Saturday, July 18, 2009

New Rules Give Buyers More Protection at Closing

I was reading the Washington Post today and came a cross the great article By Kenneth R. Harney about the new rules that give buyers more protection at closing. "If you're applying for a loan to purchase a primary or secondary home, or planning to refinance, you should be aware of a little-publicized new set of federal consumer-protection rules that takes effect July 30." To read more of Kenneth Harney article CLICK HERE .

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Thursday, July 9, 2009

American Home Styles - Bungalow

Heritage Block, The Taj West End, BangaloreImage via Wikipedia


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A bungalow (Gujarati: બંગલો baṅglo, Hindi: बंगला baṅglā) is a type of single-storyhouse that originated in India. The word derives from the Hindi baṅglā (or perhaps the Gujarati variant baṅglo), meaning "Bengali", used elliptically for a "house in the Bengal style".[1] Such houses were traditionally small, only one story and thatched, and had a wide veranda.

In India and Pakistan, the term bungalow refers to any single-family unit (i.e., a house), as opposed to an apartment building, which is the norm for Indian and Pakistani middle-class city living. The Indian sub-continent usage is different from the North American usage wherein a bungalow can be a quite large, multi-storied building which houses a single extended family. In India and Pakistan, owning a bungalow is a highly significant status symbol.

The term is first found in English from 1696, where it was used to describe "bungales or hovells" in India for English sailors of the East India Company, which do not sound very grand lodgings.[3] Later it became used for the spacious homes or official lodgings of officials of the British Raj, and was so known in Britain and later America, where it initially had high status and exotic connotations, and began to be used in the late 19th century for large country or suburban houses built in an Arts and Crafts or other Western vernacular style - essentially as large cottages, a term also sometimes used.[4] Later developers began to use the term for smaller houses. In Britain and North America a bungalow today is a residential house, normally detached, which is either single story, or has a second story built into a sloping roof, usually with dormer windows ("one and a half stories"). Full vertical walls are therefore only seen on one storey, at least on the front and rear elevations. Usually the houses are relatively small, especially from recent decades, though early examples may be large, in which case the term bungalow tends not to be used today.

In Singapore and Malaysia, the term bungalow was originally made popular by the British who popularized this building typology. It is now used to refer to a detached, single family residential dwelling usually of two to three story with its own compound.

In South Africa, the term bungalow never refers to a residential house but means a small holiday house, a small log house or a wooden beach house.


Bungalows are very convenient for the homeowner in that all living areas are on a single story and there are no stairs between living areas. A bungalow is well suited to those who are mobility impaired, e.g. the elderly or those in wheelchairs.

Neighborhoods of only bungalows offer more privacy than similar neighborhoods with two-story houses. With bungalows, strategically planted trees and shrubs are usually sufficient to block the view of neighbors. With two-story houses, the extra height requires much taller trees to accomplish the same, and it may not be practical to place such tall trees close to the house to obscure the view from the second floor of the next door neighbor. On the other hand, even closely spaced bungalows make for quite low density neighborhoods, contributing to urban sprawl.

Cost and space considerations

One-story bungalow with painted trim, earth-tone shingles

On a per unit area basis (e.g. per square foot or per square metre), bungalows are more expensive to construct than two story houses because a larger foundation and roof area is required for the same living area. The larger foundation will often translate into larger lot size requirements as well. This is why bungalows are typically fully detached from other houses and do not share a common foundation nor party wall: if the homeowner can afford the extra expense of a bungalow relative to a two-story house, they can typically afford to be fully detached as well.

The smaller size however may be desirable for elderly people (perhaps with grown children) as it requires less cleaning, etc.

Though the 'footprint' of a bungalow is often a simple rectangle, any foundation is possible. For bungalows with brick walls, the windows are often positioned high and are right to the roof. This avoids the need for special arches or lintels to support the brick wall above the windows. In two-story houses, there is no choice but to continue the brick wall above the window (and the second story windows may be positioned high and right to the roof.)

Types of bungalow in Britain and North America

While the concept of a bungalow is simple, there are a number of variations upon the term, often describing where floor-space is extended above, or below the primary floor.

