9 Cities for Homeseekers Who Love Burgers

To celebrate National Burger Month, Trulia put together a list of the best — and worst — cities for burger lovers on the move.

When you’re buying a house, there are many factors to weigh. One you might have overlooked? Your prospective new city’s B.D.I. (Burger Density Index).

In celebration of National Burger Month (and National Hamburger Day on May 28!), we put our data team through the grinder, mixing Yelp, Trulia, and U.S. Census Bureau data to find out the number of households per burger joint in any given city — and how much you can expect to fork over for a home there. The higher the BDI, the more burger-hungry neighbors you’ll have to compete with when you’re craving a sizzling quarter-pounder (hold the pickles).

Our juicy findings reveal the cities with the best — and worst — household-to-burger-joint ratios. Grab a napkin and dig in.

9 Cities for Homeseekers Who Love Burgers

Published on Trulia Blog.

Easy to Care for Houseplants

Houseplants are a great and healthy way to add décor to your home. Houseplants take in the carbon monoxide expelled by humans and convert it to oxygen, which can benefit your home and your family. Houseplants also give a natural element to your home (kind of like bringing the forest or the jungle inside).

Easy to Care for HouseplantsTaking care of houseplants depends on the type of plants in your home. We have identified some great, easy to care for plants that could make great additions to your home. These plants might actually tell you exactly what they need once you start listening to them.  From wilted leaves  or drooping leaves, to yellowing or brown areas, these top plants will tell you if they need more water or sun or less water and less sun.

Peace Lillies are easy plants to care for as their leaves will droop when they need more water, and their leaves will brown or burn when they’ve had too much direct sun. Philodendrons , Pothus, Ivy, and Spider Plants are also super easy, but will require occasional trimming as they can grow and grow. Mother in Law’s Tongue or Snake Plant grow straight up, which make them a great plant to bring an element of a vertical accent piece. Chinese Evergreen are also great decorating pieces because they grow up and full and can be trimmed to suit your space. Cacti are probably the easiest plants to care for because they require almost no water, making this a great plant for the business traveler.

Many of these plants need regular watering, so create a weekly routine to review how they talk to you. Drooping or brown leaves need more water, while yellow leaves maybe need a little less water. Pruning these plants is helpful in keeping the leaves full and the size of the plant under control. Refreshing the soil is something you can do about every 6 – 12 months and possibly an occasional repotting of the plants due to growth. It is also important to watch your light. Some plants need more light than others, while too much light can actually burn the leaves of the plants like we see with Peace Lilly.

Originally published on HomeZada.

Rents Rising Faster Than Home Values

The last time this happened, home values were finally heating up after the housing bust. This time, they’re cooling off.

Rents Rising Faster Than Home Values

Buying a home is already far more affordable than renting one, and that imbalance could worsen as rents outpace home values for the first time in years.

In April, rents nationally rose an average of 4 percent compared to home values increasing by just 3 percent year-over-year, according to new data from Zillow.

One result: Renters who were considering buying are now taking that first step.

“We finally have more buyers who are serious now,” said Cyndi Mino, an agent with First Team Real Estate Agents in Huntington Beach, CA. “Landlords are raising rents ridiculously high, and people are saying, ‘That’s it — it’s time to buy.’”

In Mino’s area, first-time home buyers are finding 2-bedroom condos for $350,000 and 2-bedroom town homes for about $450,000.

Although millennials are expected to be the largest home-buying group in 2015, many first-time buyers are older, Mino said. “They never thought they would or could buy, but with rents going up, if they can save enough money to buy, they’ll pay less for a mortgage [than for rent].”

The last time this happened, it went on for a while — but the situation was considerably different.

In the wake of the housing bust, home values declined before rebounding. Rents, maintaining steady growth, easily stayed ahead.

That changed in April 2013, when home values finally heated up enough to pass rents. By April 2014, home values were sprinting at 8.8 percent year-over-year, while rent gains remained steady between 2 percent and 3 percent on an annual basis.

