Messy Tahoe Home Filled With Mannequins Is the Week’s Most Popular Home

A wild residence in South Lake Tahoe, CA, crammed with clutter—including dozens of dead-eyed mannequins dressed in evening wear—is the week’s most popular listing on realtor.com®.

The home ticked all the boxes for the kind of listing designed to be shared far and wide across the web. Unassuming exterior? Check. Listing details with no acknowledgment of the weirdness within? Check. Photos that defy easy description—and leave you with more questions than answers? Check!

Carefully posed throughout the house, with at least one mannequin sprawled across a rug wearing nothing, these eerie ladies—and at least one gentleman—serve a dual purpose. They force you to take a closer look at the listing for an otherwise humdrum duplex and serve to distract from the messy kitchen and bathroom.

The combination was enough to send the listing ricocheting on social media.

Bold move.

Mannequin mania
Mannequin mania

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But that wasn’t the only off-the wall listing racking up clicks this week.

A Pennsylvania home with painstakingly customized interior touches—including rounded doorways, a honeycomb-style grand staircase, and floating light fixtures—grabbed your attention, as did a Disney-themed home in Disneyland’s home town.

Other popular picks this week included a pair of dreamy celebrity properties: the historic New Orleans home of a politically polar-opposite power couple, as well as A-lister John Travolta‘s 43-acre oceanfront Maine estate.

There’s a lot going on this week. Scroll on down through the list, and take it all in for yourself.

Price: $3,380,000
Why it’s here: No partisan bickering here. We love this house. The sellers, political consultants James Carville and Mary Matalin, are staying in NOLA but have decided to downsize from this 8,279-square-foot Colonial Revival home.

The massive home was built in 1906 and has been updated to perfection. The quarter-acre lot is described as a “tropical oasis,” filled with gardens, mature shade trees, a terrace, a pool, and fountains.

New Orleans, LA
New Orleans, LA

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Price: $197,000
Why it’s here: This is for a buyer looking for something outside the box. Surrounded by 8 acres of privacy, it’s a legitimate, two-bedroom treehouse. There’s a fairly large caveat: The place isn’t finished.

The raised octagon has an open second floor, a deck, and a shop with kitchenette. The home is outfitted with electrical and septic systems and well service, but needs to be completed by a buyer with big dreams.

Cortland, OH
Cortland, OH

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Price: $195,000
Why it’s here: Sitting on just over a half-acre at the top of a hill, this stone house from 1890 is a classic. The five-bedroom home comes with a four-car garage, lookout tower, original hardwood floors, curved interior walls, and updated bathrooms—for a combination of charm and convenience.

Ithaca, NY
Ithaca, NY

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Price: $1,399,999
Why it’s here: This curious five-bedroom house is all angles and sharp edges from the outside, but the interiors were designed with curves in mind. The contemporary home features custom effects like the butterfly-wing entry staircase, rounded doorways, and floating light fixtures that suggest sand dollars from space.

Although it was designed for a very specific taste, the home, from 1987, is upscale, with a saltwater pool, kids playhouse, whole-house generator, and many upgrades.

Southampton, PA
Southampton, PA

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Price: $535,770
Why it’s here: Known as the O’Leary mansion, this historic brownstone dates to 1890. It was built by James Patrick O’Leary for his mother, Catherine O’Leary—the woman considered to be responsible for the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.

Today, the four-level, 12-bedroom home is in need of repair and is being sold as is. It still has much of the original woodwork and moldings, as well as walk-in vaults and a two-story coach house.

Chicago, IL
Chicago, IL

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Price: $700,000
Why it’s here: This hideaway on 11 acres is just steps from the Ice Age Trail, and includes a three-bedroom home built in 1991. Highlights include a large kitchen, a living room with cathedral ceiling, log beams, a stone fireplace, and wet bar.

There’s a heated shop off the garage, a private pond, a new roof, as well as a number of other recent upgrades.

Hartford, IL
Hartford, IL

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Price: $255,000
Why it’s here: Although this storybook home hasn’t been featured on HGTV’s “Home Town,” that didn’t stop folks from clicking. Built in 1929, the three-bedroom residence recently had a stylish makeover, including new paint, windows, and refinished floors.

Laurel, MS
Laurel, MS

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Price: $835,000
Why it’s here: Built in the shadows of Disneyland, this ranch home has been decked out as an homage to all things Mickey Mouse. Happiest Airbnb opportunity on Earth?

The custom Disney designs are so spectacular, the four-bedroom home was featured on the Discovery Channel. Besides the decor, the home includes a heated pool, custom carpets, and a toddler-safe playroom floor.

Anaheim, CA
Anaheim, CA

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Price: $5,000,000
Why it’s here: This 48-acre oceanfront estate is being sold by actor John Travolta. The massive 20-bedroom mansion was featured in Architectural Digest in the 1990s and has been recently renovated.

The extraordinary property includes a deepwater dock, open fields with ocean views, a third-floor children’s space, and a detached barn used for car storage.

Islesboro, ME
Islesboro, ME

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Price: $650,000
Why it’s here: Nondescript from the curb, this five-bedroom residence made waves this week, thanks to the mannequins staged throughout the property.

Most of the mannequins are dressed in evening gowns—adding to the mystique. Built in 1962, the place could use some work—and a lot of tidying up. There’s no word on whether the list price includes the mannequins and/or their glittery gowns.

