Cities with the Most Mobile Homes

When they peaked in popularity during the early 1930s, mobile homes were once considered a thing of the future — but now they seem to be a thing of the past to many people. Despite their decline in popularity, these styles are still a cheaper alternative to a traditional home. Some communities across the nation still honor the antiquity of the mobile home, and today, they can be customized to fit the needs of any family size and can feature just about all the amenities that a traditional abode offers. Here are some cities with the most mobile homes.

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21.5 percent of homes in Lakeland, Florida are mobile. Located in the Tampa Bay region, this Polk County city is the largest between Tampa and Orlando. True to its name, Lakeland mostly comprised of lakes — and some land. With so much space, it’s the perfect place to have a lot to put a mobile home on. Lakeland has over 30 mobile home parks for those looking to settle in one.

McAllen is a small Texan town that has a large percentage of mobile homes – 14.6 to be exact. According to data by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), An estimated 58 percent of all renter households live in single-family homes, duplexes, or mobile homes. The average price for a mobile home in McAllen in 2016 was just over $36,000, making it an affordable alternative to traditional houses. Columbia, South Carolina, the state’s capital, has a mobile home stock of 13 percent. According to data, South Carolina has the most mobile homes per capita than any other state. 12.8 percent of homes in Augusta, Georgia, located close to the South Carolina border, are also mobile homes. The Palmetto State actually makes our list twice, with a mobile home housing stock at 12.6 percent in Greenville, South Carolina.

Mobile Home Advantages

  • Mobile homes are generally more affordable than traditional homes
  • Renters living in a mobile home park usually have a lower rent than what traditional renters pay.
  • Mobile homes are often more energy efficient than traditional homes.
  • Mobile home parks can be situated in nice communities depending on the city.

Mobile Home Disadvantages

  • Mobile homes can often be harder to sell than a traditional home.
  • The cost of moving a mobile home, particularly if it is older, could cost more than what the home is worth.
  • In the event of a major storm, mobile homes aren’t as safe as traditional homes.
  • Mobile home living has been stigmatized by movies and TV shows.

Mobile Home Safety

Read on for more reasons to make your next home a mobile home.


Mahogany is a Content Marketing Coordinator for Homes.com. In her spare time, Mahogany enjoys reading, writing poetry, blogging, traveling, and loves a good southern idiom. Mahogany is also a certified Reiki practitioner and enjoys all things supernatural.

Source: homes.com

24-Hour Listings: What You Need to Know About Buying Sight-Unseen

What You Don’t See Can Hurt You (If You’re Not Careful)

Buying anything sight-unseen is always a risk, but when the “thing” you’re buying is a house, then the risks are about as high as they can get. For starters, the home may have hidden problems that the buyer won’t know about until they see the property in person. For example: the roof could have leaks; the HVAC system may not work; or, there may be an insect infestation.

While a home inspection can help the buyer gain a better idea of what the home’s quality is like, it is in no way a guarantee that there aren’t going to be issues.

Despite this, many home buyers and investors are willing to take on the risks of buying a home sight-unseen. For some buyers, it is just the fact that they live some distance away from the property and they either don’t have the time to visit or need a home quickly because they’re relocating to the area. For an investor, buying a home without seeing it can sometimes wind up being a good move. Of course, investors usually ensure they include contingencies in their contracts to protect their financial investments.

But what can a regular homebuyer do to protect themselves when they’re in the position of having to buy a home without ever seeing it in person? Here are some tips to help ensure the home you’re buying is worth it.

home buying sight unseenhome buying sight unseen

Use a Reputable Agent

The agent you choose to work with will have a big impact on your satisfaction level throughout the process. Therefore, you need to do your research so you can find an agent in the area where you’re looking to buy – one who is experienced, knowledgeable, and well-respected.

Make sure you check their social media pages and online reviews from past clients. You can even ask them for references, preferably recent clients, to contact, so you can learn more about how strongly the agent works for his or her clients.

Take Advantage of Technology

There’s an unfortunate growing trend in the real estate industry in which the photos uploaded for display on online listings are manipulated via Photoshop or other editing software. Rooms are made to look larger then they are. Colors and textures are made more vibrant. Dark rooms can be illuminated by computer-generating artificial lighting effects. Therefore, what the buyer sees online is often not the reality they find when they finally visit the property.

To prevent this misrepresentation, use technology like FaceTime, Google Hangouts, or other video chat programs so your agent can give you a real-time virtual tour of the home. This will help give you a better idea of the size, scope, and quality of the home’s interior, exterior, and property.

