SoCal Home Renovated by Jasmine Roth on Season 2 of ‘Hidden Potential’ Sells in a Flash>

The potential of a home in Huntington Beach, CA, was readily apparent to buyers.

And if they blinked, it was easy to miss the fact that this four-bedroom, 3.5-bathroom home was actually on the market at all.

One huge reason behind the speedy sale? The place was renovated by Jasmine Roth on Season 2 of her popular HGTV series “Hidden Potential.”

In less than a week, the home, which was purchased for $825,000 in 2017, had an accepted, contingent offer above the asking price of $1.1 million. Thanks, Jasmine!

Of course, it helps that the 2,223-square-foot residence is located in a great neighborhood. It’s within walking distance of the Bolsa Chica Wetlands, and a 2-mile drive (or skateboard ride) to the Pacific Ocean and legendary Huntington Beach itself, as well as to shopping, restaurants, a golf course, and highly rated schools.

Combined with the location, Roth’s riveting redo made this home a hot commodity. Built in 1969, the home had undergone some renovation over the years, but nothing nearly as dramatic as Roth’s effort a couple of years ago on a $90,000 budget.

“I wanted to update the entire home to represent this fun, vibrant family’s love of the beach. They are a quintessential California couple, raising their family in a beach town, teaching their children a love of the ocean and community,” Roth said on her website.

So the HGTV star took what was previously drab and beige and converted it into a welcoming abode with a “super beachy” vibe, with splashes of aqua, coral, and gleaming white, both inside and out.

Exterior of home in Huntington Beach, CA
Exterior of home in Huntington Beach, CA

Family room
Family room

As Roth put it on her blog, “The front of their home needed to be opened up to showcase the welcoming, friendly nature of this family. Inside, the floor plan needed rethinking. By removing one of two redundant family rooms, and redesigning each space in the home with a designated purpose in mind, I helped breathe new life into each individual space.”

Dining area
Dining area

Living room area
Living room area

The home’s biggest highlight may be the bright and open gourmet kitchen, which features stainless-steel Viking appliances and quartz countertops, with a stylish tile backsplash. There’s also a large dining island with a dedicated beverage refrigerator.

Roth also added not one, but two work spaces right next to the kitchen—an addition that now makes perfect sense for a work-from-home lifestyle.

One workspace is for adults, the other is for kids, with the intention that a family can get work done “while in the good company the kitchen always provides.”


Dual workspaces
Dual workspaces

Other interesting “hidden” features include a secret bookshelf door under the stairs that leads to a children’s play fort, and a clever Biersafe outside—an in-ground cooler that costs nothing to operate, since it uses the ground’s thermodynamics to keep beverages chilled, and can be hidden underneath a flower pot.

Under-stairs bookshelf that leads to a children's play fort
Under-stairs bookshelf that leads to a children’s play fort

The house has two bedrooms and one bathroom upstairs, two full en suite bedrooms downstairs, and a powder room for guests. This can put much desired distance between the adults and the kids. When the episode aired in 2019, the owners had three of their four children, Grandma, and two dogs living with them.

Peach-colored beach bedroom
Peach-colored beach bedroom

Children's bedroom
Children’s bedroom

Additional child's bedroom
Additional child’s bedroom

More grownup sleeping quarters
More grownup sleeping quarters

With new landscaping, cement, fences, paint, and other finishes both in the front and in the back, the home’s renovation was complete, ready to be snatched up in no time after it went on the market.

When the work was done, Roth said she felt the home had a “purposeful update that it deserves.” It looks as if buyers agree.

Backyard with fire pit
Backyard with fire pit


Weiss Analytics launches AVM powered by geospatial AI

From thousands of feet above your home, a high-tech camera snaps pictures of your roof, the mess of debris in your yard, and that pool you hate cleaning. Pictures like these could cost – or save – you thousands of dollars when deals are about to close. It could also have big implications for appraisers, who are already nervous about the continued rise of automated valuation models.

With ValPro+, Cape Analytics and Weiss Analytics have created what they say is the first automated home valuation engine that uses geospatial imagery and artificial intelligence to integrate current home conditions – like a damaged roof or a pool – into valuations.

