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Celebrity Real Estate: Reba McEntire, Michael J. Fox, Brian Wilson

By Laura Vecsey

Reba No Longer ‘Starstruck’

A year after selling her Beverly Hills mansion, country music & entertainment juggernaut Reba McEntire is looking to sell her Nashville spread. The 83-acre property is listed for $7.9 million and is located on a street name perfect for a country tune: Old Hickory Lane.

Reba’s place is called Starstruck Farm and includes a 12,800-square-foot Colonial house that overlooks a lake. Fresh off a divorce from her husband of 26 years, Reba is clearly ready for a new start, so it’s goodbye to the farm and all the amenities – which include a tennis court, swimming pool, guest house, 8-car garage and equestrian center with a 16-stall barn and 12 fenced paddocks.

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Celebrity Real Estate: Michael Phelps and Joel McHale

By Natalie Wise

Michael Phelps Has a New Place to Hang His Gold Medals

Michael Phelps ended his swimming career by breaking even more records at this summer’s games, but he says he’s officially retired now. Since he just purchased a gorgeous estate in Scottsdale, Ariz., perhaps we really won’t be seeing the superstar in the pool anymore.

At least not on television. The custom pool at his new house is quite the showstopper itself. The pool and hot tub will be used for relaxing with his fiancé and child, though, instead of training. He’s found a new place to call home and hang his 22 medals. Phelps purchased the home for $2.5 million.

The home itself is an Arizona masterpiece, made with European stone and terra cotta roof tiles. The interior, though, is a contemporary marvel. High coffered ceilings, plenty of skylights, gleaming marble countertops, gleaming stainless steel accents, and a sense of airiness permeate the house. …

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Decline in Immigrant Labor Could Drive Up Construction Costs

By Christina Sturgis

A survey of housing experts by Zillow suggests that the decline in the population of immigrants in the country illegally may drive up housing prices because many of them find employment in construction and extraction, the drilling, boring, excavation and clearing debris required by major projects.

Among the Zillow panel of experts, made up of economists and researchers, 40 percent said they expected the demographic changes would push builders to favor luxury projects with higher profit margins to make up for the higher building costs.

About 43 percent of the respondents said a decline in the population of immigrants in the country illegally would result in more construction jobs for U.S. and foreign-born workers. More than 30 percent linked the population decline to lower inventory, and they predicted that construction of new homes would remain below historical norms. …

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Turn Your Bedroom Into an Oasis in 5 Easy Steps

By Natalie Wise

When it comes to sleeping well, a serene bedroom is the ultimate in comfort and luxury. But it seems too high a price to pay some days when the rest of the house is a mess, too. Here are five easy design tips to make creating an oasis in your bedroom a simple proposition, no DIY projects required.

Clear the Clutter
Clutter traps the brain into thinking about everything left undone. A proper sleeping environment is one that is free of the “stuff” of life. Clear the clutter and you clear your mind. So fold the laundry, or at least put the basket in the closet and close the door. A quick five-minute sweep before you go to bed will have you resting easy.

Keep Things Quiet
Color-wise, that is. Use a calming palette of neutral and natural colors. Think calming sky blue, sage green, and other soft colors. You want the mind to rest here, and bright colors will only activate your senses. Keep throw pillows, blankets, rugs and art soothing and restful. Pantone’s 2016 Colors of the Year, a soft pink and a soft blue, are perfect.

Texturize It
Create a soft, cozy haven in your bed. Plump up the pillows, fluff the comforter, add a quilt to the bottom and turn down the sheets. Soothe your senses by keeping everything plush and as comfortable as possible. This is no place for the pretty-but-scratchy throws.

Create a Sitting Area
Creating a small seating space with a chair and reading lamp invites relaxation. Cozy up with a cup of tea and a good read and you’ll be dreamy in no time. You probably already have a chair in your bedroom, so clear the laundry from it and set it up for snuggling.

Dim the Lighting
Light is one of our body’s cues to be awake. That’s why a focus on soft, dimmable lighting in the bedroom is ideal. They’ll help you transition to a good night’s sleep. Quick fix: Take that bright lightbulb out and go for a lower wattage.






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Celebrity Real Estate: Seth Meyers, John Legend, Stella McCartney

By Laura Vecsey …

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Large Cash Home Buyers in Florida Can’t Hide Anymore

By Natalie Wise

Miami and Manhattan homebuyers won’t be able to keep their cash real estate deals under a beach umbrella any longer. The Treasury Department wants to keep an eye on these transactions, so it has introduced new rules for transparency.

Because many cash sales take place under corporations that shield the buyer’s identity, the new rules require title companies to unmask the buyer if the transaction totals more than $3 million. The new rule will also show how many cash sales involve foreign investors.