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Send a Representative to See the Property for You

If you have family or trusted friends living in the area, then you can ask them to visit the property and provide you with their honest take on it. If possible, send someone who knows your tastes, preferences, and DIY skills. The individual can also serve as the liaison between you and your agent.

Get the Home Inspected

A professional home inspection will go a long way toward you determining whether the home is a sound investment or a money pit. While a home inspector won’t be able to tell you if something is about to malfunction, they can let you know about the state of the roof, the HVAC system, the plumbing and electrical systems, and other common concerns. The inspection report will also serve as a strong negotiating tool if the home does have some problems that will need to be fixed before you take ownership.

home buying sight unseenhome buying sight unseen

Always Include Contingencies

When buying a home sight-unseen, you are the only party in the transaction that is taking a risk. Therefore, you need to protect yourself by including contingencies in your contract. This way, you will have more room to deal with any unexpected problems or negative information you uncover while doing your due diligence. In bad situations, a contingency can even help you walk away from your contract without accruing any excess costs or legalities.

Find the Home You Want on Homes.com

Homes.com offers home listings for every city in the United States. So, if you are looking to relocate, we can help you find the home of your dreams in your soon-to-be new city. We can even match you up with a preferred seller’s agent in the area where you’re looking to buy. Give us a try today and see for yourself why so many buyers find their homes with Homes.com.


Carson is a real estate agent based out of Phoenix, Arizona. Carson loves data and market research, and how readily available it is in today’s world. He is passionate about interpreting these insights to help his clients find and buy their perfect home. Carson got into the real estate industry because he loves the feeling of handing over the keys to a new home to happy clients. In his free time, he works on his backyard bonsai garden and spends time with his wife, Julia.

Source: homes.com

Five Surprising Facts About Luxury Homes

Do you like to surf Homes.com to check out the most expensive homes to see how the “two percent” lives? Do you daydream about owning a luxury home yourself one day? Or have you earned enough to afford the very best and you want to see what’s available?

Luxury homes are different in more ways than just price. The luxury market is a distinctly different marketplace from the rest of residential real estate. Here are five notable facts concerning buying and selling luxury real estate that might surprise you.

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1. There are Several Different Definitions of a “Luxury” Home

For many years, the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing set a $1 million value as the dividing line between luxury properties and less expensive homes. As property values have risen, so has the dividing line. The institute now updates its “luxury home threshold” annually to adjust to any changes.

Luxury real estate professionals also realized that, since property values vary from market to market, the definition of “luxury” should reflect local market values. A million-dollar home would certainly qualify in Chicago, but not in Beverly Hills. Today, the most widely accepted definition of luxury real estate is the “top 5 percent of the local market.” Some agents also recognize an “ultra luxury” market which includes only the top 1 percent of the market.

Still, defining “luxury” differently in every market causes problems for calculating luxury data at the national and international levels. Christie’s Real Estate, which operates around the globe, sets the bar for luxury properties at $2 million. Other national and international organizations do the same. If you are searching for a specific market, it’s a good idea to find out how “luxury” is defined.

2. Luxury Homes Take Three Times Longer Than Average to Sell

Luxury properties spent an average of 116 days on the market in 2017, compared to three weeks for the median home sold in America last year. The primary reason for the difference is that luxury buyers and sellers have different priorities. “Luxury-home sellers have the psychology that they can afford to wait and see,” Tomer Fridman, an agent at Compass Real Estate, told the LA Times. “I try to explain: Every day that goes by, you don’t gain leverage — you lose it.”

Luxury KitchenLuxury Kitchen

3. Luxury Sellers are More Likely Than Average Sellers to Cut Their List Prices

Another reason that luxury sales take longer to sell is that their owners often purposely list their homes above market value and are willing to wait months for sale. After months have passed, they may lower the price. More luxury sellers than average sellers end up accepting a price lower than their list price. The list-price-to-sale-price ratio for all sellers last year was 99 percent while the list-price-to-sale-price ratio for luxury sellers was 97 percent. Two percentage points may not seem like much, but in May 2018, the average difference between median list and sale prices for luxury homes amounted $245,000 (97.62 percent LP/SP).

4. The Inventory Shortage That is Affecting Most Markets Today Does Not Exist at the Luxury Level

The causes for the current inventory shortage — strong demand from millennials, the conversion of millions of affordable homes into rentals and lack of new construction — do do not exist at the luxury level. Luxury homes are more profitable for builders, so many markets are flush with higher-end developments. Full inventories in most luxury markets result in market dynamics that are different than lower-priced homes. In May 2018, total existing home inventories were 6.1 percent lower than the previous year. The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing reported that 25 of the top 52 North American luxury markets were buyers’ markets, and only 16 were sellers’ markets. Despite the difference in supplies, year-over-year prices for both luxury homes and all existing homes appreciated at the same rate, 4.3 percent.

