For These Retirees, Short-Term Rental Bans Aren’t Just a Perk—They’re a Must

A view from Wes Swenson’s living room in St. George, Utah. Mr. Swenson deliberately sought a community where short-term rentals are banned.

Roger Kisby for The Wall Street Journal

When Wes Swenson sold his data center company in 2017, he was able to buy the retirement homes of his dreams in Utah. He purchased a $1.5 million house in Woodland Hills and a $1.2 million house in St. George. Both homes are in resort-like communities that tourists love; the former for skiing and the latter for access to Zion National Park, hiking and golf. Both are also in cities where homeowners can make high fees from short-term renting their houses.

But Mr. Swenson won’t make a penny that way. He sought out communities with homeowner association rules, known as Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions, or CC&Rs, that forbid short-term rentals and have histories of strong enforcement.

An exterior view of the Swenson home.
An exterior view of the Swenson home. Tourists and retirees alike are attracted to St. George’s red sandstone views and desert climate.

Roger Kisby for The Wall Street Journal

Real-estate agents around the country say that it is far more common for a buyer preparing for retirement to seek out a property where they can generate revenue by short-term renting until they are ready to occupy the house themselves.

But for a minority of buyers, making sure they will spend retirement in a community of neighbors, not a rotating cast of visitors, is essential. This is especially true for retirees who want the same deserts, mountains and coastlines as short-term renters. By a long shot, buyers over 65 in the NAR study identified a “desire to be closer to family/friends/relatives” as their top reason for buying a new home, indicating how important community and relationships are to this age group.

Ensuring a short-term-rental-free neighborhood has gotten harder in the last few years. From the beginning of 2015 to the beginning of 2020, U.S. units rented short term on both Airbnb and Vrbo grew from about 450,000 to 1 million; revenue grew by 150% in that same period, according to Jamie Lane, vice president of research at AirDNA, an analyst for the short-term rental industry. Though the pandemic caused travel, bookings, and revenue to nosedive, a recovery is already under way, Mr. Lane said.

“The five-year outlook is for strong growth in demand for short-term rentals,” said Mr. Lane, who expects a full recovery to pre-pandemic revenue levels by next year and a growth rate similar to pre-pandemic levels thereafter. “The vast majority of U.S. short-term rentals are in destination/resort and small town/rural locations around the country, of which many are the owner’s second homes.”

Olya and Wes Swenson and their daughter, Angelika, pose for a portrait in front of their St. George home.
Olya and Wes Swenson and their daughter, Angelika, pose for a portrait in front of their St. George home.

Roger Kisby for The Wall Street Journal

A view of the pool and afternoon sun at the Swensons’ St. George residence.
A view of the pool and afternoon sun at the Swensons’ St. George residence.

Roger Kisby for The Wall Street Journal

As short-term rentals have proliferated, so too have negative stories about living next to one, especially if it is a site used for frequent parties. These tales, plus his own experience, were what convinced Mr. Swenson to seek out Summit Creek and the Vistas at Entrada, both gated communities with strong rules and reliable enforcement, he said. In his previous home in Payson, Utah, the home two doors down from him was a short-term rental owned by an investment group, he said. Guests choked the street with parked cars and sometimes had loud parties.

“I have nothing against short-term renting in principle, but I don’t want to live somewhere that allows it,” said Mr. Swenson, who recently launched a new data center company. “It makes life too unpredictable.”

Close relationships with neighbors mean a lot to Bill Webbe, 77, a retired healthcare executive. He moved with his wife, Connie Webbe, to Durango, Colo., and built a nearly 6,000-square-foot mountain-style house within Glacier, a community that currently has 110 homes in a private club with two 18-hole golf courses. It lies 9 miles from Purgatory ski resort. Rentals of less than six months are prohibited, and renters have to undergo background checks, said chief operating officer Jim Goodman.

A three-bedroom condo within Glacier could theoretically rent for $1,000 a night during peak ski season, said Michael Gullotti, associate broker with the Wells Group, who handles many transactions within Glacier; he based his estimate on what condos outside the community charge. Homes within Glacier have sold for between $539,000 and $2.5 million, he said.

Connie and Bill Webbe built a home in Glacier, a club community in Colorado with strict community rules against short-term renting.
Connie and Bill Webbe built a home in Glacier, a club community in Colorado with strict community rules against short-term renting.

Bill Webbe

Leaving money on the table doesn’t bother Mr. Webbe. “Our concern is to have a community where we know each other well and do things together,” said Mr. Webbe, who said he skis, plays golf and bridge, and hikes with his neighbors.

Short-term rental rules are set in a number of ways, some of which overlap, some of which contradict each other and some of which can change over time. First, there are local municipal ordinances that can mandate rules such as 30-day rental minimums or require landlords to take out a permit. The gold standard for anti-renting ordinances is “platform accountability,” which means online platforms are held liable if they are found collecting fees on listings that contradict local laws, said Dale Carlson, co-founder of ShareBetter SF, a group that advocates for regulation of short-term rentals. Mr. Carlson has been retained personally to consult with hotel industry groups, but said the organization isn’t currently funded by the hotel industry. San Francisco, Santa Monica, Los Angeles, Boston, Portland, Denver, and Honolulu all have platform accountability statutes, Mr. Carlson said.

