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For years, all home buyers have heard is that prices are going up, up, and away. But the cost of buying a newly constructed abode has fallen to its lowest price point of the last 12 months. So if you've been wanting to buy a home that's never been touched by another owner, we give you permission do a happy dance.

The median price of a new home dropped nearly 6.9% from March to April to reach $312,400, according to a joint report by the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. That was only up 0.4% from April 2017, less than inflation.

"This could be a sign that builders are trying to build at lower price points," says realtor.com® Chief Economist Danielle Hale. That would be a boon to the many would-be homeowners, particularly first-time buyers or those on a tight budget, who are being priced out of the market. "The largest share of home buyers and home shoppers in the market are looking to buy entry-level homes."

Hale pointed out that 5% of new-home sales were for abodes priced under $150,000. That may not sound like much, but it's the largest share we've seen at that super-desirable price point since August 2016.

However, new homes were still about 24.8% more expensive than the $250,400 median cost of an existing home (one that has previously been lived in), according to the most recent data available from the National Association of Realtors®.

That's because new homes have pricier finishes and appliances, with no wear and tear on anything. Plus, land, labor, and building materials costs have been on the rise.

Meanwhile, the number of new homes sold and for sale dipped 1.5% from the previous month to about 662,000, according to the report. They rose, however, 11.6% from the same month a year earlier. Read more here. 

 

 

I've been house hunting for over a year (and counting) and visited over a hundred open houses in that time. Let me be clear: I'm not some overly picky real estate window shopper, because I have made offers, and been outbid. In New York City, where I'm looking, that's just par for the course.

Still, though, my experiences have turned me into an open house aficionado of sorts. I know what makes buyers swoon (myself and others), as well as what repels buyers the moment they set foot inside.

So if you're a home seller who hopes to bowl over buyers rather than send them running, I'm here to help. Let me tell you about a few things I've learned that could kill your chances of selling your home.

 Personal quirks on display

Steak sauce, mustard, and hot sauce. These condiments were not in the kitchen (as one would expect) but on a dresser in a bedroom of an open house I attended in Queens. Right then and there, I knew I had to get out of the house. Who knows what was going on there, but it was just too weird for me to stick around and ponder the possibilities.

 “First impressions matter,” says Gary Malin, president of the New York brokerage firm Citi Habitats. “Remember, you want the prospective buyer's attention to be on the home, not your personal life.”

Remove all personal items, including family photos, unusual collectibles, memorabilia, and misplaced condiments.

Hovering home sellers (or their kids)
At an open house in Brooklyn, there was also a surprise in the bedroom: I walked in to find cute kids under the covers half-asleep. Granted, these kids weren't there alone; their parents were lingering, too. But adult supervision or not, all these family members nearby made me want to flee, because I felt like I was intruding on their personal space.

“Home sellers often make the mistake of leaving their place too late and returning too soon,” says Aaron Hendon, an agent for Christine & Company with Keller Williams in Seattle.

A well-advertised open house will attract people early, and there will definitely be people arriving just as the agent is locking up. So plan on getting everyone up and out of bed an hour before the open house starts.

Dark, dusty rooms
A three-bedroom, two-bathroom condo I checked out in the suburban... READ MORE HERE

One of the hardest parts of selling your home is all the unknowns: Who will buy your place, and for how much? How long will it take? That uncertainty might make you particularly eager to soak up advice from just about anyone who's willing to share. Problem is, just because your sister or co-worker swear by certain rules that worked for them, it doesn't mean they'll be a magic solution for you, too.

Fact is, a lot of the real estate advice circulating out there is outdated, region-specific, or just plain wrong. As proof, check out this list of tips that many home sellers hear ... then learn how these words of wisdom don't always hold water. Let this serve as a reminder that when selling a home, you should take everything you hear with a huge grain of salt.
Read more here.

OK, we've said it time and again, but it bears repeating: Buying a home is a very big expense—and once you've kicked off all that spending, it's easy to find yourself caught up in rampant lifestyle inflation. After all, you've got an enormous, shiny new house just waiting to be filled with all sorts of nice stuff, right?

Well, take some quick advice: Don't keep spending. Read more here.

Few things put a crimp in your home-buying dreams like realizing you've been priced out of your ideal neighborhood. Hey, it happens. But that doesn't mean your house hunt should end—it just means you'll have to open your mind to new neighborhoods.

We know: It's hard to say goodbye to a place you know and love, but if you want to buy a home, it might be necessary. And guess what? Once you're settled in, it's entirely possible you will fall in love with this new nabe, too—that is, if you pick right.

Here's how to find those alternative areas that will feel amazingly similar to the neighborhood you covet, only at a price you can live with, too.

Read more here.