Real Estate

The best of Real Estate 2019

A roundup of favorites and highlights from the past year
The lack of affordable homes, high mortgage rates and a slowdown in construction need to be addressed. (Hannah Agosta/For the Washington Post)
Sellers tend to overestimate the price of their homes. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

What not to do when selling your home

By Kathy Orton

Selling a home can be complicated. The process is like no other financial transaction most people will make. Too often, sellers sabotage the sale of their home by making easily avoidable mistakes.

With the help of real estate agents and title insurers, we put together a list of typical blunders sellers make. Avoid them, and you’ll be well on your way to a smooth sale. Read more.

Anne Enna travels from her home in Hollywood Hills, Calif., to her second home in Ventura. Enna is part of a growing trend of homeowners who have a second home in the suburbs. (Allison Zaucha/For The Washington Post)

Why city dwellers are seeking out second homes in the suburbs

By Sara Clemence

It used to seem like an either/or choice: Live in the city or decamp to the suburbs. If you chose the urban experience, you might eventually — if you could afford it — escape from the noise and crowds by buying a house at the beach or in the countryside.

But a number of city dwellers are instead seeking out second homes in the suburbs. Though nobody appears to be keeping statistics of how many people are doing it, some industry insiders say it’s increasingly common — and not just in megacities such as New York and Los Angeles, but also Chicago, Seattle and even smaller centers. Read more.

Jane Callahan-Moore, left, became the roommate of Stefanie Clark, right, when she moved into her high-rise condo in a lakefront neighborhood of Chicago. (Alyssa Schukar/For The Washington Post)

The ‘Golden Girls’ trend could be a golden opportunity for retirees facing isolation

By Adina Solomon

The latest trend in senior housing is named after the 1980s sitcom that featured four older women living together as housemates. Almost 80 percent of Americans who are 65 and older live in car-dependent suburban and rural communities. As older people lose the ability to drive, many find themselves trapped in their homes, unable to run errands or meet with friends. This can lead to social isolation.

Walkable areas have a mix of amenities nearby, allowing people to get around without a car. But these areas also tend to be more expensive, a financial burden for the many people over 65 — especially women — who don’t have enough savings to live through retirement. One solution is splitting the costs with a roommate. Read more.

The constraints that come with such small spaces affect the decisions people make on basics such as clothing, food and furniture. (iStock) (istockphoto/illustration by dwuan d. june and istockphoto)

Tiny-house living can be big-time wasteful

By Crystal Ponti

Tiny houses have cropped up everywhere across the United States — proving their popularity and solidifying their permanence in the nation’s housing market.

These small “utopian” dwellings can help people escape debt and reduce their carbon footprint. Tiny houses also offer an attractive alternative to the affordable housing crisis and provide one solution to the nation’s homelessness epidemic.

Yet while the benefits are obvious, living the downsized life is not without its challenges. Read more.

Eliana Kee stands near the dining table. (Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post)

Millennials now represent the largest cohort of home buyers. Here’s what they are looking for.

By Michele Lerner

They’re here. For years, real estate agents and builders eagerly anticipated the entrance of millennials into the housing market.

Millennials, a generation now larger than the baby boomers, were battered by the financial crisis as they started their careers and delayed some of the milestones that accompany homeownership, such as marrying and starting a family. But in 2018, millennials represented the largest cohort of home buyers, at 37 percent, according to the National Association of Realtors’ 2019 Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends Report. Read more.

After years of focusing on the upscale market, developers are addressing the need for smaller homes. (istockphoto)

Downsizing the American Dream: The new trend toward ‘missing middle housing’

By Haisten Willis

After years of catering largely to the more affluent market, resulting in slowing sales from too few houses that moderate-income buyers can afford, many developers are starting to address the “missing middle housing.”

The term calls attention to the need for more diverse housing choices at affordable prices. It’s growing into a movement aimed at building more housing for middle-income people at smaller sizes, which leads to peripheral benefits, such as walkability and a greater sense of community. Missing middle housing includes duplexes, courtyard apartments, bungalow courts and multiplexes.

According to data from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), more developers across the country are beginning to cater to buyers in the middle. Read more.

Martha Powers, second from right, attends a happy hour at her new retirement community, Trilogy at Lake Frederick. (J. Lawler Duggan/For The Washington Post)

For boomers making plans to relocate for retirement, it’s time to get real

By Janice Lloyd

Like many of the 10,000 baby boomers hitting retirement age each day, Martha Powers and Larry Gomberg have decided to relocate. After coming close to putting a deposit on a house in Wilmington, N.C., in the summer, they found a 55-and-over community just an hour from where they live in Fairfax, Va. They’re building a house at Trilogy at Lake Frederick, Va., near the Shenandoah Mountains, and will move there this month.

They examined a variety of factors, including access to quality medical care, affordability, culture and safety. That includes safety from hurricanes and deadly wildfires — like the ones that gutted the rural town of Paradise, Calif., a popular retirement area filled with senior communities. Read more.

We noticed you’re blocking ads!

Keep supporting great journalism by turning off your ad blocker. Or purchase a subscription for unlimited access to real news you can count on.
Unblock ads
Questions about why you are seeing this? Contact us