Even in places where state or local ordinances allow short-term renting, there is still another barrier: Homeowner associations with CC&Rs that prohibit it. Sally Finch, 76, and her husband, Parker Finch, 81, just purchased a roughly $1.85 million, two-bedroom condominium in Coronado, Calif., that has stricter rules than even the town of Coronado, where city rules limit renting to a minimum of 26 days. In their building, rentals of less than six months are banned, said the Finches’ agent Scott Aurich of Pacific Sotheby’s International Realty. Ms. Finch said though the couple used to rent out their single-family home when they went away to another home they own in North Carolina, she is relieved it can’t be done in their new place.

“I expect to get to know the people on my floor and in my building,” said Ms. Finch.

Many CC&Rs were drafted before short-term renting became commonplace and don’t even include language to address them, said Dawn Bauman, senior vice president of government affairs for the Community Associations Institute, a trade group for property associations. Changing CC&Rs typically requires the approval of two-thirds of the membership, Ms. Bauman said. Another limitation of CC&Rs is that the rules are only as powerful as the enforcement behind them. About 70% of community associations are managed by professionals who often have more wherewithal than all-volunteer boards to discipline rule breakers with letters, fines and legal action, Ms. Bauman said.

Chuck Murray, a 68-year-old retired financial adviser, said he bought a home within the Shadow Estates Homeowners Association in Sedona about 10 years ago, partly attracted to the community because it didn’t allow rentals of less than six months. For four years, he was president of the HOA and was active against violators of rental rules, sending out letters of warning and issuing fines. Homes in the community cost roughly $1.7 million to $2.4 million, said Re/Max agent Brian Dante.

“You have a true sense of community. You talk to your neighbors as if they were your friends, and you wouldn’t have that if there were short-term rentals,” Mr. Murray said. He’s not entirely anti-short-term: Mr. Murray partly finances his retirement with income from two properties he rents out via Airbnb, one on the west side of Sedona and the other in Puerto Peñasco, Mexico.

“We live on that cash flow and it’s worked out amazingly well. It’s purely just a business to me,” he said.

Finding a short-term-free community for the long term

1.) Search Airbnb and Vrbo for listings where you are considering buying. Locate the home you are considering by zooming into the cross streets on the sites’ maps, then zoom out looking for listings.

2.) On AirDNA.co, the website of the industry analyst, click on “Market Minder” and input the ZIP Code where you are searching. Free, the site will show a map of short-term rentals, identify which are whole house rentals, which are shared houses, and how many days a year they are available. For a fee (from $19.95 to $99.95, depending on how many short-term rentals are offered in the area), the site will also show how many days a year listings are occupied and how much revenue the owner makes, among other data points.

3.) Call the city attorney or the city’s planning department and ask about the local short-term-rental laws. The gold standard is “platform accountability” whereby platforms are held liable for listing rentals that contravene local laws.

4.) Ask to read the CC&Rs of any community in which you’re home shopping. Look for policies that ban or limit short-term renting and that spell out penalties for noncompliance.

5.) Discover whether the association is professionally managed. Speak to management about how they address rental violators. If it is an all-volunteer board, consider joining or becoming active.

6.) Look through a community’s minutes over the past year to see how often complaints about short-term rentals came up in meetings. Interview board members and neighbors about whether they are an issue.

The post For These Retirees, Short-Term Rental Bans Aren’t Just a Perk—They’re a Must appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Our Favorite Pet Doors

Your pet will love you more once you add a pet door to your home.

Your pet will love you more once you add a pet door to your home. (Pexels/)

If you have a fenced-in yard or live where it’s safe for your pets to roam around outside, it’s nice to let them play off leash when they get restless or need a little exercise and stimulation. But sometimes they’re up for it when you’re not. A pet door saves time and hassle for you, since your pet can still play even if you can’t. And you won’t have to stop whatever important task you’re doing to let him out.

With a pet door, you have the freedom to be away several hours without worrying about walking your dog, since he can get out when he wants to or needs to. The small opening will ensure that your indoor heat or cool air won’t be wasted. A good quality pet door can bring a lot of convenience and flexibility to you and your four-legged kids.

Perfect for allowing outdoor access without making any cuts in your wall or door.

Perfect for allowing outdoor access without making any cuts in your wall or door. (PetSafe/)

If you live in a rental, or just don’t want to deal with the hassle of a permanent installation, this pet door is designed to fit perfectly in your existing sliding door. A variety of widths and adjustable height make it easy to accommodate a custom size. It also comes in multiple colors so it can look good, too. The outdoor flap maintains climate control when in use, and the hard inside panel slides up or down to control your pet’s access.

Magnets keep the flaps closed when not in use, and a slide-in panel gives the option to keep the door securely shut.

Magnets keep the flaps closed when not in use, and a slide-in panel gives the option to keep the door securely shut. (PetSafe/)

While other pet doors have one or sometimes two flaps to block airflow between the indoors and the outdoors, this model has three of them. The extra insulation of the layers blocks three times as much thermal energy as the average pet door, so whether you want to keep your house cool or warm, it will get the job done.

Simply cut a hole in the bottom of your door using the included template, and quickly install.

Simply cut a hole in the bottom of your door using the included template, and quickly install. (The Kitty/)

This whimsical cat-sized interior door allows you to shut out unwanted mess or smells for a more pristine home environment. The frame features cute cat ears on one side and a cat’s tail on the other. Fits cats up to 20 pounds with a 12.5-inch by 10-inch opening.

Best for when you don’t want to ruin the beautiful doors of your house with an ugly hole in the bottom.

