Monthly Archives: October 2014

Why is it important to understand interest rates?

Sometimes a few points can make a major difference: like the score of the SuperBowl, or a mortgage loan interest rate. In the Super Bowl a few points can be the difference between being a champion or a loser. And a few points difference in a mortgage interest rate can mean the difference of a few hundred dollars.

In the below video, real estate professional Jessica Edwards of Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage explains why it is important to understand interest rates.

While your lender and real estate professional should serve as resources for information about interest rates, you can also use mortgage calculators to estimate your monthly payment.

Ready to start the search for your dream home? Home begins at coldwellbanker.com.

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Home of the Week: Live Like Royalty on Princess Isle

In our newest ‘Home of the Week‘ we move from a French colonial estate in Alabama to a magnificent beachfront estate on Grand Bahama Island.

Located just 90 miles from Miami, this this elegant gated island property sits on nearly two beautiful oceanfront acres. The estate listed at $9.9 million offers you any kind of lifestyle you want – whether it be one of relaxation or one of exercise and entertaining. We believe that no one can tell the story of a home better than the people who live in it, so here’s what current owner (and former Victoria Secret President) David Kollat had to say about this remarkable home.

“The architect (John Mitchell), interior designer (David Berg) and I designed the house over a three year period. We began construction in June 2005 and completed in March 2008. I love this house so much. When I was in the fashion business I spent a lot of time in beautiful mansions in Newport, Rhode Island, and Palm Beach, Florida. I loved the architecture of Palm Beach, particularly the work of Addison Misner; his work was the primary inspiration for the architectural style of the house. The architect and I used coral, hand made barrel roof tiles (made in Colombia) and pecky Cyprus in the style of the 1920s, but blended in modern necessities and touches like hurricane proof windows and doors.”

The sprawling grounds and locale are indeed special, but the interior of the residence is not to be outdone. The amazing home features 6 bedrooms with 6 full bathrooms, several interior and exterior fireplaces, a den, office and formal living room. The 13,000 square foot home boasts every amenity one could desire – from the state of the art kitchen, to the fully equipped gym, Brunswick pool table and heated outdoor pool.

Click here to see more of this amazing home listed by James Sarles with Coldwell Banker James Sarles Realty.

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Decorating your front porch for the season

37 Barnor Road, Wentzville, MO

This weekend I broke from my traditional afternoon love affair with football to get outside and Fall-up my front porch. During my evening walks in the neighborhood, I’ve grown jealous of my neighbors who already made their seasonal transition and felt I could no longer ignore the place where I spend so much of my time. That last push of motivation came from a great article in the Bitter Southerner called “Notes concerning the objects that are on my front porch,” in which Susan Harlan reflects on the items living on her porch.

I couldn’t have picked a better weekend to reconnect with my outdoor space. All those potted annuals from this summer were begging to be put to pasture as the terracotta containers begged for new life. Color has made its way back to my home’s front porch, sprinkled with yellow mums and purple pansies. Trick-or-treaters will be welcomed with a new seasonal doormat and a bundle of corn stacks tied around my light post. I no longer have to lower my head in shame when the neighbors walk by my house because now my home is decked out for the season… at least until the next holiday.

Still need more motivation to grab the garden tools and head outside? Here are a few of my favorite front porches on coldwellbanker.com that are sure to get you excited about beautifying your front porch.

52 West Clinton Avenue, Irvington, NY

9851 Royal St, St. Francisville, LA

22942 Goldenrod Dr, Ashburn, VA

259 Prospect St, Westfield Town, NJ

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4 Strategies for Dealing with a Bad Roommate

When you live with a roommate, learning how to coexist harmoniously with that roommate is crucial. Even if you’ve found the perfect New York apartment, dealing with a bad roommate can quickly sour the whole experience. If you find yourself in conflict with your roommate, keep these tips in mind, as you try to change the situation for yourself and turn a bad situation into a livable one.