South Lake Tahoe, CA
South Lake Tahoe, CA

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Source: realtor.com

Britney Spears Calls This $7.4 Million Thousand Oaks Mansion Home

Britney Spears ruled the late 90s and early 2000s pop scene with hits like Baby One More Time, Oops!… I Did it Again, and Toxic. In fact, she has sold over 100 million records worldwide, including over 70 million solely in the United States, making her one of the world’s best-selling music artists — which rightfully earned her the title of Princess of Pop.

And while her crown has often been challenged by contenders like Katy Perry, Lady Gaga or Ariana Grande, if there’s one thing we can agree on, it’s that Britney is as resilient as they come. Despite the many ups and downs in her personal life and being the center of the media circus ever so often, she continues to be a timeless icon.

Thanks to Hulu’s latest documentary, Framing Britney Spears, the limelight is once again on the pop star’s life and conservatorship, as well as the way in which both the media and the public have treated her during her struggles. One thing’s for sure: the documentary, and its depiction of the media’s mistreatment of the pop icon, is also a well-deserved slap on the wrist to tabloid junkies everywhere for enabling the gossip media industry to tear down celebrities and revel in their humiliation. Right after the Framing Britney Spears premiere, the phrase “We are sorry, Britney” started trending on Twitter, with thousands of tweets showing appreciation and support for the pop star and apologizing to Spears for the public’s role in her difficulties.

Britney Spears performing in Las Vegas. Image credit: Rhys Adams via Wikimedia Commons.

While the #FreeBritney campaign is far from over, a judge recently denied a request by her father to exert more control over her finances. He will continue to work with the private trust company, Bessemer Trust to manage Britney’s finances. It’s all about small victories at the end of the day. After Hulu, Netflix also plans to release a documentary on the singer’s life. We suppose there’s no better time than now to take a closer look at the pop star’s life and home.

Britney Spears’ mansion in Thousand Oaks

Britney Spears bought her latest home — a Neoclassical Italianate Style mansion — in 2015. She paid a whopping $7.4 million for the home, which proudly sits in Thousand Oaks. Located in between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara in Ventura County, Thousand Oaks is nestled against the Santa Monica Mountains, and is recognized as one of the most desirable places in all of California to live, work, recreate, and raise a family.

Reminiscent of a beautiful Italian villa, the 13,264 square feet home sits on 21 sprawling acres of private land and is hidden away by two private gates. Needless to say, the pop star takes her privacy and security very seriously. But the lucky few that do walk through the gates will feel like they’ve been transported to beautiful Italy. Bellissimo!

The estate has beautiful manicured lawns, a rear motor court with access to a six-car garage, flowering gardens, an infinity pool, a stand-alone spa and an orchard. There’s also a lighted tennis court and a three-hole golf course on the estate’s grounds, giving the pop star tons of options for spending quality time outside.

Britney Spears’ house in Thousand Oaks, Calif. Image credit: Luxury Architecture.

Inside Britney’s house

If the exterior of the house seems grand, just wait until you see what’s inside. The entrance has a marbled floor, massive pillars, and floor-to-ceiling windows that let in plenty of natural light.  Talking about ceilings — this home features 35-feet high ceilings that give the whole place a palatial feel. There’s also a large black marble fireplace where the star can cozy up with boyfriend Sam Asghari.

A grand staircase leads to the second floor where there are five bedrooms and eight bathrooms. The master bedroom has an enviable closet perfect for a world-famous pop star. What’s a celebrity home without a killer view, you ask? Well, the views of the LA skyline and Santa Monica mountains from Britney’s home are spectacular, to say the least. Even the wood-paneled library overlooks the mountains making it the perfect reading nook.

Inside Britney Spears’ house in Thousand Oaks. Image credit: Berlyn Photography
Inside Britney Spears’ house in Thousand Oaks. Image credit: Berlyn Photography

Neither Britney nor Sam shy away from showing their affection for one another. They often surprise each other with delicious home-cooked meals so it’s perfect that they have a massive open kitchen with moody dark wooden cabinets and a large center island. The house also a wine cellar that can accommodate 3,500 bottles, so bring on the romance! The couple also spends a lot of time in their media and game room. We can only imagine how handy those rooms were during the quarantine.

Inside Britney Spears’ house in Thousand Oaks. Image credit: Berlyn Photography

The couple loves to enjoy the Californian sun in the luxurious infinity pool. In fact, they have a 1,200-square-foot poolside pavilion with its own full kitchen, 3,500-bottle wine cellar, and bath, so no one has to leave the pool party. The grounds even have a tennis court, a separate spa, and a three-green golf course with sand traps.

Britney’s pool house. Image credit: Berlyn Photography

To see more of Britney’s house, go to the star’s Instagram profile

If you really want to get up, close, and personal with the Toxic singer, check out her Instagram feed. She often posts videos of herself dancing, working out, cooking, and even painting in her grand home. Britney has come a long way from her modest childhood home in Kentwood and we love that she gives fans a glimpse of her life and her home in all its glory!

Lead image credit: Property photo – Zillow.com, Britney headshot – Drew de F Fawkes via Wikimedia Commons.

More celebrity homes

Beyoncé Lives in a Bel-Air Mansion Fit for Royalty
The Story of Taylor Swift’s Holiday House — Home to “the Last Great American Dynasty”
Spotlight On: the Razor House — Alicia Keys’ Crazy New Mansion
Where Does Lady Gaga Live? See Inside Her ‘Gypsy Palace’ in Malibu

Source: fancypantshomes.com

Former Dodger Mark Ellis sheds Scottsdale home with a batting cage

Mark Ellis, the veteran Major Leaguer who spent two seasons with the Dodgers during his long baseball career, just wrapped up a deal in the desert, selling his amenity-loaded mansion in Scottsdale, Ariz., for $6.4 million.

