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Foreclosed properties still offer great deals with potential buyers

If you are looking to invest in a new residence for you and your family, you might want to start with properties that have been foreclosed on. While these custom homes will likely need a little bit of work for you to fix them up, you will not be able to find a more affordable house or sellers that are more motivated to have their residences taken off of their hands.

While the number of foreclosed properties being sold is dropping, many experts have noted that the amount of money a person could save by purchasing one remains fairly substantial. In September, the median sales price of a distressed home was $130,000, which was nearly 40 percent below the market value of a home that was being sold under regular circumstances – $205,000.

According to RealtyTrac’s Residential & Foreclosure Sales Report for 2014, there are several real estate markets across the United States where potential buyers could save 50 percent or more of a home’s total value by purchasing a distressed property. This is due to a number of factors, including what shape the house is in and how quickly the seller would like to compete the transaction.

“Distressed properties are typically in poor condition and have a highly motivated seller, whether that seller is the distressed home owner in foreclosure or the bank that has repossessed the property through foreclosure,” Daren Blomquist, vice president of RealtyTrac, wrote in the report.

Some of the cities where you can save the most on foreclosed properties are Pittsburg, with most houses sold for 72 percent less than their market value, Milwaukee at 67 percent, Cleveland at 64 percent and Memphis at 59 percent.

If you own a custom home and want to make it an energy efficient home, be sure to schedule an appointment with eco friendly home builder Carolina Custom Homes of Burlington.

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Update your fall decorations

Fall is a wonderful time to experiment with home decor. Take a look at our NC custom homes for design inspiration, and take a chance by following these tips to warm up your style:

  • Candles: Light scented candles around your house that will emit a warm glow. This is especially nice on cool autumn nights.
  • Orange: If you want to really embrace fall, use orange as your color of choice. Orange has the power to punch up any room, and immediately makes everything feel fresh and fun. Use sparingly, though, or your beautiful NC custom home might look like the inside of a Jack-O-Lantern.
  • Rich colors: Saturated hues are the new trend for fall, so throw out the beige and make room for something more exciting. Try jewel tones of blue and green, or go adventurous and use red as an accent color. Reupholster your chairs with raspberry-toned fabric and pair with gold hardware. This will create a luxurious, warm environment that you’ll never want to leave.
  • String lights: Using glimmer lights on your porches and patios makes your home feel magical and welcoming. This is perfect for late-night, after-dinner talks.
  • Transition your art: Have the same things been hanging on your walls for years? Put some pictures and artwork in storage, and look for new pieces to hang up. After a while we stop noticing the things in our home, so adding something new can really help you see everything in a whole new light.
  • Warm it up: Bring in your throw blankets and drape them over chairs and pillows. You’ll be thankful you did when the temperatures really start to drop, and the textures will give your home a cozy feeling.
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How to incorporate color into your home

Some homeowners are afraid to incorporate color into their home decor, and instead depend solely on neutrals. However, there’s much to gain if you’re willing to take a few risks and experiment. Integrate pops of your favorite colors in your custom designed home. Here are some ways you can use color tastefully:

  • Accent tables: You may want to stick to the classics for your larger pieces, but try incorporating color by painting your small end tables and benches.
  • Area rugs: Rugs can add base colors and patterns to a room without appearing too obtrusive or overtaking the elegance of your customized house.
  • Artwork: Try hanging art posters that contain bright pops of color. This is great, because it puts colors on your wall without including the commitment that a coat of fresh paint would. Rotate your pieces to see what arrangement you like best.
  • Colored mirrors: Mirrors are great because they reflect light and make a space seem larger and airier. Hang a mirror with a fun, colored frame across from a window. The mirror will pick up the scene from outside and significantly enlarge your space.
  • Go blue: Try cobalt for a color punch that won’t overtake the room. “It’s adventurous,” said Kelly Kegans, senior deputy home editor of Better Homes and Gardens magazine. “But it’s more versatile than you would think, in both fashion and home.”
  • Lamps: Colorful lamps and lampshades can add a bit of flair to any room. This is a wonderful place to experiment with funkier styles, since you can easily change them out when you get sick of them.

Check out our custom homes today to see if you’re ready to build your dream house with our help.

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Report: The global energy efficiency market now valued at $310 billion

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the growing global energy efficiency market has a value of $310 billion dollars – though most experts expect that number to grow exponentially in the next few years. As more and more countries around the world make the commitment to adopting energy-efficient policies, the energy finance sector is becoming a firm cornerstone of the entire global market. New and innovative advancements in these technologies will help stabilize this part of the economy to help it grow with confidence in the future.

