6 Last-Minute Father’s Day Gifts—Based on Dad’s Favorite Pandemic Hobby

It’s down to the wire, but if you’re still stumped on what to get Dad this Father’s Day, there’s a gift out there that’ll help him carry on his newfound hobby.

The post 6 Last-Minute Father’s Day Gifts—Based on Dad’s Favorite Pandemic Hobby appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

We know dads are difficult to shop for.

And although most patriarchs pretend they don’t care about Father’s Day, don’t let their tough exterior fool you! Honoring Dad this Father’s Day—with all his qualities and quirks—is more important than ever.

Over the past year, dads have had to do everything from home-schooling to home maintenance to keeping the family afloat. But in any precious down time during the COVID-19 pandemic, we bet he picked up a hobby or two. Maybe he built a movie theater in your backyard shed or tuned up that old car sitting in the garage. Whatever his fancy, there’s a Father’s Day gift out there that’ll help him carry on his newfound hobby.

It’s down to the wire, but if you’re still stumped on what to get Dad this Father’s Day, we have some good ideas that are sure to solidify your status as the apple of his eye.

1. If he got into gardening

garden nut gatherer
When squirrels fail you, grab a nut gatherer.

Amazon

Maybe he never really had a green thumb to begin with, but hey, we all learn eventually. And Dad isn’t one to give up—on anything. So keep the momentum going, and add a handy tool to his arsenal for garden upkeep.

This garden nut gatherer ($79.95, Amazon) can help him easily pick up everything from fallen nuts to sweet gum balls. It works by rolling over and capturing debris and comes with a basket, bale, and sturdy handle.

2. If he made his own sourdough starter

pizza stone
When Costco pizza simply doesn’t cut it.

Williams Sonoma

Sourdough was the real rising star during the pandemic. If your dad guards his precious starter like a newborn, we have just the gift.

True connoisseurs know making a quality sourdough takes time, with special attention to details like flavor, texture, crumb, and crust.

Let Dad show he’s a savant at making sourdough with a 16-inch pizza stone ($69.95, Williams Sonoma). With this in his arsenal, we know his dough will lead to perfectly crispy crusts. This stone can be fired up in the oven or on the grill, and is dishwasher-safe.

3. If he joined the cult of Peloton

massage device
Soothe muscles on demand.

Target

Many people swear the Peloton got them through the pandemic. And if your dad has sweated through a HIIT ride, give him and his tired muscles the gift of relief with the Theragun massage device ($390.99, Target). This quiet and smart percussive therapy device will work to melt away tension and release soreness.

4. If he rediscovered his love of painting

paint set
This brush set comes in a variety of sizes.

Jerry’s Artarama

He’s no Picasso but Dad sure loves to paint—and not just the house.

Let him channel his inner Bob Ross with a new set of brushes ($110, Jerry’s Artarama). These synthetic hog hair brushes are perfect for acrylic painting and easy to clean. He can use them with oils, acrylics, inks, dyes, gouache, watercolor, casein, and egg tempera.

Let Dad go crazy, while following Ross’ mantra: “We don’t make mistakes, just happy little accidents.”

5. If he loves DIY home improvement

retractable extension cord
No more tripping on extension cords

Amazon

Let’s face it: Dads are the kings of DIY home improvement. To ensure Pops accomplishes all his home improvement projects without tripping over an extension cord, gift him a retractable extension cord ($82.99, Amazon). This handy extension quickly and easily coils out of the way. The heavy-duty electric cord reel power station comes with a 50-foot extension cord.

6. If he’s now a birder

bird app
One less thing to carry around when birding.

Apple

Though humans spent most of the past year on lock-down, birds had no such concerns.

And with our heightened appreciation of the outdoors came an increased interest in birdwatching. Take your father’s love of birding to new horizons with the Sibley Birds field guide app ($19.99, Apple App Store).

This paperless guide includes comprehensive, up-to-date information on over 930 North American species. It features over 2,700 calls and songs, identifies how common a particular bird might be, and allows Dad to keep a list of the birds he’s spotted.

The post 6 Last-Minute Father’s Day Gifts—Based on Dad’s Favorite Pandemic Hobby appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

5 of the Most Searched Outdoor Decor Trends of Summer 2021

We’ve got the hottest outdoor designs of the season—with the data to back it up—and, of course, the scoop on how you can re-create the looks in your space.

