Your New, Bigger Space: 5 Ways to Win at Upsizing Your Home

What to do with all that new space? Experts weigh in on filling it affordably and thoughtfully.

As a new generation graduates from renting to homeownership, they face plenty of uncertainties: How much homeowners insurance is enough? Is a home warranty necessary? How do you fill a 4-bedroom home with the stuff that used to be in a 1-bedroom apartment?

Transitioning from an apartment to a larger home is always tricky, but making that move — known as “upsizing” — is extra complicated for today’s young home buyers because they’re really going big.

“When Millennials do become homeowners, they leapfrog the traditional ‘starter home’ and jump into the higher end of the market by choosing larger properties with higher prices, similar to homes bought by older buyers,” states the Zillow Group Report on Consumer Housing Trends. “They pay a median price of $217,000 for a home—more than Baby Boomers, and just 11 percent less than Generation X. The Millennial median home size is 1,800 square feet, similar in size to what older generations buy.”

Many millennial home buyers move from small apartments into 1,800 square feet or more. Photo from Zillow listing.

When you upsize from an apartment into a spacious new home, opportunities abound — plenty of closet space, a yard for the dog, and extra rooms for that home office, spare bedroom, or home gym you’ve always dreamed of.

But once the moving van’s gone and the boxes are unpacked, new homeowners often face the harsh reality of upsizing: The furniture, wall hangings, and knickknacks that fit so perfectly in your small apartment occupy only a fraction of your larger home’s space. And that spare bedroom would be perfect — if only you had a spare bed.

Many new homeowners’ first instinct is to hit the discount stores and buy affordable pieces to fill the space. While budget-friendly furniture has its place, it shouldn’t make up the bulk of your new acquisitions.

There are plenty of ways to use what you already have — and optimize your spending for the things you don’t — to make your new house a cozy home.

Don’t buy things just to fill space

It’s tempting to stockpile new furniture and decorations, but it’s an effort that can easily backfire, according to Jennifer Dwyer, professional organizer and owner of Seattle-based A Logical Mess. Inevitably, the measurements are wrong, or the piece doesn’t match your existing style or decor.

“People naturally want to fill the space, but you really have to consider how you’re going to use it,” advises Dwyer. “Wait until you move in, place the furniture you have already, and assess at that point.”

Start by placing the pieces you have, then decide what to add. Photo from Zillow listing.

It’s OK to sparsely furnish the new place while you get a feel for your new home and the style you’re after. “You can tell when people just go to, say, Pottery Barn and buy what’s on the showroom floor,” says Jason Mathews, owner of Seattle interior design and home staging firm, Jason Mathews LLC.

Prioritize with a special piece

To furnish a large living room or family room, Dwyer recommends investing in a sectional couch. Like a dining room table that expands to seat more people, a sectional sofa pulls apart and goes back together depending on design preferences. And such sofas often have expansion pieces you can buy later to further fill space, adds Dwyer.

Sectional sofa components can be separated and expanded to change the room. Photo from Zillow listing.

Mathews agrees that a sofa is a good investment piece. “It’s something you’re going to use every day,” he says. Furthermore, sectionals pull apart to create more than one focal point in a room — think an L-shaped seating area and coffee table in one part of the living room, and a smaller couch and lamp in another for a cozy reading nook.

Not everything needs to be a statement piece, both Dwyer and Mathews emphasize. Once your sofa is in place, find inexpensive side chairs or perhaps an antique table to repurpose as a coffee table.

Place furniture thoughtfully

Furniture arrangement can make a big space seem smaller. Area rugs are ideal for anchoring furniture groups and making a space feel more homey.

A patterned area rug defines a space within a larger room. Photo courtesy of S+H Construction.

“The great thing about rugs is that they don’t have to be expensive — even a large rug,” Mathews says. He advises centering the rug, then placing furniture on and around it. “Even if the rest of the room is empty, you’re starting out with a cozy spot.”

Homeowners often make the mistake of pushing furniture right up against the walls. But pulling the furniture toward the center of the wall helps minimize an expansive room.

In an expansive room, arranging furniture away from the walls creates natural living areas. Photo from Zillow listing.

“Even just six inches off the wall,” advises Mathews. “It gives the room a chance to breathe a bit.”