Best for when you don’t want to ruin the beautiful doors of your house with an ugly hole in the bottom. (Endura Flap/)

The best thing about this pet door is that it is designed to fit unobtrusively into a wall up to eight inches thick rather than ruin the aesthetic appeal of your doors. The other best thing about it is the heavy-duty magnets on the outer flap seal tightly enough to block out temperatures as low as -40 degrees Fahrenheit and heavy winds up to 50 mph. A sliding interior panel keeps the door securely shut so no unwanted animals enter your home.

A little bit of everything you want: energy efficient, customizable, and simple installation

A little bit of everything you want: energy efficient, customizable, and simple installation (Ideal/)

This pet door fits any standard door in a variety of sizes, or with the additional purchase of a wall kit it can expand to fit into walls up to 7.25-inch thick. The telescoping frame juts out slightly rather than being flush with the door, and both sides easily lock together for a tight seal. Double flaps of thick flexible plastic and magnets along the bottom provide good insulation against heat, cold, wind, or rain while still giving your pets easy access to the outdoors. The sturdy foam molded plastic frame can hold a safety panel on either the interior or exterior to lock out unwanted visitors from stopping in.

Rest Easy with these Great Office Chairs

Have a seat. We've picked out just the right office chair for you.

Have a seat. We’ve picked out just the right office chair for you. (Pixabay/)

There are several factors that go into finding the perfect chair, like support, construction, and versatility. Your office chair should provide comfortable support to your back, neck, and lumbar region. Your feet should be able to rest flat on the floor, and the design of the chair should discourage slouching. Even with the most comfortable chair, you should get up and move about for five minutes each hour to promote circulation and avoid stiffness.

With a myriad of options out there, it can be challenging to find the perfect office chair for you. Luckily, we’ve pulled together a list of the ones we think are the five best.

You can adjust just about anything on this chair to achieve a perfect fit.

You can adjust just about anything on this chair to achieve a perfect fit. (Duramont/)

This state-of-the-art office chair by Duramont is extremely versatile, and allows you to adjust the headrest height and angle, lumbar support height and depth, armrest height and seat distance, seat height, and many other factors, giving you a truly customized experience. The breathable mesh back keeps your back nice and cool, so you don’t need to worry about overheating while you’re hard at work. Installation on this chair is a snap, with only eight steps and you’re ready to get back to work.

The high mesh back promotes breathability, so no more sweaty backs while you work.

The high mesh back promotes breathability, so no more sweaty backs while you work. (Furmax/)

This ergonomic office chair features ultra-thick padding on the seat, allowing you to remain comfortable while sitting for long periods of time. It’s BIFMA-certified, meaning it can hold a maximum capacity of up to 265 pounds, and the heavy-duty base with 360-degree swivel wheels allows you to run smoothly across all floors with ease.

You can easily move around your office space thanks to the 360-degree smooth-rolling caster wheels.

You can easily move around your office space thanks to the 360-degree smooth-rolling caster wheels. (Amazon Basics/)

The Amazon Basics executive office chair is built with black polyurethane bonded leather upholstery along with a pewter finish, giving it a sophisticated look that fits in with your office décor. The padded seat and back combination ensure you remain comfortable all day long, and the chair’s BIFMA certification means it can safely hold and support up to 275 pounds.

You can take advantage of the chair’s recline function where you can tilt the backrest back between 90 to 120 degrees, giving you ultimate personalization based on your sitting style.

You can take advantage of the chair’s recline function where you can tilt the backrest back between 90 to 120 degrees, giving you ultimate personalization based on your sitting style. (Gabrylly Ergonomic/)

With this ergonomic office chair from Gabrylly, you’ll find four supporting points: head, back, hips, and hands. This, in addition to the fantastic lumbar support, means that you’ll never have to worry about discomfort while working those long hours. A nice feature is the adjustable flip-up armrest design that allows you to push the chair into your desk without hassle, giving you more room in your office space.

The white polyurethane bonded leather upholstery gives the chair a clean look that brightens up the room.

The white polyurethane bonded leather upholstery gives the chair a clean look that brightens up the room. (Amazon Basics/)

This office chair from Amazon Basics is BIFMA certified with a maximum weight capacity of approximately 275 pounds. The pneumatic seat adjustment allows you to position yourself in the right way to remain comfortable for long work hours. The 360-degree swivel smooth-rolling casters give you the ultimate in mobility for moving your chair around the office.

Our Favorite Web Cams

Smile! We've done all the work to find you the right web cam.

Smile! We’ve done all the work to find you the right web cam. (Pexels/)

Webcams are generally built the same way, but you have to look at different aspects to ensure you have the right one for you. Most importantly, you’ll want something with a high-definition picture and a solid microphone in order to get the best results. We’ve compiled a list of webcams that excel in these areas.

If you’re worried about privacy, you can simply slide the built-in privacy cover on with the swipe of your finger.

If you’re worried about privacy, you can simply slide the built-in privacy cover on with the swipe of your finger. (2021 AutoFocus/)

This webcam from NexiGo features a 1080p resolution at 30 frames per second, which works well for most users. The starting point is 7 centimeters, but it offers an infinite amount of range, and the autofocus ensures your videos always come in looking crystal-clear.The microphone picks up your voice and other sounds with utmost perfection, making this webcam a great choice for Facetime, YouTube, webinars, Zoom, and much more.