"Energy efficiency is the invisible powerhouse in IEA countries and beyond, working behind the scenes to improve our energy security, lower our energy bills, and move us closer to reaching our climate goals," IEA executive director Maria van der Hoeven wrote in IEA's Energy Efficiency Market Report 2014.

The annual report is now in its second year, and clearly states the positive impact that energy-efficient policies are having around the world. Investments at the government level into these laws and technologies are helping to improve global energy productivity, which is good news for both consumers on an individual level as well as the environment. Among the 18 IEA countries listed in the report, total energy consumption dropped 5 percent between 2001 and 2011, mostly due to energy efficiency investments.

"Energy efficiency is moving from a niche interest to an established market segment with increasing interest from institutional lenders and investors," van der Hoeven wrote in the report.

If you are interested in turning your own custom home into an energy efficient home, be sure to schedule an appointment today with eco friendly home builder Carolina Custom Homes of Burlington! Check out the rest of our website to learn more about the services we offer.

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Decorate your home for Halloween

Are you excited to show off your new custom designed home to the neighborhood this season? Decorate it for Halloween to add some spooky style and delight the kids who come to trick-or-treat. Here are some tips: 

  • Colors: Don't be shy about utilizing the traditional Halloween colors. Black and orange decorations can be found at many stores this time of year and can really amplify the effect of your seasonal decorations.
  • Food: Get scary, hand-shaped serving utensils if you host a Halloween meal, and make sure to include plenty of delicious and appropriately decorated cookies and snacks.
  • Leaves: Cut out colorful autumn leaves from construction paper and attach corn stalks. Hang around porch beams outside to add an autumnal, seasonal and festive look to your home's entrance. 
  • Luminaries: Create your own luminaries by painting paper bags black and placing electric candles inside. Line them up your sidewalk, and you'll love the effect. You can even cut out spooky shapes if you want to take it to the next level. 
  • Posters: Hang posters from classic horror movies on the walls to celebrate the annual tradition. You can also hang your old masks and costumes to create a creepy effect in your customized house.
  • Yard: Place fake tombstones in your front yard to delight the neighborhood children. Drape cotton through your trees to create spider webs, and top it all off by nesting fake spiders in between branches. Hanging lanterns or string lights through the trees can also give your yard an otherworldly glow.

You may even want to consider throwing a Halloween party, if you're new to the neighborhood and want to introduce your family in a fun and thoughtful way. If you've recently built a custom home, it could also be a great time to give your friends tours!

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Brazilian architecture inspires American design

Some of the world's most beautiful architecture can be found in Brasilia, the capital city of Brazil. Americans are taking notice, and incorporating elements of Brazilian design into their own homes. If you're considering building a custom home, a little taste of Brazil could be all you need to take your house's style to the next level.

The capital city was planned in the 1950s and 1960s by celebrated architects and stylists like Oscar Niemeyer, Lúcio Costa, Lina Bo Bardi, Sérgio Rodrigues and Joaquim Tenreiro. These leaders in design established a world-wide reputation for their amazing work, and designers still reference them today for inspiration. The Brazilian architectural aesthetic is one of open, modern and natural taste that continues to resonate with people all over the world.

Brazilian designers favor organic materials, particularly Brazilian wood. They also make great use of rectilinear forms, open-space arrangements and glass accents.  

If you want your custom home to have a Brazilian flair, try shooting for a modern, minimalist design. One way to do this is by building a house with tall ceilings and glass sliding doors, which tend to let in natural light and make inhabitants feel closer to the natural world. 

Columns, both exterior and within the house itself, add a geometric look to the home that will contrast well with the organic textures and colors you choose to incorporate. Space is also crucial, because it makes the atmosphere sleek and modern. 

If you already have a house, decluttering it and adding quality lighting can help you to achieve this look.

If you want to learn more about Brazilian design, take a look at Richard Powers' book New Brazilian House for ideasAlso explore our North Carolina custom homes to see all the ways you can make a house your own. 

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6 cool features for your dream home

Have you ever daydreamed about what your ultimate house would look like? Take a look at NC custom homes to get you inspired and take a step towards making your dream a reality. Here are some cool features you can include in your new home: 

  • Indoor pool: An indoor pool can be just the thing if you want to exercise more and enjoy swimming, which is an especially healthy activity for older people because of its low-impact nature. This is also great for families, because kids can swim and have fun even in the winter. 
  • Media room: Having a comfortable place to hang out and watch movies and television can help bring a family together. It also helps relegate technology to one designated area of the house, so the rest of your home can be a sanctuary.
  • Outdoor fireplace: Having a fireplace on your porch or in your yard is a great way to socialize. Guests will love hanging out by the fire and telling stories long into the night.
  • Outdoor tub: Install an outdoor shower, tub or Jacuzzi for a fun way to commune with nature. There's nothing more relaxing than showering under the sun or relaxing in the Jacuzzi while it snows.
  • Wine cellar: Are you a wine connoisseur? Consider building your very own wine cellar in your basement to store all your favorite bottles. When guests come over for dinner parties they can pull their drink of choice.
  • Skylight: Think about installing a skylight in your custom home. It will fill your home with natural light and help you save on electricity. 

