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Frat House From the Film ‘Neighbors’ Lands on Market in L.A. for $1.5M

Neighbors movie house

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Think of a typical frat house. Your mind conjures up images of peeling paint, Greek letters above the front door, loud music, parties, and people coming and going at all hours.

Now take a look at this gorgeous Los Angeles Craftsman home—no trace of a toga party or red Solo Cup in sight. However, it served as a cinematic fraternity house rife with debauchery in the 2014 comedy “Neighbors” and its 2016 sequel, “Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising.”

The popular films starred Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne, who, as new parents with a baby, are shocked to learn that a fraternity has just moved in next door. Hilarity ensues, but the real home is no laughing matter.

Built in 1907 and tucked into the West Adams neighborhood, this Craftsman is large enough to host a party, just not of the fratty variety. It has 3,873 square feet with five bedrooms and 2.5 baths.

The listing agent, Andrea Dunlop of Sotheby’s International Realty, priced the property at $1,495,000—a judicious choice, as it happens. Ten offers came in within the home’s first two weeks on the market.

“We’re in escrow now, significantly over asking price,” Dunlop says.

The current owners bought the place in 2012 for $690,000. They agreed not to live in the home during filming, and made a pretty penny doing so.

“They actually had to move out for a few months,” says Dunlop. “With the money they made from the production, they used it to restore the house. They added landscaping, stripped all the trim, replaced the roof and central heat.”

While it is not currently included, central air conditioning could easily be installed, Dunlop added.

“The previous owner put in the pool,” she says. Fans of the films will no doubt recall the (ahem!) raucous poolside parties.

Entryway

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Stairwell

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First floor

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Dining room

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Kitchen

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Kitchen seating

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One of the bedrooms

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One of the bathrooms

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“It’s got a lot of light, which is unusual for a Craftsman,” says Dunlop.

Attached to the modernized kitchen is an outdoor dining deck.

Wide doorways inside are matched with a wide front porch that offers space for plenty of furnishings and can be used as an outdoor “living room.” Original built-ins throughout the home have been lovingly restored.

On the second floor are four of the five bedrooms, and the remaining bedroom is on the third floor, which has a half-bathroom.

The top-floor bedroom could be repurposed as a lounge or home office, or used as a playroom for the kids.

Given the age of the home, it doesn’t have a single living room. Instead, it has two sitting rooms that once served as formal parlors.

A wine/beer cellar in the basement looks like a fun spot to entertain guests.

The saltwater pool is also a huge selling feature—particularly because it’s long enough to swim laps and features an attached hot tub.

The fact that the home spans three stories is a rare amenity for West Adams, says Dunlop. Other perks outdoors include raised vegetable beds, a pergola, garage, and, yes, a taproom. Party!

What is living in this pocket of L.A. like? For one, it’s totally walkable. Most of the homes are historic and well-maintained.

“Almost all of the houses are between early 1900s and 1920s,” says Dunlop.

“It’s midblock on one of the most gorgeous blocks in the area, smack-dab in the center of Los Angeles and close to the 10 freeway. You can get anywhere in L.A. within 10 or 15 minutes.”

She describes the West Adams area as “just emerging.”

“We’re getting very hip restaurants,” she says. Because the location is close to the University of Southern California, “We’ve always had food options, but it seems like there are more now. Art galleries are also popping up, and coffee shops, too.”

Typically, homeowners in the area tend to remain in their homes for decades.

“It’s unusual to have a house that goes on the market, period,” says Dunlop.

Although this property is move-in ready, the next owners may rest assured that financial incentives (in the form of reduced property taxes) will be available in future for the purposes of historical preservation.

The Mills Act, linked to the California Office of Historic Preservation, has already been secured for the property.

And as for the real neighbors, they needn’t worry about the buyers’ being inspired by the films.

“I don’t think the people who saw the house had even seen the movie,” says Dunlop. She says she believes it was “the pool and the Mills Act” that caught buyers’ attention.

The post Frat House From the Film ‘Neighbors’ Lands on Market in L.A. for $1.5M appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

5 Chic Instagram Decor Ideas Guaranteed To Make Your Bathroom Look Oh, So Expensive

Bathroom with blue cabinets

hikesterson / Getty Images

If your bathroom looks anything like ours after nearly four months of staying at home, then you know the countertops (and probably the bathtub edges and toilet back) are covered in cleaning supplies, toilet paper overstock, and other miscellaneous goods that can’t seem to find a home elsewhere in your place.

But what if—and stay with us here—your bathroom could be a luxurious sanctuary, with smart storage and expensive-looking decor?

After scrolling through hundreds of posts on Instagram to find some decor inspiration, we’re convinced that the dream can be reality! Keep reading for all the details on how you can steal these expensive-looking ideas for yourself.

1. Airy open shelves

Open shelves aren’t just for the kitchen, as we can see in this post from @thistle.harvest.

“Open shelves make spaces feel larger, which is great for small bathrooms,” says Colin Haentjens, designer for The Knobs Co. “If the intent is to have a light and airy bathroom, pick shelves with a light color or a clear-stained natural wood—and be sure not to overwhelm your shelves with toiletries or decorations, [as] this will just make the space feel crowded.”

Get the look: Check out this three-tiered marble and brass shelf from CB2.

2. Floor-to-ceiling backsplash

Who says you can’t cover an entire wall with a backsplash? Certainly not @my_home_my_haven.

“This small detail creates a huge impact for a bathroom, and makes your ceiling look 12 feet high for a European flair,” says designer Michelle Harrison-McAllister of Michelle Harrison Design. “Not to mention, the constant water splash is much easier to clean on tile like these. This will be by far the most dramatic and show-stopping feature for your home; your guests may never want to leave the bathroom.”

Get the look: Shop this collection of mosaic tiles from the Tile Shop to design your very own floor-to-ceiling backsplash.

3. Rosy ceramic sink

What’s better than a classic white porcelain sink? A concrete one that comes in a rosy hue, like this basin featured by @alexrowe.

