8 Things You Need to Prep Your Home for Fall: Do You Have Them All?

photoschmidt/iStock

Fall is the perfect time to get your house in order. Whether you have leaves to rake or gutters to clean, or want to get your indoors comfy and organized for those long winter months, your autumn to-do list is calling—and the right tools and items can make your job a whole lot easier.

Need some inspiration? Here are a few items that can help jump-start your fall maintenance chores—along with some selected online reviews—so you’re sitting pretty by the time winter is knocking on your door. (It’ll be here before you know it!)

1. Deck/driveway cleaner

Portable and easy to store, this gadget comes with 25 feet of high-pressure hose.

homedepot.com

Whether you’re ready to clean your driveway, deck, windows, and patio, this electric pressure washer (homedepot.com, $199) delivers a burly 2,000 psi (pounds per square inch) and comes with three nozzles as well as a bonus turbo nozzle, which delivers up to 50% more cleaning power.

Reviewer hpiguy writes, “I love the tall handle and the large wheels on the steel frame. It makes the washer very stable in the yard when washing siding, or for when it has to sit on a deck for stripping old paint/stain. It’s also easy to move around.”

2. An insulated garage door

Raised panels give the doors a classic look.

homedepot.com

Boost your home’s curb appeal and energy efficiency in one shot with this insulated garage door (homedepot.com, $348). It’s available in white, giving your garage a fresh look, but you can also paint it to match or complement your color scheme.

With its two-layer steel construction, the door provides peace of mind that your home is more secure. Its quiet operation will be appreciated by anyone with a bedroom above the garage.

Reviewer Mikey writes, “Excellent door for the money! I was about 4 hours from start to finish installing my door. Instructions are very thorough and easy to follow. I’m very pleased with the ease of operation and most of all … it looks great on my 12’ x 20’ garage.”

3. Leaf blower/gutter cleaner

The built-in cord lock helps keep the cord attached to the blower/vacuum while in use.

homedepot.com

This 12-amp, multitasking maven serves as a leaf blower/vacuum/gutter cleaner (homedepot.com, $102) all in one.

The blower boasts a powerful 260 mph airstream so you can piles those leaves in no time and give your rake the weekend off. Keep your gutters in good shape with the cleaning kit, which includes additional extension tubes, allowing you to tackle hard-to-reach places.

On average, nationally, gutter cleaning costs between $75 and $125 depending on the size of your home and the number of trees shading it, so this gadget may pay for itself in just one cleaning.

One Home Depot customer writes, “Just what I needed to stay off high ladders.”

4. Air purifier

Wi-Fi connectivity allows you to monitor and adjust this tower regardless of your location.

overstock.com

Since you’ll be indoors a lot more, it’s high time for this Germ Guardian air purifier (overstock.com, $173), which you can adjust from your location through your smartphone.

Geared for a midsize room, this five-speed tower features an eight-hour timer and measures 22 inches in height. Thanks to its HEPA filter, you can say good-bye to asthma-triggering particles.

An Overstock customer writes, “We love this. It very accurately tells you when the air quality has changed (for instance, it senses when perfume is sprayed, or when a gust of air has blown air inside the house). Best of all—we love the ability to control it on the phone. We have ours on top of a shelf (so that our small children can’t play with it) and instead of having to take it down each time to turn it on/off, we use the remote feature on the phone.”

5. Shelving unit

All hardware is included for assembly and stacking.

wayfair.com

Want to go into autumn and winter with sweaters and jeans in perfect order? This modular storage stackable shelf unit (wayfair.com, $98) can help streamline your overcrowded closet.

These easy-to-stack units allow you to create your own curated design. With a full back panel and decorative trim and molding, they’ll give your regular closet a boutique aesthetic.

Joyce from Daytona Beach Shores, FL, left this positive review: “Perfect fit for any closet. Shelf unit was deeper than expected, holds lots of purses, feels sturdy not cheap.”

6. Smart thermostat

This gadget learns your favorite settings and automatically adjusts itself.

homedepot.com

Make your home more energy-efficient as you save on heat and air conditioning from the first day you install this unobtrusive Nest Thermostat (homedepot.com, $169).

Reviewer jlkine92 writes, “I love the minimalist look and the fact that the screen is blank until you walk up to it or past it. The thermostat blends in very well with my gray walls. The app is great! You can program a schedule, view your energy usage, utilize eco settings and so much more.”

7. Water-saving shower head

fall home improvement
This shower head saves water.

amazon.com

To curb your water heating bill, consider this low-flow shower head (amazon.com, $40), which uses patented technology to create a spray that has the feel of a much higher-flowing shower head while reducing water usage by 40%.

Reviewer C. Smith raves, “Excellent shower head. I was very worried about the water pressure on these things, considering I was going from some super powerful shower head to this little low water one. I gotta say: it DEFINITELY surprised me.”

8. Carpet and furniture cleaner

Strong suction removes dirt and stains.

homedepot.com

To tackle dirt and dust indoors, this upright carpet cleaner (homedepot.com, $168) packs the high-performance power of a professional cleaning product. Its large-capacity water tank holds 1.25 gallons so you don’t waste time emptying and refilling it midjob. Designed with pet owners in mind, this tool will save you from tossing that carpet after an accident.

