Congratulations Agent Alex Sutherland on New Baby!

Welcome Baby Nora!

Home Coach is happy to introduce Nora Elizabeth Sutherland, daughter of our very own agent Alex Sutherland! She was born on 12/23/2016 and weighed 6 lbs and 8 oz, 20.5 inches in length. Congratulations Alex and family!

How to Paint Ceramic Tile to Revamp Your Bathroom on the Cheap

How to Paint Ceramic Tile to Revamp Your Bathroom on the Cheap

Redoing a bathroom doesn’t require a huge budget! Dollar signs might flash before your eyes when you imagine a full, top-to-bottom remodel, but you can give your powder room a fresh new look with a couple of coats of paint on those drab ceramic tiles. And we’re here to help: Here’s a breakdown of how to paint a bathroom with ceramic tiles, so you can wow your guests and any family members who doubted your DIY skills.

Before you pull out your paintbrush, you should know you can’t paint just any tiles. Stay away from any tile that will receive constant exposure to water. Floor tile, wall tile, and countertop tile are all good to go, but stay away from tiles that are actually in the tub or shower.

Tools you’ll need

  • Painter’s tape
  • Bleach
  • Putty knife
  • 240-grit wet/dry sandpaper
  • 600-grit sandpaper
  • Tile cleaner
  • Bonded primer that works with ceramic tile
  • Tile paint in the color of your choice
  • A clear, water-based urethane sealer (optional)
  • Painting tools like a roller and brush
  • Grout in the color of your choice

Step No. 1: Tape off the area

Use painter’s tape to protect any areas that you don’t want to be affected by the new color.

Step No. 2: Clean off the tile

Step No. 3: Prepare the surface

Remove the grout with a putty knife, and sand the current finish off the tile with 240-grit wet/dry sandpaper. Wipe down the tiles with water to remove any dust.

Step No. 4: Apply primer

Working in small sections at a time, apply a thin coat of bonding primer to the tiles by moving your roller in a “V” motion. Then, without refilling the roller, go over the area you’ve just painted with vertical strokes to achieve the best coverage.

Use a paintbrush to access corners and other hard-to-reach areas.

Step No. 5: Sand and apply another coat of primer

Allow the primer to dry completely before sanding it lightly with 600-grit sandpaper. Afterward, go over the area with another coat of primer, using the same motions described above.

Step No. 6: Sand and apply paint

After the second coat has dried, sand it lightly again.

Paint the tiles with at least two coats of latex paint. Be sure to sand the tiles between coats, and let the tiles dry fully before moving forward with the next step.

Step No. 7: Cover with sealer and replace the grout between the tiles

Once the painting has been completed, you have the option of covering the tiles with two or three thin coats of clear, water-based urethane sealer. While it’s not required, doing so will protect your work from moisture, scuffs, and chips.

Finally, replace the grout between the tiles.

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Welcome to the Jungle: 4 Tips to Bring the Tropical Decor Trend Home

Welcome to the Jungle: 4 Tips to Bring the Tropical Decor Trend Home

In case you haven’t heard, tropical decor is having a moment right now. Exotic colors and textures—fit for a balmy oasis like the Bahamas or Fiji—have been making a splash on the 2017 home design circuit. And we can’t get enough of the scorching trend.

But how do you embrace the look without appearing like you took a time machine to the set of “Miami Vice”? The key is to keep it simple, according to Lane McNab, a Berkeley, CA–based interior designer who’s mastered the art of infusing eye-catching decor into homes in a sophisticated way.

“There is nothing worse than a room that feels themed or unintentionally kitschy, and tropical decor can go overboard really fast,” McNab says.

And nobody wants that. We’re here to help you walk the fine line between trendy and Tarzan. Follow these tips to get your home looking lush and luxurious.

1. Don’t be scared of bold prints

Sure, tropical looks can be loud. But that doesn’t mean they have to be tacky.

Take, for example, the Martinique banana leaf wallpaper at the Beverly Hills Hotel, an iconic print that’s also made its way into celebrity homes and expensive restaurants. It’s a print that screams glamour and has inspired many iterations in wallpaper, fabric, and decor.

Or try a luxe green leaf pattern by designer, author, and blogger Justina Blakeney, whose popular blog “The Jungalow” is a destination for bohemian design inspiration.