Decorate your space

Once you’ve furnished your new home, it’s time to decorate. Items like a standing coat rack in an entryway or decorative vases in a stairwell are classic pieces that also fill space — and they don’t have to be expensive.

“I’m a big fan of T.J. Maxx and Ross,” says Dwyer. “You can play around with ideas, and if they don’t work out, you’re not out a ton of money.”

A few well-chosen decorations give a room a personal touch. Photo from Zillow listing.

Give extra rooms purpose

Empty rooms hold such promise: Will you have a home office? An extra bedroom for visiting families? A place for a treadmill, weight set, and stationary bike?

It’s OK to take some time to think it over — just shut the door if the emptiness bothers you. But whatever you do, don’t use that extra space as a storage room, warns Dwyer, or it will never become anything else.

“Find a home for everything, and don’t leave those boxes lying around,” she says. “If you don’t know where to put it, you probably don’t need it in your new home.”

Posted by Sheila Cain on Zillow

3 High-Impact Spots to Use Bold Color

Don’t hold back — bright, bold colors are on trend and easier to incorporate than you might think.

The next two years are all about the big, the bold, and the beautiful. While neutrals and metallics will always dominate interior color palettes, the new color trends are paving the way for a rise in fearless accents.

Adding pops of color to your home doesn’t have to be a daring feat. Bold hues in a few unique places make a world of difference. Whether it’s a new front door color or a festive case good, let’s dive into a few unexpected ways to use bold color.

Daring details

Subtle yet significant architectural details — like baseboard trim, molding, and wainscoting — are hidden gems when it comes to adding color in unexpected places.

A move as simple as swapping out a neutral trim for a bold, lacquered shade turns even the tiniest space into a prominent focal point. A new color on the old staircase railing stirs instant conversation with visiting guests, while a bright fireplace mantle breathes in new life.

Don’t forget your home’s exterior: Unique details like brackets, corbels, and hidden soffits are perfect places to add a fun, unexpected color pop. Spring gardening DIY calling your name? Shutters and built-in window planters are easy projects, and great candidates for your favorite fab shade.

A colorful front door sets the tone for visitors entering your home. Photo from Zillow listing

Go bold in the bathroom and kitchen

Tubs and sinks — who would ever think that the workhorses of the bathroom and kitchen could be prime real estate for a new splash of color? While avocado-green kitchen sinks are a thing of the past, modern counterparts are taking over the design realm in fun, bold shades.

For a DIY route, paint the underside of a farmhouse-style, wall-mounted sink or vintage clawfoot tub for a fun take on an old classic. Go for tubs and sinks that have lips — they make the new color application look seamless.

A deep egglant tub anchors an otherwise light and bright bathroom. Photo from Zillow listing

Color and case goods

What better way to add an unexpected hue in your space than with a custom case good? Case goods are extremely versatile — use them as a buffet in the dining room, a console in the entry, a dresser in the bedroom, or even a chest in the living room.

While most furniture pieces feature a beautiful, natural stain or a neutral shade, customizing a case good with a vivid hue is a sure way to turn that piece into a showstopper.

If a new case good isn’t in your future, a fresh coat of paint and some fun hardware on a well-loved piece is an easy way to bring new life into an unexpected place. Have fun with an emerald-green buffet in the dining room or a coral console for a festive entrance — whatever shade you choose, it’ll be a unique piece.

Matching aqua chests add a lively touch while providing handy storage. Photo courtesy of The Design Firm

Posted by Kerrie Kelly on Zillow

Live Happily Ever After: Creating a Fairy Tale Interior

Once upon a time, there was a home that captured storybook allure with luxe fabrics and delicate details.

Pretty accessories, elegant touches, and finishes fit for a king all combine to create a fairy tale interior. From delicate pastel palettes to chic chandeliers, this sweet and sophisticated style is dreamy, decadent and perfect for any home.

Twinkle twinkle

Pretty statement pendant lights and elegant tableside fixtures create the perfect amount of illumination for a fairy tale interior. Create this look with layered lighting: choose a sophisticated statement pendant and complement it with dimmed floor lamps or bedside lighting.

Glass, nickel, and high-gloss finishes are all princely illumination options, and work perfectly in the master bedroom, dining and living areas.

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Photo from Zillow listing.