Reviewer Erin writes, “We have some kitties and after one of them got sick we thought our light beige carpet was history. We were blown away after using the Pet Plus. We gave it lots of time and really cleaned it thoroughly. All the stains were gone, and quite honestly it looked like a new carpet. Did I mention the carpet is 10 years old?”

The post 8 Things You Need to Prep Your Home for Fall: Do You Have Them All? appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

What Kind of Bugs Are in Your House?

Pests are everywhere, and having a few in your home is pretty much inevitable. But knowledge is power when it comes to critters, says Dr. Nancy Troyano, director of technical education and training at Rentokil Pest Control.

When you know how to recognize and prevent an infestation, you can keep unwanted visitors at bay. The first step is learning which pests might become an issue for you.

Here are the top pests to watch out for, according to Troyano.

Wood-destroying bugs

Termites and carpenter ants eat away at the foundation, and you have to call a professional to remove them. They’re usually hard to see, but you can still find evidence that they’re around.

In the Northeast, subterranean termites build mud tubes that you can usually spot. Look for brown staining around the house, both inside and out, and pay special attention to baseboards in the basement.

Other hints are blistering paint, loose siding, piles of droppings or a substance that looks like sawdust.

Homeowners in the Southwest and California should look out for drywood termites. They create colonies in the wood instead of the ground, and they need very little moisture. Watch for piles of droppings or swarms of termites flying out of the wood.

Cockroaches

Cockroaches are a big problem in crowded cities and apartment buildings. While they don’t actually cause damage to a home, they do require professional extermination – and they’re just gross.

Cockroaches are attracted to food and garbage, and they’re usually brought in from the outside. Secondhand or rented furniture is a big culprit of cockroach infestations.

The one “upside” to roaches is that they’re big, so you will definitely know when you have a problem.

Nuisance pests

Most unwanted critters are pretty harmless – just annoying.

After the Zika outbreaks, mosquitoes are generating more concern than in the past. Standing water creates a breeding ground for these pests, so try to minimize the water that collects around your home.

Bed bugs are a big issue in cities, where it’s easy for them to be brought in by furniture, clothes or people – and they’re notoriously hard to get rid of. Homeowners with pets should also be wary of ticks and fleas.

Rodents

Bugs aren’t the only unwelcome guests you may encounter – keep your eye out for rodents, too.

Bird feeders are a “mouse buffet,” says Troyano, so keep an eye on those. Mice are also drawn inside to escape the cold, so homeowners in colder climates should make sure their homes are tightly sealed.

Then there are our flying friends: bats. Bats are usually found in homes with attics or chimneys, because they like to hang out in dark, cavernous areas.

You can easily lure out one or two bats, but if you have a big problem, you’ll want to call a professional. A word of warning about these winged creatures: They can carry rabies, so be careful with any DIY measures you undertake.

What to look for where you live

The types of pests you encounter largely depend on where you live.

  • Tropical, humid places like Florida are breeding grounds for water-loving pests like mosquitoes.
  • In wooded areas, you will find spiders, ants and beetles.
  • In the desert, you’ll have to worry about snakes and scorpions.

The type of home will also determine what kinds of pests you get. Log cabins are the most pest-prone homes, Troyano reports, and can attract beetles, termites and bees. Houses with vinyl siding or brick tend to be safer bets.

Older homes are also a concern, because they are full of cracks and crevices where pests can enter or take up residence. Spiders and silverfish love these nooks.

New construction homes come with their own issues. When wooden beams are exposed to the elements during construction, they gather moisture, which attracts fungus beetles. These tiny beetles are very common and will go away on their own once the material dries – but that could take up to a year. The fungus beetle has been nicknamed the “new-house pest,” says Troyano.

How to prevent pests

The good news is that most pests are easily lured out of the home.

Troyano trains people on the biology and behavior of pests. Rather than putting down a pesticide, she says, you can “outsmart” the bugs. “If I have an ant problem, and I know what they like to eat, I will take away their food source.”

Don’t forget to think about how the critters are getting inside. Plants and trees can act as a superhighway for pests. “I’ve watched ants walk along tree limbs into a home,” Troyano says.

Here are Troyano’s top tips for keeping your home free of unwelcome intruders:

  • Don’t let them inside. Keep your house sealed up nice and tight. Use window screens, seal window and door frames, and plug up other exterior entry points.
  • Keep your home’s exterior tidy. Mow grass regularly, trim shrubbery and trees to prevent branches from touching your home, and keep mulched beds away from the house.
  • Watch for water pools and drainage issues. You don’t want water pooling up by your home’s foundation. Make sure your gutters direct water away from the house. Similarly, you don’t want hills sloping toward your house. You’ll also want to prevent mosquitoes from breeding in your yard by keeping an eye on stagnant pools of water, like birdbaths.
  • Inspect your house inside and out. Regularly check for signs of pests.

Related:

Originally published August 2016.

Is Your Home Trying to Kill You?

Home is where you feel comfortable and safe. It’s where you tuck your kids into bed and lazily watch hours of Netflix on the couch.

Without your care and vigilance, however, your home may develop conditions that can make you severely ill – or even kill you.

Here are five ways your home can potentially harm you and expert advice on keeping these issues from affecting your household.

1. Mold

Though mold isn’t a pathogen (a disease-causing agent), it’s still an allergen that you don’t want hanging around your house.

