Luxury Homes

Texas Mansion With Three-Story Closet

The Houston home flipper who envisioned this closet said she’d like to build one twice as big next time.

47 Grand Regency Cir, Spring, TX
For sale: $12.9 million

Proving once again that everything is bigger in Texas, a real estate agent in the Houston area is flipping a house to which she added a three-story, roughly 3,000-square-foot closet.

The payday for Theresa Roemer and her husband could be big, too. They’re asking more than three times what they paid for the home in July 2013.

“I’ve always been a house flipper. Normally I pocket $30,000 to $50,000 to a cool million,” Roemer said. “This will probably be my biggest one.”

Roemer points out that the couple put “quite a few million” into the home since buying it. They added 4,000 square feet and installed Italian porcelain, marble and crystal chandeliers. The home has two kitchens, a spa and a theater.

And how about that closet?

“I’ve always had beautiful, big closets. One thing I found was that when I had charity and other events, women always wanted to see the closet,” said Roemer, a former Mrs. Texas. “We’d end up in the closet drinking champagne, and I started thinking, I’ve got to build a closet big enough to have a party in, because that’s where we always end up.”

That begs the question of whether her next flip will involve a giant closet.

“Sure. Why stop?” Roemer said. “I’d like to build another house with a closet maybe twice the size.”

This article was originally published by Melissa Allison on Zillow Blog

Columbia, MO

8 New Year’s Eve Events in Columbia, MO

Looking to go out on New Year’s Eve? Here we’ve gathered 8 local events to ring in the New Year.

1. Columbia Eve Fest

Photo by Notley Hawkins. Source:

This is a family-friendly event already covered in a previous blog post.

Ring in New Year’s Eve with a Block Party on 9th street between Elm and Locust in The District, downtown Columbia where culture is celebrated and community is created! Eve Fest is an alcohol-free, celebration of the New Year with music, art, ritual, and festivity.

This one starts at 7 pm.

See more information on their website here.

2. Decadence: A New Year’s Eve and Grand Re-Opening Celebration at the Blue Note


New Year’s Eve is an opportunity to celebrate the passing of time and the promise of the future. In that spirit, we’re throwing a RAGING New Years dance party celebrating 100 years of dance music, the promise of music still to come and better yet: a freshly remodeled Blue Note! This is Columbia’s BIGGEST New Years Dance Party.

One of Columbia’s most beloved DJs, Jen HA, will take you on a journey from the early sounds of hot jazz and swing all the way through the decades to today’s hottest dance anthems….and she’ll do it in chronological order, all set to incredible video footage from each musical era on our MASSIVE movie screen. You’ll dance to everything from Louis Armstrong to Elvis and the Beatles to Sam Cooke to the Temptations and James Brown to the Bee Gees to Michael Jackson, Prince, Madonna, Jay-Z, Justin Timberlake, LMFAO, Biggie, Britney, Lady Gaga, OutKast, Katy Perry, Psy, Deadmau5 and soooo much more! All complete with a CHAMPAGNE TOAST AT MIDNIGHT!

We present to you our schedule of musical mayhem…

7:00PM–> 1900s-1920s
7:30–> 1930s-1950s
8:30–> 1960s
9:30–> 1970s
10:30–> 1980s & 1990s
11:30–> 2000s & 2010s

Get ready to ring in the New Year like never before, Columbia. This is DECADANCE.

Buy your tickets here!

3. Mojo’s Presents a New Year’s Celebration


Almost time to ring in the New Year! We’ll be doing it the right way with some rowdy rock ‘n roll. And join us in celebrating the end of an era, as Mojo’s transforms into Rose Music Hall at midnight.

Get your tickets to party here!

4. New Year’s Eve at Paint the Town

Source: Paint the Town
Source: Paint the Town

Paint, party and ring in the New Year with great snacks, a glass of champagne at midnight, and a fun painting with glitter! The fun starts at 9:30 pm.