It’s a hefty profit for the second baseman; records show he paid $1.2 million for the land in 2007 and finished building the nearly 10,000-square-foot showplace five years later. It spans an acre in Silverleaf, a gated community nestled at the foot of the McDowell Mountains with celebrity residents over the years including rocker Bret Michaels and pro golfer Geoff Ogilvy.

Even during quarantine, it’d be tough to get bored at the compound, which includes a sports court, swimming pool, spa, in-ground trampoline and an exercise room with a batting cage, rock-climbing wall and steam shower.

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Vaguely Mediterranean in style, the home features a tan exterior that opens to voluminous living spaces with vaulted ceilings, neutral tones and hardwood floors. Marble tops the tiered island in the chef’s kitchen, and the two-story great room is overlooked by a playroom with sliding farmhouse doors.

Six bedrooms, 8.5 bathrooms and a wine cellar complete the interior. Outside, highlights include a courtyard, ivy-covered dining area, spacious turf lawn and chandelier-topped cabana with a fireplace.

Ellis, 43, spent time with the Athletics, Rockies, Dodgers and Cardinals during a 12-year career in which he hit 105 home runs and 550 RBIs. His .991 fielding percentage is the fifth-best in MLB history for a second baseman.

Silverleaf Realty held the listing. Cindy Marquardt of Realty Executives represented the buyer.

Source: latimes.com

‘Nicest House on the Lake’: This $12.5M Mansion Is Michigan’s Most Expensive Home

A sweet lake house on the market for $12.5 million is the most expensive home in all of Michigan.

The 16,000-square-foot house is in Charlevoix, MI—a small town in the upper reaches of the state that markets itself as “Charlevoix the Beautiful.”

Built in 2009, the grand mansion on Lake Charlevoix features seven bedrooms, eight bathrooms, and two half-bathrooms.

The effort behind the home’s construction was no small feat.

“It took about five years to build, and the decor has been imported from all over the world,” says the listing agent, Rik Lobenherz, praising the craftsmanship and finishes in the residence.

The ornate wooden bar in the family room was imported from Malaysia in sections, and reassembled. Attention to detail is obvious in the home’s grand staircase, which spirals its way between floors, with lots of windows around it.

Aerial view of mansion in Charlevoix, MI
Aerial view of mansion in Charlevoix, MI

realtor.com

Living space
Living space

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Bar
Bar

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Interior
Interior

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Staircase
Staircase

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Staircase
Staircase

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Upper level
Upper level

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Despite its enormous size, the house doesn’t feel unpleasantly large.

“Each of the rooms are set up so they’re very comfortable,” Lobenherz says. “You don’t feel like you’re in a mansion as such. The rooms are very cozy, and there are eight fireplaces, so it’s just a very comfortable, homey feeling.”

Bedroom
Bedroom

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Master bathroom
Master bathroom

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Bedroom
Bedroom

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Most living spaces and each bedroom offer water views, with numerous windows in place to take advantage of the waterfront setting.

The kitchen is spacious, with a large island and high-end appliances.

“The owner loves to cook, so it even has its own pizza oven. There’s nothing that’s missing,” Lobenherz says.

Kitchen
Kitchen

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Theater
Theater

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Wine cellar
Wine cellar

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For entertaining, there’s a game room, a bar area, a theater room, and a large wine cellar. Adjusting everything from the heat to the lighting in the home is easy.

“It’s a smart house, so everything can be controlled remotely,” Lobenherz explains.

Beyond the smart home features, the agent says the home will only require a minimum of effort to bring it up to date.

Living space
Living space

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Dining space
Dining space

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Dining room
Dining room

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The current owners have lived in the house full-time, but they are looking to downsize. The furnishings are not included in the list price, but could be negotiated into a deal.

The house sits behind gates on 3 acres of land, with 195 feet of waterfront on Lake Charlevoix. The orientation of the house on the lot provides views looking down the length of the lake.

“It’s probably one of the better locations on Lake Charlevoix, which is a very coveted lake that is connected to the Great Lakes. You can go anywhere in the world on your boat from there,” Lobenherz says.

To handle an owner’s vessel, there’s a 400-foot pier.

Pier
Pier

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Aerial view
Aerial view

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Outdoor space
Outdoor space

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Outdoor fireplace
Outdoor fireplace

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There isn’t a pool, but Lobenherz notes that the entire lake is there to swim in. A stream with waterfalls runs along the side of the house.

The house’s lower level has several walkouts to the lake, with plenty of indoor-outdoor living options. A huge stone fireplace is the perfect place to spend an outdoor evening.

Guests have a large garage, with a spacious apartment above it.

“It’s beautiful. It would be the only bedroom area that doesn’t face the water, since it’s above a four-car garage, but it has its own kitchen and its own living room. I could live there,” Lobenherz jokes.

As for who is the perfect buyer for this house?

“If they’re looking for the nicest house on the lake, this is the one they should be looking at,” the agent says.

Living space
Living space

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Garage apartment
Garage apartment

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Garage apartment
Garage apartment

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Source: realtor.com

Lovingly Updated Colonial From 1700 Tops This Week’s Oldest Homes

If the idea of an updated Colonial with acreage to spare sets your heart racing and inflames your passion to buy, this week’s list of the nine oldest homes to hit the market will get you all revved up.

Start with the oldest listing of the week, a crisp white house with a smart, navy-blue door, built in 1700 in northern Massachusetts. Buying a vintage home doesn’t mean you must forgo creature comforts. This home’s airy, sophisticated, and oh-so-contemporary interiors—including the luscious, light-filled library—are the stuff of winter-nesting dreams.

