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A Boulder House With Petroglyphs

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One fireplace has scorch marks from ancient encampments.

Published by Melissa Allison on Zillow Blog.

It’s easy to see why the Fort McDowell Yavapai nation of Native Americans bought this house in Scottsdale, AZ.

The stone walls bear ancient petroglyphs, including rare sculptural forms, and create sacred spaces where sunlight plays during equinoxes.

A couple from the Northwest built the home in the early 1980s — if “build” is the word for pouring concrete among Precambrian granite boulders and cutting windows to fit the unusual contours of weathered stone.

They lived there more than two decades, then sold it in the mid-2000s to the Fort McDowell Yavapai nation, which expected to use it as a retreat center but found it was too far from their community. It’s now on the market for $4.2 million.

Looking at the pile of boulders, it’s hard at first to pick out the 5-bedroom, 2.5-bath home among them.

It sits on 9 acres in the Sonoran Desert and includes amenities that prehistoric people would have enjoyed — fireplaces and mountain views — plus some they would not, such as double ovens, a super-wide stainless steel refrigerator and a master suite with a combined deep tub and shower.

The guest room has a private patio entrance and a natural fireplace with scorch marks believed to have been left by Native American encampments.

These boulder formations also created the landscape of the famous Boulders Resort & Spa nearby, said Preston Westmoreland, the listing agent with Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty.

4 Reasons To Move-Up To Your Dream Home This Spring

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Spring is in full force; the summer months are right around the corner. If you are debating moving up to your dream home, here are four great reasons to consider buying today instead of waiting.


Published on Keeping Current Matters.

1.) Buyer Demand is High & Inventory Is Low

Recent numbers show that buyer demand is at the highest peak experienced in years, and inventory for sale is at a 4.6 months supply, which is still markedly lower than the 6.0 months needed for a historically normal market.

The National Association of Realtors, Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun put it this way,“Demand in many markets is far exceeding supply, and properties in March sold at a faster rate than any month since last summer.”

Listing your home today can greatly increase exposure to buyers who are out in force and ready to act.

2.) Prices Will Continue to Rise

The Home Price Expectation Survey polls a distinguished panel of over 100 economists, investment strategists, and housing market analysts. Their most recent report projects appreciation in home values over the next five years to be between 11.7% (most pessimistic) and 27.5% (most optimistic).

The bottom in home prices has come and gone. Home values will continue to appreciate for years. Waiting for your current home’s value to increase before selling could price you out of your new home if you aren’t careful.

3.) Mortgage Interest Rates Are Still Near Record Lows

As we reported last week, interest rates have remained below 4% for some time now, and are substantially lower than the rate previous generations paid when getting a mortgage.

The Mortgage Bankers Association, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac & the National Association of Realtors are in unison projecting that rates will rise over the next 12 months.

An increase in rates will impact YOUR monthly mortgage payment. Even an increase of half a percentage point can put a dent in your family’s net worth. Whether you are moving up or buying your first home, your housing expense will be more a year from now if a mortgage is necessary to purchase your home.

4.) It’s Time to Move On with Your Life

The ‘cost’ of a home is determined by two major components: the price of the home and the current mortgage rate. It appears that both are on the rise. But, what if they weren’t? Would you wait?

Look at the actual reason you are buying and decide whether it is worth waiting. Have you always wanted to live in a certain neighborhood? Would a climate change be just what the doctor ordered? Would you like to be closer to family?

Bottom Line

If the right thing for you and your family is to move up to your dream home this year, buying sooner rather than later could lead to substantial savings.

Capture Craftsman Style in Your Home

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Warm, nature-inspired design elements convey the aesthetic of this popular style.

Published by Natalie Wise on Zillow Blog.

The Craftsman style evolved from the English Arts & Crafts movement, which was a natural turning point from the overly formal and perhaps stifling Victorian era. When brought to the United States, it became known as the “Craftsman” style, and the movement’s theme was “honesty of design.”

That honesty comes from hand-hewn items, fine workmanship, harmony with nature and simplicity of living. Traditional 1910-1930 bungalows with tapered square column porches, low eaves and shingles can be seen across the country today.

Even if your home doesn’t have an inglenook or plenty of built-in bookcases, you can still bring the honesty of design into your home by incorporating Craftsman touches into your decor.

