Police: Woman accused of spray-painting racial slur arrested

The Blade reports neighborhood residents informed a real estate agent attempting to sell a client’s house that the slur and "Hail Trump" were painted on the home.

Police: Woman accused of spray-painting racial slur arrested syndicated from Real Estate News


6 Best Amazon Prime Day Deals for Your Home, to Grab Before They’re Gone

Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

July always brings the promise of fireworks, sky-high temperatures, and, of course, Amazon Prime Day.

The online retail giant’s annual flash sale is the time for big deals—many of which are on items for the home. The steepest bargains will be on Amazon devices like the Echo, Alexa, and Fire tablet, but if the previous years’ offerings are any indication, we’ll be seeing plenty of useful and stylish home decor items and appliances thrown into the mix.

When is Amazon Prime Day?

Prime Day 2018 officially runs from Monday, July 16 at 3 p.m. ET to Tuesday, July 17 at 11:59 p.m. ET. Yes, it’s technically more than a day, but if Amazon wants to give us more than 24 hours to save money, who are we to argue?

How to shop Prime Day deals

Before you get ready to shop with wild abandon, don’t forget this important detail: Only Amazon Prime members have access to Prime Day deals. If you’ve never opened a Prime account before, you’re eligible for a 30-day free trial right now. Otherwise, you’ll have to shell out $13 a month for a Prime membership, which includes a number of perks like free two-day shipping, plus streamable music, TV shows, movies, and more.

While certain deals will only be unveiled starting at 3 p.m. today, a handful of products were discounted in the days leading up to this sale, to whet customers’ appetites. Here are a few we spotted that are our favorites so far, in case you want to toss them in your cart before they’re out of stock (hey, it could happen!) or before Prime Day goes bye-bye and they disappear for good.

1. Echo Show

amazon prime day home deals
The Echo Show is a hands-free helper for your home.


This is a deal you won’t see often. While Amazon is notorious for slashing prices on its own products, the bargain on the Echo Show is the biggest discount it’s ever offered. Usually retailing for $229.99, the Echo Show now is on sale for $129.99—nearly 44% off!

The Echo Show is essentially the video version of the Amazon Echo. It still features the same functions of the Echo with the voice assistant Alexa (Alexa, play the “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” soundtrack!), but now users can have an interactive experience by watching what happens on screen.

The possibilities for using the Echo Show in your home are virtually endless. Keep it in the kitchen to watch breaking news when you’re eating breakfast, or put it on your nightstand to receive weather updates as soon as you wake up. You can even sync your security cameras and baby monitors to it.

2. Portable propane grill

amazon prime day home deals
Keep this portable grill in your home, or take it on the go.


This lightweight tabletop grill ($229.99) is perfect for cooking in small spaces. Whether you’re hosting a barbecue on your apartment patio or serving up hotdogs at a tailgate, the newest portable grill from Coleman is easy to use and simple to transport. The grill boasts two adjustable burners to precisely control meat temperatures and two sliding side tables to keep utensils and sauces on hand. It also has a push-button ignition (read: no matches) as well as a removable water pan that catches runaway cooking grease.

While this grill is clearly a deal, there’s no exact markdown per se, since it’s part of Amazon’s Prime Day Launches, a selection of exclusive new products that are available to Prime members, but only for a limited time. Exactly how limited, they don’t say, so you’d better act fast!

3. Modern accent chair

amazon prime day home deals
Relax on the soft cushions of this wingback chair.


Looking to update your decor? You’ll be happy to hear that Prime Day will feature discounts up to up to 25% on furniture and accessories, especially Amazon’s private label home brands Rivet and Stone & Beam. One particularly timeless piece that caught our eye was a denim wingback accent chair, on sale for $310.79 from $449.

Meshing classic with contemporary, this accent chair puts a modern spin on the wingback look. Its clean lines and thick-woven fabric can add comfort to a living room. Plus, the chair is extremely easy to clean. Amazon recommends wiping it down with a soft, dry cloth. 