We spotted another impeccable reimagining of an antique Colonial in Scarsdale, NY—a gorgeous, green-and-white beauty with beamed ceilings that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Beyond those two cool Colonials, seven other old-timey homes are worth checking out. Some sit on the banks of a river, others are surrounded by woods, but all of them are charmers, with centuries of history behind them. Have a look!

Price: $849,900

Year built: 1700

Idyllic Colonial: Tucked on just under an acre and a half of land close to the Merrimack River, this five-bedroom Colonial has been updated in all the right places and modernized everywhere else.

Highlights include a new all-white kitchen and renovated bathrooms. Original features like exposed beams, gunstock corners, field paneling, and wide-plank floors hark back to the home’s 18th-century roots.

There’s also a sunroom, a three-car garage, and pergola, with a brick patio out back.

Newbury, MA
Newbury, MA

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Price: $1,595,000

Year built: 1700

Old Red Farm Inn: This working inn and sometime wedding venue sits on 2 landscaped acres on the way to Cape Cod.

The carefully updated five-bedroom farmhouse comes with a pool, gazebo, wet bar, and two-car garage. The property is surrounded by a local golf course and is within walking distance to the beach.

Wareham, MA
Wareham, MA

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Price: $344,900

Year built: 1712

Sanford family house: The house was built by the Sanford family, who lived there for two centuries. The current occupants are only the fourth owners in the home’s long history.

The three-bedroom home, which recently housed an antique business, includes wide-plank floors, a beehive oven, and two fireplaces. There’s also a large antique barn, corn crib, and a current tenant who would be willing to stay, if the buyer so desired.

Newtown, CT
Newtown, CT

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Price: $315,000

Year built: 1720

Motivated seller: Priced below appraisal, this two-bedroom Colonial features a front porch patio, stone walls, and lush gardens. The charming residence sits on a lot of nearly a full acre, close to the Hudson Valley. Inside, the home features original wide-plank flooring, beamed ceilings, and custom cabinets.

Brewster, NY
Brewster, NY

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Price: $1,499,000

Year built: 1734

Cudner-Hyatt house: Artfully restored and reimagined, this historic four-bedroom farmhouse has maintained its vintage character, with a modern boost.

It now features all-new systems, finishes, and furnishings, which perfectly complement the home’s past. A custom kitchen, new bathroom, and a private deck are just a few of the modern touches incorporated in the timeless home.

Scarsdale, NY
Scarsdale, NY

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Price: $425,000

Year built: 1739

John Woodhull House: This five-bedroom home on Long Island sits on a half-acre, with views of Miller Duck Pond.

It’s filled with original architectural elements, including four fireplaces, original moldings, wood beams, and wide-plank floors. Complete with a walk-up attic/loft, this space is ready to be reimagined as something spectacular.

Miller Place, NY
Miller Place, NY

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Price: $519,000

Year built: 1760

Saltbox Souhegan: This three-bedroom home will require some love, but the 5-acre piece of property is sublimely situated, with 600 feet of frontage on the Souhegan River. The saltbox-style home comes with a large dining and living room, mudroom, and workshop.

Amherst, NH
Amherst, NH

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Price: $319,000

Year built: 1760

In-town Colonial: This two-bedroom home has a stately entryway that opens to a living room with chair rail, pumpkin pine floors, and a fireplace. Other highlights include a sunroom with stone floor, a walk-up attic, and space outside for entertaining, all a few minutes from Flemington’s historic Main Street.

Flemington, NJ
Flemington, NJ

Flemington, NJ

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Price: $484,900

Year built: 1768

Haines-Lippincott house: First, it was a general store, and then it was converted into a local post office. Later still, it served the Enterprise Library.

These days, it’s a charming six-bedroom brick home with heartwood pine floors, as well as a finished basement with stone walls. The lovely backyard has a koi pond and patio for entertaining.

Mount Laurel, NJ
Mount Laurel, NJ

realtor.com

Source: realtor.com

4 Things We Love About 2021’s New American Home—and 3 Things We Could Do Without

Are we nearing the end of the stream of reality TV–ready homes with all-white kitchens and gray tones everywhere? If this year’s New American Home® is any indication, then you can bet on it.

The annual show home constructed to display the most exciting new amenities, styles, and technology is a big departure from the luxury residences of the previous few years.

Instead of a sprawling house in the suburbs with seamless indoor-outdoor living and a drool-worthy infinity pool, this year’s three-story home is in the downtown Winter Park, FL, corridor. It has a more industrial, urban vibe with bright, colorful interiors—no all-white vistas to be found.

The boxy, 5,536-square-foot house built on the site of a former office building and a parking lot is not for sale at this time. It was revealed this week as part of the annual International Builders’ Show, which took place virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic.

So what are our favorite elements of 2021’s New American Home? Let’s dive in.

We love: The playful kitchen

The kitchen in this year's New American Home wasn't the all-white kind that has dominated real estate reality TV.
The kitchen in this year’s New American Home wasn’t the all-white kind that has dominated real estate reality TV.

Courtesy of Jeffrey A. Davis and Pro Builder Media

The showstopper of the three-bedroom, 4.5-bathroom home is easily the kitchen. It’s positioned on the open third floor to allow more natural light into the space. And instead of crisp white everything, this kitchen mixes darker walnut woods with brighter colors and an assortment of finishes. It connects to an outdoor terrace outfitted with bright orange pops of color.