This model will replace or blur your background, saving you the need to purchase a green screen.

This model will replace or blur your background, saving you the need to purchase a green screen. (Logitech/)

Logitech’s webcam features 1080p video calling and recording at up to 30 frames-per-second, providing a detailed and crisp video. The dual mics deliver stereo audio so that natural sound is captured, and the advanced capture software makes it easy to share content. The C920x also can automatically fine-tune itself to lighting conditions.

The built-in microphone and noise-cancellation allows you to simply and peacefully record audio while filtering out all the background noise.

The built-in microphone and noise-cancellation allows you to simply and peacefully record audio while filtering out all the background noise. (1080P Web Camera/)

NexiGo’s N60 can capture and produce video resolutions up to 1920 x 1080 and at 30 frames per second. The fixed focal length lens can capture high-definition video at up to 110 degrees, making this ultra wide-angle video capture excellent for presentations. Like with the N30AF model, this comes with a built-in privacy cover that you can simply slide on whenever you need a little extra security or peace of mind.

Delivers smooth video content that won’t decrease in resolution or lose video quality.

Delivers smooth video content that won’t decrease in resolution or lose video quality. (Webcam/)

The Plug and Play webcam from GESMA is easy to set up for any level of computer user, advanced or beginner. All you need to do is plug in the USB 2.0 connector and you’re ready to go, no software needed. The 3D de-noising webcam microphone has built-in 8m omnidirectional sound absorption combined with a noise reduction microphone, which picks up your voice and automatically filters out background noise. Designed for professional video conferencing and game streaming, this camera delivers smooth video content that won’t decrease in resolution or lose video quality.

The 1920 x 1080p resolution will deliver a crystal-clear picture for Zoom calls, streams, Skype, and much more.

The 1920 x 1080p resolution will deliver a crystal-clear picture for Zoom calls, streams, Skype, and much more. (Webcam/)

The ANVASK webcam has built-in 8m omnidirectional sound absorption, along with a 3D noise-reduction bidirectional microphone that picks up only your voice and nothing else in the room. This gives it ample ability to filter out any unwanted background noise. If you want a little privacy when not using the camera, you can simply slide the built-in privacy cover on and cover up the lens.

Our Favorite Jewelry Cabinets

Store this beauties safely in a jewelry cabinet.

Store this beauties safely in a jewelry cabinet. (Unsplash/)

We are happy to report that today’s jewelry cabinets will keep your pieces pristine. With freestanding or wall-mounted choices, from mirrors to lights, these cabinets provide a stylish and orderly way to behold all your baubles. Great for getting your gems in order or for someone you know who needs to.

Once you’ve chosen your gems, simply close and lock the door. The quality mirrored door is nearly four feet high.

Once you’ve chosen your gems, simply close and lock the door. The quality mirrored door is nearly four feet high. (SONGMICS/)

We love how much you can store in this jewelry armoire. Over 12 dozen earrings, 32 necklaces, plus shelves and a nice bracelet rod. They really designed this jewelry cabinet to maximize the use of space. With three height adjustments, it’s easy to hang on a door or attach the white jewelry armoire to the wall, saving floor space, too.. Either way, you’ll enjoy the six AAA battery-powered blue LED lights that make it easy to see all your sparklers. We appreciated knowing that Songmics checks all the lights before shipping.

Contains storage for over 50 pairs of earrings and 60 rings. Those are some big numbers from this sleek white framed cabinet.

Contains storage for over 50 pairs of earrings and 60 rings. Those are some big numbers from this sleek white framed cabinet. (Nicetree/)

Mount this jewelry armoire, covered with a full-length mirror, on your door or wall to save valuable floor space in your room or closet. Open the door and the LED lights illuminate all your accessories. More than 30 necklace hooks mean necklaces won’t tangle. One of the features of the earring frame is that it’s magnetic so you can open it from the side for easier access. The four shelves on the lower right are great for accessories like belts, watches, and hair adornments.

We like the sleek styling on this locking wood and metal jewelry armoire.

We like the sleek styling on this locking wood and metal jewelry armoire. (QUANYOU/)

The LED lights shine on all your jewelry when the cabinet is open, and all you see is the white lines from an elegant mirror when it’s closed. Generous space for your rings, necklaces, bracelets, and earrings as well as small shelves for beauty products, make-up, and watches. Enjoy elegant storage with this jewelry cabinet that can be mounted to a wall or door.

We like the three removable boxes, in addition to the drawers and shelving, helping you stay organized down to the last earring-back.

We like the three removable boxes, in addition to the drawers and shelving, helping you stay organized down to the last earring-back. (Nicetree/)

We love that this cabinet can attach to the door or wall, but if mounted on the included legs, it looks like a dressing mirror. It even pivots – a vintage touch. Not only does this jewelry cabinet store your goodies, but it makes your room look good too. The three holes on the side of the frame allow you to pivot the mirror for a perfect angle. A nice perk: the cabinet arrives already assembled, so all you’ll need to do is attach the legs.

The scarf rod comes in handy for heavy or bulky watches and bracelets.

The scarf rod comes in handy for heavy or bulky watches and bracelets. (SONGMICS/)

We love the high-quality rounded beveled mirror on this model. It sets off the elegant soft lines of the velvet-lined jewelry cabinet. The largest of our choice, it measures over five feet high and over two feet wide. The sturdy brown wood MDF exterior does not need assembly, but the 8 LED lights do need AAA batteries. For the one who keeps everything, this luxe jewelry armoire can hold up to 100 pounds of jewelry.