4. Double-door metal dog crate

amazon prime day home deals
This highly rated dog crate has many uses for your pup.


Ideal for both puppies and adult dogs, this metal crate ($52.27 compared to the original $65.99) is top rated, with over 7,600 positive reviews, including this one from a happy dog lover: “My pit bull-Lab mix loves it and I love it too cause now he can’t eat my floor and walls.” Good to know!

Use the crate for house training—or simply give your pooch a safe and secure place to relax.

Its sturdy, double-wire design features two swing-open doors for easier access to your pup and includes a removable divider. Added bonus: a washable plastic pan sits at the bottom of the crate for easy cleanup in the event of water-bowl spills or an accident.

5. OXO coffee grinder

amazon prime day home deals
Create quality blends with this sleek coffee grinder.


This stainless steel coffee grinder is already racking up five-star reviews. The model has 15 settings, so you can adjust the grind exactly as you like, plus its one-touch start timer remembers your settings for next time. The hopper holds three-quarters of a pound of coffee beans, and the grinder produces enough grounds to make 12 cups of joe.

Worried that using the grinder will make your house sound like a bustling coffee shop? Reviewers have noted that it makes ground coffee quickly and, more importantly, quietly.

As part of Amazon’s Prime Day Launches, this new product’s price is a bargain straight out of the gates at $99.99, a full $100 less than other comparable coffee grinders currently featured on OXO’s website.

6. Gray slipcover sofa

amazon prime day home deals
Add a modern touch to your space with this slipcover sofa.


On the hunt for a seat for two? This Stone & Beam gray slipcover sofa ($599.00) is 25% off. Its crisp, modern design includes a machine-washable slipcover and corner frames upholstered in a blend of cotton, linen, viscose, and polyester.

The frame padding and back seat cushions are made from high-density foam, and critics gush about its comfort. “One of the most comfortable couches I have been on,” writes one reviewer.

And the cherry on top? No assembly required!

The post 6 Best Amazon Prime Day Deals for Your Home, to Grab Before They’re Gone appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

6 Best Amazon Prime Day Deals for Your Home, to Grab Before They’re Gone syndicated from Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®News – Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®

The Fastest-Growing Suburbs in America: It’s a Sprawl-for-All!

Fastest Growing Suburbs


Americans are falling in love with the ’burbs again. The longstanding romance cooled a bit after the 2008 financial crisis, but as cash makes its way back into personal savings accounts, folks are again indulging their instinctual urge to grab their own piece of the national dream, front and back yard included—thank you very much.

But if you think suburbs are serene and low-key compared to the bustle of big cities, you probably haven’t bought a home in a popular suburb lately. Demand is fierce in communities that have the right mix of good schools, short commute times, fun and walkable downtowns, and lots of new, spacious homes. And things are only likely to get hotter, considering that millennials, America’s biggest group of buyers, are moving to suburbia in ever-greater numbers.

Realtor.com®’s data team set out to identify the nation’s most sought-after ’burbs—the ones experiencing construction booms (adding much-needed inventory to the market), home appreciation, and population growth (making them smart investments). Their growth didn’t just happen—these places chased it, with developed downtowns and plenty of citylike amenities.

“A fast-growing suburb gets that way by attracting builders—working up a business case for people to come in and build in their community,” says Javier Vivas, director of economic research for realtor.com. “These [are places that] have what people want. They aren’t right in the city, and they aren’t too far out, where commute times are long.”

To find the country’s fastest-growing suburbs,* we analyzed more than 7,000 ZIP codes, focussing on the ones outside a city’s limits and within an hour’s commute in rush hour to the center of the nearest urban area. We also calculated home appreciation over the last three years and the increase in the number of home listings in that same time frame. Next, we looked at population growth. Finally, we factored in the share of new construction at the county level.