5. Luxury Listings Can be Difficult to Find

Many luxury sellers, especially celebrities and wealthy owners with children, don’t want interior photos, addresses and other information about their homes available to the public. They are concerned about compromising their security and privacy. Instead of listing their homes on the MLS, they use brokers who specialize in “pocket,” or off-market listings. These brokers may show exterior photos, prices, and general locations of their pocket listings on their websites, but they will not include interior shorts or addresses. Instead of marketing prospective buyers, these brokers may hold open houses and invite a select list of agents who specialize in wealthy customers.

These five facts are just the beginning of the differences between luxury and lower-priced real estate. If you are in the market now, make one of your first steps to hire a real estate agent who specializes in luxury properties where you want to live. If you’re not quite there yet, but you want to be ready for winning the lottery, Homes.com has many homes to see.


Steve Cook is the editor of the Down Payment Report. He is a member of the board of the National Association of Real Estate Editors and writes for several leading Web sites, including Inman News. From 1999 to 2007 he was vice president for public affairs at the National Association of Realtors.

Source: homes.com

What You Need to Know Before You Move to Massachusetts

When it comes to the New England region, Massachusetts is the most populous state. Home to prestigious schools, many historic sites, and booming businesses, this coastal state has become the sixth-most popular destination for foreign travelers. The Bay State is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean, and the states of Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York. Great for urbanites and nature lovers alike, Massachusetts has a variety of different communities and regions.

Boston SkylineBoston Skyline

Housing Trends in Massachusetts

Since Massachusetts is a popular state, you’ll want to get on board with home scouting quickly. One of the most prominent housing trends in Massachusetts is the lack of supply. This shortage has created a surge on home prices according to a recent statement by the Eric Berman, director at the Massachusetts Association of Realtors. In fact, there were fewer than 10,000 single-family homes for sale in December and January in Massachusetts, compared to 38,000 in September 2006.

A Seller’s Market

Yes, it’s a seller’s market in Massachusetts. Here’s the lowdown. Although single-family home sales in January were slightly down — 1.2 percent — compared with the same period last year, the median price jumped 4 percent to $369,000, per the Massachusetts Association of Realtors. For condominiums, the median price increased more than 6 percent to $355,000 for the month of January, though sales fell by about 7 percent.

Why the price hikes? It’s due in part to the lack of available land for new construction. Also, in some of the more affluent areas, people seem to be staying put in favor of remodeling or adding extra space. Together, these decisions may limit housing supply – at least in some areas – for first-time buyers and moderate budgets.

Renting in and Around Massachusetts

Should you rent instead? If the idea of buying appeals to you but you just can’t pull it off, renting may be an option. The average rent for an apartment in Boston is $3,001, a 3% increase compared to $2,925 in 2017. For this price, you may get – on average – 815 to 986 square feet.

But other cities may be more reasonable. As of May 2018, the average rent for an apartment in Springfield was $1,061 which is a 0.94% increase from last year when the average rent was $1051, and a 1.23% increase from April 2018 when the average rent was $1048. Naturally, you need to factor in your location needs and maximum tolerance for commuting.

Primary Housing Styles in Massachusetts

With a history of settlement since the Pilgrims in 1620, New England boasts a spectrum of architectural styles that are older and more varied than in any other part of the country. One of these, not surprisingly, is the Cape Cod. It is one of America’s oldest home styles and has a very cozy feel. Other popular styles include an easy-living ranch and a country-style with a wrap-around porch.

Harvard SquareHarvard Square

Multi-Faceted Massachusetts

Massachusetts has something to offer whether you prefer the beach or big city bustle. Here are a few places to keep in mind when you are ready to put down some roots. What is your neighborhood style?

