Monthly Archives: December 2014

Winter Weather Forecast for Philadelphia: Top 6 Things to Expect During the Coldest Season

Although the winter weather forecast for Philadelphia may be messy and travel difficult, city-dwellers often come up with unique solutions to the daily challenges of the coldest season. Here are the top six things you can expect when frozen precipitation hits the area.

School Closings

Safety is a priority when it comes to young children, so expect school to be closed when travel becomes treacherous. All area school districts build snow days into their calendars, meaning cabin fever can occur when we’re hit with a rash of severe storms. Snow and ice storms also can result in late school openings or early closings across the region. Safe transportation is essential for your kids, so it’s a good idea to work with neighbors to put an emergency plan in place in the event that schools close before work.

SEPTA Delays and Icy Rails

Philadelphia’s buses, subways, and regional rails are incredibly convenient and usually run very close to their posted schedules. Yet when bad weather causes slippery rails or power outages hit the SEPTA grid, the whole system can be affected. If you absolutely need to be somewhere by a certain time on a wintry weather morning, consider building extra time into your commute.

Tons of Road Salt

If you choose to drive to work on winter mornings, be prepared for slow-moving plow trains clearing the region’s highways. Road salt and brine is everywhere this time of year, covering cars and being tracked inside homes and businesses. Learning to drive in snow and ice is a practiced skill, so if you’ve never had to do it before, remember to drive slowly and triple your normal distance between your car and the one in front of you.

Winter Activities

Even with all the transportation hassles, winter fun is everywhere in Philadelphia. People flock to the city’s ice skating rinks, and areas like Belmont Plateau offer excellent hills for sledding. If you like to ski, snowboard, or snow tube, the Pocono Mountains are within driving distance.

Empty Shelves

Philadelphians love to stock up. The instant a local weather forecaster announces a potential storm is moving our way, we all run to the grocery store and Home Depot to clear out the staples. So if you’re shopping for bread or milk and find only empty shelves, check the weather forecast for Philadelphia — it’s a sure sign that a blizzard’s on the way. Or if you decide to buy a new shovel or rock salt and can’t find any left in the store, you can probably expect 10 inches of snow in your near future.

Late-Winter Temperature Fluctuations

After surviving Philadelphia’s average high temps only in the low forties for January and February, when the calendar flips to March, you might be ready to heave a sigh of relief. With average highs in the low 50s, March temperatures can be mild in the Philly region, but this month still brings with it a good chance of snow — so as tempting as the thought may be, it’s best not to put away the winter jackets after one day of relatively warm, sunny weather.

Once the excitement of the first snowfall fades, Philadelphians settle in for the long haul of winter weather. This time of year, when the hours of daylight decrease and we spend more time indoors, the pace of life can slow down, allowing us to catch up on a few good books or movies.

Image Source: Flickr/Ezra Wolfe

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Nevada Recreation: Amazing Places to Become One with Nature in Las Vegas

Lee Canyon

Las Vegas: Home of legal wagering and the infamous all-you-can-eat buffet. When I tell people I live in Las Vegas, the most common response is “What hotel do you live in?” or “How much did you lose gambling this year?” Truth be told, Las Vegas is quite the town for those who enjoy the great outdoors. With nearly 300 days of beautiful vibrant sunshine, Las Vegas has many locations where you can get out, go wild, and have some good old-fashioned fun, and all within an hour’s driving distance! Here are just a few of the great outdoor recreation destinations that Las Vegans have come to enjoy right in their own backyard.

Image Source: Flickr/Terrisa Meeks

Mount Charleston and Lee Canyon

It’s no secret that Las Vegas can get pretty toasty in the summer. So where’s there to go when the blistering heat is searing your feet? Mount Charleston and Lee Canyon are home to some of the best hiking, lodges, and campgrounds around. When it’s 110-plus degrees out, the family and I like to hightail it to higher ground, where the desert turns to forest and the temperatures are an average of 20 degrees cooler. Some of my best memories growing up come from treks to the green Spring Mountain habitat, where hiking, grilling, and enjoying the great outdoors is priority one.

