Laps of Luxury: The Priciest Neighborhoods To Buy a Home—State by State

M&R Realty Best Realtor in Lexington SC West Columbia,
M&R Realty Best Realtor in Lexington SC West Columbia,


Laps of Luxury: The Priciest Neighborhoods To Buy a Home—State by State

 By Evan Wyloge

Nov 14, 2023

There’s a quiet but undeniable thrill that comes from browsing photos and taking virtual tours of the most opulent properties in America. It’s a hobby less about browsing for a home and more about the fantasy—unless you’re in the richest 1% and could easily afford one of these lavish abodes.

But rest assured, there’s nothing wrong with poring over photos of luxury homes that you’ll buy when you win the Powerball/sell that screenplay you’ve been working on since high school/launch the next great tech startup. We get it! The data team at® found all of the poshest neighborhoods in the nation for your perusing pleasure.

We found the priciest ZIP code in every state with the highest median home list price in October, excluding areas with fewer than 25 listings. Many are upscale vacation destinations popular with the uber-wealthy.

It’s a coast-to-coast tour of extravagance, from breezy Hawaiian beaches and the dramatic shorelines of Maine to the rugged terrain of Colorado’s San Juan Mountains and Arizona’s sun-baked Sonoran Desert.

So, whether you’re in the market for a mansion or only musing, take a tour of some of the most extraordinary real estate in America.


Most expensive ZIP code: Arley (35541)
Median list price: $1,050,000Median square footage: 2,888
Most expensive listing: $2,290,000, 5,095-square-foot, 5-bedroom home


Most expensive ZIP code: Anchorage (99516)
Median list price: $770,000
Median square footage: 3,007
Most expensive listing: $2,800,000, 3,503-square-foot, 7-bedroom home


Most expensive ZIP code: Paradise Valley (85253)
Median list price: $4,856,250
Median square footage: 5,561
Most expensive listing: $75,000,000, 40,000-square-foot, 13-bedroom home


Most expensive ZIP code: Bentonville (72712)
Median list price: $725,000
Median square footage: 2,318
Most expensive listing: $8,000,000, 8,128-square-foot, 5-bedroom home


Most expensive ZIP code: Los Angeles (90077)
Median list price: $8,625,000
Median square footage: 5,565
Most expensive listing: $139,000,000, 12-bedroom home


Most expensive ZIP code: Mountain Village (81435)
Median list price: $5,525,000
Median square footage: 2,861
Most expensive listing: $34,500,000, 30,018-square-foot, 14-bedroom home


Most expensive ZIP code: Greenwich (06831)
Median list price: $4,511,250
Median square footage: 6,063
Most expensive listing: $39,500,000, 14,296-square-foot, 6-bedroom home


Most expensive ZIP code: Bethany Beach (19930)
Median list price: $1,103,500
Median square footage: 1,850
Most expensive listing: $2,990,000, 3,386-square-foot, 5-bedroom home


Most expensive ZIP code: Coral Gables (33156)
Median list price: $4,175,000
Median square footage: 4,476
Most expensive listing: $69,900,000, 12,159-square-foot, 7-bedroom home


Most expensive ZIP code: Atlanta (30327)
Median list price: $2,371,250
Median square footage: 5,567
Most expensive listing: $46,800,000, 17,776-square-foot, 7-bedroom home


Most expensive ZIP code: Kilauea (96754)
Median list price: $4,112,500
Median square footage: 2,429
Most expensive listing: $15,000,000, 7,400-square-foot, 5-bedroom home


Most expensive ZIP code: Ketchum (83340)
Median list price: $4,185,000
Median square footage: 3,191
Most expensive listing: $21,250,000, 10,184-square-foot, 6-bedroom home


Most expensive ZIP code: Winnetka (60093)
Median list price: $1,650,000
Median square footage: 4,495
Most expensive listing: $8,900,000, 9,673-square-foot, 9-bedroom home


Most expensive ZIP code: Zionsville (46077)
Median list price: $724,900
Median square footage: 3,752
Most expensive listing: $4,999,999, 5,508-square-foot, 4-bedroom home


Most expensive ZIP code: Clive (50325)
Median list price: $575,482
Median square footage: 1,986
Most expensive listing: $3,750,000, 5,971-square-foot, 6-bedroom home


Most expensive ZIP code: Mission Hills (66208)
Median list price: $1,028,750
Median square footage: 3,006
Most expensive listing: $4,950,000, 4,843-square-foot, 5-bedroom home


Most expensive ZIP code: Prospect (40059)
Median list price: $784,700
Median square footage: 3,771
Most expensive listing: $3,550,000, 13,681-square-foot, 5-bedroom home


Most expensive ZIP code: New Orleans (70124)
Median list price: $618,000
Median square footage: 2,612
Most expensive listing: $3,595,000, 6,820-square-foot, 6-bedroom home


Most expensive ZIP code: Falmouth (04105)
Median list price: $1,149,500
Median square footage: 2,909
Most expensive listing: $7,500,000, 10,849-square-foot, 13-bedroom home


Most expensive ZIP code: Bethesda (20817)
Median list price: $2,222,500
Median square footage: 5,068
Most expensive listing: $11,500,000, 15,000-square-foot, 6-bedroom home


Most expensive ZIP code: Boston (02108)
Median list price: $5,687,500
Median square footage: 3,468
Most expensive listing: $31,000,000, 10,858-square-foot, 5-bedroom home


Most expensive ZIP code: Bloomfield Hills (48301)
Median list price: $1,084,750
Median square footage: 3,730
Most expensive listing: $2,950,000, 6,300-square-foot, 4-bedroom home


Most expensive ZIP code: Wayzata (55391)
Median list price: $1,716,000
Median square footage: 3,963
Most expensive listing: $14,750,000, 9,016-square-foot, 5-bedroom home


Most expensive ZIP code: Madison (39110)
Median list price: $525,000
Median square footage: 2,663
Most expensive listing: $2,499,000, 6,260-square-foot, 5-bedroom home


Most expensive ZIP code: Saint Louis (63131)
Median list price: $1,498,750
Median square footage: 4,694
Most expensive listing: $4,975,000, 3,046-square-foot, 3-bedroom home


Most expensive ZIP code: Whitefish (59937)
Median list price: $1,487,000
Median square footage: 2,109
Most expensive listing: $31,500,000, 4,868-square-foot, 3-bedroom home


Most expensive ZIP code: Valley (68064)
Median list price: $910,000
Median square footage: 3,378
Most expensive listing: $2,150,000, 5,578-square-foot, 5-bedroom home


Most expensive ZIP code: Incline Village (89451)
Median list price: $2,988,500
Median square footage: 2,695
Most expensive listing: $76,000,000, 14,197-square-foot, 7-bedroom home