The floor-to-ceiling walnut and glass china cabinet is a gorgeous way to show off dishware. The terrazzo-patterned quartz island brought the different elements of the kitchen together.

“It just seems … people went through a period where their houses were either white or gray and they didn’t have a lot of the warm tones,” says the architect of the project, Phil Kean, of the Phil Kean Design Group in Orlando, FL.

The group also constructed the home and did the interior design.

“We’re going to see people warming up their facades and their houses,” Kean adds. “A lot of people spent the last year at home, and color really helps the spirit.”

We love: The warm wood

Walnut flooring
Walnut flooring

Jeffrey Davis

We also admire the darker, walnut wood used throughout the home—in the flooring, the kitchen cabinets, the floating staircase, and more. The same wood in the kitchen was also laid down in the bedrooms, providing continuity throughout the home.

It’s a welcome departure from the gray-toned flooring that’s become ubiquitous over the past few years.

“Some woods have too much yellow to them, and some woods have too much red in them,” says Kean. Walnut is “a really good wood for having those midrange tones, and it goes with everything.”

We love: The gridded windows

The industrial-style, gridded windows bathed the New American Home in natural light.
The industrial-style, gridded windows bathed the New American Home in natural light.

Courtesy of Jeffrey A. Davis and Pro Builder Media

We’re also fans of the New American Home’s oversize, gridded windows. Reminiscent of industrial warehouses, these beauties bathe the property in natural light. Transoms above the windows add interest and let in even more light.

“On clear nights, you can see the fireworks from the theme parks,” Kean says of the top-floor windows.

We love: The eco-friendly features

The New American Home 2021
The New American Home 2021

Jeffrey Davis

The various environmentally friendly features are also impressive. Solar panels were installed on the roof, helping the home to generate its own power. It’s also Energy Star–certified and EPA Indoor airPLUS–qualified.

The home also features a system that monitors the air quality inside the home and brings in fresh air when needed. That could come in handy in the middle of a pandemic!

“It’s set up to be a super energy-efficient home,” says Kean. “We generate more energy than we use in a day.”

This year’s home also includes an art gallery entrance, a room specifically for pet dog(s), and a three-car garage. The second floor is devoted to the master bedroom, master bath with a walk-in closet, and exercise room. The top level boasts a great room and music room with 14-foot-tall ceilings.

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While there’s so much to love about the New American Home, there are also a few things we could live without.

We could do without: The bedroom’s padded leather wall

This year's New American Home features a leather wall—in the bedroom.
This year’s New American Home features a leather wall—in the bedroom.

Courtesy of Jeffrey A. Davis and Pro Builder Media

We love that the designers behind this home took some bold chances. But we ultimately aren’t fans of the padded brown leather wall in this bedroom.

The tufted accent wall is intended to be an extension of the headboard. Unfortunately, we think it makes the bedroom feel heavy. The work nook at one end of the room—although a luxury in the time of COVID-19—gives the room a hotel vibe. And hey, maybe hotel living is a dream come true for you, but we were hoping for something a little warmer and more personal.

We could do without: The glass staircase handrails

The floating walnut staircase—complete with lighting underneath each tread—is splendid, but we have issues with the glass handrail that frames it. Although the glass keeps things feeling open and contemporary, we think it cheapens the look.

Plus, we’re dubious about the functionality (safety first!). This staircase could be better served with a handrail or other material that’s not attempting to be invisible.

We could do without: The lack of outdoor space

Outdoor space is a must in the age of COVID-19, but there isn't much here.
Outdoor space is a must in the age of COVID-19, but there isn’t much here.

Jeffrey Davis

The New American Home in years past has flaunted its outdoor spaces: luxurious terraces with fire pits, infinity pools, and breathtaking views. For many of them, the outdoor space was the star of the show. That isn’t the case here; in fact, this home doesn’t come with much outdoor space at all.

To be fair, the team behind the New American Home did as much as it could with what they had—there’s a balcony or terrace on each floor. And this home was designed for a more urban environment, where walkability is key. But with folks cooped up due to COVID-19, a big backyard has practically become a pandemic survival essential—and we’re feeling the void in this home.

Source: realtor.com

LadyGang Podcast Host Keltie Knight Lists L.A. Home for $1.7 Million

Entertainment Tonight’s correspondent and host of pop-culture podcast LadyGang, Keltie Knight, is selling her Los Angeles, California home for nearly $1.7 million. The entertainment and fashion icon is making a move in 2021 that leaves behind her Hollywood Hills home with perfectly maintained interior design. Knight announced the move on her Instagram, leaving fans reminiscing that it was “the home” of their podcast, LadyGang. It’s also been featured in Elle Decor and intertwines modern design trends with unique features differentiating it from other homes for sale in the area.

Keltie Knight has enjoyed quite an inviting home, with 16-foot ceilings and oversized doors reaching nearly nine feet tall. The Mediterranean exterior is neutral, with a black front door contrasting against the lush green landscaping and clean white stucco walls. Renovations of the home include brand-new oak wood flooring and a multi-level deck with an eight-person spa. It’s no surprise such a well-known entertainer has lived here; it’s quite the hosting paradise!

In keeping with the trends, the open-floor plan features a sunken living room with a double-sided fireplace peeking into the kitchen. White-and-black-patterned floor tiles and backsplashes contrast the new oak flooring perfectly.

keltie knight living roomkeltie knight living room

Staged with mid-century modern furniture, you can see the home’s design potential for any incoming buyers. The bedroom includes a black-painted, wood-paneled wall that draws attention to the symmetry of the room, while wooden beams bring in a touch of “naturalism.”

keltie knight bedroomkeltie knight bedroom
keltie knight bathroomkeltie knight bathroom

The Los Angeles home features three bedrooms and bathrooms and sits at 2,617 square feet. To see more of Knight’s home, you can take a virtual tour right here on Homes.com. You can also view more celebrity homes for sale by visiting Homes.com’s blog!