The post 5 of the Most Searched Outdoor Decor Trends of Summer 2021 appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Even with the outside world opening back up, many of us have found new comfort in staying at home. Backyard dinner parties, outdoor movie nights, drinks on the deck—you name it, there are so many summertime favorites that really don’t require going anywhere, especially if you have a great outdoor space.

And if you don’t? Well, we’re here to help with that.

To get a little inspiration for making your backyard into an oasis you actually won’t want to leave this summer, we once again consulted with the pros at design retailer Living Spaces. They gave us the scoop on the most searched outdoor decor and design ideas of the season, and we’re here to share a few of our favorites.

Here are five absolute must-haves in your outdoor space this summer, and all the details on where to get them.

1. Indoor-outdoor spaces

Photo by PRDG architecture + design 

One of the best ways to make your outdoor spaces feel irresistibly cozy this season is by making them feel like they’re inside. Think: decor features such as extra throw pillows, blankets, and even some of your living room furniture (all approved for outdoor wear and tear, of course).

But don’t just take our word for it. According to a recent Google report, “indoor-outdoor spaces” is one of the most significantly searched trends of the season, and it’s seen a 155.56% increase in popularity from last year.

“Indoor-outdoor living spaces—adding comfy sofas and coffee tables to the backyard—became an easy solution to those feelings of being cooped up during quarantine,” says Living Spaces designer Shelby Greene.

“2020 was all about finding comfort in trying times, and when it comes to the outdoors, comforting pieces are here to stay,” adds Greene.

Add some cozy indoor-outdoor vibes to your space with this boho pearl lantern, then beef up your seating area with this diverse collection of throw pillows and floor poufs.

2. Concrete furniture

Photo by Brooklinteriors LLC 

One outdoor trend we didn’t see coming this season is the draw toward concrete furniture, up nearly 7% in recent months, according to the folks at Living Spaces.

“There’s something minimalist about concrete furniture,” says Greene. “There’s only one texture and color, and the shapes are usually simple. In other words: It’s easy, timeless, and a safe choice, unlike some of the more fashionable wood, fabric, or metal outdoor pieces.”

Because of its versatility, neutrality, and ability to withstand all sorts of weather conditions—maintaining that pristine look—concrete furniture isn’t a trend we see disappearing anytime soon.

Upgrade your outdoor dining with this round-top table, or make a smaller addition with this gray embossed side stool.

3. Outdoor kitchens

Photo by ORCO Block & Hardscape 

Speaking of indoor-outdoor vibes, it’s no surprise that having an outdoor kitchen is still trending on Google and ranking highly on everyone’s wish list this season.

“An outdoor kitchen is a must for exterior design in 2021,” says designer Savannah Phillips of The Knobs Company. “People spend all day in their home office, and when the clock strikes 5, it’s time to sprint outside and do some grilling.

“An outdoor kitchen can be used for not only standard cooking, but entertaining as well if you add bar stools or a dining set,” Phillips adds.

It’s not just Google searches proving continued interest in outdoor kitchens. According to a members-only survey conducted by the National Kitchen & Bath Association, 76% of design professionals reported outdoor kitchens as their “top project” this summer.

Whether you’ve broken ground on your ideal outdoor kitchen or not, one easy way to get started is with a portable pizza oven (also trending on Google)—like this one from Ooni.

4. Pastel colors

Photo by Levy Art + Architecture 

Nothing screams summer quite like a bouquet of color on your patio. That might be why searches for all things pastel are up right now—particularly in shades of yellow (up 13%), green (up 10%), and our personal favorite, lilac (up 19%).

“Pastel colors are a huge outdoor trend right now, stemming from the ‘cottagecore’ aesthetic that has been floating around,” says Phillips. “These muted colors give a calm, relaxing feeling and pair well with the bright colors of flowers and foliage. They’re perfect for not overwhelming the space and keeping the focus on the natural elements.”

Incorporate some pastel highlights into your outdoor decor with this persimmon rocking chair or this peachy-pink mosaic stool.

5. Mini gardens

Photo by Casa Smith Designs, LLC 

The best thing about this trend is that just about anyone can do it—whether you have a sprawling lawn or a small balcony. These mini gardens (searches are up 7% in the past months) are the perfect way to tie in any outdoor space, no matter the size.