Cape Analytics’ AI system instantly extracts property condition from images, which is then run through Weiss’ valuation model, Raj Dosaj, Cape Analytics’ head of real estate, explained. The systems have condition data sets for 110 million buildings across the United States. Previously, an appraiser would need to make an in-person visit to note the condition of the property, Dosaj said.

The rise of AVMs over the years has waxed and waned based on the perceived risk of the product, but it’s caught fire over the last year with the COVID-19 pandemic and new initiatives by the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Condition data is the latest frontier, according to Cape and Weiss.

“One of the key missing ingredients which this now answers is, how do you know what the condition of the house is?” said Allan Weiss, head of Weiss Analytics and co-creator of the Case-Schiller Index. “Because most of the data is very out of date that you can get in computerized form – you can get assessor data, which could be a year more out of date, and does not tend to focus on condition of the house.”

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Cape Analytics and Weiss Analytics are primarily targeting real estate investors, real estate brokers and mortgage originators with the ValPro+ tool to help them identify undervalued purchase opportunities. The two companies claim their ValPro+ engine has shown a 7.7% improvement in PPE-10 predictions of on-market valuations. The model can also flag homes in distressed condition and will accurately predict they will sell at a 10% off-market discount, the companies said.

But the companies are especially interested in hooking loan traders, refinance and HELOC loan originators and iBuyers, who often want to bid on a home that isn’t on the market and doesn’t have an asking price. Overall, off-market houses sell for about 2.5% below their on-market peers, but Cape and Weiss say investors using their product achieved a median discount of 10% compared to their on-market peers.

Weiss wasn’t shy in saying the product represents a direct threat to appraisers and broker price opinions (BPOs), whom he says are both slow and expensive.

“There’s been a decades-long process by which the traditional appraisal has been, in some cases, augmented, in many cases, replaced by technology,” said Weiss. “And that’s been something that’s been going on since at least around the mid 1990s. Because of the cost of appraisals, and because of the delay that appraisals create and various transactions, they’re just not practical for all the ways that investors, lenders, and homeowners require in order to go about transacting the way they want to.”

Cape Analytics and Weiss Analytics said they spent about a year integrating the image data into the the home valuation models. Their model allows investors to get lists of all houses discounted below market value due to condition factors. The system also automatically scans real-time MLS listings and screens houses so bids are priced appropriately to maintain credibility with local agents.

“We now know if we have a house in South Florida, that has a pool and would otherwise be worth $600,000 versus a house that doesn’t have a pool, what that means in terms of the value of the house,” Weiss told HousingWire. “We didn’t know things like that before. We didn’t know what it meant if there was a lot of yard debris, or there was a lot of vegetation overgrowth or what it meant if the condition of the roof was very good versus very bad in a given market.”


Now Renting in Calabasas, Nelly Is Selling Abandoned Mansion in Missouri

Nelly is ready to take off from his abandoned Missouri digs. The hip-hop star has placed an unfinished remodel in Wildwood, MO, on the market for $599,000.

This is a precipitous drop from the listed price of $2.5 million in 2002, when the home was last on the market.

The St. Louis native reportedly snapped up the property, billed as “Tuscan-style architecture,” as an investment opportunity. Sarah Tadlock of Keller Williams is now the listing agent.

Mansion in Missouri

Unfortunately, the Grammy winner has less than a winning touch with this real estate.

Apparently, the plan a couple of decades ago was for Nelly to buy the place and then flip it with a “contractor friend,” TMZ noted. And although some work appears to have begun, the project now looks as if it was abandoned long ago.

Two decades later, the home has fallen into a state of disrepair. For buyers who know their way around a rehab, the home is a deal.

Just be sure to add in a (hefty) budget for renovations, and plan to flip the finished product, or move in.

“It’s quite a home. It’s pretty spectacular,” says Coco Bloomfield, a local real estate agent with Dielmann Sotheby’s International Realty—who isn’t affiliated with the listing.

Bloomfield did walk through the property recently with a potential buyer. She notes that some of the renovations that were begun—some modest kitchen finishes, for example—didn’t match the upscale style of the home.

She estimates the cost of improvements to bring the place back to a livable condition at around $500,000, but adds that the figure could easily soar to $1 million, depending on how high-end a renovation the buyer opts for.

