Our Favorite Desktop Computers for Home Users

What's the key to a successful shopping trip for a new desktop computer? Knowing what you need it for.

What’s the key to a successful shopping trip for a new desktop computer? Knowing what you need it for. (Pixabay/)

In the old days, when it came to computer shopping, you pretty much had to decide one thing: Mac or IBM? And the idea of actually getting a bargain or discount in your search was just plain folly. As computer technology has evolved exponentially over the decades, so have the number of choices to make. With many top brands – and smaller niche brands – to choose from, it’s tough to determine which computer is the right one for your needs. Are you a big fan of computer gaming? Do you need to edit video? Are you looking for a computer to help you work from home or balance your personal budget? We’ve made your search a bit easier by putting together some of the great desktop computers that can tackle any of those chores and more.

A huge hard drive and lightning-fast performance make this model a hit.

A huge hard drive and lightning-fast performance make this model a hit. (iBUYPOWER/)

If you love gaming, this high-powered, top-performing gaming computer is a natural. Beyond gaming, the powerful Intel Core i7-9700F processor offers superior performance for streaming, multitasking, entertainment, and content creation, too. Graphics look amazing with the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti, and the 16GB DDR4 ensures you get fast performance for intense gaming, streaming, video editing, or other system-intensive applications. The 1 TB SATA II hard drive with an additional 240 GB SSD storage ensures you can store all your essential content and games.

All-in-one design and accelerated performance sets this number apart.

All-in-one design and accelerated performance sets this number apart. (Acer/)

One of the key benefits of this Acer is its all-in-one design that gives you the powerful features you want from desktop computers with a modern, space-saving, ultra-slim design. The computer houses the 9th Gen Intel Core processor for incredible performance. Full HD display offers a crisp viewing experience and features a special protection screen to minimize eye strain while working. Dual digital microphones and full HD webcam make communicating with family or colleagues a breeze. This computer also features dual front stereo speakers with Acer TrueHarmony audio and Dolby Audio Premium tech to fully immerse you in videos or games.

The combination of storage capacity, speed and power will catch your attention.

The combination of storage capacity, speed and power will catch your attention. (Acer/)

If you need your desktop to handle any task you can throw at it, consider this number from Acer. The powerful 9th gen Core i5 processor gives you plenty of speed, while the sleek, black design has an iconic look that’ll fit in with any office decor. Featuring no wire technology, you get faster speeds – up to three times faster than wireless technologies of previous generations. This desktop also comes with the Acer Care Center, which offers a wide range of checks, updates, and services to ensure your computer continues running smoothly long after purchase.

Powerful hardware in a compact package gives you a space-saving desktop that doesn’t compromise on power.

Powerful hardware in a compact package gives you a space-saving desktop that doesn’t compromise on power. (Dell/)

This Dell desktop computer features a slim design that doesn’t take up a lot of space, but it still packs in everything you need for a powerful desktop that handles all of your needs. Along with the processing power of an Intel Core i5-4570, it packs in 512 SSD Solid State, 16 GB of RAM, and a quality DVDRW. Both a mouse and keyboard are included, so you’re set to start using this machine right away.

From streaming music and movies to browsing to storing photos, this model is up to the job.

From streaming music and movies to browsing to storing photos, this model is up to the job. (HP /)

With this HP desktop you’ll get the reliable performance and excellent power you need with an intel Core i5 processor. It also offers excellent memory and storage, so you’ll have plenty of space for all your essential media while still having enough room to work with speed. The large memory ensures you get through your important tasks in a hurry. Installed wireless capable technology and the computer’s integrated network card keep you connected to the web with ease, and the onboard Display Port technology allows you to connect to large or multiple monitors without a problem.

Get Rolling with these Great Tortilla Presses

Making great Mexican meals at home is a snap with a tortilla press.

Making great Mexican meals at home is a snap with a tortilla press. (Victoria/)

Fresh, hot-off-the-stove-top tortillas will make anyone’s mouth water. This delightful bread can be filled with a wide range of meats, vegetables, and cheeses, creating the perfect meal. The incredible versatility and light taste of these pieces of bread lend themselves to nearly any taste palette as well. If you’re ready to try making your own tortillas, we recommend using a tortilla press. All you need to do is roll your tortilla dough into a ball and place it in the middle of the press on butcher paper. Close the press so that it presses the tortilla out to the correct shape. Flip the tortilla once to get an even creation and then move it to your pan to cook. Now that you know how to use one, here are our favorite tortilla presses for your kitchen.

Let this easy-to-use model do the work for you.

Let this easy-to-use model do the work for you. (IMUSA/)

This tortilla press offers a simple, traditional design that appeals to us. It contains lightweight material, so we can comfortably use the press repeatedly, even if we need to make large numbers of shells. The style of this press was also engineered to last through countless tortillas, making this a good selection if you find yourself regularly cooking batches of mouth-watering tortillas. 

Thanks to its construction, this handy tool can last a lifetime.

Thanks to its construction, this handy tool can last a lifetime. (Uno Casa/)

The manufacturer wants to make it easy for people to use right away, so they included your first 100 pieces of parchment paper, which will help you create your first tortillas without worrying about the dough sticking to the press. The press offers a flat, even surface, and a firm closure so that you can make your tortillas in a single motion. We appreciated the versatility this press also offered, as it can also help you prepare foods such as mini pie shells, dumplings, and empanadas.

This model can create similarly shaped foods such as empanadas and patacones.

This model can create similarly shaped foods such as empanadas and patacones. (Alpha Living/)

The heavy design of this tortilla press works to its advantage as you begin making your tortilla shells. We like the firm closure of this press, which helped us easily create flat, uniformly thick tortilla shells. The cast iron design also helps to ensure that this press will last for a long time and is capable of producing large numbers of tortillas. To further enhance its design, the handle has a special shape and angle to make it ergonomic, simplifying the creation of delicious, perfect tortillas.

This aluminum model comes in multiple sizes.

