a home.

Granted, we can’t help but wonder if the source of this report is a bit biased. Still, if this survey does contain a grain of truth, it overturns everything we thought we knew about millennials. I mean, aren’t they the generation obsessed with all things tech, turned off by anything that reeks of responsibility, like lawn mowing?

“While some may assume that trends toward urbanization or the increased use of electronics and technology have resulted in a decreased interest in lawns among younger Americans, the results of our research found just the opposite,” says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for NALP. “Overall, the results confirm … Americans have a great appreciation for the value that healthy lawns bring to their lives.”

Why millennials love lawns

Allie and Jared Turley of Hemet, CA, are classic examples of millennials who valued outdoor features over indoor ones when they were looking to buy a home a few years ago. In their late 20s and with one toddler, they bought a fixer-upper with a good-sized yard rather than a brand-new home in a tight-knit housing development.

“You can always redo your kitchen, but you can’t change the size of your yard,” explains Allie.

She believes the millennial trend toward self-sufficiency also influenced their decision.

“We wanted room for a garden, where we can grow our own vegetables, and room for pets and solar panels,” she says. “We also wanted a place where everyone can stretch out and enjoy each other, and where our kids can learn the value of hard work—we don’t want them inside playing computer games all the time.”

Despite the growing popularity of city life and dense urban housing, the survey found that 81% of Americans surveyed have a lawn, and a vast majority of those surveyed—79%—said a lawn is an important feature when renting or buying a home. Older generations like Gen Xers and baby boomers also deemed lawns one of the most important home features, falling behind only a renovated kitchen and well above other popular features, including updated bathrooms, lots of storage space, and the ever-popular hardwood floors.

But do we really use our lawns?

Do most Americans really take advantage of the green space right outside their doors? Apparently so, this survey found. Of those surveyed, 47% said they entertain in their yards at least once a month, while 57% said they use their yards for recreation at least monthly. Who doesn’t love throwing a good barbecue, or sharing a toast under the stars with friends?

Beyond that, a whopping 77% of respondents reported relaxing in their yards at least once a week, and about 1 in 3 Americans (32%) do gardening multiple times a week. Most people who garden on a regular basis find it satisfying, even therapeutic.

In fact, the NALP points to research showing that just looking at plants and trees, even through a window, can reduce stress and lower blood pressure. Also, spending time in a natural environment with plants and trees improves attention and memory. And to top it off, neighborhoods with tree-lined streets and larger yard trees have reduced crime rates.

The take-home lesson for home sellers this summer is clear: If you want to lure millennial buyers—and others—better bump up that curb appeal!

The post The Home Feature Millennials Love Most: You’ll Never Guess What It Is appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

7 Adorable Tiny Homes That Prove You Can Live Large With Less

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Tiny-home living has transitioned from an architectural novelty to a mainstream lifestyle for more and more folks. And while these ultrapopular, ultralittle abodes can’t cure all societal ills, they are environmentally friendly, relatively low-cost, and the aesthetic antidote to overblown McMansions.

A recent poll conducted by the National Association of Home Builders found that more than half (53%) of adults surveyed said they would consider buying a tiny home measuring less than 600 square feet. The market for these petite abodes is booming, and we see it in our listings. To demonstrate, we’ve pinpointed seven incredible examples of tiny-home living on the market right now.

Tiny living is now an option all over the country—from the volcano peaks of Hawaii to the desert floor of Southern California. Whether you simply want to downsize or are considering a vacation getaway or rental property, take a look at the following options and see how large you can live with just a few square feet.

57654 Reche Rd, Landers, CA

Price: $195,000

Desert cabin: Originally built in 1956 and completely renovated from roof to floor, this mod retreat in the Mojave Desert has been a popular destination on Airbnb. The furnishings, a washer and dryer, appliances, and a hot tub are all included in the purchase price. The 5-acre property is fenced and has a security camera, alarm, and smart locks.