The work needed includes updating and possibly expanding the kitchen, gutting the bathrooms, adding flooring, and fixing up the pool.

“You would have quite a property when you are done,” Bloomfield says. “The views are unbelievable. You could well make back the money on the property, if you want to go through the hassle of renovation.”

She notes that the listing already has multiple offers, and she believes the home is likely to sell for well over its asking price.

Wildwood currently has 228 homes for sale, with a median list price of $500,000.

Local prices ramp up with larger amounts of land and bigger houses. For example, a nearby 7,500-square-foot home from 2016, with a 3-acre “backyard oasis,” is listed for $1.95 million and in pending sale status.

Nelly's mansion in Wildwood, MO
Nelly’s mansion in Wildwood, MO

Two-story entrance
Two-story entrance

Unfinished space
Unfinished space

Fireplace and columns
Fireplace and columns

Deck with view
Deck with view

Views from floor-to-ceiling windows
Views from floor-to-ceiling windows

Backyard with demolished wall
Backyard with demolished wall

Missouri makeover

The palatial estate offers six bedrooms and 6.5 bathrooms, on nearly 11,000 square feet. Described as an “amazing investment opportunity” in the listing, the mansion, which was built in 1998, is said to feature “some of the best views in Missouri.”

The high-ceiling, large-volume rooms open with a two-story entrance. Details include dramatic vaulted ceilings, columns, and walls of glass to take in the views of the Meramec River valley.

The floor plan is said to offer a great room, separate dining room, breakfast room, media room, game room, library, fireplaces, and multiple balconies. In many places, the unfinished space is waiting for flooring to be installed.

Outside, the 12 acres of land include a basketball court, pool, hot tub, and three-car garage. The grounds and water features, however, will need serious rehab before the next pool party. A partially demolished wall also needs to be addressed in the backyard.

The home is minutes from the Hidden Valley Sky Resort in Eureka, the listing notes, and about 30 miles from St. Louis.

The home last made headlines in 2009, when it was reportedly burglarized, and some video games and electronics were stolen. Nelly wasn’t there at the time.

Nelly’s previous abode in St. Louis, a lakefront, ranch-style home, was featured on a 2002 episode of “MTV Cribs” and showed off its motor court filled with luxury cars. The rapper reportedly sold the pad, which had four bedrooms and a boat dock, in 2010.

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Cozy in Calabasas

As for the “Hot in Herre” rapper, he and his girlfriend, Shantel Jackson, have decamped to the celebrity enclave of Calabasas, CA, where they are leasing a home.

The longtime couple posted a New Year’s shot on Instagram.

The mansion they are living in, in the gated community of Mountain View Estates, offers six bedrooms on 6,158 square feet.

From the formal entry, the expanse includes a living room, dining room, and gourmet kitchen. A family room features a wet bar and fireplace. The master suite features a fireplace, double closets, double bathrooms, and a large balcony.

The outdoor space offers outdoor cooking and dining areas, a pool and spa, sport court, and putting green. Best of all? No home improvement projects are required.

Calabasas rental
Calabasas rental

Nelly, whose given name is Cornell Iral Haynes Jr., debuted his album “Country Grammar” in 2000. The album hit No. 1 on Billboard. The two-time Grammy winner’s chart-topping songs have made him one of the best-selling rap artists.

  • For more photos and details, check out the full listing.
  • Homes for sale in Wildwood, MO
  • Learn more about Wildwood, MO


Home Decor – Rents, Home Prices In New York City Drop At Steepest Pace On Record In January – Fintech Zoom

Home Decor – Rents, Home Prices In New York City Drop At Steepest Pace On Record In January


Rents and home prices in New York City fell at the fastest annual rate on record in January, largely due to an inventory glut that may take the city’s housing market years to recover to pre-pandemic levels of activity.

Key Facts

Rents in New York City dropped by the largest year-over-year pace on record in January, plunging 15.5% in Manhattan and 8.6% in both Brooklyn and Queens, according to StreetEasy, an online real estate marketplace.

The median asking rent (the rate offered by a landlord to a prospective tenant) in Manhattan amounted to $2,750 in January — the lowest level since March 2010, when the city’s economy was emerging from the financial crisis.

The median asking rent in Brooklyn in January was $2,395 while in Queens, it was $2,000.