Looking to leave the urban nest for a bedroom community you can call your own? Let’s see where Americans are flocking.

The fastest-growing suburbs in the United States

Tony Frenzel

1. Apex, NC

ZIP code: 27523
Metropolitan area: Raleigh, NC
Median home list price: $494,900
Three-year price appreciation: 50%**
Three-year home listing increase: 307.4%***

Apex, NC


Higher prices within the nearby city of Raleigh have pushed many cash-strapped buyers into the suburbs. And Apex’s walkable downtown, with a few blocks of storefronts, has made it appealing to city folks.

“The downtown is what really makes Apex what it is. … There are lots of festivals, and the town organizes plenty of family-oriented activities,” says one resident, Suzanne Outten, 45. “There’s a farmers market every Saturday morning. The vendors get to know you and your kids; they say hi to you by name.” Sweet!

Outten and her husband have lived in the community for 17 years. When they recently decided they wanted to buy a bigger home, they considered moving closer to his work in the city. But they couldn’t bring themselves to move away from Apex.

“We chose to stay because we love living here,” Outten says. “With as much growth that we’ve seen, I thought the small-town charm would decline. But it hasn’t. They’ve managed to make it even better.”

Apex benefits from its close proximity to Research Triangle Park, home of around 170 companies offering plenty of high-paying tech and pharmaceutical industry gigs.

The homes most in demand are four-bedroom, single-family houses with two-car garages that are priced from around $400,000 to just over $500,000, says Drew Ludlow, a local real estate broker with Giving Tree Realty. And more of them seem to be going up every day.

“The construction is out of control,” Ludlow says. “There are new sections being cleared all the time [for] building 50 to 100 homes.”

2. Ponte Vedra, FL 

ZIP code: 32081
Metropolitan area: Jacksonville, FL
Median home list price: $443,300
Three-year price appreciation: 13.4%
Three-year home listing increase: 70.7%

Ponte Vedra, FL


Suburbs are where folks move to when they want more space for their growing families—or shoe collections. But Ponte Vedra residents don’t have to trade fun for square footage. There’s the the lazy river and slide tower at the Nocatee Splash Waterpark in Ponte Vedra. There are plenty of tennis courts and golf courses. And did we mention it’s less than a 10-minute drive to the ocean?

That’s why Ponte Vedra is booming with sprawling single-family home communities. Homes here come in all kinds of styles: everything from Mediterranean-style homes like this three-bedroom priced at $360,000, to ranches like this four-bedroom with a breakfast bar, priced at $499,900.

The area, headquarters for the PGA Tour, has grown into an affluent community. The median household income in Ponte Vedra is $96,700, compared to just $48,300 30 minutes away in Jacksonville.

“We’re seeing a lot of families move in because of the schools,” says local real estate broker Eileen McVeigh of Re/Max Coastal Real Estate. She’s also seeing a lot of retirees moving in to be near their grandkids.

3. Frisco, TX

ZIP code: 75035 
Metropolitan area: Dallas, TX
Median home list price: $474,200
Three-year price appreciation: 21.2%
Three-year home listing increase: 177.9%

How big is the car industry in Frisco? There’s a car-vending machine.

Laura Buckman/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Toyota began moving employees from across the country into its new corporate campus in the Dallas region last year, with about 250 relocating per week. All of those new employees in need of housing have led to a building spree. You need look no further than the suburban community of Frisco, roughly a 40-minute drive into downtown Dallas and only a 10-minute drive from Toyota Motor North America headquarters.

More than one in three homes on the market in Collin County, which includes Frisco, are newly constructed. The community is now dotted with new 3,000 square-foot, single-family houses with big yards—a size you might expect to find in the Lonestar State.

While huge single-family homes like this four-bedroom 3,400 square-foot home priced at $468,500 dominate the market, there are some large multifamily buildings going up, too.