Powdery pastels

Create a space straight out of a storybook with soft and lustrous pastel colors throughout the room. Choose a satin-finish paint for the walls in a soft white or powdery gray, and add plush upholstered pieces in muted neutrals for additional elegance.

Top off the look with airy drapery and linens, and soft, tufted textures throughout.

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Courtesy of AdamHunterInc.

Enchanted embellishment

One of the most beloved characteristics of fairy tale interiors is their decadence and grandeur. From crown molding to ornate coving and ceiling medallions, fairy tale style is nothing short of sophisticated.

For your own enchanted space, consider adding molding. Moldings add shape and dimension to a room, lending an opulent feel to the design.

Accessorize the room with ultra-feminine furniture and velvety fabrics topped with masculine elements like fur and metal fixtures.

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Photo from Zillow listing.

Plenty of sophisticated touches can be added for your own personal pampering. Ornate fireplaces, cozy curtains, textured tapestries and delicate details all add their own fairy tale flair. Four-poster beds covered in sensual fabrics, vintage throws, and tufted pillows create decadence, while calming colors create a restful haven.

Combine your favorite fairy tale elements to create an ambiance perfect for a beloved storybook character. Bring the look into modern-day design with transitional elements, or keep it classic by playing up its old-fashioned appeal.

Posted by Kerrie Kelly on Zillow

3 Fresh Home Design Looks for the New Year

Metallics like copper and rose gold made a big splash in 2016. So what does 2017 have in store for us?

2016 was a great year for interior design. So many trends were influenced by new innovations and technology; beautiful colors took new form; unique silhouettes filled every room of the home; and textures and fabrics breathed life into otherwise traditional furnishings.

But it’s a new year, and time for new looks. Here’s a peek at three current trends that will have the interior design world buzzing in 2017.

Va-va velvet

For years, the design industry has been buzzing about texture, and how plush or sinuous fabrics flip a design on its head for a totally unique effect. In 2017, the texture trend continues with the rise of velvet.

trend1

Courtesy of Zillow Digs.

Velvet is a classic fabric that periodically enjoys a new surge of popularity. This year, we see velvet used on every furniture piece imaginable, from ottomans to dining room chairs to the smallest fringed detail.

This trend is all about adding just the right amount of ‘ooh la la’ to any space, without diving too deep into luxury.

Get the look:

  • Jewel-toned velvet fabrics add a luxe look to any piece of furniture. Cover an ottoman or desk chair with this sophisticated upholstery for an elegant boost.
  • Create a masculine setting by pairing navy velvet dining chairs with a rich wood table and metallic place settings.
  • Add glamour to a master suite with velvet drapes. Hues like rich emerald green or soft blush add just the right touch of sophistication, without overwhelming the space.

Darling denim

Everyone loves a great pair of jeans, so it’s no mystery why the design world is falling for denim fabrics, motifs, and patterns for home interiors.

Channeling indigo hues and a perfectly worn-in feel, the denim trend of 2017 offers approachability to furnishings, finishes, and fabrics alike.

Taking cues from the velvet trend, denim-like fabric can be found on ottomans, window coverings, bed linens, and area rugs, offering a simple yet sophisticated take on everyone’s favorite fabric.

Get the look:

  • Dip your toe into the denim look with a duvet cover or area rug. These larger linens make a huge impact on your space without being too permanent.
  • Denim hues go well with metallic finishes. Adding this hue to a bathroom space via hand towels or a beautiful rug will make your polished nickel hardware “pop,” or give your favorite brass faucet a modern feel.

Stripe story

Designers use stripes as a “neutral” element to anchor a space with clean lines and bold colors. In 2017, stripes will be used as a statement-maker all on their own.

trend2

Courtesy of Zillow Digs.

With a bold brushstroke down the middle of a wingback chair, or as a reimagined wallpaper pattern, the single stripe is the new must-know print. Stripes, whether a simple pinstripe or graphic configuration, can be worked into any space, from uber-modern to tailored and traditional.

Get the look:

  • Get graphic with a single bold stripe down the back of a wingback chair for added flair without the commitment to a full stripe pattern.
  • A beautiful pinstripe-patterned wall covering adds impact without crowding a room’s design. Add this easy look to a powder bathroom for an instant style boost.