StreetEasy attributed the falling rents to excessive supply, as there are twice as many rental properties available in Manhattan and Brooklyn compared to a year ago, and almost that many in Queens.

With respect to home sales, Manhattan and Brooklyn again witnessed record year-over-year price declines in January — down 6.2% and 5.4%, respectively.

The median asking price for a home in Manhattan was $1,350,000 in January; in Brooklyn, $925,000.

Surprising Fact

Despite the significant drops in prices, pending sales activity – meaning property transactions that have entered into a contract – have jumped 17.3% and 30.8% year-over-year in Brooklyn and Manhattan, respectively, due to a 57% year-over-year surge in contracts for luxury properties (defined as the top 20% of the market, or valued at a minimum of $3.7 million). However, the rapid increase in signed contracts still failed to offset the rise in available inventory, meaning the average price on homes still declined. Even at the luxury tier, there’s 25% more inventory than last year. “It’s rare that we see record high price drops in both the rentals and sales market, but landlords and sellers are dealing with the same issue right now: a surplus of competition and not enough demand,” said StreetEasy economist Nancy Wu in a statement. “Asking prices and monthly rents are coming down quickly, which means that landlords and sellers are finally facing reality. With inventory levels as high they are, there’s currently no end in sight when it comes to falling [New York City] real estate prices — good news for buyers and renters hoping to secure a good deal this year.” 


What To Watch For

New York City property sellers may have to brace for even more price reductions, Wu warned. “There’s no end in sight for how long prices will continue to decline,” she added. “This 6% drop in Manhattan [sales] seems to be the first milestone of what’s yet to come.”

Key Background

The pandemic hurt New York real estate industry in 2020 as at least 300,000 city dwellers fled either because they lost their jobs or sought to move to the suburbs for larger living spaces. Unemployment in the city reached 12% in November, before edging down to 11.4% in December (still almost double the national jobless rate). Even after city residents undergo mass vaccinations, it might take years for rental prices to return to pre-pandemic levels due to permanent losses in jobs and inventory overhang, Wu told the New York Times. A somewhat similar scenario is playing out on the other coast in San Francisco, where a mass exodus by tech workers led to a 35% drop in rental prices over the past year. 

Crucial Quote

“Inventory has been at record highs, and buyers have had more options. What’s happening now is that sellers seem to be coming to terms with the fact that there’s record inventory on the market, and unless they reduce prices significantly, it won’t sell,” said Nancy Wu.

Home Decor – Rents, Home Prices In New York City Drop At Steepest Pace On Record In January

Tags: Home Decor


Investors are bulk buying inner city condos on the cheap

While the suburbs are making a comeback with homebuyers as seek out more space for themselves during the pandmic, investors are playing a longer-term game, betting on condos and a return to the city when the pandemic subsides.

The Wall Street Journal says that investors in Manhattan are being lured by reduced prices and are now scrambling to buy up inner city condominiums in bulk. Many investors are particularly interested in opportunities to buy up individual apartments wholesale, prompting the Journal to label them “Costco shoppers for condos.”

Those buying up large numbers of condos include fund managers and real estate firms. The Journal says they’re buying anything from 3 or 4 condos to more than 100 at once at steep discount prices. For the time being they intend to try and rent out those condos to eke out some profits, but in the longer term they intend to sell them on once the housing market gets back to normal. Developers might be enticed at the prospect of a bulk sale since many new projects in big cities are lingering for a lot longer than they bargained for, the Journal said.

Even so, most developers would prefer to keep these deals quiet, as individual buyers may be upset to learn about the significant savings that can be had by purchasing condos in bulk, as opposed to buying just a single unit.

Douglas Elliman Real Estate broker AnneMarie Alexander told the Journal that she’s working with a number of investor groups that have been making offers to buy dozens of newly built condos in bulk, and those offers are typically 25% to 35% lower than the regular asking price.


These People Rushed to Buy Homes During Covid. Now They Regret It.>

Stella Guan spent months searching for a home to buy, getting outbid again and again in the white-hot real-estate market of the Los Angeles suburbs. Finally, her offer on a “beautiful” Santa Clarita house was accepted in August, she said. The graphic designer, 30, paid roughly $600,000 for the house. But after sleeping there for only a few nights, she had an unfortunate realization. “I was like ‘uh-oh, I hate this house,’ ” she recalled. “I hate this house so much.”

