Sep 25, 2015
Buying Sight Unseen

(SEATTLE, WA) Weary of trudging through open houses or paying a real estate commission on the sale of your home? You’re not alone. A new survey finds more buyers and sellers are using unconventional methods when it comes to real estate transactions. The SurveyMonkey study found 21% of buyers said they made an offer on a home without ever seeing it in person, while 17% of homebuyers and 13% of sellers did not use a real estate agent. Like everything else these days, technology is changing the way the real estate game is played. Drone videos and 360° home tours let buyers experience how a home looks and lives without actually walking through it. Interestingly, when a home listed for more than $750,000, over half the people who bought did so sight unseen. The most common reason for not using a real estate when selling was to save money, while buyers were more likely to forgo the agent because they knew the seller personally.

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Sep 23, 2015
World’s Most Expensive Home

(MUMBAI, INDIA) We mortals may blanch at the cost of some of the most luxurious homes in the highest end golf communities. But if you think millions of dollars is a lot to spend on a home, try spending a billion.  Antilia, sits on Mumbai's tony Altamount Road and cost an estimated $1 billion to build. Billionaire businessman Mukesh Ambani’s home tops Insider Monkey’s list of the most expensive real estate in the world. The home, on Mumbai's tony Altamount Road, requires a staff of 600 people to maintain all of its amenities, including a 50-seat movie theatre, three helipads, two-story recreation center, nine elevators, and private Hindu temple. That oceanfront property in the Carolinas doesn't seem so steep anymore, does it?

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Sep 21, 2015
Don’t Ask, Can’t Tell

(WASHINGTON, DC) We all have plenty of questions when we’re getting ready to buy a home, especially if it’s in a community we’re not very familiar with. But don’t expect your real estate agent to answer all your questions. The Fair Housing Act of 1967 prohibits agents from “steering” buyers by answering questions about safety, schools, and your new neighbors. Redfin real estate agent David Ehrenberg told Curbed DC that although a buyer might like to know how safe a neighborhood is or how highly rated the schools are, those questions are considered too subjective. “It might seem harmless for a realtor to offer his or her opinion on these topics. You may even find it frustrating that your agent can't offer a more personal opinion on the neighborhood,” said Ehrenberg. In the end, though, these limitations can help protect buyers. “A real estate agent's job is to help buyers access all homes for sale that they are interested in. A real estate agent has no right to decide where someone should or should not live.” Good to know. But there’s nothing stopping you from getting on the web where there are plenty of resources that will give you answers to your questions.

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Sep 18, 2015
Homes in the Sky

BONITA SPRINGS, FL) After an enjoyable afternoon round on the Jerry Pate-designed course at The Colony Golf & Bay Club, imagine relaxing on a rooftop terrace lounge 21 stories high and taking in sweeping views of the Gulf of Mexico as the sun sets. Then retreating to your luxurious and spacious residence, with its own spectacular views, on one of the floors below. For the first time in almost 10 years, a residential tower will begin to rise in Southwest Florida as WCI begins construction on Altaira, its 21-story tower at The Colony Golf & Bay Club in Bonita Springs. Altaira will offer 76 Sky Homes℠, the company’s brand of luxury high rises, on 19 residential floors. The residences feature hurricane-rated, solar-tinted expanses of exterior vision glass and floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors that open to terraces, as well as up to 529 square feet of open-air and screened-in terraces in select residences. Each home features a private elevator foyer, 3,300-3,500 square feet of living space, open great rooms, generously sized kitchens, three bedrooms, private den, three full baths, powder room and east- and west-facing terraces. Corner units offer additional north- or south-facing terraces. As a resident, you’ll enjoy the waterfront Bay Club, plus membership opportunities at The Colony Golf and Country Club and Sports Club. Sky Homes in Altaira start from $1 million. Completion is expected during the second quarter of 2017.

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Sep 16, 2015
Perfect Practice

(PALM BEACH GARDENS, FL) There are plenty of factors to consider when doing your homework on a place to live or play. Location, value for your money, social life, and a great golf course (or two) are high on everyone’s list. But what about the practice facility? A recent feature on the subject in By Design, the official magazine of the American Society of Golf Course Architects, focuses on architect Drew Rogers’ complete overhaul of the practice facility at The Club at Mirasol (scheduled to open next month). Once something of an afterthought, practice facilities have become a focus of private clubs competing for the allegiance of members. Mirasol went so far as to commission a comprehensive study to determine how the entire facility was used and should be used. “The practice facility has become one of the primary drivers of golf usage here at Mirasol," Director of Golf Course Maintenance Michael Thomas told By Design. "Members increasingly hang out with their buddies, have lunch, hit balls and don't necessarily even go out on the golf course -- that's the trend we see.” Rogers even created a place to practice fairway bunker shots. “It may be the toughest shot in golf: the long bunker shot," Rogers said. "But its difficulty is due, in part, to the fact that it's rarely practiced! At Mirasol, now you can.”

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