Renting is now even less affordable


Competition for housing makes renting more costly

It seems renting—particularly on single-family homes—is on the rise. And according to analysis from one industry player, that spells bad news for renters.

What goes up doesn’t always come down

Analysis from real estate marketplace Zillow shows high demand, low supply and virtually nonexistent construction starts are driving up rents on single-family properties.

“Rental houses have been in high demand since the housing market crashed, but a lack of supply has made renting those homes more expensive,” Zillow reported. “The median monthly rent for single-family homes is rising faster than the median monthly rent for apartments.

The median rent on single-family homes has risen 1.3 percent over the last year, clocking in at $1,404 per month. Median apartment rents rose just 0.5 percent for the same period.

Top cities for rent increases

Some markets, in particular, are seeing huge single-family rent growth. In Portland, Oregon, for example, rents on single-family homes have increased 4.5 percent over the year. But apartment rents in the city? Those are actually falling.

Other cities with notable jumps in single-family rent costs include Los Angeles (4 percent increase over the year); Atlanta (3.5 percent); Seattle (5.4 percent); Minneapolis (3.9 percent); San Diego (4.3 percent), Orlando (3.2 percent); Nashville (3 percent); Louisville, Kentucky (4.1 percent); Salt Lake City, Utah (5 percent: and Charlotte, North Carolina (3.1 percent).

The reason behind the staggering jump in rents is a combination of increasing demand, strapped supply and a lack of construction.

“There are fewer single-family homes to rent than a decade ago,” Zillow reported. “When the housing market crashed, investors scooped up many single-family homes lost to foreclosure and turned them into rentals. Almost 20 percent of all single-family homes across the U.S. were rented in 2016, up from 13.5 percent 10 years prior.”

This article originally appeared on


13 Decorating Tips To Making A Large Room Feel Cozy


It’s easy to pine for a larger space when you are living in a teensy one, but big rooms present some of their own challenges, and that is what we will be tackling today. Whether you live in a loft, have a living room with extremely high ceilings or simply have a lot of space to fill, these 13 ideas can help you make your room feel balanced and comfortable.

1. Strategically place tall potted plants. Fill vertical height in rooms with tall ceilings or fill bare, lonely corners with potted trees. As long as your space gets enough light to support the plant’s needs (check with your garden landscape store for instructions and recommendations), you really can’t go wrong with adding a massive houseplant.

2. Paint two-tone walls. While tall potted plants are great for drawing the eye up and accentuating high ceilings, sometimes we crave the opposite effect. Painting color on your walls only part of the way up creates a cozier feeling, tricking the eye into thinking the ceilings are lower than they are.

3. Swap your coffee tables for oversized ottomans. Large seating arrangements can feel a bit empty if there is too much distance between the sofa and coffee table. Choosing a big upholstered ottoman instead of a traditional coffee table will close that gap and add softness at the same time.

4. Round out a big seating plan with a pair of X-benches. Tucked in front of the fireplace or filling an empty spot across from a pair of armchairs, these versatile little seats can also fill in as footstools or side tables.

5. Use a daybed as a room divider. In a really large living room, you may wish to create two full seating areas. Mark the separation while keeping the flow between the two zones with furniture you can easily see over: a daybed, bench, or chaise is a good option.

6. Define zones with a console table.Another option for sectioning off parts of a large living room is floating your sofa in the middle of the room and placing a console table behind it.

7. Add coziness with a screen. In a large, open space, you may want to create an area that feels more protected and intimate — decorative screens are your friend for this. Partially folded and placed behind your sofa, a screen will create the impression of a smaller room without stopping the flow of the room.

8. Comfortably fill a large space with an L-shaped sectional. Large, modern spaces are especially suited to accommodate a great big L-shaped sofa. This piece screams comfort!

9. Use an L-shaped sectional as a room divider. Another great place for your L-shaped sofa is between two seating areas or dividing the living and dining spaces in an open-plan space.

10. Fill dead wall space rather than letting it go bare. In a large space, it is nearly always best to pull furniture off the walls, creating cozy arrangements closer to the center of the space. The trouble is, this can leave a great deal of wall space bare — don’t let it go to waste!

One foolproof combo is a console table placed against the bare wall with a pair of benches tucked beneath it and a neat grid of frames hung above.

11. Use occasional chairs. Another great use of surplus wall space is for housing a few extra chairs. A console table between a pair of chairs with a large mirror or artwork above always looks smart, and you can pull the chairs in closer when hosting a large group.


How to Find the Right Neighborhood for You


california_neighborhoodFinding the right neighborhood is the key to your happiness in your new home. Once you buy and move into your new home, there is not much you can do about the neighborhood unless you move again. Researching the neighborhood in which you plan to buy is probably one of the most important things you can do. Not only are you buying the home in which you’re going to live, but you will be buying into the local community. Here are a few questions you should ask yourself before you buy your next home.

1. Do you fit in?
You should find out the culture and vibe of the neighborhood of your potential home. Making sure you fit into the culture of the neighborhood is important because the last thing you want is to have small children and move into a house next door to a fraternity. It would be unfortunate for a young couple looking to mingle with locals, move into a neighborhood that is predominantly retired folks.

2. What role does family play in your life?
If you have children or are planning to have children in the near future, you should look at neighborhood’s crime rates, local schools, and size of the properties. Looking for homes that have a decent size and safe backyard for kids to play in will also become a priority. Keep in mind that you may want to expand your home as you expand your family, it’s best to look for areas that will let you add on.

3. Is the neighborhood a good investment?
Before you make one of the biggest investments of your life, you should look into the future of your potential neighborhood. You want your investment to earn the most money down the road. Make sure you’re not buying into a neighborhood that is on the decline. One way you can figure this out is to find out the real estate situation, are people moving out of the neighborhood or are there new buildings and businesses going in?

4. Are you fine with the local rules?
Make sure to learn about any unique rules of the neighborhood, for example, there may be rules prohibiting the permanent parking of motorcycles. If you’re a Harley fanatic this would be a problem for you. Ask your agent about any unusual neighborhood rules or even ask a future neighbor of yours.

5. Is there anything that may annoy you?
This is probably one of the most important questions. Try to identify anything you might think will get on your nerves because something now may not seem like a big deal, but over time, it may really bother you. Make sure there aren’t any nearby farms that produce funky smells or neighbors who have unkempt yards. Look for neighborhoods you can see yourself living in for a long time. Also, trust your gut. If something about a neighborhood doesn’t feel right, consider moving on.

Top 10 Things to Know About Buying a Second Home


Demand for second homes remains healthy despite a slow housing market. With homebuyers enjoying an advantage in many markets, now may be the time to buy that second home. Whether you’re dreaming of paradise or profit, master these 10 tips for a smart investment.

Resist the urge to impulse buy.

Don’t come back from vacation with the keys to a new house without having thoroughly researched your purchase first. If you buy on a whim, you may end up with a second home you can’t afford or that doesn’t fit your needs.

Evaluate your needs and long-term goals.
Be realistic about what type of second home suits your lifestyle. If you’re looking for a weekend getaway, staying within a day’s drive of your primary home could be a good move. If you’d like your second home to someday serve as a retirement spot, assess the home’s accessibility and check out health care services in the area.

Get to know the area before buying.
Even if you’ve been visiting the same vacation spot for years, you need to get to know the area from a nontourist perspective if you plan to buy there. Visit the place off-season, and talk to locals to get their take on the area.