12×16 $40
14×18 $45
16×20 $50
18×24 $55

Reserve your seats here!

5. Back to the Future for NYE at Roxy’s


Enjoy the epic photo booth, 3D interactive video and light show, $10 Bottles of champagne, and the best music from 1955 to 2015. We’ll have loads of surprises and great bar specials. Come ring in the new year with us! $8 General Admission Advance Ticket, $10 At the door, $60 Table Reservations (seats 4), YOU MUST DRESS TO IMPRESS (dress code will be in full effect) We always sell out fast so get your tickets TODAY!

See Roxy’s website to buy a ticket or their Facebook event page.

6. A Very Decadent New Years at The Bridge

Decadent Nation

With Decadent Nation and Made in Waves!

Decadent Nation will also have some of their favorite guest musicians filling out the lineup! Violinist virtuoso Molly Healey will be tearing up her fiddle as well as Decadent Nation’s good friend and former member Jaeson Day! Scott McCullough, the hottest harmonica player in Missouri, will be wailing as well! Expect an epic jam like no other to ring in the New Year!

Doors at 8 pm!

See The Bridge’s website and Decadent Nation’s Facebook event page.

7. NYE With Casey Brett & The Cowboy Killers at Nash Vegas

Nash Vegas

Enjoy country music? How about with a moonshine toast at midnight? Only $5 cover.

Check out the event and RSVP here!

8. Eric Lee Beddingfield at Snorty Horse Saloon 

Snorty Horse Saloon

Here’s another event for country music lovers! Come see Nashville artist Eric Lee Beddingfield. $15

See this event on their Facebook page or check out Eric Lee Beddingfield!


Whatever you do, have a fantastic and safe New Year’s Eve!

Columbia, MO

Columbia Eve Fest

How do fireworks with your countdown to midnight sound? Check out the upcoming 9th street New Year’s block party!

Photo by Notley Hawkins. Source:

You can celebrate New Year’s Eve in the District (downtown Columbia) on 9th St, in the closed off block between Elm and Locust! Eve Fest is an alcohol-free celebration of the New Year with music, art, ritual, and festivity. The party starts at 7 pm! Show up earlier, and a 5K Run/Walk kicks off at 4:00 pm in front of Cyclextreme. Doors to the Venues open at 6:30 pm (Missouri Theatre, Columbia Art League, Missouri United Methodist Church, Shakespeare’s Parking Lot and the 9th Street Stage). The entertainment begins at 7 pm.

Admission buttons are now on sale. They are available at all Gerbe’s Grocers, the ARC and downtown Parks & Rec.

Buy your buttons early and enter your name in a drawing for a Bristol Acoustic Guitar!
$6 early purchase, $8 at the door
Children 6 and under FREE!

This year’s theme is “Light the Magic,” and the entertainment includes:

  • Miss Jubilee & The Humdingers! Hot Jazz, Swing, Rhythm & Blues and R’n’R spanning the 1920′s-1950′s. Fronted by a high energy female vocalist and backed up by a swingin’ horn fueled rhythm section, Miss Jubilee is a favorite among Swing Dancers and fans of all ages who enjoy uplifting and energetic music!”
  • Keith Jozsef – Master Illusionist …“consider nothing impossible” A master of sleight of hand and grand illusion. Keith Jozef will ignite our Eve Fest theme  “Light the Magic” with perplexing enigma, mystery and wonder!
  • Tom Andes and Sutu Forte Duel –  “Blind Tom” and “Blind Boone” Narrator-Bill Clark Sutu Forte and Tom Andes will reenact the historic duel between “Blind Tom” and “Blind Boone.” Sutu and Tom will bring this duel to the Historic Missouri Theatre stage!
  • Babaloo!-A one-man musical, comedy act for kids! Babaloo is high energy, over-the-top FUN. With Singing and Stomping, Singing and Shouting, Music, Magic and Mayhem. And laughing….lots of laughing!
  • Not to mention food trucks in the Shakespeare’s Parking Lot!