1. Work on Communication

Good communication is key to successful cohabitation. It’s normal to want to avoid confronting someone who is annoying you or irritating you, but when you’re sharing the same space, you can dodge these issues for only so long. When roommates do things that bother you, don’t be afraid to let them know. But you should also think carefully about how you choose to put your message across. To minimize drama, be polite yet direct. Voicing your thoughts in a sincere, approachable way should help motivate your roommate to see your point of view.

2. Use Empathy

When conflict arises, you should also put yourself in your roommate’s shoes. Think about how the other person might be experiencing this scenario. There are two sides to every story. Everyone is different, and the way you live, eat, sleep, and handle problems is going to be different. So make sure to take the time to really get to know your roommate; it will help you understand where they’re coming from. The more you know about your roommate, the more effectively you will be able to communicate with them and handle potentially uncomfortable situations.

3. Set Boundaries

Bad boundaries makes for bad roommates. Walking in on your roommate going through your clothes or eating your leftovers can be justifiably upsetting; if you haven’t given your roommate permission to do these things, it’s a violation of your space and privacy. Right from the get-go, work with your roommates to set some lines that should not be crossed, and make sure everyone in the home respects those lines. If one of you needs to some quiet to work or study at night, the other shouldn’t be bringing friends over or having a noisy party. Setting boundaries includes outside guests: To prevent having issues with too many strangers being in the apartment, make sure to designate limits. These conversations are critical. No one wants to live in a place where they don’t feel safe.

4. Explore the Worse-Case Scenario

If nothing else works, then the two of you should sit down and talk about your options. At the beginning, you most likely you signed a lease. If one of you needs to move out, discuss subleasing options. If things are really bad, you may need to involve your landlord, and an extreme case might involve looking into eviction. But that’s a last resort, and you should try working things out with your roommate first.

Remember, having a bad roommate is fixable, so don’t fret!

Image Source: Flickr

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13 Spook-Free Safety Tips to Keep Your Kids & Pets Safe this Halloween

Halloween is full of tricks, treats, ghoulish games, frightening frocks, cute costumes, glowing Jack O’ Lanterns, pumpkin packed parties, and of course spookiness! Unfortunately, all of the frightening fun has dangers lurking behind them. Whether you are a parent of two-legged loved ones or four-legged furry loved ones, it is critical to be aware of the true spookiness that is hiding behind all the ghostly fun. So I called upon two experts that have simple tips for a safe, scare-free Halloween to keep your children and pets safe.

First up are the experts in keeping your little pumpkins safe. They may have “boo” in their name, but there is nothing scary about Boo Boo Busters. As a leading professional childproofing service they know a thing or two about keeping your kids safe. Following, are Halloween safety tips for your pets from Dr. Anthony George, doctor of veterinary medicine and certified veterinary acupuncturist. He has been taking care of all kinds of pets for over 20 years and his tips are sure to keep you furry friends from howling at the moon.

Kid Halloween Safety Tips

1) Choking Hazards

As a good rule of thumb, a choking hazard could be considered as anything that can pass through a cardboard toilet paper roll holder unobstructed. So, taking that into consideration, look closely at all the items that you are putting out to display. From bats and ghosts to pumpkins you roast. Hazards lurk everywhere!

2) Flashlights

Child safe flashlights should have a child safe battery door on them that is secured by a screw to prevent removal of the battery, thus preventing a choking hazard. Use flashlights or electric candles to light up your pumpkin too, flames and kids don’t mix.

3) Halloween Lights

Look for Halloween light strings that have tamper resistant bulbs that can’t be removed easily and remember cords pose a strangulation hazard. All cords should be kept short and tight. Consider taking the excess that you might leave hanging and bind it up with a zip tie.

4) Pumpkin Carving

Remember to only use child safe cutting tools while carving pumpkins, even as an adult. Kids learn by watching you, so if you use real knives you must know that they will want to do the same. As soon as you turn around to grab something you forgot… little hands wander.