  • The Quainter Side of MA: To experience the quainter side of Massachusetts, you may want to head about an hour’s drive north of Boston to the seaside town of Rockport for, yes, rocky beaches, seagulls, and probably a lobster roll. Marblehead, a town of about 20,000 people, is less than an hour north of Boston and is often called the birthplace of the American Navy. Its known for its yachting, sailing, kayaking, etc.
  • Mountain Hip: Great Barrington has a Railroad Street, the Guthrie Center, eateries and folk music with some skiing close by if you like winter sports.
  • Outdoor Adventure: 90 miles of the Appalachian Trail runs through Massachusetts, so get your hiking boots and head out for a long-distance or day hike. Or walk the Freedom Trail, a 2.5-mile, brick-lined route that leads you to 16 historically significant sites in Boston.
  • Way Cool: Three of Boston’s neighborhoods get high marks for cool and are cited by the Boston Globe: (1) Jamaica Plain as “edgy cool,” (2) Allston – Brighton as well-educated and “up-and-coming,” and (3) Davis Square for trendy, walkable, and “prime hipness.”
  • Charmed I’m Sure: Massachusetts really turns up the charm in Cambridge. A classic university town, here you can find cobblestone streets, musicians busking, street vendor artists and small cafes. Harvard Square in the center is always action filled and great for people watching.
  • Great Day for a Swim: Woods Hole in southern Cape Cod could make for a perfect day at the beach. This area shows off a great bike path along the coast leading to Falmouth, golden beaches, aquariums devoted to marine biology, shops, and the ferry to Martha’s Vineyard. Provincetown, aka P-town, is another Cape Cod city that attracts events like the International Film Festival, a strong LGBTQ community, art galleries, and craft stores.
  • High Crime: North Adams, Fall River, and Brockton are areas to watch for. You can also check current FBI stats to help you determine whether to pass through or put down roots.
  • Tech-Savvy: Cambridge is home to MIT – Massachusetts Institute of Technology so there’s potential recruiter heaven. According to Built in Boston, there are 50 start-ups to watch over the next year, as Boston’s tech sector flourishes and venture capital firms pour money into edtech, fintech, and healthtech.

It seems that modern Massachusetts is also somewhat of a global leader in biotech, engineering, higher education, finance, and maritime trade. Perhaps this is why Forbes ranks Boston #30 in its list of Best Places for Business and Careers and #77 in job growth.

Find Your Perfect Home in Massachusetts

We can help you find your perfect home in Massachusetts. Whether it is to rent or buy, start your search on Homes.com today!


Rana Waxman parlays years of work experience in several fields into web content creation aligned with client needs. Rana’s versatile voice is supported by a zest for research, a passion for photography, and desire to provide clients with a purposeful presence online. In her non-writing hours, Rana is a happy yogini, constant walker, avid reader, and sometimes swimmer.

Source: homes.com

Winning a Home in a Tight Market: A Primer for First-Time Homebuyers

5 Things a First-Time Home Buyer Can Do to Make the Winning Bid

When the housing market gets tight, bidding wars become commonplace in cities and areas all over the country. It’s a natural occurrence, but for the first-time homebuyer, such competition can be intimidating. What’s worse than anything, though, is losing out on home bid after home bid. It can make one feel like they’re never going to end up with the home they fall in love with.

Luckily, there are some things a first-time homebuyer can do to help strengthen their negotiations. Here are five things any homebuyer, but especially first-time buyers, can do to improve their odds and land the home of their dreams.

Have as Big a Down Payment Possible Ready to Go

Regardless of the state of the market, having money saved for a down payment is required, unless you qualify for a VA loan. And the more money you have saved, the better. Having more money allows you more flexibility to raise your bid when you are forced to. It will also qualify you for a larger mortgage if need be.

But, be aware of how much home you can realistically afford. Don’t get lulled into the heat of competition only to find your winning bid is for more than you can actually afford to pay each month, once you factor in other expenses.

Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is something that everyone should do before they start shopping for a home. But, despite this, not many people actually do. Some may get pre-qualified, but that’s not the same as being pre-approved.

As a first-time home buyer, your pre-approval letter will catapult you to the top of the negotiations list because it is proof that you have a mortgage already waiting for you. This allows the seller to sell their home faster, so that any offer that comes backed by a pre-approval letter is given that much more attention.

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Be Ready to Decide

In a tight market, not much time is allotted to bidders to respond to raised bids. In general, things move a little quicker. Because of this, you must be ready to make your decision at a moment’s notice; do you raise your bid, or do you bow out?

This also means you shouldn’t make offers on homes you aren’t really interested in. After all, you could wind up with the winning bid on a home that doesn’t meet your wants and needs. Instead, focus on the home you want, make your strongest bid, and be ready to move.

Avoid or at Least Minimize Contingencies

The less a seller has to worry about, the better for them. Sometimes, to get the home you want, you might have to make sacrifices. This means you may have to agree to buy the home with few or no contingencies. This is a risk because it could cost you money down the road, but if the risk is worth the reward, then it is something for you to strongly consider because it will strengthen your bid.

Be Flexible With the Closing

If you aren’t in a position where you must be out of your apartment by a certain date, then you have greater flexibility compared to most buyers. You can use this advantage when you find yourself in a heated bidding war.

Let the seller know that if they accept your bid, you can grant them more time to move out and they can set a closing date that works best for them. This type of convenience can be enticing to some sellers because they are transitioning between moving out of their old home and into their new one, which is not always an easy process.