Looking back on it, she said, “I should have seen all of the warning signs, but the pandemic housing fever got the better of me.”

Stella Guan purchased this home in Santa Clarita.

Photo: Stella Guan

A house, unlike expensive jewelry or clothing, can’t be returned if the buyer is unhappy with it, so a cardinal rule of home buying is that you shouldn’t rush into a purchase. But in 2020, millions of Americans did just that.

Fleeing small apartments, buying vacation homes or simply looking for a change of scenery amid the crushing boredom of lockdowns, people scrambled to buy houses amid the pandemic, spurring bidding wars and supercharging real-estate markets across the country. Now, many are discovering the pitfalls of these hasty purchases, ranging from buyers’ remorse and financial strain to damage caused by unexpected problems.

This spring especially, “people were so panicked,” said Priscilla Holloway, a Douglas Elliman agent in the Hamptons, a popular spot for New Yorkers seeking refuge from the pandemic. “Buying a home is a huge commitment. You have to be thorough. But people were getting all crazy, and they weren’t as thorough as they usually are.”

Many home buyers were apartment dwellers looking for larger spaces to shelter in. “It was a land grab for houses,” said Cheryl Eisen, CEO of the interior-design and property-marketing firm Interior Marketing Group. “People wanted out of apartments.”

At the same time, inventory dropped as many homeowners hesitated to list their properties in the pandemic. The result is that much of the country saw a price spike and bidding wars, brokers said, leaving buyers with little to choose from. In these conditions, many are tempted to waive inspections or skip other due diligence they would normally perform before buying a home.

The newly purchased home of Richard and Meaghan Weiss in Northern California.

Photo: Helynn Ospina for The Wall Street Journal


Have you ever rushed into buying a house and regretted it? Join the conversation below.

Ms. Holloway said she helped a family move this summer after discovering that the Hamptons house they had just bought had an infestation of wasps nests in the backyard. The family didn’t find the wasps until after closing because they had waived the inspection in the midst of a bidding war, said Ms. Holloway, who wasn’t representing them at the time. Deciding the property was unsafe for their young children, they immediately put the Westhampton Beach home on the market. Ms. Holloway and a colleague helped them find another house to buy.

Over the past two years, the insurance company Chubb has seen large, non-weather-related losses increase in frequency and severity, according to Fran O’Brien, division president of Chubb North America Personal Risk Services. She attributed these losses in part to hasty home purchases: Buyers moving from a small city apartment to a large home in a rural area may not be well versed in how to prevent the pipes from freezing, for example.

“People are moving to places that they don’t know a lot about,” Ms. O’Brien said. “They’re thinking, ‘this looks like a nice place to live’ for amenities it may have. They don’t understand what risk there could be with that home.”

People are even more likely to overlook those risks, she said, when they are in a hurry to snap up a home before someone else does. “You run into this lack of awareness and lack of time, which is not a good combination.”

A HomeAdvisor report found that Americans did an average of 1.2 emergency home repairs in 2020, up from 0.4 in 2019, while emergency home spending jumped to an average of $1,640, up $124 from the 2019 average.

Nature had an unpleasant surprise in store for Richard and Meaghan Weiss when they bought their first home in Northern California after moving from Brooklyn.

When Covid hit, the couple left their Brooklyn apartment to stay with Ms. Weiss’s parents in Sonoma, Calif. Ms. Weiss was pregnant and they had a toddler at the time. “Being cooped up in an apartment, not being able to see people in New York, sounded like a miserable existence,” said Mr. Weiss, 40, who works in commercial real estate.

After a few months they decided to relocate permanently to the Bay Area, where Ms. Weiss grew up, and started looking for a home to buy. They found the market to be “super-duper competitive,” Mr. Weiss said. They were outbid on one house and backed out of a contract on another when they found out it had serious foundation issues.

Finally, they were able to buy a four-bedroom house they loved in the East Bay, paying about $100,000 over the $1.89 million asking price to beat out another bidder. “We were a little bit overeager because we’d been burned twice,” he said. “We probably didn’t do the due diligence we should have and looked at everything as thoroughly as we probably should have.”

The Weiss family.