Ranch bungalow

Ranch Bungalow in Palo Alto, California

A ranch bungalow is a bungalow organized so that bedrooms are on one side and "public" areas (kitchen, living/dining/family rooms) are on the other side. If there is an attached garage, the garage is on the public side of the house so that a direct entrance to the house is possible, when this is allowed by legislation. On narrower lots, public areas are at the front of the house and such an organization is typically not called a "ranch" bungalow. Such houses are often smaller and have only two bedrooms in the back.

Raised bungalow

A raised bungalow is one in which the basement is partially above ground. The benefit is that more light can enter the basement with above ground windows in the basement. A raised bungalow typically has a foyer at ground level that is half-way between the first floor and the basement. This further has the advantage of creating a foyer with a very high ceiling without the expense of raising the roof or creating a skylight. Raised bungalows often have the garage in the basement. Because the basement is not that deep, and the ground must slope downwards away from the house, the slope of the driveway is quite shallow. This avoids the disadvantage of steep driveways found in most other basement garages. Bungalows without basements can still be raised, but the advantages of raising the bungalow are much less.

Chalet Bungalow

A bungalow with loft comes with a second story loft. The loft may be extra space over the garage. It is often space to the side of a great room with a vaulted ceiling area. The house is still classified and marketed as a bungalow with loft because the main living areas of the house are on one floor. All the convenience of single floor living still applies and the loft is not expected to be accessed on a daily basis.

Some houses have extra bedrooms in the loft or attic area. Such houses are really "one and half" stories and not a bungalow, and are described in British English as a chalet bungalow or dormer bungalow. "Chalet Bungalow" is also used in British English for where the area enclosed within pitched roof contains rooms, even if this comprises a large part of the living area and is fully integrated into the fabric of the property.

True bungalows do not use the attic. Because the attic is not used, the roof pitch can be quite shallow, constrained only by snow load considerations.

American Bungalows

American Craftsman Bungalow

The American Craftsman bungalow typified the common styles of the American Arts and Crafts movement, with common features usually including: low-pitch roof lines on a gabled or hipped roof; deeply overhanging eaves; exposed rafters or decorative brackets under the eaves; and a front porch beneath an extension of the main roof.

California Bungalow

California Bungalow

The California Bungalow was a widely popular 1 1/2 story variation on the bungalow in America from 1910 to 1925. It was also widely popular in Australia within the period 1910–1940.

Ultimate Bungalow

The term ultimate bungalow is most commonly used to describe the very large and detailed Craftsman style homes of such California architects as Greene and Greene, Bernard Maybeck, and Julia Morgan.

Chicago Bungalow

A 1925 Chicago bungalow

The majority of Chicago Bungalows were built between 1910 and 1940. They were typically constructed from brick (sometimes in decorative patterns) and had one and a half stories. At one point, nearly a third of the houses in the Chicago area were bungalows.[citation needed] One primary difference between the Chicago bungalow and other types is that the gables are parallel to the street, rather than perpendicular. Like many other local homes, Chicago bungalows are relatively narrow,[5] being an average of 20 feet (6.1 m) wide on a standard 25-foot (7.6 m) wide city lot.

Milwaukee Bungalow

A large fraction of the older houses in Milwaukee, Wisconsin are bungalows in a similar Arts and Crafts style to those of Chicago, but usually with the gable perpendicular to the street. Also, many Milwaukee bungalows have white stucco on the lower portion of the exterior.

Michigan Bungalow

There are numerous examples of Arts and Crafts bungalows built from 1910 to 1925 in the metro-Detroit area, including Royal Oak. Keeping in line with the principles of the Arts and Crafts movement, the bungalows were constructed using local building materials.

Bungalow Colony

A special use of the term "bungalow" developed in the greater New York City area, between the 1930s and 1970s to denote a cluster of small rental summer homes, usually in the Catskill Mountains. First and second generation Jewish-American families were especially likely to rent such homes.

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Pat Ogle, Associate Broker, CRS, DSAC, e-Pro, GRI, MCJ, REALTOR®

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Gary Orders, e-Pro, REALTOR®

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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

American Home Styles - Ranchers

"Chicago bungalow" with detached gar...Image via Wikipedia

Ranch-style house
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Large custom ranch house built in 1966 in California. This house exhibits most of the features of the style, note long low profile and large windows.
1950s ranch house with dovecote
Smaller ranch-style house in West Jordan, Utah, with brick exterior and side drop gable roof.