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Start House Hunting Online at Homes.com

There are a lot of homes out there for sale; some you might like, and others you won’t. Using the online home search at Homes.com can help you avoid spending time visiting homes that don’t interest you. With Homes.com, you will save time and money searching for your ideal first home!


Carson is a real estate agent based out of Phoenix, Arizona. Carson loves data and market research, and how readily available it is in today’s world. He is passionate about interpreting these insights to help his clients find and buy their perfect home. Carson got into the real estate industry because he loves the feeling of handing over the keys to a new home to happy clients. In his free time, he works on his backyard bonsai garden and spends time with his wife, Julia.

Source: homes.com

Your Go-to Walk-Through Checklist When Touring Your Next Home

Make the Most of Your Next Home Tour With This Handy Checklist

As you embark on your home buying journey, touring potential homes is an exciting step towards finding the perfect property for you and your family. When a house is beautifully staged with attractive interior design, it can be easy to forget about details that feel small now but could turn into a bigger problem after moving in.

In a real estate industry that always seems to move quickly, it’s important to know what to look for when touring a house. Enter the house with a checklist of your priorities and don’t make compromises when it comes to that list. When you walk through the potential home, focus on aspects of the house that you can’t change—this means looking past pretty decorations and things that would be inexpensive to change.

As you enter a home for the first walk-through, focus on this checklist to make sure that you get everything you need from your new house.

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Is the Neighborhood a Good Fit?

Before you even pull in the driveway, check out the condition of other houses in the neighborhood. Are the nearby lawns mowed and houses well taken care of? Or do homes have chipped paint and overgrown yards? Keep your eye out for regular street lamps, the amount of traffic on nearby roads, and access to public transportation. If the home doesn’t have a driveway, is there accessible street parking nearby as an alternative?

If you have school-aged children, locate nearby schools in the neighborhood. When you search homes with Homes.com, you’ll find ratings for nearby school districts on the home’s listing page. Be sure to also check out the value of other homes in the neighborhood to get an idea of a the right price for the home.

Home’s Exterior

Once you’ve scoped out the neighborhood, take a moment to focus on the home’s exterior. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the age of the roof, siding, windows, and foundation. Make sure the gutters look relatively new, and like they’re functioning well. If the home is south facing, does it require frequent repainting due to sun exposure?

Pay attention to how the yard is landscaped. If it looks high maintenance with lots of flowers that require regular watering, are you ready to invest in a garden and the equipment required to maintain it? Does the home have enough privacy from the rest of the neighborhood?

Before you start looking at houses, think about how much time and money you’ll be able to invest in the outdoor space of your home. Avoid touring homes that you don’t think you’ll have the time to properly take care of.

The Home’s Interior

The interior of the home is where you’ll presumably be spending most of your time, so take a lot of time to scrutinize the conditions of each room. Take note of the condition of the floors, walls, windows, and ceilings. Ask about warped floor boards and water damage, as these may be signs of leaks and mold.

Does the floor plan of the home seem suitable to you and your family’s needs? If you have small children, you’ll probably want all the bedrooms on the same floor. Will you have to carry loads of laundry from the basement all the way to the bedrooms on the third floor? Think about the way you move around and through your home, and make sure this home’s floor plan makes sense for your unique needs.

Are the kitchen and bathroom appliances modern, clean, and well taken care of? Check for mold and mildew in the bathroom in addition to making sure all the fans in the kitchen and bathroom work properly.

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Home Systems

Ask about whether the home is energy efficient, how it receives heat and electricity, and what kind of HVAC system is currently in use. If you dream of one day installing solar panels for your home, make sure it gets enough sunlight to make this possible, and that the roof is strong enough to support the addition of panels.

Ask about what the utility bills generally look like each month, and keep your eye out for good insulation as this will save you money on your utility bills all year round. A home inspector will check to make sure the furnace and air conditioner work properly, but you can ask ahead of time to get an idea.

Does the home have a security system that allows you to feel more comfortable in the neighborhood? Check out our article that details new state of the art home security systems to find out what type of security works best for your new home.

Pests

Keep your eye out for signs of pests inside and outside of the house. Open up kitchen cabinets and look for mouse droppings. Let your nose be your guide when checking for pest infestation—cockroaches and mice often leave a recognizable scent.

If you notice something suspicious that might indicate that there is a pest problem, be sure to open up a conversation about it with the owner or real estate agent to learn about the history of the problem and ensure that the problem is being taken care of.

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Focus on Your Priorities

As you tour homes, keep in mind the elements of a home that are most important to you. Are you looking for a four-bedroom home with a huge yard for the kids to play in? Do you need a short commute to work? Once you know what you’re looking for, it’ll be easier to rule out homes that aren’t a fit for you and your family.


