Will President Biden’s $6 Trillion Budget Help Home Buyers Become Homeowners?

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As Americans grapple with swift-rising rents and home prices and a severe shortage of affordably priced real estate, housing has emerged as one of the priorities of President Joe Biden‘s administration.

In his first proposed budget of $6 trillion, the president would provide the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development with its largest funding increase in more than two decades. The extra $9 billion, a roughly 15% jump, would go toward creating affordable housing, combating discrimination, and helping struggling, lower-income renters. This money comes in addition to the $27.4 billion in housing assistance included in the $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill passed earlier this year.

“We are turning the page on decades of disinvestment and disregard for our nation’s housing crisis and putting housing where it belongs—at the center of our efforts to build a stronger, more equitable America,” HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge said in a statement. “HUD is no longer going to be left on the sidelines while millions of Americans struggle with housing and remain shut out from the opportunities a good home provides.”

These are ambitious goals, but the proposed budget still needs to be approved by Congress, which is likely to do some pruning.

“Where we choose to invest speaks to what we value as a Nation,” wrote Biden in his introduction to the budget. “This year’s Budget, the first of my Presidency, is a statement of values that define our Nation at its best.”

More affordable housing would be created

The dire housing shortage has pushed home prices to new highs, making homeownership unaffordable for many Americans and cutting them off from a key opportunity to build wealth. Renters, too, are having a harder time finding housing they can afford.

The president plans to build, preserve, and retrofit more than 2 million homes and commercial buildings in an effort to ease the housing shortage.

About $1.9 billion would go toward the HOME Investment Partnerships Program, which helps to create more affordable housing for lower-income households. About $100 million of that money would be earmarked to help homeowners stay in their properties.

“Some of the earlier proposals from the Biden administration were looking at housing from a demand point of view,” says Ali Wolf, chief economist at building consultancy Zonda. “Demand is not the problem today—it is the lack of attainable housing. The best use of federal dollars in the housing market is to help solve the supply problem.”

The budget also calls for the creation of new kinds of loans that first-time, first-generation home buyers would have an easier time qualifying for.

“Given the heated market we’ve experienced this year, making homeownership attainable is a worthy goal,” says Realtor.com® Senior Economist George Ratiu. “But given the hot market and extremely low number of homes for sale, simply qualifying more people for loans without a commensurate increase in the supply of homes won’t solve the affordability problem.”

More money would go to fighting discrimination in housing

In an effort to boost Black homeownership rates, the administration is proposing a $100 million initiative to provide increased down payments for buyers seeking to move into wealthier areas. The program would help buyers who receive Federal Housing Administration loans come up with down payments of up to 10%.

This would provide these buyers with immediate equity in their homes. It would also make their offers more attractive to sellers in this ultracompetitive housing market.

While Wolf applauds these efforts to level the playing field, they could have the unintended effect of heating up markets even more.

“Any support to minorities and lower-income individuals is good for the housing market and the economy in the long run,” says Wolf. “But an additional boost in demand may cause prices to go higher in the near term.”

The Biden administration would also like to send $3.8 billion to officials in underserved communities through the Community Development Block Grant program. The funds are intended to increase the supply of affordable housing and enforce fair housing laws.

The administration plans to hold landlords, lenders, and other real estate professionals who violate fair housing laws accountable. Biden’s administration would like to boost funding for HUD’s fair housing division by 20%, to $85 million. This money is typically distributed to local groups that investigate complaints of discrimination (e.g., a landlord refusing to rent an apartment to a Black family or a woman being denied a loan because she was on maternity leave). These groups also provide education, outreach, and training in these areas.

“Given that we’ve had a track record of discrimination in housing, providing resources to minimize inequality in lending and the home-buying process should make owning a home more accessible,” says Ratiu. “It should also lower the costs of homeownership, as borrowers should not be charged higher fees to get mortgages.”

More help could be provided to low-income renters

Many low-income renters were badly hurt by the coronavirus pandemic, as they were more likely to lose restaurant and hotel jobs and income than white-collar professionals. While many have been protected by eviction moratoriums during the crisis, many are accruing back rent they will owe their landlords when the eviction ban expires.

But help could be on the way. Fudge’s top priority was increasing rental assistance for the poorest renters, according to the New York Times. Tenants typically use the vouchers to pay the difference between market rents and what they can afford. The administration also would like to make it easier for voucher recipients to move to more affluent areas with better schools and more services available.

The budget would put $30.4 billion toward housing choice vouchers to assist struggling renters. This would create an additional 200,000 vouchers intended to help homeless youth, those escaping domestic violence, and others.

An additional $3.5 billion would be earmarked for homeless assistance grants, to offer housing and services to some of the most vulnerable families and individuals.

“Any program that would at least go a ways toward eliminating the threat of homelessness during hard economic times is a welcome development,” says Ratiu. “The only question for me is, does the current budget go far enough?”

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Schitt’s Creek, but in Real Life: Owner Tries Selling California Desert Town

Angela Owens/The Wall Street Journal

NIPTON, Calif.—In the award-winning television show “Schitt’s Creek,” the owners of the tiny town of the same name try to sell it, with no luck. Roxanne Lang feels like she’s been living that story line on repeat.

For more than half a decade now, she has been trying to sell her own town, an 80-acre plot of land on the California side of the Mojave Desert, about an hour away from Las Vegas. It’s now on the market again for $2.75 million.