Messy Tahoe Home Filled With Mannequins Is the Week’s Most Popular Home

most popular homes 2/25/21

realtor.com

A wild residence in South Lake Tahoe, CA, crammed with clutter—including dozens of dead-eyed mannequins dressed in evening wear—is the week’s most popular listing on realtor.com®.

The home ticked all the boxes for the kind of listing designed to be shared far and wide across the web. Unassuming exterior? Check. Listing details with no acknowledgment of the weirdness within? Check. Photos that defy easy description—and leave you with more questions than answers? Check!

Carefully posed throughout the house, with at least one mannequin sprawled across a rug wearing nothing, these eerie ladies—and at least one gentleman—serve a dual purpose. They force you to take a closer look at the listing for an otherwise humdrum duplex and serve to distract from the messy kitchen and bathroom.

The combination was enough to send the listing ricocheting on social media.

Bold move.

Mannequin mania
Mannequin mania

realtor.com

But that wasn’t the only off-the wall listing racking up clicks this week.

A Pennsylvania home with painstakingly customized interior touches—including rounded doorways, a honeycomb-style grand staircase, and floating light fixtures—grabbed your attention, as did a Disney-themed home in Disneyland’s home town.

Other popular picks this week included a pair of dreamy celebrity properties: the historic New Orleans home of a politically polar-opposite power couple, as well as A-lister John Travolta‘s 43-acre oceanfront Maine estate.

There’s a lot going on this week. Scroll on down through the list, and take it all in for yourself.

10. 1171 Palmer Ave, New Orleans, LA

Price: $3,380,000
Why it’s here: No partisan bickering here. We love this house. The sellers, political consultants James Carville and Mary Matalin, are staying in NOLA but have decided to downsize from this 8,279-square-foot Colonial Revival home.

The massive home was built in 1906 and has been updated to perfection. The quarter-acre lot is described as a “tropical oasis,” filled with gardens, mature shade trees, a terrace, a pool, and fountains.

New Orleans, LA
New Orleans, LA

realtor.com

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9. 967 Housel Craft Rd, Cortland, OH

Price: $197,000
Why it’s here: This is for a buyer looking for something outside the box. Surrounded by 8 acres of privacy, it’s a legitimate, two-bedroom treehouse. There’s a fairly large caveat: The place isn’t finished.

The raised octagon has an open second floor, a deck, and a shop with kitchenette. The home is outfitted with electrical and septic systems and well service, but needs to be completed by a buyer with big dreams.

Cortland, OH
Cortland, OH

realtor.com

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8. 421 N. Pine River Rd, Ithaca, NY

Price: $195,000
Why it’s here: Sitting on just over a half-acre at the top of a hill, this stone house from 1890 is a classic. The five-bedroom home comes with a four-car garage, lookout tower, original hardwood floors, curved interior walls, and updated bathrooms—for a combination of charm and convenience.

Ithaca, NY
Ithaca, NY

realtor.com

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7. 48 Hidden Cove Dr, Southampton, PA

Price: $1,399,999
Why it’s here: This curious five-bedroom house is all angles and sharp edges from the outside, but the interiors were designed with curves in mind. The contemporary home features custom effects like the butterfly-wing entry staircase, rounded doorways, and floating light fixtures that suggest sand dollars from space.

Although it was designed for a very specific taste, the home, from 1987, is upscale, with a saltwater pool, kids playhouse, whole-house generator, and many upgrades.

Southampton, PA
Southampton, PA

realtor.com

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6. 726 W. Garfield Blvd, Chicago, IL 

Price: $535,770
Why it’s here: Known as the O’Leary mansion, this historic brownstone dates to 1890. It was built by James Patrick O’Leary for his mother, Catherine O’Leary—the woman considered to be responsible for the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.

Today, the four-level, 12-bedroom home is in need of repair and is being sold as is. It still has much of the original woodwork and moldings, as well as walk-in vaults and a two-story coach house.

Chicago, IL
Chicago, IL

realtor.com

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5. 5743 Pleasant Hill Rd, Hartford, IL 

Price: $700,000
Why it’s here: This hideaway on 11 acres is just steps from the Ice Age Trail, and includes a three-bedroom home built in 1991. Highlights include a large kitchen, a living room with cathedral ceiling, log beams, a stone fireplace, and wet bar.

There’s a heated shop off the garage, a private pond, a new roof, as well as a number of other recent upgrades.

Hartford, IL
Hartford, IL

realtor.com

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4. 535 W. 13th St, Laurel, MS

Price: $255,000
Why it’s here: Although this storybook home hasn’t been featured on HGTV’s “Home Town,” that didn’t stop folks from clicking. Built in 1929, the three-bedroom residence recently had a stylish makeover, including new paint, windows, and refinished floors.

Laurel, MS
Laurel, MS

realtor.com

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3. 1543 W. Harle Pl, Anaheim, CA

Price: $835,000
Why it’s here: Built in the shadows of Disneyland, this ranch home has been decked out as an homage to all things Mickey Mouse. Happiest Airbnb opportunity on Earth?

The custom Disney designs are so spectacular, the four-bedroom home was featured on the Discovery Channel. Besides the decor, the home includes a heated pool, custom carpets, and a toddler-safe playroom floor.