“If you do nothing but add this rosy-style sink to your bathroom, you’ll be so happy you did,” says Harrison-McAllister. “This one swift change will instantly elevate the design of your bathroom.”

Get the look: Add some rose-colored magic to your bathroom with this pink concrete basin from Etsy.

4. Glittering gold hardware

All that glitters is gold, especially when it’s bringing these levels of za-za-zing (thanks, @lightsandhome) to your bathroom.

“Gold hardware adds warmth, particularly in bathrooms, which commonly feel too cold,” says Jenna Sheingold of Jenna Sheingold Studio. “Gold also feels so timeless, and really elevates a space.”

Swapping out your towel bars and toilet paper holder is a simple way to update a bathroom without remodeling. Just make sure that warmth is repeated in another element—like with a brass soap dispenser or rimmed mirror, Sheingold says.

Get the look: Check out these gold towel bars on Etsy, paired with this Nusteel glacier soap dish.

5. Midnight-blue vanity

While sinks and fixtures turn to rose and gold, vanities are going dark to create some amazing contrast—like in this photo from @prettyonfridays.

Ready to shake up your vanity?

“Ditch the classic white for a bold statement color,” says Harrison-McAllister. “This rich midnight-blue vanity has so much personality and style, not to mention storage with a modern twist. Adding a contrast in the bathroom gives it that vacation feeling of unexpected delight.”

Get the look: Repaint your bathroom vanity with Admiral Blue from Benjamin Moore, or shop this midnight blue double bathroom vanity from AllModern.

The post 5 Chic Instagram Decor Ideas Guaranteed To Make Your Bathroom Look Oh, So Expensive appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

70-Acre Martha’s Vineyard Estate Once Owned by James Cagney Is Listed for $8.95M

James Cagney estate

realtor.com, Herbert Dorfman/Corbis

A 70-acre estate with multiple buildings in Chilmark, MA, on the vacation island of Martha’s Vineyard has come on the market for $8.95 million.

The holding was the longtime summer retreat of the legendary actor James Cagney. The listing maintains that it “could be the last time a real estate asset of this scale ever becomes available on Martha’s Vineyard.”

Cagney, who died in 1986 at the age of 86, bought the farmland in 1936 in what was then a rural part of the island.

He owned the large parcel until a few years before he died. Cagney was also a trailblazer in these parts, before the Clintons, Obamas, and countless other celebrities made their way to the island off the coast of Massachusetts.

The property is now known as the James Cagney Estate, but is no longer owned by Cagney’s family. It was sold in the 1980s, and was apparently later occupied by a commune, according to Mansion Global. 

Two Boston restaurateurs, Patrick Lyons and Sean Gildea, bought the property for $4.1 million in late 2012, Mansion Global reported.

In 2017, the prized property bounced back onto the market for $13.5 million.

Three years later, the price has been lowered by 33%, and the possibilities for development are “limited only by a buyer’s vision,” the listing notes.

“The Cagney Estate is a microcosm of the Vineyard,” says the listing agent, Andrew McElhinney. “From water views and acres of open meadows, to paths leading to the historic brickyard beach, this property has it all.”

McElhinney added that the estate harkens back to a simpler time on the popular island.

“The Cagney Estate takes you back in time to the mid-1800s, when so much of the island was untouched and undeveloped,” he says. “This rare estate is truly a refuge from the exigencies of modern city living.”

James Cagney’s former Massachusetts estate on Martha’s Vineyard

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The 70 acres include multiple buildings.

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Antique barn

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Pond

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Beach access

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It took just one visit to the Vineyard in the 1930s for Cagney to fall for the area. He subsequently bought up acres of land, with a 1720s farmhouse and meadows, surrounded by stone walls, according to an article in MV magazine. 

For 35 years, he returned during the summer months—not as an actor, but as a farmer, tending to his horses, pigs, cows, chickens, and turkeys. 

In his 1976 memoir, the actor acknowledged that he loved the place “beyond words.” 

And there’s a lot to love here. The private and picturesque property offers “water views, beach access, sun-dappled meadows, shaded forests through which streams and brooks wend, surrounded by acres of meadows and stone walls,” the listing description notes. 

The grounds include the Cagney house, along with a second house, studio, and barn. The older buildings on the property may require some renovation.

A buyer could also opt to add more homes on the land. A prime home site is completely private, surrounded by stone walls, views of the Vineyard Sound, and the mainland. Another possible spot for building is set in open meadows. 

The multitalented Oscar winner could both sing and dance, and starred in movies including “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” “Angels With Dirty Faces,” and “Love Me or Leave Me.” 

Andrew McElhinney with Wallace & Co. Sotheby’s International Realty holds the listing.

The post 70-Acre Martha’s Vineyard Estate Once Owned by James Cagney Is Listed for $8.95M appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Summer Ant Sightings Could Spell Trouble—How To Stave Off an Infestation

ants in house

Cherkas/Getty Images

That lone ant roaming the kitchen counter may not seem like a big deal. Maybe it’s even kind of cute. But think again.

A few random ants can actually mean a major problem if not treated at the source: the nest. Your solo ant may be giving the green light for other ants to join it. Next thing you know, you’ve got a conga line of ants making their way through your home.

“While a few ants crawling around the kitchen or bathroom might not seem like a big issue, they are actually coming from, and communicating with, a larger colony that could be hidden beneath the soil on your property, or even within the walls of your home,” says Michael Bentley, an entomologist for the National Pest Management Association.

Don’t bug out over ants this summer. Stave off an infestation and send ants packing with the following tips for protecting the spaces in and around your home.

Seal all cracks

Use sealant around the home to address any potential entryways for ants, and pay close attention to where utilities come into your home.

Pest-proofing the home includes checking windows for gaps, checking to make sure screens are secure without holes, making sure that caulking is tight on seams and pipes, and checking doors for gaps,” says Jonathan Larson, extension entomologist with the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food, and Environment.