With almost nothing around it for miles, Nipton is located far off Interstate 15, and appears in the middle of the desert almost like a mirage, with a grove of eucalyptus trees marking its presence.

It is home to 25 residents—give or take—a general store, an old schoolhouse, a trailer park, some art structures trucked in from Nevada’s Burning Man festival, and a ghost of a Nipton owner from a century ago, named Harry. The ghost, say residents, often appears in a midthigh coat and a black cowboy hat, looking away.

Roxanne Lang and Jerry Freeman, in an undated photo, bought Nipton in 1985.
Roxanne Lang and Jerry Freeman, in an undated photo, bought Nipton in 1985.

Roxanne Lang

Ms. Lang, who has owned the town along with her husband, Jerry Freeman, since 1985, first put it up for sale after Mr. Freeman died in 2016. It was Mr. Freeman, a gold prospector, who fell in love with Nipton, calling her at their home in Malibu to surprise her with the news that he had purchased the dusty acreage and all its structures for about $200,000.

“My first response was, ‘promise me we don’t have to live there,’ ” Ms. Lang, a retired speech-language pathologist, recalled. She ended up there for about 30 years, raising a son.

When the family first arrived, Nipton was an even dustier, more desolate outpost than it is today. The prior owners had placed dummies around the property to make it look like there were a lot of people living there. There weren’t—and the one resident soon left.

The Hotel California.
The Hotel California.

Angela Owens/The Wall Street Journal

Ms. Lang and Mr. Freeman planted the grove of desert-adapted eucalyptus trees and refurbished the small cafe and a five-room adobe hotel—now called Hotel California. They built several tiny eco-cabins for visitors. “It probably would have been easier to bulldoze it,” Ms. Lang says. The property includes the house where Ms. Lang and Mr. Freeman once lived.

In 2017, American Green, a cannabis company that trades over-the-counter, bought the town for about $5 million, with part of the financing from Ms. Lang. The company hoped to turn it into an event space for Instagram influencers showcasing marijuana products, and other weed tourists. The company erected some tepees and trucked in the Burning Man art, including a metal UFO and a giant circle made out of shopping carts stacked together.

American Green had organized just one or two events in Nipton and tried to build a swimming pool when a subsidiary company they sold it to stopped making payments. Ms. Lang says she tried to work with the group for more than a year, before she was forced to foreclose. The pandemic slowed down the process even more.

David G. Gwyther, the president of American Green, says in an interview that the company faced unforeseen costs in Nipton and “many unexpected complications.”

“No matter how good your intentions, the path toward success many times leads to failure,” he says.

Towns aren’t an easy thing to sell, as the fictional Rose family from “Schitt’s Creek” discovered. The once-wealthy family initially tried to sell the bare-bones town of Schitt’s Creek but eventually learned to love it instead. The actors portraying the Rose family weren’t available to comment on the challenge, according to their reps. Ms. Lang says Nipton is much more charming than Schitt’s Creek.

Nipton has about 25 residents, plus a general store, an old school house, a trailer park and some art structures trucked in from Nevada’s Burning Man festival.
Nipton has about 25 residents, plus a general store, an old school house, a trailer park and some art structures trucked in from Nevada’s Burning Man festival.

Angela Owens/The Wall Street Journal

Tepees erected by a company that wanted to make the town a destination for ‘weed’ tourism.
Tepees erected by a company that wanted to make the town a destination for ‘weed’ tourism.

Angela Owens/The Wall Street Journal

In real life, the town of Cal-Nev-Ari, Nev., which had also been on the market for about five years for about $8 million, recently sold at an undisclosed price, motel and casino included, according to its new owner. Herman Everett put his Texas ghost town called Villa de la Mina for sale about a year ago for $1.75 million, and says he still hasn’t found the right buyer. The property, once home to a popular chili cook-off in the mid-1980s, now features some empty structures made of rock and an old mine.

Mr. Everett says he is hoping to find someone to plow money into the property and bring it back to its former glory. A website advertising the ghost town says he is considering “all offers, trades, partnership options and partial owner financing.”

Back on the market earlier this year, Nipton has seen a variety of prospective buyers, including a group of believers in the existence of a ninth planet, who thought it would make a good place to hide out when the planet’s gravitational pull causes world-wide chaos, says Stephen Shearin, the town’s caretaker.

Mr. Shearin clarifies that he actually is known as Nipton’s “regulator,” while another resident, a former long-haul trucker named Jim Eslinger, is the self-appointed mayor. “I’m grandfathered into the town,” says Mr. Eslinger, who has lived there for 12 years. In truth, the unincorporated community is under the jurisdiction of San Bernardino County, which regulates the businesses on the property and collects taxes.

Stephen Shearin, left, jokes that he is the town’s ‘regulator,’ while Jim Eslinger, a 12-year-resident, is the self-appointed mayor.
Stephen Shearin, left, jokes that he is the town’s ‘regulator,’ while Jim Eslinger, a 12-year-resident, is the self-appointed mayor.

Kirsten Grind/The Wall Street Journal

On a recent tour this month, it was 90 degrees—the “nice season,” according to Mr. Shearin. In the summer, it can soar to 110 degrees or more. Mr. Shearin pointed out Hotel California and the Nipton Trading Post, both shuttered since the pandemic started.