This aluminum model comes in multiple sizes. (Norpro/)

This tortilla maker was designed to make it simple to enjoy the delicious taste of fresh, homemade tortillas. The lightweight design makes it easy for any cook to put to use while the handle shape and location enhances leverage. We found that the combination of these features simplifies the process of pressing out the dough into a delicious tortilla. Like most tortilla makers, this press does work best with parchment paper, but it has also been designed to be easy to clean. Lightly washing it down between uses will ensure that it is always ready to go as soon as you are prepared to make more tortillas. This particular press will also come with a recipe, so those who have not made tortillas before can feel confident moving right into their first batch.

Keep your fingers safe with this pinch-proof model.

Keep your fingers safe with this pinch-proof model. (Victoria/)

The design of this tortilla press has explicitly been reinforced and created with heavy-duty construction to ensure that it will hold up to constant tortilla making. The base and the handle have been redesigned in this particular model to avoid pinching fingers while also providing perfectly shaped tortillas each time. This cast-iron press was pre-seasoned with non-GMO vegetable flaxseed oil to help enhance the taste of anything prepared within the press. It also works with a wide range of flours, including corn, gluten-free, and paleo flours.

Our Favorite Reusable Plastic Bags

Stop spending a fortune buying disposable plastic bags. Reusable bags have many advantages.

Stop spending a fortune buying disposable plastic bags. Reusable bags have many advantages. (SPLF/)

Sustainability is an important concept these days. By saving, reusing, and recycling we can reduce our impact on the planet and leave it in better shape for our kids. Going with reusable plastic items is just one way to do that. Whether you’re looking for storage-size bags, produce bags, or sandwich-size options, we’ve put together a list of some great reusable plastic bags we like.

They’re also microwave safe and even safe in the oven up to 400 degrees F.

They’re also microwave safe and even safe in the oven up to 400 degrees F. (Stasher/)

Made out of non-toxic platinum silicone, these self-sealing, functional, non-plastic food bags make a great alternative to plastic bags and let you go plastic-free. Featuring a pinch-lock seal, these food bags keep out air, keep foods fresh, and keep juices and flavors locked into your foods. The best part – they’re dishwasher safe. 

Clean them with water or toss them in the laundry and they’re ready to use again.

Clean them with water or toss them in the laundry and they’re ready to use again. (Ecowaare/)

While these reusable, mesh produce bags won’t keep fruits and veggies fresher, they will help you reduce the amount of plastic bags you use when shopping for produce. The super lightweight design ensures you don’t add weight to produce when you’re shopping, and they’re easy to close and open with a drawstring toggle closure that won’t let your produce escape while shopping. These bags are almost transparent, letting you quickly identify what’s inside and allowing barcodes to scan through the bag for faster checkout times. You eliminate as many as 1,000 plastic bags over the lifetime of these mesh produce bags.

With a transparent design, you can quickly identify what’s inside the bags.

With a transparent design, you can quickly identify what’s inside the bags. (Qinline/)

These reusable storage bags are crafted from food-grade PEVA material that’s BPA-free, helping you save money and save the planet by reducing the number of plastic bags you throw away. They feature an easy-seal, leak-proof zipper closer with advanced sealing technology that’s waterproof, hygienic, and leak-proof. They’re easy to open and close, even for kids, and the colorful zippers add some fun color to your kitchen. Bags lock out freezer burn if you’re using them in the freezer while keeping your foods tasting great and fresh. Hand wash the bags, let them air dry, and they’re ready to use again. One-gallon size bags are perfect for cookies, frozen foods, cereal, or marinating meets, while the snack bags and sandwich-size options are perfect for snacks, veggies, sandwiches, or fruit. 

With multiple sizes included, you have the perfect food storage options.

With multiple sizes included, you have the perfect food storage options. (SPLF/)

The reusable, food-grade storage bags from SPLF are made from PEVA material that’s BPA, lead, chloride, and PVC free, ensuring they’re safe and healthy for your family and the environment. They come with a double ziplock closure to ensure you get a leak-proof seal every time, and the non-slip zipper design makes it easy to close and open the bags, even for the kids. You don’t want to pop these in your dishwasher or microwave, but you can easily clean them with cold or tepid water and then air dry them before using again. 

Handle both kitchen storage and home organization in an eco-friendly way.

Handle both kitchen storage and home organization in an eco-friendly way. (Homelux/)

Made from food-grade silicone, these food storage bags offer an excellent user experience with a leak-proof design that means you won’t deal with messy spills in the fridge. The material is cold and heat resistant, too, and they’re perfect for use in the refrigerator, freezer, and dishwasher. The airtight seal on these Homelux Theory bags extends the life of foods, helping you promote zero waste in your kitchen. The large-size bags work well for meal prep preservation, larger fruits, and storing family size meals, and the medium-size bags are great for leftovers, lunches, and snacks.

Far From the Bright Lights of Big Cities, These Are America’s Hottest ZIP Codes in 2020

John Coletti/Getty Images

Forget the gleaming, high-rise towers in the nation’s most glamorous cities and those sprawling, palm tree–ringed residences with killer ocean views. Today’s hottest housing is located in towns and small cities that aren’t usually a part of the national conversation.

The realtor.com® economics team identified the 10 hottest ZIP codes in the country where demand is surging and homes are flying off the market—sometimes within hours of being listed. These places tend to offer cheaper homes, or less expensive prices per square foot for those seeking more spacious abodes, than the rest of their respective suburbs—which themselves are bargains compared with the nearby cities.

Some of these ZIPs are close to highways or public transit for commuters (when white-collar workers stream back to their offices) and may boast good school districts as well. Other ZIPs on our list are in less pricey cities, appealing to cash-strapped buyers.

“With prices growing faster than they were before the pandemic and people looking for more space, affordability has become even more important,” says realtor.com’s chief economist, Danielle Hale.

Many folks who have been spending more time than ever before in their abodes, especially those who will be working from home indefinitely, are looking for larger homes in more remote areas where it’s easier to maintain social distance.

“People are shifting away from Western metros, which tend to be more expensive,” says Hale.