Hide the sweets

You’re not the only one with a sweet tooth. Carefully seal and store sugar, syrup, honey, and other sweets in airtight containers, and make sure to wipe the outside of the containers to get rid of any sticky residue.

“For example, a bag of marshmallows without a bag clip can be an attractant,” says John Longino, an ant expert in the department of biology at the University of Utah.

Larson says if ants do enter and discover easy access to food, they will keep coming back.

“The initial finder will go home and tell her sisters she found a pack of Oreos or a dog food bowl and bring them to it,” says Larson.

Close garbage receptacles

One person’s trash is another person’s, or ant’s, treasure. Make sure all garbage cans have a secure lid, and dispose of trash often.

“Emptying trash cans regularly minimizes food or moisture sources,” says Bentley. “This step is especially important now, when many families are spending more time at home and creating additional waste.”

Clean up messes

We know you like your midnight snacks, but keeping your kitchen spotless is key.

“The best piece of advice to keep ants from getting into your home is to keep it clean,” says Godfrey Nalyanya, entomologist and technical services manager with Ehrlich Pest Control.

Promptly clean up grease, crumbs, and spills to remove potential food sources.

Larson says to sanitize surfaces, and don’t forget to clean the cracks and crevices in pantries and cabinets. Also, keep pet food secure.

Repair pipes

Ants need moisture to survive, and sometimes “a bit of moisture around a leaky outdoor faucet, or the seals of tubs or sinks, can create a place where ants like to come get water or make a nest,” says Longino.

Repair leaking pipes to avoid moisture buildup, and use a dehumidifier in damp basements and attics.

Nalyanya says repairing pipes is important because ants can use them to get into the interior of the home.

Manage your plants

Check potted plants inside the home for signs of nesting, and remove plants at the first sign of an infestation.

“Some ant species like to make their homes in quiet, dark places, which can be difficult to spot,” says Nalyanya. “A nest site can look like a small pile of soil or dirt.”

Nesting can also happen in your outdoor plants. Get rid of potential nesting sites by tossing excess vegetation and debris from the backyard.

Bentley says it’s important to keep your landscaping well-maintained to discourage nesting in overgrown foliage.

Call in the professionals

Getting your ant problem under control can be a big headache, especially if that one ant has now welcomed its siblings, cousins, and BFFs into your home.

Longino says you should be worried when you have a lot of large ants (a half-inch long or so) that come out at night and run around your kitchen floor. They could be carpenter ants, which can do damage to the wood inside your home.

“But any smaller ants are not a problem, just a nuisance,” he says.

While you may be tempted to try a DIY treatment to get rid of ants, Bentley advises against doing so.

“Ants are complicated social insects, and it often requires a thorough understanding of their biology and behavior to locate the nest. Attempting a DIY treatment without the proper training can be ineffective, unsafe, and can even make the problem worse,” he says.

Instead, Bentley recommends contacting a licensed pest control professional trained to properly handle an infestation.

The post Summer Ant Sightings Could Spell Trouble—How To Stave Off an Infestation appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Look Inside the Beverly Hills Compound LeBron James Is Reportedly Buying

LeBron James Beverly Hills

realtor.com, John McCoy/Getty Images

NBA superstar LeBron James has apparently expanded his Los Angeles–area real estate portfolio with the purported purchase of a storied Beverly Hills mansion, according to the Real Deal.

The news comes just a month after an unfounded rumor—debunked by the Los Angeles Times—that the hoops great had picked up a $52 million mansion in L.A. Clearly, there’s plenty of interest in where James will rest his famous head.

If the Beverly Hills purchase is, in fact, for real, “King James” would be buying a home from Hollywood royalty. The residence belonged to Lee Phillip Bell, co-creator of the popular and long-running soap operas “The Young and the Restless” and “The Bold and the Beautiful.”

The daytime TV titan died in February at the age of 91. In addition to this 90210 home, Bell’s Malibu estate landed on the market in April for $21.5 million. It was recently sold for $18,275,000.

But let’s turn back to the King. Here’s what we know about James and his giant homes.

The Mediterranean mansion offers incredible perks

The 2.5-acre property is situated on a promontory. A long driveway opens to a motor court and courtyard, and the compound features views of downtown Los Angeles, the ocean, and the Santa Monica Mountains.

Built in 1934, the estate has four bedrooms, eight bathrooms, and 9,146 square feet of living space. It features two bedroom suites, multiple entertaining areas, and seven fireplaces. The property also comes with a screening room, pool, and pool house with two bathrooms.

“It makes great sense LeBron would add this Beverly Hills mansion, just east off of his Brentwood home, to his portfolio,” says real estate agent Michelle Oliver with Douglas Elliman. Oliver isn’t connected to the purchase, but is an area expert.

The property comes with elements that appeal to wealthy buyers, says Oliver, citing the lighted tennis court, two detached guesthouses, a large motor court, as well as the superb views.

“This property has a lot of upside potential as well for someone as real estate–savvy as LeBron,” she continues. “Maybe he’ll trick out one of the guesthouses into a state-of-the-art indoor-outdoor gym like he did in his previous house.”

Beverly Hills, CA, estate

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Courtyard

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Atrium

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Living room with glass wall that opens

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Home theater

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Back patio

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Pool

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A pretty penny

Property records show the estate was last sold in 1986 for $2.9 million. The residence then came on the market last month for a hefty $39 million. The listing is still available at that price, so it’s not clear what—or if—James shelled out to snag the mansion.

For the sake of comparison, there are some slightly less expensive options if he appreciates the neighborhood. A nearby contemporary comes with less land but luxury galore, including a pool, wine wall, gym, home theater, and motor court, for $38 million. Another brand-new build in the area offers an open floor plan and indoor-outdoor living for $18.7 million.

James already owns homes in nearby Brentwood

The Los Angeles Lakers star doesn’t shy away from splashy purchases. This would be the third home in the Los Angeles area that he’s acquired. In 2015, the three-time NBA champion picked up a prize property in upscale Brentwood for $21 million. The 9,400-square-foot custom abode comes with six bedrooms, a pool, cabana, and verandas for dining and lounging.