Anaheim, CA
Anaheim, CA

realtor.com

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2. 299 Drexel Ln, Islesboro, ME

Price: $5,000,000
Why it’s here: This 48-acre oceanfront estate is being sold by actor John Travolta. The massive 20-bedroom mansion was featured in Architectural Digest in the 1990s and has been recently renovated.

The extraordinary property includes a deepwater dock, open fields with ocean views, a third-floor children’s space, and a detached barn used for car storage.

Islesboro, ME
Islesboro, ME

realtor.com

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1. 3695 Primrose Rd, South Lake Tahoe, CA

Price: $650,000
Why it’s here: Nondescript from the curb, this five-bedroom residence made waves this week, thanks to the mannequins staged throughout the property.

Most of the mannequins are dressed in evening gowns—adding to the mystique. Built in 1962, the place could use some work—and a lot of tidying up. There’s no word on whether the list price includes the mannequins and/or their glittery gowns.

South Lake Tahoe, CA
South Lake Tahoe, CA

realtor.com

The post Messy Tahoe Home Filled With Mannequins Is the Week’s Most Popular Home appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Get Toasty with these Great Hand Warmers

Fight chilly fingers with the right hand warmer.

Fight chilly fingers with the right hand warmer. (Pixabay/)

Hand warmers are a convenient and inexpensive way to stay toasty and stave off cold fingers. And you won’t have to worry about searching for that elusive missing glove. Small enough to take just about anywhere, they’re versatile and long lasting. So you can put down the terrible cup of coffee you only bought to keep your hands warm. Reach for one of our hand warmer picks instead, and you can have warmth right at your fingertips.

Are you always cold on the plane, train, or automobile? These are TSA approved, so pack a few in your suitcase.

Are you always cold on the plane, train, or automobile? These are TSA approved, so pack a few in your suitcase. (HotHands/)

We like that this product is natural. There is no odor and you can toss them in the trash when you’ve appreciated their ten hours of warmth. No harm to the environment. They heat up in 15-30 minutes and can get up to a toasty 158 degrees F, but average 135 degrees F. To make these hand warmers hotter, just shake them a little. The single-use warmers are made from iron powder, water, salt, charcoal, and wood fiber, and stay ready-to-go for three to four years.

Because this isn’t just a hand warmer, the large capacity 5200 mAh lithium battery actually can be used as a charger for your other portable electronic devices.

Because this isn’t just a hand warmer, the large capacity 5200 mAh lithium battery actually can be used as a charger for your other portable electronic devices. (OCOOPA/)

Lighter than your phone and warms up in seconds, we love this portable pocket hand warmer. It’s got push-button warmth and three heat settings. Unlike other hand products, you can actually snuggle your fingers up to both sides of this electronic hand warmer. It’s crafted from aircraft-grade aluminum and ABS, so it will last. The charge lasts a long time, too. It comes with a USB charging cable and a USB-C converter for easy charging at home or when you’re on the go.

These are single use and are made from ingredients that won’t harm the environment so you can just toss them after each use.

These are single use and are made from ingredients that won’t harm the environment so you can just toss them after each use. (Tundras/)

Air activated for instant heat, Tundra’s hand warmers provide 11 hours of heat. In the stands or by the river, you’ll enjoy keeping warm for hours at a time. Whether you’re sitting on the ski lift or in the tent, keeping your temperature warm allows you to spend more time enjoying your surroundings and your activities. Each 2-pack has TSA and FTL approved, environmentally safe, hand warmers. Keep a few in your glove box, backpack, suitcase, and in your jacket pockets. We know every outdoors person on your gift list will appreciate this hefty 40-pack of premium hand warmers.

Sleek and pocket-sized, this hand warmer has a top-of-the-line 10000mAh battery, the same that Teslas use.

Sleek and pocket-sized, this hand warmer has a top-of-the-line 10000mAh battery, the same that Teslas use. (OCOOPA/)

The new longer-lasting and more powerful battery means that you can get 15 consecutive hours of safe hand warming with this OCOOPA product. High-quality controls and three heat settings provide you with handfuls of comfort. That means you can also use it to charge your iPhone to 50 percent in 30 minutes. Who knew a hand warmer could do that? It’s got a bright orange protective silicon case and fully charges in 3-4 hours. This premium hand warmer comes with a USB-C connector, a USB-A cable, a user manual, and a little travel bag for everything you need.

The matte black design has a matching bag, making it safe and easy to hold, since it needs to stay upright to continue providing heat.

The matte black design has a matching bag, making it safe and easy to hold, since it needs to stay upright to continue providing heat. (Zippo/)

This sleek, pocket-sized design doesn’t rely on pouches or electricity. Instead, you light the fuel and that starts a chemical reaction. Extinguish the flame and let that reaction, fueled by molecules breaking down, create this hand warmer’s power. This cool warmer comes with a special pouring cup, making filling this little wonder easier with less spillage. Once it’s full, start it and appreciate up to twelve hours of flameless warmth. Just slide the thin hand warmer into your small pocket and it should keep you warm all day.

Our Picks for Best Ethernet Cables

Plug this cable in and watch your connection speeds fly.

Plug this cable in and watch your connection speeds fly. (Pixabay/)

Ethernet cables have become like little insurance policies for the quality and consistency of our devices. We’ve reviewed a few of the more popular and powerful ones below, each of which provides quantified quality assurance – and thus, peace of mind.

