live at homeWhere did Dallas fall in a study of adult children living at home with their parents? What cities will dominate new home construction this year? What did housing sales look like in February?

We have all this and more in this week’s roundup of real estate news. (more…)

When Mark Law took his job as the vice president of product innovation for HomLuv, it necessitated a move to Austin from Seattle. His wife was still in Seattle, in fact, when the couple also became one of HomLuv’s earliest users.

HomLuv.com is a visual search platform for new home buyers that takes the joy of Pinterest and Houzz and the practicality of your budget to make a tool that takes some of the hardest parts of picking a home builder and makes them disappear.

“We found that many people will use Pinterest and other sites and they’re putting million dollar photos of rooms they like, and then they are disappointed when they can’t get it because it’s out of their budget,” Law said.

HomLuv is different because users can log on to the site (which went live today) and page through pictures of kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms, and even garages — all filtered by the prospective homebuyer’s budget, square footage desires, number of bedrooms wanted, and more. (more…)

The Dow was down last week after news broke regarding President Donald Trump’s proposed tariffs totaling billions in the simmering trade war with China. Meanwhile, bonds rallied — at the expense of the stock market. Our most-trusted mortgage expert, Bob Johnson (AKA BobMortgage), the senior mortgage adviser at the nation’s oldest private lender — Wallick & Volk — shares his outlook on the market. 

With more than 20 years of experience helping buyers find the right loan solutions for their home, BobMortgage can help you make sense of the complicated mortgage market. Should you lock or float? Find out in this week’s Mortgage Report presented by Wallick & Volk. (more…)

The Trump administration announced a proposal for tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, sending shockwaves through the housing market. With tariffs on Canadian lumber already driving up the cost of some types of housing, new tariffs on aluminum and steel could increase the overall cost for a new home even more. How will that affect homebuyers? Find out right now with the Mortgage Report by our most-trusted home loan expert, Bob Johnson (AKA BobMortgage), the senior mortgage adviser with the nation’s oldest private lender Wallick & Volk.

With more than 20 years of experience helping buyers find the right loan solutions for their home, BobMortgage can help you make sense of the complicated mortgage market. Should you lock or float? Find out in this week’s Mortgage Report presented by Wallick & Volk.

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Episode 8; London Miniscule House

I’ve written about Grand Designs before. It’s the long-running UK house-building show that’s just finished its 18th season. Unlike US shows, with their short attention spans, Grand Designs follows the progress of people building their dream homes from scratch.  Sure, sometimes “scratch” means from the dirt up, but it can also mean converting an old structure (barn, power station, water tank, etc.) into a residential dwelling. (If you want to read more about these, and other shows, click here and here.)

Crews follow the builder/owners for as long as it takes. Sometimes it’s a year but often more … one literally took a decade.  For some reason the US, and our instant gratification HGTV, just can’t make the investment in this kind of filming. And it’s a shame. We all know how to renovate a kitchen or bathroom in our sleep, but the complexities of building a complete home remain a mystery.  What makes Grand Designs so interesting are the construction methods used to make the homes eco-friendly and super insulated.

Thankfully naughty people post the program on YouTube for us to see (you’d think with 18 seasons, DIY or something would buy the distribution rights). Aside from the original UK version, an Australian spin off is in its seventh season and New Zealand just wrapped up its third (more on that later). Watch these episodes quickly, they tend to vanish.

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Grand Designs Australia - Waterfront Home

Grand Designs Australia – Waterfront Home

Grand Designs,” “Restoration Home,” “Restoration Man,” “Double Your House for Half the Money,” “My Dream Derelict Home,” and “The House that £100K Built” are all TV programs you’ve likely not heard of or watched … and you should … and you can. That’s because thanks to YouTube, we can enjoy these UK and Australian programs too.

The fare on HGTV and DIY is fare-ly repetitive. If the market is roaring, we see house flipping, second home buying, and fire-stoking, get-rich-quick real estate stories. When the market shrinks, it reverts to cheap renovation, cheap decorating tips and blanding your house for a quick sale; awaiting the market to awaken.

Throughout it all, there is “House Hunters,” featuring couples who should never have married and “House Hunters International,” which is full of Americans lamenting itsy-bitsy refrigerators in far off lands.

Of course, it’s been fairly well reported that most of the shows are in some way fake. “House Hunters” is more about guessing which home the buyer has already purchased. Renovation shows always act shocked about “catastrophes” (revealed seconds before the commercial break) that a blind house inspector would have caught. Finally, there are the inane budget talks … you know what I mean …

Agent: “What’s your budget for your studio condo in Des Moines?”
Buyer: “$1 million.”
Agent: “Welllll, that’s a tight budget, it’s going to be very difficult. You may have to compromise.”

Regardless of the program, it’s all repetitive fake drama wrapped up with a bow in 21 or 43 minutes (subtracting commercials). This isn’t to say I don’t watch HGTV. I just watch it for information while trying my best to avoid the theater – the best way to do this is with a DVR and liberal use of fast-forward (and not just through the commercials).

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New home sales are up 18 percent for the month, according to Department of Commerce stats.

New home sales are up 18 percent for the month, according to Department of Commerce stats.

We like to check in with agents to see what the market looks like from their corner of the real estate world. So when we heard that, after a long period of stagnancy, new home sales were on an upward trajectory, we had to get some local perspective.

The report from the Department of Commerce this week showed new-home sales up by 18 percent last month. That’s the most growth new home sales have had since May 2008! Locally, that could be due to a variety of factors, one of which is the high demand in the existing home market.

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