Homes in these ZIPs sold in an average of just 18 days. That’s about four weeks faster than in their respective metropolitan areas and roughly 51 days faster than properties in the rest of the country. They also received about 4.3 times more views on realtor.com.

“This year’s list is definitely centered on the East Coast, which is a bit of a shift from previous years,” says Hale. “Some of those areas in the Northeast have bounced back in a big way [from a deluge of COVID-19 cases], which is probably helping them to rise to the top. … The absence of the South and Midwest is because of the pandemic and how it has played out over time in different parts of the country.”

To come up with our list, the realtor.com economics team looked at ZIP codes in the 300 largest metropolitan areas (which include the main city and surrounding smaller urban areas, towns, and suburbs) from April through June of this year. We ranked ZIP codes by which ones received the most page views per property on realtor.com and had the fewest days on the market.

ZIP codes needed at least 13 listings per month to be included. Only the top ZIP code from each metro was included.

So what are the nation’s most in-demand ZIP codes?

Infographic: Hottest ZIP codes in America, 2020

 

Cheaper ZIP codes in smaller cities are popular with buyers

Colorado Springs, CO, has become a popular—and more affordable—alternative to Denver.

Mint Images/Getty Images

Colorado Springs80911 snagged the top spot in 2020 as the only ZIP code in the Western swath of the country. Homes in the southwestern ZIP code sold in a median six days in July.

The appeal of the ZIP code, about 80 miles south of Denver, may lie in its relative affordability. The median home list price was $306,500 in July—significantly less than the median $455,050 price within Colorado Springs’ city limits, according to realtor.com data. It’s also much less expensive than Denver’s median $550,000 price tag.

But that increase in demand has driven prices in the ZIP code up nearly 15.9% from last July.

“You can get a lot for your money here,” says Dominic Pucci, a real estate agent at Blockhouse Real Estate. He moved from California to the 80911 ZIP code, where he also sells homes now. He gets some buyers from California purchasing second homes or rental properties in the area as well as military personnel relocating from all over the country to one of the area’s five military bases.

Many of the homes in the ZIP code are rehabbed or recently flipped ranches and bilevel, single-family homes with yards. A five-bed, three-bath home in good shape with a two-car garage in the community is now going for about $330,000, he says.

The market is “still really cooking-hot,” says Pucci.

Homes in Raleigh, NC‘s 27604, No. 10, are similarly listed at a fraction of the price in the rest of the growing technology hub.

Affordable areas within commuting distance to larger cities are in demand

Boston-area suburbs, exurbs, and smaller, nearby cities, like Melrose, MA, are becoming more popular with home buyers.

Boston Globe / Contributor/Getty Images

Reynoldsburg‘s 43608, No. 2, benefits from its proximity to Ohio’s capital city of Columbus—at about a third less of the cost. Homes in the Reynoldsburg suburb, about 20 minutes east of Columbus, are listed at a median $193,450—compared with $267,000.

“There’s lots of building, lots of jobs. Our whole surrounding area is hot,” says longtime Reynoldsburg real estate broker Oleta Johnson, of Gene P. Johnson Realty. She touted the nearby Ohio State University, an Amazon fulfillment center, and an expanded Facebook data center as just a few of the area’s employers.

“We’ve never seen anything like this,” says Johnson, who listed a four-bed, 2.5-bath house “in a nice subdivision” at 3 p.m. on July 31. It had 22 showings and three offers, and was sold by noon the next day for $275,000—for $15,000 above asking price.

“We were waiting for the other shoe to drop when this pandemic hit,” says Johnson. Real estate professionals were permitted to show homes through the pandemic. “But we haven’t seen any drop in pricing or time on market.”

Three Boston-area, smaller cities of Melrose, MA (No. 4), Hudson, NH (No. 7), and Worcester, MA (No. 8); the Portland, ME, outpost of South Portland (No. 5); and the Washington, DC, suburb of Springfield, VA (No. 9), have also benefited from their more affordable prices and closer proximity to the bigger cities.

In Worcester, about an hour west of Boston, developers are turning old factory buildings into apartments and condos, new restaurants are coming online, and buyers priced out of Boston are descending.

“The whole city’s really just blowing up,” says Worcester-area real estate agent Nick McNeil, of the Lux Group. The 01602 ZIP code in the Tatnuck area, home to Worcester State University, is one of the area’s more residential districts.

“It’s a lot of single-family houses,” he says. “We see a lot of Tudors, a lot of bungalow-style homes.”

Buyers can scoop up three-bed, 1.5-bath homes in the $300,000 to $350,000 range. But they’d better act fast. Homes are selling in a median 17 days.

“Boston has just become unaffordable, so people are spreading out, traveling to find suitable housing at a reasonable price,” McNeil says.

Buyers are flocking to less expensive parts of the country

Topeka, KS, is a more affordable destination for home buyers.

LawrenceSawyer/Getty Images

Buyers chasing affordability are also discovering cheaper parts of the country that offer lower home prices, costs of living, and even taxes, in some areas. And as more companies allow workers to telecommute going forward, these places, like Rochester, NY (No. 3), and Topeka, KS (No. 6), could see surges in demand.

Smaller cities could also benefit from folks fleeing their small apartments and condos in big cities seeking additional square footage and backyards without losing that urban feel.

“With big cities being expensive, people are looking for areas that are more affordable,” says realtor.com’s Hale.

Top 10 Hottest ZIP codes in the U.S.

