Infographic: Home of the Brave – A Look at Active Military and Veteran Homeownership

Differences in household composition and financing options incentivize homebuying demand for veteran and active military, according to the 2018 Veterans & Active Military Home Buyers Profile, which evaluated the differences of recent active-service and veteran home buyers and sellers to those who have never served.

Check out this infographic highlighting some of the report’s findings:

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Story Ideas: Consumers Want Sustainability in Real Estate

According to a new report from the National Association of REALTORS®, 61 percent of REALTORS® reported that consumers are interested in sustainability when it comes to buying a home. The report found that transportation and commuting are the most important environmental considerations consumers take into account, with easy access to highways (82 percent), short commute times and distance to work (81 percent) and walkability (51 percent) stated as very or somewhat important.

NAR President Elizabeth Mendenhall, a sixth-generation REALTOR® from Columbia, Missouri and CEO of RE/MAX Boone Realty, said, “REALTORS® are leaders in the conversation about real estate sustainability, energy conservation and resource efficiency, and we will continue to promote environmentally conscious strategies and best practices that benefit not just our clients, but also our communities.”

Story Springboard

Read NAR’s REALTORS® and Sustainability 2018 Report for more information on the growth of environmentally friendly home features and NAR’s efforts to promote sustainability in real estate. Speak with a recent homeowner in your area about how important energy efficiency was in deciding to buy. Talk to REALTORS® in your community about how they include sustainability in their listings and MLS.

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REALTORS® Attend Policy Briefing at the White House

REALTORS®, members of the National Association of REALTORS®, from across the country had the opportunity to attend a policy briefing at the White House Eisenhower Executive Office Building during the 2018 REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo. It was a great opportunity to hear first-hand about some of the policy initiatives the administration is focusing on that are impacting REALTORS®, consumers and the broader housing industry.

REALTORS® heard from and engaged with a number of administration officials, who addressed some of the specific concerns REALTORS® focused on during their legislative meetings. Andrew Olmem, special assistant to the president for economic policy, highlighted the House of Representative’s momentum to review the “Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act,” (S. 2155), a bipartisan bill that provides regulatory relief from certain provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act. Mr. Olmem noted the administration considers it  important to simplify and streamline current lending practices, which have become over-complicated and expensive and costing consumers  more money.

Adolfo Marzol, senior advisor to Secretary Carson, Department of Housing and Urban Development, offered remarks focusing on FHA financing for condominiums – an issue of significant interest to REALTORS®. Mr. Marzol reiterated the administration’s strong agreement with REALTORS® that the FHA’s condo policies need to be revised, but he could not specify a timeline for when changes would be finalized and go into effect. He also expressed a need for the FHA to modernize their systems, citing their 40-year-old mainframe as an example of of old technology slowing down critical processes for borrowers and lenders. The administration has proposed a fee in their budget requests to generate $20 million to update these systems.

REALTORS® also heard from Neomi Rao, the administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, who discussed the important role of that office, housed at the Office of Management and Budget, in reviewing administration regulations. Rao described some of the upcoming regulatory priorities, including the need for infrastructure reform through streamlining permits, reforms to the Endangered Species Act, and having the Environmental Protection Agency review the Waters of the U.S. regulations.

The final presenter, Bill Stepien, deputy assistant to the president and director of the Office of Political Affairs, gave an update on the current political environment and predictions for the coming mid-term election. Mr. Stepien outlined some of the challenges facing Republicans and a few of the administration’s economic and national security policies, which will shape some of the races across the country.

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Hot Home Trend: Edison Bulbs

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

Does your listing’s lighting need a contemporary makeover? Edison bulbs may be the answer. These clear glass light bulbs, in which the center is exposed, have a nostalgic-like appearance and let out a nice warm glow. They stand out, instead of allowing your lighting to blend in.

Edison bulbs may best fit in an industrial décor style, but we’re seeing them weaved more and more into other design styles too.