 

Posted by Kerrie Kelly on Zillow

 

9 Home Decor Myths You Should Stop Believing Immediately

Even if you’re an ardent amateur decorator, starting from scratch in a new place can be intimidating. So many white walls screaming out for paint, so much bare hardwood dying for furniture. What’s a new homeowner to do?

Katarzyna Bialasiewicz

Maybe you don’t want to shell out for an interior decorator and besides, you have Pinterest on your side. Hey, you can do this thing yourself, right? All you need to do is follow the rules of the decor road. You know the ones we’re talking about—the nuggets of conventional wisdom like “don’t paint a small room with a dark color” or “avoid mixing metals.”

But not every decor rule should be considered gospel—in fact, some are downright myths. Here, our expert designers clear up nine misconceptions about how you should decorate your home. So get moving and decorate your place already!

Myth No.1: Ceilings must be white

Photo by Sroka Design, Inc.

A complementary ceiling color gives a cozy feel. White ceilings might seem like the norm, but they aren’t right for every room.

“White ceilings can actually be distracting if there is no other white in the room,” says Dee Schlotter, the senior color marketing manager for PPG.

Deep-emerald walls look strange with a blazing-bright ceiling. That cheerful yellow you carefully selected for the kitchen seems too bold with the ceiling so stark white. A complementary color—or even a coordinating off-white shade—can prevent distraction, Schlotter says.

Myth No. 2: Everything should match perfectly

The days of matching and monochromatic looks are over. Instead, cohesive coordination reigns supreme. Think: Wood tones, lush fabrics, and colors that harmonize with (not identically match) your walls. Otherwise, you risk dull, monotone decor that bores every visitor who passes through your doors.

“Look at the undertones of the primary color scheme,” says Jill Hosking, an interior designer in Windham, NH. “It does take more time and effort to coordinate versus match, but your room will look and feel more cohesive, chic, and likely will seem to be a better reflection of your personal style.”

Myth No. 3: Less furniture equals more space

You might believe paring down your furniture collection will make your small room feel massive—so there’s more room for activities, right?—but be prepared for some disappointment after the final Craigslist buyer trucks away the love seat. In fact, the empty space feels tiny.

“A fully furnished room will actually make the space feel bigger,” says Megan Hopp, a designer with Homepolish. “It’s counterintuitive, but having the right amount and right-size pieces in a layout will make your room feel bigger, better, and help you breathe a sigh of relief.”

If your massive sectional overwhelms the space, consider sizing down with a new couch—but don’t ditch the seating entirely.

Myth No. 4: Dark walls make a space look small

Photo by Rugo/ Raff Ltd. Architects

White or neutral tones aren’t the only shades allowed in a tiny room. Far from off-limits, dark walls can even size up the space.

“Covering all of the surfaces of a room in one color makes it larger,” Schlotter says. Choose a hue that moves you—warm, rich, buttery, soothing—and “envelop the space,” she says. Yes, even the ceiling.

“One unified color fades defining lines, which enhances the coziness of the space and makes it feel larger,” she says.

Myth No. 5: Decor pieces can’t touch

A couch 5 feet from a side table and another 5 feet from the coffee table feels museum-like, not comfy-cozy. And contrary to popular belief, table decor is allowed to slightly obscure your artwork. (It can actually look better!)

“Yes, your lamp can cover the bottom corner of the mirror, and your armchair would love to live in front of your bookcase,” Hopp says. “Just like a sandwich, each ingredient on top of the other makes for a much better recipe than each piece alone.” Bon appetit!

Myth No. 6: You can’t have nice furniture if you have kids

Yes, skip the pricey white leather armchair, unless you’re eager to dress it up with crayon. But you don’t have to ditch all of the expensive and lovely pieces you’ve collected over the years. You can even buy new, elegant furniture that make you happy—even with your rugrats scrambling around.

The key is to choose and position your pieces carefully, and to aim for indestructible materials and finishes. It might seem counterintuitive, but splurging on well-made furniture could end up saving you in the long run. It’s more likely to hold up to years of abuse than the cheap models you think you’re resigned to own.

Myth No. 7: Never mix metals

Photo by Casey & Fox

Gone are the days when it was taboo to mix metals. With the infusion of brilliant golds, brushed nickels, and rich coppers into our decors, designers have found themselves asking: Why limit ourselves to just one? It turns out, you can have it all.