Sydney PressleySydney Pressley

Content Marketing Assistant at Homes.com | See more posts by this author

As Homes.com’s content marketing assistant, Sydney gets to combine one of her favorite pastimes with her job– keeping up with pop culture. Outside of work, she enjoys stepping away from her phone and computer and spending time with her friends, whether it’s just hanging out or traveling. Trying new foods, going snowboarding, and long road trips are some of her other favorite things to do, but what does she loves the most? When people read Homes.com’s blog articles, of course!

Source: homes.com

Prep for ‘Prost!’ Season: 9 Bavarian-Style Homes to Inspire Your Oktoberfest

Dust off your lederhosen and steins, because it’s the most wunderbar time of the year!

If you can’t make it to Munich for Oktoberfest, you can still enjoy a good beer at one of the American events happening all throughout the country in September.

From Frankenmuth, Michigan, to Fredericksburg, Texas, you’re certain to find a spirited group of Germanophiles somewhere during the month celebrating all things Bavarian.

To get inspired for Oktoberfest, check out these nine Bavarian-style homes for sale right here in the U.S.

A taste of Germany on the central coast

For sale: $795,000

Nestled near the heart of downtown Solvang, California — a central coast town with Danish roots — this traditional Tudor gets you all the charm of a Bavarian home with all the modern American finishings you’re accustomed to, like an updated kitchen with granite countertops and hardwood floors. The home also features a bocce court, a large 3-car garage and an elevator from the garage to the second floor.

Photo from Zillow listing.

See more Solvang homes for sale.

A cozy Bavarian-style cabin

For sale: $399,000

You’ll think you’ve transported yourself to the Bavarian Alps in this tiny cabin in Leavenworth, Washington. Stunning views of the mountains await when you return from a day exploring downtown Leavenworth, which just so happens to be modeled after a traditional Bavarian village.

Photo from Zillow listing.

See more Leavenworth homes for sale.

An old-world chalet

For sale: $345,000

This Hague, New York, home was designed to imitate a Bavarian-style ski chalet — and it doesn’t disappoint. With a classic gable roof, ornamental balusters on the sweeping back porch, and floor-to-ceiling windows in the large family room, this home is the perfect place to unwind and enjoy the mountain views.

Photo from Zillow listing.

See more Hague homes for sale.

A colorful German-inspired home

For sale: $329,900

This stately Toledo, Ohio, home features hallmarks of traditional German architecture, such as half-timbering and a light-colored facade, but it stands out with a playful yellow bay window in the front. Although it has mixed European influences, such as an Italian tiled roof and some medieval England-inspired stained glass, this house makes you think you’ve suddenly found yourself in the picturesque German countryside.

Photo from Zillow listing.

See more Toledo homes for sale.

A (gingerbread) cookie-cutter home

For sale: $324,900

It’s not hard to imagine drinking out of a stein and chowing down on some sauerkraut in this adorable Irons, Michigan, cottage. Reminiscent of a traditional German gingerbread home, it features classic German half-timbering, decorative shutters and a colorfully outlined gable roof.

Photo from Zillow listing.

See more Irons homes for sale.

A Bavarian stunner in the Elka Park mountains

For sale: $429,000

A cross gable roof, a wraparound balcony trimmed with green balusters, and a Bavarian lodge-style feel inside make this Hunter, New York, home truly unique. Top it off with unbelievable mountain views from nearly every spot in the home, and you’ve got a perfect spot to celebrate future Oktoberfests.

Photo from Zillow listing.

See more Hunter homes for sale.

A perfectly German ski chalet

For sale: $258,000

After a long day at the slopes, come home to this charming Bavarian-style ski chalet in Bartlett, New Hampshire. Tucked away on a wooded lot near hiking trails, this whimsical home has plenty of space for weekend visitors and tons of quirky details, like heart cutouts on the decorative shutters.

Photo from Zillow listing.

See more Bartlett homes for sale.

A Bavarian home fit for a Grimm’s fairy tale

For sale: $2.4 million

This Saugatuck, Michigan, home looks like it belongs in the pages of a fairy tale rather than a neighborhood near Lake Michigan. Interior designer Dale Metternich once called this house a home, which features classic German half-timbering, wooden shutters, and a stately interior that any royal family would feel right at home in.

Photo from Zillow listing.

See more Saugatuck homes for sale.

An inviting Bavarian lake home

For sale: $589,900

This Fenton, Michigan, home is quiet and secluded with a location right on the lake. An A-frame roof over the front entrance, multiple storybook-like balconies, leaded windows and colorful half-timbering are just a few of the details that set this home apart.

Photo from Zillow listing.

See more Fenton homes for sale.

Top photo from Zillow listing.

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Source: zillow.com

First-Time Home Buyers Find a Tough Market—Here’s What’s Different This Year

Starry-eyed first-time home buyers are getting a rude awakening to the realities of today’s high-stakes home-buying market.

The coronavirus pandemic supercharged the housing market, as buyers urgently seeking more space flooded the market, lured by low mortgage rates. That’s on top of the usual dynamics of household expansion: Many millennials hit 30 and wanted homes that could accommodate a growing family. Amid a historic shortage of properties for sale, the result has been bidding wars and record-high prices. It’s enough to make a first-time buyer’s head spin.