Ranch-style houses (also American ranch, California ranch, rambler or rancher) is a uniquely American domestic architectural style. First built in the 1920s, the ranch style was extremely popular in the United States during the 1940s to 1970s, as new suburbs were built for the Greatest Generation and later the Silent Generation. The style was exported to other nations and so is found in other countries.

The style is often associated with tract housing built during this period, particularly in the western United States, which experienced a population explosion during this period with a corresponding demand for housing.

The ranch house is noted for its long, close-to-the-ground profile, and minimal use of exterior and interior decoration. The houses fuse modernist ideas and styles with notions of the American Western period working ranches to create a very informal and casual living style. Their popularity waned in the late 20th century as neo-eclectic house styles, a return to using historical and traditional decoration, became popular. However, in recent years the ranch house has been undergoing a revitalization of interest.

Preservationist movements have begun in some ranch house neighborhoods as well as renewed interest in the style from a younger generation who did not grow up in ranch-style houses. This renewed interest in the ranch house style has been compared to that which other house styles such as the Bungalow and Queen Anne experienced in the 20th century, initial dominance of the market, replacement as the desired housing style, decay and disinterest coupled with many of teardowns, then renewed interest and gentrification of the surviving homes.

The following features are considered key elements of the original ranch house style, although not all ranch houses have all them.

* Single story
* Long, low roofline
* Asymmetrical rectangular, L-shaped, or U-shaped design
* Simple floor plans
* Open floor plans
* Attached garage
* Sliding glass doors opening onto a patio
* Large windows
* Vaulted ceilings with exposed beams
* Windows often decorated with shutters
* Exteriors of stucco, brick and wood
* Large overhanging eaves
* Cross-gabled, side-gabled or hip roof
* Simple and/or rustic interior and exterior trim

History and development

The 20th century Ranch House style has its roots in North American Spanish colonial architecture of the 17th to 19th century. These buildings used single story floor plans and native materials in a simple style to meet the needs of their inhabitants. Walls were often built of adobe brick and covered with plaster, or more simply used board and batten wood siding. Roofs were low and simple and usually had wide eaves to help shade the windows from the Southwestern heat. Buildings often had interior courtyards which were surrounded by an U shaped floor plan. Large front porches were also common. [2] These low slung, thick walled, rustic working ranches were common in the Southwestern states.The California bungalow of the early 20th century also served as a precedent with its simple one story outline, ample porch, and garden orientation.

Early modern period

Several American architects of the early 20th century were instrumental in taking the Spanish colonial ranch homes and fusing them with Modern Architecture to create the California Ranch House Style. Cliff May of San Diego and later, of Los Angeles, and William Wurster of San Francisco are two of the more common names associated with this innovation. Cliff May’s book, “Western Ranch Houses,” written with the editors of Sunset Magazine, stresses three basic concepts about ranch houses that serve as foundational philosophical underpinnings. First, is livability, second, flexibility and third is an unpretentious character. All three elements were addressed by combining modern building practices with the rustic Spanish Colonial rancherias.


Typical family room of a ranch house, note simple trim and ornamentation that lends itself to a variety of decorating styles

Livability was addressed by the addition of open floor plans instead of the small and divided up rooms of previous house styles. In a modern ranch house each of the major rooms was intended to flow into the next. Large windows were added to bring in outside light and nature. Garages were attached to the home instead of the separate building they had been in previous house styles such as the Bungalow, this acknowledged the importance of the automobile in modern life by integrating the vehicle into the home. Sliding glass doors opened to patios, usually covered, in the back of the home, a direct fusion of the Spanish Colonial Rancherias and Modernism. As land was inexpensive and plentiful in this time period the Ranch Houses were long and rambling over their large lots.


Flexibility was addressed by the open floor plans that allowed rooms to be rearranged and serve multiple purposes. Ranch Houses often included separate living and family rooms and formal dining rooms that all could be redressed for other purposes as needed. In addition the simple trim and style could be made to work with a number of interior decorating schemes, from American Colonial to ultramodern to contemporary casual. The integrated patio served as an extension of the living space, allowing a functional relationship with the outdoors.

Unpretentious character was addressed by the simple, lean, lines of the houses themselves. Ranch Houses, with their low roof lines and simple rustic trim, were intended to maintain a casual feel and not dominate their neighborhoods. Entry was not into a grand foyer, with an elaborate two story staircase winding down and soaring 20-foot (6 m) cathedral ceiling, but instead into a simple ante-chamber, if that, which was disarming and pedestrian. Interiors were designed for ease of movement and a "homeish" feel, often with wood paneling, textured ceilings for noise control, and occasional exposed wood beams in main living areas.