Carson is a real estate agent based out of Phoenix, Arizona. Carson loves data and market research, and how readily available it is in today’s world. He is passionate about interpreting these insights to help his clients find and buy their perfect home. Carson got into the real estate industry because he loves the feeling of handing over the keys to a new home to happy clients. In his free time, he works on his backyard bonsai garden and spends time with his wife, Julia.

Source: homes.com

The Best Schools and School Districts in the Nation

It’s back to school time and across the country, parents are gearing up for after school programs, homework, and packed lunches. Aside from that, parents are preparing for the first day of school by going back-to-school supplies shopping and attending open houses at new schools. For potential homeowners, settling into a neighborhood with a decent school district is a major buying factor. It can often be a deal breaker for many families as high-performing schools tend to raise property value and vice versa. Homes.com has compiled a map of the best schools and school districts in the nation to highlight some of the best areas to live and raise a family.

Blue backpack with school supplies against brick wall.Blue backpack with school supplies against brick wall.

Whether public or private, communities across America are ranked based on the quality of the schools in their area. In fact, the quality of a neighborhood, including its schools, is among the top six home buying factors according to Inman. If you want to know why schools are so essential to the home buying process, then continue reading below.

Schools and Community

The quality of the schools around your home is important for many reasons. Education is an intricate part of the lifeblood that keeps a community thriving. School boards and city officials that regulate school districts interweave a system of support between parents, neighbors, children, and local resources to promote the well-being of the entire community. Engagement and participation from the community also strengthens the quality of the local school ecosystem. Many people, even those without kids, attend Parent Teacher Association (PTA) and school board meetings, help local kids with fundraising, and are committed to schools in their neighborhoods in other ways, but how do school districts effect home values?

Home Values and Schools

Research has shown that homes in close proximity to great school systems sell at higher prices than homes that aren’t in good school systems. With that being said, the demand for these homes also rises. This combination makes for extremely hot markets in areas that have good schools.

Factors like funding also play a role in the quality of school and home value correlation. Neighborhoods in wealthier communities are more likely to spend funding for schools more effectively.

Looking for a home in a perfect neighborhood? Those near these great schools might be just the perfect match!

What Parents are Looking For

Academics isn’t the only thing that makes or breaks a school district, according to Jennifer McMurray of McMurray and Associates Real Estate in Northwest Arkansas, parents are also looking for schools with good athletic programs as well somewhere that can prep their children for their secondary education.

“The two dominating factors for most home buyers are the academic and athletic opportunities available to their children. Parents want to set their children up for success post-high school, so choosing a school that has routinely sees students getting scholarships is important, or a district that trains athletes for college sports, etc. These are all factors that parents consider, and this routinely trumps several other factors in the home buying process.”

Although those living in homes in high-ranking school districts seem to have it made, those looking to move to a great area with a strong school system aren’t quite living on Easy Street just yet. Those relocating can often have some difficulty finding homes in areas with great schools. But, keep trying, although the market might be in high demand, research is the key to finding a great home in a great community.

“My advice to anyone would be to do your homework. Research the district where you’re looking to buy. Schools are proud of their accomplishments, so finding information like graduation rate, amount of scholarships awarded, number of state championships won, etc. are usually easily accessible. There are certainly districts that are more in demand than others for whatever reason, and those see quite a bit of interest for home buyers. That interest is good news for sellers,” said McMurray.

The Winner’s list

Jericho Union Free School District is the best school district in the country. Located in Jericho, New York, this district is governed by a five-person Board of Education that is committed to ‘success for every student.’ Five schools make up this district including Jericho Middle and High School, Cantiague Elementary School, Jackson Elementary School, and Robert Seaman Elementary School. The top public school is Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy in Aurora, Illinois. The top private school is Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts.

To find the home of your dreams, begin your simply smarter home search with us today!

This map was compiled using data from Niche.com, findings were created based on overall rating, academic grade, teacher grade, administrator grade, number of students, and student/teacher ratio.


Mahogany is a Content Marketing Coordinator for Homes.com. In her spare time, Mahogany enjoys reading, writing poetry, blogging, traveling, and loves a good southern idiom. Mahogany is also a certified Reiki practitioner and enjoys all things supernatural.

Source: homes.com

10 Things to Know about the Chicago Metro Area

Chicago has always been a highly sought-after tourist destination and a booming metropolitan area. The city is well-known for its industrial antiquity, from being a meat-packing haven to its world-renowned architecture. While you may know some cool facts about the ‘Windy City’ – Al Capone comes to mind – there’s a lot to love about the Chicago Metro Area. Here are 10 things you need to know about Chicago if you plan on making this ‘Prairie State’ region your next home.