Not only is Mount Charleston a great place to beat the summer heat, but in the winter it’s also home to the white fluffy “pow.” That’s right! Whether you want to throw snowballs or hit some sick jumps on your new snowboard, the Las Vegas Ski and Snowboard Resort is the place to tear it up. Nestled in Lee Canyon just 45 minutes from almost anywhere in Vegas, this is the perfect destination to shred the gnar, and carve your way to ski or snowboard glory.

Lake Mead

Image Source: Flickr/David Silverman

Lake Mead Recreational Area

Did I mention it gets hot here? What better way to enjoy the sunshine than with a big, gorgeous lake? At the lower end of Grand Canyon, the Colorado River widens into what we know as Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the continental United States. Whether you’re a boater, jet skier, fisherman, or all-around outdoor enthusiast, chances are Lake Mead’s recreation areas offer something for everyone. Don’t have a watercraft? No sweat! Rentals are available, including wakeboard boats, pontoon patio boats, personal watercraft, and even water sport equipment rentals! Fun in the sun, here we come!

Red Rock

Red Rock Canyon State Park

Want to check out some of the best views in all of Las Vegas while getting a great workout? Red Rock Canyon is home to more hiking trails than you can shake a stick at.

With hikes such as Icebox Canyon and Calico Hills, Red Rock has all different levels of difficulty and distance to satisfy your hankering to hike. But if you’re looking for something to take your breath away (both literally and figuratively), check out the infamous Turtlehead Peak. With an elevation change several hundred feet higher than the Empire State Building, this strenuous five-mile hike is sure to help you feel the burn. At the top, you’ll be greeted with a jaw-dropping panoramic view of the Las Vegas Valley and a special sign-in book where you can boast your victorious hiking feat. As Tolkien said, “The greatest adventure is what lies ahead.”

Sure, Las Vegas has been nicknamed “Lost Wages,” but if you’d rather check out some amazing outdoor sights instead of pumping your hard-earned moola into yet another plundering machine, the possibilities are nearly endless. What other town offers tons of mountains, a huge body of water, and even a ski and snowboard resort all in one central location? Come enjoy the great outdoor Las Vegas and all that it has to offer.

Main Image Source: Flickr

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What is a Real Estate Brand Doing at the 2015 CES?

A few years ago on my first trip to the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), I was talking on the plane ride out to an executive with a very prominent mobile company. He asked me who I worked for and where I was headed. I told him Coldwell Banker and that I was headed to CES for work. He looked at me and replied “I’ve never heard of a real estate brand being at CES.”

Exactly.

Why aren’t more real estate brands at CES? It’s the largest trade show in North America that contains every consumer gadget imaginable. And guess where all these gadgets are going? Inside the homes of millions of people across the globe.

Home tech is going to be a central focus of this year’s CES and the Coldwell Banker blog team will be there to share with you how these new tech items will shape your home in 2015 and beyond. From home automation systems to media center TVs to refrigerators that order groceries for you, we’ll talk to all the home tech companies and share our thoughts, photos and videos right here on the Coldwell Banker Blue Matter blog at blog.coldwellbanker.com/ces. You’ll also be able to follow our conversation on Twitter using the #CBCES hashtag.

We are really excited to share with you all the amazing home tech we come across and we’ll be sure our phones are fully charged and carry a backup battery to make sure we can deliver you all the electronic goodness we uncover.

Be sure to visit blog.coldwellbanker.com/ces starting on Tuesday, January 5 when we will kickoff our CES content.

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Real Estate Headlines with Pinterest, HGTV and Hawaiian Getaway

Congratulations! You’ve made it through 51 weeks of 2014. This is the last one. If there are any resolutions you haven’t gotten to yet, well let’s just say better luck next year. Now let’s close out 2014 in the best way we know possible, with a weekly dose of real estate headlines to start your week.

The Huffington Post thinks President Obama should’ve booked his Hawaiian getaway at one of these homes.

Is cheap financing for buying a home becoming vogue again?

Realtor.com has some tax considerations for home sellers in 2015.

CNBC has a list of the most searched real estate markets of 2014.

An HGTV host thinks you get a vacation house for free.

A New York City developer is selling condos using holograms.

Fast Company has a list of the most fabulous housing designs of 2014.

Does Pinterest hold the key to what housing design trends will emerge in 2015?