An old schoolhouse is another community event space sometimes used for yoga or “sound baths,” a type of meditation that includes listening to drums and other musical instruments. The empty cabins built by Ms. Lang and Mr. Freeman “would be perfect for European tourists who want to see the American West,” Mr. Shearin says.

Nipton rarely has crime, residents say. If there are any issues among residents, “we just settle it with a barbecue,” Mr. Shearin says. “We’re very chill out here.” (The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department is the real law.)

The town’s motto, hung on signs around the property, is “Magical Nipton.” Some people, like Shannon Salter, who is a part-time resident, agree completely.

“It’s like you’re 100 years in the past and 100 years in the future, and the present, all combined,” says Ms. Salter, a writer. “There is an energy in the desert.” She is hoping to entice 27 other artists to chip in the cost of purchasing the town, turning it into something of an artist’s colony.

Nipton’s real-estate listing isn’t doing it any favors. The advertisement gives a bare-bones description of the property and adds, “Also included is some Desert Art and to top it off, Union Pacific Railroad runs through front of 80 acre property.”

Nipton residents actually consider the train a bonus feature, even though it rumbles through in the middle of the night. “It sounds like it could be coming right through your room!” Ms. Salter says. “It’s so exciting!” Mr. Shearin can tell which conductor is driving by how they blare the train’s horns.

Ms. Lang now splits her time between Southern California and Utah, although she returns sometimes to Nipton, including for a multiday party in late April for all her newly vaccinated friends.

She is currently considering two offers for Nipton, but it is unclear how serious they are. One is an all-cash offer from someone who hasn’t been there.

Updates aren’t happening as fast as they might be—one of her real-estate agents left for five months to hike the Pacific Crest trail. Ms. Lang says she sometimes calls via satellite phone.

The post Schitt’s Creek, but in Real Life: Owner Tries Selling California Desert Town appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Our Favorite Workout Shorts for Women

Don't head out to your next exercise session without a pair of comfortable workout shorts.

Don’t head out to your next exercise session without a pair of comfortable workout shorts. (Pexels/)

Workout shorts can make you feel so good during your workout. But finding a pair of women’s workout shorts that aren’t too tight or too loose is a bit of work. Do you want compression? Do you want flexibility? Do you want to make an impression? Try these workout shorts for women.

This cut helps keep you covered when you’re doing yoga, triathlon training, or doing CrossFit.

This cut helps keep you covered when you’re doing yoga, triathlon training, or doing CrossFit. (BALEAF Women’s 8″ /5″ High Waist Biker/)

One for the keys and one for the phone, we like having two pockets on these bike shorts. The compression fabric keeps you in place as you work out. Not only are these a little high-waisted (think muffin-top covering) but the 13 percent spandex helps with a wide tummy-flattening waistband. You don’t need to be training for the cycling grand prix to appreciate how these bike shorts for women feel and fit. You’ll love the breathable fabric that pulls out moisture to help keep you cool. And there are dozens of color options, too.

These look great paired with a tank top or a sleeveless shirt.

These look great paired with a tank top or a sleeveless shirt. (Colosseum Active Women’s Simone/)

The dolphin design and 3.5-inch inseam allow for movement while running, jumping, and climbing. Who likes putting on shorts with lining? Anyone? No, that’s why having this double-layered fabric is a great feature, so you don’t need a liner. Keeps you covered without any hassles. The double seaming adds an elegant touch to the cotton/poly blend shorts.

The stretchy style of these 5-inch inseams is a perfect length for activity.

The stretchy style of these 5-inch inseams is a perfect length for activity. (Liberty Imports Pack of 5 /)

Old-school with the internal drawstring and the elastic waistband, you can wear these shorts to the climbing gym or the hiking trail. It’s long enough to cover, but short enough to allow for dynamic motion. Please note that your daughters may borrow them right out of the dryer. The black zippers are a nice feature on all five heathered colors of these training shorts.

Slide slits allow for the big movements of pilates, yoga, and even martial arts.

Slide slits allow for the big movements of pilates, yoga, and even martial arts. (Blooming Jelly /)

It’s great not to have to worry about dropping something important, and the small zippered pocket on these running shorts keeps your valuables secure while you’re on the go. You’ll like the silky feeling of these shorts. The wide triple elastic waistband is comfortable and won’t bind even during those sets of crunches. No worries, because the soft fabric is light, and the thin stretchy liner isn’t baggy, so it stays put while you’re on the trail or the treadmill.

The knit waistband has a drawstring so you wear them low on your hips or your waist.

The knit waistband has a drawstring so you wear them low on your hips or your waist. (YOGA Women’s Quick-Dry Athletic Sports/)

If you want to look like a million bucks without spending that much, these shorts are your workout answer. The breezy fabric dries quickly, making them great for running, lifting, or tri-training. The lining of these shorts provides opacity and prevents chafing during your workouts. Its four-inch length elongates your leg while keeping you covered. The cut design on the back of these shorts not only provides visual interest, but the tailoring is flattering to most body sizes and shapes.

Our Favorite Workout Shirts for Women

Raise your hand if you're ready to upgrade your fitness apparel.

Raise your hand if you’re ready to upgrade your fitness apparel. (Pexels/)

You’ll want a workout shirt that’s going to be lightweight enough to be flexible and airy enough not to overheat you. It’s always a plus if it looks great, too. That’s why we’ve found some excellent choices in workout apparel that look and feel great on real people.

In 95 percent cotton and 5 percent spandex, these workout shirts fit your curves without pulling.