A map highlighting the Chicago Metro Area including Chicago, Elgin and Naperville, IL.A map highlighting the Chicago Metro Area including Chicago, Elgin and Naperville, IL.

The City of Chicago, itself, is the major seat in the metro. Nestled on Lake Michigan, the city is nicknamed the ‘Windy City’ for its icy, cold winters. If you’re a lover of the snow, you’re in luck! Winters in Chicago bring, on average, about 21 snowy days. For those who prefer more moderate temperatures, summertime in the city is beautiful as the high averages 90 degrees at its hottest peak. In the early days of its history, Chicago was one of the fastest-growing cities in the world, this was due in part from the American Industrial Revolution that solidified the city as a manufacturing, retail, and finance epicenter. In addition, steel and meat-packing were major industries that attracted factory workers to this waterfront region. For families, the economic advancements in the city made for great potential for getting ahead and today, people from all over still flourish here.

  • Average home Price in Chicago – $218,000
  • Best neighborhood in Chicago – West Loop and Hyde Park
  • Biggest employer in Chicago – U.S. Government and Chicago Public Schools

Things to do in Chicago

  • Chicago Riverwalk and Navy Pier
  • Visit Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower)
  • Visit Millennium Park
  • Have a slice of famous Chicago-style deep dish pizza at Giordano’s

This Chicago suburb is one of the safest cities in the nation. Naperville also has a great school district and the unemployment rate is low, making it a great city for families. On a good day, the commute from Naperville to Chicago can range from half an hour (by bus) to over an hour (by car, factor in traffic). If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, Naperville has plenty of nature reserves and parks, perfect for an afternoon on the lake! There’s also the Centennial Beach, the Naper Settlement, and the Naperville Historic District.

  • Average home price in Naperville – $392,200
  • Best neighborhood in Naperville – Acorn Hill Estates
  • Biggest employer in Naperville – Edward Hospital and Health Services

Things to do in Naperville

  • Walking tours of the Naperville Historic Distric
  • Food tours
  • Visit Cantigny Park
  • Visit the Morton Arboretum
  • Have lunch at the White Chocolate Grill

With a booming housing market and local economy, the City of Elgin is a thriving Chicago suburb that boasts of many amazing characteristics that appeal to its residents and visitors, alike. If you’re looking for the arts and recreation of the big city, but you don’t want to necessarily live in the big city, then you have a winner! Elgin has its own Symphony Orchestra, Riverboat Casino, and Community College (which hosts special performances throughout the year). The city also prides itself with an amazing school district and its Elgin Academy. Elgin is just a little over an hour from Chicago.

  • Average home price in Elgin – $182,800
  • Best neighborhood in Elgin – Almora
  • Biggest employer in Elgin – Sherman Hospital

Things to do in Elgin


Mahogany is a Content Marketing Coordinator for Homes.com. In her spare time, Mahogany enjoys reading, writing poetry, blogging, traveling, and loves a good southern idiom. Mahogany is also a certified Reiki practitioner and enjoys all things supernatural.

Source: homes.com

Understanding How Rising Mortgage Rates Impact New Homebuyers

The Pros and Cons of Rising Mortgage Rates

In the fourth quarter of 2017, mortgage rates started climbing slowly. This happened much earlier than expected, but what has made the situation even more serious is that the rates have continued to climb well into 2018. Now, it’s appearing that this trend may last longer than most experts have predicted.

For a new homeowner, the last thing they want to hear is that interest rates are moving upward. For many, this means that their home search has taken on a new sense of urgency because they want to lock in as low a mortgage interest rate as possible.

To ensure you’re making the right decision, it is important to know more about how the rising rates can impact you as a new homebuyer. While it’s never good news that the rates are rising, there is the potential for a trade-off – read on to learn more.

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Disadvantages of Rising Mortgage Rates

The number one concern with climbing mortgage rates is that they affect one’s ability to afford the home they want. Simply put, you’re going to be paying more for your home because a larger amount of your monthly payment is going to go toward interest – at least over the first half of your mortgage duration.

When mortgage rates are low, the amount paid toward interest is lower. This means you would be able to buy a more expensive home because you would theoretically be able to afford a larger mortgage. In this regard, the difference between buying the same home at the same price when the rates are low can save you thousands of dollars per year, when compared to buying it when the rates are higher.

Homebuyers impacted by the higher rates are now able to afford less home than they would have if they would have purchased when the rates were lower.

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A Possible Advantage of Rising Rates

Rising rates should never be considered a good thing, right? That is mostly true, but it isn’t always true. In fact, history suggests that when mortgage rates climb, home prices tend to drop. Sellers know that their homes are going to be harder to sell with the rates being what they are, so they will often reduce their asking prices to attract more buyers.