Check out the photos from last year:

Photo by Notley Hawkins. Source:
Photo by Notley Hawkins. Source:
Photo by Notley Hawkins. Source:

Visit for more information.

Also check out our post 8 New Year’s Eve Events in Columbia, MO!

House of Brokers

Thanks for Viewing Our Blog! 2014 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 9,100 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.


Wallpaper 101: Tips for Tackling Your First Project

Ready to try your hand at one of 2015’s top home decor trends? These tips for beginners have got you covered.

Source: Zillow Digs

Today’s wallpaper is worlds away from the chintzy coverings that once graced the walls of your grandmother’s kitchen. Whether it’s because the patterns have improved or because interior design trends are cyclical, wallpaper is making a comeback. More homeowners are reconsidering wallpaper and discovering that, thanks to manufacturing advances, it’s easier to hang than ever.

To the uninitiated, however, hanging wallpaper can be daunting. But anyone can learn the ways of wallpaper, and the following advice can help.


Source: Evelyn Benatar

Know this: The wallpaper you install in 2015 may be around much longer than you’re expecting. It’s not at all unusual for a homeowner to keep the same wallpaper for 15 or 20 years.

So when you’re in the early stages of planning your wallpaper project, consider the long term. Do you think you’ll like the pattern as much in a few years as you do today? In 20 years, is it possible that the room you’re covering with wallpaper will be serving a different purpose?

If this is your first time hanging wallpaper, choose a long, uninterrupted wall. Features like doorways and corners require extra trimming and aligning. While not impossible to overcome, those obstacles do add complexity.

Also, remember that with wallpaper — like bold paint colors — a little goes a long way. Instead of wallpapering the entire room, consider covering just one surface as a feature or accent wall.


Wallpaper isn’t always paper. In fact, most of the time it’s vinyl. Of all the options available, self-adhesive vinyl is the most manageable for novices.

Although most products in this category are now self-adhesive or pre-treated with a water-activated glue, you can still go out of your way to find wallpaper that requires the traditional roll-on pasting method. If you’ve never wallpapered before, chances are the roll-on paste had a lot to do with your choice to abstain. Steer clear.

Source: Michelle Workman

Keep maintenance in mind. In a home with pets and/or children, durability and washability are considerations as important as color and pattern. Many wallpapers are specially manufactured with stain-resistant properties. Focus on these if you’re concerned about the wallpaper’s ability to withstand wear and tear.


The wallpaper you like most may not be the best choice for your skill level. Try to select a pattern you feel confident you can hang properly.

Source: Zillow Digs

Textured solids are probably most appropriate for beginners who are unsure of their abilities. Because they’re not patterned, solid color papers do not need to be carefully aligned as they’re hung. And if imperfections exist — either in your application of the paper or in the irregularity of the room itself — these problems can stay hidden.

While many people love the look of striped wallpaper, it’s unforgiving. It’s tricky to line up properly, even for those who have done it before, and if the room isn’t perfectly level and square, striped wallpaper calls attention to these defects. Hung properly in ideal circumstances, though, striped wallpaper draws the eye upward to make a small room seem taller.

If you’re considering a patterned wallpaper, don’t forget that patterns repeat. While you might like a particular patterned sample, ask yourself whether you’d like to see that sample reproduced over and over across the breadth of the space you’re redecorating. Maybe, maybe not—in the end, it’s a matter of taste.

Generally speaking, patterns with a repeat of six inches or fewer tend to appear quite busy, particularly in humbly proportioned rooms. But that busy-ness can be a blessing if you end up misaligning adjoining sheets.

Larger patterns with a repeat of 12 inches or more are much easier on the eye, but a quality installation demands real precision.


If the first challenge was selecting one wallpaper from among the countless options on the market, the next hurdle is determining how much of it to buy.

