Panelists and presenters at the annual conference of the National Association of Real Estate Editors discussed key changes that are happening with how homes and communities are being built. Energy efficiency has become one of the most coveted features; and prospective home buyers should look for signs such as Energy Star appliances, a well-insulated attic, and high-efficiency windows. Home buyers without solid credit will need to improve their score quickly, considering economists expect mortgage rates to tick above 5 percent in 2015. Prospective neighborhoods should have amenities that promote a healthy lifestyle, such as a multi-modal transportation system with various mass transit options, smooth sidewalks, bike lanes, and access to nature and playgrounds. The new house should be water efficient, with a water-smart landscape and water-efficient fixtures including its toilets, faucets, and showerheads. Also, home buyers are shopping online and are shifting to mobile as well. | Read More