New Hampshire

Most expensive ZIP code: Portsmouth (03801)
Median list price: $1,066,725
Median square footage: 1,945
Most expensive listing: $4,900,000, 5,055-square-foot, 5-bedroom condo/townhome/rowhome/co-op

New Jersey

Most expensive ZIP code: Stone Harbor (08247)
Median list price: $4,387,250
Median square footage: 2,797
Most expensive listing: $9,999,000, 3,000-square-foot, 5-bedroom home

New Mexico

Most expensive ZIP code: Santa Fe (87506)
Median list price: $2,156,250
Median square footage: 3,616
Most expensive listing: $14,250,000, 7,764-square-foot, 5-bedroom home

New York

Most expensive ZIP code: Water Mill (11976)
Median list price: $7,995,000
Median square footage: 7,171
Most expensive listing: $59,950,000, 17,173-square-foot, 13-bedroom home

North Carolina

Most expensive ZIP code: Cashiers (28717)
Median list price: $1,958,750
Median square footage: 10,037
Most expensive listing: $9,000,000, 10,037-square-foot, 11-bedroom home

North Dakota

Most expensive ZIP code: Fargo (58104)
Median list price: $439,900
Median square footage: 2,657
Most expensive listing: $2,395,000, 9,778-square-foot, 6-bedroom home


Most expensive ZIP code: Moreland Hills (44022)
Median list price: $1,012,450
Median square footage: 4,639
Most expensive listing: $5,900,000, 16,502-square-foot, 5-bedroom home


Most expensive ZIP code: Tulsa (74137)
Median list price: $677,225
Median square footage: 3,972
Most expensive listing: $4,200,000, 7,703-square-foot, 4-bedroom home


Most expensive ZIP code: Bend (97703)
Median list price: $1,237,250
Median square footage: 2,349
Most expensive listing: $4,300,000, 6,330-square-foot, 4-bedroom home


Most expensive ZIP code: New Hope (18938)
Median list price: $1,848,750
Median square footage: 3,976
Most expensive listing: $14,500,000, 17,899-square-foot, 7-bedroom home

Rhode Island

Most expensive ZIP code:Jamestown (02835)
Median list price: $1,787,500
Median square footage: 2,688
Most expensive listing: $4,500,000, 5,888-square-foot, 4-bedroom home

South Carolina

Most expensive ZIP code: Sunset (29685)
Median list price: $2,041,093
Median square footage: 4,920
Most expensive listing: $5,939,000, 5-bedroom home

South Dakota

Most expensive ZIP code: Lead (57754)
Median list price: $922,000
Median square footage: 2,724
Most expensive listing: $1,999,900, 5,357-square-foot, 7-bedroom home


Most expensive ZIP code: College Grove (37046)
Median list price: $2,698,476
Median square footage: 5,242
Most expensive listing: $14,000,000, 10,802-square-foot, 5-bedroom home


Most expensive ZIP code: Dallas (75205)
Median list price: $3,770,000
Median square footage: 4,809
Most expensive listing: $19,500,000, 14,181-square-foot, 6-bedroom home


Most expensive ZIP code: Park City (84098)
Median list price: $1,881,000
Median square footage: 3,032
Most expensive listing: $32,000,000, 18,409-square-foot, 6-bedroom home


Most expensive ZIP code: Stowe (05672)
Median list price: $1,556,000
Median square footage: 3,000
Most expensive listing: $20,000,000, 15,774-square-foot, 6-bedroom home


Most expensive ZIP code: Mclean (22101)
Median list price: $3,305,000
Median square footage: 7,240
Most expensive listing: $50,000,000, 30,000-square-foot, 6-bedroom home


Most expensive ZIP code: Mercer Island (98040)
Median list price: $2,745,000
Median square footage: 3,535
Most expensive listing: $37,900,000, 10,300-square-foot, 5-bedroom home

Washington, DC

Most expensive ZIP code:Washington, DC (20015)
Median list price: $1,446,225
Median square footage: 2,379
Most expensive listing: $4,985,000, 6,638-square-foot, 6-bedroom home

West Virginia

Most expensive ZIP code: Shepherdstown (25443)
Median list price: $612,500
Median square footage: 2,408
Most expensive listing: $5,200,000, 10,285-square-foot, 11-bedroom home


Most expensive ZIP code: Green Bay (54304)
Median list price: $729,900
Median square footage: 1,883
Most expensive listing: $1,901,900, 3,169-square-foot, 4-bedroom condo/townhome/rowhome/co-op


Most expensive ZIP code: Wilson (83014)
Median list price: $6,960,000
Median square footage: 3,341
Most expensive listing: $24,900,000, 7,432-square-foot, 5-bedroom home


By Jessica Lautz

October 6, 2023

It was never the avocado toast and cappuccino. The joke of millennials not buying homes in favor of overpriced coffee is an entrenched myth. It is important to break down what is really going on, what the numbers are and what the measures mean.

Looking at the U.S. population by age group (see chart to right), one can see that millennials are the largest generation of Americans ever. The red line represents the age of 36, which is the median age of today’s first-time homebuyers. This is the oldest seen since the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) started collecting data on the age of buyers in 1981. Traditionally, the data has shown that the typical first-time buyer was between the ages of 28 and 33. (The second red line, at age 59, marks the median age of repeat buyers.) 

At the same time that the median age of first-time buyers has jumped, their share of the market is at historic lows. In 2023, first-time buyers made up just 26% of the primary residence market, while the historical average is 40%, dating back to 1981. 

Low housing inventory, which has averaged nearly 1 million units in the market, is a factor. Today’s higher interest rates are pricing some consumers out. In many areas of the country, home prices are rising. Areas where home prices have softened tend to be where multiple bids pushed up prices throughout the pandemic.

Even among successful first-time buyers, multiple debts made it difficult for them to save for a down payment. Among those who said saving for a down payment was difficult, the most-cited hurdles were high rent (40%), car loan (39%), credit card debt (38%), student loans (35%) and childcare costs (19%). The recent softening in rental prices will be a welcome relief to some moving forward. Twenty-seven percent of successful first-time buyers in 2022 skipped rent and moved directly from a family member’s home into homeownership. This is the highest share recorded by NAR since 1989. 

It’s worth noting that student debt was cited as one of the top four reasons buyers had trouble saving for a down payment at a time when student debt payments were paused for many loan holders. Even with the pandemic pause, student loan holders may have been reticent to take out a mortgage, knowing payments could resume. A smaller share of buyers cited childcare costs, but for those who are paying for childcare, the cost can be daunting. In fact, it has increased 220% since 1990, and was $883 per month on average for one child in 2021. 