And finally, here are 10 of the most impressive tiny homes of the year.

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Home Tip of the Day: The Must-Have Holiday Kitchen Appliance

The key to holiday entertaining is a relaxed hostess. If you’re hosting guests this holiday, this must-have holiday kitchen appliance will help you avoid running around the kitchen all day and most importantly, take time to enjoy your family and friends. (It also makes a great last minute gift, too!) Happy hosting!

For other clever home tips & tricks, subscribe to Coldwell Banker On Location to view the complete Home Tip of the Day video series.

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Family Traditions At Christmas

It always seems like the month of December flies by. We sometimes get lost in the flurry of gift shopping, wrapping presents, and preparing our homes for holiday gatherings. Before we know it, it’s December 25th and we can’t quite fathom how Christmas is already here.

I’ve always found Christmas Eve to be one of the most peaceful, enjoyable days of the year. Everyone finally slows down and is able to enjoy some quiet, relaxing moments at home. Here are some of my favorite personal family traditions:

1. Watching “It’s A Wonderful Life”
This is one of those movies that I watch with my family year after year and it never gets old. I love curling up with a mug of hot chocolate and enjoying this classic which always leaves me feeling more festive and appreciative!

2. Matching PJs
Yes, my sisters and I may all be in our 20′s, but we’ve always worn coordinating PJ’s on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning. It makes for some really cute family photos, and a great cozy clothing option for lounging around all winter.

3. Baking with my mom
My mom is basically famous for her amazing chocolate chip cookies, and I always love spending the day “helping” her bake them (which means eating them as they come out of the oven). We always package a few tins up to bring with us to family gatherings, but my mom makes sure to keep at least one just for us!

4. Christmas breakfast
One of my favorite Christmas traditions is the delicious breakfast we have every year after opening gifts. It includes French toast, sausage, eggs, fruit — pretty much anything you could imagine, we have! It’s by far one of my favorite meals of the year.

What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions? Leave us a comment below or tweet us and let us know!

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Cheap Flooring Options for Philadelphia Renters

If you love your apartment, but hate the old flooring that came with it, it may seem like your options as a renter may be limited. Generally, tenants don’t want to spend a lot of money on flooring for a temporary home, but they still want their living space to look nice. If you’re looking for ways to cover older, worn carpeting or vinyl in your apartment, here are a few cheap flooring options for your Philadelphia home.

Area Rugs

Area rugs cover any type of flooring, hardwood, vinyl, and even existing carpeting. Rugs also serve as protection over hardwood flooring if your apartment does have hardwood floors. Cheap area rugs come in a wide range of sizes, shapes, and styles. Many are also machine-washable. Flat weave area rugs work well if you’re moving furniture and toys over them. They’re also easy to clean — often just shaking them out removes dirt, crumbs, and other debris. If you prefer more cushion, try a low-pile area rug. Another option is to purchase a carpet remnant and have the edges bound. Before placing area rugs, don’t forget to also use a non-skid rug pad underneath to prevent sliding.

Vinyl Plank Flooring

If you want to completely cover an existing floor in your apartment, consider adding vinyl plank flooring. Cheaper than hardwood or laminate, plank-sized and -shaped vinyl is gaining in popularity due to its durability and versatility. The material combines the water resistance of traditional vinyl with the easy installation of a laminate floor while mimicking the look of hardwood. Some planks are adhesive, while others click and lock together and float over the subfloor. Like all vinyl flooring, these planks are low-maintenance and easy to clean. Just keep in mind that your landlord may ask you to disassemble the flooring prior to move-out, so it’s best to discuss adding plank vinyl with your property manager prior to purchase.

Talk to Your Landlord

If you’d like to upgrade the permanent flooring in your apartment, remember to check your lease agreement before making any changes without the landlord’s permission. Renters skilled at home improvement may offer their services to help lower the installation costs. Landlords may also be willing to purchase materials such as laminate, tile, or wood flooring if you agree to split the cost. If you plan to stay in the rental unit for several years, a good landlord will be happy to work with you and ensure that you are happy.

The completely replacement of flooring is a large expense for landlords and not easily accomplished while a tenant is living in an apartment. Cheap flooring options are available to improve the look of your apartment or to protect the original flooring from damage during the lease. But if you really prefer to upgrade your flooring, it’s always best to speak with your landlord before making any permanent changes.