Go big or go home, right?

“Bold, overscale tropical leaves in graphic prints can make a sophisticated statement,” McNab says. “Just make sure to choose prints in realistic shades of green to keep your home from veering into Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort territory.”

You should also be mindful about where you apply it. Bold patterns look best in small doses, experts say, so consider using a tropical print in a powder room, in an entryway, or on an accent wall behind a guest bed. Not ready to commit? Etsy has a whole slew of removable wallpaper options.

2. Add the right accessories

You’ll want to balance out your tropical decor to keep it from feeling like, well, an actual jungle. Try combining lush prints with an industrial metal such as brass. Gold’s less flashy cousin will make your room look tasteful yet elegant.

“Brass details will keep your home looking refined amid the unapologetic flora prints,” McNab says.

To incorporate brass into your home, McNab recommends sourcing accessories such as sconces, faucets, side tables, and mirrors.

3. Think beyond banana leaf prints

Not quite ready to go all in with those bold, green designs? We get it. But you can still achieve a taste of the tropics through more muted looks. Enter design’s latest (old) obsession: Grass-cloth wallpaper.

“Nothing is hotter right now than grass-cloth wallpaper,” McNab says.

Yep, the stuff that you spent hours scraping off your parents’ 1970s walls has made a comeback in a big way.

Designers love it because it’s versatile, pairing well with a variety of looks, from rustic to modern to, you guessed it, tropical. That’s because its texture conjures up island vibes in an understated way that can work for any style of home. McNab recommends selecting grass-cloth wallpaper in a light, neutral color and pairing it with sheer draperies for a fresh look that doesn’t go overboard.

Grass cloth can work in any room, but it makes the most sense in a dining room, bedroom, or hallway.

“Add in colorful accents such as blues or coral reds, and your space will feel bright, airy, and elegant,” McNab says.

4. Harness the power of plants

This one’s a bit on the nose, but the most foolproof way to add the lushness of tropical decor to your space is to bring in houseplants. Not only are they a fantastic design element (if chosen well), but they also clean the air and make rooms feel fresh and inviting.

“Large-leafed plants like a fiddle leaf fig really bring in that jungle vibe, while indoor rubber plants with their black-green leaves feel sophisticated and graphic,” McNab says.
Hang a group of staghorn ferns on a blank wall for a tropical reinterpretation of a gallery wall that feels chic and elegant at the same time.

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New Agent Spotlight!

Home Coach Realty would like to introduce our new agent, Melissa Reynolds!

Melissa has been a native of Raleigh for 14 years, along with her husband Marc. She has been in the hospitality and customer service industries for 20 years and has been an active broker for 10 years. Her favorite part about being a realtor is everything about the houses from the interior design to the different structures and layouts she loves it all; as well as helping people find their dream homes. She was fortunate enough to help her best friend find her dream home, “It’s funny because I lifted their house and it went under contract in less than a week, we started to put an offer on another house when we came across a completely different house and as soon as we pulled in the drive way of that house and walked in the front door, we knew that this house was meant for her [best friend],” said Melissa.

She is the mother of two boys, 8 years old and 12 years old. She loves to spend her weekend watching her boys play sports especially Bulldog football! If there are no sporting events that weekend, you can catch her and her family on their boat at the lake.

Melissa’s one piece of advice for any first time home-buyers is, “take your time and don’t settle on the first thing you find. A house should speak to you and there is no need to rush the process.”

6 Sneaky Tips for Buying a Luxury Home Without Wads of Cash

6 Sneaky Tips for Buying a Luxury Home Without Wads of Cash

The rich might be a little different from you and me. Especially me. But that doesn’t mean an average buyer (that’s us!) should be shut out of the high-end home market. A luxe place can be within reach, if you make smart choices before bidding.

Of course, no home—regardless of how luxurious it appears—will be a dream home if you bite off more mortgage than you can safely chew. It’s imperative to do your due diligence. And remember that when it comes time to sell, it could take longer to find a buyer for a luxury home, and if prices fall, a luxury homeowner has more to lose.

But if you’ve done the research and run the numbers, here are a few additional strategies for going high-end without taking a major hit to your finances.

Tip No. 1: Time your purchase right

This one goes back to the age-old lesson we learned in Econ 101: Supply and demand drive prices. And when there’s less demand (read: competition from other buyers), you stand to get a darned good price.