Source: Erinn Valencich

Luckily, this part isn’t as hard as what you’ve already managed to do. My rule of thumb? Don’t buy too little. You can avoid that by taking careful measurements.

Start by determining the square footage of each wall you plan to cover. For each wall, multiply the width by the height. If multiple walls are involved, add together the different square footages you’ve calculated.

Next, from the total project square footage, subtract 10 square feet for every door or full-size window. Then buy enough wallpaper to cover that many square feet — the total square footage of the walls, less the doors and windows.

Complicating matters is the reality that, in the course of hanging wallpaper, you’re almost definitely going to create waste, because some of the wallpaper you’re buying isn’t going to make it to the wall. This is especially true with patterned paper that must be trimmed to line up correctly with the previously applied sheet. It’s a good idea to purchase one or two extra rolls.

If you’ve read this far, you probably have the stick-to-itiveness to hang wallpaper. Yes, the process makes painting seem appealingly effortless in comparison. But while wallpaper may be more demanding, the work comes with a reward: Wallpaper creates eye-catching effects that even the most meticulously applied paint can hardly match.

Originally published by Bob Vila on Zillow Blog


Generate Sales Heat for Your Home With a Cozy Fireplace

If you want to generate sales heat for your home, don’t neglect the fireplace: A cozy fireplace is often on the top of a home buyers’ wish list.

Generate Sales Heat for Your Home With a Cozy Fireplace

In fact, a working fireplace with a classic design and mantle can add as much as $12,000 to the value of your home, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.

No one wants a fireplace that emits smoke and gases into the home, has a crumbling chimney or is an eyesore. However, a functional fireplace and beautiful mantle can add ambience and overall value to your home at a relatively modest cost.

Here are three reasons why a fireplace can fuel higher home prices.

Cold Climate Necessity

In colder climates, a fireplace is a necessity. While it may not be the home’s primary or only heat source, a fireplace can provide welcome relief if a winter storm happens to knock out power and gas.

Additional Warmth

In any climate, potential buyers are drawn to fireplaces because they provide a sense of hearth and home. Even if a fireplace won’t be used frequently, it can provide a focal point for the living room or entire house.

California is usually warm, for example, but it’s difficult to sell a new house there without a fireplace—even if it’s used no more than three days of the year, says Gopal Ahluwalia, director of research for the National Association of Home Builders.

Because a contractor can easily install a gas fireplace—and you no longer need to vent fireplaces through a wall to the outside with a masonry chimney—you now can find fireplaces throughout the house.

You may even see them in bathrooms and bedrooms, as well as in living rooms and family rooms.

Financial Value on Budget

If your existing fireplace looks burned out, a cleaning and upgrade are worth the expense. You don’t want an unsafe fireplace leading to a failed home inspection. The cost of adding a fireplace in a home without one will likely pay off in the long run.

The typical cost of a standard gas fireplace is $600 to $3,000 without installation. Electric fireplaces run about $1,200 to $1,500, and they usually generate enough heat to take the edge off one or two rooms. Re-lining an old chimney is typically less than $5,000.

This article is updated from a previous version by Al Heavens. Published by Patricia Anne-Tom on


5 Fresh Gift Wrapping Ideas

Tired of the basic gift wrap options offered in stores? Try these tips for getting creative with your holiday presents.

There’s something about a beautifully wrapped package that excites children and adults alike. Why not put a little extra thought into wrapping your holiday gifts, making each gift special and unique?

Follow these five tips below, and the joy in giving and receiving your presents won’t just come from the boxes’ contents.

1. Shy away from matching gifts

Instead of buying one roll of wrapping paper and the traditional red stick-on bows, think outside the box. Choose a color scheme for your wrapping that complements your Christmas decor, and buy a variety of ribbons, papers and gift tags in those colors.

Here, a color scheme of red, navy and teal creates a cohesive look for the pretty stack of gifts, but every package still has its own style.