Now home values are cooling off, while rents pick up a little — and that’s enough for the tortoise to pass the hare.

For more information about rents and home values, visit Zillow Research or follow and ask questions of Zillow Chief Economist @StanHumphries on Twitter.

Rents Outrunning Home Values

Published by Melissa Allison on Zillow Blog.

“Lagging Supply” Leads to Slowdown in Sales

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently released the results of their Existing Home Sales Report. Despite the fact that properties are selling faster than they have at any other time since July of 2013, existing home sales declined 3.3% from March.

Lagging Supply Leads to Slowdown in Sales

NAR’s Chief Economist Lawrence Yun explained the main reason for the slow:

“April’s setback is the result of lagging supply relative to demand and the upward pressure it’s putting on prices.”

One major news organization actually used this headline about the decline:

Existing home sales crater in April, falling 3.3%

They certainly haven’t cratered! April marked the second month in a row that the annual sales pace remained above the five million mark (5.04 million). Year-over-year sales have increased for seven consecutive months and are still 6.1% above a year ago.

Every month, SentriLock, LLC provides NAR Research with data on the number of homes shown to potential buyers. This data is referred to as ‘Foot Traffic’ and is a great predictor of future sales and buyer demand. In April, buyer demand remained at the same level experienced in March.

So why did sales go down?

Buyers who are ready and willing to make a purchase are entering a market where their dream house may not have been listed yet. They can’t find it! Or if they find it, it happens to catch the eye of other buyers and an ‘auction like environment’ begins.

“Housing inventory declined from last year and supply in many markets is very tight, which in turn is leading to bidding wars, faster price growth and properties selling at a quicker pace,” says Yun. “To put it in perspective, roughly 40 percent of properties sold last month went at or above asking price, the highest since NAR began tracking this monthly data in December 2012.” (emphasis added)

The median home price of existing homes sold in April was $219,400, which is 8.9% higher than last year, and marks the 38th consecutive month of year-over-year price gains.

Bottom Line

So how do you make sense of everything that’s going on in the housing market when there are so many conflicting headlines on the same report?

John Burns, real estate expert and CEO of John Burns Real Estate Consulting gives this advice:

“The bottom line is this: don’t make decisions based on newspaper articles. Read the actual press release, including the methodology, and make sure the results jive with other data points and qualitative feedback you receive.”

If you are one of the many homeowners out there realizing that now may be the time to list your home for sale, or one of the many renters debating a purchase, sitting with a local real estate professional who takes the time to find out what’s really going on in the market, should be your first step!

Published on Keeping Current Matters.

4 Simple and Cost Effective Remodeling Tips

Improving and remodeling your home does not have to be expensive and can be fun with simple tips. Going all out with a low cost budget, never felt so good. May is National Remodeling Month and as we close out this month, we wanted to share our simple and low cost tips to improve your home.

4 Simple and Cost Effective Remodeling Tips

Published on HomeZada.

Paint

A little paint can go a long way.  If you are interested in either refreshing your home or changing a room completely, it is amazing what paint can do for a room. Adding accent colors on walls or adding a paint design can change the focus of a room.  Paint is very affordable and requires a bit of your time, however you can have some fun with enhancing a room.

Knobs

Maybe your kitchen and bathrooms do not have any knobs or drawer pulls, what a great way to dress up your room.  It might be time to change the knobs you do have to give a new look to your kitchen.  Knobs are like jewelry, like a jewelry enhances an outfit, knobs can make a room pop with dazzle.

Accents

Changing out your accents around your home can give you a nice change of pace and refresh to a room.  Accents like carpets or throw rugs, pillows, decor items, paintings, and more will show a change to a home.  You can actually change the entire feel of your home simply by changing out some accents.

Thrift Store Purchases

Adding new pieces of furniture does not always have to be the most expensive, high end pieces that you see on a showroom floor. You might find a great piece at a local thrift or consignment store. You might find a hidden treasure at a local yard sale.Taking a chance on an eccentric piece of furniture to add to your home might bring some new personality to your home’s design.