Table lamps, chandeliers, and pendant lights are getting an Edison-bulb upgrade. Not to mention, they’re popular outside at the moment too with stringed Edison-style bulbs to entertain your outdoor spaces. (Read: Add a Party Vibe to Your Outdoor Staging)

Check out some stylish ways Edison bulbs are being used in different home styles.

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FEMA Officials, Realtors® Participate in Dialogue on National Flood Insurance Program

David Stearrett, director of the Office of the Flood Insurance Advocate at the Federal Emergency Management Administration, led a panel discussion with fellow FEMA staff today at the REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo. The panel focused on the importance of the National Flood Insurance Program and steps the agency deems necessary to reduce the complexity of the program and transition it to a financially sound framework.

“FEMA continues to address NFIP and take the lead on customer experience reform initiatives to ensure a less frustrating and all-encompassing flood insurance program. It’s important that we come to a multi-year reauthorization to allow for more stability in the mortgage and real estate markets and allow FEMA to sustain FEMA’s NFIP transformation,” Stearrett said.

The National Association of Realtors® has tirelessly expressed to Congress that NFIP is a crucial program and failing to reauthorize NFIP would have dire consequences. Without NFIP, thousands of homeowners, consumers, and commercial property owners could soon find themselves unprotected and unable to get a mortgage. NFIP provides affordable flood insurance to property owners across 22,000 communities, protecting homes and businesses from major flood disasters.

NAR is urging the Senate to act on 5-year reauthorization and reform legislation adopted by the House last November.  Earlier this year, NAR scored a victory when Congress doubled flood map funding to $263 million, up from $177 million in the previous year, as part of the 2018 omnibus government spending bill.  The reauthorization bill would strengthen flood mapping and the mitigation, proofing and elevation of properties, as well as fund the Office of the Flood Insurance Consumer Advocate to assist homeowners with concerns over flood mapping and/or insurance ratings.

“Of particular focus is flood mapping, an issue Realtors® and their customers largely depend upon in property transactions. Flood mapping is continually a focal point for FEMA and we are working on map revisions to ensure more access to materials and data for homeowners and property owners, ultimately allowing for better-informed transactions and property details,” Stearrett stated.

With only two months to reauthorize the program, Realtors® remain concerned about what expiration means for their business, their clients and homeownership. During the NAR Legislative Meetings, thousands of Realtors visited congressional offices to encourage lawmakers to continue working on long-term reauthorization of the program. Congress must reauthorize the NFIP by no later than 11:59 pm on July 31, 2018.

On Tuesday morning, FEMA Administrator William Brock Long addressed Realtors® about the NFIP, disaster relief and ways real estate professionals can educate consumers on disaster insurance.

“I ask that Realtors® continue to teach your clients and communities about the importance of maintaining flood insurance and improving properties to protect against disaster.  FEMA continues to promote long-term reauthorization of the program to address budgetary constraints and regulatory roadblocks that have strained consumers since NFIP was established 50 years ago. I encourage Realtors® , as experts on this subject, to continue to share their opinions on ways to better shape flood insurance” Long said.

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How to Earthquake-Proof Your Home

Over the past 30 days, nearly 2,400 earthquakes have hit the island of Hawaii as seismic activity soars, and an eruption from the Kilauea volcano forced residents of several subdivisions to evacuate their homes. Although you might not live in that part of paradise, if you live in a state that occasionally gets hit with earthquakes, you […]

The post How to Earthquake-Proof Your Home appeared first on RISMedia’s Housecall.

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Staged to Sell: View Inside This Rosedale, Md. Home

Have a home you recently staged that you’d like to show off here at Styled Staged & Sold? Submit your staging photos for consideration, along with three to five of your best spruce-up tips. Contact Melissa Dittmann Tracey at 


Home stager: Cyndi Ryan with Staging Gracefully, Middle River, Md.

About the property: A 3-bedroom, 3-full bath single-family home with a 5-car garage and open floor plan in Rosedale, Md. The property was completely restored by Yanni LLC.

Photo credit: Cyndi Ryan with Staging Gracefully, Middle River, Md.