In 95 percent cotton and 5 percent spandex, these workout shirts fit your curves without pulling. (Boao 4 Pieces Basic Crop Tank Tops/)

Just pull on cuteness with these racerback crop tops – and there are four to a package. We chose the neutral set with black, white, grey, and olive, but there are other color combinations of these cute little crop tops. Layer a couple at a time for an extra bit of color, or put under a flannel or button-down shirt for everyday use. Don’t worry, they’ll breathe through your workout. And at four in a package, what a great value.

Designed to fit a woman with subtle shaping and styling, we like that it hits at the hip to keep a sleek line when you’re at the gym

Designed to fit a woman with subtle shaping and styling, we like that it hits at the hip to keep a sleek line when you’re at the gym (Amazon Essentials Women’s 2-Pack /)

There’s a reason T-shirts are a workout essential. It’s because they’re not fussy, just functional. We love the little details that make this t-shirt look good on us. First, it’s got some spandex to give a nice fit wash after wash. Then the v-neck, the most universally attractive cut, looks good on just about everyone. Also, the moisture-wicking fabric keeps you cool on your tri-training run, during your yoga session, or while you spin your way across the country.

The most forgiving of styles, this fit-and-flare workout shirt is going to be a favorite for the gym and the backyard, too

The most forgiving of styles, this fit-and-flare workout shirt is going to be a favorite for the gym and the backyard, too (icyzone Workout Tank Tops for Women /)

The three-pack of racerback style athletic tops allows for great shoulder range of motion, and the seams are designed to stay flat and in place. The stretchy top is made of polyester and spandex. There are no tags to itch or make you wonder what that little red spot is. Great for running, high-intensity training, and lifting. The heathered color assortment of grey, deep pink, and light pink color assortment suits any skin tone, but there are many other combos, too.

Of course black goes with everything, but there are also lots of other bright colors offered.

Of course black goes with everything, but there are also lots of other bright colors offered. (ICTIVE Womens Cross Backless Workout Tops/)

If you’re looking for an updated workout shirt, this is it. It’s racerback and has a back cut-out. This workout top looks as great as you do while you salute the sun, plank, or race that person next to you. The backless design doesn’t reveal too much and has a scoop neck in the front. You’ll want to make sure you’ve got a matching or coordinating bra on because it will be revealed in the cut out in the back.

Not only does this look nice, it really helps keep you cool and keep air moving across this area usually covered by the fabric.

Not only does this look nice, it really helps keep you cool and keep air moving across this area usually covered by the fabric. (Aeuui Workout Tops for Women /)

A subtly stylish take on the classic workout shirt, this racerback tank has mesh at the top of the back between the shoulders. The polyester and Spandex material is lightweight and wicks away moisture. Choose the black tank, or liven up your workout wardrobe with the bright blue or rose-red shirts.

Best Solar Landscape Lighting

Light up the night in your yard.

Light up the night in your yard. (Amazon/)

Because all these lighting sets are solar-powered, installation doesn’t require digging lines in the yard. Just open the box, assemble the pieces, and start giving your garden an upgrade. Not only does landscape solar lighting add appeal, but well-lit walkways, doorways, stairways, and paths are safer to navigate. Here are our choices for landscape solar lights.

Bright and sturdy, these are waterproof, heatproof, and frostproof, too.

Bright and sturdy, these are waterproof, heatproof, and frostproof, too. (LITOM 12 LEDs Solar Landscape Spotlights/)

These lights look like they mean business. Grab this two-pack and shine. The cold white solar spotlights come with rechargeable batteries, which are good for everybody’s garden. With a dozen in the set, you can create light in a large area. We love that these are brighter than other solar lights we’ve seen. They’re even patented. With the included mounting hardware, they are great on walls, fences, gates, doorways, and garages. Low light mode lasts all night, and the high bright mode lasts for six hours, longer than most other solar lights.

With no wires, there are no limits on the ambiance you could grow in your yard.

With no wires, there are no limits on the ambiance you could grow in your yard. (BRIGHTOLOGY ColorGlow Waterproof Outdoor Solar Rainbow Lights/)

You can program the colors or just let the rainbow take its course. Yes, these lights shine warm white but can stop or slide down the rainbow spectrum. The four lights collect sunshine all day and shine for eight hours at night automatically. Mounting bars and hardware let you shine your lights anywhere on your porch, patio, or pool. They also create magical effects when attached to eaves and fence tops.

Reliable charging, the rust-proof pathway lights are simple and intuitive to put together.

Reliable charging, the rust-proof pathway lights are simple and intuitive to put together. (Solar Lights Outdoor, Stainless Steel Waterproof Outdoor Lights /)

Adequately lighting footpaths was challenging before installing this set of 12 waterproof, stainless solar lights. If you have clay or hard soil, make sure you dig a little installation hole first. No worries about these landscape lights in inclement weather, they can handle it. Once installed, they charge and illuminate on their own. Your front door walkway, your side yard, or along the path to the pool, these solar lights quickly update your yard’s ambiance.

With 90 degrees rotation, you can create unique lighting effects, including always trendy up-lighting, with these bright lamps.