Each one of these tips can help you remodel and redesign your home. Taking some chances on new techniques might also be great way to refresh your home and show the ever changing influences on your life.

Happy Remodeling!

Own Your Own Private Island With NYC Views

Billy Rose owned it, and Lillian Hellman and Marilyn Monroe are said to have visited.

Old-time showman and lyricist Billy Rose — best known for “Me and My Shadow” — knew a party island when he saw one.

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He held some doozies when he owned Tavern Island in Connecticut, a 3.5-acre property allegedly named for its use as a speakeasy during Prohibition. Or at least that’s how the lore goes, and the lore is epic for this particular island: It’s said to have been inhabited by European settlers in 1651 and occupied by the British during the American Revolution. Lillian Hellman finished her play “The Little Foxes” on Tavern Island, and Marilyn Monroe is believed to have attended at least one Billy Rose soiree there.

Whatever history the island holds, its trappings are impressive — and on the market for $10.995 million. Located about an hour from Manhattan, its centerpiece is a 1900 Tudor home with coffered ceilings and extraordinary views.

The three-story home boasts 6 bedrooms, 7 baths, 2 offices, an exercise room and steam room.

There’s also a 2-bedroom, 2-bath guest cottage; a boat house with a large game room, bedroom and bath; plus a tea house with stunning nighttime views of the New York City lights.

The island comes with two boats and a half-acre property with a dock and parking lot on the mainland for year-round access.

In case that’s not enough water, the island also boasts a 75-foot pool that overlooks one of four private beaches.

“Of all the homes I’ve seen in Connecticut, this is far and away the most unique and most romantic and just plain cool,” said Rick Higgins of Higgins Group/Christie’s International Real Estate.

Published by Melissa Allison on Zillow Blog.

Abandoned behemoth with 46 bedrooms – or ‘more like 70’ – is for sale in Texas (where else?)

Now this is more like it! Don’t you think?

Forget Jackie Siegel and her biggest-home-in-the-nation Florida “Versailles” with its piddling 30 bedrooms or so, which was once on the market for $75 million unfinished.

This Texas structure is being marketed as a 60,175-square-foot “shell” of a single-family home on about 15 acres, with 46 bedrooms and 26 bathrooms — “more than enough room for the entire family inside and outside!” the listing says — for $3.5 million.

Those room counts are only estimates, by the way. “It’s probably more like 70 bedrooms,” listing agent Mona Miller tells the Houston Chronicle. “They’re not completed, so it’s difficult to tell.”

Rumors about this residence and its junior version next door, which is about half the size at a mere 32,000 square feet, have been circulating locally for going on a decade. They’re in Manvel, near Pearland, about half an hour’s drive south of Houston. In 2009 the Houston Press got a glimpse of the bigger one, which it dubbed“Pearland’s mystery mansion,” and judging from the current photos, the property has been essentially abandoned for the intervening six years.

Theater room perhaps??

There’s even an unfinished indoor pool.

Even Miller isn’t sure of the real story, but she’s heard that a physician and his wife started building the bigger structure in 2001 as a surgery rehab center, then turned their attention to building a smaller (air quotes) neighbor.

Old listing photos for Junior (shown at the bottom) show a furnished, finished and distinctly institutional-looking dwelling that was billed as being available for residential or commercial use.

The bigger behemoth now on the market was earlier floated as a “special purpose” property but apparently didn’t go over with prospective buyers. According to that listing, the property was “originally designed to be a senior assisted-living center, but was not completed.” No kidding.

The remaining photos — from a property listing from 2008 — show the smaller (air quotes) property next door. It’s about 32,000 square feet and was apparently built by the same physician and his wife sometime after they started and then dropped the 60,000-square-foot project in about 2001. They completed this one, as the photos show.

Originally published by Jennifer Karmon on Yahoo Homes.