Photo credit: Cyndi Ryan with Staging Gracefully, Middle River, Md.

Photo credit: Cyndi Ryan with Staging Gracefully, Middle River, Md.

Photo credit: Cyndi Ryan with Staging Gracefully, Middle River, Md.

Photo credit: Cyndi Ryan with Staging Gracefully, Middle River, Md.

Cyndi’s staging tips from this property:

1. Clean is serene! A fresh, bright decor brings a feeling of peace and tranquility. Whites and beiges paired with a darker wood is a great way to really extenuate a crisp, clean palette. Keep counters clear. Tuck toasters, can openers, and other handheld appliances away to maintain an open non-cluttered prep area.

2. Art does not have to be store bought pictures and paintings. Be creative. Clocks have so much personality now. Choose one that really demonstrates the style of the house and because of their popularity they are also easy to find for an inexpensive price. Create colorful abstract canvases with acrylic paint. Mount an old piece of driftwood or an old farm tool over a sofa for a dramatic textured focal point.

3. Stage the open house. Your refreshments may be store bought but your presentation shouldn’t show it. Break out those gallon pitchers with the cute spout at the bottom and invest in a few really awesome serving plates and racks. Add fresh cut fruit to your drink cups. You want buyers to feel they just walked into the next home where they will entertain friends. Add a little soft jazz playing in the background or music that is gentle and peaceful.

Photo credit: Cyndi Ryan with Staging Gracefully, Middle River, Md.

4. Unclutter. Declutter. Disclutter. Keep your staging simple. Whether for selling that property or even in your own home, no more clutter. The era of knick knacks and curios full of figurines left us some time ago. Minimize to a few staple pieces atop cabinets and dressers. Bring in fresh flowers (or even realistic artificial) and greenery. Let nature help create a space that is welcoming and spacious.

5. Dress the house for the occasion. Ever gone to a party and found that you were overdressed or under-dressed? Know your audience. Designing decor that is the most trendy, cutting edge in the world of interior design isn’t what will speak to most buyers. Buyers are looking for a relateable atmosphere where they can picture themselves. Design your staging to meet the price of the home and neighborhood it’s in. Also, be sure to invest more in homes that will bring a clientele that is looking for a bit more drama. Don’t be afraid of jewel tones or rich textures. Just know what style speaks to your potential buyers for that home.



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What to expect at next week’s REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo

The start of NAR’s annual REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo in D.C. is less than a week away.

More than 9,000 Realtors®  and guests will arrive in Washington, D.C. starting May 14 to hear from industry experts on the most important issues impacting the real estate industry.

If you’re a member of the media and interested in registering, check out our conference newsroom at for more information or contact a member of the Media team.

Here are the most notable sessions during the week:


  • 8–9:30 a.m.: Federal Legislative & Political Forum (Marriott Wardman Park Marriott Ballroom)

Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator William “Brock” Long  will address a broad range of disaster and emergency management topics, from National Flood Insurance Program reauthorization and federal disaster relief to rebuilding assistance and mitigation in the aftermath of a record-breaking hurricane season.

  • 1–3 p.m.: Real Property Valuation Forum: Rethinking Real Estate Valuation: Alternatives to Traditional Appraisals (Marriott Wardman Park Thurgood Marshall Ballroom North East)

Hear from a panel of experts about the increasing use of alternatives to traditional, in-person appraisals for valuations during real estate transactions. Panelists discuss the potential benefits and pitfalls of using data-based valuation methods, as well as desktop or hybrid appraisals.

  • 4–5 p.m.: NAR 360 (Marriott Wardman Park Marriott Ballroom)

Hear updates from Realtor® leaders about key issues facing the association, members and the industry.


  • 7–8 a.m.: Federal Priority Issues Briefing (Marriott Wardman Park Marriott Ballroom)

Hear information, analysis and perspectives on NAR’s key public policy initiatives, including strong net neutrality protections, reform and reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program, tax policy and equal access to housing opportunities.

