Glass homes in a whole new light…

5 Glass Houses That Could Change Your Point of View

No need to hang wallpaper or a landscape painting — walls of windows let nature do the decorating in these homes. To see why homeowners are ditching drywall for glass, check out these stunning modern gems currently on the market.

Aspen, CO

300 Eagle Pines Dr, Aspen, CO
For sale: $15.75 million

Aspen, CO

This luxury mountain home in Aspen ski country truly embraces its surroundings with a magnificent great room framed by 25-foot-high walls of windows. “It is a dramatic space that is ideal for an intimate family gathering or an event of several hundred,” the listing description says. A scenic mountain view can be seen on either side of a striking stone fireplace.

Surfside, FL

1236 Biscaya Dr, Surfside, FL
For sale: $6.75 million

Surfside, FL

This Florida home takes advantage of its prime oceanfront location with walls of windows and glass doors facing the water. The home also has a private glass-edge pool, indoor and outdoor bars, a water moat and dock.

East Hampton, NY

(undisclosed address), East Hampton, NY
For sale: $6.4 million

East Hampton, NY

A minimalist design by the award-winning Bates Masi Architects, this 5-bedroom home overlooks a private bay stretching 125 feet. The home’s exterior was constructed in 2009 out of two rectangular structures integrating slate, wood and walls of glass.

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Jumbo loans in the spotlight…

Why Are Jumbo Loans Getting So Much Attention?

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Money bagsJumbo mortgages — loans that exceed the limit for the so-called conforming loans sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — have been making headlines recently, with some media outlets pointing out that more-affluent borrowers are finding it easier to get larger mortgages.

In the greater scheme of things, jumbo loans don’t account for a very big part of the market, but they might be the right answer for you if you are interested in buying a home that costs much more than you can borrow with a conforming mortgage loan (currently $417,000, except for high-cost areas around major cities where the limit is $625,500). Interest rates for these loans are very competitive and in some cases lower than rates for conforming loans.

In today’s market, mortgage lenders are happy to tell you about their jumbo loans for a number of reasons:

Lower rates

First of all, it’s not that often that consumers will see interest rates on jumbo loans lower than rates for conforming loans. Typically, lenders charge more for these loans, as the higher balances mean investors are taking on more risk. Today’s lower rates give loan officers all the reason they need to call on former borrowers and business partners.

Why are rates lower now? Part of the reason is that most lenders are starting to get desperate for loan volume. Interest rates have been low long enough that it’s getting hard to find homeowners who can still benefit from refinancing their loans. In October, the Mortgage Bankers Association reduced its estimate for the industry’s 2013 loan volume a second time, estimating total originations for the year at $1.7 trillion. That’s down from more than $2 trillion in 2012.

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Agents are owners too!

Do Most Real Estate Agents Own Their Own Homes? Yes!

Jed Kolko | Huffington Post | January 14, 2014 | link

 

If you want your real estate agent to be able to speak from personal experience, you’re in luck. We discovered that the vast majority of agents – almost 85% – are homeowners rather than renters. That means they do, in fact, practice what they preach. Of course, there are lots of other things to consider when choosing a real estate agent (start with these questions and look through the Trulia Agent Directory), but if you want an agent who walks the walk, it’s not hard to find one.

To discover whether real estate professionals are especially committed to homeownership, we calculated homeownership rates by occupation using Census data from 2007-2012. We then adjusted for demographics, income, and location to determine whether real estate professionals are more likely to own their home compared to other people with similar attributes in a similar neighborhood. (See note for details on methodology.) Here’s what we found.

Real Estate Pros More Likely to Own
Let’s start with real estate agents. The homeownership rate for “real estate brokers and sales agents,” as the Census calls them, is 84.9%. That’s much higher than the homeownership rate for people in all occupations combined, which is 70.1% (see note for why this is higher than the published homeownership rate). Part of this gap is explained by the fact that real estate agents tend to be older, and homeownership tends to increase with age. But this chart shows that homeownership among real estate agents is higher than national norms even within age groups:

Trulia_AgentHomeownership_AllAges_Chart

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Google buys Apple’s foray into home tech…

Google Buys Nest For $3.2 Billion

(Photo by Ann Hermes/The Christian Science Monitor via Getty Images)

Google is getting in the thermostat game. The company announced on Monday that it purchased Nest, the maker of high-tech thermostats and smoke detectors, for $3.2 billion in cash.

Founded by former Apple engineers Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers in 2010, Nest grabbed headlines for its pricey line of Internet-connected thermostats and fire alarms — products not usually known for being sleekly designed or particularly high-tech.

Nest sells its thermostats on the promise of saving homeowners energy by learning their daily habits and adjusting temperature accordingly. And it set out to make smoke detectors radically easier to use: A wave of the hand stops it from beeping.

“Google has the business resources, global scale and platform reach to accelerate Nest growth across hardware, software and services for the home globally,” Fadell explained in a blog post. “And our company visions are well aligned – we both believe in letting technology do the hard work behind the scenes so people can get on with the things that matter in life.”

“Nest’s founders, Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers, have built a tremendous team that we are excited to welcome into the Google family,” Google CEO Larry Page said in the company’s own press release.

Nest will retain its brand name within Google. But the purchase keeps the hyped thermostat maker away from other potential suitors — most notably Apple where Fadell helped conceive and design the first iPod in 2001. He left the company seven years later to found Nest, and many have since wondered when Apple would scoop it up. According to a report last month in The Information, Google was developing a high-tech thermostat of its own last year, implying that it was going to get into the home-automation business with or without Fadell.

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Close, but not quite!

What People In The 1950s Thought The House Of The Future Would Be Like

 Huffington Post | January 10, 2014 | link

2014-03-31_1516

The most current house of the future debuted this week, where we learned that our homes will just be giant Siris for us to reside in. But back in 1957, the vision was much different. Think: Lots of plastic, pop-up dishwashers and a woman tranquilly optimistic about preparing dinner. Watch the clip above from HuffPost Live — and check out the full video on YouTube.

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How stardom affects celebrity home sales…

Luxury Real Estate Mistakes of the Rich and Famous

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Real estate transactions are high pressure situations where both the buyer and seller have a lot to lose. Celebrity real estate acquisitions are no different.

“Celebrity can be both an advantage or disadvantage when it comes to real estate,” said Alison Schwartz, vice president of corporate communications with Realtor.com.

When dealing with bad timing and over priced property to amenity-challenged buildings and even unusual amenities, the visibility of the rich and famous can create unique challenges.

“Some high end buyers prefer to keep a lower profile and may shy away from a listing that’s too public,” said Crystal Green, a licensed real estate salesperson with Rutenberg Realty.

Being rich, famous and talented typically fuels special needs. Michael Jordan’s 56,000-square-foot house has nine bedrooms, 15 bathrooms and a regulation-size NBA basketball court.

“Comfort and privacy are significant factors when you have a restricted life in the public domain,” said Mark Stapp, executive director of the Master of Real Estate Development (MRED) program at the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. “You want and need more service from your home like a movie theater and bowling alley to increase privacy.”

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