2. Consider who is receiving the gift

After you choose a gift that you know each person will love, wrap the present to reflect their style.

For example, maybe the guy in your life would prefer wrapping in rustic plaids, and your sister-in-law would gush over something more feminine. You know your loved ones best. Choose ribbons and trimmings that fit their personality, and they will appreciate the extra effort.

3. Create custom wrapping paper

To really take your gifts to the next level, think about creating your own wrapping paper. Several sites can print custom paper for you, but for some quick unique packages, take your favorite family photos to an office supply store like Staples and have them printed at poster size. This large reindeer print cost less than $4.

4. Use a variety of ribbons

Thick satin ribbon, thin grosgrain ribbon, glitter ribbon, chunky yarn — the list goes on. See what you have around the house or pick up a few scraps from a craft or fabric store. Layer the ribbon in different combinations or let it stand alone. A variety of ribbons in your color scheme will make each package unique.

5. Craft gift tags from scrapbook paper

Rather than buying gift tags, choose scrapbook papers in different prints that coordinate with your color scheme. Cut rustic wood paper, plaid patterns and fun prints into different shapes to make fun, one-of-a-kind tags. Letter stickers or written words on the outside of the gift tags add a personalized touch.

You can use any extra scrapbook paper as an accent on your packages. Cut a thick strip to accent the center of a present and layer ribbon on top.

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to creative wrapping. What are your favorite ways to wrap holiday gifts?

This post was originally published by Lindsay Jackman on Zillow Blog.

Luxury Homes

Paradise Found:’s Top 10 Dreamiest Homes of 2014

Every year brings an array of dream homes to the market—some old and some new, but all spectacular in their own right.

When you hear the words “dream home,” you might conjure up a vision of a place with fabulous views, a home with awesome architectural flourishes or a mansion where closet space is never a concern. combed through the houses they’ve featured over the past year and found a mix of homes that cover all of the dream bases. To learn more about any of their Top 10, simply click on the pictures below.


10. Henman House — Malibu, CA

Located high on a hill in the ultra-exclusive Malibu, the fascinating Henman House listed earlier this year for $9.2 million. Designed by architect Ed Niles, this one-of-a-kind home makes extensive use of glass to create an effect that brings the outdoors in. The home’s soaring ceilings and dramatic angles make the home look like the world’s coolest cathedral.


9. Hyperbolic Paraboloid — New Canaan, CT

Just up the road from Philip Johnson’s revered Glass House, this New Canaan, CT, Mid-Century marvel shatters the mold of conventional rooflines.

Built in 1960 and described by architect James Evans as a “hyperbolic paraboloid,” the home’s distinctive shape is made up of straight lines fooling the eye into seeing a curvy, swooping space that looks as if it’s ready to take flight. If you love the Mid-Century look of this place, you’re in luck: The home is still available for a cool $2 million.



8. Marc Bell Mansion — Boca Raton, FL

Back in May, we asked if you were looking for the “greatest nerd space on earth.” That question remains applicable to this still-available Boca Raton, FL, mansion. While the over the top opulence is visible throughout the $35 million home, the Star Trek-themed wet bar is what cements this mansion’s spot among the most unique homes of the year.

Other themed rooms in the sprawling 27,000-square-foot home include an fully stocked arcade, a Call of Duty-themed video game room and a home theater resembling the bridge from “Star Trek: Enterprise.”


7. Collins House — Hopewell, NJ

Located in Hopewell, NJ, and designed by architect Philip Collins, this wide-open home with walls of windows also blends the indoors and outdoors—but with a twist: The home has no interior supporting walls, which means there’s total flexibility in terms of the home’s interior layout.