So if you’re looking to score a deal on an otherwise out-of-your-price-range home, look to the off-season—which, in most places, is winter.

“When it’s cold and snowing and dark out, people aren’t necessarily excited to get outside and go on home visits,” says Howard Margolis, an agent with Douglas Elliman Real Estate in New York City. “Then the holidays come up, and there’s a focus on family and spending money on holiday things.”

Another reason to shop during the off-season? Owners of luxury homes may want to offload a property before the new year arrives, so they can take it off their books before the next tax year.

Tip No. 2: Know how to spot a motivated seller

Look at the property’s listing history to determine whether a seller could be motivated, Margolis recommends. If a home has been sitting on the market for three months or longer without any price reductions, the seller may have misjudged the list price.

As Margolis explains, “In a competitive market, the best-priced homes will go in two weeks.”

To find motivated sellers, set alerts for price changes on your favorite properties, and tap a knowledgeable real estate agent for help. Make sure to ask your agent what he or she can find out about the sellers’ situation to get an idea of how quickly they’re hoping to sell—and how much wiggle room there is on the price.

Tip No. 3: Make your bid straightforward

Bids with fewer restrictions such as contingencies go a long way during the negotiating process, according to Hillary Hertzberg, an agent for Coldwell Banker in Miami. Sellers, just like buyers, are looking for a seamless transaction.

“Making an offer as straightforward and appealing as possible by offering a shorter window before home closing or fewer contingencies gives the seller a better understanding that you want to close the deal,” Hertzberg says. (Just be aware of the risks before you waive contingencies.)

Another strategy: offering a larger deposit when signing the contract, which could help lock in a deal where you’ll save on the actual price of the home.

And as always, getting pre-approved and lining up financing ahead of time can make your bid more attractive and allow you to act quickly when you find a home you like.

Tip No. 4: Ask the seller to finance a piece of the mortgage

If you’re looking to buy a pricey home but don’t have cash on hand to put 20% down, you can ask the seller to carry a piece of the mortgage for you, Margolis advises.

Say, for example, you’re interested in buying a $500,000 home but don’t have $100,000 available for a down payment. You can apply for a smaller loan with a smaller down payment, and then ask the seller to personally lend you the difference between your approved mortgage and the price of the home. In essence, the seller assumes the role of a lender.

Why would a seller want to do this? Well, if the market is soft or if the primary lender’s appraisal comes in lower than the agreed-on selling price, the seller may think it is worthwhile (the seller would also be earning interest, just like a bank). Just be sure to enlist the help of a lawyer familiar with seller financing if you go this route, to be sure that you strike a fair agreement.

Tip No. 5: Borrow from your retirement funds

Buyers can dip into retirement accounts to fund a dream home—though experts warn that this should be done cautiously. Don’t splurge on a luxurious home today and shortchange yourself in your golden years.

For those considering a dip, you should know participants of some 401(k) plans are allowed to take out 50% of their vested balance—with a $50,000 limit—as a tax-free loan, but the loan will need to be repaid after a specific period, most often five years. Check with your plan administrators.

You’ll also want to keep in mind that since the 401(k) plan is tied to your employer, you’ll have to return those funds if you leave the company. If that balance isn’t paid within 60 days, it could be considered an early withdrawal, and you’ll then owe taxes as well as a penalty.

You may also have the option to tap into a traditional IRA account for up to $10,000, and sidestep the 10% penalty. The catch? You’ll have to pay taxes on the withdrawn amount. On the other hand, a withdrawal of up to $10,000 could be tax-free if it’s coming from a Roth IRA that has been open for at least five years.

Tip No. 6: Look for foreclosure listings

If you’re looking to buy a luxury home for as much as 15% below its actual value, hunting for foreclosed properties could be the way to go. To search for foreclosed homes in your market, you can take a look here.

While there’s a myth that foreclosed homes can be purchased only with cash, roughly 60% of foreclosed homes purchased are actually financed, says Wells Fargo. Just keep in mind that buying a foreclosed home usually means you’re buying it as is, so it’s important to have a home inspector thoroughly check the house and provide an estimate for repairs. Factor that amount in before bidding to avoid overspending.

With these strategies in mind, buying a luxury home can happen. When in doubt, keep in mind that a happy home is one where you can live comfortably and within your means.