“When people say they have a mold allergy or they have a mold condition, it’s an allergic reaction,” says Peter Duncanson, director of business operations for disaster restoration specialists ServiceMaster Restore. “[Molds] generally considered toxic are ones like stachybotrys, which are black in color – but not all black molds cause the same reactions.”

Molds, including black molds like stachybotrys, form if moisture concentrates in an area where a food source is present, such as skin cells or paper. You know you have mold growing in your home if you smell an earthy, musty scent. Though mold exposure won’t severely harm the average person, repeated exposure is not advised for your health.

“The buildup [of mold] causes a more violent reaction, and those reactions are generally respiratory in nature and pulmonary, so you have trouble breathing,” Duncanson explains. “A very severe reaction to mold can be anaphylactic – you can’t breathe, and you go into an anaphylactic shock.”

Luckily, you can prevent mold by keeping your home dry, running the exhaust fan when taking a shower, and purchasing a dehumidifier for the basement in the summer.

If you do find black mold (or what’s commonly referred to as toxic mold) in your home, don’t panic. Contact a professional who can safely remove the mold and eliminate the water source feeding it.

2. Exposed asbestos

Asbestos was a commonly used building material up until the mid-20th century, when it was determined to be a very dangerous carcinogen that causes mesothelioma cancer. Though builders aren’t legally allowed to use asbestos in building materials and other products anymore, traces of it are often found in older homes.

“Asbestos is not harmful to you if you don’t disturb it,” Duncanson says. “The problem arises when you start cutting or doing demolition and asbestos becomes airborne.”

It may be tempting to DIY an open-concept living space in your vintage bungalow, but if your home was built before the 1980s, seek the advice of a professional before you start knocking down any walls. The latency period of mesothelioma cancer can be years, so problems may not arise until much later in your life.

Handling asbestos is a dangerous task, and professionals have the equipment to remove it safely without risking your health.

3. Carbon monoxide poisoning

Carbon monoxide poisoning, which kills thousands of people each year, occurs when there’s too much carbon monoxide in your blood. This can result in tissue damage or death.

Improperly ventilated appliances like stoves, water heaters and gas appliances can release carbon monoxide. Improperly cleaned chimneys cause smoke to circulate throughout the home – this can also give you carbon monoxide poisoning, according to Andy Kerns, a home maintenance researcher.

To protect yourself from carbon monoxide poisoning, properly ventilate appliances and clean heat sources like wood-burning stoves every year before use. Call a professional if you have any doubts about the safety and security of your appliances or ventilation within your home.

4. Fire

Seven people in the U.S. die each day from house fires, according to the National Fire Prevention Association. Most of these house fires are the result of normal, everyday use of appliances, candles and cooking equipment. The most surprising fire starter, however, lives in the laundry room.

“Dryer lint can collect in the dryer and become an electrical fire starter,” says Kerns. “Dryers are the number one cause of house fires.”

To prevent house fires, ensure that your appliances have the right rating before you plug them into outlets. Always extinguish candles after usage and carefully watch the stove when cooking.

5. Slippery bathroom surfaces

The bathroom is often ranked as the most dangerous room in the home. Wet, slippery surfaces often lead to falls – and result in anything from embarrassment to a fractured hip.

“Bathtubs, especially, are an area where you can fall and hit your head,” notes Kerns. “A lot of people get pretty severely injured in the bathroom, particularly when they’re older.”

As we get older, bathroom safety gets more pertinent, so it’s a great idea to install things like grab bars or a walk-in tub for ease of use as you age. Be sure to wipe down any wet surfaces, and place bath mats by the sink and tub to prevent bathroom falls.

Keep tabs on your home

Taking the time to slow down and keep your home safe is essential for any homeowner. Give your home a monthly, semiannual and annual checkup to keep it in tip-top condition for years to come.

“Given how busy our lives are, and all the different things we have to keep track of in our digital environments, it’s harder and harder to keep some of the physical maintenance issues top of mind. I think a lot of people tend to let things go until there’s a problem,” says Kerns. “Don’t leave it up to your memory. Have a good, reliable organizational system that keeps you up to date.”

Related:

Originally published May 2017.

Farm-Fresh to Your Door: 10 New Modern Farmhouse Homes for Sale

realtor.com

The modern farmhouse is now the aesthetic of choice for new-home builders across the country. The much-maligned McMansion has been replaced, and Tuscan-inspired turkeys have overstayed their moment in the sun.

Defined by neutral color schemes, clean lines, natural wood finishes, comfortable, functional spaces, an occasional industrial accent, and the generous use of shiplap, modern farmhouses offer a stylish combination of contemporary style and cozy family living.

For home shoppers in love with farmhouse style, these homes are now available in all corners of the country. Builders have embraced the desire for these types of homes, popularized by Chip and Joanna Gaines and their (former) show, HGTV’s “Fixer Upper.”