How did they do that? Well, it’s post and beam construction that relies on a series of a stone pillars that ring the outside of the home. The listing price has dropped a bit and is now sitting at $1.6 million. Not bad for a light-filled architectural marvel …


6. Kentucky Castle — Versailles, KY

For fantasy fanatics, this 50-room castle would prove ideal for staging re-enactments of battles of yore. Used primarily as an event facility, this ode to medieval times is smack-dab in the unlikely locale of Versailles, KY. Listed for $30 million in April, the 16-bedroom home is currently off the market—perhaps it found a prince who couldn’t resist.


5. Iowa’s Most Expensive Home — Urbandale, IA

Speaking of unlikely locales, this innovative Iowa mansion might seem more at home on the coasts, but its appeal is universal. Located on six wooded acres just outside Des Moines, it’s the most expensive residential listing in the state.

Still on the market for $4.9 million, the home’s interior woodwork and enormous outdoor decks have to be seen to be believed. And that’s not all: The home comes equipped with its own indoor greenhouse, indoor waterfall, built-in aquarium and private pond in the backyard.


4. Casa de Las Palmas — Rancho Santa Fe, CA

In Rancho Santa Fe, CA, you’ll find the enchanting Casa de Las Palmas. Listed for $17.9 million, the sprawling estate offers the California dream on a large scale. The listing agent we spoke with in October said the Casa’s landscaping alone was worth millions of dollars.

The 16,006-square-foot home even comes with a unique buyer’s perk: a $250,000 gift card for private jet travel.


3. Glencliff — Mount Kisco, NY

The stately brick mansion known as Glencliff listed for $23 million in October. Just 45 minutes from Manhattan, this Mount Kisco, NY, manor has been totally revamped inside while preserving the historical significance of the home.

Its blend of contemporary style inside with imposing old-school design outside works in spectacular fashion.


2. Wit’s End — Pebble Beach, CA

Named Wit’s End, this stunning home sits right off the 13th hole of Pebble Beach Golf Course. Owned for years by billionaire mogul Richard Mellon Scaife, the marvelous Mediterranean estate listed in September for $31.25 million.

In unsurprising news, the home sold for its asking price just one month later. The stunning views from this Pebble Beach palace were too beautiful to linger on the market for an extended period.



1. La Palais Royal — Hillsboro Beach, FL

And finally, the former title holder for most expensive listing in the U.S.

La Palais Royal listed in September for $139 million and the 11-bedroom, 17-bathroom mega mansion offers over 40,000 square feet of living space. And if you’re in the mood for a movie, it’s no mundane home theater for this palace. Of course, the home boasts its own IMAX screen.

Since surpassed by the $195 million Palazzo di Amore in Beverly Hills, CA, we still have a special place in our heart for this extravagant Florida palais.

This post was originally published by Erik Gunther on


Interior Design

Top 5 Home Design Trends for 2015

Design experts share insights on the hot home decor looks for 2015 — and the 2014 trends to phase out.

Photo credit: The Corcoran Group

Today, Zillow Digs announced the top five home design trends for 2015 — and the four soon-to-be forgotten fads of 2014. The results were published in the 2015 Zillow Digs Home Trend Forecast, a one-of-a-kind report that combines data from a survey of leading interior design experts and an analysis of the most popular photos on Zillow Digs.

Curious to see what trends made the list? Check out the results below!

Top five home design trends for 2015

1. Gold fixtures

Photo credit: 24 Design Construction

This retro statement hardware color will make a comeback in 2015 with a new modern twist: bright gold with a sleek finish for extra shine. In 2015, homeowners will no longer be limited to silver or stainless steel fixtures, and will feel free to mix and match finish colors, or go bold with all gold.

2. Cowhide

Photo credit: The Corcoran Group 

Cowhide is the ideal accent texture for 2015’s modern, yet approachable design aesthetic. Elements of cowhide will find their way into pillows, rugs, throw blankets and even artwork this coming year.

3. Wallpaper

Photo credit: Jeneration Interiors

“Wallpaper is coming back in a big way,” says Zillow Digs designer Jamie Beckwith of Beckwith Interiors. From digital prints to textured wall coverings, this trend is primed and ready to take off in 2015.