It’s waterproof, anti-corrosive, and built to withstand sunlight and temperature changes.

It’s waterproof, anti-corrosive, and built to withstand sunlight and temperature changes. (Cat 8 Ethernet Cable/)

Dacron’s Cat 8 cable has been tailored for the multipurpose rigors of home use. Even pets and outdoor animals will find its UV-resistant PVC covering impenetrable, and it can be buried underground and still deliver efficiently. Available in lengths ranging from 1.5 feet to 150 feet and with free cable clips included, these cables are easily fitted underneath carpets and along walls and doors, keeping your home and office tidy. With a maximum networking speed at 40Gbps, surfing, video streaming and online gaming are an exercise of speed and efficiency.

These flexible cables don’t sacrifice stability and dependability.

These flexible cables don’t sacrifice stability and dependability. (Amazon Basics RJ45 Cat-6 Ethernet Patch/)

With extra plastic around the end of the cable to protect the tab from breaking and the end of the cord from fraying, Amazon’s Basic RJ45 is thicker and sturdier than many of its competitors. It comes in lengths from 3 to 50 feet, and transmits data at speeds of up to 1 Gigabit per second. It also comes with a tangle-free boot on the connector designed to allow yanks and pulls. This boot and the thicker wiring can make hiding this cable a challenge. But the tradeoff is a wire that can take a beating and last through it.

Run it along walls, edges and corners – it will even slide unnoticed underneath carpet.

Run it along walls, edges and corners – it will even slide unnoticed underneath carpet. (Cat 6 Ethernet Cable/)

For those who want their ethernet connections to be ubiquitous, this thin white cord is the perfect flat-sided cable to weave unnoticed between devices. You don’t sacrifice performance either as all Jadaol Cat 6 cables are built from copper wire rather than copper-coated aluminum wire, providing exceptional transmission performance and low signal losses. Built to be “future proof,” it supports internet speeds up to 10-gigabit. Perfect for PCs, computer servers, printers, routers, switch boxes, network media players, Xbox, PS, gaming, PoE devices, NAS, and VoIP phones.

Suitable for AI smart products, like Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri, Google Home and other smart home and office products.

Suitable for AI smart products, like Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri, Google Home and other smart home and office products. (Cat8 Ethernet Cable/)

This heavy-duty performer receives praise for the reduced EMI/RFI interference and high fidelity that its quadruple-shielded Cat8 ethernet cable provides. Its quality UV-resistant PVC jacket allows it to be planted outdoors. It withstands extreme exposure to sunlight and changes in temperature, humidity and weather. Waterproofed and anti-corrosive, it is suitable for both outdoor and indoor use. This cable is so durable and flexible it can be buried directly with no drop in capability. It supports bandwidth up to 2000MHz and boosts the speed of data transmission up to 40Gbps, allowing for seamless streaming of HD videos, music, internet services, and playing games at hyper speed.

Built for future-proof speed and reliable connectivity.

Built for future-proof speed and reliable connectivity. (Cable Matters Snagless/)

Gamers love this cable. It supports up to 550 MHz and is suitable for fast ethernet, gigabit ethernet, and 10-gigabit ethernet, providing exceptional transmission performance and low signal losses. The 550 MHz guarantees high-speed data transfer for server applications, cloud computing, video surveillance, and online high-definition video streaming. Made of bare copper wire as opposed to copper clad aluminum (CCA) wire, the snagless design allows for easier unplugging, and gold-plated contacts ensure signal integrity. Perfect for wired home and office networks.

Incredible Foot Spas to Pamper Your Feet at Home

Need to give your feet a needed vacation? We have just the ticket.

Need to give your feet a needed vacation? We have just the ticket. (Pixabay/)

If you want to feel your best, your feet deserve special care. But regular pedicures and massages at professional spas can quickly get expensive. A home foot spa can give you a high level of relaxation for a fraction of the price. And it’s available any time! Consider giving a gift to your feet – and yourself – with one of our favorite models below.

Adjustable water temperature and removable massage rollers make it easy to relax exactly the way you like best.

Adjustable water temperature and removable massage rollers make it easy to relax exactly the way you like best. (Foot Spa/Bath Massager/)

The hardest part of using this product is deciding which of the many options you’d like to indulge in. Once you choose the precise temperature for the water and decide whether you want the 16 massage rollers in or out, you’re good to go. Water can be kept between 95 and 118 degrees fahrenheit for the duration of your soak, or adjusted up or down once you’re underway. Four pairs of massage rollers on either side are operated manually by rolling your foot over them, and are covered with small acu-nodes that can provide deep stimulation to your tired muscles. You can also add automatic bubbles or vibration for extra indulgence.

The cover panel is designed to be operated with a touch of your toe and allow you to choose from a plethora of functions.

The cover panel is designed to be operated with a touch of your toe and allow you to choose from a plethora of functions. (Conair Waterfall Foot/)

This home foot spa offers a plethora of options for pampering your feet. The waterfall is a unique feature, which pumps warm water over the top of your feet for a light massage. Two large loofah discs on either side of the cover panel and a removable small pumice stone make it easy to revitalize your skin. Two more removable attachments include a scrub brush and a massage disc with soft rubber spikes. Finally, removable massage rollers for the bottom of your feet complete the full spa experience.

The heating element will keep your water temperature steadily between 95-118 degrees Fahrenheit for as long as it takes to achieve the perfect level of comfort.