In fact, it was relatively easy to find 10 homes on the market turned out in all their modern farmhouse finest. Each offers a twist on the trend, but they all are exactly in line with what today’s buyers are looking for. Slide open the barn door and have a look…

15125 Valley Vista Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA

Price: $3,199,000

Modern farmhouse meets the Valley: Tucked on a tree-lined street, this new, light-filled modern farmhouse is an example of elevating the style to target deep-pocketed buyers. The five-bedroom home includes high-end extras like a floor-to-ceiling wall of wine in the dining room, a custom fireplace, modern upgraded lighting, and smart home technology. The backyard includes a pool, spa, poolhouse, built-in barbecue, and added greenery for privacy.

modern farmhouse in Sherman Oaks, CA exterior
Sherman Oaks, CA

realtor.com

———

516 64th St, Willowbrook, IL

Price: $848,000

Windy City modern farmhouse: Located close to Chicago, this five-bedroom home was completed this year. It features a wide-open floor plan filled with natural light. Droolworthy home features include lockers in the mudroom, a family room with a fireplace that opens to the kitchen, and a breakfast room. Exterior finishes like white siding and black metal roofing are telltale modern farmhouse touches. A large yard with a deck out back is made possible by the roomy half-acre property.

Modern farmhouse in Willowbrook, IL exterior
Willowbrook, IL

realtor.com

———

8866 Taylor May Rd, Chagrin Falls, OH

Price: $798,000

Buckeye modern farmhouse: This Shaker-style modern farmhouse with a sweet yellow front door was recently finished. There are about 4,000 square feet of living space sitting on an acre and a half of rolling green grass. Interiors are warmed by hardwood floors, hand-hewn beams, and custom cabinets. The interior spaces are flooded with natural light, courtesy of walls of windows. A sunroom opens to a large outdoor paver patio, and the two-car garage includes plenty of extra storage.

Modern farmhouse in Chagrin Falls, OH
Chagrin Falls, OH

realtor.com

———

6661 Lee Rd #401, Salem AL

Price: $312,000

Modern farmhouse meets Southern charm: Completed last year, this four-bedroom modern farmhouse sits on just under an acre-and-a-half lined with trees. Guests are greeted by a glorious front porch and then enter into a lovely home lined with neutral colors, hardwood floors, and a beautiful brick fireplace.

modern farmhouse in Salem, AL
Salem, AL

realtor.com

———

4448 E. Fox St, Mesa, AZ

Price: $809,000

Modern farmhouse with a twist: Set in an exclusive, 53-home community carved out of citrus groves, this home brings modern farmhouse chic to the desert. The four-bedroom home was completed last year and sits on a lot with north-south exposure, to avoid too much desert sun.

Modern farmhouse in mesa az
Mesa, AZ

realtor.com

———

224 Clementine Ct, Fort Worth, TX

Price: $1,225,000

Modern farmhouse in the Lone Star State: Impeccably clean lines, walls of windows flooding interiors with light, and a muted color palette give this farmhouse the feeling of being so light that it’s almost cloudlike. Behind gates in the Rivercrest Bluffs neighborhood, this four-bedroom has high ceilings, barn doors, views of the Trinity River, access to trails, and—yes—a putting green in the backyard.  What’s more country than that?

modern farmhouse in fort worth tx
Forth Worth, TX

realtor.com

———

136 Matthews Ln, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

Price: $855,000

Modern farmhouse near the sea: Completed nine months ago, this custom-built, four-bedroom home has luxe features throughout. You’ll find 7-inch wood-plank floors, quartz countertops, custom crown molding, and custom cabinets in the den. Out back, the nearly half-acre lot includes a paver patio and fire pit for outdoor entertaining and relaxation.

Modern farmhouse in Ponte vedra beach, FL
Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

realtor.com

———

2410 S. Fillmore St, Denver, CO

Price: $2,695,000

Rocky Mountain modern farmhouse: Completed in 2016 and built for entertaining, this four-bedroom home has plenty of gathering spots. There’s an enormous center kitchen island in marble with double ovens, a large living room with built-in wine fridge, a glass-walled fitness space, and a big patio with gas fireplace, grill and bar top. It’s a showstopper property for any buyers who want to host all their friends and family.

Modern Farmhouse exterior in Denver, CO
Denver, CO

realtor.com

———

15 Fullin Ln, Wilton, CT

Price: $999,000

Scandinavian modern farmhouse: Built last year, this five-bedroom Scandinavian-designed modern farmhouse has wide-plank wood floors, a mudroom with tile floor, striking custom tile floors in the bathrooms, and black-trimmed Pella windows. The chic residence sits on over 2 acres at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac, for serene family living.

modern farmhouse in Wilton, CT Connecticut
Wilton, CT

realtor.com

———

4190 SE Knapp St, Portland, OR 

Price: $855,000

Northwest modern farmhouse: Built last year, this home, located east of downtown, includes high ceilings, tons of natural light, and a covered cedar deck. For buyers in need of monthly income, there’s also an additional two-bedroom unit that rents for $2,000 per month.

POrtland, OR modern farmhouse exterior
Portland, OR

realtor.com

The post Farm-Fresh to Your Door: 10 New Modern Farmhouse Homes for Sale appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

HOA Nightmares: The Top Homeowners Association Complaints

telnyawka/iStock

Homeowners associations can be fantastic at getting deadbeat neighbors to mow their lawn, maintaining the community pool and clubhouse, and dissuading the woman across the street from painting her house a particularly noxious shade of neon pink. But they can also be a costly source of frustration for those who run afoul of their many, many, many rules.

The most common HOA fine is for improper landscaping, according to a recent Porch survey of more than 700 residents of HOA communities. Porch is an online marketplace connecting homeowners to home improvement professionals.