That purchase sparked a wave of rumors—which came true—that the then-Cleveland Cavalier was eyeing the West Coast for his next big basketball move.

His second acquisition, also in Brentwood, came at the end of 2017, for a cool $23 million. The land grab seemed to further confirm James’ intentions. The brand-new build has eight bedrooms, and features a living area with sliding glass doors. Luxe delights include a 1,500-bottle wine cellar, home theater, spacious kitchen, gym, wine and cigar lounge, and bar. The grounds boast marble patios, an outdoor kitchen with a built-in barbecue, and oversize pool.

Why buy?

While these two Brentwood homes are seriously sweet pads, this latest acquisition is definitely fit for the King.

“First of all, it’s very private,” says local expert Sally Forster Jones, executive director of luxury estates for Compass and president of the Sally Forster Jones Group. “That would work for someone like LeBron James.”

And with the pandemic showing no signs of abating, this property offers some hard-to-find features that appeal to a megawatt star with millions at his disposal

“It’s like a private resort, where you don’t have to leave at all to go anywhere,” says Jones. This is an ideal perk for the basketball legend when he returns from the NBA’s makeshift bubble in Orlando, FL.

The acreage makes this property particularly valuable, adds Jones. “It’s very hard to find 2.5 acres in this area.”

Despite the home’s large lot and privacy, the commercial district of Beverly Hills is easily accessible.

“It’s close to everything but still far enough away so you have the privacy and you have the land,” she adds.

In fact, the property in one of the country’s most exclusive ZIP codes is something of a hat trick.

“It’s very hard to get … land and views and privacy. All three of those things as a combination are very difficult to get,” she says.

Jeff Hyland and Rick Hilton with Hilton & Hyland hold the listing.

The post Look Inside the Beverly Hills Compound LeBron James Is Reportedly Buying appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

B. Wayne Hughes Built a Self-Storage Empire. Now He Wants to Rent You a McMansion.

A girl rides her bike inside a community of rental homes owned by American Homes 4 Rent in suburban Atlanta.

Dustin Chambers for The Wall Street Journal

In the depths of the last housing crisis, self-storage billionaire B. Wayne Hughes flew to Las Vegas and Phoenix to lay the groundwork for a new bet. His plan: Buy foreclosed homes, spruce them up and rent them out. He tested his ideas on three houses in each market and then dispatched deputies to buy tens of thousands more across the U.S.

Nine years later the land grab is paying off as an economic downturn, the rising unaffordability of homeownership and a global pandemic push a new generation to suburban home rentals. Home offices, yards and space between neighbors are becoming must haves. Investors who spent the last decade gobbling up these types of houses are emerging as beneficiaries of the Covid-19 era.

Few firms are better situated to benefit from this shift than Mr. Hughes’s American Homes 4 Rent, which has about 53,000 suburban houses in 22 states and collects about $1 billion in annual rent from tenants who are typically pet-owning parents in their late 30s with six-figure incomes. In May, its showings to prospective tenants were up 22% year over year and more than 2,400 leases were signed, the most in a month since 2015. The Agoura Hills, Calif. company is racing to add even more houses amid the current economic upheaval, including building thousands expressly to rent.

It wasn’t the first time the 86-year-old Mr. Hughes— the son of an Oklahoma sharecropper who migrated to California during the Great Depression—turned a hyperlocal transaction into a national empire. Five decades ago he noticed that Americans were accumulating more stuff than their houses could hold, and that many of them would rather rent space in which to stow it than part with grandma’s old sofa or whatever else they were hoarding.

He and a partner pooled $50,000 and in 1972 opened a storage facility in El Cajon, Calif. Today his Public Storage has thousands of locations marked by the company’s bright orange signs, some 170 million square feet of rentable space and a stock market value of about $34 billion.

The idea that suburban houses could be owned and rented out on a national scale, like apartment complexes or office buildings, took shape following the 2007 housing bust. Mr. Hughes believed he could do for rental homes what he had done for the then scattershot and loosely managed storage business. Consolidate ownership, centralize operations, use computers to do the jobs of people whenever possible and establish more aggressive market rates.

The first house that Mr. Hughes bought in Las Vegas had three bedrooms, a nice yard and rented for $1,050, the going rate for such properties. It was a steal. Apartments nearby with only two bedrooms were renting for $1,400 a month. That was all the evidence he needed that rents could be pushed higher.

Mr. Hughes and his lieutenants had bought about a hundred houses and were tinkering with their business model when a man from Alaska’s state oil fund called their offices in Southern California. The oil fund’s managers were looking for a way to play the housing crash and wanted to know what Mr. Hughes had planned.

He told them he was approaching landlording backward. He considered the type of tenants he wanted and then sought houses to suit them.

Families with school-age children were the prize. They were likely to stay in houses longer than singles, willing to swallow annual rent increases if it meant not uprooting their children from schools and neighborhood friends.

“Some of you have had children, I’m sure,” Mr. Hughes told the fund’s trustees during a 2014 meeting in Juneau, according to audio recordings. “They don’t ever want to move.”

American Homes 4 Rent sign in Loganville, Ga
In the depths of the last housing crisis American Homes 4 Rent traveled to markets throughout the country looking for foreclosure auctions, including the suburbs surrounding Atlanta. An American Homes 4 Rent sign in Loganville, Ga.

Dustin Chambers for The Wall Street Journal

Landlording is an ancient business, but leasing thousands of far-flung suburban houses had never been done before. The foreclosure crisis gave investors the chance to gain critical mass on the cheap while a leap in cloud computing and mobile technology enabled them to orchestrate thousands of purchases and efficiently manage the properties thereafter.

The benefits for suburban renters are that they can live in a well-maintained, family-sized suburban home and send their children to good public schools without committing to decades of mortgage payments, tying up their savings in down payments, or risking entrapment in another market collapse. There is a big potential cost, though. By renting, they forsake the method by which most Americans build wealth.