So with that bleak picture, where is the homeownership rate for those under 35? Census data provides a consistent reading of the homeownership rate by age, though this does not match directly to generational trends. When looking at the Census homeownership-rate data, there have been positive reports that the rate improved for those under 35. This is true. From 2021 to 2022, the homeownership rate did improve. 

However, if one compares the homeownership rate from 1982 to today, and then separates the data by generation, it tells a less positive story. For baby boomers and Gen Xers, the average homeownership rate for those under 35 was 39.7%. There has yet to be a year that millennials have reached that number.

That leads to the last chart (see below). Even though millennials are the largest adult generation in the U.S. today, they represented a shrinking share of the market last year. This is at odds with what one would expect. That’s because most millennials have reached an age where a home purchase, or at least household formation, is typical. Yet, this year’s data shows that baby boomers overtook millennials as a share of the market. One clear reason is that older buyers have saved money and benefited from home-price appreciation, giving them the ability to pay all cash for a home purchase. With 51% of older boomers and 32% of younger boomers paying cash for their most recent purchase, boomers are the likely winner if there is a bidding war on a home.

For more information, visit


Dr. Jessica Lautz is the Vice President of Demographics and Behavioral Insights at the National Association of REALTORS®.

Roof Design Tips To Ensure It Matches Your Home Exterior

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Designing the perfect roof for your home is more than just about protection. It’s about creating a harmonious blend of style, color, and function that complements your overall home exterior. As a homeowner, ensuring your roof design matches your home’s aesthetic can significantly enhance curb appeal, potentially increasing property value and setting your home apart in the neighborhood. Not to mention it’ll make you love your house more! This blog post will delve into the importance of a cohesive roof and exterior design, how to identify your home’s architectural style, choose the right roof material, balance functionality with aesthetics and find inspiration from trending roof designs. So, whether you’re building a new home or simply want to give your existing roof a makeover, these tips and insights will guide you through the process of designing and customizing your roof to ensure it perfectly matches your home exterior.

Understanding the Importance of a Cohesive Roof and Exterior Design
A well-thought-out roof design not only adds a protective layer to your home but also amplifies its aesthetic appeal. The right roof, in harmony with your home’s exterior, can significantly elevate your home’s curb appeal, making it stand out in the neighborhood. However, creating a cohesive roof and exterior design requires careful consideration of materials, colors, and architectural style. The choice of roof design should resonate with the architectural style of your home, whether it’s modern, colonial or craftsman. Moreover, the color and material of your roof should complement, not clash with, the exterior finish of your house, giving it a unified appearance that you’ll love to look at.

Identifying Your Home’s Architectural Style and Its Impact
Identifying the architectural style of your home is the first step in determining the right roof design. For instance, a modern home might look best with a sleek, metal roof, while a craftsman-style home might be better suited for a traditional shingle roof. Colonial-style homes often pair beautifully with slate roofs, offering an elegant and timeless appeal. Once the architectural style is identified, it becomes easier to narrow down suitable materials and colors that will complement the house’s exterior. Remember, the goal is to create a harmonious blend between the roof and the rest of the house’s exterior.

Choosing the Right Roofing Material to Complement Your Exterior
The choice of roofing material is a critical aspect of your roof design as it directly influences the overall aesthetic and durability of your roof. Asphalt shingles, for example, are versatile and can suit a variety of home styles due to their wide range of colors and designs. On the other hand, metal roofing, with its modern and slick appearance, can be ideal for contemporary homes. If you’re aiming for a more luxurious appeal, slate or tile roofing could be the right choice, especially with classical or Mediterranean-style homes. Regardless of the material you choose, ensure it harmonizes with your home’s exterior finish, trim and architectural style.

Balancing Functionality and Aesthetics
While designing your roof, it’s essential to strike a balance between functionality and aesthetics. A visually appealing roof is no good if it doesn’t protect your home effectively, nor is a sturdy, leak-proof roof that jars with your home’s exterior. Consider factors like climate, exposure to extreme weather and maintenance requirements when choosing roofing material and design. For instance, a beautiful wooden roof might not be the best choice if you live in an area with heavy rainfall. Ultimately, a well-designed roof should not only enhance your home’s beauty but also offer optimal protection against the elements.

Finding Trends in Roof Designs to Enhance Your Home’s Curb Appeal
In the world of roofing, there are several trends that homeowners can consider to enhance their home’s curb appeal. Solar roofing, for instance, has gained popularity not just for its sleek, modern appearance, but also for its energy-efficient advantages. Green roofs, adorned with vegetation, offer a unique, eco-friendly aesthetic, while also providing excellent insulation. For a more traditional appeal, gable roofs with contrasting colors are making a comeback, providing the perfect blend of classic charm and modern style. Finally, bold colors for roofs are trending, adding a dramatic pop of color which can elevate the overall exterior of the house.

In conclusion, designing a roof that comports with your home’s exterior is an art that requires a keen understanding of architectural styles, roofing materials and current trends. It’s all about melding aesthetics with functionality, ensuring your roof not only protects your home but also enhances its curb appeal. This is no small task to undertake on your own. Designing and building a roof is a complex process that demands professional expertise. Hiring professionals can save you from potential pitfalls and guide you in making the best choices for your home. They can help you navigate the vast array of materials and designs, and ensure your roof is installed to the highest standards. Your roof is a significant investment and a fundamental part of your home’s identity. So, make sure it’s in the right hands and let the professionals help you create a roof that you can be proud of and that perfectly matches your home’s exterior.

Rachelle Wilber is a freelance writer living in the San Diego, California area. She graduated from San Diego State University with her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Media Studies. She tries to find an interest in all topics and themes, which prompts her writing. When she isn’t on her porch writing in the sun, you can find her shopping, at the beach, or at the gym. Follow her on twitter: @RachelleWilber

Mortgage Rates Have Just Abruptly Reversed Course—Will It Last?

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By Margaret Heidenry

Nov 3, 2023

After rising for seven weeks straight, mortgage rates have finally hit a speed bump, falling to 7.76 % on average for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage as of Nov. 2, according to Freddie Mac.

This hiccup comes on the heels of the Federal Reserve’s announcement on Nov. 1 to not raise benchmark interest rates in its ongoing fight against inflation.

“The Federal Reserve again decided not to raise interest rates,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, “but have not ruled out a hike before year-end.”

While any drop in mortgage rates is welcome news for homebuyers, last week’s rate of 7.79% still hovers at a high not seen since 2000.

“The 23-year high in mortgage rates follows all-time lows reached just three years ago,” says Danielle Hale, chief economist for® in her analysis. This steep rise also “highlights the effect that financing costs have on the housing market–a particularly rate-sensitive sector of the economy.”