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10 Ways to Boost Your Home’s Value on a $200 to $2K Budget

10 Ways to Boost Your Home’s Value on a $200 to $2K Budget

Maintaining and increasing your home’s value can pay off in major ways. Not only does helping your home hold value help it sell for its full amount, it can also help your home sell more quickly, help maintain your neighbor’s home values, and ensure that you’re not overpaying in property taxes.

These 10 projects are listed from least to most expensive, and may help you increase your home’s value. Best part: None of these projects cost more than $2,000, so you don’t have to break the bank to take on these projects either.


Fertilizing your lawn may not seem as though it’s doing much for your home’s value, but a well-maintained lawn plays a major role in your home’s curb appeal. Curb appeal is how well your property looks from the road, and has a major impact on your home’s value and resale. Fertilizing a dry, brown, or otherwise patchy lawn can help boost your home’s curb appeal, and in turn its value.

Cost: The average cost of lawn fertilizing is around $.03 a square foot assuming a 6,000 square foot lawn, for a total of $180. Total costs range from $.02 a square foot for a DIY job to $.04 a square foot during peak season.

Money Saving Tips

  • If you are able to tackle this job DIY, you can save a lot of money (which you can then use to plant shrubs or trees to further increase your home’s curb appeal).
  • Tackle this job at the beginning of the season to avoid paying peak prices.


The attic is one of the most overlooked areas of the home when it comes to the impact on the rest of the home. Attics that are not properly insulated can become superheated, which can overheat the roof, cause ice dams, and raise your energy bills. Installing an attic fan can help protect your roof, lower your energy bills, and improve your home values.

Cost: The average cost to install a gable mount electric attic fan is around $275 for spaces up to 2,500. Total costs range from $39 for a wind-powered vent to $321 for an electric fan to cool up to 3,000 feet.

Money Saving Tips

  • Look into getting a solar-powered fan, which will not only run when you need it, but will also lower your monthly energy costs to run it as well.


Dingy, old, or out of fashion paint can really hurt the resale of your home. By giving a room in your home a fresh coat of paint, you can help remedy this problem. Choose neutral paints in light colors to get the most universal appeal, particularly if the rooms are small or dark, as these colors will help open them up and make them feel larger.

Cost: The average cost to paint a 200-square-foot room is around $378, with a full range between $162 for DIY to $459 for rooms that need more than one coat of paint on the walls.

Money Saving Tips

  • If you are able to tackle this job DIY, you can save a significant amount of money, allowing you to do more than one room.
  • Choose a color that is close to what you already have on the walls so you won’t have to apply more than one coat.


While a major bathroom renovation can be costly, you don’t actually have to complete one to help boost the value of your home. Sometimes it’s enough to tackle just one or two areas of the bathroom, replacing old or outdated items with new ones to help freshen up the space and help it function better. Things like installing a new, eco-friendly water saving toilet can have a major impact on the value of the room as a whole.

Cost: The cost to install a new toilet is between $300 and $500 with a total range between $100 for a DIY job to $700 for a higher-end model.

Money Saving Tips

  • Tackle small jobs yourself, such as toilet or faucet installation.
  • Look for lightweight acrylic tubs, which are less expensive to buy and install.


The backsplash is one of the most personal and trendiest places in the kitchen, because it’s so easy to install and update. Most backsplashes are only around 30-square-feet in size, so even costly tile doesn’t add up to a lot when installed here. You can use the backsplash to update an older or darker kitchen by using glass tiles to reflect light, or trendy mosaics to boost style, any of which will help boost resale value.

Cost: The average cost to install 16-square-feet of ceramic backsplash is between $400 and $600, with a total range between $300 for lower quality ceramic tile to $1000 for high end, premium tile.

Money Saving Tips

  • Use small amounts of high end mosaic tiles and cut them into strips or square for borders and accents to brighten up a plain field of tile.
  • Install the tile yourself to save on the installation costs.


Old floor tile can really bring down a room, particularly if the flooring is dingy, cracked, or just out of date. Installing new ceramic floor tile can brighten up the room and improve its value at the same time. Newer tile floors are much easier to clean and maintain, and have grout joints that are both smaller and easier to keep clean than in years past, which makes this job a lasting one. Most areas that use tile – entryways, bathrooms, or kitchens – tend to be small enough to keep the costs down as well.