“The most surprising thing about these fines was how silly some of they were,” says Tori Rubloff, a project manager at Porch who put the survey together. “If your trash is out too early or you’re too excited about the holidays or you simply want to have a different hue in your exterior paint color, you can be fined.”

There were more than 300,000 HOAs in 2016, according to Porch. They can be found in suburban neighborhoods filled with single-family houses as well as urban apartment or condo buildings.

The other most common fines were for putting out the trash too early—or too late; improper or untimely holiday decorations; owning a pet; improperly parked vehicles; renting out rooms; and speeding through the neighborhood.

HOA members have also been fined for things like adding a deck, patio, or fence without permission from the association; painting a home an unapproved color; and paying HOA dues late.

About 29% of folks have knowingly broken an HOA rule, according to the survey. Meanwhile, more than half, 52%, have not paid an outstanding HOA fine.

Apartment renters were the happiest with their HOAs, at about 61%. That’s despite paying the most to their associations, at an average $310 a month nationally. (This amount can vary greatly depending on the building, services included, and location.) About 54% of single-family homeowners and 49% of townhome owners were pleased with the associations. They paid an average $251 and $230, respectively.

The majority of folks chose to move into an HOA community because it’s where the home they liked was located, at 78%. The other top reasons were that it’s safe, at 44%; to guarantee their home’s property value won’t fall, at 41%; for the recreational amenities, at 34%; and because it provides home maintenance services, at 32%.

“People don’t have to necessarily stress about certain landscaping, having community maintenance and security because they’ll often have a security guard or a gate,” says Rubloff. “If you live in an HOA community, that’s already taken care of for you. That’s very convenient.”

The post HOA Nightmares: The Top Homeowners Association Complaints appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

For New Hampshire’s Ski-Home Buyers, the Icier the Better

Black Bear Lodge | Jessica Webb for The Wall Street Journal

For Gosia and Mark Moreau and their three children, owning a New Hampshire ski home is great—but two are even better. After buying a six-bedroom chalet at Loon Mountain, in Lincoln, for $680,000 in 2018, they spent $1.21 million on Black Bear Lodge, a 5,700-square-foot home about 40 miles east in the Mount Washington valley town of Glen in January.

“Glen is a log cabin home, which is unique and cool. It’s very private and has beautiful views of Mount Attitash, and there’s also shopping at the outlets,” said Ms. Moreau, 45, a software designer who currently spends her time managing her children and her multiple homes. Whereas, “there are so many activities at Loon. For Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, they do crazy fireworks and have people ski down the mountain and make a loon out of torches.”

Despite its reputation for icy slopes and punishing winters, the Granite State is drawing ski-home buyers with its mix of year-round recreational opportunities, its family-friendly vibe and easy access to restaurants and shopping. According to a study by Realtor.com, home sales in New Hampshire’s White Mountains region grew 24% between January and May of 2019 compared with the same period last year. (News Corp, owner of The Wall Street Journal, also operates Realtor.com under license from the National Association of Realtors.]

The four-bedroom Black Bear Lodge has cathedral ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows and views of nearby Mount Attitash.

Jessica Webb for The Wall Street Journal

Ms. Moreau and her husband, 47, who founded an operations management software company, own four New Hampshire homes, including their primary residence in Windham and a lake house in Meredith. Black Bear Lodge is the more remote of the two ski homes, with mountain views, its own movie theater and a playroom with bunk beds and a slide. The Loon mountain chalet is more convenient—just 90 minutes from the Moreaus’ home base—and so close to the mountain that they can watch skiers swoop downhill from their living room. A shuttle bus to the ski lifts stops across the street from their house.

Both ski homes have proved solid investments. “We were renting the Loon house so much we barely got to use it last winter,” Ms. Moreau said.

A large children’s playroom at Black Bear Lodge sleeps five and has an indoor slide.

Jessica Webb for The Wall Street Journal

A pioneer of ski tourism, New Hampshire was among the first states to offer European-style skiing schools, groomed trails and overhead wire-rope ski tows. In the late 1930s and 1940s, weekend “snow trains” ran between Boston and North Conway, N.H., near Cranmore Mountain, then one of largest ski resorts in the country.

Convenience is still a draw. Most N.H. ski areas are near major highways and many are clustered close together. Cross-country and snowshoeing are popular, and there’s growing interest in backcountry skiing at places like Baldface Knob in Chatham and Crescent Ridge Glade in Randolph.

“Our luxury homeowners are coming here for the lifestyle. They can ski at Attitash on Saturday, King Pine on Sunday and Wildcat on Monday, and hit all those locations in less than an hour,” said Diane McGregor, a real-estate broker with Badger Realty in Jackson.

The slope-side Kearsarge Brook condominium complex is part of a multiyear, $50 million development at Cranmore Mountain Resort.

Rachel Sieben for The Wall Street Journal

In July, Vail Resorts, a Colorado-based company that owns 16 ski resorts across the U.S., announced the purchase of New Hampshire’s Crotched Mountain, Attitash and Wildcat ski areas. The company acquired Mount Sunapee ski resort last year. Ms. McGregor expects the acquisition to boost home sales, largely because of its multi-mountain pass program.

Other ski resorts are upping their game. Waterville Valley Resort is in the midst of a $7.5 million upgrade and expansion, with new trails, a renovated lodge and 500 new high-efficiency snow guns for snow-making. Two months ago, the resort announced the acquisition of 33 acres of commercial land in the town center, which it plans to develop with a hotel, retail spaces and a gondola to the mountain.