“Mixed metallics is not only a good thing, in my opinion, it’s a better choice than confining yourself and your design to one or the other,” Hopp says.

Some metals, such as copper and gold, contribute warm tones—others (think silver and nickel) are cooler. Together, they create “a healthy balance” that adds texture, glamour, and dimension to your space.

Myth No. 8: Art goes up high

Photo by Laura U, Inc.

Photo by Laura U, Inc.

Move that art lower—please, designers plea. Hang your art like a museum does: at eye level. Placed properly, the glory of your collection can be fully appreciated by your guests, who won’t have to crane their necks.

“Try moving your pieces down so as to sit just above the center point of the wall,” Hopp says. “Think about how art looks in a gallery. Follow suit, and bring it down.”

Myth No. 9: You should always be on trend

We’ll be the first to admit that we spend a lot of time telling you which interior design trends you should incorporate into your home, and which ones are so last year. But here’s something we don’t say often enough: You shouldn’t let Pinterest (or us!) dictate your decor decisions. Following design trends blindly creates a soulless space. Soulless as in dead.

“Only infuse trends into your home if it’s one you truly like and can live with longer than a year,” Hosking says. “It’s unrealistic to paint your walls every year or to add that mirrored chest to the dining room because ‘it’s in.’”

Love a style but hesitant to go all-in on a trend? Consider using smaller pieces to incorporate popular fabrics and styles into your home.

Pillows, throws, and art are easy ways to “infuse a trendy look without breaking the bank or generating buyer’s remorse,” Hosking says. And once you’re tired of the chevron, or the Swiss cross, or the trellis, donate the piece, take a tax deduction, and try something new.

 

Posted by Jamie Wiebe on realtor.com

 

 

Sneak Peek! 10 Design Predictions For 2017

Bye, granite! Marble is going to take over in a major way for 2017.

Bye, granite! Marble is going to take over in a major way for 2017.

Find out the biggest decor trends now, before they dominate on Instagram.

Although it hasn’t arrived yet, 2017 is already shaping up to be an interesting year for decor. There’s a sea change coming to our homes that designers have been sensing over the past few months, especially in areas that have long been dominated by one look. For example: granite countertops. For the longest time, you couldn’t watch five minutes of a real estate hunting–type show without hearing a potential homeowner wax poetically about the virtues of the pricey material. But a cursory glance through Instagram’s top design accounts shows a surprising lack of the ubiquitous material, which possibly signals the end of the granite era. Instead, trends for 2017 are all about options that express your unique perspective on decor — and this idea goes far beyond our kitchens.

“Home interiors and the concept of ‘living well’ [are] changing,” says New York, NY–based interior designer Heather Higgins. “It is less about opulence and fashion and more about comfort, ease, and a sense of personal style.” The emphasis on individualism is resulting in the rise of trends that are anything but traditional. Here are the top looks that have registered on the radar of design experts, along with a few formerly popular decor ideas that will be on the wane in 2017.

1. Cerused woods

Also referred to as a limed-wax finish, this technique adds color to wood while also revealing its unusual grain. It’s expected to be big for cabinets and flooring, especially in dramatic hues of black, “greige,” and dark gray.

2. Marble surfaces

If we had to name one of the biggest trends of 2017, marble would be it. In white or black, the material has jumped over from chic cafes and restaurants and into our kitchens and bathrooms. It’s not just for countertops, though: Look out for marble motifs in carpets, wallcoverings, and even fabrics.

3. Animal-inspired textures

Whether real or faux, leather, shagreen, and parchment will be hot materials for 2017. Mainly, these hides will be used as an unexpected pop of texture in accent furniture.

4. Statement headboards

Designers have noticed a pattern when it comes to beds: The emphasis is on a headboard rather than a traditional bed (the kind that comes with a matching footboard). And those headboards? They’re statement pieces with bold silhouettes and luxe fabrics.

5. Shiny metal finishes

Think shiny hardware is so ’80s? Think again. Polished brass and bronze knobs, knockers, pulls, and faucets are back in a big way. It’s a trend that’s easy to bring into your home — just swap out your current hardware.