Just under half of first-time buyers and more than a third of prospective buyers were either outbid on their dream home or discovered they couldn’t afford it, according to a recent realtor.com® survey. Roughly a fifth of these buyers made five or more offers on different properties before having one accepted.

Realtor.com surveyed 1,000 recent and first-time home buyers Jan. 7–11.

“The market has been extremely competitive,” realtor.com Senior Economist George Ratiu. “There is a critical shortage of homes for sale, which has caused multiple bids to become the norm across the country.

“For first-time buyers, especially, this environment means having your financing and budgeting together is paramount,” he adds.

But it’s not all bad news. About 47% of first-time buyers were thrilled to find their budgets were larger than they had thought, according to the survey. That’s largely due to mortgage rates, which averaged just 2.73% for a 30-year fixed-rate loan in the week ending Jan. 28, according to Freddie Mac. However, 21% learned their money wouldn’t stretch as far as they had hoped.

Even those in a better financial position still had to compromise on what they wanted in a home—and where it’s located. About a fifth were forced to look in cheaper neighborhoods. Another fifth had to spend more than they had originally planned, and nearly the same number had to forgo some of the home features on their wish lists. These included things like a garage, a big backyard, a finished basement, and a pool.

To save up for a down payment, many also had to make sacrifices. Half of recent first-time homeowners saved up in less than three years by setting aside a portion of their paycheck each month, cutting out discretionary spending on the fun stuff, and depositing windfalls like tax refunds and bonuses in the bank.

Just over half, 52%, also turned to their family and friends for help.

“First-time buyers tend to be younger. This generation has higher student debt than any prior generation,” says Ratiu. “Not surprisingly, family help with providing down payment assistance plays a big role in today’s market.”

Source: realtor.com

Should you buy a house sight unseen? Here’s what you need to know

A smart way to speed up your house hunt?

Many home buyers these days have to move quickly. That’s because demand outweighs supply, and appealing homes that hit the market often generate bidding wars and sell fast.

Some buyers eager to move fast will buy a home ‘sight unseen,’ without ever touring the place in person.

This can be a good strategy in a competitive real estate market. But sight-unseen homes aren’t without risk. Here’s what you should know before making an offer.

Verify your home buying eligibility (Feb 2nd, 2021)


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What does it mean to buy a house ‘sight unseen’?

Purchasing a home ‘sight unseen’ means buying it without having toured the property in person first.

Typically, someone buying a home sight-unseen will have looked at pictures and videos online and likely taken a virtual tour.

While it might sound odd to buy a home without having set foot in it, more and more home buyers are choosing to do so.

According to recent research by Redfin, a surprising 63% of those who purchased a home in 2020 made an offer on a property they hadn’t viewed in person.

Why remote home buying is increasing

There are several reasons why more buyers are opting to purchase a home sight unseen lately.

“Given the ongoing [coronavirus] pandemic, it makes sense that people make offers on properties without actually physically touring them,” says Rajeh Saadeh, a real estate attorney, investor, and professor.

“After all, people are trying to limit physical contact and going into places where they do not know if any occupants have COVID-19.”

“In hot markets, you must submit offers in minutes or hours, not days” –Bruce Ailion, Realtor and attorney

Bruce Ailion, a Realtor and attorney, agrees.

“The market has changed. People need to move quickly, and touring a home in person before an offer may not be possible. In hot markets, you must submit offers in minutes or hours, not days,” he says.

He points out, “Today, photos and videos are of better quality. And a smart buyer should be able to rely on a high-quality agent or broker to act as their eyes, ears, nose, and fiduciary.”

How to buy a house sight unseen

The process of buying a home sight unseen isn’t too different from a traditional home purchase. You’re simply using online photos, videos, and tours in place of an in-person tour or open house.

Saadeh says the following steps are involved for the buyer:

  1. Evaluate the property remotely using photos, facetime or video tours, and descriptions provided by your real estate agent or broker
  2. Get pre-approved for a mortgage to show the seller you can afford to finance the home
  3. Make an official offer to the seller to purchase the property
  4. If the seller likes the offer and accepts it, you and the seller prepare a contract
  5. Both parties sign the contract
  6. You make an earnest money deposit (or ‘good faith money’) in cash
  7. You have the property professionally inspected (optional but strongly recommended, especially for a sight-unseen offer). If you are satisfied with the inspector’s findings, the deal continues
  8. You order a title report. If the title is clear or clearable at closing, the deal continues
  9. You choose a mortgage lender, finalize the terms of your home loan, and lock an interest rate

Then, as with any purchase, you’ll schedule a closing date to sign your final loan documents.

Once the mortgage is finalized, your lender pays the home seller and the home title transfers to you. You’re now the official owner.

Start your mortgage pre-approval (Feb 2nd, 2021)

Is buying a home sight unseen a bad idea?

There are pros and cons to purchasing a home sight unseen.

“On the positive side, you may get to purchase the property for a bit less because you moved quickly and avoided a bidding war,” notes Caleb Parr, vice president of Sales and Acquisitions at Renshaw Company Realtors.

Virtual home tours can also be helpful for long-distance purchases, like buying a home out of state.

“Most people end up visiting a home multiple times during the purchase phase. This can cost a lot of money if you are having to travel out of state to tour the home,” says Nathaniel Hovsepian investor and owner of The Expert Home Buyers.

“You may get to purchase the property for a bit less because you moved quickly and avoided a bidding war” –Caleb Parr, VP of Sales and Acquisition, Renshaw Company Realtors

On the other hand, with a sight-unseen offer, you won’t have the benefit of previewing the property in person.