Homeownership allowed the U.S. middle class to cling to its share of the country’s overall wealth in the decades following World War II, despite losing major ground to the wealthiest Americans in terms of income, according to a 2018 paper by University of Bonn researchers Moritz Kuhn, Moritz Schularick and Ulrike I. Steins.

The wealth of the bottom half of wage earners doubled between 1971 and 2007 despite incomes that were stagnant once adjusted for inflation, they found. Most Americans weren’t really making any more money at work. They were richer because they owned homes that rose in value.

The housing crash wiped away a lot of wealth, though. People born in the 1970s were hit especially hard. They started out owning homes at much higher rates than their predecessors, but by their 20th high-school reunions, once the dust had settled from the housing collapse, they had fallen way behind. Their homeownership rate at age 38 was 52%, according to a 2016 study by John Burns Real Estate Consulting, lower than the 61% rate for Americans born in the 1950s and 63% among those born in the 1960s.

It has been difficult for many to reclaim homeownership and regain their economic footing. The median-earning household—$63,179 in 2018—can’t afford the median-priced home in many American cities even on the off chance they manage to save a down payment while keeping up with ever-rising rent.

American Homes 4 Rent home under construction in Loganville, GA.
American Homes 4 Rent is racing to add even more houses amid the current economic upheaval, including building thousands expressly to rent such as this house in Loganville, GA.

Dustin Chambers for The Wall Street Journal

The situation is even more bleak for people born in the 1980s. Nearly one in five lives below the poverty line, according to the consulting firm, the highest percentage for any cohort since the generation born during the Great Depression in the 1930s.

Mustering a down payment to buy a house is nearly impossible for many of these younger adults, who are buried in student debt. They know the financial pain that can be inflicted by falling home prices. And thus far at least, they are not generally wedded to the notion of ownership.

Investors realized that there would be a lot of people who would have to rent the suburban lifestyle to which they were accustomed; they started showing up at foreclosure auctions across the country in the early part of the last decade. A Who’s Who of real-estate investors including hotelier Barry Sternlicht, Donald Trump confidante Tom Barrack and Stephen Schwarzman’s Blackstone Group Inc. sent buyers to auctions with duffel bags of cashier’s checks. At one point, Blackstone’s Invitation Homes was buying $150 million worth of foreclosed houses a week.

I’d become a landlord around the same time, reluctantly. My house plunged way below what I owed the bank. I needed to move but couldn’t sell. I lost a lot of money and sleep landlording from afar. So it was surprising to see the zeal with which major investors were piling in.

Compared with the sleepy and sparsely attended foreclosure auctions I’d attended as a newspaper reporter in coastal Alabama during the early days of the bust, courthouse-steps sales in the places where Wall Street was putting down roots, like Atlanta, were Roman orgies.

Investors circled the first Tuesday of each month on their calendars and booked flights to be in Atlanta. That is the day when every county in Georgia held foreclosure auctions. American Homes 4 Rent’s bidders would gather at a Sheraton Hotel along the interstate north of the city the evening before and divvy up $20 million or so of cashier’s checks. Then they’d fan out to different counties to buy houses.

Their instructions were strict. Nothing older than 20 years or so. Nothing too rural. Nothing smaller than three bedrooms and two baths. Nothing without a garage. Nothing that cost less than $100,000. Nothing that would rent for less than $1,000 a month. Decent schools were a must.

The financiers view their spree as a stabilizing force for a housing market that had spiraled out of control. “One of the main things that was a benefit to society of us getting in and buying homes is that we basically created a floor for falling home prices,” said David Singelyn, who accompanied Mr. Hughes when he bought his first rentals and is chief executive of American Homes.

Companies like Invitation and American Homes proved so profitable that they kept buying even after the foreclosures dried up. They took to the open market. To find the best properties before other buyers, they deployed house-hunting computers programmed to think like Mr. Hughes, who retired from the American Homes board last year. He declined to comment through a spokeswoman.

The computers all really loved Spring Hill, Tenn., a suburb at the southern edge of metro Nashville that boasts the cheapest houses in one of the best school districts in the state.

The local General Motors Co. plant had ramped up production and the housing market was red hot in April 2017 when a three-bedroom, two-bathroom home was listed for sale there. The sales agent hardly had time to pound a sign into the yard before he started fielding offers.

The sellers had four to weigh within a few hours. The high bid of $208,000 came from a couple with a child looking for their first house. American Homes matched, all cash.

Unlike the family, American Homes didn’t need to borrow a penny to buy the house. Its offer was without contingencies. The company wouldn’t fuss over scuffed floors or ugly paint since it would be renovating the house, using the same colors, flooring, and appliances as those in its hundreds of other houses around town.

About a month later, the house was back on the market. This time for rent, for $1,575 a month.

The family whom American Homes beat out was precisely the type of tenant that the company hoped would rent it.

Adapted from “Underwater: How Our American Dream of Homeownership Became a Nightmare,” by Wall Street Journal reporter Ryan Dezember. The book will be published by Thomas Dunne Books, an imprint of St. Martin’s Press, on July 14.

The post B. Wayne Hughes Built a Self-Storage Empire. Now He Wants to Rent You a McMansion. appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Durham Mansion in ‘The Staircase’ Crime Documentary Is Available for $1.9M

Staircase house

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A Durham, NC, house that’s crossed the line between fact and fiction is on the market again.

The home at 1810 Cedar St. was a fictional set in the 1990 movie “The Handmaid’s Tale.” However, it’s more well-known as the site of a notorious death that was the focus of the true-crime documentary “The Staircase.”

Built in 1940, the Colonial is listed for $1.9 million. It measures 9,429 square feet and sits on 3.4 acres in the Forest Hills neighborhood.

Exterior

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Exterior

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In 1990, the stately residence was used as the Commander’s house in the film adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel. The movie starred Robert Duvall, Faye Dunaway, and Natasha Richardson, yet its theatrical release was a flop.