Photo: Helynn Ospina for The Wall Street Journal

They closed on the hillside house in November. When they returned a few weeks later to move in, “we see all these holes in the siding,” Mr. Weiss said. On closer inspection, they found that the wood on one side of the house was “absolutely devastated,” with some 90 holes in it. It turned out that the culprits were acorn woodpeckers living in the large oak trees surrounding the house. “Come to find out, it’s a systemic problem in the neighborhood,” Mr. Weiss said.

The seller hadn’t said anything about the birds, he said, and coming from Brooklyn, he and his wife didn’t know to ask. Since then, they have tried various deterrent devices and consulted with exterminators, but the only permanent solution is to replace the home’s wooden siding with cement at a cost of roughly $150,000.

If it weren’t for the frothy pandemic market, Mr. Weiss believes they would have discovered the problem before closing. “I think we would have been slower and more thoughtful and more methodical,” he said. “Buying a home becomes emotional. Because we were emotional from losing the first two and the competitiveness, we just kind of dropped our level of diligence and plowed through.”

Ms. Guan started bidding on houses in the L.A. suburbs even before she moved there from the New York City area in July. She had a good experience with her first home purchase, a New Jersey condo, and with interest rates low, she was eager to jump into the California market. “I thought it’s going to be the same as New Jersey. I’ll enjoy the ownership and make money in a few years.”

The Weisses had nearby branches trimmed in an attempt to keep woodpeckers away from the house.

Photo: Helynn Ospina for The Wall Street Journal

But she arrived in L.A. to find “the most insane housing market I’ve ever seen,” she said. Every house seemed to get 15 or 16 offers, she said, and sell for $100,000 over its asking price. Her offer was eventually accepted on a circa-1975 house with a renovated kitchen in Santa Clarita. At that point, she had been outbid on seven other houses, she said, so she was determined to get this one, even when the inspection revealed toxic black mold and asbestos. “I was really trying to get out of where I lived,” she said. “I spent five to six months looking. All of these factors made me say, ‘OK, I have to just face it, I can’t back out.’ ”

She sold the house a few months after buying it. After the repairs, agents’ fees and transaction costs, she said, “I lost a lot of money.” She now lives in a rented studio in L.A.’s Koreatown, where she said she’s much happier. “It still hurts,” she said, but “it’s just good to have my money back and move on to other things. And never see the house again.”

Write to Candace Taylor at

Copyright ©2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

Appeared in the February 12, 2021, print edition as ‘Haste Makes Waste When It Comes to Homes.’


First Time Homebuyer? 6 Home Buying Myths to Look Out For – Redfin

Buying your first home is often a dream for many renters out there. But with all the information about how to buy a home, it can be easy to believe some of the home buying myths. Whether you’re looking to buy a house in Seattle, WA, or a condo in Miami, FL, you’ve probably heard some of the myths surrounding how much you’ll need for a down payment or how high your credit score should be. 

Before you set your sights on your dream home, make sure you know just what separates the home buying myths from the facts. You may realize that you’re able to buy your first home sooner than you think.



MYTH 1: You need a 20% down payment

The biggest home buying myth for any first time homebuyer is that you need a 20% down payment to buy a home. In many cases, your down payment can be as low as 3.5%. Common types of loans with low to no down payments include FHA, VA, and USDA loans. With FHA loans – loans designed for individuals with a low-to-moderate income level and credit score- your down payment could be as low as 3.5%. For veterans and current service members, VA loans offer no down payment mortgages, and those looking to buy a home in a rural area may qualify for a no down payment USDA loan. 

Aside from loans, down payment assistance programs can help you lower the cost of your down payment. These programs are available nationwide, statewide, or locally in your county or even city. Down payment assistance programs provide a wide range of assistance types such as second mortgages, forgivable loans, or grants covering partial to full costs of your down payment. Your real estate agent or mortgage lender can help you determine what down payment assistance you qualify for. 

If you do have the means to purchase a home with a 20% down payment, there are benefits to consider. For starters, you won’t need to factor in private mortgage insurance (PMI) to your budget. PMI is an additional cost your mortgage lender may require if your down payment is below 20% and the cost is factored into your monthly mortgage payment. However, it’s always a good idea to talk with your financial advisor or wealth manager to determine your finances and whether a 20% down payment is the right option.