Another big draw for buyers are the schools. Frisco was named one of the best suburbs in which to raise a family in Texas and one of the state’s best suburbs to live in by the ranking website Niche.com.

4. Scottdale, GA

ZIP code: 30079 
Metropolitan area: Atlanta, GA
Median home list price: $404,700
Three-year price appreciation: 207%
Three-year home listing increase: 14%

A four-bedroom home in Scottdale, GA


A mix of affordability and a wave of desirable new construction lured masses of buyers to Scottdale, just 25 minutes east of Atlanta. But new homes sure aren’t cheap. They’ve effectively boosted the median home price in the area from $131,800 to $404,700—in just three years.

But that doesn’t mean bargain hunters can’t snap up the plenty of older homes for sale in the mid-$200,000s. Just look at this three-bedroom bungalow built in 1940, with an eat-in-kitchen, walk-in pantry, and a front porch, on the market for $279,000.

And signs point to even more construction: There are around three dozen plots of land for sale in the area.

Bonus: The community is only a 10-minute drive to Emory University, one of the best in the South.

5. Lakewood Ranch, FL

ZIP code: 34211 
Metropolitan area: North Port, FL
Median home list price: $427,000
Three-year price appreciation: 5.7%
Three-year home listing increase: 73.4%

Home for sale in Lakewood Ranch, FL


Back in the mid-1990s, Lakewood Ranch, a master-planned suburban community 30 minutes from Sarasota, FL, started attracting retirees and young families alike. Give credit to the warm weather and the many single-family homes that sit right on the lakes that dot the region or have views of the many golf courses.

Much of the land the community sits on came was originally owned by the Uihlein family, which made its money from the Joseph Schlitz Brewing Company, once America’s largest beer producer. And the community is still growing, thanks in part to its aggressive outreach to new business and residents.

“Lakewood Ranch does a hell of a job at marketing,” says Kelly Murphy, a local real estate agent with Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate-Florida. “They are all over social media and newsprint. They do lots of promotional things.”

Those campaigns have attracted many new buyers, particularly to the homes at the Esplanade Golf and Country Club, she says. The community features tennis and pickleball courts, a wellness center, and two pools. Check out this two-bedroom, 1,800-square-foot single-family home priced at $439,900. Any takers?

6. Arabi, LA 

ZIP code: 70032 
Metropolitan area: New Orleans, LA
Median home list price: $249,700
Three-year price appreciation: 86.7%
Three-year home listing increase: 76.3%

Cottage home in Arabi, LA


Hurricane Katrina didn’t just devastate New Orleans. When it hit nearby Arabi in 2005, it tossed trees onto homes, turned over cars, and leveled local businesses. Most houses that weren’t ruined were damaged by winds or flooding. This pushed prices all the way down. But as the region and the national economy have improved, many new homes have gone up, while others have been remodeled.

“Everyone said it would take 10 years to come back, which it did,” says local real estate agent Lara Schultz of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. “We’re [finally] gaining momentum again with new construction.”

Just about 20 minutes from downtown New Orleans, Arabi is attracting both middle-class families and single, female buyers, Schultz says. They’re coming for the new homes—usually cottages, with high ceilings and porches. Or they want the town’s remaining historical homes, which often date back to the early 20th century and were made out of salvaged wood from ships.

7. Manor, TX

ZIP code: 78653 
Metropolitan area: Austin, TX
Median home list price: $237,800
Three-year price appreciation: 23.6%
Three-year home listing increase: 142.4% 

Home for sale in Manor, TX


For more than a decade, Austin has ranked among the country’s fastest-growing cities and tech hubs. But all those newcomers have put home prices out of reach for many folks. And that has led buyers and builders to expand out east into the ’burbs.

Manor has become nearly unrecognizable over the past decade. Its population was just 1,200 in 2000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. By last year, the number of residents had climbed above 9,000.

Affordability is this community’s key selling point, with a median list price at $237,800, as compared with $425,000 within the Austin city limits.