A couple of years later, novelist Michael Peterson and his girlfriend, Kathleen Atwater, moved in to the five-bedroom, six-bathroom home. The couple proceeded to marry in 1997.

Interior

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All was calm until the evening of Dec. 9, 2001, when Kathleen died.

Peterson said he was out by the pool, and when he finally went inside at about 2:30 a.m., he found his wife at the bottom of the back staircase in a pool of blood. He told authorities she was drunk and fell down the stairs.

Pool

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Authorities didn’t buy his explanation and charged Peterson with murder.

Shortly after his indictment, Peterson allowed French documentary filmmaker Jean-Xavier de Lestrade to interview him, his kids, and his attorneys. Many of those interviews took place in this home.

In 2003 Peterson went on trial, which was documented by de Lestrade. Following one of the longest trials in North Carolina history, a jury found Peterson guilty and a judge sentenced him to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

His lawyers appealed the verdict, and the conviction was eventually overturned in 2011.

Hearings began for a new trial, but Peterson entered an Alford plea in February 2017. (Under this guilty plea, the criminal defendant does not admit the act, but admits that the prosecution could likely prove the charge.)

“The Staircase” (13 episodes) is available on Netflix. It tells the story from the viewpoint of Peterson and his defense team.

Following the initial filming and Peterson’s conviction, the home was sold for $640,000 in July 2004. In July 2008 it was sold for $1.3 million to psychic and medium Biond Fury.

Fury had a cable TV show in New York City and said he had never heard of the Peterson case and knew nothing of the home’s history. Over a decade later, he’s now ready to part with the home.

Slate porch

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Kitchen

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The home has undergone recent renovations and has 19 total rooms.

There is a grand staircase in the front entryway (not the one Kathleen Peterson fell down) as well as a library and game room on two levels. None of the listing photos shows the back staircase, where the body was found.

Front staircase

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The kitchen is large with an eating area and island. The primary bedroom has its own wing.

Bedroom

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The grounds feature wrought-iron gates and a slate patio with an outdoor fireplace. There is a two-car garage.

Garage

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The house was built by architect George Watts Carr for John Adams Buchanan, who wanted a large and stylish house to express his station in life.

The Buchanan family lived in the home until 1960, and four of the family’s five daughters were married there.

Bathroom

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Interior

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Living space

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Kitchen

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The post Durham Mansion in ‘The Staircase’ Crime Documentary Is Available for $1.9M appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

10 Tragic Modern Farmhouse Fails To Never, Ever Try at Home

farmhouse fail

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Modern farmhouse decor is still as popular as ever, with no seeming end to walls covered in shiplap, distressed coffee tables, barn doors, and beyond. But not every detail in this canon is a winner straight out of the gates—and some looks are actually full-on fails.

Witness the famed “Fixer Upper” duo Chip and Joanna Gaines, arguably the main source of all things modern farmhouse. Even these category leaders have made mistakes along the way. (Who could forget some of their stranger word art and those framed Mason jars?)

So if you’re worried your enthusiasm for this design trend may have gone off the rails, check out these modern farmhouse fails we’ve found that should never, ever end up in your own home.

1. Signage (and holiday) overload

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Have you begun decorating for Valentine’s Day? 💘 (📸 @ourlilharrishomestead) — This designer totally nailed her Valentine’s Day coffee bar set up! 😍 I am loving all of that adorable #raedunn ❤️ Check out more of this designer’s lovely home on her page!! 👉 @ourlilharrishomestead 👈 — Use #farmhousefanatics to be featured! 📸🚨 — — — #farmhousedecor #farmhousechic #farmhouseliving #farmhousedesign #farmhouseinspired #farmhouseinspo #farmhousekitchen #modernfarmhouse #rusticfarmhouse #vintagefarmhouse #cottagefarmhouse #bhghome #mybhg #fixerupper #fixerupperstyle #hgtv #farmhouselove #farmhousehappy #cottagedecor #cottageliving #betterhomesandgardens #countrylivingmag #rustichomedecor #modernfarmhousestyle #farmhousestyledecor #valentinesdecor #coffeebar #raedunnfinds

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Sure, we like a folksy sign or two, but not a half-dozen. And while Valentine’s decor in the home is fine here and there (think red pillows or a pink amaryllis), facing this saccharine theme at the coffee bar first thing in the morning is a no-go.

2. Throws and pillows gone overboard

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TAG someone you would cozy up with in this beautiful porch swing! ❤️ (📸 @weareforeverhome) — Who wouldn’t want this cozy and gorgeous masterpiece hanging from their porch???! Nobody! 😍 Check out more of this designer’s charming farmhouse style home on her page! 👉 @weareforeverhome 👈 — Use #farmhousefanatics to be featured! 📸🔥 — — — #farmhousedecor #farmhousechic #farmhouseliving #farmhousedesign #farmhouseinspired #farmhouseinspo #farmhousekitchen #modernfarmhouse #rusticfarmhouse #vintagefarmhouse #cottagefarmhouse #bhghome #mybhg #fixerupper #fixerupperstyle #hgtv #farmhouselove #farmhousehappy #cottagestyle #cottagedecor #cottageliving #farmhouselife #betterhomesandgardens #countrylivingmag #southernlivingmag #rustichomedecor #modernfarmhousestyle #farmhousestyledecor #porchswing

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Cozy is fine—and hygge is red-hot—so bring on the chunky knit blankets and soft pillows! But when you can’t find a place to sit on the swing or sofa, there’s a good likeliness that the styling has gotten out of hand. Two throws and four pillows on a small love seat for two means one of you is going to be squeezed out.

