More Homebuyers Making Offers Without Seeing Property in Person

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The hot housing markets in Seattle and others like it across the U.S. are leading more homebuyers to bypass the traditional concept of actually seeing, in person, the place they’re looking to buy and live in.

A new survey and report from Seattle-based real estate company Redfin reveals some of the trends being set by a new generation of homebuyers looking for ways to get ahead in the ultra-competitive landscape. The report details such things as how affordability was leading to adjustments in where to look; how political views of potential neighbors might affect the search process; what impact immigration restrictions have on Arab, Asian and Latino survey respondents; and the impact of rising mortgage rates.

But we were most intrigued by the fact that a third of homebuyers who bought a home in the last year said they made an offer on a home without first seeing it in person. Redfin says that’s up from 19 percent last year and from 21 percent two years ago. Millennials lead the charge here, with 41 percent saying they had done so.

Redfin site unseen offers

In Seattle the number is a little lower than the national average, with 22 percent making an offer site unseen. Redfin says the percentage of those willing to buy without looking tends to rise as the median home price rises. The median in the Seattle area last May was $510,000, while San Francisco, for instance, had a median price of $1,290,000 and 35 percent made an offer site unseen. Here’s the survey breakdown:
  • Home price less than $250,000 – 19.5 percent made an offer site unseen
  • Home price $250,000-$499,999 – 24.2 percent made an offer site unseen
  • Home price $500,000-$749,999 – 41.2 percent made an offer site unseen
  • Home price $750,000 – $999,999 – 51.8 percent made an offer site unseen
  • Home price $1 million plus – 58.3 percent made an offer site unseen

But it’s not like these offers are being made with no clue whatsoever about what a house looks like. Obviously there are plenty of ways to view photographs and video tours online, and now 3D photography, including Redfin’s 3D Walkthrough, lets people virtually walk through Redfin listings.

Seattle-based Zillow has also added more technology to speed the process with the test launch last month of Instant Offers, in which home sellers can avoid traditional hassles and sell more quickly.

~Kurt Schlosser, Geekwire

Luxury Design, Furnishing and Decor Trends

The appreciation of luxury that is quiet, understated, and personal is gaining momentum in 2017. People want their homes to feel luxurious but also welcoming, warm, and most importantly, authentic. This means creating spaces that feel highly personal with a piece of original art, beautiful accessory, unique lighting or custom furnishing.

Finding pieces that are truly special requires more than visiting local retailers and galleries, so we have assembled a list of distinctive artisan brands that produce one-of-a-kind pieces, from glittering lighting to parchment wall panels and luxury textiles.

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Based in London and Vienna, KAIA creates refined lighting pieces that combine function and beauty in equal measure. All of the brand’s items are designed exclusively by craftsman Peter Straka and expertly made in KAIA’s Vienna workshop. Their main focus is that the light fixture should always be artful – even when it is not illuminated.

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Master of luxurious custom-made finishes for furniture and surfaces, Simon Orrell is London’s go-to craftsman for yachts and interiors. From a workshop in London’s Chelsea Design Quarter, has worked closely with artisans from around the world to create unique furniture and accessories that draw upon historic techniques and materials like shagreen, parchment and shells like mother of pearl. Luxury surfaces have become his specialty, transforming everyday objects into museum-quality pieces.

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Known for their Lusive© Décor label that provides large scale custom lighting for luxury hotels and casinos, Thomas Cooper Studio is now featuring limited edition collections designed for the home. Manufactured in Los Angeles, using original materials and artisanal processes to create inspired designs, the end result is high function meets high art.

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Modern design and home furnishings are certainly dominating the interior design scene at the moment but not all homes are suited for the current darling of design. Ave Home, a specialty furniture company based in New Orleans, revives classic design by creating historical reproductions with superb attention to detail. Their collections offer a variety of timeless styles, including French Louis XV, Swedish Gustavian, Hollywood Regency, and the aforementioned Mid Century Modern.

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Since 1952, Pindler has been perfecting the art of fabric design and development. Some of their signature lines include ornate looks like the Heart Castle Collection to more contemporary looks like the Mirage Collection. Whatever your style – their fabrics are unbeatable in style and quality.

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After 35 years as an interior designer, Coryne Lovick launched her namesake collection in 2013 with a selection of timeless pieces devised to work in many types of spaces. Like her interiors, the Coryne Lovick Collection is sophisticated, inviting, and is known for exquisite detail and luxe materials.

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Studio Jackson is a full-service interior design firm based in Los Angeles. In addition to the firm’s thriving consultancy, they are now offering a collection of furniture designed by founder and Principal Designer, Ryan Gordon Jackson. RJ creates designs for a discerning contemporary-minded customer and each piece is handmade by highly trained artisans in their workshop. The collection speaks to Jackson’s design mantra that “Luxury and contemporary design are not mutually exclusive.”

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Studio Roeper is a California artisan studio dedicated to the creation of custom handmade and finely crafted luxury furniture for private residences, boutique hotels, art collectors and interior designers around the world. All of the slabs and lumber are locally sourced, milled and seasoned in-house at their own sawmill. Their commitment to mixing art with function extends into play with their own handmade skateboards!

~from W Collection and Luxury by Pattie O’Loughlin

Home Improvement Trends for 2017

The housing industry is clearly on its most solid footing in years and Americans are projected to spend a near-record $317 billion on home improvement this year

That translated into plenty of energy and excitement at this year’s Design & Construction Week, in Orlando, Fla. A team of Consumer Reports home editors and market analysts joined more than 80,000 design and construction professionals at the Orange County Convention Center, where about 1,500 manufacturers and suppliers unveiled their latest appliances, kitchen and bath fixtures, building materials, and more. A trade show of this size and scale almost defies trendspotting, but patterns did emerge as we traversed the 569,000 square feet of floor space. Here are seven developments we expect to see more of in 2017. We included pricing and availability information, where we could.

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Indoor Gardening Goes High-Tech—and High-End

Houzz, the home design website, released a survey at the show that found a third of homeowners report leading a healthier lifestyle after a kitchen renovation, from eating more fruits and vegetables to preparing more meals at home.

That’s creating a market for products that help homeowners grow fresh produce in the kitchen. Exhibit A: the Urban Cultivator (pictured), a climate-controlled, irrigated indoor garden that’s about the size of an undercabinet wine chiller. Bobby Berk, a designer based in Los Angeles who took home the NAHB’s 2017 Gold Award for Best Interior Design, said he has been installing the Urban Cultivator on more and more projects, especially in extreme climates like Las Vegas, where it’s tough to garden outdoors.

“It definitely caters to health enthusiasts, but also my clients who are into tech stuff,” he said, adding that he’s also put them in garage studios and wet bars (think mint juleps and Thai basil mojitos).

The Urban Cultivator includes all of the equipment needed for hydroponic growing; you just need water and electrical lines. At $2,500 the unit isn’t cheap, but given the cost of many artisanal greens, from sorrel to sunflower, you could make it back … eventually.

At the recent Consumer Electronics Show, we saw more evidence of the indoor gardening trend in Whirlpool’s Zera Food Recycler, an indoor recycler that is said to use a combination of oxygen, moisture, heat, and mixing to speed up the decomposition process, converting a week’s worth of food waste into ready-to-use homemade fertilizer within 24 hours. The Zera system is expected to be available in September 2017 through Indiegogo. You can pre-order it through Indiegogo at a promotional price of $999, down from the $1,199 manufacturer’s suggested retail price.

For a look at more of these trends, click here: Home Improvement Trends