We’ll break down what all the latest real estate data means for buyers and sellers in this installment of “How’s the Housing Market This Week?

Home prices head higher

In addition to high mortgage rates, homebuyers must contend with high home prices, which hovered at a nationwide median of $425,000 in October.

And for the week ending Oct. 28, home prices rose by 1.2%—the highest in 25 weeks—compared with the same time last year.

“Sustained prices can be attributed to the persistently low inventory of existing homes for sale,” says data scientist Sabrina Speianu in her most recent analysis. “Soft demand still continues to outpace the limited supply of homes.”

Home prices, in general, have been on a reasonably even keel since mid-July. And while prices aren’t falling, the market can find a tiny bit of solace in that they aren’t rising dramatically, either.

The intractable inventory issue

The not-so-secret ingredient the housing market needs to get cooking? Lots more homes for sale.

Nationwide, the number of homes for sale shrank by 1% for the week ending Oct. 28 compared with this same week last year, marking the 19th consecutive week of dwindling listings.

For anyone wondering just how low inventory levels are from a historical perspective, consider that the number of homes for sale is 41.8% below typical pre-COVID-19 levels.

“The usual seasonal buildup in inventory that makes this time of year favorable for buyers is underway, but from a longer-term macroeconomic perspective, housing remains undersupplied,” explains Speianu.

An abrupt reversal in new listings

But as days grow shorter, here’s a sliver of light: New listings were up by 5.6% for the week ending Oct. 28 from one year ago.

“Since mid-2022, new listings have registered lower than prior-year levels, as the mortgage rate lock-in effect freezes homeowners with low-rate existing mortgages in place,” says Speianu. “This past week, the trend abruptly reversed.”

But whether the trend will continue remains to be seen.

“While newly listed homes this past week exceeded the figures from the same week last year, the overall pace of listing activity still severely lags behind the levels seen before the pandemic,” says Speianu.

Homebuyers still need to act fast

Buyers who do find a great property in the meager home haystack don’t have much time to linger over a pro and con list.

For the week ending Oct. 28, homes spent one less day on the market compared with last year. (The average time on the market for a typical home was 50 days in October, more than two weeks shorter than before the COVID-19 pandemic.)

“The gap in time on the market narrowed over the last few months as buyers competed over fewer homes,” says Speianu. “This fall, the time a typical home spends on the market is growing much more slowly than is typical for this season.”

Housing Costs Have Just Hit a ‘New Record’: Here’s What That Adds Up to in Dollars and Cents

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By Margaret Heidenry

Nov 2, 2023

With mortgage interest rates hitting record highs not seen in decades and quickly approaching 8%, many might wonder: How much more does it actually cost to buy a house today?

According to a new report by®, the monthly cost of financing 80% of a typical home jumped by $166 in October compared with this same month last year.

That’s “a new record, on top of what was already the highest amount since began tracking this data in mid-2016,” says Chief Economist Danielle Hale.

Do the math, and this means that today’s homebuyers must cough up $2,405 per month for the privilege of owning a house. And in order to comfortably afford those mortgage payments, a homebuyer would need an annual salary of $119,500—nearly double the actual median household income of $64,240.

In other words, the typical American makes only about half as much as they need to afford a home today.

The latest trends in home prices

Sky-high mortgage rates aren’t the only metric keeping real estate in a prolonged affordability crunch.

Despite high mortgage rates, home prices aren’t budging much, with the median list price in October hovering at $425,000. That number has remained more or less stable compared with this same time last year.

“Listing prices have been buoyed by scarce inventory,” says Hale.

The one upside for buyers is that home prices are declining seasonally, down from $430,000 in September. They’re also down from their all-time high of $450,000, in June 2022.

Why low housing inventory keeps prices higher than usual

The overall number of homes for sale in the U.S. sank by 2% in October compared with this same month last year. That percentage might not seem dramatic at first glance, but this scarcity of listings is downright shocking when compared with pre-COVID-19 levels from 2017 to 2019, which boasted 42.4% more homes for sale.

As for fresh listings, those were also down by 3.2% in October, compared with last year.

A growing number of buyers are turning to purchasing new construction.

New-home sales have been increasing,” says Hale. However, “construction activity isn’t elevated enough to fully bridge the low inventory gap.”

The housing inventory outlook

So, when can buyers expect to see a substantial increase in new listings and active inventory overall?

“That is the trillion-dollar question in housing right now,” says Hale, who expects it will be “quite a bit longer before buyers can see a large increase in new listings and the number of homes for sale.”

The delay all comes down to sellers who feel “locked in” to their much lower mortgage rates of just a few years earlier.

“Because so many homeowners either purchased their home or refinanced their mortgage during the pandemic period, when interest rates were low, their homes are likely still a very good fit for their needs and quite affordable,” explains Hale. “Especially relative to the cost of buying at today’s mortgage rates.”

Motivated buyers are pouncing

In a surprise twist, the cruel combination of steep mortgage rates, high home prices, and scant listings doesn’t mean buyers can take their time making an offer. Instead, the opposite is true: Today’s buyers must act relatively swiftly when they spot a great home.

“Homes spent 50 days on the market, which is one day shorter than last year,” says Hale.

In fact, the average home spent 16 fewer days on the market than the pre-pandemic average for October from 2017 to 2019.

And although time on the market typically lengthens as we approach the holidays, “Time on market is rising more slowly this year than is typical during the fall season, as still-limited supply spurs homebuyers to act quickly and newly listed homes make up a greater share of low remaining inventory,” says Hale.

Where home prices are softening

The Federal Reserve held rates steady at its meeting on Wednesday, but it left open the possibility that more rate hikes could occur if inflation doesn’t keep coming down.

Until mortgage rates subside, today’s real estate market can be best described as a financial bully, grabbing homebuyers by the ankles and shaking every last nickel out of their housing budget.

Yet all real estate is local, and America’s 50 largest housing market metros do show some pockets of hope for homebuyers.

In the bad news column for buyers: In October, real estate listings in the top 50 metros dropped 6.7% compared with the same month last year, while the collective inventory across these areas is now 38.4% below pre-pandemic levels. (Metros include the central city, surrounding towns, suburbs, and smaller urban areas.)

But in the good news column? While overall home price reductions were still below last year’s levels in all four regions of the U.S., some of these metros were seeing sellers slash prices.

Indeed, “13 of the 50 large metros saw the share of price reductions increase compared to last October, predominantly in the South and Midwest,” says Hale.

The cities with the greatest increases in the share of price reductions are St. Louis, at 4.2%; Oklahoma City, OK, at 3.4%; and Memphis, TN, at 3%.