3. Too much cute farmhouse decor in a utilitarian space

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What do you think of this charming rustic laundry room? ❤️ We wouldn't mind folding clothes in here! 😂 TAG a friend who will love this room! 👇 (@delightedwiththedetails)⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ • follow us @farmhouse.charm ✔⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #farmhouse #farmhousedecor #farmhouseinspired#farmhousekitchen #farmhousedesign #farmhouseliving#beautifuldecor #interiorstyling #interior2you#interior4inspo #interiordesigninspiration #fixerupper#shiplap #shiplapwalls #joannagaines #rusticdecor #rusticfarmhouse #modernfarmhouse #magnoliahome #magnoliamarket #magnoliatable

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The laundry room is a utilitarian space for dirty socks and sheets—not pumpkins, dried flower arrangements, and a glass jar filled with who knows what. One swipe with your kid’s hand and that container is in smithereens—and then you’re sweeping up glass and folding boxer shorts!

4. A no-can pantry

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Two years ago today we moved into our home here at Simple Man Farm. For those of you that don’t know, we had a fire at the apartment we were living at on 1/1/17, while we were away on a cruise with our family. We lost everything except what we had in storage. So, we moved into our new home with 2 plastic Adirondack chairs, 2 stools, and a mattress. We have come a long way from that day, with more to come. One of the first things I did was organize our pantry, modeled after Sarah’s pantry @rockyhedgefarm. I had pinned the idea and couldn’t wait to do it! Someone told me that it wouldn’t stay that way. Ha! They didn’t know me! January is when most people organize, right? Happy new year! #farmhousepantry #ilovebeingorganized #simplefarmhousetouches #pantryorganization

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Honestly, not even one single can of chicken broth or a box of cereal? These pretty jars with the vintage seals are lovely to behold, but few people will actually decant every edible item they want and then keep up the look week after week. Looking at this pantry actually promotes a dizzy feeling—and woe to the teen or spouse who misaligns these precious rows.

5. Crafts that are a bit too crafty

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YARN PUMPKIN CRAFT tutorial is in stories now and also saved in my highlights! About four times a year I get together with a group of friends and we do a seasonal craft and I have to say this was one of my favorites! We used $1 pumpkins from the @dollartree and wrapped them in fluffy yarn. My friend may or may not have had her husband chop down a branch in their backyard so we could have stems 🙈 It was an easy craft that anyone could really do! Great for a craft night or with your kids. Does anyone have a fun fall craft that they can share?! I need another one! . . Thanks to @jenbryantdesign for originally posting the craft! . . . . . #fallcrafts #fallcraftsforkids #pumpkincrafts #yarnpumpkin #diyfalldecor #diyfall #momlife #momhustle #easycrafts #dollartreefinds #dollartree #dollartreecrafts #dollartreecraft #fallcenterpiece #checkoutmydiy #cozyandcreativehome #modernfarmhouse #farmhousecrafts #hgtv #diynetwork #girlsjustwanttodiy #howihome #whitepumpkins #falldecor #halloweendecor #crafts #crafttime

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Farmhouse crafts are often charming, and some are ideal for holiday tabletops, but these pumpkins seem to be decked out in something that looks an awful lot like mold. Do you really want to look at white fuzzy gourds when you’re eating dinner?

6. Crafts you can’t even identify

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Valentine’s Day decor #tiredtray #farmhousecrafts

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What the heck is this travesty? A tower of pitchers and Mardi Gras beads? It’s busy, it’s baffling, and it has no place in the home. Or anywhere, really.

7. Gnomes are never a good idea

Football season is serious business for some, so we get that you want to show your team pride. But dressing up hairy, scary gnomes like this and then adding them to your “farmhouse” mantel is just creepy.

8. Pet beds à la farmhouse

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I couldn’t help myself and I’ve started adding some Valentines here and there.❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ … Hazel looks happy about it! … Have you started adding love day touches yet? … On a dreary note, it’s been raining off and on all day here. We’ve spent a good 45 minutes in the bathroom as a tornado passed by us and we’ve already gotten 4 1/4 inches of rain!😳 We still have all of our stuff in the bathroom just in case we hear the sirens again!😳😬 … #fabulousfarmhousefriday #myuniquehomestyle #happypettuesday #myhandcrafteddecor #homefortheseasons #designdecorlovers #seasonalspaceswelove #decorationforallseasons #myfavoritedesignstyle #stylingmyseasons #homewiththeseason #comfycottagecharm #bloomingwithdiy #mypastperfectfind #dreamingaboutdecor #beautifuldecorstyles #shabbyfindsfriday #cottagecreativity #bitsofrusticcharm #farmhouse_of_insta #ourthriftstoredecor #farmhousepets #hazel

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No, your cat doesn’t want to perch in a silly carpeted nook surrounded by corner molding, dried flowers, and a piece of distressed window frame. Let your pet live its best life—which is under the bed or on top of the dryer.

9. Mason jars as bathroom storage

Really? Apparently, we can’t get away from Mason jars, even in the loo. Sure they’re handy as a vase stand-in and look cute if you’re serving cocktails at a picnic, but in this case, please put your cotton balls in the bathroom drawer like everybody else.

10. Chicken wire + pithy saying + wine

Is it me or is modern farmhouse overloaded with wine sayings? (“It’s wine-o-clock somewhere,” “All you need is love … and wine,” “Wine: because adulting is hard.”) And the grape focus is made even more cringey when it’s a combo platter of a chicken wire craft splashed with a lame phrase that’s supposed to store all the corks you’ve pulled. Just. No.

The post 10 Tragic Modern Farmhouse Fails To Never, Ever Try at Home appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Pennsylvania Mansion Built for Joan Rivers Is This Week’s Most Popular Home

Most popular homes 7-10

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Once upon a time, Joan Rivers had a quixotic dream. The trailblazing comedian wanted to build a Beverly Hills-inspired celebrity enclave in Bucks County, PA—and make a fortune in the process.

A remnant of Rivers’ vision wound up as this week’s most popular home on realtor.com®. A report in March in the Philadelphia Inquirer about the one-of-a-kind home and the odd confluence of Pennsylvania and Hollywood yielded a wave of clicks.

