Some of 2021’s hottest new looks reflect 1970’s taste, including natural wood finishes and seamless cabinetry without any hardware. CHICAGO – The pandemic pushed kitchens in new directions. They became a place for more than eating, thanks to Zoom calls and schoolwork. Realtor.com asked top designers to chime in on some of the hottest kitchen trends of 2021. “We’re seeing some dramatic shifts as a result of the pandemic,” Janice Costa, president and founder of KB Designers Network, says” 1. Supersized kitchen islands The island has become a focal point in the kitchen. It’s not just a place for food preparation, but also work, school and a place for households to gather. That means the bigger, the better. Many new-home floor plans incorporate larger islands into their new builds due to demand. Enlarging the kitchen island has also become a popular remodeling project since the pandemic. “Larger kitchen islands are here to stay,” Ariana Lovato, owner and principal designer of Honeycomb Home Design in Shell Beach, Calif., says. “People want to have as many workspaces as possible, with the kids now doing virtual school.” READ THE FULL ARTICLE ON FLORIDAREALTORS.ORG ...

Image: valentinrussanov, E+, Getty Images A monthly seller-sentiment index recorded a notable spike in the number of homeowners who think it’s a good time to sell – a possible sign of more future listings. WASHINGTON – Fannie Mae’s latest Home Purchase Sentiment Index, based on a survey of 1,000 consumers, suggests that more homeowners view home selling favorably. The index’s component on home-selling conditions month-to-month rose 16 percentage points on net last month. “Overall, the index’s monthly increase was driven largely by a substantial jump in the share of consumers reporting that it’s a good time to sell a home, with many citing favorable mortgage rates, high home prices and low housing inventory as their primary rationale,” says Fannie Mae chief economist Doug Duncan. “Among owners and higher-income groups, however, the other five components of the index remained relatively flat or slightly negative, suggesting to us that some consumers are waiting to gauge the effectiveness of any new fiscal policies and vaccination distribution programs on both housing and the larger economy,” he adds. Duncan also noted that lower-income and renter groups reported more optimism in January across nearly all of the index’s components. Overall, the January index found that 57% of consumers feel it’s a good...

Curb appeal applies to the front entry, yard, driveway and sidewalk. Once your house is listed, make sure it’s always looking its best from the curb. Get in your car and drive by your own home, it will give you a fresh perspective. What’s your favorite front yard feature?  ...

PHOTO: Klaus Vedfelt, DigitalVisi, Getty Images ARTICLE: By Dara Kam, Jason Fischer How – and who – should oversee Fla. vacation rentals? The Florida Legislature has debated the topic for years, and it’s still a high priority issue for Florida Realtors. This year’s version would make Airbnb collect taxes, remit them to the state, ensure proper licensing and more. TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A years-long effort to block local governments from regulating vacation rentals is on the move again, as House and Senate leaders revive a proposal to prevent cities and counties from inspecting and licensing properties offered on platforms such as Airbnb. In a 10-7 vote on Wednesday, the House Regulatory Reform Subcommittee gave an initial nod to the latest iteration of the proposal (HB 219). While the legislation has morphed over the past few years, the controversy over the issue has remained consistent, and it’s a top priority for Florida Realtors heading into the 2021 session of the Florida Legislature. Read full article on www.floridarealtors.org...