There are lots of subdivisions filled with three- and four-bedroom, single-family homes. Expect to see residences like this four-bedroom 2,000 square-foot home built this year and priced at $256,800, with a Kimbell floorplan, tile backsplash, and covered back patio.

And folks here don’t have to go into Austin to have fun. They can take a tour of the Banner Distilling Company, a small operation that makes vodka and whiskey. Or they can go horseback riding at the White Fences Equestrian Center. (Disclaimer: Horseback riding and vodka don’t mix.)

8. Aurora, CO

ZIP code: 80018
Metropolitan area: Denver, CO
Median home list price: $418,400
Three-year price appreciation: 19.4%
Three-year home listing increase: 175.1%

Aerial view of Aurora, CO


All the tech money that has flowed into Denver has made home prices surge. So buyers on a budget are pouring over into Aurora, just east of the city, where subdivisions are popping up at a rapid pace. “There’s tons of new construction,” says Kelly Brink, managing broker at 8z Real Estate. “There’s such a demand [from buyers that] they can’t keep up with it.”

Aurora’s school systems make it particularly attractive for young families who want to live in neighborhoods with pools, community centers, and gyms. Buyers can get spacious, single-family homes in the $300,000 range if they’re willing to compromise on the age and amenities of their home—or they can shell out for top-of-the-line properties selling for more than $1 million.

“There’s lots to do outdoors, which attracts a lot of younger families. You can go on the hiking trails or go to mountains,” Brink says. “We have easy access to the trail system that connects to Denver. You can ride your bike all the way downtown.”

9. Waukee, IA

ZIP code: 50263
Metropolitan area: Des Moines, IA
Median home list price: $342,900
Three-year price appreciation: 12.8%
Three-year home listing increase: 24.9%

Waukee, IA


Waukee, about 20 minutes west of Des Moines, IA, is no longer a blue-collar industrial town. It has become a middle-class haven packed with middle-class subdivisions, with sidewalks leading down cul-de-sacs adorned with three-bedroom, three-bathroom houses.

Among the most rapidly growing U.S. suburbs, Waukee has the highest rate of new construction. More than 55% of the homes listed through the first six months of this year in Dallas County, IA, where Waukee is located, were newly built.

And not only houses are going up. A new movie theater, The Palms Theatre, is slated to open in Waukee this year. It will have an 85-foot-wide Imax, the third-largest screen in the state. The town even got its first Starbucks this year.

10. Nolensville, TN

ZIP code: 37135
Metropolitan area: Nashville, TN
Median home list price: $511,100
Three-year price appreciation: 34.3%
Three-year home listing increase: 55.3%

Large home for sale in Nolensville, TN


Suburbs succeed when they have the right mix of big, beautiful homes, great schools, short commute times, and safe neighborhoods. Nolensville does all of this really well. In fact, Niche.com ranked it as the ’burb with the best public schools in Tennessee. Its popularity has also been accelerated by the explosive growth of nearby Nashville—and rising home prices.

It’s popular with young families and professionals buying their first, three-bedroom homes in subdivisions. Prices range from the high $300,000s to the low $700,000s. Take this three-bedroom, two-bath home with a fireplace, granite countertops, and a sunroom, priced at $339,900.

“We’re a quaint small town that is growing by leaps and bounds,” says Nolensville Mayor Jimmy Alexander. That’s led to more traffic and higher home prices. “We are seeing new faces, mostly getting middle-class people moving here that want to get involved in the community.”

* We used the Nielsen definition of suburbs and eliminated ZIP codes within big city limits. The price increases compared the first six months of 2015 to the first six months of 2018; home listing increases compared the first six months of 2015 to the first six months of 2018.

Sources: realtor.com, Nielsen, and the U.S. Census Bureau

Allison Underhill contributed to this report.