4. Blue accent colors

Photo credit: American Dream Builders

Blue will be the most popular accent color and is the perfect complement to Marsala, the 2015 Pantone Color of the Year. “Pops of indigo blue or deep navy will become a staple in home design this year, as their deep natural hues become extra vibrant against warm earth tones like Marsala,” says Zillow Digs home design expert Kerrie Kelly.

5. Modern/mid-century modern elements

Photo credit: Lukas Machnik

Mid-century modern elements will weave their way into 2015 home decor — from architecture to furniture — and will be one of the biggest up-and-coming design styles for 2015. Zillow Digs experts advise homeowners to be careful when integrating into homes — the trend is great for inspiration, but shouldn’t take over the house.

Four 2014 fads to replace

1. Chevron print

Photo credit: Jared Epps

From home decor to fashion, chevron prints became one of the most overused trends in 2014, and designers say it’s time for the infamous zigzag pattern to take a breather.

2. Bright colors

Photo credit: Zillow Digs

Coral, purple and teal are on their way out with 2014. “It’s hard to work with such saturated colors,” says Zillow Digs designer Jamie Herzlinger. While these cheerful hues are certainly fun, they are not built to last.

3. Solid painted accent walls

Photo credit: Zillow Digs

Expect to see solid accent walls, especially in red, fade away as wallpaper and textured wall coverings take the stage in 2015.

4. Matching furniture

Photo Credit: House and Homes Palm Springs

If you didn’t hear us in the Zillow Digs Fall Home Design Trend Report, you better listen up now, as design experts have made it loud and clear: eclectic, multi-era decor is here to stay, and polished, matching wood furniture is a thing of the past.

Want to get started on your 2015 home design inspiration? Check out some of our favorite photos of the trends on  Zillow Digs today!

This post was originally published by Alexa Fiander on Zillow Blog.


Quiz Yourself: Are You Ready to Buy a Home Now?

Quiz yourself with a series of difficult questions before you decide to buy a home. Your honest answers will give you the guidance on whether buying a home will work for your lifestyle and finances now and in the future.

Here are a few questions to test your readiness:

1. How Is the Real Estate Market?

The first issue a potential home buyer needs to address is whether real estate prices are dropping or if prices have stabilized. Timing the market is difficult, but if you have the nerve to wait until the time is right, you could snag a great deal.

If real estate prices are in a prolonged slide, buying a new home might not be the best idea. But if prices are just starting to tick upward, buying a house while prices are low is the ideal situation.

2. What Is Your Cap Rate?

Capitalization rate, or cap rate, is the rate of return on a real estate investment. It’s calculated from the net income remaining after your loans and interest are paid on the property.

For example, if you paid $100,000 for a house and your net income after expenses comes to $8,000, divide the $8,000 by the purchase price to arrive at the cap rate. This example shows an 8% return. If you have taken out a home loan at 6% interest, it is a nice investment. If you are paying 12% interest, it would be a bad buy.

3. How Long Will You Live in the House?

For a real estate investment to be worthwhile, a first-time homebuyer should have an idea of how long they plan to keep the property. If you plan to live in the home for five to 10 years before selling, it gives the property ample time to appreciate in value.

4. How Secure Are Your Cash Reserves?

Ask yourself whether you have a comfortable cash reserve, equal to about six months’ worth of living expenses. You’ll have to make the mortgage payment each month, and unforeseen expenses can always crop up.

5. Can You Get a Great Mortgage Deal?

Before you decide to buy take a hard look at your credit score, financial statements and job stability. To get the best deal on a mortgage, you’ll need a high credit score, funds to cover the down payment plus extra reserves, and a stable source of income. If you don’t have these factors lined up, you won’t qualify for a good rate and it may be better to wait until your situation changes.

Published by Angela Colley on Updated from an earlier version by Wendy Dickstein.