5) Costumes

As a kid it’s mandatory to dress up. Our job is to make sure dress up is safe. Costumes should never obstruct movement, never cause visual impairment and never pose a trip hazard. Stick to material that is form fitting. If it’s loose, baggy or long it could create a trip hazard. Avoid masks that can impair vision. Face painting is the safest mask.

6) Glow at Night

Make sure your child’s costume is visible or is is equipped with something that makes them visible. Glow sticks are great and kids love them, but remember, never hang anything around their little necks unless you are using a child safe breakaway lanyard. A couple glow sticks secured to shoes can be seen from a long way away. Flashlights are a good addition as well.

7) Halloween Treats

Remember to make sure you go through and check all the candy that you are keeping. The candy should be in name brand with sealed packages. For candy bars, be sure you cut them into small pieces that are easy to chew. This also helps to ensure it hasn’t been tampered with. Unfortunately, ghouls are sometimes disguised as regular people.

Pet Halloween Safety Tips

1) Pet Costumes

Yes, your pet looks absolutely adorable in that costume! Keep in mind, your fuzzy family member might not be as thrilled with the outfit. Feel free to get that amazing photo, but respect the fact that your pet may want to get out of those duds as soon as possible. Make sure the outfit is comfortable, and pay special attention to straps that may impinge upon the neck and areas where the extremities meet the body. Never leave a pet unaccompanied in a costume to avoid any “wardrobe malfunctions!”

2) NO chocolate

Most people know chocolate is toxic to their pets. Chocolate contains methyl xanthine, which can cause a variety of symptoms ranging from stomach upset to tremors, hyperthermia and seizures. At high doses, chocolate can lead to collapse and even death. Generally speaking, the darker and more concentrated the chocolate, the more dangerous it can be. There are helpful charts available (for instance, petMD.com) that can tell you what doses are dangerous for your pooch. If in doubt, always best to contact your veterinarian to see if treatment is indicated.

3) Sugar Free Danger

Xylitol, an artificial sweetener found commonly in sugar-free gum as well as other products, can be extremely toxic to dogs. When ingested, it can cause a significant release of insulin, which can lead to extremely low blood sugars. At high doses, it can also lead to liver failure. If your pup has ingested this substance, always best to contact your veterinarian as your pet may likely need treatment and supportive care.

4) Healthy Treat Dangers

If you’re offering healthy alternatives this Halloween, keep in mind that grapes and raisins can be extremely toxic to dogs. Some pets are more sensitive than others. In some animals, the toxin can lead to stomach upset initially, followed by kidney failure within 24 hours. It is always prudent to contact your veterinarian immediately if you suspect your pet has ingested these substances.

5) Burning Jack O’ Lanterns

Flames and Fur don’t mix. Just as you do for kids safety, consider replacing that Jack-O-Lantern candle with a flickering LED light.

6) Trick-or-Treating

During trick-or-treating it is best to keep your pet inside, safe from all of the scary costumes, noises and lights that might frighten your pooch or feline. You might even want to consider locking your sweet little pal in a room so they don’t get spooked and run out the door when your trick or treaters arrive.

Laura McHolm is an organizational, moving & storage expert and co-founder of NorthStar Moving Company. NorthStar Moving Company is an award winning, “A+” rated company, which specializes in providing eco-luxury moving and storage services. www.northstarmoving.com

Image via http://unityanimalhospital.com

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Home Tip of the Day: A Garage Hack for New Drivers

Pulling into a garage without driving through a wall or knocking something over can be a tricky task for new drivers. To make sure the new driver in your home keeps their car (and your house) in one piece, try out our easy garage hack.