Landers, CA

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125 1/2 Line St, Charleston, SC

Price: $475,000

Historic cottage: Built in 1910, this 429-square-foot historic cottage was recently renovated with new electric, plumbing, and HVAC systems. It has hardwood floors throughout as well as wood-beamed ceilings with rare interior cedar shingles. The cottage is zoned for commercial use as a salon, gallery office, or retail space.

Charleston, SC

realtor.com

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1867 Summerfield Lot 18, Monteagle, TN

Price: $220,530

Tiny community: Located about 90 minutes outside of Nashville, TN, the Retreat at Deer Lick Farms is a gated community on Monteagle Mountain. This one-bedroom, 452-square-foot home sits on 2 wooded acres in the community, which features hiking trails, a scenic creek, and one of the state’s largest waterfalls.

Monteagle, TN

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1725 Avenue N 1/2, Galveston, TX

Price: $168,500

Blue Crab: Measuring 490 square feet, this island cottage known as the Blue Crab has two bedrooms, one bathroom, a living area, and kitchen. Built in 1945 and located just a few blocks from the beach and Pleasure Pier, the home was recently renovated, including the roof, AC system, and back siding. A storage area on the ground floor could be converted into additional living space.

Galveston, TX

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63637 Gemini St, Joshua Tree, CA

Price: $120,000

Homesteader cabin: Rustic in all the right places, this cabin sits on 5 acres just 15 minutes away from Joshua Tree National Park. Naturally, it offers spectacular views of the San Jacinto and San Gorgonio mountains. Less than a mile off the paved road, it’s been a popular offering on Airbnb. Built in 1956, the home had some recent upgrades, including new bamboo floors throughout, a new concrete patio, and a new septic system. The original outhouse is used for storage now that the home has its own sink, flush toilet, and outdoor shower (with heated water).

Joshua Tree, CA

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19-3924 Hoonanea St, Volcano, HI 

Price: $220,000

Tiny paradise: Featured in 2018 on HGTV’s “Tiny Paradise,” this lovely home has 304 square feet, every inch of which has been carefully considered. It includes a fully-equipped kitchen, interior/exterior fireplace, mango wood countertops, and hickory wood flooring. The home has a 10,000-gallon catchment tank to collect water, and solar panels provide electricity. All decor and furnishings are included in the purchase price.

Volcano, HI

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21315 268th Pl NE, Arlington, WA 

Price: $310,000

Sweet and stylish: Join a new tiny-home community focused on stylish and eco-friendly living. The four homes in this development were completed in 2018 and sit just steps from Lake Riley. This modern, one-bedroom unit offers just under 400 square feet of indoor living space, with the large, outdoor living space taking maximum advantage of the home’s natural surroundings.

Arlington, WA

realtor.com

The post 7 Adorable Tiny Homes That Prove You Can Live Large With Less appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

9 Homes With Dreamy Spots for April Showers

A good spring shower leaves the earth feeling refreshed and renewed – which is not unlike a good shower in your own home. A well-designed and polished bathroom can invigorate you in the morning or relax you before bed.

These 10 bathrooms in for-sale homes across the country give us that feeling of rejuvenation – and make us just the tiniest bit envious.

Spa-like in the city

For sale: $1.3 million

This Tudor revival in Washington, D.C., is equal parts modern and traditional – and its sleek yet comfortable bathroom is exactly what you’d need after a long day in this busy political city. This bathroom has all the spa features of your dreams, including a soaking tub with ample space for bath supplies, a double vanity with tons of storage underneath and a neutral, calming color palette.

Photo from Zillow listing.

See more homes in Washington, D.C.

A stylish soak

For sale: $1.5 million

This stunning home in De Soto, Wisconsin, is an award-winning architectural structure, but the bathroom is by far the dreamiest of all its spaces. The light hardwoods and paneling contrast beautifully with the slate-gray tub and vanity countertop, and the lighting gives just enough ambience without being too overpowering – perfect for taking a midafternoon soak in the tub on a Saturday.

Photo from Zillow listing.

See more homes in De Soto.

Tan-quility in Texas

For sale: $1.4 million

This bathroom in Austin, Texas, blends neutral tones and contemporary glass to instantly relax you – and add a huge dash of style. A deep soaking tub connects seamlessly to the oversized glass-encased shower, which has a large bench and built-in shelf for bath products.