Cranmore Mountain Resort’s new Kearsarge Brook condominium complex is part of a $50 million development plan that will add 106 condo units and 45,000-square-feet of new lodge space over the next six to eight years. Along with ski-in, ski-out access from its two- and three-bedroom condos, the complex has a four-season heated outdoor pool, fitness room and private locker room with mahogany storage cabinets. In the summer, there’s a mountain adventure park and a zip line ride and new bicycle paths are under construction. The first 18 condo units sold out at prices ranging from $439,000 to $629,000. Another 19 units, with top prices of $729,000, will be completed by December of 2020.

Katherine and Jamie Morse bought a three-bedroom condominium with a stacked stone fireplace, granite counters and reclaimed wood paneling at Kearsarge Brook for over $600,000 in 2018.

Rachel Sieben for The Wall Street Journal

Katherine Morse, a doctor of anesthesia practice, and her husband James Morse, an emergency medicine physician, live with their three children in the coastal town of Rye. They bought a three-bedroom condo at Kearsarge Brook for over $600,000 in 2018.

“We did look in Vermont—we were tempted—but we felt this was perfect for our family,” Ms. Morse said. “Cranmore is a very family-friendly mountain. All the trails wind back to a central area in the middle, so the kids can head off and then come back. And even if you don’t ski, they have so many other amenities. It’s becoming a one-stop kind of area.”

The Morses have embraced New Hampshire’s “loud powder” a local nickname for its icy slopes. Their children, ages 8, 9 and 11, are all enrolled in freestyle and pre-racing programs. “They’re daredevils,” Katherine Morse said. “They go downhill backward.”

For some, the masochistic pleasures of skiing in the Granite State are a point of pride. Kevin Killourie, a real-estate agent and president of the Jackson Ski Touring Foundation, which maintains 60 groomed miles of Nordic trails in the White Mountains National Forest, takes a dim view of those who flee the state during sleet season.

“A friend of mine is going to Vail for February vacation,” Mr. Killourie said. “That’s a wimp.”

The post For New Hampshire’s Ski-Home Buyers, the Icier the Better appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Attention, Bargain Hunters! Here Are the 10 Cities With the Most Homes Under $100K

10 Cities With the Most Homes for $100K and Less

iStock; realtor.com

The U.S. housing market has been on a wild, high-octane thrill ride these past few years, mostly with prices climbing up and up and up. But while it may seem that inexpensive homes have gone the way of the Razr flip phone (hey, aren’t those things coming back?), there’s some hope for would-be home buyers with a budget that barely cracks six figures.

Yes, you can find a home for less than $100,000—it just probably won’t be in the heart of New York City. Or San Fransisco. Or, heck, Miami. But where? Our thrifty data team set out to find out which metros are listing the most single-family homes for sale at that seemingly mythical sub-$100K price point in sheer numbers on realtor.com®—and pinpoint just what home buyers can expect from these homes and their communities.*

“If you’re looking for affordability, you’ll find it in the South, Midwest, and [more remote] parts of the Northeast,” says Danielle Hale, chief economist for realtor.com. And, as you might have guessed, that’s because the East and West coasts are dominated by big, often prohibitively pricey cities.

Inexpensive land “plays a big role in the total home price falling under a certain threshold,” Hale adds.

We won’t deny that in larger cities where these ultra-affordable homes can be found, crime may be an issue. But locals have found pockets with a reasonable balance between affordability and safety. In smaller towns, you’ll get more peace of mind—and more home for the few bucks you’ll be shelling out.

Below are 10 places where a home costs about the same as a Tesla Model S, a few semesters at Harvard, or a small pile of bitcoins. Pick your poison!

Metros with most homes for $100K and less

Tony Frenzel

1. Pittsburgh, PA

Median home sales price: $168,000
Number of homes $100K and under listed on realtor.com**: 2,452

This three-bed, one-bath home in the Bellevue neighborhood of Pittsburgh is listed at $99,900.

realtor.com

Forget the old Steel City image: Pittsburgh is making some progress shedding its tarnished Rust Belt past and transforming into a technology hub, with businesses such as Microsoft, Google, and Uber opening offices there. The homegrown startup Duolingo, which makes a popular language app, is preparing for an initial public offering next year.

The revival of the city is also spurring home prices upward.

Bob Moncavage, broker and owner of Priority Realty in Pittsburgh, says there’s been an influx of “upscale urban, contemporary development and redevelopment” around those employment centers, and it comes at a higher price.

Lawrenceville, the city’s largest neighborhood, used to be a blue-collar area. Now it’s gone hip, and $100,000 won’t buy more than a teardown, Moncavage says.

Instead, buyers looking for bargain-basement deals can still find some in the neighborhoods of Bellevue, Dormont, and Castle Shannon. The homes in these neighborhoods are typically 800 to 1,200 square feet and have been maintained, but not updated, says Moncavage.

“Typically it will need paint and carpet at a minimum,” he says. “The kitchen or bathroom may have been replaced in the last 15 to 30 years, but they are not likely to be the shiny and new [ones] that a buyer may be hoping for.”