Earth tones

One of the trademarks of Craftsman style is the earthy tones used inside and outside the home. Inspired by nature’s color palette, muted browns, grays, greens and amber hues are popular. Rich reds and oranges serve as brighter shades in the style.

Stained glass

Source: Pompei Stained and Fused Glass

Stained glass is another way to bring warm light and earth tones to the interior of a house. Try incorporating hanging or standing panels or stained-glass lamps. For the full effect, consider replacing a few window panels, particularly bay windows, with Craftsman-inspired stained glass.

Warm wood accents

Source: Shop Wright
Source: Shop Wright

Wood, particularly oak, is one of the major trademarks of the Craftsman style. The wood allowed true craftsmanship to come through in joinery and details. Frank Lloyd Wright, whose architecture was “eloquent and humane,” enjoyed using the natural elements of wood in unique ways, such as this lamp from his famous Taliesin III home. The warm light reflects off the warm wood to bring a comforting glow to any room.

Leaves and stylized botanical prints

Source: Arts and Craftsman Woodworks
Source: Arts and Craftsman Woodworks

Since closeness with nature is such a large part of the Craftsman heritage, anything with oak leaves, acorns, Gingko leaves or other natural elements instantly brings harmony to the room. This hand-carved sign instantly shows off Craftsman style and the handmade touch that makes it so appealing.

Copper and bronze details

Copper and bronze details

Copper and oil-rubbed bronze seamlessly integrate with the warm woods of the Craftsman style. Cabinet hardware, lighting and other accessories in brighter metals can easily be replaced with these warm tones. Hand-hammered or botanical-inspired pieces that show off the workmanship and detail of the artist are especially appropriate.

Stone and brick

Source: Nordic House
Source: Nordic House

Stone and brick feature prominently on the outside and inside of most Craftsman homes. They are particularly important around a central fireplace, another feature of Craftsman style. But they can be incorporated into other areas, too. Garden or tabletop accents such as tall slate oil lamps are a unique touch in the same shape as Craftsman columns and add even more warm light.

Water features

Source: Overstock
Source: Overstock

Water is an important element of nature and incorporates well into Craftsman interiors. Small indoor waterfalls or tabletop rock gardens with waterfalls bring the elements of natural sounds into your home. This unique waterfall sink brings a little bit of Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic “Fallingwater” to any bathroom. Oil-rubbed bronze and an organic-form amber bowl are sure to be a focal point.

Built-in storage

Beautiful built-ins

Built-in storage was immensely popular in Craftsman style. While your own home many not have any of these decorative storage units, you can easily create some. Use simple bookcases and storage cubbies to create the feel of built-ins (and offer extra space, too). This looks particularly great around any windows or doors.

Cultivate outdoor spaces

Create an outdoor space that is in harmony with nature.

Well-cared for, luscious outdoor spaces with plants, stone, wood trellises and more will complete the Craftsman style for your home. Hang lights, use natural planters, and create an outdoor space that is in harmony with nature.

Whether you are renovating a classic bungalow to its former glory or just bringing a bit of nature-inspired design to your current home, the welcoming simplicity of Craftsman style is timeless.

The Ultimate Open House Checklist: Master Bedroom Edition

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You know what they say about the master bedroom: “This is where the magic happens.” It’s certainly a top priority for buyers—after all, this is where they’d spend a solid eight hours of their day. So, for your open house, make sure your master bedroom is a peaceful place that makes buyers wish they could snuggle up and take a nap right away.

Laguna Beach, CA
Laguna Beach, CA

Published by Chrystal Caruthers on

Here’s our checklist of everything you need to do to get your master bedroom open-house-ready.

Make the bed. You’d be surprised how many homeowners leave without making the bed. This is not your real estate agent’s job. (Unless you’re 13 years old and you hired your mom as your agent, but even then, come on!) Your bed should be made for every open house and every showing.

Make the bed beautiful. Now’s the time to match your sheets, pillows, blankets, and duvet. Think Pottery Barn or West Elm. And fluff those pillows!

Create a seating vignette. If you have the space, try staging a plush chair with a small side table and reading lamp. It will allow buyers to picture themselves there, taking a much-needed timeout.

Paint a neutral color. Your real estate agent will always urge you to paint your whole house a neutral color—and this tip is more important in the master bedroom than anywhere else. Add pillows, throws, and rugs for pops of color.

Spin it to win it. A slowly rotating ceiling fan helps create a relaxing mood—but make sure to clean the blades first.