6. Matte appliances

Stainless steel has long been the default choice for stylish kitchens everywhere. Not in 2017. Following the trend in beauty, matte-finish appliances in dark hues bring an element of drama into the kitchen.

7. Patterned wallcoverings

After years of solid walls, wallpaper is poised for a comeback. Designers are seeing an interest in all-over, dramatic patterns like paisley, overscaled florals, and abstract designs. You’ll see these wallcoverings in small spaces, like powder rooms, often in darker hues.

8. Jewel tones

No longer are homeowners (and renters with understanding landlords) content with blank white walls. Jewel tones like emerald and amethyst add warmth and personality to a space, particularly in entryways and small spaces. It’s not just about hue but also intensity. Even neutral paint colors like gray can go bolder.

9. Nailhead details

You’ve seen them on sofas for ages, but now nailhead details jump to accent pieces like storage chests, credenzas, and even light fixtures. They even form their own patterns — no longer limited to the edges.

10. Overdyed rugs

We’ll never see sisals and solids go out of fashion, but there is something new in the world of rugs. It’s all about an overdyed effect that features rich, saturated colors. These colorful showstoppers are practically pieces of art for your floor.

Posted by Brie Dyas on Trulia

 

How to Organize Your Bedroom to Make It the Ultimate Place to Relax

Choreograph/iStock

Our bedrooms may be our private retreat from all of life’s stresses, but let’s face it: Most of the time, this place is just a mess. We pray people won’t pop their heads in there to witness the piles of clothes, the cluttered nightstands, the unmade beds. But it doesn’t have to be that way—all you might need is a little advice on how to organize your bedroom right.

Here are seven steps to a shipshape space.

Step 1: Clean out your closet

Regardless of how messy the rest of your bedroom is, your closet is almost certainly a disaster zone. Sort through all of your clothing and donate everything you haven’t worn in the past year to your favorite charity. Consider investing in a closet system—Ikea offers a number of inexpensive options to keep your shoes, clothing, and foldable items in order.

Thinning out your wardrobe is a good first step.John Dowland/Getty Images

Step 2: Make use of hidden space

Unless you’re sleeping on a platform bed, there’s plenty of room for storage underneath it. Keep winter clothing out of sight when the weather warms up by tucking it away in an under-bed box. Wheeled varieties give you easy access when that first autumn chill comes rolling through. And as a bonus, those annoying dust bunnies have less room to hide when the space underneath your bed is filled with boxes.

Step 3: Tuck away electronics

Long cables mar an otherwise attractive bedroom. Keeping them out of sight (and mind) goes a long way toward making your space look clean and organized. For a bedroom TV, use a simple cord cover to keep the cables hidden. For your collection of nighttime-charging electronics, consider creating a charging station inside your nightstand drawer.

Step 4: Create footboard storage

There’s a reason designers love to push chests against the end of a bed: Not only do they look stylish and awesome, but they also provide serious storage space—especially in small rooms. Use them for bulky items like extra duvets, chunky sweaters, and Butkis the Belgian sheepdog’s entire collection of Halloween costumes.

Step 5: Add a desk or vanity

These pieces of furniture don’t take much space, so go ahead and carve out space for one if that’s your desire. Add a small table with drawers on which you can perch your laptop or (if you’re going for a vanity) a lighted mirror. Include a cute but comfy chair and—if your collection of lipsticks and eyeshadows is a cluttered mess—an acrylic makeup organizer.

Step 6: Find your weak points

Last but not least, take a look at your surroundings. Where does mess accumulate most—on top of your dresser? Beside your bed? Is your nightstand a disaster? Single out the worst offenders. Then, spend a few days observing your own behavior to understand why these particular locations are such clutter magnets. Do you leave water glasses on your nightstand every night? Do all your clothes somehow wind up in a pile on the floor?

Pinpointing the biggest issues will help you make an actionable plan to turn these bad habits into good ones. For instance, vow to remove those water glasses first thing in the morning. Hang your clothes or toss them into the laundry. And last but not least, make your bed in the morning—the 5 seconds it takes to pull up the bedcover really does make a huge difference.

Then give yourself a little breathing room—research shows it takes 66 days to form a new habit. Your space might be in shape now, but the ultimate goal should be keeping your bedroom looking like a relaxing oasis 100% of the time.

Posted by Jamie Wiebe on realtor.com