“The mini garden trend is all about practicality,” says Greene. “Downsized or placed in containers, gardens become easy to maintain and place. In containers, this trend becomes portable, and incorporating a tiny garden near, between, and even on outdoor furniture makes an outdoor space delightful.”

Shop this stunning collection of planters and pots to start your mini garden in style.

The post 5 of the Most Searched Outdoor Decor Trends of Summer 2021 appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Tennis Ace Novak Djokovic Serves Up $6M Sale of Luxe Miami Beach Condo

Another win, another real estate deal. Fresh off his French Open victory, tennis star Novak Djokovic just sold his Miami Beach, FL, condo for $6 million.

The post Tennis Ace Novak Djokovic Serves Up $6M Sale of Luxe Miami Beach Condo appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Another win, another real estate deal. Fresh off his French Open victory, Novak Djokovic recently sold his Miami Beach, FL, condo for $6 million.

The listing in Eighty Seven Park first came on the market in February for $6,199,000, and months later was sold for slightly less than asking price.

Designed by award-winning architect Renzo Piano, the elliptical-shaped glass tower appears to float above a residents’ garden and looks out to the Atlantic Ocean. The tennis star purchased a unit in the building in 2019 before it was completed. The sum was not disclosed.

The three-bedroom, 3.5-bath condo features an open floor plan with walls of glass, 10-foot ceilings, and a 1,715-square-foot, wraparound terrace.

The minimalist kitchen is equipped with Wolf and Sub-Zero appliances, natural stone countertops, and a compact island with bar seating. The dining area is adjacent to a sliding glass door that opens to the terrace, which also features a dining area.

The master suite includes access to the terrace, and the en suite bath includes a stand-alone tub, glass shower, and dual vanities.

The condo building offers residents a private, gated park as well as a botanical exhibition. Luxe amenities include a spa, a fitness center, two oceanfront pools, and cabanas. Residents can unwind at the wine bar or dine at the restaurant.

While the building doesn’t offer a tennis court, courts are available across the street. And the locale is close to Bal Harbour shopping.

Carlo Dipasquale with Cervera Real Estate and Wendy Mendoza with Cayhill and Dumott Realty represented the sellers. Joyce Gato with Douglas Elliman represented the buyer.

The post Tennis Ace Novak Djokovic Serves Up $6M Sale of Luxe Miami Beach Condo appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Minnesota’s Most Expensive Home Is a $15M Mansion on a Private Island

Listed for $15 million, this magnificent Minnesota mansion sits alone on a 1.37-acre spit of land that juts out into St. Alban’s Bay.

The post Minnesota’s Most Expensive Home Is a $15M Mansion on a Private Island appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

A magnificent Minnesota mansion surrounded by water is the state’s most expensive listing. Listed for $15 million, the enormous residence sits alone on a 1.37-acre spit of land that juts out into St. Alban’s Bay.

Known as Windermere, the estate in Greenwood, MN, offers water views from almost every vantage point and is on the market for the first time as a completed estate.

Access to the 13,949-square-foot home is over a private bridge. Once on the island, visitors wind up in a large motor court, while the owners can make their way through a tunnel and directly into an eight-car garage that features an automatic car wash.

Aerial view of mansion in Greenwood, MN

Realtor.com

Entry

Realtor.com

Bedroom

Realtor.com

Bedroom

Realtor.com

Bedroom

Realtor.com

Master bathroom

Realtor.com

Master bathroom

Realtor.com

Closet

Realtor.com

Bedroom

Realtor.com

A color palette heavy on black, white, and gold gives the interior the vibe of a high-end nightclub. But the space itself is far from dark and foreboding—thanks to an enormous glass-enclosed atrium, which floods the space with natural light.

In addition to the enormous atrium, the entryway features several dramatic staircases and balconies overhead.

A large glass elevator, designed to shuttle guests between the home’s four levels, is located next to a grand spiral staircase.

Elevator

Realtor.com

Elevator

Realtor.com

Atrium

Realtor.com

Atrium

Realtor.com

A huge kitchen, with two large islands, is a vision in white, with twinkling chandeliers hanging overhead. An adjacent dining area features bold geometric wallpaper and space to host a crowd.