With 90 degrees rotation, you can create unique lighting effects, including always trendy up-lighting, with these bright lamps. (Biling Solar Spotlights Outdoor/)

Each of these warm white lights has 12 little LED bulbs tucked in there for brilliant illumination. With a high (700 Lumen) and low (350 Lumen) setting, on low, the jumbo built-in battery holds enough power to run each light for up to 15 hours. Install in your hardscape for low pathway or patio lighting, or attach them to walls and fences or over the garage for area lighting. We love tucking a few under palm, willow, or weeping cherry trees to accentuate corners of the grounds.

Best Sparkling Water Makers

Make your own club soda - with a twist of lime - at home with a sparkling water machine.

Make your own club soda – with a twist of lime – at home with a sparkling water machine. (Pixabay/)

There’s something about that delightful fizz when we pour it into the glass and bring it to our lips. It’s the sparkle in the sparkling water – the same effervescent sensation we enjoy from soda pop, only so much healthier for us sans all the sugar and calories.

But the high price of purchasing sparkling water daily can be much more difficult to swallow. Maybe you’re addicted to the bubbly sensation of soda pop, but know you should eliminate it from your diet or at least cut back. Did you know you can create that fizzy sensation in your own drinking water with a sparkling water maker for just pennies per gallon? It’s easy to do, and you can have all the bubbles you enjoy right at the tip of your tongue. You can even add natural flavors and concoct your own creations, or put some fizz in other beverages, too.

Take a look at these sparkling water makers that are certain to add some zing to your daily regimen.

One bottle can reduce up to 3,700 individual use bottles, which is good for the environment.

One bottle can reduce up to 3,700 individual use bottles, which is good for the environment. (SodaStream Fizzi Sparkling Water Maker /)

Sparkling water is good for you, with no calories and no sweeteners. Just fill your bottle with water, insert it into the sparkling water maker, and press the button down for 1 to 5 seconds (the longer the fizzier). Comes with three one-liter BPA-free reusable carbonating bottles, two 60-liter Co2 cylinders, and two 40 ml “bubly drops,” which are all-natural flavorings to liven up your beverage and contain no sweeteners or artificial additives. Powered by the Co2 cylinder, it’s energy-efficient, and each cylinder can carbonate up to 60 liters of water (that’s almost 16 gallons of water each!).

Designed to be the slimmest and most compact of the sparkling water makers.

Designed to be the slimmest and most compact of the sparkling water makers. (Carbonator III Premium /)

This stainless steel model looks sleek in any kitchen or office. The Aarke boasts a precision nozzle made of a single piece of stainless steel, the newest design in this technology that results in a smooth, controlled spray of carbonation into your water bottle. The bottle itself is engineered with a screw-on feature at the bottom for increased durability. Simply screw the bottle onto the machine until tight, and hold the handle down to carbonate. Fizzes your water in just a few seconds. Separate the metal and plastic parts of the bottle at the end of their lifetime to recycle the materials. Fun fact: “Aarke” means “every day” in the Southern Sami language of northern Sweden, named for a company whose goal was to produce premium household products that you will use and enjoy in everyday life.

You can even infuse new life into a sparkling beverage that went flat. (No need to throw them away anymore!)

You can even infuse new life into a sparkling beverage that went flat. (No need to throw them away anymore!) (DrinkMate Carbonated Beverage Maker/)

Carbonate any beverage in your fridge with the DrinkMate. Uses proprietary fizz infuser technology. Add some sparkle to your favorite cocktails or mocktails with this DrinkMate model. Pour it into the BPA-free Quick Connect Bottle, push the button, release the pressure when carbonated, and enjoy your reinvigorated beverage. Great for parties or gatherings. Also works with juices, teas, or even wine. Comes with a one-liter reusable carbonating bottle and patented fizz infuser. (Co2 cylinder purchased separately.) Two buttons allow for better control of the release of Co2, and the smaller size takes up less counter space than other models.

This machine has all the bells and whistles and also has a partnership to help the environment.

This machine has all the bells and whistles and also has a partnership to help the environment. (Twenty39 Qarbo – Sparkling Water Maker and Fruit Infuser/)

This lovely bronze soda maker adds a sophisticated look to modern or traditional kitchens. Includes a lifetime membership to their community of beverage creator gurus and access to hundreds of healthful, fruity recipes continually updated online. You’ll never run out of new ways to enjoy this appliance with Twenty39. The premium carbonation machine uses an air charge two-stage pressure release valve to infuse directly into your bottle with no loss of fizz. You’ve seen those elegant fruit-infused waters we love to look at and enjoy at the spa or gracing the lobby of a swanky hotel. This carbonator is designed with an extra-wide mouth so you can add your favorite fruit pieces to the water before transforming it into a sparkling beverage of your own. A nice extra: Twenty39 has partnered with One Tree Planted, so for every bottle sold, a tree will be planted somewhere in the world. Make mine a double.

Fill the bottle with almost anything you want to carbonate, screw on the lid, and push a lever.

Fill the bottle with almost anything you want to carbonate, screw on the lid, and push a lever. (FIZZpod Soda Maker/)

Enjoy healthy fizzy beverages from the comfort of your home with this FIZZpod soda maker. It also makes a great gift idea. Who wouldn’t enjoy one of these? The FIZZpod boasts they’re the easiest sparkling beverage maker on the planet. Be it juices, mixes, concentrates, oils, liquors, fruits, vegetables, herbs, teas, coffees, the FIZZPod will get them sparkling. You can even add ice. Kids, teens, and adults will all love experimenting with this infuser. It might even help everyone in the household drink more water, just because it got a lot more interesting. Comes with three plastic (PET) bottles and caps in a contemporary silver design, fizz infuser, and a manual to get you off and running with your favorite new hobby: mixology.

