Blu Homes' new, 1,600-square-foot home can be custom built with up to four bedrooms.
Oh, how far prefabricated homes have come.
I try not to be in awe, especially since a 10,000-square-foot home is capable of achieving a green rating from Berkeley, Calif.
But modular home maker Blu Homes' announcement that it's adding a second-story option to its prefab homes inventory just makes the burgeoning industry that much more exciting, adding myriad options for eco-friendly consumers looking for a custom-built home.
Appropriately named the Evolution, the new 1,600-square-foot model starts at $260,000, and comes with three or four bedrooms, two full bathrooms, high ceilings, a large kitchen, a roof deck and south-facing windows that help it appear bright and spacious.
In just six weeks and with a bit of hard work, your yard can be weed-free and low-maintenance.
Spring may have just started, but summer will be here before you know it -- and with it the constant battle to keep your lawn beautiful.
Especially for those of you still hoping to put your homes on the market in time for the spring buying rush, primping your outdoors is one of the best ways to get a better return on your home's value.
MSN Real Estate offers plenty of advice on keeping your yard in primo condition, but Popular Mechanics says that sometimes, that's just not enough. Sometimes, you just have to give up and start all over again.
If your first home means your first garden, these tips might help you keep things in perspective.
With the expiration of the homebuyer tax credit just a month away, we can expect a lot of new homebuyers to be wandering aimlessly through their yards in the coming months.
If you haven't bought a home yet but still hope to qualify for the program, you have until April 30 to be in contract for a home, which means you need to be ready to put in an offer on a home this week to be on track, says Move.com.
That also puts you (ideally) on schedule to close on your home by the program's final expiration of June 30, giving you plenty of time to don some gardening gloves.
Don't know where to start? Whether you're a new homeowner, a renter trying out container gardening or a city dweller who just bought a lush vacation home, Bart Ziegler with The Wall Street Journal shares the lessons he learned -- the hard way:
Sales of summer homes are back on the upswing, but consider these common mistakes before you buy your own.
There still are deals to be had on vacation homes while prices and mortgage rates remain low.
That combination may have been enough to help boost sales of vacation homes in 2009, as sales rose 7.3% to 533,000 from the 513,000 vacation homes purchased in 2008, according to the National Association of Realtors.
But, apparently, the appeal didn't have the same effect for investors, who in comparison buy a vacation home mostly for its rental income. The Realtors' Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Survey (pdf) instead found a 15.9% decrease in investment-home sales, with purchases down to 940,000 in 2009 from 1.12 million in 2008.
However, if you're interested in joining the ranks of vacation homebuyers, take heed of The Wall Street Journal's advice on buying a vacation home: 10 Summer Home Mistakes.
The program's reliability is in question after a scathing report found it easily approved 15 bogus products.
If you're eager for a rebate through your state's portion of the "Cash for Appliances" cache, you might want to hold off on the excitement over the energy savings until after reading this article in The New York Times.
In a nine-month study by the Government Accountability Office (pdf), 15 bogus products received Energy Star certification, including a gas-powered alarm clock and an "air purifier” that appeared to be a feather duster attached to an electric space heater.
Two of the bogus companies created to submit these products were even contacted by retailers about their products because the companies were listed as Energy Star partners.
The verdict: "Energy Star is for the most part a self-certification program vulnerable to fraud and abuse."
The annual decline in prices reaches its lowest level in three years in January, as the market shows signs of stabilization.
Until home price declines become a thing of the past, you're going to have to put up with a little more optimism about the market not being as bad as it could be.
Or as bad as it was. In January, the annual decrease in home prices hit its lowest level in three years, falling just 0.7% from January 2009 in its eighth consecutive month of improvement, according to Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller home price indexes.
And there's even a little room for some real optimism in January's report, with home values actually rising 0.3% from December. In addition, values in 12 out of the 20 metropolitan areas tracked by the indexes also rose.
Bargain hunters with cash to spare should keep an eye on falling prices for luxury properties.
Talk about the two extremes of the current real-estate market. Not only has the recession helped create a renter's market, but it's also a good time to buy homes that cost more than $1 million.
Of course, there are stark differences between what these renters and buyers need to bring to the table to get a good deal.
For buyers of high-end homes, it's all about the cold, hard cash, writes The Wall Street Journal.
If you can, lock in a lower price now before vacancies begin to fill in the next couple of years.
If you're one of the many young adults who have been forced to move back in one with your parents because of the jobs market, you're not alone.
But you also won't be alone when you're ready to go back out on your own as a renter in the next year or two.
Be further warned that you'll also be competing with plenty of homeowners turned renters, as well as renters who are through with their short-term roommates and are ready to live solo again.
Which means, this current renters' market is simply not going to last.
About Teresa Mears
Teresa Mears is a veteran journalist who has been interested in houses since her father took her to tax auctions to carry the cash at age 10. A former editor of The Miami Herald's Home & Design section, she lives in South Florida where, in addition to writing about real estate, she publishes Miami on the Cheap to help her neighbors adjust to the loss of 60% of their property value.