House Rich, Cash Poor

One in five U.S. homeowners say they feel house rich but cash poor, according to the newly released Hometap Homeownership Study. The rising costs of homeownership nationwide prompted nearly 20% of 675 homeowners surveyed to classify themselves as feeling “house rich, cash poor” most of the time, according to the study produced by Hometap, a firm that provides loan alternatives for tapping home equity. Seventy-three percent of respondents say they feel “house rich, cash poor” at least some of the time.

“We knew there were pockets of homeowners who felt house rich, cash poor—we see that every day in our work—but were surprised to find that one in five feel that way so often,” says Jeffrey Glass, CEO of Hometap. “Mortgage rates are at historic lows, which is encouraging more people to buy, but despite 45 million homeowners with excess equity, we’re seeing really conservative behavior—perhaps a lasting effect of the 2008 financial crisis. Unless wages start to rise relative to home values, we’ll see more homeowners falling into the house rich, cash poor category.”

Eighty-two percent of homeowners cited the main stressor in homeownership as uncertainty over their future income; the next stressor was the anticipated costs of home maintenance and repairs, at 81%.

Small Updates to Prep for Showings

When it comes to selling a home, the small tweaks can sometimes make the largest difference. From the tile grout to the smells, Apartment Therapy recently asked real estate pros to chime in with the easy-to-overlook attributes of a home that could increase a home’s value.

“It’s these small things that show pride of ownership,” Dana Bull, a real estate pro with Sagan Harborside Sotheby’s International Realty in Marblehead, Mass., told Apartment Therapy. “Buyers feel more confident in a transaction and can be more likely to pay a premium if they believe the home has been properly managed and maintained by a seller.”

Nontraditional Trends Buyers Are Noticing

Cookie-cutter homes and apartments can look too similar to their competition, making it harder for them to stand out. But developers and designers are finding some ways that can make an abode different from the rest.

“Everybody’s looking at what everybody else is doing,” Jonathan Miller, the president of Miller Samuel Real Estate Appraisers & Consultants, told The New York Times. An apartment can be “really nice and special and unique—and not dissimilar to the other five places you just looked at.”

To stand out, designers and developers are using materials, finishes, and tech that they believe will get noticed.  Read more HERE.

Why Can’t I Get That Low Mortgage Rate Too?

When home shoppers are looking around for the best mortgage rates, they may wonder why they aren’t quoted the ones they see advertised online or by banks. Lenders usually advertise the best interest rates that are available only to their borrowers with the highest credit scores.

Credit scores can have a big impact on what borrowers are quoted with mortgage rates. paints the following scenario in a recent article: Two neighbors are both applying for a $300,000, 30-year fixed-rate mortgage. The only difference is one has a credit score of 750 and the other has a credit score of 620. In that scenario, the borrower with a 750 credit score may be able to get the 3.75% advertised rate with a $1,390 per month mortgage payment. On the other hand, the borrower with the 620 credit score may be quoted a 4.50% interest rate with a $1,520 per month mortgage. The difference in payments is $130 more per month and a 0.75% higher mortgage rate.

Split-Level Homes Are Making a Comeback

The split-level home—with its rooms on multiple floors—was all the rage in the 1970s, but you don’t see the style as much in contemporary homes. However, that may soon change. Google searches are revealing the split-level home is more in demand.

Search interest in split-level homes has been climbing since 2004 and reached an all-time high in January 2017, according to Google data. The largest increases over the past year came during May and July.

“I’ve always seen split-levels as the minivans of the architectural world,” Orly Halpern of John L. Scott Realty in Portland, Ore., told Apartment Therapy. “If you can get past the often awkward curb appeal, they offer practical living options for most every type of household.”

Pets Can Chew Up Your Listing’s Value

Pets can take a major bite out of your home’s resale value, The Wall Street Journal reports. Scratched doors, stained floors, and chewed-up furniture can prove costly for homeowners to repair.

Homeowner Lexi Methvin knows all too well how pricey pet damage can be. Since purchasing her $1.25 million home in Basalt, Colo., three years ago, she told the WSJ that she estimates she’s spent between $25,000 to $30,000 on dog-related home repairs, carpet cleaning, and preventive measures from her three dogs.

“Anyone who has seen a puppy suffer separation anxiety knows that dogs can take a costly toll on real estate,” the WSJ reports. “These expenses far exceed the cost of owning a dog, estimated by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals at between $737 and $1,040 a year.”

Liven Up That Living Room’s Look

The living room—that main gathering spot in a home—is a critical part in your showings. Home stagers recently chimed in at Apartment Therapy with their favorite tips for creating a better-staged living room.

One of their biggest pieces of advice centered on the tendency to cram too much furniture into one space. Ensure the living room has proper flow with sizable walkways among furnishings. Nathan Thompson with Pavilion Broadway, a luxury interior design company with staging services in the U.K., told Apartment Therapy he has a rule of thumb to get the distance right: At least an 18-inch walkway between furniture pieces; with larger spaces, he recommends doubling that to 36 inches.

Yard Appeal Is a Priority for Buyers

Home shoppers are increasingly sizing up the yard space of homes they’re considering purchasing. The top outdoor features they’re eyeing include the deck, entertainment space potential, and size of the front yard.

However, the reality that many consumers are facing is that most new homes have less yard space. Having more space for a larger home is one reason. But a fallout from higher costs of lots and rising home prices have also prompted builders to shrink more yards to keep costs lower and build more on one lot.

But this doesn’t necessarily mean Americans don’t love their yard space. Nearly 70% of home buyers say they want a large backyard when looking for the perfect home, according to a new survey from, a home remodeling website. surveyed more than 980 homeowners about how much value they put into their outdoor space.

Global Trends in Kitchen Design

The kitchen continues to gain popularity as a multifunctional and social space, and its design is increasingly reflecting that, according to Cosentino Group’s newly released “2019 Global Kitchen Study,” a reflection of worldwide trends in kitchen design. The study compiles findings from a survey of kitchen studios around the world and insights from design experts.

“While losing its nature as a purely ‘culinary’ space, the kitchen has started to host activities typical of other rooms within the house, often merging with the living room to create a new environment of family coexistence,” the researchers note. “This transformation influences the design of the space and its integration in the home, both in new construction or in renovation works.”

The main activities in a kitchen have become meals, reunions with guests, doing work, and performing other tasks, the study finds.

1 2