Breathe deeply. The only scent in the air should be that of a clean, fresh room. We’re not big on air fresheners, but a simple diffuser can add a subtle fragrance. A potted orchid can also add a sophisticated touch.

Light it up. Yes, you sleep in the dark, but don’t greet buyers with a dull, dim space. That single overhead light is not enough. Put a lamp in the corner and a couple next to the bed.

We said: Light it up! It’s great if you’ve got serious drapes, but please open the blackout shades before leaving the house. Buyers love natural light.

Stage the bedside tables. Ditch the unread US Weekly and tangled iPhone cables, and replace them with a simple clock, a decorative vase, and a book or two. Reading “The Liar“? Set it next to the bed. It might be that one thing that helps you connect with your buyer.

Sweep/mop/vacuum/dust. Basically, clean the bedroom from top to bottom.

Do the laundry. An overflowing hamper is unacceptable, as are (do we really need to even mention this?) dirty socks lying on the floor. Seriously: Do the laundry!

Pimp your closet. Spacious, organized closets sell homes. Make a budget to add shelving, hanging racks, and drawers—they will pay off. And if your closet is overflowing with clothes, it’s time to purge curate. Donate unused garments, consign a few items withTheRealReal, put out-of-season clothes in storage, or even start packing for your move.

Show your bedroom who the master is. Furniture crowds a room and makes it look smaller—and buyers want large master suites. Pick out the biggest and least necessary pieces and put them in storage.

Be art smart. Decorative art helps make a room memorable. Find something that connotes relaxation, and hang it either above the headboard (if there’s space) or on a wall opposite the door to make a statement. (Note: Personal photos don’t count—tuck them away.)

Use an area rug. In rooms with hardwood floors, a large area rug adds another texture, gives visual interest, and creates a sense of warmth. Decorator’s note: The rug should flow from beneath the bed, not as an island in the middle of the room.

Hide jewelry. If you’ve been following this Open House series, you know we’re keen on safety. While your daily routine may include removing your watch and resting it on the dresser, remember, strangers will be walking through your home, sometimes unattended. Stash jewelry in a safe or take it with you when you leave for the open house.

Be fully prepared with our Ultimate Open House Checklists:

Kitchen Edition
Bathroom Edition
Security Edition

7 Quotes to Survive the Home Search

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House hunting is fraught with frustration and challenges. Keep these quotes in mind to keep you sane.

Published by Meredith Haggerty on Trulia Blog.

Shady brokers, bad plumbing, wildly competitive open houses, misleading listings, sky-high prices, and ever-escalating offers: there is a terrible lot to contend with when finding a new place to live.

But there’s also no other process that deserves your time and attention like discovering a new place to call your own. Here are seven quotes that will help keep you sane during the emotional Olympics that is the home search.

“Home is the nicest word there is.” — Laura Ingalls Wilder

Looking for a new home is a lot of work, but it’s important to remember that, ultimately, this needs to be a place that makes you happy.

“It is not the beauty of a building you should look at; it’s the construction of the foundation that will stand the test of time.” — David Allan Coe

While flashy fixtures and nice sconces often sell houses, it is the basics and bones that really matter in buying (or renting) a home. Try to pay just as much attention to the unglamorous things.

“Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.” — Jean-Jacques Rousseau

You’re going to hear from at least one friend about how they went out with a real estate agent on a whim one fateful weekend, looked at one perfect house, and just knew.

These people are maddening and need to be ignored. Real estate is a lot like falling in love. Sure, sometimes it just happens at first sight, but most of the time it takes patience, understanding, and a lot of work.

“The root of suffering is attachment.” — The Buddha

It might be a little lofty to quote the Buddha on a real estate blog, but when it comes to house hunting, detachment is vital. Until the paperwork is signed, there are many, many things that can go awry.

“We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.”Winston Churchill

Your home can affect you in ways you don’t even realize. Will a master bedroom without natural light make you cranky? Will having a bathroom with dual sinks lead to double the mess? These are questions you can only answer for yourself.

“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.” — Mark Twain

You don’t want to end up with an unfixable fixer-upper, but a place can be so much more than what you see at an open house. Look past the staging and think about what you could do to make the space yours. You might be surprised at your own creativity.

“Home is wherever I’m with you.” — Edwin Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

When all is said and done, the building doesn’t matter nearly as much as the people in it. Even if you live alone, a home is made up of the people who live there.