“While lower than last year, the share of price reductions rising could signal a softness in prices in the coming months,” concludes Hale.

Margaret Heidenry is a writer living in Brooklyn, NY. Her work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Vanity Fair, and Boston Magazine.

11 Massive Mistakes Homebuyers May Be Tempted To Make Right Now: Is This You?

M&R Realty Best Realtor in Lexington SC West Columbia,

By Kimberly Dawn Neumann

Aug 28, 2023

Real estate has always been a high-stakes game, with lots of money and hope hanging in the balance. And amid the current landscape of high interest ratespricey listings, and a shaky economy, it’s no wonder many homebuyers are worried they might make a wrong move that could cost them dearly.

Real estate agents say homebuying anxiety has risen to a fever pitch among many of their clients—and for good reason, since today’s market is filled with new challenges and land mines that can be tough to spot.

“Real estate was not designed to move at the pace that it has for the past year,” says Eminlee Wang, a real estate agent with FlyHomes in Dallas. “I’m spending far more time than I was during the [COVID-19] pandemic educating and grounding clients on what’s happening with rates, prices, and inventory in order to calibrate expectations.”

In such a murky real estate market, it’s understandable that emotions can run amok—and might push homebuyers to make some rash decisions that they think/hope/pray might give them an edge, which, in fact, might plunge them in over their heads.

To help, we’ve highlighted some of the most common mistakes homebuyers are making these days, so you know where these pitfalls are hiding and can steer clear.

1. Trying to time the market

With real estate, as with stocks, trying to time the market is generally a losing proposition. While it might be tempting to try to wait it out and hold off for the perfect moment to buy, the reality is that conditions will never be perfect.

“The biggest mistake buyers make is not moving forward now in the hope that rates or prices will come down,” says Mason Whitehead, a Dallas-based branch manager for Churchill Mortgage. “At least in Texas, one of the states with the highest demand nationwide, that is just not happening.”

As a result, Whitehead suggests that homebuyers ask themselves “what if” questions to help in their decision-making:

  • What if you buy now and prices and rates go up? You win by starting to build home equity and gaining the tax benefits that come with homeownership.
  • What if you buy now and prices drop? You won’t really feel that until you sell, which in most cases might be years down the line. So, you haven’t really lost it yet.
  • What if you buy now and interest rates go down? You can always refinance your mortgage when rates get low enough that it makes sense to do so.
  • What if you don’t buy now and prices and rates keep going up? If that’s the case, you might be stuck renting for a lot longer than you hope.

Whitehead says that waiting is unlikely to change the fundamentals of the underlying and long-term factors of the market.

“Over time, real estate is still one of the main wealth-building drivers for Americans, so it’s an investment that is more than likely going to benefit you and your family in the long run,” says Whitehead. “Instead of continuing to pay rent and help someone else gain equity, take the opportunity to start earning it for yourself.”

2. Worrying only about your mortgage payments

With mortgage interest rates a full percentage point higher than last year, many homebuyers are sweating how much their monthly home loan bill has risen. Yet America’s mortgage obsession is leading some buyers to overlook the rest of their financial obligations.

“One of the biggest mistakes I see homebuyers making is not taking into consideration all the costs associated with getting approved for and owning a home,” says Jason Gelios, a real estate agent in Southeast Michigan and author of “Think Like a Realtor.” “Oftentimes, buyers will have an idea of their monthly payment without factoring in homeowners insurance, mortgage insurance, taxes, and any other costs associated with the home.”

Adam Littlefield, senior vice president of real estate for, also points out that homebuyers often forget to factor in the costs of home maintenance and repairs.

“All of this can cost thousands of dollars to add on top of your mortgage payment,” warns Littlefield. “Take the time to do the research and get as detailed as possible on the full scope of what you will need to budget to realistically prepare for one of the largest investments you will make in your life.”

3. Neglecting to check your credit score

Mortgage rates are already high enough right now, but did you know that a bad credit score could make those rates go even higher?

“Having a lower credit score can lead to significantly higher interest rates [on home loans], so it’s best people start monitoring and working on improving their score as early as possible,” says Jill Gonzalez, an analyst for WalletHub.

Most experts recommend checking your credit rating a few times a year so you can get a sense of what kind of mortgage you might reasonably secure.

“Beware that some lenders may let you extend yourself beyond your means,” says Littlefield, who suggests you can save yourself stress by sticking to the 28/36 rule.

“This rule states that your total housing costs should not exceed 28% of your gross monthly income and your total debt payments should not exceed 36%. Staying within those parameters will make the homebuying process seamless,” he adds.

4. Buying a home too fast or sight unseen

Since the market has been recently moving at a rapid-fire pace, many people might think they have to make decisions in an instant or else the property will get snapped up by someone else. While this might have been somewhat true a year ago, the pace of sales has generally slowed significantly since then.

Today, in most markets, buyers can take a bit more time—and should—to ensure they’re certain they want to move ahead.

Many buyers today might feel so rushed, they might consider buying a home sight unseen. Yet many experts say this is a risky prospect that is no longer as necessary as it was during the pandemic.

“These motivated buyers will base this decision on images or digital assets online, and this is a huge mistake,” says Littlefield. “You cannot smell a house in a photo, you cannot visit a neighborhood or discuss its attributes with neighbors, and you cannot hear the outside—airplanes, trains, factories, or the pig farm a mile away.”

He suggests doing everything you can to visit and experience the home yourself before you make an offer.

5. Falling in love with a house you can’t afford

With interest rates heading higher and the market being tight, it’s become increasingly common for homebuyers to get emotionally attached to a particular listing that they just can’t afford.

Mike Hardy, a California-based managing partner at Churchill Mortgage, says his company has had an abnormal number of requests for “rescue operations” from potential homebuyers who’ve gone into escrow with other lenders that didn’t structure the loan properly. Trying to salvage a deal is more stressful than staying within budget from the start.

“I absolutely recommend someone get clear on the math before getting emotions involved,” says Hardy. “A lot of people spin their wheels getting excited and putting an agent to work, only then to discover a home was out of their budget from the get-go.”

It’s crucial for homebuyers to know what their range of affordability is, according to Gonzalez. Otherwise, any small change in the market can lead to their having unsustainable debt, or even not being able to close on the loan in the first place.

A good way to avoid this is by using a mortgage calculator, which will help people make sure homebuyers don’t go over their budget.

“Fall in love with the numbers before you fall in love with the house,” says Hardy.

6. Not securing a mortgage pre-approval

Mortgage pre-approval for homebuyers was always a smart idea, but in this ever-fluctuating market, you simply shouldn’t shop without it.