The Best Magnetic Screen Doors

Keep pets and pests at bay with a magnetic screen door.

Keep pets and pests at bay with a magnetic screen door. (Amazon/)

No matter what the season, there are always flying bugs, crawling bugs, and other uninvited little guests who are not welcome in your home. But who wants to always keep the doors closed? And who doesn’t love the smell of fresh air from the outdoors wafting through your home? You could hire a handyman to install an expensive framed screen door. Or you could get great results by taking a few minutes to get ahead on that honey-do list by putting up one of these magnetic screen doors. You’ll see our attraction to these magnetic screen doors. Take a look at our top recommended ones.

The door ‘automatically’ closes behind you. You, your dogs, and your cats can easily push it open, and it will close behind them, too.

The door ‘automatically’ closes behind you. You, your dogs, and your cats can easily push it open, and it will close behind them, too. (Flux Phenom Reinforced Magnetic Screen/)

When carrying bags of groceries, we love that we can open this door without using our hands. Just push through the generous rows of magnets and the door opens and then closes. The heavy-duty black screen has reinforced corners to keep bugs out season after season. We like how the matching black frame is a snap to put up with hook and loop closures. It will fit standard size exterior door openings – 38 x 82.

The lightweight polyester material allows for nice airflow in and out of your screened doorway.

The lightweight polyester material allows for nice airflow in and out of your screened doorway. (Magnetic Screen Door /)

We love that rather than just a few Velcro-like tabs along the edges of screens, the hook-and-eye tape runs along the whole length of the door frame. It even comes with extra matching push pins to keep the frame in place. It’s also got little screen tiebacks to hold the sides of the magnetic screen doors open. While some screens only have small hook-and-eye strips every so often, this model has a Velcro-like strip that attaches it to the entire door frame.

The eight weights in the bottom of the screen curtain keep the screen taut so bugs stay out, even in breezy weather.

The eight weights in the bottom of the screen curtain keep the screen taut so bugs stay out, even in breezy weather. (Homitt Magnetic Screen Door/)

We love all the magnets, so you don’t need your hands to open and close this door. There is nothing quite as exasperating as trying to catch that one most annoying mosquito that snuck in your room. Why not quickly put up some screen curtains and keep your house insect-free all year long? This magnetic screen door fits most doors and has extra seaming at the top to keep the opening free of rips. The gravity sticks at the bottom keep the screen from blowing open in the wind. Enjoy the things we love about the outdoors (like the great fresh air) without the hassles of those things we don’t.

Instead of nylon or metal, fiberglass won’t rust, mold, burn or corrode. And it lasts.

Instead of nylon or metal, fiberglass won’t rust, mold, burn or corrode. And it lasts. (MAGZO Magnet Screen Door/)

We love that these magnetic screen doors are crafted from fiberglass mesh. Frame and mesh are white, so it won’t distract from doorway architecture. The little windproof stickers in the middle and on the bottom keep the door from flapping open. Just follow the directions in the included manual and voila, your pets can wander in and out without you.

We like the two layers of stitching at the top of the curtain that defends against rips and tears.

We like the two layers of stitching at the top of the curtain that defends against rips and tears. (Yotache Magnetic Screen Door/)

This magnetic screen door is a little narrower – for 32-inch wide doors, and a little taller for 90-inch high doors. If you’ve got kids and dogs, this magnetic screen door is a long-lasting choice. The thicker fiberglass threads mean the screens are strong and durable. It has push pins to keep the frame tight, and there are hasp closures to keep the curtain closed. Let the sunshine in and not the bugs with this Yotache magnetic screen door.

Best Whitening Toothpastes

Who's ready to give their teeth a nice white shine?

Who’s ready to give their teeth a nice white shine? (Pexels/)

Coffee, tea, red wine … we love sipping on those colorful, flavorful libations. But a minute on the lips and, unfortunately, much longer on the teeth. Part of what makes those drinks – and foods like berries– taste so sumptuous are the same things that can stain our teeth. Time doesn’t help whiten them either.

In just 10 hours’ time, you can remove 14 years of stains with this kit in just 30 minutes a day.

In just 10 hours’ time, you can remove 14 years of stains with this kit in just 30 minutes a day. (Crest 3D White Professional Effects/)

Yes, you can apply and then wear the industry-leading whitening strips for a complete hour instead of the recommended 30 minutes, for even faster whitening. But the 30 minutes, 20 days in a row, truly makes your smile whiter, and we love that. They are easy to remove from their packaging and apply. Put them on before your morning commute, chores, or workout. They’re designed with special no-slip sealing technology so they’ll stick to your teeth while you chat

We like how using this option actually strengthens your tooth enamel.

We like how using this option actually strengthens your tooth enamel. (Colgate Total Whitening Toothpaste Gel/)

Grab a four-pack of these Total tubes of toothpaste. We love the minty gel and how it brightens your smile and your mouth. This product has revolutionized toothpaste with its use of stannous fluoride. It’s different from regular sodium fluoride as it acts as an antibacterial, not just for protection from cavities, but plaque, gingivitis, tartar buildup, and tooth sensitivity. It freshens your mouth and whitens your smile all at the same time.

We all know the power of acids in your food. When you brush, knock out those enamel eroding too.