1. Colorado Springs, CO (80911)
Median list price in the ZIP code: $306,500
Median list price within the city limits: $455,050

2. Reynoldsburg, OH (43068)
Median list price in the ZIP code: $193,450
Median list price within the city limits: $193,450

3. Rochester, NY (14617)
Median list price in the ZIP code: $162,450
Median list price within the city limits: $158,950

4. Melrose, MA (02176)
Median list price in the ZIP code: $644,950
Median list price within the city limits: $644,950

5. South Portland, ME (04106)
Median list price in the ZIP code: $350,050
Median list price within the city limits: $350,050

6. Topeka, KS (66614)
Median list price in the ZIP code: $159,500
Median list price within the city limits: $132,500

7. Hudson, NH (03051)
Median list price in the ZIP code: $440,000
Median list price within the city limits: $440,000

8. Worcester, MA (01602)
Median list price in the ZIP code: $329,950
Median list price within the city limits: $315,050

9. Springfield, VA (22152)
Median list price in the ZIP code: $509,950
Median list price within the city limits: $549,950

10. Raleigh, NC (27604)
Median list price in the ZIP code: $287,950
Median list price within the city limits: $519,800

The post Far From the Bright Lights of Big Cities, These Are America’s Hottest ZIP Codes in 2020 appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Trump vs. Biden: How Each Presidential Pick Would Shape the Housing Market for Years To Come

Donald Trump and Joe Biden

Mark Makela / Alex Wong/ Getty Images

It’s a wild understatement to say there’s a lot at stake in the nation’s highly contentious, upcoming presidential election: the future handling of COVID-19, the battered economy, race relations, immigration, climate change—oh, and let’s not forget the composition of the U.S. Supreme Court.

One key issue that’s received considerably less attention in this knock-down, drag-out season is housing. But make no mistake: At a time when the U.S. is in the throes of a historic shortage of affordably priced rentals and homes for sale, the manner in which each candidate would approach America’s housing crisis could affect the country for many years to come.

And the candidates couldn’t be further apart on how to address the housing challenges.

So with the Democratic National Convention beginning this week followed by the Republican National Convention next week, it seemed as good a time as any to take a close look at how each candidate could leave his mark on the U.S. housing markets.

President Donald Trump made news recently for issuing a controversial eviction moratorium to prevent renters from losing their homes during the coronavirus pandemic, and also scrapping a law that required suburbs to address racial discrimination in housing. He also hopes to privatize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which could affect generations of future home buyers.

Meanwhile his challenger, former Vice President Joe Biden, has outlined an ambitious plan that would help first-time buyers scrape together down payments to purchase their own homes. The presidential contender would also take steps to ameliorate racial disparities in the housing market and provide more rental assistance for the poorest Americans.

“When voters make a decision in November, the choices are largely preserving the status quo in the housing market versus expanding opportunities for minorities, low-income and lower middle-class households,” says realtor.com®’s chief economist, Danielle Hale.

So which candidate should get your vote when it comes to real estate? Let’s go to the virtual debate stage and check out the housing highlights from each contender!

How would President Donald Trump affect the housing market if he’s reelected?

President Donald Trump and his administration have made big changes to the housing market during his time in office.

Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

The leader of the free world and former real estate mogul hasn’t released a specific housing plan. However, Trump has amassed a housing record during his nearly four years in office that provides clues to what his future actions could be.

Is it strong enough to help win him another four years in office?

“In the last four years the homeownership rate has been going up, finally,” says John Weicher, director of the Center for Housing and Financial Markets at the Hudson Institute, a conservative-leaning think tank in Washington, DC. Trump has “recognized the importance of housing. It’s part of his strategy to rebuild the economy in the aftermath of the Great Recession, and it’s paid off.”

However, the president’s recent executive order extending the eviction moratorium was widely panned as toothless. The order came after stimulus talks fell apart in Congress. The problem is it doesn’t seem to actually prevent evictions for the roughly quarter of tenants who would be protected by it. Instead, it instructs the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to consider whether pausing them is needed to curb the pandemic.

When it comes to homeownership, one of the Trump’s administration’s boldest plans is its proposal to privatize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which could affect generations of future home buyers. Fannie and Freddie, which back about half of the nation’s mortgages, were moved under federal conservatorship to prevent them from going belly up after the housing bust of the late aughts. In the ensuing years, there’s been a big push to privatize them.

Critics fear the move could endanger the popular 30-year fixed-rate mortgage—a claim the Trump administration has dismissed. But mortgage interest rates and fees could rise as a result of the change.

Another controversial move was the Trump administration’s ending a rule that required many suburban communities to diversify. The President Barack Obama–era regulation forced communities receiving federal housing money to assess and address housing discrimination. The Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule was designed to encourage communities to allow more affordable housing, apartment and condo buildings, and smaller, more affordable single-family houses to go up.

Many wealthier towns and suburbs had fought these requirements fearing they could result in lower property values.

“The rule was one of the main achievements of his predecessor,” says Edward Goetz, an urban policy professor at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. “The end result could be that local governments don’t take fair housing as seriously.”

Trump’s tax changes affect real estate

Trump made some big changes toward the beginning of his presidency to the tax code. He created “opportunity zones” to encourage new development and investment in poorer, struggling neighborhoods. Investments, like affordable rental complexes and retail centers, can receive tax incentives as a way to spur development.

The commander in chief also capped property, income, and sales tax deductions at up to $10,000 in total at the end of 2017. This worked out well for many Americans, especially in some Southern and Midwestern states. But it was an unpopular move for homeowners who lost out in the Northeast and other tax-happy states where property taxes alone are often well above the cap.

Trump also lowered the mortgage interest deduction that homeowners take off of their taxes that same year. Homeowners can write off only up to $750,000 of their combined primary and vacation homes. The previous limit was $1 million. While this didn’t affect the majority of homeowners, it hurt the bank balances of those in pricey, coastal areas, such as in New York City and the San Francisco Bay Area, where a modest starter home can cost more than $1 million.

“While many saw their tax bills drop, some, especially upper middle-class homeowners living in high-cost areas, saw their tax bills rise,” says realtor.com’s Hale. “At the time, we saw increased interest in low-tax states like Florida for home shoppers from high-tax states like New York and New Jersey.”

How would Joe Biden make his mark on housing?

Former Vice President Joe Biden has ambitious plans for the housing market if elected president.

Bloomberg/Getty Images

The nation’s Democratic hopeful released a detailed housing plan in February. While much of it may be wishful thinking at best—and empty promises at worst—the plan lays out his priorities and how he hopes to make his mark on the housing market.

“With the pandemic and the economic crisis, the affordable housing problems are only going to get worse,” says Goetz. Recessionary conditions could make it tougher to find the money to enact these plans as local and state governments are scrambling for funding.