MYTH 2: Renting is cheaper than buying a home

One of the most common home buying myths is that renting is cheaper than buying a home. If you’re deciding whether to make the transition from renter to buyer, you might believe that renting is the less expensive option. However, in some cities the cost of renting a home may be less than or equal to a monthly mortgage payment.

If you’re serious about buying a home, you may end up saving money in the long run if you buy a house rather than continue renting. To compare the costs of renting versus buying a home, you can use a rent vs buy calculator to determine which option works best for your circumstances.

MYTH 3: Your credit score needs to be perfect

Home buying myths centered around credit scores often run rampant, specifically the myth that you must have a great credit score to buy a home. Luckily, that’s not always the case. If your credit score is at least 580, you may qualify for a 3.5% down payment FHA loan. For those looking at USDA loans, your credit score should also be a minimum of 580. VA loans actually have no minimum credit score, but instead require lenders to look at the whole loan profile of a homebuyer.

Generally speaking, if your credit score is higher you’ll likely have more options when it comes to qualifying for a conventional loan. With a higher credit score, you may also find that the terms of your loan or interest rates are better. However, just because your credit score isn’t great doesn’t mean your homeownership dreams need to come to a halt.

MYTH 4: All mortgage lenders offer the same rate

First time home buyers may have the belief that every mortgage lender will offer you the same rate no matter where you go. When shopping for a mortgage, it’s always a good idea to get more than one quote. Not every mortgage lender will offer you the same – or even the best- loan terms. To avoid making this mistake, it’s important to get quotes from several mortgage lenders and find the one that’s best suited for your finances and homeownership goals. 

MYTH 5: Home inspections are optional

Especially if there are bidding wars, it can be tempting to skip a home inspection to make your offer stand out. However, home buying myths like these may cause more issues down the road. More often than not, mortgage lenders will require a home inspection before you buy the home, so you may not even have the chance to consider passing on a home inspection.

In the case that your lender does not require an inspection, this doesn’t mean you should skip it. It’s important to know the condition of the home you’re looking to buy. That way you’ll be aware of any damage or issues the house may have before becoming the owner. If a home inspection does find any significant damage, you may be able to negotiate with the seller to repair the issues or lower your asking price. 

MYTH 6: The listing price is non-negotiable

A home buying myth that some first time homebuyers believe is that the listing price is set in stone. Depending on the housing market, you may need to be prepared to spend more than the home’s list price or negotiate for a lower price. If you’re buying in a seller’s market– where there are more buyers than homes available- you should be prepared to make an offer that’s higher than the listing price.

If it’s a buyer’s market- where there are more homes available than buyers looking to purchase- you may be able to negotiate for a lower price than what’s listed. Either way, believing the home buying myths about listing prices may cause you to lose out or even overspend on the home of your dreams.


Tyra Banks Snags a Picture-Perfect Malibu Beach House for $4.7M

Smize! The supermodel and real estate tycoon Tyra Banks has reportedly snapped up a Malibu beach house, according to Variety. The purchase must have her smizing, as in, “smiling with her eyes,” a term she invented.

The television personality and home flipper must have flipped for the property, splashing out $4,717,555 for the oceanfront contemporary.

The savvy businesswoman managed to chip away at the asking price, which was $5.5 million when it debuted on the market in November 2020. No doubt she’ll use the discount to budget for a home makeover of the 1980s-era abode, which is in need of refreshing.

As beach pads go, this one certainly makes waves. The four-bedroom, four-bathroom, two-story home right on the Malibu coastline offers awe-inspiring views of the Pacific.

The entrance features a soaring, two-story atrium topped with a skylight, allowing sunlight to pour in to the open floor plan. The layout features an open kitchen with dizzying gridlike tiles on every surface, and features an island and room for a breakfast table.


Watch: Matt Damon’s $21M Pacific Palisades Home Says ‘Big Time’


In addition, the 4,000 square feet of living space include a den, a bar, and laundry units in the kitchen, the listing notes. A mix of Mexican tile and wood floors run throughout the main level.

The kitchen adjoins a more formal dining room. Just adjacent, the sunny, sunken living room includes a fireplace with a brick surround, built-ins, and glass doors that open to the deck.