Photo from Zillow listing.

See more homes for sale in Austin.

Polished and pretty in porcelain

For sale: $595,000

It’s not hard to imagine yourself spending quality time in this light-filled Tulsa, Oklahoma, bathroom. A free-standing curved bathtub sits beautifully right by a picture window, highlighted by a modern light fixture. And right next to it is a glass-encased shower for early mornings when you don’t have time to leisurely take a dip.

Photo from Zillow listing.

See more homes for sale in Tulsa.

A bathing beauty with a view

For sale: $26.5 million

It’s hard to find a favorite thing about this luxury bathroom in Carpinteria, California. Is it the floor-to-ceiling marbled tile or the mountain views as you shower? Whether you love the ceiling-mounted showerhead or the giant tub with cozy built-ins for all your products, this bathroom is an inspiration.

Photo from Zillow listing.

See more homes in Carpinteria.

A grown-up shower to shout about

For sale: $2.9 million

Let us count the ways we love this bathroom in Bellevue, Washington. For one, we can’t get enough of the contrast between the black hexagon tile on the floor and the large white subway tile in the shower. We also love the vessel sink that sits atop an oversize purple-gray vanity, which adds an unexpected pop of color.

Photo from Zillow listing.

See more homes in Bellevue.

A bubble-filled bathroom

For sale: $1.9 million

The light fixtures in this East Hampton, New York, bathroom are reminiscent of bubbles – appropriate for a room with a free-standing soaking tub. Another set of bubble lights sits above the wall-mounted modern sink with plenty of storage underneath.

Photo from Zillow listing.

See more homes for sale in East Hampton.

Large and luxurious in Dallas

For sale: $2.8 million

Everything is bigger in Texas, and this Dallas, Texas, bathroom is no exception. A picture-perfect free-standing tub is framed by two playful light fixtures, as well as an oversized window that lets in a lot of light but still manages to give you privacy, thanks to the trees right outside.

Photo from Zillow listing.

See more homes for sale in Dallas.

Simple yet stately

For sale: $1.9 million

Large marbled tile and a crystal-clear glass shower door make for a beautiful bathroom in Boston, Massachusetts. It’s not especially hard to imagine taking a nice, relaxing shower with that ceiling-mounted showerhead.

Photo from Zillow listing.

See more homes for sale in Boston.

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Maximizing Space in a Small Kitchen

Many homes come with kitchens that are less than ideal. The lighting can be terrible, the appliances old, the floors grimy … and counter space? Well, that’s a nice idea.

Get the most out of the kitchen space you do have with these tips.

Make room

You can create extra space, even when it seems impossible. Over-the-sink covers, cutting boards and colanders help increase your workspace.

Burner covers for your stove and a large cutting board or tray can create extra counter space when you’re entertaining and want to set out snacks (provided you don’t need to use your stove).

Fold-up tables (attached to the wall or stand-alone) offer extra space when needed. If there’s room, a butcher block or island instantly create food prep or storage space.

Another simple way to create space? Pare down your belongings – especially on the counters – and only keep the necessities.

Go vertical

A wall above the stove may be perfectly suited for a pegboard where you can hang pots, pans and utensils. Magnetic knife and spice racks can fit into small wall spaces under cabinets or above sinks.

Refrigerators can serve as storage space for magnetic spice racks, towels, pot holders, or dry-erase boards or chalkboards, which are both useful and decorative. And over-the-cabinet hooks and towel racks add extra storage quickly and easily.

Use bookcases

Small bookcases are a kitchen’s best friend. They are perfectly narrow, they come in many heights and they offer tons of storage options.

In addition to keeping cookbooks tidy, they can also hold pots, pans, dishes, food items, storage containers and baskets.

Add hooks to the side of your bookshelf to store aprons or other lightweight tools.

Add art and color

Art and color are fast ways to personalize a small kitchen. Color-coordinated kitchen accessories become art in and of themselves, and a simple color palette lets the eye rest in a small space.