Folks were eager to check out the residence built for Rivers and her husband, Edgar Rosenberg. Rosenberg died in 1987 at age 61, and Rivers died in 2014 at age 81. Though Rivers never moved in and her planned community never materialized, the curious saga spurred interest in the home, which is now on the market for the first time since 1989.

The other most popular homes this week included an immaculate mansion in Tennessee being sold by former University of Tennessee head football coach Butch Jones, the “Ivy House” from Season 5 of “Fixer Upper,” and a double A-frame, also in Tennessee, known as Twin Peaks.

This week’s list of the 10 most popular homes from around the country has a little something for everyone. Take a look!

10. 15835 Feeny Ct, Charlotte, NC

Price: $1,195,000
Why it’s here: Live everyday as if it’s a vacation! This waterfront home has a pool, hot tub, floating deck, fire pit, outdoor kitchen, and just about everything a person would possibly need to unwind.

Built in 2006, the four-bedroom home has plenty of room for entertaining indoors as well. Upgrades include wood ceilings, a wet bar, and separate living quarters with an additional kitchen and bath.

Charlotte NC waterfront house exterior
Charlotte, NC

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9. 7368 Hart St, Mentor, OH

Price: $230,000
Why it’s here: This charming four-bedroom Colonial was built in 1880 and is a short drive from Lake Erie. It’s on a large corner lot, and highlights include a lovely wraparound porch, detached garage, and hot tub.

Mentor, OR colonial exterior
Mentor, OH

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8. 42 Barnfield Ln, Gorham, ME

Price: $975,000
Why it’s here: This custom-built Colonial Revival is on the market for the first time since it was built in 2013.

The 2.5-acre lot includes the 6,000-square-foot main house, a two-car garage, and a “car barn,” which can house five cars or any number of outdoor toys.

Lush landscaping surrounds a pool and large patio.

Gorham, ME colonial exterior red double doors
Gorham, ME

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7. 1821 Old Bay Springs Rd, Laurel, MS

Price: $229,000
Why it’s here: Although it wasn’t touched by Ben and Erin Napier, this cute cottage with a yellow door is in the heart of “Home Town” country.

Built in 1961, the three-bedroom home underwent a recent top-to-bottom makeover, including a new yard and new roof. If you’d like to follow the crowds to Laurel, this is a turnkey opportunity.

Laurel, MS cottage exterior
Laurel, MS

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6. 1642 S. Mountain View Rd, Sevierville, TN

Price: $54,900
Why it’s here: Lovingly called “Twin Peaks,” this distinctive residence is actually two attached cabins. Each has its own great room and kitchen, bathroom, and loft.

It’s an ideal property for use as a rental or in-law unit. Each cabin also has decks in front and back, with gorgeous mountain views.

Sevierville TN twin peaks exterior
Sevierville, TN

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5. 6271 Batman Rd, Zionsville, PA 

Price: $595,000
Why it’s here: This place will make your dollar stretch—it’s an actual mansion for only $49 per square foot.

The original stone farmhouse dates to the 1850s, but an addition in 2004 boosted the home to a jaw-dropping 12,000 square feet.

Out back, you’ll find a custom, carved-wood entertainment venue. The entire property measures 6 acres.

If you don’t want this much space for yourself, the listing suggests that the home could be turned into a spa, healing center, or wedding venue.

Zionsville PA venue exterior
Zionsville, PA

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4. 1945 Oakleigh Way, Knoxville, TN

Price: $3,795,000
Why it’s here: No more Vols. Former University of Tennessee head football coach Butch Jones is selling this huge, six-bedroom mansion situated on 4 wooded acres in a gated community.

Highlights include a circular front drive, screened porch, and lush backyard.

KNoxville TN Butch Jones house exterior
Knoxville, TN

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3. 334 Ridge Ave, Newtown, PA

Price: $1,499,999
Why it’s here: Designed for entertainment, this home boasts an indoor gym and home theater, spa room, and music room.

Built in 1990, the five-bedroom home measures 8,000 square feet.

Outside, the grounds include a putting green, fieldstone patio, fire pit, and beautiful views.

Newtown PA gymnasium
Newtown, PA

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2. 401 Elmwood Rd, Woodway, TX

Price: $549,900
Why it’s here: The Gaines effect strikes again! This 1960s-era ranch appeared on Season 5 of HGTV’s “Fixer Upper” and was transformed into the “Ivy House,” a chic rustic coastal retreat in the middle of Texas.

Joanna Gaines‘ signature touches run throughout the four-bedroom home, from the sliding barn door in the dining room to the shiplap in the office.

Other features include the double-sided stucco fireplace, archways, and custom pergola outside.

The Ivy House from Fixer Upper exterior
Woodway, TX

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1. 29 Beverly Hills Rd, Warminster, PA 

Price: $2,695,000
Why it’s here: 90210 meets Bucks County? Custom-built for Joan Rivers, this palatial estate on Beverly Hills Road was intended to be a centerpiece of a master planned luxury development dubbed “Two Ponds.”

The 10-acre property boasts a main house with seven bedrooms, seven-plus bathrooms, and 12,500 square feet of living space.

It was built in 1989 by a developer, Thomas Pileggi, who was Rivers’ partner in the planned development. Rivers never moved in, and Two Ponds never came to be, after an intense, prolonged zoning battle with the local community.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the estate was eventually purchased by a non A-lister. It’s now back on the market for the first time since it was finished.

The only remnant of the original Two Ponds vision is the home’s aspirational address.

For a buyer in search of home with a backstory, this huge house deserves top billing.

Warminster PA house built for Joan Rivers entry
Warminster, PA

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The post Pennsylvania Mansion Built for Joan Rivers Is This Week’s Most Popular Home appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Strong Majority of Realtors® Say Market Is in Recovery Phase of Pandemic as Buyers Return

Majority of REALTORS® Say Market Is Recovering

The residential market has seen a swift rebound of activity as numerous states have begun to ease mandatory stay-at-home orders.
Media Contact: 

Quintin Simmons 202-383-1178