“The question is how much of this Biden can get through Congress—and how much of it can get funded,” says Goetz.

One of Biden’s most popular planks is to provide first-time home buyers with a down payment tax credit of up to $15,000 they could use to help fund the deal. As home prices have soared in recent years, this could be a big help to many cash-strapped buyers.

However, some worry this proposal could be mistimed.

“His idea of a down payment tax credit is great, but that might not be [the right] proposal for this market,” says Hale. The housing market’s biggest problem today is the dearth of affordably priced homes. “Right now we have too many buyers and not enough homes for sale.”

Meanwhile, teachers, first responders, and other public and national service workers would also be eligible for down payment assistance and lower home prices. However, they would need to buy and move into homes in either struggling, lower-income neighborhoods or pricier communities that don’t offer much more reasonably priced housing.

Biden wants to take on racial discrimination in housing

If elected, Biden has pledged to help fight the racial housing gap that has resulted in lower homeownership rates (and therefore lower household wealth) for communities of color. He’s proposed creating a national standard for appraising homes to make sure properties in communities of colors wouldn’t be assessed at less than similar homes in comparable white neighborhoods.

“It’s intriguing and would likely help equalize the playing field,” says Hale.

In addition, he’s proposed creating a public credit agency that would help raise the scores of minority home buyers by considering things like rental payment histories and utility bills paid on time. This could help more buyers qualify for mortgages with lower fees and rates.

Biden says he would also attempt to cut the carbon footprint of the country’s buildings in half by 2035. Developers would be eligible for incentives to retrofit homes to become more energy-efficient and create their own clean power.

When it comes to renters struggling to make ends meet, the former vice president would fully fund Section 8 vouchers so that every low-income American who qualifies for the program would receive the assistance. Currently, about a quarter of households eligible for the vouchers don’t receive them because there aren’t enough to go around.

Along similar lines, Biden would offer low-income renters a tax credit designed so they pay only up to 30% of their income on housing and utilities.

Paying no more than a third of their income on housing has “been shown to be effective in keeping people in housing,” Goetz says of the 30% cap. That housing stability has translated into greater job retention as well as students doing better in school.

“Biden is looking at how to increase opportunities for homeownership and affordable rentals,” adds Hale. “[His plan] is targeted at the people who need the most help.”

The post Trump vs. Biden: How Each Presidential Pick Would Shape the Housing Market for Years To Come appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Our Picks for Picnic Baskets

Grab a meal and enjoy nature with a picnic basket.

Grab a meal and enjoy nature with a picnic basket. (Pixabay/)

Spending the afternoon enjoying a picnic at your favorite park or beach is one of life’s simple pleasures. Whether you are noshing on fancy tea sandwiches or eating your favorite comfort foods, a day with a picnic is a day well spent. It’s important to invest in a picnic basket that will store all of your goodies and keep it cool. Here are our top picks for picnic baskets.

This would make a great wedding, anniversary, or birthday gift.

This would make a great wedding, anniversary, or birthday gift. (Sunflora/)

This backpack is a modern spin on the traditional picnic basket. This bag is well insulated and can easily fit food and drinks for a large group. The sleek design coupled with neat features – including water proof pouch, fully insulated bag, detachable blanket and bottle holder – make for a luxurious picnic backpack.

Holding up to 65 pounds, this model is perfect for large groups.

Holding up to 65 pounds, this model is perfect for large groups. (Picnic at Ascot/)

If you’re looking for a large basket to hold your favorite food with all of the trimmings, this model fits the bill. The fabric market style basket is a great alternative for those not looking for a traditional picnic basket. Picnic at Ascot’s basket is both vibrant and sturdy. The insulated basket is heat stealed and leakproof.

This traditional style set is 16 by 12 by 16 inches.

This traditional style set is 16 by 12 by 16 inches. (Picnic Time/)

From the stylishly patterned plates to the insulated wine duffel and cutting board and cheese knife, this picnic basket set looks right out of a movie. We love the traditional English design which features willow construction and a corduroy lined interior. Picnic Time’s style set is truly the quintessential picnic basket.

With a 15 percent bigger food storage compartment, this set is perfect for foodies.

With a 15 percent bigger food storage compartment, this set is perfect for foodies. (apollo walker/)

This backpack is a great picnic bag for food enthusiasts. With a 15 percent bigger food storage compartment, the bag is well insulated to keep food at the ideal temperature. The bag also boasts soft padded shoulder straps for maximum comfort.

This bag includes a wine cork and cheese board.

This bag includes a wine cork and cheese board. (Plush Picnic/)

Large enough for two meals, this bag is great for an intimate setting. We love the luxurious features such as a cheeseboard, wine cork, and a fully insulated bag to keep all of your goodies (and wine!) cool. This picnic basket would make a great wedding gift for an outdoor loving couple.

Energize Your Day with these Great Juicing Machines

Ready to juice up your day? Here are our favorite juicing machines.

Ready to juice up your day? Here are our favorite juicing machines. (Pexels/)

Juicing machines serve different needs for different people. Some use them to ensure their juices have the highest possible nutritional value while others are simply seeking to preserve the flavors of their favorite fruits and vegetables. Whether you are juicing for flavor, nutritional value, or you have specific fitness goals, these great juicing machines can help take you where you want to go. It is up to you which machine will meet your needs best.

This juicer is super efficient and fast, offering 18,000 rotations per minute.

This juicer is super efficient and fast, offering 18,000 rotations per minute. (Mueller/)

This juicer from Mueller Austria has a wide enough chute to manage an entire fruit or vegetable. The juicer offers you the versatility of two speeds and an overload protection system that automatically shuts the juicer off before overheating.

This model has the added feature of an interlocking arm to prevent its use when uncovered.

This model has the added feature of an interlocking arm to prevent its use when uncovered. (Breville/)

Create an 8-ounce cup of juice in as few as five seconds thanks to the 3-inch feeder chute of this Breville juicer. The unique design of this juicer featuring Italian micromesh allows you to extract 40 percent more vitamins and minerals than other juicers. Many parts are dishwasher safe, for easy cleaning, and it has built-in overload protection.