Era of popularity

By the 1950s the California Ranch House, by now often called simply the ranch house or even “rambler house”, accounted for nine out of every ten new houses.[3] The seemingly endless ability of the style to accommodate the individual needs of the owner/occupant, combined with the very modern inclusion of the latest in building developments and simplicity of the design satisfied the needs of the time. Ranch houses were built throughout America and were often given regional facelifts to suit regional tastes. The “Colonial Ranch” of the midwest and east coast is one such noted variant, adding American Colonial features to the facade of the California Ranch House. Ranch homes of the 1940s and 50s are typically more deliberately rustic in nature than those of the 60s and 70s, with features such as dovecotes, Swiss board edging on trim, and generally western and even fantasy trim styling. In the 60s the Ranch house echoed the national trend towards sleekness in design, with the homes becoming even simpler in trim and ornamentation. The Canadian 1970s simple raised rancher house style had a basement underneath it, was a great new hip design for the middle class.


American tastes in architecture began to change in the late 1960s, a move away from Googie and Modernism and Ranch Homes towards more formal and traditional styles. Builders of Ranch Houses also began to simplify and cheapen construction of the homes to cut costs, eventually reducing the style down to a very bland and uninteresting house with little of the charm and drama of the early versions.[4] By the late 1970s the ranch house was no longer the home of choice and had been eclipsed by the Neo-Eclectic styles of the late 20th century. (Very late custom Ranch Homes of the later 1970s begin to exhibit features of the Neo-Eclectics, such as dramatically elevated rooflines, grand entryways, and traditional detailing) These Neo-Eclectic homes typically continue many of the lifestyle interior features of the Ranch House, such as open floor plans, attached garages, eat in kitchens, and built in patios, though their exterior styling typically owes more to Northern Europe or Italy or 18th and 19th century homes styles than the Ranch House. Neo-Eclectic houses also have a significant level of formality in their design, both externally and internally, the exact opposite of the typical Ranch Style House. Additionally the increase in land prices has meant a corresponding increase in the number of two story homes being built, and a shrinking of the size of the average lot, both trends which inhibit the traditional ranch house style.[5] Ranch style houses are occasionally still built today, but mainly in the Western states and, usually, as individual custom homes.

Revival of interest

Beginning in the late 1990s a revival of interest in the ranch style house occurred in United States. The renewed interest in the design is mainly focused on existing homes and neighborhoods, not new construction. Younger house buyers find that ranch houses are affordable entry level homes in many markets, and the single story living of the house attracts older buyers looking for a house they can navigate easily as they age. The houses' uniquely American heritage, being an indigenous design, has furthered interest as well. [1] The houses simplicity and unpretentious nature, in marked contrast to the more dramatic and formal nature of neo-eclectic houses, makes them appealing for some buyers who are looking for something different. The more distinctive ranch houses, such as modernist Eichlers or Cliff May designs, as well as custom homes with a full complement of the style's features, are in particular demand in many markets. Many neighborhoods featuring ranch-style houses are now well-established, with large trees and often with owner modifications that give these sometimes redundant styles significant character. As these homes were mainly built in the time frame of 1945 to 1970 they are modern in their infrastructure, their heating/cooling systems, wiring, plumbing, windows, doors, and other systems can be easily repaired and upgraded.[6]

Revival of the ranch-style house

Large scale tract building of Ranch Houses ended in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Those still built today have usually been individual custom homes. One known exception is a tract of Ranch Style Homes being currently built in California. These houses borrow their style cues from the 1950s Western styled Ranch Houses, with board and batten siding, dovecotes, large eaves, and extensive porches. Notably, all homes in this tract are on 1/4 acre lots and have their front garages turned sideways so the garage doors are not dominating the front of the house.

PS: You can do it and we will help you!


Pat Ogle, Associate Broker, CRS, DSAC, e-Pro, GRI, MCJ, REALTOR®

Certified Residential Specialist / Certified Internet Marketing Specialist

Gary Orders, e-Pro, REALTOR®

Certified Internet Marketing Specialist
Jenn Morgan,

Over $73,000,000 in Settled Sales

Champion Hall of Fame

Best of the Best 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008

National Sales Award, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007

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