If you remember that you’ll find happiness in everyday moments at home, then creaky floors or leaky pipes will be no big deal.

Before & After: Gloomy Garage to Light and Airy Kitchen

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White walls, open shelving, rustic touches and punches of color bring the room to life.

Published by Lindsay Jackman on Zillow Blog.

This kitchen space started out as a single-car garage, but had been poorly converted to a bedroom. Carpet had been glued straight over cement. Cheap paneling had been put over the studs and was hanging off in places.

Before: The single-car garage had been poorly renovated for use as a bedroom.
Before: The single-car garage had been poorly renovated for use as a bedroom.

Regardless of the final use, this space was in desperate need of a little TLC. But being the largest room in the house and backing up to the living room made it the perfect spot for a kitchen where family could gather and entertain. Converting it to the heart of the home required several key phases.

First, the long wall separating this room from the living room was removed. A beam and wooden columns were used in the opening, creating a rustic vibe. The dark wood beam creates contrast and effectively frames the white kitchen.

An all-white palette was used for the new kitchen space. Floor-to-ceiling white beadboard walls went up for texture and a little vintage charm. White lower cabinets went in, along with a white farmhouse sink.

White and stainless open shelves were used in place of upper cabinets for a modern take on the traditional open shelving found in farmhouse kitchens. Open shelving in the kitchen creates a sense of airiness, and provides easy access and display space for everyday dishes and glassware.

The focal point of this kitchen is the large live-edge wood island that anchors the room. The blue-green base gives the white kitchen a welcome pop of color, and the island top not only warms up the white, but also creates a convenient and attractive workspace.

Accessories like a colorful patterned rug and vintage glassware on the shelves bring personality into the all-white room.

Now that this room is a beautiful and well-functioning kitchen, no one would ever guess it started out as a dirty and outdated garage.

See more great kitchen design ideas.

Photos by The White Buffalo Styling Co.

How Much Rent Can You Afford?

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Consider your monthly expenses and long-term financial goals to make sure you don’t overextend yourself.

How Much Rent Can You Afford

The oft-noted rule of thumb is that you should try to stick with spending a maximum of 30 percent of your income on rent. However, that rule of thumb rarely indicates whether or not that should be gross income, or net income after taxes, or if related housing expenses like utilities should be included in that 30 percent.

The reality is that how much you should spend on rent really depends on a lot of factors that are personal to the renter. And unfortunately, in many cities spending only 30 percent of your income on housing is just a pipe dream.

So how much should you spend?

The best way to determine how much you can spend on rent is to evaluate how much money you have coming in each month, and how much you have going out.

Suppose you earn $4,000 per month gross income, and your net paycheck after social security, unemployment insurance, and tax withholdings leaves you $2,800 per month in the bank.

Now subtract your car payment, gas and insurance costs, credit card payments, school loan payments, cell phone costs, gym membership, food, utilities costs, and some amount for entertainment, dates, clothing, and any and everything else you typically spend money on each month.

Now, how much is left over?

Optimally, some portion of the money left over should go into an investment account each month — even if it is only $25. (If you’re saving money at work via a 401(k) plan, that could mitigate the need to have extra money left each month to invest.)

If you have $1,800 per month left after subtracting all your expenses, then you should try to spend $1,400 or less on rent so you can save $400 per month. If you have $1,400 left over, then you can spend $1,000 on rent so you have money left over to invest.

A rental affordability calculator can help you determine what you can spend in a specific area.

Living within your means

Doing a budget might be an eye opener. You could find that you’re spending too much on coffee, dining out, or hobbies. If you spend more than you earn, your credit card balances will increase, and that can be very bad for your personal finances. You might want to work more hours to increase your income, cut spending, or get a bailout — whatever it takes to pay off the debt.

If you’re one of the lucky ones with no car payment, credit card debt, or school loan payments, and you make significantly more than you earn each month, that doesn’t mean you should spend whatever is left on rent. Try to live within your tastes and desires, while saving as much money as possible for your future and buying a home.

Spending 30 percent of your income on rent is a nice feel-good number, but it may not be feasible. The truth is, you need to look at your own personal income, spending habits and debts to get a picture of what you can afford. Make sure what you can “afford” is calculated after all your expenses and most importantly after you are socking away some money for your future.

Published by Leonard Baron of on Zillow Blog.