When using every inch of space, don’t forget to leave room for a few decorative elements. Hang attractive tea towels with pushpins for a practical splash of color. And fresh flowers on a shelf or table instantly brighten the space and add life.

If you have a windowsill, an herb garden is the perfect way to use the space and bring vibrancy. You might even consider installing a vertical garden.

Cover eyesores

Every older kitchen has at least one eyesore: an ancient microwave, a scratched-up refrigerator or a hideous vinyl floor. If you’re not ready to put down the cash for a remodel, cover these as best you can.

Cover exposed sink pipes with curtains attached to the bottom of the sink (bonus: extra storage space). Store your old microwave or replace it with a newer, more attractive version.

As for scratched or just plain ugly refrigerators and appliances, adhesive vinyl can create a like-new look in a matter of minutes.

Cover unsightly floors with kitchen-friendly mats that also make standing at the counter easier on your feet, and refresh old cupboards and drawers with plain or patterned drawer liners.

Upgrade lighting

Lighting in any kitchen is hard to get right. Many fixtures make the space feel dated, and upgrading bulbs and cleaning light covers will make a difference right away. Consider installing adhesive under-cabinet lighting to better illuminate your workspace.

If you can direct your lighting, such as track lighting, make sure it points to the kitchen triangle – that well-worn path from the stove to the sink to the refrigerator.

If overhead lighting is scarce, consider using table lamps and even floor lamps. A floor lamp in a kitchen might seem odd at first, but put it at the end of a counter or tucked behind a table, and you’ll be grateful for the extra light.

Related:

 

Originally published June 6, 2016. 

5 Tips for Spring Lawn Prep

Even if your lawn is made up of weeds more than actual grass, you can turn it around with some basic spring maintenance. Try these five tips to get your lawn ready before the weather warms up and the grass (and weeds) leave you in the dust.

Prevent weeds

Proper mowing, irrigation and feeding practices are the best possible weed prevention, but established weed populations require drastic measures.

Use a preemergent herbicide to stop warm-season weeds before they sprout. And even a weed-free lawn can easily be undone by nearby weeds and their traveling seeds, so remove any weeds in the garden now so they don’t find their way into your lawn.

If your lawn has bare spots, fill them in now with sod or seed so weeds don’t sprout and get a foothold.

Start your engines

Much like cars, lawnmowers will stop working without routine maintenance. If you haven’t already done so in the fall, replace the mower’s oil and gas with the types recommended in your mower’s instruction manual.

This would also be a good time to replace that corroded spark plug and dirty air filter. Add a fuel stabilizer to keep the gas from going stale and harming the mower’s engine.

A dull mower blade makes your grass more susceptible to disease with each ragged cut it makes, so sharpen the blade with a metal file when it starts to get dull. Clean your mower often to improve performance and prevent corrosion. If you own a riding mower, air up the tires for an even cut and comfortable ride.

Clear out thatch

You know that spongy layer of dead grass that builds up in your lawn? That’s thatch. A thin layer of thatch is normal and even healthy, because it protects the soil, roots and beneficial organisms. But when that thatch gets about an inch tall, drought, weeds and other problems develop.

Thatch is most likely to build up in lawns that have acidic or compacted soil – or lawns that have been excessively treated with herbicides and pesticides. If thatch is common on your block, prevent it with core aeration. This allows air to reach the soil, promoting organisms that naturally break down thatch. Use a vertical mower or power rake if the thatch is an inch thick or more.

Reseed and resod

None of these tips will do much good without a proper lawn. If your lawn feels beyond hope, consider starting from scratch.

If your existing lawn is an annual one, remove it with a sod cutter. Perennial grasses, like Bermuda or St. Augustine grass, are much tougher to remove, so you’ll likely have to either solarize with clear plastic sheets for several weeks or resort to an herbicide.

Once you’ve dug up the grass or otherwise eradicated it, replace it with soil and a grass variety appropriate to your region. Plan on setting aside a day or two for installation.

Amend the bare soil with topsoil or composted manure, and lay down the sod or planting seeds by following the label instructions. After planting, water it often until the new grass becomes established.