The home’s five bedrooms are all uniformly huge and hew to the home’s black-and-white color palette. The master bathroom has intricately patterned tile flooring, and a large soaker tub sits in the middle of the space. A boutiquelike master closet space offers ample room to display an entire wardrobe and any opulent accessories on hand.

When it’s time to relax, you can try out the 12-person movie theater with a lounge in the back, a card room, and the wine room.

Dining area

Realtor.com

Kitchen

Realtor.com

Kitchen

Realtor.com

Kitchen and dining area

Realtor.com

Theater

Realtor.com

Theater

Realtor.com

An indoor grotto area is another perfect place to unwind. Next to the indoor soaking area is a spalike facility with a sauna and locker room.

Out back, there’s a huge, heated infinity-edge pool next to the domed poolhouse. A boat slip provides access to all types of water sports.

Gym

Realtor.com

Grotto

Realtor.com

Entry to grotto

Realtor.com

Completion of the grand mansion was almost two decades in the making.

The disgraced former water park and hotel developer Jeffrey Wirth owned the land and began construction in 2003.

Construction came to a halt in 2006, and the project sat partially finished for years, as weeds and neglect overtook the property.

Wirth pleaded guilty in a conspiracy to commit tax fraud in May 2012. He was sentenced to 53 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $6.45 million in restitution.

According to published reports, prosecutors called his case one of the largest tax fraud conspiracies in Minnesota history.

The restaurant owner Kam Talebi bought the property in 2013, for what public records say was just more than a million dollars, and set out to finish building what Wirth started.

Jessica Prudden with Prudden & Company is the listing agent. The listing simply calls the estate “magical.”

Exterior and pool

Realtor.com

Outdoor space

Realtor.com

Bedroom

Realtor.com

Living space

Realtor.com

Living space

Realtor.com

Living space

Realtor.com

Living space

Realtor.com

Den

Realtor.com

The post Minnesota’s Most Expensive Home Is a $15M Mansion on a Private Island appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Would You Rent a Stranger’s Pool To Beat the Heat? Plus, Our Spin on HGTV’s ‘The Laundry Guy’

This week we chat about how to rent a pool this summer, Iggy Azalea’s feud with her neighbor, the HGTV show “The Laundry Guy,” and more.

The post Would You Rent a Stranger’s Pool To Beat the Heat? Plus, Our Spin on HGTV’s ‘The Laundry Guy’ appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

House Party” is the official Realtor.com® podcast about the overlapping worlds of real estate and pop culture, hosted by Natalie Way and Rachel Stults. Click the player above to hear our take on this week’s hot topics.

It’s summer and that means we’re all craving some pool time. With the current heat wave in the West, where temperatures are creeping up into the triple digits, jumping into a pool—any pool—sounds like heaven on earth. But what are those of us who don’t own a pool to do?

One solution is Swimply, the app that allows you to rent a pool in your area. We’ve been privy to Swimply for a few summers, but with so many lingering questions (Do the pool hosts have insurance? Are the pool hosts home while you’re taking a dip? Where do you go to the bathroom?), we were hesitant to take the plunge and rent a pool. This week, though, we welcomed Swimply co-founder and COO Asher Weinberger to “House Party” to answer all our questions and give us the scoop on how Swimply came to be, the impact it could have on homebuying, and some of the craziest uses for Swimply to date.

Other topics we discuss:

  • Iggy Azalea‘s hilarious (and petty) feud with her new suburban neighbors
  • “The Laundry Guy,” a new show on the Discovery+ streaming network, aims to answer all your burning laundry questions. We recap the first episode and offer our spin. (Sorry, we had to.)
  • And, as always, our celebrity real estate winner and loser of the week

Want more “House Party”? Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. And please: Throw us a five-star rating if you like what you hear. The more good ratings and reviews we have, the easier it is for people to find us.

Want to chime in? Have your own crazy home-related story you’re dying to share? We’re all ears, eagerly waiting to discuss all of your burning real estate questions on “The Mailbox” segment. Email us at podcast@realtor.com, follow us on Facebook and Instagram, or tweet us @housepartypod on Twitter.

The post Would You Rent a Stranger’s Pool To Beat the Heat? Plus, Our Spin on HGTV’s ‘The Laundry Guy’ appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

HUD Aims to Boost Homeownership for Buyers With High Student Loans

Relaxed student-debt calculation will likely qualify more Black and Hispanic buyers for federal government-backed loans.