Cost: The average costs to install ceramic tile on the flooring of a bathroom is around $700 to $900 with total costs ranging from $550 for low-grade tile to $1,000 for tile with radiant heat beneath it.

Money Saving Tips

  • Install the tile yourself to keep the costs of this job down.
  • Look for odd-lot tile sales to get higher-end tiles at a lower price to keep the overall cost down.


Old bathtubs and bath/shower units can really lower the value of your home, particularly if they are filled with mold, mildew, and old water stains. Replacing your old tub can have a big impact on the way the rest of the bathroom looks, which can therefore have a big impact on your home’s resale value.

Cost: The cost of installing a new bathtub is around $1,006 for a standard fiberglass tub/shower with a total range from $143 for a low cost bathtub installed DIY to $1,857 for a high-end cast iron bathtub.

Money Saving Tips

  • Use a lightweight acrylic tub or tub/shower enclosure, which costs a lot less than cast iron tubs. They are also a lot lighter, and therefore cost less to install as well.


New wood flooring can transform a home. Wood flooring also has a major impact on a home’s value and its ability to be sold in a timely way. Bamboo flooring is an eco-friendly wood flooring option that also costs less than many other hardwoods, giving you the look of wood for less, along with sustainable design.

Cost: The average cost to install bamboo flooring in a 16 x 16 room is around $1,250, although costs can vary greatly by region.

Money Saving Tips

  • Float the floor for an easy installation that you can tackle DIY.
  • Purchase the flooring from a local seller to cut down on shipping costs.


Nothing lowers the resale value of a home faster than old carpet. Carpets can be notorious for hanging onto smells, stains, and allergens, which make them a major turn off for home buyers. Replacing old carpet with new can have a major impact on your home’s value.

Cost: The average cost to install new carpet in a 16 x 16 room is between $1,200 and $1,400, although costs can vary greatly by region.

Money Saving Tips

  • Cover up old carpets temporarily using new throw rugs to hide stains.
  • Invest in stain-resistant carpeting to lengthen the amount of time before you need to replace again.


Water damage can take a major toll on your home’s value. Water can cause wood rot, mildew, and black mold in your home, as well as unsightly stains, all of which can lower your home’s value if you don’t repair them in a timely way. Tackling water damage should always be done as soon as possible to help minimize the amount of damage that will ultimately occur.

Cost: The average cost to repair water damage in an 80-square-foot bathroom is about $23 a square foot, which translates to around $1874, although this figure can be impacted by what the damage is and how much needs to be replaced.

Money Saving Tips

  • Use fans after the water has receded to help dry things out before damage like mold can set in.
  • Do the tear out of damaged materials yourself to help eliminate some professional fees.


No matter how small your budget is, there are always things that you can do to help increase or maintain your home’s value.

By: REALTOR® Magazine
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6 Ways to Increase Efficiency and Focus

6 Ways to Increase Efficiency and Focus

Business moves at supersonic speed. While technology has facilitated easier communication and information gathering, it has also ushered in a new economy in which the common worker can be more readily replaced by technological advancements than ever before.

The option to utilize advanced algorithms, data visualization and robotics as opposed to human assistance has become increasingly more alluring to organizations. In turn, the burden to prove themselves necessary has fallen upon the common worker.

Competency no longer does the trick. More so than ever, it is crucial for professionals to not only be able to complete tasks, but to be able to complete them with the utmost efficiency, accuracy and creativity.

Performing at a consistently high level requires sustained focus. Luckily, there are ways to train yourself in order to become the type of individual who not only produces results, but produces the type of results that make you an all-star in your respective area.

1. Define your goals and prioritize tasks accordingly.

The first step in concentration is to form a mental picture of what you wish to accomplish. Understanding why you are engaging in an activity and clearly stating what you hope to achieve from completing the task adds clarity to your thought process. It’s important to write down your objectives and pinpoint how that job assists you in meeting those overarching goals.

2. Slow down.

When you work with a deliberate slowness, it allows you to more effectively pay attention to the task at hand. When it comes to engaging in mindful work activities, it is important to gain the discipline to keep things simple and moving at a pace conducive to improved focus.