“Searching for a home without being pre-approved or underwritten causes undue stress for all parties to move forward without knowing the numbers or having certainty in purchasing power,” says Hardy.

He suggests homebuyers look for lenders who will take it even a step further and have an underwriter sign off on the loan upfront. That way, the heavy lifting on the loan is done and the homebuyer can shop for a home with the certainty and negotiating power similar to a cash buyer.

“It is crucial to be aware of what mortgage rates are doing and how that plays a part in your pre-approval,” says Gelios. “Because if rates go up, you can lose your pre-approval at the amount you were approved for.”

For example, if you are pre-approved for $250,000 and the rates drastically change, this would mean you are no longer approved for that amount, making it impossible to shop at that price range.

One option is a mortgage interest rate lock, which secures a rate, usually for 90 days. This option allows homebuyers to shop without the fear of being unable to afford the house they like because of another rate change. However, if rates dip lower, a rate lock might not serve a homebuyer as well.

Whichever route you take, just remember that getting pre-approved offers realistic boundaries of the price range in which you should be shopping.

“With the rates acting how they are in 2023, a homebuyer should be in regular touch with their lender to ensure they are still shopping for an amount that they can get financing for,” says Gelios.

7. Assuming you can’t afford a new-construction home

About 1 in 3 homes on the market today is new construction. This is going a long way toward making up for the lack of inventory. And while many homebuyers just automatically assume that a brand-new house will be beyond their means, that is just not the case today.

In fact, according to recent data from the National Association of Home Builders, nearly one-third of builders are reducing prices and more than half are providing some type of incentive, whether it’s mortgage rate locks or buy-downs.

“New-construction homes were once thought to be too pricey, but with builders offering impactful price cuts and incentives, buyers should take another look at them,” says Alex Toth, head of business development at Opendoor. “If you need to sell your existing home before you can purchase a new one, some builders also partner with companies who make it easy to do both at the same time.”

Plus, new-construction homes tend to include lots of money-saving features like energy-efficient appliances, integrated technology systems, and solar capabilities.

8. Considering only the house, not the neighborhood

Just like no human is an island, no home is without a neighborhood.

“Considering how many people work from home following the pandemic, it’s more important than ever to make sure you are comfortable in your surroundings, and there’s really no way to measure that without spending some time in the area prior to buying a home,” says Hardy.

“Being in the wrong neighborhood doesn’t necessarily mean the property will depreciate, but if it isn’t the right fit for you, that is something you want to find out before you make a purchase of this magnitude,” he adds.

Basically, you need to do your due diligence on the neighborhood and not just the house. You can look up crime rates in an area, but Littlefield advises also checking school scores and investigating if the neighborhood is family-friendly. Also, factor in the distance from the nearest grocery store or gas station.

“Discover externalities like power lines, flight paths from the nearest airport, or if there are train tracks nearby,” says Littlefield. “Be detail-oriented on these variables and how they might affect you and your family’s daily lives, because you can feel stuck and experience remorse if you love the layout of the home you bought, but the location is disappointing.”

9. Waiving inspections or thinking ‘I can totally fix that’

Waiving a property inspection was common over the past few years, as buyers were wanting to make their offers more competitive. The risks can be substantial, however, so this is not something to forgo anymore.

In fact, most real estate experts always advise potential homebuyers to get an inspection so they can understand any property challenges and related costs.

Many homebuyers also make the mistake of thinking remodel projects are easier and cheaper than they end up being.

“Budgets can balloon once you start a project, and supplies can be hard to find—especially due to supply chain shortages and issues in a post-COVID era,” says Littlefield.

Additionally, a traditional mortgage will not fund the renovations you want to make, so keep in mind you will need access to extra cash if that’s your plan.

However, passing over homes just because they don’t look pristine and need cosmetic updates might also be a mistake with the limited inventory available currently.

“Purchasing a home that needs a little TLC gives the homeowner opportunities to create exactly what they want, while adding equity into the home,” says Toth. “If the fixer-upper requires a finished basement for your growing family, you can do minimal updates, and in a few months, you’ve already doubled your living space.”

10. Failing to suss out the seller’s motivation for listing

Many homebuyers feel like they need to get a great price or a discount and “haggle” with the seller. However, if you are in a hot market or hotter neighborhood and you find the house, you might need to come in at asking price or even above, according to Littlefield.

That being said, it is a mistake not to try to find out why the seller is selling.

“I always advise homebuyers to try to learn what the seller’s motivation is when expressing interest in a property,” says Gelios. “If we are viewing a home and there are multiple boxes already packed, that tells me the seller could be more motivated to accept a lower price because it seems they already have a place to go.”

Whether it’s a buyer’s or a seller’s market, people still need to move.

“If a home has been sitting on the market for longer than expected or there is an immediate and substantial price drop, the odds are that a seller needs to make a deal ASAP—and that’s an opportunity for a buyer to submit a lower offer,” says Toth.

After all, the worst the seller can say is no.

11. Not using an experienced real estate agent

In this crazy current real estate market, experience matters. This goes for your real estate and your mortgage agent.

“Over the past two years, we’ve seen a wave of new agents, yet many quit within the first year,” says Littlefield. “As the market continues to become more competitive, especially with the lack of supply or inventory across the nation, you will want to look for a local agent who has spent at least three to five years working in the area and who has a proven track record in offer negotiations.”

Littlefield says to remember that you are allowed to interview a handful of real estate agents to be sure you are working with a professional who will help you find the “must haves,” source those homes to view, and give you great information on the neighborhoods and areas you are interested in. Look for a pro with experience in reviewing contracts, making any amendments, and guiding buyers through any contingency or inspection period.

Another benefit is the cost: Normally, the home sellers pay the full commission for both their own agent and the buyers’ agent. This means using an experienced local real estate agent costs you nothing and includes all the expertise.

It is just as important to vet your lender as well.

“It is easy for a homebuyer to be too close to their own situation to make healthy, long-term decisions, and the stakes are high with a six- to seven-figure purchase,” says Hardy. “Find a true professional who can help you think and plan for your short- and long-term future.”

Kimberly Dawn Neumann, who is based in New York City, is an author, performer, and fitness professional.

Twitter Follow @KimberlyNeumann

On the House: How To Find a House When There Are So Few for Sale?

M&R Realty Best Realtor in Lexington SC West Columbia,

By Clare Trapasso

Oct 4, 2023

Q:How can I find a house when there aren’t any for sale where I want to live?

The lack of homes for sale is staring down just about all buyers, whether they’re first-time or repeat purchasers. Prices are high, bidding wars are back, and mortgage rates are now solidly above 7%—and there’s very little on the market. It’s a very difficult time to be a homebuyer, even if there were homes to buy.