The heating element will keep your water temperature steadily between 95-118 degrees Fahrenheit for as long as it takes to achieve the perfect level of comfort. (Foot Spa/)

When you really need the most stimulation to relax your feet, this foot spa offers deep shiatsu massage with 14 foot-operated rollers and extra acupressure points for your toes, arches, and heels. Further enhance your relaxation with automatic bubbles and vibration options.

You can choose the length of your massage with a 10–60-minute timer.

You can choose the length of your massage with a 10–60-minute timer. (Foot Spa Bath/)

This high-tech heated foot spa offers fully automatic massage that stimulates the ball, arch, and heel of your foot all at once.After soaking your feet and relaxing, you still have to deal with a bulky foot spa full of hot water that needs to be emptied. But this one comes with handy features such as an easy-to-carry handle and splash lid cover so you won’t make a mess. And if you just don’t want to carry a couple gallons of water all the way to the sink or tub, you can roll it on four wheels and drain easily through the plug at the bottom of the basin.

Next-generation technology is nearly as satisfying as a personal masseuse.

Next-generation technology is nearly as satisfying as a personal masseuse. (Foot Spa Misiki/)

The three massage rollers on the Misiki Foot Spa are both fully-automatic and offer three different styles of massage to choose from: shiatsu, pressing, and kneading. A rotating pumice stone gives easy exfoliation, and the heating element keeps your water at a consistently comfortable temperature. Bubbles and red infrared lights provide additional care and comfort. The red light is meant to promote cell regeneration in your skin. When you’re done, the foot spa’s handle and lid make it easy to carry without spilling water, and a drainage plug quickly empties the basin. So you won’t ruin your zen.

The Hottest Cities in Real Estate Right Now Are ‘Spillover Markets’—Where Are They?

Stockton, CA, waterfront

iStock

The past year was the ultimate roller-coaster ride in real estate—long upward climbs, steep drops, and no shortage of hairpin curves along the way. And the ride hasn’t come close to slowing down so far in 2021. According to the data on realtor.com® for the first month of the year, it’s clear that the coronavirus pandemic has reshaped house-hunting patterns, and is also driving a whole lot of buying activity.

Our latest deep dive into the hottest U.S. markets for real estate—those metros where homes are flying off the market and listings rack up tons of views from eager buyers—shows plenty of changes from the status quo. We’re seeing “spillover markets,” which are close to a larger metro but have lower prices, dominate the ranking. And that’s true for the market that made it to No. 1 for the first time in almost 10 years: Stockton, CA.

Stockton is a city of about 310,000 people that’s about 72 miles east of San Francisco’s East Bay area. The Stockton metro also encompasses Lodi, a smaller town of about 67,000 that has vineyards and a wine country vibe.

“What we’ve been seeing is, inventory is superlow,” says Jerry Patterson, a Realtor® with Cornerstone Real Estate Group in Stockton. “In Lodi, it’s down 56% compared with this time last year.”

Half of all homes in Stockton and Lodi were selling in fewer than 37 days in January—22 days faster than in January 2020. That’s also 39 days faster than the norm in the rest of the country.

Patterson traces the housing shortage to just after the initial pandemic shutdown last spring.

“It took a couple of months for the listings to dry up—before lockdown, there was a normal amount of inventory,” he says. As in other places, homeowners have been reluctant to put their homes on the market and risk exposure to the coronavirus from potential buyers coming through.

Now, there’s a dearth of homes for sale, plus buyers flooding in from the Bay Area armed with extra cash. He estimates a 60-40 split between local and out-of-town home buyers. While the median listing price here was $480,000 in January, that’s a bargain compared with San Francisco, where it’s around $1 million.

“We’ve always seen [Bay Area buyers] come in here, but now even more so. They’re coming in hordes, but now with lots of cash,” Patterson says.

While they might not be making all-cash offers, often they’re putting up extra cash if a home doesn’t appraise at the agreed-upon selling price, to ensure a sale. Four- and five-bedroom homes are the most popular properties, although starter homes with two or three bedrooms are still in demand by younger couples and families as well as empty nesters.

Two other spillover markets for the Bay Area made the list: Vallejo, just north of San Francisco, and Sacramento, the state capital that’s farther east than Stockton. In general, smaller markets continued to grow in popularity, as they did last year, while denser, larger urban areas became less popular. The 40 largest U.S. markets dropped 27 spots, on average, since last year.

The hot list

Rank Metro Median Days
on Market
Median
Listing Price
1 Stockton, CA  37 $480,000
2 Rapid City, SD 22 $240,000
3 Burlington, NC 40 $296,000
4 Vallejo, CA 27 $525,000
5 Fort Wayne, IN 42 $225,000
6 Colorado Springs, CO 46 $532,000
7 Lafayette, IN 50 $275,000
8 Reno, NV 46 $637,000
9 Spokane, WA 44 $399,000
10 Sacramento, CA 36 $599,000
11 Topeka, KS 42 $146,000
12 Concord, NH 53 $355,000
13 Yuba City, CA 53 $445,000
14 Modesto, CA 43 $459,000
15 Janesville, WI 53 $227,000
16 Springfield, OH 54 $137,000
17 Fresno, CA 38 $365,000
18 Ogden, UT 36 $496,000
19 Columbus, OH 53 $307,000
20 Pueblo, CO 50 $339,000

The post The Hottest Cities in Real Estate Right Now Are ‘Spillover Markets’—Where Are They? appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.