3. Conquer negativity.

Negative thoughts greatly drain mental capacity, as an unhealthy thought process overly stimulates the brain, increasing mental pressure and tension. When your mind is overloaded with threats, demands and counterproductive thoughts, cognitive impairment (a big hindrance to productivity) is the result.

Such tricks as remembering your core values, defining aspects of yourself that you are grateful for, breathing to relieve bodily tension and getting up and moving will lessen thoughts of doom and gloom and heighten your ability to think efficiently and produce at optimal levels.

4. Practice intense focus.

Whenever you fix your mind on a certain thought and hold your mind on it at successive intervals, you develop concentration. Understand that the human brain has limited capacity for attention. When you allocate anything less than 100 percent focus to a task, you weaken your ability to produce at a level consistent with your capabilities. If you wish to enhance the quality of your work, it is imperative to set aside any other activities that require effort for the time being.

When distractions such as emails, co-worker interactions and consistent client inquiries compete for your attention level, they dispose of a limited budget of mental capacity. Therefore, they must be put off until completion of that task or you risk a lesser output.

5. Confront procrastination.

Researchers estimate that nearly 15 percent of adults are chronic procrastinators. Putting off tasks is problematic on several fronts. First, when a job remains incomplete, it creates undue mental pressure straining your ability to focus on any other project. Additionally, failure to jump right in and see a project through to its end eventually becomes a habit and in time leads to low self-esteem.

Practices such as creating self-imposed deadlines, engaging in advanced planning and breaking a project into smaller steps will help combat procrastination.

6. Focus on the final product.

Knowing where a project is going is paramount to you being able to focus intently on that task. Understand what you expect out of the work will help you get down to work and provide you with the resiliency to finish the task.

As the working world evolves and many professionals find themselves ever closer to competing with efficient technologies in some aspect of their work, it is those who maintain the focus and good practices that lead to heightened effectiveness who will rise to the top, regardless of industry of position.

By: Ken Sundheim
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Best Buy Cities: Where To Invest In Housing In 2017

Best Buy Cities: Where To Invest In Housing In 2017

When it comes to balancing risk and reward in real estate, cities in the Southern half of the country look to be in the sweet spot now, as well as one surprising Northeastern metropolis, where lack of land to build turns out to be a plus. Whether your looking to put down roots with a family home or to rent out your purchase for yield, these cities offer two things anyone making a home investment should be after: affordability and growth.

To find out where you can get the most bang for your housing buck this year, Forbes teamed up with Local Market Monitor, a North Carolina-based company that tracks more than 300 housing markets. For each market CEO Ingo Wizner analyzed housing indicators as well as broader growth trends. He came up with 20 markets where you can park your money with some confidence in 2017—and beyond.

Traders looking for quick cash should look elsewhere. “If you are planning on making an investment, either by buying a home or by buying a rental property, these are really good markets,” says Winzer. “These are markets where you can make an investment, you are probably going to get a good return and you are not taking an extraordinary risk.” 

Dallas dominates: The home of Exxon Mobil and the Dallas Cowboys claims the no. 1 ranking this year. Dallas has an average home price of $233,000. That’s up 3.9% from a year ago and underpriced by 3% compared to the city’s historic average. Local Market Monitor forecasts prices will increase 31% by 2020 thanks in part to 3.9% job growth in the past year and 6.2% population growth in the last three.

Florida holds on: Four cities in the Sunshine State made the list, the most of any state, and all are in the top 10. There’s Jacksonville at no. 2, Orlando at no. 3, West Palm Beach at no. 5 and Tampa at no. 7. Winzer says that Florida’s continued strength is the biggest surprise of the list. (Last year seven Florida cities made the cut.)  Florida was the poster child for financial crisis devastation. As recently as 2015 seven markets in the state were undervalued by more than 20%. But builder constraint and job growth has boosted the value of existing homes.

Texas on top: The Lone Star State not only holds the top spot on our 2017 list but the second most spots overall, with Forth Worth at no. 9 and San Antonio at 20. The recession and housing crisis did not hit Texas quite as hard as the rest of the country, meaning it came back quicker and has been adding jobs longer and faster than the rest of the country. Opportunity and affordable housing led more people to move from other states to Texas in 2015 than any other state besides Florida. Austin, which made our 2016 ranking, would easily make a top 30 list, but is a bit overpriced compared to a year ago.