Upstairs, the master bedroom includes a fireplace, deck access, walk-in closet, and a bathroom, with more gridded tile covering the counters and even the tub surround.

Multiple decks take full advantage of the water views on all levels, including the roof. A two-car garage completes the property.

The co-host of “Dancing With the Stars” is no stranger to real estate deals. As we’ve reported in the past, Banks has multiple land holdings.

Her transactions have mostly focused on the posh Pacific Palisades area, where she owns a modern, $7 million contemporary home that she purchased in 2018.

The five-bedroom home offers views of the Pacific Ocean and the Palisades upscale shopping and dining district below. The space includes a backyard with pool, as well as balconies on every level, including a roof deck with a hot tub.

In 2019, Banks scooped up a Pacific Palisades traditional for a little over $3 million, which she had planned to transform into a modern farmhouse-style beach cottage.

However, without refurbishing the dated domicile, she recently sold it for $3.2 million, Variety reported. Perhaps her makeover efforts will now be focused on the Malibu home instead.

Banks has also held on to a swanky New York City condo that she picked up for $10.1 million in 2009, and remodeled at a cost of millions. Located in Battery Park City, the two-floor, 7,000-square foot spread is made up of four adjoining units.

Although she did test out the NYC market with a $17.5 million price tag on her place in 2017, the mansion-sized duplex has since been taken off the market.

We can see why it’s a keeper: The five-bedroom, eight-bathroom residence offers superstar amenities, including a hair salon, a gym, a 360-degree mirrored dressing room, staff quarters, and Hudson River views.

When not trading in real estate, the creator of “America’s Next Top Model” recently founded a premium ice cream brand, SMiZE Cream.

Jonathan Macht with Coldwell Banker Realty represented the seller. James Respondek with Sotheby’s International Realty represented the buyer.


George Strait Slices Price of Custom-Built Home in San Antonio to $7.5M

The country music star George Strait has recorded a price cut on his custom-built San Antonio, TX, estate. The King of Country’s residence is now available for the discounted sum of $7.5 million.

The musician’s estate first appeared on the market in 2019 for $8.9 million, so the price reduction is a hefty discount on the earlier asking price.

For a buyer, the offering hits all the right notes.

On 12.2 secluded acres in the exclusive community of The Dominion, the home, built in 1997, offers a Santa Fe-style design by Bill Tull of Arizona. The acclaimed designer moved to San Antonio, along with his crew, to build the estate for two years while the work was carried out.

Noted for its “endless attention to detail,” the home’s standout features include 14 hand-sculpted fireplaces, stained-glass windows, saguaro cactus rib shutters, and hand-painted murals. Tull, who has since died, leaves behind a one-of-a-kind residence that could never be recreated.

“Now’s a better opportunity than ever,” says the listing agent, Tamara Strait with Phyllis Browning Company.

“Inventory is at an all-time low, and this house is spectacular. To have the acreage. the privacy, and the views of downtown San Antonio, it’s really hard to come by,” she says.

She noted that last year, the home came off the market after a hailstorm forced the owners to redo the exterior completely. It now boasts a brand-new roof and windows.

The almost 8,000 square feet of living space include three bedrooms and six bathrooms. The master suite features dual bathrooms and closets. Two oversized guest suites come with custom bathrooms. A detached casita offers one more bedroom, a living room, full bathroom, and kitchenette.

In addition, the layout offers a large living area with two fireplaces, as well as a custom-designed copper bar top with seating. In addition, there’s a gourmet kitchen and a formal dining room.

The fireplaces and some areas around the home have handpainted designs done by local artists, Strait notes. Some of the photos show virtual staging to give a sense of the interior space.

Outside, the infinity-edge pool and spa feature a mosaic finish. The patio includes a built-in grill, and was recently updated. The property also has a sport court.

In 2019, Strait, the listing agent, who is a family member, noted that although the musician and his wife, Norma, loved the house, they decided to move farther out from the city.

“They really still do love the house,” she says of the owners.

Noting that she gets phone calls about the listing every day, the agent adds that the unique abode is “a very taste-specific home,” which will appeal to someone who appreciates the custom details overseen by the country music legend.

Strait has sold over 100 million records, which makes him one of the best-selling performers of all time.

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