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Protect Renters From Scammers RentHop, an online rental listing platform, conducted a study that unveiled the most common rental scams and how to avoid them. Here are some warning signs and tips to be on the lookout for:

1. Money wiring: If potential renters are ever asked to wire funds via Western Union or Money Gram or through an “escrow service” before they’ve even seen the property, then the apartment probably doesn't exist. RentHop, which processes thousands of messages between renters and owners each day, says they’ve never seen an instance where one of these payment methods is preferred by the property owner or manager.

2. Asking for any money before seeing the rental: Scammers love to take advantage of customers who are in a state of urgency. Someone who has to move

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Net-zero construction is growing rapidly: In 2016, 33 percent more net-zero units were built across the United States and Canada than in the previous year. In total, that's 8,023 new single-family and multifamily net-zero units added to the pipeline in one year.

Net-zero homes are structures that produce at least as much energy as they consume. More builders are experimenting with net-zero construction; prominent examples include a big suburban development in Austin called Whisper Valley, an elementary school in Staten Island, N.Y., and a new Cornell campus dormitory in New York.

Builders are also increasing the scale of such projects. Sixty-one percent of the net-zero buildings built in 2016 were part of larger multiunit projects. The largest

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Help your clients give the illusion of a perfectly manicured yard with these easy steps for sprucing up greenery from HouseLogic.

Create accents with rocks. They don’t require the same level of care, water, and sunlight that grass and plants do. Rocks are good tools for forming pathways, adding design elements, or creating dry creek beds. Spots in the yard that collect water can be kept under control with rocks, which aid water runoff.

Use colorful objects instead of flowers. Benches, birdbaths, pots, and chairs can all be used to add color to your landscape without planting flowers, which require regular maintenance. Try adding a couple of yellow ceramic flower pots—without the flowers—for decoration.

Have a rain garden. Turn that mushy chunk of yard

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Homeowners can make a lot of mistakes during that first year in homeownership, especially when eagerness can sometimes lead to ignorance. HouseLogic recently featured several of the most common and costly missteps homeowners most often make in their first year, including:

1. Always going with the lowest bid.
Homeowners may be smart about gathering multiple bids when, say, that HVAC system needs repairs. But they may be tempted to always go with the lowest price. HouseLogic recommends ensuring that all bids include the same project scope. At times, one bid may be less expensive but may not include all of the actual cost or details of the project, or the contractor may lack the experience to do a good job.

2. Submitting small insurance claims.
Owners

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Cybercrime is posing a risk to an increasing number of real estate transactions, with home buyers’ down payment funds the main target of scammers. Anthony Lamacchia, broker-owner of Lamacchia Realty in Waltham, Mass., wrote a recent article for Boston.com warning consumers to beware about the scam.

Criminals are targeting home buyers by sending them emails that look like they might come from their real estate agent or attorney. The emails may contain signatures, fonts, and logos that are identical to the originals. The email then usually claims the plans for submitting the down payment have changed and provides new instructions to wire funds to an account. However, if buyers follow those new instructions, they often lose their funds forever.

“Hackers can

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Homeowners doing renovations can develop feuds with their neighbors if they’re not cognizant of how work on the project affects the rest of the neighborhood. After all, one homeowner’s upgrade could be another’s downgrade. Realtor.com® recently ticked off common home improvement spats.

Additions that block views. Large additions that block views or cast shadows onto a neighboring lot are the most common sources of neighbor disputes involving a remodeling project, according to Mark Grisafe, an architect in Long Beach, Calif. Homeowners would be wise to consider what the neighbors will see from their windows—will they suddenly have a view of a brick wall?—once the addition is built.

Lengthy projects. Tension with neighbors is bound to brew if there’s “a

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Foreclosures Now ‘Unicorns’ of Housing MarketForeclosure filings, which include default notices, scheduled auctions, and bank repossessions, are down 20 percent from the same period a year ago, according to the Midyear 2017 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report from ATTOM Data Solutions.

“With a few local market exceptions, foreclosures have become the unicorns of the housing market: hard to find but highly sought after,” says Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at ATTOM Data Solutions.

Foreclosures are fading overall, but there has been a notable uptick in some areas. “These divergent foreclosure trends are likely the result of the big banks and government agencies selling off distressed loans over the past few years to non-bank entities that are now foreclosing on an increasing volume of that deferred

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Survey: Most Renters in 50 Years More Americans are choosing to rent than at any other point in the last 50 years, according to a report by the Pew Research Center. In 2016, 36.6 percent of households rented their homes, just shy of the 37 percent recorded in 1965, data shows.

Overall, the number of U.S. households has increased by 7.6 million over the past decade. But while the number of homeowner households has remained relatively flat over that time period, the number of renter households has soared by 10 percent. “There is some evidence that increased student debt has made it more difficult for households headed by young adults to become homeowners,” Richard Fry, senior researcher at the Pew Research Center, told CNBC. Fry also notes that young adults may be struggling to save

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Older Americans are placing a higher value on living in walkable urban centers, according to a new survey of 1,000 respondents nationwide about their living preferences.

A majority of respondents surveyed by A Place for Mom, a national referral service, said it was “very important” or “somewhat important” to live in a walkable neighborhood. They also sought neighborhoods with low crime and those that are close to family.

“It’s time to abandon the idea that only millennials and Generation X care about walkability and the services available in dense urban neighborhoods,” says Charlie Severn, head of marketing at A Place for Mom. “These results show a growing set of senior housing consumers also find these neighborhoods desirable. It’s a trend that should be

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Rent vs. Own? The Best Option in Each State Home prices may be on the rise across the country, but you’re still better off buying a home in most states in the U.S. than renting one. Consumers in only 11 states will find renting more affordable than buying a home, according to a new study by GOBankingRates, a personal finance website.

GOBankingRates analyzed the cost of renting versus owning a home in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Researchers looked at estimated rent prices for all homes listed on a real estate website. It then calculated the estimated monthly mortgage to own a home in each state, based on the median list price of homes, a 20 percent down payment, and a 30-year fixed-rate loan.


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