Many of you scouring the listings on® might not be finding homes that meet your needs (and budget) in the communities where you want to live. There’s no question that this is extremely frustrating. However, that doesn’t mean you have to give up.

If you have the means to buy a home in today’s market, there are a few ways you might be able to find the right home—even if it’s not listed online.

Put in the legwork to find your next home

Just because a home isn’t listed on, doesn’t mean that it can’t be for sale. There are plenty of frustrated home shoppers who put in some (literal) legwork—and it paid off for them.

One of my colleagues was living in a small house in the northern suburbs of Chicago with her husband and two children when COVID-19 broke out. She wanted more space, but homes rarely went up for sale in her community, and she didn’t want to leave the neighborhood she loved.

So in early 2021, she walked around the neighborhood, identifying the houses she liked. She gave her list to her real estate agent, who looked up the tax records for all of the homes in the neighborhood. The agent knocked off all of the homes that didn’t meet my colleague’s criteria of at least four bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, a two-car garage, and a basement, and then added a few more that did.

Then the agent sent postcards to all of the homes on the list, telling the owners that she had a client who was interested in their properties. Seven homeowners who hadn’t listed their homes responded. My colleague visited each one.

She put in an offer on her favorite and got it for the asking price. The sellers could have gotten more if they’d done some renovations and fixed up the home, which was built in the 1950s, but they were about to retire and didn’t want to put in the work. My colleague saved enough on the purchase price that she and her husband were able to do the remodeling.

These days homeowners are flooded with mailings from real estate agents urging them to sell their homes. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. Start by checking public property records of homes you’re interested in. This can help you narrow down the homes that meet your requirements. These records can also tell you how long the homeowners have been in their properties. The longer they’ve been there, the more likely they may be to sell if the right offer came along.

Talk to neighbors, and scour local Facebook groups for communities where you would like to move. If someone is thinking about moving, you might hear about it before the home hits the market—and have the opportunity to buy it without engaging in a bidding war.

Consider buying a smaller home

Everyone wants the perfect home, especially in today’s market where you’ll be paying top dollar. However, a move-in ready, spacious home with a big backyard in a walkable neighborhood might not be possible on a first-time buyer’s budget. And that’s OK.

If your goal is to start building equity and get out from under your landlord, consider purchasing a smaller single-family house, townhouse, condo, or co-op. This doesn’t have to be your forever home; it just has to get you into homeownership.

Over time, your home should appreciate in value, mortgage rates should fall, and more homes should go up for sale. Even if another housing crash happens, which is unlikely, home values typically rebound over time.

In a few years, you can put the equity you’ve built in your smaller home toward trading up into a larger home. If rates have come down, your mortgage payments could be considerably less as well.

Look into new construction

In a high-price, high-interest-rate housing market, many first-time buyers might dismiss this option. Newly built homes have traditionally been more expensive than comparable properties on the resale market. But it’s worth giving these properties another look.

Builders have been increasingly putting up smaller, more affordable homes. They’ve also been finding ways to reduce costs for budget-minded buyers.

Some have been cutting prices. Unlike many homeowners, builders are not as emotionally attached to these properties. So it might be easier for them to lop off a few thousand (or more) dollars.

Many are offering upgrades, nicer finishes, and premium lots at a discount. Some are even contributing to a buyer’s closing costs, which can amount to thousands, if not tens of thousands, of dollars.

However, the bigger savings might come from builders who buy down mortgage rates. The larger builders might have their own financing arms, which helps them to offer temporarily lower rates for the first few years of homeownership—or even the full 30 years of a fixed-rate loan.

Plus, the price gap between new construction and existing homes (which have previously been lived in) has been closing. Even when a home is priced a little higher than what a buyer could find in the resale market, the closing cost assistance and mortgage rate buy-downs could make it cheaper than a less expensive property.

Clare Trapasso is the executive news editor of She was previously a reporter for the Associated Press, the New York Daily News, and a Financial Times publication. She also taught journalism courses at several New York City colleges. Email or follow @claretrap on X (formerly Twitter).

‘Unsellable Houses’ Proves There’s One Type of Home That’s Always in Demand

The Case for Staying Put: 7 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Downsize Your Home

M&R Realty Best Realtor in Lexington SC West Columbia,
M&R Realty Best Realtor in Lexington SC West Columbia,

By Meera Pal

Sep 14, 2023

In the not-too-distant past, common practice would find empty-nesters and retirees sensibly deciding that two people in a 2,500-square-foot house was maybe excessive. Soon enough, the house would be sold and traded for a condo someplace with no snow to shovel.

But nowadays, many homeowners are bucking the retirement trend of moving to a smaller home.

Downsizing your home can be a significant decision that has both advantages and disadvantages,” says Tory Yates, a real estate agent with Century 21 Redwood Realty, in Frederick, MD. “While there are valid reasons to consider downsizing, there are also reasons why you might want to think twice before making this decision.”

If you’re weighing whether to shed square footage or stay put, check out these seven reasons to avoid downsizing.

1. Swapping a mortgage doesn’t make sense right now

With mortgage rates sitting at around 7% on 30-year fixed-rate loans, homeowners with a lower rate might want to stay where they are.

“Say you’re thinking about moving to a smaller house to save money, and your current house has a 2.95% interest rate for the next 15 years,” says Mathew Pezon, a real estate investor and CEO of Pezon Properties in Easton, PA. “When you add up the costs for a 7% interest rate in today’s market, you may end up with a 20 to 30% smaller house but with the same housing payment over the next 15 years.”

In that scenario, you would not reap the massive savings that usually comes with downsizing.

“You’d have the same payments and a smaller house,” says Pezon.

2. You can’t afford the cost of selling

Don’t have a mortgage? Downsizing can potentially reduce your living expenses in the long run; but in the short term, it could end up costing you more than it’s worth.

“The costs of selling a home—think real estate agent commissions and closing costs—can outweigh the immediate financial benefits,” says Mike Qiu, owner of Good as Sold Home Buyers in Kirkland, WA. “Additionally, market conditions may impact the potential for selling at a desirable price.”

And when you add in the capital gains tax implications, it might make more sense to remain in your current, larger home.

3. You prefer to age in place

If you already have a home that can be modified to help you ease into your golden years, then downsizing may not be the right choice for you.

“If you have mobility issues or other health concerns, you might not be able to live comfortably in a smaller home,” says Andrew Lokenauth, personal finance expert and founder of Fluent in Finance. “You might need a home with features that are specifically designed for aging in place, such as wider doorways and ramps.”