We all know the power of acids in your food. When you brush, knock out those enamel eroding too. (Sensodyne Gentle Whitening Toothpaste//)

Sensodyne also strengthens and rehardens enamel, the tooth’s protective surface. You’re brushing anyway, so why not whiten and gently improve your whole mouth’s health? We love how there is finally a gentle way to relieve sensitivity while whitening and strengthening your teeth.

This brand has a soothing flavor that won't overwhelm your mouth after each use.

This brand has a soothing flavor that won’t overwhelm your mouth after each use. (Nu Skin AP 24 Whitening Fluoride /)

We love that this whitening toothpaste doesn’t have bubbly peroxide. But it still brightens like a pro. Using sodium monofluorophosphate, a salt helps put minerals back into your teeth, which in turn helps to prevent tooth decay. Make sure to brush thoroughly when you use it, twice a day. It’s safe for kids two and over – just make sure the little ones are supervised and rinse their mouths out well.

Even the most sensitive mouths will appreciate this earth friendly, people friendly, whitening paste.

Even the most sensitive mouths will appreciate this earth friendly, people friendly, whitening paste. (Cali White Activated Charcoal & Organic Coconut Oil /)

This toothpaste is also great for what it doesn’t have in it. No fluoride, no gluten, no peroxide, no parabens, and made without cruelty. Little diatom skeletons – diatomaceous earth – provide the scrubbiness in this natural whitening toothpaste. We love the activated charcoal, baking soda, combined with the organic coconut oil, that binds to pull stains and plaque from your teeth. The deep Pacific Mint flavor of peppermint oil keeps your mouth fresh.

Our Favorite Salad Choppers

The right tool for the right salad.

The right tool for the right salad. (Amazon/)

The best salads have lovely, well-incorporated ingredients. But what if you don’t have a lot of time (which is most of us) or have chef-like knife skills (also most of us)? It can be a painstaking process to slice, cut, and grate each vegetable and fruit using just a kitchen knife. However, thanks to the invention of these handy little devices known as salad choppers, or mezzalunas, salads can be created more efficiently than ever.

Just place your ingredients in the bowl, then rinse, flip, and chop away to produce a colorful mix of in minutes.

Just place your ingredients in the bowl, then rinse, flip, and chop away to produce a colorful mix of in minutes. (Salad Cutter Bowl /)

This dishwasher-safe salad cutter bowl makes eating healthy a snap. With an easy wavy-edge rotation design and slots for cutting, the salad cutter bowl by WEBSUN makes slicing your fruits and vegetables a quick and efficient process. A catch area at the base of the tool prevents water or juice messes from spilling onto your counter.

With sharp stainless-steel blades and soft-grip handles, you can cut fruits and vegetables right into your bowl with ease.

With sharp stainless-steel blades and soft-grip handles, you can cut fruits and vegetables right into your bowl with ease. (Trudeau Toss and Chop Salad Tongs/)

The Trudeau Toss and Chop is a must-have for salad lovers or anyone looking to eat a little healthier.You will find yourself reaching for this handy tool over and over again. The tongs lock shut so you can store them safely. We especially love how the blades never need sharpening. Are you looking for ideas on what to make for your next meal? As an added bonus, these tongs come with a recipe book.

When you’re finished, just rinse it off or wash it in the dishwasher.

When you’re finished, just rinse it off or wash it in the dishwasher. (Checkered Chef Mezzaluna Chopper /)

Designed to slice and dice quickly, this chopper has two blades specially engineered for speedy salad preparation that’s essential for any busy household. Place your ingredients in a bowl and simply chop them up in quick slicing motions. You can use the blade protectors to store safely until your next meal.

Made salad, dip, side dishes, and more in less than 60 seconds

Made salad, dip, side dishes, and more in less than 60 seconds (Salad Chopper Blade and Bowl/)

With this Salad Chopper Blade and Bowl, you can craft all these with very little time and effort. The double-blades are extra beveled for fine chopping, and the large bowl made of quality stainless steel allows you to make enough food for family and friends. Use a chop and spin action to cut all the ingredients at once, and create a perfect blend of flavors in less than a minute.

The wide, curved handle allows you to chop everything in a smooth rocking motion that saves wear and tear on your hands and wrists.

The wide, curved handle allows you to chop everything in a smooth rocking motion that saves wear and tear on your hands and wrists. (Nish Salad Chopper with Protective Cover /)

Who doesn’t want to save their fingers and their time? The Nish salad chopper makes all of that possible. Its two high-class food-grade stainless steel blades and contour handle not only make it easy to cut your fresh vegetables and fruits, but it’s also intentionally designed so that food doesn’t get stuck while you chop. With extras like a durable storage box, blade covers, and Salad Chopper Recipes e-book, this chopper is an invaluable tool for novice and skilled salad-makers alike.

Private Island Paradise? Fairy Island in Wisconsin Is the Week’s Most Popular Home

most popular homes 5/28/21

Realtor.com

Floating in the middle of Booth Lake in Wisconsin is Fairy Island, a dream property for someone looking to get away from the rest of the world. And guess what? There are plenty of folks with solitude on their mind. The isle cast a spell on home watchers this week, becoming the most popular home on Realtor.com®.

The 1-acre island comes with a cabin built in 1930, a well, and even a boat for getting back and forth to the mainland. The best part? It’s affordable at only $350,000.