The post HUD Aims to Boost Homeownership for Buyers With High Student Loans appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

WASHINGTON—The Federal Housing Administration is relaxing the way it assesses student-loan debt when weighing eligibility for homebuying assistance as the Biden administration pushes to help lower-income borrowers and narrow a racial gap in homeownership.

The changes, which were presented in a letter to lenders late Thursday, are intended to allow more borrowers to qualify for loans backed by the FHA, a unit of the Department of Housing and Urban Development that provides insurance on mortgages to first-time and lower-income home buyers.

Prospective home buyers who qualify for FHA help typically have lower credit scores than individuals with other government-backed loans—such as those guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac—and they are disproportionately Black and Hispanic, according to data collected by federal regulators. The surge in student debt over the past two decades has coincided with historically low homeownership rates among younger households. Some researchers say the phenomena are linked.

Relaxing the way it factors in student debt will bring the FHA more in line with other government-backed mortgage programs, such as Fannie and Freddie, which also eased their criteria in recent years. The Biden administration is proposing more down-payment assistance for Black homeownership and taking a number of other measures to fulfill a pledge to address racial equity in housing.

“This new policy will make a big difference for individuals throughout our nation and is another step in our mandate to promote equity and opportunity for homeownership,” said HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge in a statement. Ms. Fudge is expected to discuss the changes at a Black homeownership event in Cleveland on Friday.

Before Thursday’s changes, the FHA program assumed that many borrowers were making monthly payments equal to 1% of their unpaid student-loan balances. Industry groups and consumer advocates say that method tended to inflate a borrower’s debt-to-income ratio and disqualify otherwise creditworthy borrowers from FHA loans.

Under the new policy, FHA will abandon the 1% assumption in favor of a calculation that better reflects what borrowers actually pay monthly. The changes are a victory for such groups as the Mortgage Bankers Association, which say the existing policy has imposed undue roadblocks on home buyers.

Alfreda Williams, a senior homeownership adviser at HomeFree-USA, a mortgage counselor in Riverdale, Md., said many people with solid incomes were disqualified from FHA loans because of the way their student loans are currently calculated.

“It is truly an issue now for a lot of people and especially people of color,” Ms. Williams said. Minorities, she said, disproportionately have past credit issues that can make it more difficult for them to qualify for conventional financing.

Deitric Selvage, who manages research grants and contracts for a consulting firm and who is looking for a home in suburban Maryland, is among those harmed by the way his student debt is calculated. With more than $200,000 in student debt, Mr. Selvage said he was disqualified for an FHA loan because the program assumed he pays about $2,000 a month in student-debt repayments, far more than the roughly $370 he actually pays.

Mr. Selvage, 39 years old, said he found a lender that would preapprove him for a conventional loan, but only through a process that would oblige him to forgo down-payment assistance for first-time home buyers. As a result, he would have to wipe out nearly all of his savings on a down payment.

“It would mean going into a house without any financial cushion,” he said.

How many FHA borrowers with high student-loan balances will ultimately have an easier time buying a home under the new changes isn’t clear; HUD didn’t have an estimate in its lender letter. The effects are also likely to be damped in the short run by the red-hot housing market. Many homes are getting multiple offers and selling above their list prices. FHA borrowers typically find it difficult to compete in such a frenzied market because often they are competing against cash buyers not requiring financing, whom sellers are more likely to pick.

Thursday’s changes will better factor in borrowers who have over the past decade taken advantage of expanded options for student-debt repayment that tie monthly payments to their incomes. These options, known as “income-driven” repayment, typically set monthly payments at 10% of “discretionary income”—which is based on a formula that includes adjusted gross income—and then spread payments over 20 or 25 years, depending on the size of the balance. After that time, the government cancels the remaining balance.

Enrollment in income-driven student loan repayment plans has soared as many borrowers—particularly those who attended graduate school—take on higher and higher balances.

For some borrowers, their monthly payments under the income-driven plan are too small to cover interest charges, let alone principal. HUD, an agency official said, expects its new formula to look more favorably on these lower monthly student-loan payments.

The changes should give recent graduates “burdened with significant debt loads” a better opportunity to buy a home, said David Stevens, who headed the FHA during the Obama administration.

The post HUD Aims to Boost Homeownership for Buyers With High Student Loans appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.