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Unique DIY Headboard Ideas That Are Downright Dreamy

Want to update the look of your bed without spending a fortune on a new headboard? Here are three easy, affordable and unique ideas:

Two Doors Make One Beautiful (And Affordable) Headboard

Learn how to DIY here: http://bit.ly/1ygBx9r

Change Up The Look Of Your Headboard On The Fly With a Chalkboard

Learn more about this look here: http://bit.ly/1x5KGjY

Styrofoam Ceiling Tiles Are A Surprisingly Sweet Headboard Material

Learn how to DIY here: http://bit.ly/1CRDwlk

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Real Estate Headlines: Halloween Week Edition

Welcome to the last week of October where thoughts flock to candy, costumes and how on earth am I going to clean up all those leaves? Clocks are going to be turned back and holiday ads will overtake your TV. But before you take an early dip into the Halloween candy, here is an extra special dose of real estate headlines with a little Halloween theme to start your week:

Mortgage rates dip below 4% are making some folks think a BOOm is coming.

Houzz has 8 tips to calm your inner spirits by setting up the perfect meditation room.

The Huffington Post is using its Ouija board and thinks it knows when renters will move and what they want.

Talk about scary good! Is this the best apple pie ever made at home? I think so, but I’m biased.

How Buffy, Supernatural and The Walking Dead have taught us to monster proof our homes.

Here are a few tips on how to turn your home into a haunted house.

Frontdoor.com has a list of the 12 creepiest homes in the US.

A few of our bloggers travel back in time to relive Halloween at home.

How about a list of 25 good, gross and ghoulish Halloween party food ideas.

Take a video tour of Bran Castle which was home to Vlad the Impaler who is the real man behind the myth of Dracula.

And finally, this is seriously creepy: 5 photos of the world’s scariest abandoned castle.

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Fall Decorating: 4 Tips to Make Your Home More Festive

Many locals rejoice when autumn comes to the DFW area. With milder temperatures, rain, and crisp air, fall is a welcome break from the oppressive summer months, when heat and humidity can easily raise temperatures over 100 degrees. In addition to balmy, pleasant weather, autumn is enticing to all the senses — from the sound of fires crackling in a fire pit, to the taste of apple cider, to the fragrant smell of cinnamon. To help liven up your DFW home, consider the following fall decorating tips.

1. Incorporate Fall Colors

Bring the natural beauty of fall indoors by mimicking the colors of falling leaves. Hints of amber, auburn, and olive green on throw pillows and blankets can certainly add a cozy feel to living rooms, dens, and bedrooms. Using decorative pillows and throw blankets is an easy way to achieve an autumnal vibe without making big, labor-intensive changes to your decor.

2. Bring Outdoor Elements Inside

To achieve an autumn feel in interior spaces, think natural and rustic-looking touches. HGTV.com recommends placing “faux-liage” — or silk fall leaves — in a decorative manner in your home. Consider using silk leaves on a dining room table setting or on shelving to give your home an earthy, rustic feel. In fact, your local craft store is a great place for long-lasting decorations, such as fake pumpkins, twigs, and moss — all of which can be incorporated into decorative centerpieces and baskets. For floral arrangements, chrysanthemums in hues of gold and dark red are especially popular indoors and outdoors during this time of year.

3. Decorate Your Outdoor Space

Your front porch, patio, or balcony can benefit from traditional autumn decorations. On outdoor spaces, you can place pumpkins and decorative gourds in clusters around walkways or outdoor furniture. Southern Living recommends using an assortment of heirloom pumpkins to achieve a casual yet classically autumn look.

4. Add Warmth with Candles and Distinct Fall Scents

With cooler temperatures, adding warmth to your home helps achieve a cozy environment that also celebrates the changing of the seasons. Candles in decorative votives or jars add touches of soft light throughout a room. Lighting candles is especially beneficial for those who don’t have a fireplace (or choose not to use a fireplace). Incorporate your favorite falls scents such as cinnamon, apple, or pumpkin to enhance an autumnal ambiance. Scented candles or potpourri stashed in bowls throughout your home are great ways to incorporate the smell of fall in a subtle way.

Fall decorating doesn’t mean you need to give your home a complete makeover. By incorporating small touches like pillows and earthy finds from craft stores, you can make a huge difference in your decor without having to spend a lot of time and money.

Photo Source: Flickr

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