It wasn’t the only private island to crack this week’s top 10. A chic isle on Lake Minnetonka in Minnesota also drew attention with its opulent amenities, including the largest residential atrium in the state and an indoor grotto. Known as Windermere, this estate comes with a significantly steeper price tag: $15 million.

Listing photos for an abandoned love nest in Los Angeles once shared by ’90s rock gods Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love also drew a crowd. The now-decrepit dwelling is up for grabs for a buyer in search of a chunk of rock history.

You also clicked on a charming Tudor in Santa Barbara, CA, as well as the former home of professional designers in Indianapolis.

It’s a diverse list of popular homes this week, but we expect most of you to walk away with Fairy Island daydreams. The pull of a private island priced within reach is hard to resist. Scroll down for a full look at the week’s 10 most popular homes.

10. 458 W 22nd St, Merced, CA

Price: $350,000
Why it’s here:
Built in 1901, this four-bedroom Victorian in the Central Valley is being sold as is and needs someone to bring it back to life.

Filled with built-ins and throwback touches like pocket doors, window seating, and stained glass, the home also has new flooring and paint. Most importantly, it possesses “lots of potential,” according to the listing.

Merced, CA
Merced, CA

Realtor.com

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9. 749 Susquehanna Rd, Danville, PA

Price: $350,000
Why it’s here:
This 3-acre country property sits where the Susquehanna River and Roaring Creek meet. It includes a separate building with bar, four-stall bank barn, and riding area. The four-bedroom, 3,082-square-foot main home was built in 1840 and includes wide-plank wood floors, two enclosed sun porches, and 10-foot ceilings.

Danville, PA
Danville, PA

Realtor.com

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8. 3717 Wedgway Dr, Fort Worth, TX

Price: $359,000
Why it’s here:
This midcentury modern ranch is decked out in pitch-perfect decor that elevates the original details of the house. They include clean lines, vintage bathroom tile, and sliding windows.

The four-bedroom home also has plenty of modern updates, including professional landscaping and a pool. A classic from the 1950s, this place has plenty of room for a stylish crowd.

Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth, TX

Realtor.com

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7. 514 Rosemonte Dr, Phoenix, AZ

Price: $375,000
Why it’s here:
The sellers of this three-bedroom have turned the interiors into a decor hodgepodge.

A Coke vending machine, full-sized video game, and loud color choices throughout make this a home with a particular type of appeal. A buyer will either fall in love with it or purchase gallons of a neutral-color paint.

Phoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ

Realtor.com

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6. 3117 Calle Noguera, Santa Barbara, CA

Price: $1,795,000
Why it’s here:
Charming as heck, this San Roque Tudor was built in 1926. The interiors of this four-bedroom home are a perfect blend of old world and modern style.

Outdoors, the deck and lush yard offer a perfect escape to nature and gorgeous Santa Barbara sunshine.

Santa Barbara, CA
Santa Barbara, CA

Realtor.com

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5. 710 Nottingham Ct, Indianapolis, IN

Price: $855,000
Why it’s here:
Built in 1947, this home was remodeled and redesigned by the seller—the professional behind local design firm House Seven Design.

Light-filled and chic throughout its 3,582 square feet of living space, including five bedrooms, this is a turnkey purchase for a buyer in search of serious style. Custom details include a finished basement and two offices done by California Closets.

Indianapolis, IN
Indianapolis, IN

Realtor.com

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4. 1017 Kennely Rd, Saginaw, MI

Price: $619,999
Why it’s here:
This quirky estate is a bit of a head scratcher. It’s highlighted by a motorized, rotating tower reportedly inspired by the CN Tower. While nowhere near as tall as Toronto’s tower, this perch is probably as good as it’s going to get in Saginaw.

An oddly shaped main house has 5,000 square feet of living space and a 1,700-square-foot finished basement. The 16.5-acre property comes with a guesthouse, greenhouse, and garage parking for seven cars.

Saginaw, MI
Saginaw, MI

Realtor.com

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3. 5570 Maple Heights Rd, Greenwood, MN

Price: $15,000,000
Why it’s here:
This luxe island estate offers spectacular living spaces, views of Lake Minnetonka, and the ultimate in security. The 1.37-acre island is connected to the mainland by a private driveway.

The four-story, five-bedroom,13,949-square-foot mansion features a home theater, lounge and wine room, cigar and poker room, indoor grotto, and the state’s largest residential glass atrium.

Greenwood, MN
Greenwood, MN

realtor.com

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2. 6881 Alta Loma Ter, Los Angeles, CA

Price: $998,000
Why it’s here:
This run-down residence was once the center of the rock world when it was shared by grunge power couple Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love in 1992.

Today, the three-bedroom home built in 1921 has fallen into disrepair and needs an enterprising buyer to breathe new life into the place.

Los Angeles, CA
Los Angeles, CA

Realtor.com

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1. Booth Lake Lot 3, East Troy, WI

Price: $350,000
Why it’s here:
Priced within reach, this private island is ideal for a buyer in search of seclusion. Known as Fairy Island, it measures in at just under an acre and sits in the middle of Booth Lake.

About 45 minutes west of Milwaukee, this isle presents an opportunity to really get away from the big city. It comes with a two-bedroom, 900-square-foot cabin with a kitchenette. The surrounding woods offer privacy, and the purchase price includes a boat, which a new owner will need to reach the mainland.

East Troy, WI
East Troy, WI

Realtor.com

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