You’ll have to rely on photos, video, virtual tours, and the descriptions and opinions provided by your real estate agent and home inspector.

“Given that a home purchase is likely the most expensive transaction of your life, it’s important to adequately ‘kick the tires’ and determine the true condition of the property,” cautions real estate attorney Charles R. Gallagher.

“There is great risk in failing to see defects to the property with a sight-unseen purchase, particularly if you choose not to have the home professionally inspected.”

Even when you’re in a rush, real estate experts recommend getting a home inspection to make sure there aren’t any major issues the seller neglected to disclose. An inspection is your one chance to get the seller to cover repair costs — or walk away if the problem is a deal-breaker.

Precautions to take with sight unseen homes

Again, there are risks involved with committing to a sight-unseen home. To minimize these risks, it pays to take special precautions.

“Try to have someone you trust at least drive-by the home and take fresh videos and pictures so that you know what you are getting. It’s possible that these images may more accurately reflect the property’s current condition than the images displayed on a website,” says Parr.

A friend or family member in the area you hope to buy could be a big help in this regard.

Additionally, consider placing a home inspection contingency in your offer.

“A buyer does not have a trained eye to notice or even look for issues and concerns with a home. It’s always prudent to have the property professionally inspected, whether or not the buyer did a walk-through or simply viewed pictures and video before making the offer,” advises Saadeh.

Also — using your agent as your representative — be sure to ask the homeowner about any aspects you aren’t sure about based on the listing photos and video tours; including home features, appliances, systems, design aspects, or potential renovations.

Buying a house sight unseen FAQ

Can you put in an offer on a home without viewing it?

It’s perfectly legal to make an offer on a home ‘sight unseen,’ meaning you haven’t viewed it in person. Sight-unseen offers are becoming more popular as home inventory remains low and COVID prevents home buyers from touring propreties.

What is a sight unseen addendum?

A sight unseen addendum is part of a home purchase agreement. It indicates the buyer has not seen the property in person, and accepts the purchase terms without an in-person viewing and without walk-through contractual entitlements, per real estate attorney Charles Gallagher.

Can you buy a house virtually?

It’s possible to buy a home virtually. But it has more to do with how your mortgage closes than how you view the home. “Some may define a sight-unseen purchase and a virtual purchase as the same thing. However, a remote or video closing doesn’t involve closing in person, which can happen even if the property is being purchased sight-unseen,” says Rajeh Saadeh, real estate attorney.

How quickly can you buy a house?

The time it takes to buy a home can vary a lot, depending on whether there are competing offers or multiple negotiation stages between the seller and buyer. If everything else goes smoothly, though, the longest stage of the home buying process is closing the mortgage. This usually takes around 30 days.

Do I need a real estate agent to buy a home sight unseen?

No, you don’t need a real estate agent to purchase a home sight unseen. “But it is prudent to use an agent to purchase a home. You can benefit from this person’s expertise in terms of valuation, deal points, and guidance through the entire transaction,” recommends Charles Gallagher, real estate attorney.

It’s especially helpful to have a professional on your side if you can’t see the home in person, or if you’re a first time home buyer without much experience in real estate.

Should I buy a home sight unseen?

The answer depends on your risk tolerance and the degree to which you perform due diligence on the property.

Purchasing a home sight unseen can help you avoid a bidding war and buy your new home more quickly.

“But a sight-unseen purchase increases the odds of an unfavorable outcome for the buyer. You may be saddled with some undisclosed defect that can cost you upwards of tens of thousands of dollars,” says real estate attorney Charles Gallagher.

So take certain precautions. You should have the home professionally inspected, make sure you’re satisfied with the inspection results, and consult closely with your real estate agent or broker throughout the process.

Can I buy a house as-is?

Anyone can purchase a home as-is. This simply means the “seller has no obligation to improve the property or make it better for the buyer,” Rajeh Saadeh explains. If you’re considering a home listed ‘as-is,’ you should be sure to have it inspected before you buy to make sure there are no major issues you’ll end up paying to repair.

Do I have to be physically present at closing?

The answer depends on the state you live in. Some states require in-person notarization. And some lenders require that a buyer sign documents in the presence of a notary.

If you choose a lender that offers ‘e-closings,’ and live in a state that allows remote mortgage closings, then you do not need to be physically present on closing day.

If there is no loan because you’re buying the home with cash, there is no obligation for a buyer, a seller or a closing agent to be in the same room or even building to conclude a closing. “Everything can be done by mail, email, and wire transfer,” real estate attorney Rajeh Saadeh explains.

What can go wrong at closing?

Issues can occur at closing if you no longer qualify for the mortgage you were pre-approved for. This might be the case if you lost your job or had a negative change to your income or credit score between applying and closing. In this case, you’ll need to re-apply and see if you still qualify for financing. If not, the deal can fall through.

Other potential issues at closing include problems discovered with the property’s title, a bank transfer of funds that falls through, or document errors. Consult closely with your mortgage lender, real estate agent, title company, and attorney to avoid these and other problems.

The first step to buying a home

Whether you’re buying a home sight unseen or touring homes the traditional way, the first step in the process remains the same.

You need to get approved for mortgage financing before you can make an offer on any home.

A pre-approval letter verifies your loan amount and your mortgage rate — and it shows the seller your offer is serious. If you hope to move quickly on a home purchase, getting pre-approved first is a must.

Verify your new rate (Feb 2nd, 2021)

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Source: themortgagereports.com