The majority of cash real estate deals happen in Florida — in fact, eight of the top 10 cash markets are in the state, with Miami as the No. 1 cash market. In 2012, 70 percent of all real estate transactions in Miami were cash. This has slowed down as the economy has improved, but 55 percent of real estate sales are cash in Miami, which is why the government is setting its sights on the details of the market.

Sarasota is the No. 2 cash market, at 53.4 percent, and in Fort Myers, 51.8 percent of transactions are in cash. In Daytona Beach, just under 50 percent of the sales are cash, while in Tampa, 47.8 percent of home sales are cash. …

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Many Homeowners Owe More Than Twice Their Homes’ Value

By Natalie Wise

Despite many marked improvements in the housing market across the country, a large number still owe more than their homes are worth. In the case of 820,000 unlucky homeowners, they owe more than twice the value of their homes.

This situation, termed “negative equity,” meaning the home holds no equity and more is owed that it is worth, is popularly referred to as being “underwater.” At peak negative equity, 31.4 percent of mortgage holders were sinking to some level in the first quarter of 2012.

As of the fourth quarter of 2015, things have certainly improved, with only 13.1 percent of mortgage holders underwater, according to Zillow. But that percentage still represents 6.3 million homeowners who owe more than their homes are worth. That’s a decline of 27 percent from 2014, when 8.7 million homeowners were underwater.

Of those 6.3 million, 13 percent of them owe more than twice what their homes are worth. That is 820,000 borrowers who are nearly drowning in their mortgages. …

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Best Places to Buy a Home for 5 Popular Occupations

By Natalie Wise

Five common occupations have greatly varying incomes around the country. This makes buying a home a vastly different experience for, say, a firefighter in Riverside, Calif., than one in Charlotte, N.C. Zillow’s affordability index shows the best places to buy homes according to occupation.

The firefighter in Riverside can afford much more house than the firefighter in Charlotte. In Charlotte, a firefighter makes a median salary of $41,000, 19 percent of which goes toward housing, so an affordable house would be around $180,000.

In Riverside, a firefighter makes an average of $107,000 a year. They do spend more on housing — 26 percent of their income — but that allows them to purchase a home up to $653,000. In Tampa, the median firefighter salary is $56,000, and 75.9 percent of homes — up to $251,000 — are affordable. …

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‘Gayborhoods’ Offer Higher Home Values

By Christina Sturgis

People may view Fort Lauderdale as a tourist-friendly coastal city, but the real estate experts at Zillow have found another characteristic worth noting: the Poinsettia Heights neighborhood is a “gayborhood,” and it’s good for real estate values.

It’s called the Gayborhood Phenomenon in the book “Zillow Talk: The New Rules of Real Estate.” Zillow determined which neighborhoods have the highest percentages of gay-partner households from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.

“Over the past forty years, home prices in historically gay neighborhoods have steadily outperformed average prices for the metros in which they’re located,” write Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff and Chief Economist Stan Humphries.

In Poinsettia Heights, an estimated 28 percent of households are headed by same-sex partners. The region embraces these nontraditional families. For example, the city of Wilton Manors, which adjoins Fort Lauderdale, has a page on its official website devoted to gay life, and says the local elementary school is high in quality and includes the children of many LGBT families. …

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Celebrity Real Estate: Kelsey Grammer, David Geffen, Craig Newmark

By Laura Vecsey …

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Celebrity Real Estate: Donald Trump, Kevin Jonas, Merv Griffin

By Laura Vecsey

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Celebrity Real Estate: Christie Brinkely, Scottie Pippen, Matt Lauer

By Laura Vecsey

Christie Brinkley Lists Beloved Estate

Christie Brinkley may have a little more freedom to meet up with her “new” beau, John Mellencamp, who lives in South Carolina. The Uptown Girl has listed her 20-acre waterfront compound for $29.5 million. With her son off to college in the fall, Brinkley said she’s preparing to be an empty nester.

Dubbed Tower Hill for the 50-foot observation tower attached to the historic home, the property has been under Brinkley’s ownership for 18 years. The property was a bone of contention during Brinkley’s tabloid-fodder divorce from Peter Cook. With Atlantic Ocean frontage to the south, Tower Hill also boasts views to the north toward Connecticut.

Scottie Pippen Selling Mansion
Former Chicago Bulls’ star Scottie Pippen is looking to sell his suburban Chicago mansion. The Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer is seeking $3.1 million for the 10,000-square-foot home that comes complete with an indoor basketball court – emblazoned with a rendering of Pippen’s No. 33 jersey. The Highland Park home sits on almost three acres. …

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Celebrity Real Estate: Cher, Ben Stiller, Hope Solo

By Laura Vecsey …

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Which Florida Home Buyers Hit It Lucky?

By Christina Sturgis …

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Celebrity Real Estate: Puff Daddy, Playboy Mansion, Rebel Wilson

By Laura Vecsey …

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