2. Detroit, MI

Median home sales price: $180,000
Number of homes $100K and under listed on realtor.com: 2,402

In the Detroit neighborhood of University Village, this three-bed, two-bath home is $95,900.

realtor.com

The Detroit metro area has had a bumpy ride economically in recent years—um, decades—but things are beginning to finally pick up. There are still an awful lot of inexpensive single-family homes here. But lately the real estate market has become more competitive.

“There’s a couple stable neighborhoods that are coming back to life, and we’re seeing some growth,” says Tom Nanes, a Realtor® with Community Choice Realty in Livonia, MI.

Yes, urban blight is still a problem: The Detroit News reports the city owns about 92,000 parcels of land. Many of the houses under $100,000 have been neglected and require repairs. Often lots of repairs. Plus, safety is an issue in many low-cost neighborhoods.

Buyers should try Rosedale Park, Redford Township, and the University District neighborhoods for houses under $100,000, Nanes says.

In Redford Township, buyers can find a two-bedroom, move-in ready home, says Nanes. In Rosedale Park or English Village, however, the homes will need a major renovation.

In these neighborhoods, “$100,000 will get you a fixed-up house,” he says. “A three-bedroom with a basement and a garage. Maybe a second bath, a half-bath in a semi-decent neighborhood.”

When assessing Detroit neighborhoods for safety, it’s important to get granular, he says. “Maybe that one block [you’re looking at] is good, but you go two blocks away and it’s a war zone.”

Adjacent Warren, which is part of the Detroit metropolitan area, is known as a hot spot for entry-level housing, according to the Detroit Free Press, with plenty of homes under $100,000.

3. Chicago, IL

Median home sales price: $252,000
Number of homes $100K and under listed on realtor.com: 2,070

In Chicago, a one-bed, one-bath condo in this Rogers Park building goes for $69,000.

realtor.com

The charms of Chicago are often overshadowed by its bigger and more glamorous cousins on the coasts, New York and Los Angeles, but when it comes to bargain home prices, it really shines, says Maurice Hampton, president-elect for the Chicago Association of Realtors.

“When you’ve looked at New York real estate, L.A., Florida, Singapore, London, Paris … none of it is anywhere near the affordability that Chicago’s housing stock is,” he says.

Deals can actually be found within the Chicago city limits, though they’re much scarcer in the pricier areas like Lincoln Park or the Gold Coast.

You can acquire a spacious duplex or a condo in the city for $100,000, Hampton says. “It just really depends on what characteristics you’re prioritizing.”

Buyers on the North Side can look in neighborhoods such as West Rogers Park, Lake View East, or Edgewater, and find a well-maintained one-bedroom, one-bath condo for less than $100,000. On the South Side, buyers in West Pullman can find a single-family home with three bedrooms or more, being sold as is, at the same price point.

4. St. Louis, MO

Median home sales price: $185,000
Number of homes $100K and under listed on realtor.com: 1,900

In the Ferguson neighborhood of St. Louis, this three-bed, 2.5-bath home is listed at $99,000.

realtor.com

Although the Brookings Institution cites St. Louis as an industrial city with a strong economy on the path to renewal, its national reputation is a bit bleaker, linked to its high rate of violent crimes. (It had the most murders per capita of any large U.S. city in 2017.)

“Unfortunately we get a lot of publicity for the murder rate, but [those crimes] are mostly in a small area of the city,” says Dennis Norman, broker and owner for St. Louis Real Estate Search. “An overwhelming majority of the area is extremely safe.”

Buyers wanting deals can look into St. Louis County, which is outside the city proper. One-fourth of the sales in the county are distressed, many of them foreclosures.

“A lot of these homes are selling for less than they sold for in the early ’90s,” Norman says, noting that the area was slammed hard by the housing crash.

While investors have dominated the lower-end housing, there are plenty of good deals in areas such as Florissant, Normandy, and Ferguson—the latter known for the protests and clashes with police after the killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, by a white police officer in August 2014.

“There’s a lot of great value in the $70,000 to $100,000 range,” Norman says. Buyers can get a three-bedroom, two-bath ranch home with a one-car garage for less than $100,000 in parts of Florissant.

Katie Luster, a real estate agent with Re/Max Results in St. Louis, says those wanting to stay in town should look in the South City, Tower Grove East, and Tower Grove South neighborhoods. Buyers can find a 1900s shotgun home or a 1950s bungalow, she says, “complete with cozy charm and historic decadence.”

5. Cleveland, OH

Median home sales price: $146,000
Number of homes $100K and under listed on realtor.com: 1,587

Three bedrooms and one bath for $94,900 in the Old Brooklyn neighborhood of Cleveland

realtor.com

Cleveland is yet another city whose economy and population declined with the loss of manufacturing jobs starting in the middle of the past century. According to the U.S. Census, Cleveland’s population declined 56% between 1950 and 2010.

The decline has slowed, but its effects remain, says David Sharkey, president of Progressive Urban Real Estate in Cleveland: “There’s less people looking and prices go down.”

Still, all’s not gloom here. “It’s easy to live in Cleveland,” says  Sharkey. “You’ve got sports, arts, and the lake. You can pretty much do anything you want in Cleveland … without a big hassle. You can do a lot with your money here.”

Old Brooklyn, Jefferson, and North Collinwood neighborhoods all have large inventory of houses that cost less than $100,000. Sharkey says that amount will get a buyer a Colonial house with a front porch, newer windows, and kitchen and bath updates, but not a full remodel.