In a larger home, you’ll be likelier to make any necessary renovations, including adding an accessible bath and shower, and hard-surface flooring.

4. You aren’t comfortable in a smaller space

Just because it makes sense to downsize to a smaller space doesn’t mean it’s necessarily the right choice for you personally.

By downsizing, you would likely have to give up an office or a bathroom—and maybe even the extra storage space where you stash your holiday decorations.

And forget about sleepovers with the entire family.

“Going smaller might mean giving up those extra rooms you’ve come to love,” Pezon says. “You might end up feeling less comfortable and fulfilled—especially when you’ve put time and effort into making it special—so why downsize if you’re already content with where you are?”

5. You plan to use your extra space to make a little money

You might be living on a fixed income, post-retirement. So what if you could make a few bucks using your extra space?

“You could turn your extra rooms into passive income by renting them on Airbnb,” says Jake Hill, CEO of DebtHammer, a personal finance website. “Renting your extra space allows you to supplement your Social Security benefits and retirement savings, which can improve your quality of life and ensure the longevity of your retirement income.”

And if you aren’t comfortable renting a room in your home, there are other options. You could rent out a storage space or add an ADU in the backyard to make rental income.

6. You might need multigenerational living space

Maybe your aging mother can no longer age in place at her home, or your adult daughter and her family need a place to live for a little while.

“If family is moving in, the space that a larger home provides can be invaluable,” says Rod Khlief, an estate investor in Sarasota, FL. “This allows for better privacy and comfort for everyone involved, fostering a harmonious living arrangement.”

7. You love your house

Financial reasons aside, emotional attachment is a legitimate reason to skip downsizing.

“Many homeowners have deep sentimental connections to their homes, which can make it difficult to let go,” says Josh Steppling, a real estate agent in Stuart, FL. “The memories and history tied to their current space can be a source of comfort.”

Retiring can be an emotionally challenging time already; adding a move to that can make it even more stressful.

The bottom line? Choosing whether to downsize is an entirely personal decision that only you can make.

Meera Pal is a Northern California-based writer with a background in journalism and books. She covers tech, real estate, and everything in between.

Twitter Follow @Meerakat

7 Things About Your House That Could Give Buyers ‘The Ick’

M&R Realty Best Realtor in Lexington SC West Columbia,

By Sally Jones

Sep 19, 2023

When selling a home, you want to present it at its best. That first open house can be a lot like a first date. And the comparison with hoping for a love match doesn’t stop there.

So many relationship analogies perfectly capture the home buying and selling experience, from finding The One to “marrying the house, but dating the rate.” Or take “the ick”—that feeling of disgust when you first notice a big turnoff.

In the dating world, you might get the ick if a date chews with their mouth open or is rude to a server. But the ick can be just as much a deal breaker in the real estate world, stopping a potential buyer from falling for your home.

Here are the top seven things that give home shoppers an instant feeling of ickiness. Make sure none of these crops up at your open house.

1. Anything old and outdated

There’s retro cool, and then there’s retro ewww. Be sure you know what’s vintage or just plain ancient in your home.

Ryan Fitzgerald, a real estate professional with Up Homes, got the ick from a time capsule house.

“It was like a trip back to the ’70s,” he says. Homes that date to the age of Aquarius are usually an unholy mix of popcorn ceilings and avocado everything.

While time capsule houses can be fun to look at and get a lot of attention on social media, only a few people would be prepared to move into one.

“The installations were glaringly dated, making it hard to envision it without a complete overhaul,” adds Fitzgerald.

2. Quirky tastes

While outlandishly designed houses can sometimes rocket to the top of the most popular homes lists, they can be tough to sell.

Real estate professionals describe these homes as having a “particular taste” that can give some buyers the ick.

“I once toured a home that was incredibly colorful inside. All the walls and ceilings were painted different colors and patterns, and even the cabinets and interior doors were painted bright colors,” says Nathan Russo, director of operations at Destin Vacation Rentals. “I don’t mind a little color, but I just couldn’t get over how loud it was–and how much work it would take to repaint virtually everything.”

3. Cigarette stench

The stench of stale tobacco smoke is almost universally disdained—and it tops nearly everyone’s list of homebuyer icks.

“After living in a rental for a year with a heavy smoke stink no matter how much we cleaned, I was over it,” says Andy Kalmon, CEO of Benny.

The last time he went house hunting, it was one of his must-avoids.

“There was just a persistent odor I wasn’t confident I’d be able to get out of the carpets,” Kalmon adds.

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4. Carpeting in the bathroom

Many of today’s homebuyers say wall-to-wall carpeting gives them the ick.

“I recently bought a house to flip that had shag carpeting everywhere: on the floors, walls, bed pedestal, and even the sloped ceiling of the primary bedroom,” says Martin Orefice, CEO of Rent To Own Labs. “It was even in the bathroom suite!”

Carpeting in the bathroom appears to be a universal turnoff and a resounding ick factor.

5. Pets and pet odors

While we all love our pets, it doesn’t mean prospective buyers want to see signs (or smell odors) of yours at an open house.

“My wife and I just moved for work and were looking at historic homes in Naperville, IL,” says Jeff Moriarty, marketing director at Supplement Warehouse. “We found it a real turnoff if pets roamed freely in the middle of a showing.”

Oh, and don’t think you can cover up pet smells with air fresheners because that can be another pet peeve.

“We were turned off if there were a lot of candles and diffusers going,” adds Moriarty. “Our concern is what the house really smells like.”

6. Bugs and vermin

The last thing anyone wants to see when they’re touring an open house is signs of bugs or mice. So if this is a problem in a home you’re hoping to sell, have it thoroughly exterminated well in advance of showing it.

Even dead spiders or just spiderwebs can be off-putting. It was for the Moriartys.

“If we saw cobwebs or spiders in the corners of rooms,” says Moriarty, “it tells us that the home isn’t taken care of.”

7. Dolls, clowns, and religious icons

Prospective buyers report that collections of dolls and clowns give them the ick. For others, too many religious icons can be overwhelming.

The last time I went house hunting, I toured a home with crosses in every room. And the living room had a gallery wall full of them. Were neighborhood vampires an issue?

“While faith is important, it’s foundational to remember that not every buyer shares your convictions,” says Eric Bramlett, real estate professional with Bramlett Residential. “You want potential buyers to see themselves in your home, not feel like they’re intruding into someone else’s sacred space. Keep it neutral; make the space a blank slate where others can paint their own future.”

Sally Jones writes about home buying, financing, home renovation, design, and decor. Her work has been published by, Family Handyman, ConsumerAffairs, Reader’s Digest, Brit + Co, and MSN. See her kitchen and bath designs come to life on her blog, Renov8or.