  • 8:30–10:00 a.m.: General Session (Marriott Wardman Park Marriott Ballroom)

HUD Secretary Ben Carson will discuss the agency’s commitment to fair housing and Congressman Emanuel Cleaver (D-Missouri) will inspire the audience with his personal story about the importance of safe and affordable housing. NAR will share research on the development of racially and economically diverse communities, and industry partners will share their priorities for and perspectives on the fight for fair housing.

  • 12:30–2 p.m.: Regulatory Issues Forum: The New Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Marriott Wardman Park Marriott Ballroom)

CFPB Acting Director Mick Mulvaney will address the latest actions out of the CFPB, plans for improved efficiency and effectiveness of agency operations, and his perspectives on issues important to the real estate industry.


  • 8-10 a.m.: Residential Economic Issues and Trends Forum (Marriott Wardman Park Marriott Ballroom)

NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun will share his market expectations for the remainder of 2018. He will be joined by® Chief Economist Danielle Hale who will speak about the low affordability and the shortage of housing inventory. NAR’s Jessica Lautz will also share research tracking homeownership amid changing economic and demographic conditions.

  • 1–3 p.m.: Commercial Economic Issues and Business Trends Forum (Omni Shoreham, Diplomat Room)

Lawrence Yun will overview commercial markets and forecast future conditions. He will be joined by Dr. Richard Barkham, global chief economist at CBRE, and Danielle Hale,® chief economist.


  • 10:30 a.m.–12 p.m.: Outlook for Home Prices and Residential Construction (Marriott Wardman Park, Maryland Suite)

Lawrence Yun will lead a discussion about housing demand and construction and the impact on and outlook for home prices and will be joined by Dr. Len Kiefer, deputy chief economist at Freddie Mac, and Ken Simonson, chief economist at Associated General Contractors of America.

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Story Ideas: Don’t Bust Your Budget on Home Repairs

For new homeowners, the first time the toilet starts leaking can cause them to panic and run to hire the nearest plumber. They may be surprised to find out, however, how easy it is to make some of these minor fixes themselves and that doing so can save them the upwards of $150 per hour that it costs to hire a professional. Small projects like stopping a leaky faucet or fixing a broken garbage disposal can be as simple as watching a YouTube video and a quick trip to the hardware store.

Gold coin stacked 3 step or graphs with wooden home on a white background,Saving money for home repair

Story Springboard

Check out HouseLogic’s “Secrets for Maintaining Your Home With Less Time, Money(link is external)” spotlight for more information on how to save money on household maintenance. Speak to a repair person in your area about repairs that homeowners can attempt themselves and when they should hire a professional. Ask a REALTOR® for the advice he or she gives to first-time homebuyers on simple ways to save money on home repairs.

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What’s the Buzz Behind the Lagom Home Style?

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine 

Just when everyone was getting their hygge on—a new staging style has taken hold. Instead of it being all about cozying up your home décor, now it’s all about stripping it down and being minimal.

The Scandinavian concept of lagom began taking hold last year and is catching on more in 2018. Case in point, Pinners on Pinterest are searching for “lagom” decorating ideas 905 percent more this year than they were in 2017, according to the 2018 Pinterest Home Report.

Lagom is usually described as “not too much, not too little, just right.” For home staging, lagom fits right in. It’s all about decluttering a space. You decorate with only the essentials.

The Danish concept of hygge—all the rage in recent years—was all about taking your décor to the cozy side. Think lush blankets and fireside interiors.

With lagom, focus on functional furnishing pieces—like those that double up as storage–and that have a minimalistic look. Only a few colors are typically used in the home, such as complementary neutrals (e.g. white, grey, and beige). Pair down accessories from bookshelves and tabletops. Create just one focal point per room, such as a wall art piece or a statement sofa or modern rug. And, add in some indoor plants as a nod to nature and sustainability, which also goes along with the lagom mindset.

Such principles like these from lagom are certainly starting to sound a lot like some of the guidebooks on good home staging!

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