Adjustable pulp control puts you in the driver’s seat with this machine.

Adjustable pulp control puts you in the driver’s seat with this machine. (BLACK+DECKER/)

The Black and Decker juice extractor measures just 13 inches by 9 inches by 9 inches, which frees up valuable countertop space. It features intuitive controls, making it an easy machine to operate. The 400-watt motor allows you to enjoy your juice in a matter of seconds and the pusher allows you to guide fruits and vegetables for optimal extraction.

The extra-large pulp bin allows you to juice longer and store pulp for recipes.

The extra-large pulp bin allows you to juice longer and store pulp for recipes. (Hamilton Beach/)

The large feeder chute of this Hamilton Beach juicer enables you to juice whole fruits and vegetables for maximum nutrients. The motor is 1.1 Hp and 800 watts for excellent juicing power while the system itself is easy to clean. It even comes with its own brush for superior cleaning. The machine measures 11.5 inches by 7.8 inches by 14.4 inches.

Enjoy 90 percent more nutrition with this model’s features.

Enjoy 90 percent more nutrition with this model’s features. (AICOK/)

This quiet juicing machine allows you to operate your juicer without disrupting other family activities. This means you can prepare afternoon smoothies, morning juice drinks, and bedtime detox beverages with ease and without bothering others with loud noise. The AICOK machine features a reverse button to prevent clogging.

Fairy-Tale Find! Stone Castle in Michigan Is This Week’s Most Popular Home

most popular homes 8-14

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If Disney ever plans to greenlight a live-action remake of “Rapunzel,” it could easily film it on the grounds of this week’s most popular home.

Real estate fans let their hair down and clicked like crazy on a distinctive stone castle in Michigan—complete with a 60-foot-tall tower.

The exterior of the castle is dramatic, and the interior is cozy and modern with plenty of room for family and friends. There’s even space to entertain in the tower, which offers incredible views.

Speaking of Disney, you also clicked on an ultraluxe mansion in Florida’s Walt Disney World that comes with Four Seasons amenities and VIP park access. Apparently, you can make the Magical Kingdom even more magical.

Other properties drawing a crowd this week include the adorable Abbey Rose Farm in Ohio, a bucolic Bucks County retreat, and a Lake Tahoe cabin where you may just encounter a few bears. And the week’s must-see property might well be Perry Elementary, a Pennsylvania elementary school that’s been converted into a multimillion-dollar, award-winning home.

These properties are the stuff of fantasies and fairy tales that are sure to put you in a weekend kind of mood. Take a look.

10. 3167 N State Route 61, Sunbury, OH

Price: $369,900
Why it’s here: Dating to 1901, Abbey Rose Farm is a 5-acre property with three farm buildings and a Victorian house. The five-bedroom home boasts a dramatic wraparound porch and beautiful flower gardens. Inside, the home features historic details, including a grand entryway, parlor, and four fireplaces.

sunbury, oh abby rose farm exterior
Sunbury, OH

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9. 2413 Crocketts Cove Rd, Wytheville, VA

Price: $6,299,000
Why it’s here: Social distancing won’t be a problem on this 600-acre property. The custom-built, four-bedroom log cabin on the property is less than a couple of decades old. For guests, there’s a separate six-bedroom lodge. The three ponds are ideal for anglers, walking paths parallel the stream running through the property, and a private ridge overlooks the Jefferson National Forest.

wytheville va log cabin exterior
Wytheville, VA

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8. 3867 Cold Spring Creamery Rd, Doylestown, PA 

Price: $1,550,000
Why it’s here: Newly updated, this stone farmhouse known as Worth Farm in Bucks County was built in 1788. The four-bedroom main house features a wall of windows in the dining room, an open kitchen, and views throughout. The property also comes with a bank barn, two garage buildings, an original icehouse, and a spring-fed, stone-lined pond.

doylestown pa worth farm
Doylestown, PA

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7. 218 Greenwich St, Philadelphia, PA

Price: $670,000
Why it’s here: This three-story townhome has 2,600 square feet of living space and is located on a sought-after block. The home is highlighted by a large family room, a loft area being used as a gym, and a deck. The bathrooms and kitchen have been updated, the master suite boasts a cathedral ceiling, and the back patio comes with a bar.

Philadelphia, PA brick townhouse exterior
Philadelphia, PA

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6. 531 E Branch St, Arroyo Grande, CA

Price: $699,000
Why it’s here: This Craftsman bungalow from 1920 is just a short walk the the quaint town of Arroyo Grande along California’s Central Coast. The three-bedroom home boasts a party-ready backyard with patio. Hardwood floors, loads of natural light, and oodles of vintage charm are just a few of the perks in this cute home.

Arroyo Grande craftsman exterior
Arroyo Grande, CA

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5. 911 S Barberry Ln, Show Low, AZ

Price: $899,999
Why it’s here: This luxe three-bedroom log cabin was custom-built in 2003. It’s located in the heart of the Torreon Golf community in the White Mountains. Built-ins and high-end finishes combine with the cabin’s rustic touches to make the home feel like a cozy retreat.

SHow Low Az log cabin exterior
Show Low, AZ

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4. 889 Alameda Ave, South Lake Tahoe, CA

Price: $199,000
Why it’s here: This Tahoe cabin is described as a major fixer-upper in the listing details. But it’s the listing photos that drew attention this week. One image suggests a buyer may have to fend off a bear on occasion. Ursine interruptions aside, the cabin is just three blocks from the beach. If you’re willing to put in work and deal with the wildlife, this century-old cabin might be worth the effort.