But, while history suggests this can happen, it isn’t always the case. However, if the seller of the home you’re interested in refuses to drop the price, then you may still be able to work out a deal. You can always try to negotiate for certain contingencies, such as the seller paying your closing costs or making repairs to the home before you seal the deal.

Buyer interest drops off the higher the mortgage rates climb, and if the seller has a good agent, they should know this. Use it to your advantage and you may still be able to get the home you want at a price you can better afford, despite the higher interest rates.

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Find Your New Home – Try Homes.com Today

Buyers need to be more concerned with their housing budgets when rates climb. Having a way to filter out the homes that are outside of your budget not only helps you avoid overreaching, but it also saves you plenty of time looking at homes you just can’t afford.

At Homes.com, our free online search tool can be customized according to your unique search parameters. Try us out today and let us help you find the right home for your budget.


Carson is a real estate agent based out of Phoenix, Arizona. Carson loves data and market research, and how readily available it is in today’s world. He is passionate about interpreting these insights to help his clients find and buy their perfect home. Carson got into the real estate industry because he loves the feeling of handing over the keys to a new home to happy clients. In his free time, he works on his backyard bonsai garden and spends time with his wife, Julia.

Source: homes.com

How Much Stress Does Homebuying Really Cause a First-Time Homebuyer?

Deciding to purchase a home for the first time is one of the biggest and toughest decisions you’ll have to make in life. Not only is it a major investment, but this is where you’re ultimately deciding to live and spend a great deal of your time for years to come. This investment has to be ideal for your current lifestyle and suitable for any future plans that you may have. Furthermore, you’ll need to be prepared for all that comes with home owning both financially and mentally; and although the thought of that alone is very tolling, it’s fair to say people have different experiences, both good and bad. In order to gain more insight on the first-time homebuying experience, we at Homes.com decided to conduct a study examining 2,000 people to see just how stressful the experience can be. Take a look below to see the trends we found.

Confused. Annoyed. Defeated. These are just a few emotions that are commonly felt during the homebuying process. Overall, it can often be an anxiety-inducing process which explains why two in five first-time homebuyers felt anxious and another 44 percent felt nervous throughout.

One in three Americans were reduced to tears while trying to buy their first home. The average person polled experienced four arguments along the way when purchasing their first home, with 33 percent even shedding some tears during the home-buying process.

Open house after open house, viewing after viewing, the search gets so repetitive. Part of the reason for a sometimes overwhelming amount of stress can be a lack of proper preparation. In fact, 38 percent of first-time homebuyers found the entire home-buying process to be far longer in duration than they expected. People typically view six properties before finding ‘the one,’ and even then, the emotional roller coaster of buying a property can often lead to decisions people later regret. That explains why one in 10 suffered buyer’s remorse and another 13 percent think they overpaid for their home.

As the saying goes, “proper preparation prevents poor performance” and a home search is not an exception.

“First-time homebuyers are often stressed and overwhelmed when making such a large purchase like a home. As a result, they are looking for guidance and assistance to help make the process easier and smoother,” said David Hoegerman, Senior Manager of Homes.com Content.

Searching for the perfect home also requires confidence, but one in five were not confident when looking for their new home. As a result of not having the confidence needed to get the home of their dreams, 28 percent of homebuyers suffered the heartbreak of failing to get the desired property they put in for. Therefore, it’s not shocking to find that two in five first-time homebuyers describe purchasing a new home as ‘the most stressful event in modern life’ and the average homebuyer considers going on a job interview, hosting Thanksgiving dinner, and applying for college all less stressful life events than buying a home.

So why are first-time homebuyers missing out on the home of their dreams? The number one reason was their offer being too low. Only 40 percent of first-time homebuyers were very comfortable negotiating the purchase price of the property with their real estate agent. Other reasons included the ideal home being out of their budget, the seller pulled out, things fell through or the loan fell through.

As we all know, there’s a silver lining in most, if not all, difficult situations.

“At the end of the day, buying a home is often the largest purchase the average American will experience in their lives. While it can be stressful and overwhelming, there are steps people can take to alleviate the tears and arguments that are bound to arise,” David Hoegerman added. “By doing research and discussing your desires and needs with your real estate agent, you can find a home that meets your needs while also staying within your budget.” You will also learn several lessons that you can take with you and apply for future purchases.


Cheria is an aspiring homeowner and the Content Marketing Coordinator for Homes.com. When she isn’t working, she stays busy sewing, designing, and diving into all sorts of DIY projects.

Source: homes.com