Start good habits

If you’re not already following a fertilizing schedule, start one now by following the directions on your product of choice. You will likely forget this schedule after the first feeding, so pencil in the dates on your calendar so you don’t get off track.

Start the season off right by mowing more often, on a higher setting and in alternating directions. Inspect your sprinklers and pipes for possible breakage – a patch of damp soil or an excessive water bill would be your first clue. If your lawn seems to let into the surrounding landscaping, start edging now to define your boundaries.

A string trimmer is fine for maintenance, but cutting through the dirt with it could get messy. Either rent an edger or purchase a handheld half-moon tool to make deep, clean cuts that persist through the year for easier mowing and trimming.

Related:

Originally published April 2017.

How to Break Up With Your Real Estate Agent

Buying or selling a home rarely happens overnight, and it’s not uncommon for buyers or sellers to interface or even work with multiple agents. Best-case scenario, the right agent shows their face early, and the relationship (and transaction) is a huge success.

But somewhere along the way, you may find that your relationship with your real estate agent just isn’t working anymore. Maybe the agent is moving faster than you’d like. Or they’re not as available as you need them to be. Maybe they just don’t get you.

So what do you do? Is it OK to break up with your real estate agent? And if so, how do you gracefully end it?

The answer depends on whether you’re working with an agent as a buyer or a seller.

Advice for buyers

Real estate agents earn their commissions from sellers, and the money is split between the sellers’ and buyers’ agents. As a general rule, buyers won’t be asked to enter into a contractual or financial agreement with a real estate agent.

Instead, a buyer makes a (sometimes nonverbal) handshake agreement with the real estate agent. You’re basically agreeing to exclusively rely upon that agent. And that’s fair.

Agents often work hard and spend a lot of time engaging with buyers, watching the market, writing contracts, showing properties, reviewing disclosures and so on. Imagine how they’d feel after spending months working with a client only to be informed that another agent found them the home they want?

Before you shake hands, do your homework. Ask friends for references, and check out online agent reviews.

Going to open houses is a good way to meet and interview agents who work where you want to buy. Don’t jump in with the first agent you meet. Like any relationship, start slow and feel it out. It’s harder to break up with your agent if you’re deeply engaged.

If you’re not quite ready to be tied down, it’s better not to engage an agent until you are ready. Early on, a good real estate agent should read your situation well and provide the appropriate amount of attention as needed. They’ll act as a resource and be available when you need them. Once the search kicks into high gear, agents and buyers will spend lots of time together and communicate 24/7.

If you do find that a relationship isn’t working, be honest and upfront before more time passes. Offer the agent constructive feedback about why it’s not working for you.

Advice for sellers

Since the seller pays the real estate agent’s commission, the brokerage requires the seller to sign a listing agreement upfront.  During the listing period, you’re contractually obligated to work exclusively with the agent and brokerage firm, specifically on the sale of your home.

In fact, even if you find a buyer on your own (such as a friend), the listing agent or brokerage firm is still due their commission.

Just as a buyer must do their homework, it’s even more important for a seller to do their research, given the commitment. Most listing agreements state that if the listing agent brings an offer at the listing price and the seller doesn’t accept it, the agent is still due a commission. This scenario happens sometimes when the listing agent and seller aren’t getting along.

In most situations, if the listing agent isn’t doing a good job but there’s still time left on the agreement, you should simply tell them it’s not working out. A good, fair and honest agent will apologize for not meeting your expectations and will agree to release you from the agreement ahead of schedule. But that’s not always the case, and sellers typically respond by no longer agreeing to open houses or considering offers from the agent.

Sometimes an agent wants to break up with the seller. Maybe the seller insists on keeping the price of the home too high or isn’t cooperating to accommodate showings. The agent simply feels they can’t be successful with the seller, no matter how much time they put into the job.

If you’re a seller whose agent wants out of the agreement because you aren’t taking the necessary steps to sell your home, it’s best to let them go – and decide if you’re really ready to sell or not.

Related:

Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Zillow.

Originally published September 2016.