South Lake Tahoe CA listing with bear
South Lake Tahoe, CA

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3. 10114 Enchanted Oak Dr, Golden Oak, FL

Price: $8,450,033
Why it’s here: This French-inspired, six-bedroom mansion is located in Golden Oak, the development designed by Disney’s Imagineers as an upscale residential community in the Walt Disney Resort. This 9,000-square-foot mansion is highlighted by an outdoor living area and a plush home theater. The home comes with VIP park access.

golden oak fl disney resort house
Golden Oak, FL

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2. 145 School Rd, Kirby Mt. Morris, PA 

Price: $2,375,000
Why it’s here: Perry Elementary was built in 1965, but closed in 2012. Three years later, an intrepid couple purchased the building at auction for $350,000. They then transformed it into a jaw-dropping modern home. It has four bedrooms, an award-winning kitchen, luxe bathrooms, indoor basketball court, arcade, and home gym. The attached five-bay garage has been converted into a massive man cave.

kirby mt morris pa perry elementary
Kirby Mt. Morris, PA

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1. 7300 Draper Rd, Jackson, MI

Price: $529,000
Why it’s here: Spanning 20 acres, this estate features a real-deal stone castle complete with 60-foot tower.

The castle measures 2,000 square feet and has five bedrooms. Inside, you’ll find vaulted ceilings, a walk-out master suite, and several fireplaces. Outside, there are three patios, lush gardens, and fountains. The property could be used as an event venue, vacation rental, or wedding destination.

Jackson MI stone castle
Jackson, MI

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The post Fairy-Tale Find! Stone Castle in Michigan Is This Week’s Most Popular Home appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

$52M Modern Oceanfront Retreat in Hamptons Is Most Expensive New Listing

Hamptons

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The Hamptons are hot, as city dwellers search for an escape. For those with deep pockets, there’s always a way to beat the heat.

Which brings us to a modern vacation home with beachfront bragging rights that’s waded onto the market for $52 million. The price tag makes it this week’s most expensive new listing on realtor.com®.

The spectacular spread is set behind a gated entry in Wainscott, NY. The oceanside edifice offers 230 feet of beachfront.

It’s located close to the storied Kilkare estate, which snagged the honor of most expensive listing back in 2017, when it landed on the market for $55 million. 

The property sold in 2015 for $16.5 million, and construction on this home was completed in 2018. The modern home is described in the listing details as a “flawless symphony of architecture, construction, landscape design, and interior composition.”

We’ll agree the teak and stucco structure hits all the right notes. The unique residence designed by Barnes Coy Architects is connected by “three pavilions,” linked by stairways and elongated passageways. 

The angular abode features an inverted V-shaped roof. Inside, the bold lines continue with an “inverted teak pyramid” that comes within 9 feet of the floor, according to the firm’s website

The interior also offers 22-feet ceilings, walls of glass, and dramatic beach views.

This week’s most expensive home, in Wainscott, NY

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Open floor plan

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Dining area

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Kitchen with inverted pyramid

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Decks and pool

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With 11,000 square feet of living space, the layout includes six bedrooms and 10.5 baths. The main pavilion incorporates the open kitchen, which is a true chef’s delight. It’s highlighted by Gaggenau, Sub-Zero, and Miele appliances, as well as a large center island. The kitchen looks out to the dining and living space of the great room.

On the other end of the residence, there’s a den/office that leads to the master wing. The master retreat features ocean views, dual bathrooms, and a pair of walk-in closets. A third pavilion encompasses the additional five bedrooms, a rec room, and a four-car garage.

Down one level, you’ll find the gym, as well as a spa bath with steam and sauna.

The mansion also houses a golf simulator (which could be converted to a home theater), two staff suites, and an atrium entry with an elevator. The Crestron-controlled smart home features Lutron lighting, automatic shades, and a Sonos sound system, as well as a whole-house generator. 

Outside, the expansive 2.33 acres offer an “eccentrically shaped” deck and 72-foot pool, including a submerged spa.

The oceanfront grounds were left as wild as possible, the listing notes. The ipe-clad deck features a covered area with an outdoor kitchen, dining table, and seaside living room. The property also includes a private walkway over the dune to the beach.  

Gary DePersia with The Corcoran Group-East Hampton holds the listing.

The post $52M Modern Oceanfront Retreat in Hamptons Is Most Expensive New Listing appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Despite Coronavirus and a Downsized Democratic Convention, Milwaukee Real Estate is Thriving

The backyard terrace of Olive Scannell Bryson’s greater-Milwaukee mansion. The 4.9-acre estate, located in the North Shore village of Fox Point, has an asking price of $3.8 million.

Sara Stathas for The Wall Street Journal

The Democratic Party is throwing out tradition this year by turning their planned Milwaukee political convention into a virtual event, but on the ground in Wisconsin’s largest city, tradition is back with a vengeance, as the area’s longstanding high-end residential enclaves stage a Covid-era comeback.

“I have never seen this kind of demand,” says Bruce Gallagher, a listing agent specializing in multimillion-dollar properties along a cluster of inland lakes, 25 miles west of downtown, where housing stock has been transformed over the last few decades from Gilded Age getaways into sprawling suburban mansions and grandiose vacation homes. Mr. Gallagher, owner of Gallagher Lake Country Real Estate, a Keller Williams affiliate based in Hartland, Wis., says listings above $2 million are going into contract in less than a week, with competing offers and sales well above the list price.

The Lake Country, as the area is known, competes with the North Shore, a cluster of communities running just north of the city along Lake Michigan, for greater Milwaukee’s wealthy homeowners. Buyers over $1 million are “looking for anything on the water,” says Joan Read, manager of Coldwell Banker’s North Shore office.

The greater Milwaukee real-estate market covers a four-county area, with a population of about 1.5 million. Before the pandemic, luxury sales had nearly tripled in the last few years, says Ms. Read, going from 96 in 2014 to 297 in 2019.

Olive Scannell Bryson's greater-Milwaukee mansion. The 4.9-acre estate, located in the North Shore village of Fox Point, has an asking price of $3.8 million. Maureen Stallé is handling the sale for Stallé Realty Group/Keller Williams.
Olive Scannell Bryson’s greater-Milwaukee mansion. The 4.9-acre estate, located in the North Shore village of Fox Point, has an asking price of $3.8 million. Maureen Stallé is handling the sale for Stallé Realty Group/Keller Williams.