Build your own customized home with Carolina Custom Homes. Sometimes the only way to get what you want is to design it yourself, and we're here to help you do just that. 

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Survey: Seller confidence in housing market is declining

While the housing market has been getting much stronger over the last year – particularly within the last few months – seller confidence is beginning to wane. According to a new survey from the Redfin Research Center, there was a 17 percent drop in the amount of people who believe that now is a good time to put their custom home on the market. The organization found that, last quarter, people were planning on aggressively selling their households, but most buyers were not willing to pay above market value.

"In July and August, sellers were testing the market by pricing their homes above market value," Redfin agent Paul Stone said in the report. "They were hopeful, but many got the message too late that the market had already shifted. They had to adjust their expectations and their home prices. As of September, it seems that sellers have gotten the memo and are pricing closer to market value."

The number of homes that were sold above their market value decreased last month, with only 16.5 percent of all transactions coming in over the actual price. This is a solid drop from the 18.1 percent in August, as well as the 23 percent that were purchased above market value in September of last year.

Many experts attribute this to the fact that it is no longer a seller's market in the United States. There are more homes for sale, but fewer are being sold, which means that there are plenty of options out their for buyers who are looking for deals on their next residence.

If you own your house and want to make it an energy efficient home, be sure to schedule an appointment with eco friendly home builder Carolina Custom Homes of Burlington!

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3 ways to prepare your home for Thanksgiving

We are rapidly approaching the end of August, which means that the major family holidays are just around the corner. If you are the host for Thanksgiving, it is important for you to take the time over the next several weeks to prepare your custom home and make sure that everything is all set for the arrival of your guests. Whether you are having just three people over or a dozen, your home should have a welcoming atmosphere for all travelers, not to mention adequate eating and sleeping space.

Here are a few ways to spruce up your household for the holiday season:

  • Clean your bathroom: While you might be used to the sight of your disorganized bathroom, it is the room in the house that can carry the most germs and other bacteria. That is why it is so important to scrub your bathroom from top to bottom at least a few days before your guests arrive so that they have a nice clean spot for their own morning routines.
  • Declutter every room: If you plan on having a lot of people stay with you for Thanksgiving, chances are space in your home is going to be tight. To help keep everybody as comfortable as possible, you need to spend some free time over one weekend clearing out any junk that is taking up unnecessary room in your residence.
  • Replace broken appliances: You will be relying more heavily on your kitchen appliances, such as your refrigerator and dishwasher, so it is important for you to make sure that they are in top shape and running efficiently. If something is wrong with a machine, be sure to have it repaired or replaced as soon as possible.

If you are interested in making your household an energy efficient home before the holidays, schedule an appointment with eco friendly home builder Carolina Custom Homes of Burlington!

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Number of home sales revised down for the month of August

While the United States housing market saw strong gains in the month of September – total sales of newly-built custom homes were up .2 percent to 467,000 units, the numbers of August were not as strong as they were originally thought to be. New numbers released by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and U.S. Census Bureau revised the initial numbers down .2 percent, from 504,000 to 466,000 homes sold.

The new, lower numbers were not entirely surprising to experts in the housing market. This is because they seemed out of line with the fact that, while the housing industry is getting stronger, the gains it has made have been modest over the last several months. The August numbers grew sharply, which raised eyebrows from officials, such as National Association of Home Builders chief economist, David Crowe.

"The August revision was not unexpected, as this figure seemed out of line with the modest housing recovery we have been seeing," Crowe said in a public statement. "The continuing increase in the inventory of new homes points to builders' confidence in the market."

More recently, the housing market has only gotten stronger in most regions of the country. While the West saw a nearly 9 percent decline in home sales over the past month, there was a 12. 3 percent gain in the Midwest and a 2 percent growth in the South, usually the country's weakest market. Sales in the Northeast remained relatively unchanged.

If you are interested in turning your residence into an energy efficient home, be sure to schedule an appointment as soon as possible with eco friendly home builder Carolina Custom Homes of Burlington! Check out the rest of our website to learn more about the services we offer.