The post The Fastest-Growing Suburbs in America: It’s a Sprawl-for-All! appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

The Fastest-Growing Suburbs in America: It’s a Sprawl-for-All! syndicated from Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®News – Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®

Yes, there is such a thing as too much real estate tech

Today it seems as though there is a tech tool or solution for every stage of the real estate transaction, from marketing and advertising to listing and closing. Sometimes it can feel like we are kids in a candy store, overwhelmed by so many choices that promise they will miraculously improve our business.

But is there such a thing as too much tech for real estate? And what is the perfect balance of tech tools that produce the highest agent adoption and profitability for the brokerage?

In an effort to better understand the average number of technology platforms that are deployed by brokerages, we studied a statistically significant sample size of 50 similar-sized brokerages. These brokerages have an average agent count of 250, are located across the country, and are a mixture of franchise brands and independents, without any duplicates of franchises that could skew the data point numbers.

Our findings were startling. The average number of separate technology platforms and tools being used by these brokerages was a whopping 13.125.

Why the need for so much tech?

Brokerages employ multiple tech platforms for various reasons, but their top reason is to provide everything they think their agents need and want. Unfortunately, many tech systems specialize in only one thing, so the need to pile on other solutions to fill the gaps is real.

But what we discovered is that the more tech you pile on, the more challenges you create. Adoption rates decline, information can be both siloed and redundant in the various systems, and brokers are spending a lot of money for tech they thought was helping their business.

Here are three reasons to consider consolidating your tech:

1. Agent adoption is always a challenge

“Agent adoption is a struggle enough with one core piece of technology,” shared Travis Saxton, VP of Technology for T3 Sixty Technology Consulting. “Adding more and more technologies in an attempt to plug platform gaps leads to even less adoption of agents. They become overwhelmed and don’t know what to use or when to use it.”

Brokers work hard to find systems that their agents will use, but frequently agents and teams still go out and buy their own solutions that fit their business needs best. The best solutions out there will service the needs of the agent, the team, and the broker, all in one place. Seeing adoption rates soar is just ONE of the benefits of consolidating your tech.

2. Costs easily get out of control

With every technology solution deployed comes a recurring monthly or annual cost. Taking this overall cost and referencing it with how many agents are actually using the technology can be a scary thought — potentially thousands of dollars are being wasted on systems that simply are not used.

In working with our broker and enterprise clients at Inside Real Estate, we’ve seen an average cost savings of 40-60% as these companies consolidate their solutions. That is a major advantage to any business. Couple that cost savings with higher adoption rates and consolidation is the undeniable future for real estate tech.

3. Tech tools that don’t talk to each other

Not a lot of industry solutions have been built to “plug and play” with an open platform, making it harder to connect your systems together. Typically, having disconnected systems in your brokerage means having multiple logins, multiple accounts to manage, and multiple ways for data to get duplicated or dropped. Simple lead management can be anything but, potentially creating confusing messaging for your clients and prospects.

For any business to operate smoothly, data should easily pass from one system to another. A platform that covers your core tech and makes plugging in other systems easy is crucial, and it’s the reason we’ve built kvCORE Platform with a built-in API structure.

What you can do today

If you find that you’ve deployed multiple technology solutions and agent adoption is low, you are not alone. The good news? It’s easier to fix than you might think.

Make a short list of which technologies are pertinent to keep your brokerage running. Then, do a little research to find the platforms that can offer many — if not all — of these core technologies in one solution.

By leveraging an “all-in-one” solution and avoiding piling on disparate tools, your brokerage will immediately experience more agent adoption, save a significant amount of money and have a powerful recruiting message. Less tech is proving to be the answer to a profitable real estate business.

The kvCORE Platform by Inside Real Estate provides brokerages with core technology tools to run their business at every level (brokerage, team, agent) while also allowing for integrations with top technology tools in the industry.

Catch a demo to learn more and find out how much money you can save by consolidating your tech with kvCORE Platform.

Yes, there is such a thing as too much real estate tech syndicated from Inman