Sara Stathas for The Wall Street Journal

The home's dining room. Mrs. Scannell Bryson, who died earlier this year, grew up in the home, and then moved back with her own family in the 1970s.
The home’s dining room. Mrs. Scannell Bryson, who died earlier this year, grew up in the home, and then moved back with her own family in the 1970s.

Sara Stathas for The Wall Street Journal

She says the market is now holding up, despite the pandemic. According to analysis from Coldwell Banker, total sales of greater Milwaukee single-family homes between January and June of 2019 numbered 12,914, declining to only 12,053 between January and June of this year. Ms. Read says that a most of the nearly 70 homes sold above $1 million in 2020 are concentrated in the Lake Country or else in the North Shore, with Whitefish Bay, a walkable lakefront village with an urban character, leading the way.

Like other cities in the Rust Belt, Milwaukee has changed over the last several decades, as an economy reliant on manufacturing largely gave way to the service sector. However, the area’s luxury enclaves still bear strong traces of Milwaukee’s industrial heyday, says John Gurda, a local author and historian. He says the city, now the country’s 31st largest, was one of America’s 15th largest for much of the 20th century, and probably sneaked into the top 10 sometime in the 1960s. That is when it was home to three of the four largest brewers in the country and a world-wide leader in the production of heavy machinery.

Many of the city’s industrial elite, from beer barons to tanners, were of German ancestry, says Mr. Gurda, and they liked to build their mansions with European craftsmanship. Starting in the late 19th century, they began commissioning ornate homes to the west and north, and left still-discernible traces in the pattern of high-end areas around the city.

Many of the German elite, such as the Pabsts of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer, built palatial summer houses due west on Oconomowoc and Pine Lakes, now the Lake Country’s most desirable locations. The Uihleins, who controlled the company that brewed Schlitz, which once competed with Budweiser for the title of America’s bestselling beer, went north, building mansions on Lake Drive, still one of the area’s premier residential addresses. It runs from the city’s east side to the top of the North Shore.

Pabst mansion
This 20,000-square-foot mansion was built in a Flemish Renaissance style for Milwaukee resident Frederick Pabst, one of America’s leading brewers.

Sara Stathas for The Wall Street Journal

On Pine Lake, Mr. Gallagher just sold a 6,000-square-foot, five-bedroom for $4.15 million, $155,000 above the asking price. On the market for only one week, the 6-year-old home, with a 300-foot shoreline, sits on a lot just over 2 acres. In Whitefish Bay, a 5,000-square-foot, five-bedroom on 1/5 acre with an asking price of $1.395 million had an offer accepted within a matter of days of coming up for sale in late July.

Milwaukee’s earliest elite, back in the middle of the 19th century, came from the northeast. These Yankees, as locals still referred to them into the 20th century, left their mark on firms such as Northwestern Mutual. In 1927, William D. Van Dyke Jr., a member of the family that ran Northwestern Mutual in its early decades, built a limestone mansion on a bluff above Lake Michigan in Fox Point, a village just north of Whitefish Bay. Following the death this spring of his 93-year-old daughter, Olive Scannell Bryson, who had lived there since the 1970s, the 7,750-square-foot, eight-bedroom home has come on the market for the first time, with an asking price of $3.8 million.

The 4.9-acre estate is “a world unto its own,” says Mrs. Scannell Bryson’s daughter, Mary Douglass Brown. Ms. Brown, who spent her high school years on the estate and now lives in Winnetka, north of Chicago, says her mother and stepfather, Jack Bryson, updated the home in the late 1980s and 1990s, adding a grand family room, which they liked to call the garden room, as well as a formal rose garden.

The property maintains elements of 1920s grandeur, including the original stone greenhouse and servants’ quarters above the garage. A network of stately stone terraces behind the house overlooks Lake Michigan.

Views of the Milwaukee River replace lake views in River Hills, traditionally greater Milwaukee’s most exclusive community, where lots generally have a 5-acre minimum, and tennis courts are the rule.

In 2001, Bruce Ross, president and CEO of a branding consulting firm, and his wife, Jami Ross, a sales director, bought a 6.5-acre River Hills estate for $1.65 million, then upgraded the 6,000-square-foot Midcentury Modern to 9,200 square feet.

The refurbishment, completed in two stages, required replacing an eccentric Olympic-size swimming pool with a merely large outdoor pool. The family also built two new wings on either side of the original structure, turning the master bedroom into the master bath, and connecting several rooms to the terrace and new pool area. “Even though the house is big,” says Mrs. Ross, 51, “we wanted it to feel cozy.” The terrace includes an outdoor fireplace and kitchen. The home has two family rooms.

Mrs. Ross and her husband, 63, have relocated to a Los Angeles condo to be near their two adult children, who grew up in the River Hills home and are now based in southern California. The Rosses’ estate is on the market for $2.495 million.

Spacious homes in River Hills or the Lake Country may cost well over $1 million, but greater Milwaukee still has luxury-level bargains, says architect Wade Weissmann, a North Shore native whose studio has offices in Milwaukee, Santa Barbara, and Pittsburgh.

Gilded Age mansions and stately homes still dot the east and west sides of Milwaukee proper, says Mr. Weissmann, who specializes in multimillion-dollar renovations of historic Milwaukee properties.

“You can buy a house for $300,000 that would cost $3 million to replace,” he says. On Milwaukee’s east side, a circa 1899, 3,300-square-foot, four-bedroom on a 1/10-acre lot, asking $460,000, went into contract this month after less than two weeks on the market.

Just before the pandemic, the longstanding trend in the area was for empty-nesters and young professionals to move back into the heart of the city, which had seen a growth in luxury high-rises and loft conversions.

In 2007, Mr. Weissmann worked on a luxury condo refurbishment for a downtown high-rise with views of the spanned-wing art museum annex designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. The high-rise is walking distance to the lakefront and close to downtown. But Mr. Gallagher says the pandemic is establishing new priorities for homeowners beyond convenience. “People with means,” he says, “are putting an emphasis on homes where they can hunker down.”

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