6. Memphis, TN

Median home sales price: $185,872
Number of homes $100K and under listed on realtor.com: 1,083

This three-bed, two-bath home in Hunters Hollow, adjacent to Cordova in Memphis, is $100,000.

realtor.com

Graceland, barbecue, and blues? If you thought Memphis already had it all, here’s something else to add to the list: cheap single-family homes! Kiplinger listed Memphis at No. 4 on its 2019 list of “Cheapest U.S. Cities to Live In.”

As always, there’s a catch.

“When there’s a home in good shape for under $100,000, the biggest challenge for people who live here is the cash investors,” says Katie Bigus, a real estate agent with Re/Max Experts in Germantown, TN. “It’s very hard to get under contract when there are investors who will pay all-cash to take a home as is.”

Depending on location, $100,000 will get a buyer a move-in ready home in Cordova or a fixer-upper in the Crosstown area.

And there are good prospects for employment, too. Kiplinger notes that the city’s location on the Mississippi River has long made it a hub for the shipping and transportation industries. It’s also home to three Fortune 500 companies: FedEx, International Paper, and AutoZone.

7. Philadelphia, PA

Median home sales price: $250,000
Number of homes $100K and under listed on realtor.com: 1,004

A two-bed, one-bath in North Philadelphia for $69,900

realtor.com

Philadelphia’s market has been on fire in recent years, with many homes receiving multiple offers, although that’s started to slow slightly.

“When you go from crazy hot to hot, it’s still strong,” says Christopher Somers, a real estate agent with The Somers Team in Philadelphia and the 2019 president of the Greater Philadelphia Association of Realtors.

However, hardship has kept prices in certain neighborhoods lower than the national average. The Pew Charitable Trust reports that about 26% of Philly residents lived below the poverty line in 2017. The deep poverty rate—a household of four making $12,300 or less in a year—rose in 2017 to 14%.

It’s mostly in these neighborhoods that buyers and investors can find homes under $100,000.

“Neighborhoods that are struggling have not had as much appreciation due to less demand,” Somers says. “These areas have more poverty, crime, and a low owner-occupant percentage.”

Naturally, the homes closer to the walkable center of town go for higher prices.

The sum of $100,000 in Philadelphia will get a buyer a 1,100-square-foot, two-story home, possibly with a basement, says Somers. In some areas such as North Philadelphia, the home might be partly updated. In other areas such as Kensington, the home “would be a shell of sorts” in need of a full remodel.

8. Lynchburg, VA

Median home sales price: $194,600
Number of homes $100K and under listed on realtor.com: 936

This three-bed, one-bath home in Lynchburg is listed at $83,900.

realtor.com

Lynchburg might best be known as the second home of Thomas Jefferson, whose Poplar Forest vacation home was set in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and along the James River. Today, Lynchburg is at the center of a sprawling metro market where a low cost of living is paired with low unemployment.

“The Lynchburg real estate market operates rather independently from the larger cities, and this tends to result in lower average sales prices for residential properties,” says Scott Ehrhorn, professor of finance and real estate at Liberty University School of Business.

$100,000 in Lynchburg will get you a two- or three-bedroom home or condo.

“Land is generally much less expensive in smaller towns and rural areas than urban areas,” says Hale of realtor.com. “That plays a big role in being able to see a home price fall under a certain threshold.”

“Lynchburg is a growing community with a low cost of living,” says Crysty Knowles, a Realtor with Lynchburg’s Finest Real Estate. “It’s thriving with natural beauty as well as a revitalized downtown.”

9. Birmingham, AL

Median home sales price: $191,000
Number of homes $100K and under listed on realtor.com: 925 

In Birmingham, this three-bed, two-bath is listed for $89,000.

realtor.com

Located within driving distance of the beach and mountains—as well as Nashville, TN; Atlanta; and New Orleans—Birmingham is aptly nicknamed “The Magic City.”

Buyers trying to stay under $100,000 can look near downtown, says Bob KuyKendall, a Realtor with ARC Realty in Birmingham. He also suggests the suburb of Leeds as a burgeoning city with many low-priced homes available.

In Birmingham, $100,000 will get the buyer three bedrooms and at least one bath, possibly with air conditioning. Most of the houses are typically purchased by blue-collar workers, first-time buyers, or investors, says KuyKendall.

10. Atlanta, GA

Median home sales price: $248,000
Number of homes $100K and under listed on realtor.com: 864

Just outside Atlanta, this three-bed, two-bath home in Marietta goes for $90,000.

realtor.com

The Atlanta metro area is booming, and supply simply can’t keep up with demand. If you want to find a deal, you’ll have to do some work.

“There’s so much flipping going on and so much investing going on, it’s hard for an average person to buy a house here,” says Keith Hollingsworth, professor of business administration at Howard University in Atlanta. “The in-town markets have become very hot. When you’re talking about houses less than $100,000, that’s going to be hard to do inside [Highway] 285 right now unless you’re in a rougher section of town.”

Buyers looking for a deal need to look outside of Atlanta. In neighboring Marietta, $100,000 will get a buyer a move-in ready one- or two-bedroom townhouse or condo.


* U.S. metropolitan areas include the main cities and surrounding towns and suburbs.

** Data from April 2019 on realtor.com

The post Attention, Bargain Hunters! Here Are the 10 Cities With the Most Homes Under $100K appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.