Boston bucks coastal crush: Perennially absent from this list are the major California markets San Francisco and Los Angeles, as well as East Coast megacities New York and Washington D.C. Scarcity has made these places too expensive to be top investments.

By: Samantha Sharf
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Neighborhood Features That Drag Down Prices

 Neighborhood Features That Drag Down Prices

Living near bad schools can decrease a home’s value big time. Indeed, the median home price in ZIP codes with schools that receive a one to three rating (out of possible 10) is only $155,000.® analyzed home prices and appreciation rates in U.S. ZIP codes to identify possible factors that could drag down prices. Researchers compared the median home price of the ZIP with that facility with the median price for all homes in the same county.

Here are five neighborhood features that had the biggest impact on dragging down nearby home prices:

1. Bad school: -22.2%

2. Strip club: -14.7%

3. High concentration of renters: -13.8%

4. Power plant: -5.3%

5. Shooting range: -3.7 percent


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The Surprising Things Your Front Door Reveals About Your Soul

The Surprising Things Your Front Door Reveals About Your Soul

Thinking about freshening up your front door? You probably know that it’s crucial to boosting your home’s value. But before you reach for the paint, know that your choice of color might tell perfect strangers quite a lot about who you are.

That’s according to environmental psychologist Sally Augustin of Design With Science. She took us on a tour of the color wheel to get her insights on what each shade might indicate about a homeowner’s characteristics. So in addition to deciding which shades work best with your exterior color palette, think about the statement you want your front door to make.


Dreaming of painting your front door purple? Prepare to feel like royalty: Shades of violet are “linked to sophistication,” Augustin says, and visitors will expect the same attention to luxury in your interiors.

But be careful when picking a shade—purple can easily turn from luxurious to garish.


This bright, affordable shade can mean different things depending on the quality of your home. (No, not all colors cost the same—and orange tends to be one of the cheapest.)

For most homes, an orange door can send the message that “I’m cheap or weird,” Augustin says. But paired with tasteful home accents inside, an orange door might just be the perfect touch for your one-of-a-kind style.

If you’re lucky enough to own a high-end home, “you transcend that message,” Augustin says, citing the luxury brand Hèrmes’ trademark orange.

“When it’s clearly expensive, you can do whatever you want.”


What does the most common of all front door colors say about you? You might be a neat freak, or just really into modern Scandinavian design. The least neutral of the neutrals, white indicates sterility, cleanliness, and simplicity. On the flip side, it can also say “this homeowner is way too obsessed with cleaning her baseboards,” and might make visitors nervous about making a mess.


Looking to stand out on your block? This bold shade certainly makes an impression: Yellow is linked to optimism and extraversion. Guests will expect sunny rooms and cheerful decor inside. Don’t splash it everywhere, though—it looks best as a spot of color against a darker home. If you cover the whole house, it can indicate irrationality and anxiety.


Looking for visitors? Try painting your front door a bright blue, which is linked to calmness and trust.

“If you were knocking on a blue door and you have time to ponder a second, you might come to the conclusion that the homeowners were more likely to be trustworthy,” Augustin says.


Green is one of the best-selling door colors (in Britain, at least). Traditionally, the color indicates prosperity and wealth, but its natural appeal means you’re also serene and peaceful. Don’t be afraid to pick a vivid green, though: Too neutral and you might seem bland.


What’s more stately than a solid black door? If you’re looking for a color that connotes seriousness, this one’s for you. This traditional color often seems formal, but you can add a playful tone with a modern black door against a colorful exterior. Covered with a shiny veneer, it’s definitely glamorous—and might make your home appear safer and well-protected.


Don’t want to paint? Unpainted wood “conveys a more relaxed atmosphere,” Augustin says, with a rustic appeal that’s both cozy and welcoming. But you’ll want to carefully consider whether the material makes sense in your neighborhood.


The Chinese design philosophy of feng shui considers red doors lucky if they’re facing south or southwest. Even if your home faces another direction, Augustin says this conventional color is “often linked with things like action,” making dwellers seem like “real go-getters.” Want to seem vibrant and exciting without going too wild? This might be a good bet.


Some might see you as practical, but you risk going past practical into humorless with this plain, common door color. Still determined? Try choosing a lighter shade, which is a warmer, softer alternative to black or wood; a darker shade will seem somber.

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