Image Source: Flickr

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On the Hunt for Safe Neighborhoods in NYC

Looking for safe neighborhoods in NYC is a top priority for all types of people moving to the city, including those with children and those living on their own. While the days when New York was so dangerous that it may as well have been covered in crime tape are way behind us, there are still certain areas that are safer and more suitable for families and people desiring the sense of an extra layer of security.

When it comes to what qualifies a neighborhood as safe, it generally boils down to an area that has a low crime rate, where singles and families feel that they can walk around feeling reasonably protected from the usual ills of urban living.

Upper East Side

Once upon a time, the mere mention of this neighborhood would conjure up images of Norland College–trained nannies pushing their charges in Silver Cross prams, limousines idling beside luxury co-op buildings to whisk hedge fund manager dads to work, and moms who lunch rushing off to their appointments with their yogis and Pilates instructors before picking up “a few things” at Barneys and settling down for cocktail lunches at Freds. People who were flush with cash flocked to the area because of its ability to make residents feel insulated and protected. The good news for people not-so-flush with cash who are looking for the same level of security and safety is that there are plenty of safe, beautiful, and, most importantly, affordable apartment buildings in the Upper East Side. The area, covered by the 19th and 22nd precincts, is considered one of the safest neighborhoods in Manhattan.

Battery Park City

A low crime rate, a suburban feel, and a 92-acre secluded waterfront area at the southernmost tip of Manhattan: What more could people looking for safety and security ask for? Consisting primarily of high-rise doormen buildings, this family-friendly downtown residential area has its own security force, adding an extra layer of security to an area that’s already very safe. Joggers, families pushing strollers, and people coming to and from offices in the nearby financial district make this perfect area for people seeking security. The local restaurants, dry cleaners, and grocery stores add to that secure, self-contained feel.

Gramercy Park

For people looking for safe neighborhoods in NYC with a charming, almost European-village-style feel, Gramercy Park punches the ticket. Its secluded, small-town feel is sought out by families, singles looking for a more low-key vibe than found in other downtown neighborhoods, and recent retirees who want to be in a part of the city that’s sheltered and centrally located. Well-tended brownstones and doormen buildings make up the building stock, and the mystical — and locked — Gramercy Park itself is accessible only to a lucky few.

Image Source: Flickr/Chuck Burgess

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Best Bets in Fort Worth Real Estate

Fort Worth is a town that has reinvented itself time and again, fueled by a proactive local government always on the lookout for ways to invest in the future. Read on to learn about a few of your best bets in Fort Worth real estate — but remember, that many other great neighborhoods may not have made the list. Discuss your expectations and needs with your real estate agent to find the best area to settle with your family.

History-Laden Fairmount

Fairmount is one historic neighborhood in Cowtown that has experienced a huge turnaround in recent years, going from a rundown area to one revitalized and in demand. Its jump in popularity has been so large that it’s been recognized as a great “comeback” neighborhood by Southern Living magazine.

  • Pro: Much money has been invested in Fairmount to spruce up both commercial and residential properties.
  • Con: Many properties are still in need of attention. This con can quickly become a pro, however. If you aren’t afraid of a home renovation project, you can earn sweat equity by buying a fixer-upper.

Lovely Arlington Heights

Arlington Heights, a neighborhood west of the TCU area near the old Carswell Air Force Base (now the NAS Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth) is a fabulous mixture of old and new. In this area, you’ll find many older homes on nice-sized lots just waiting for a new family to move in. Additionally, much thought has been given to bringing in new shopping centers and businesses, including Whole Foods.

  • Pro: Arlington Heights has a great high school and charm to spare.
  • Con: Home prices are rising quickly here, so buy while you still can at a great price.

Far North Fort Worth

Fort Worth has expanded exponentially in land area over the past two decades, annexing land to the west and north of original city boundaries. And especially in far north Fort Worth, new communities are springing up quickly. These newer developments function largely as independent areas, including several master-planned communities.

  • Pro: Newer homes are available at terrific prices, and if you’re interested in a new build, many different home plans are available for consideration.
  • Con: Because this area is geographically separated from the core of Fort Worth, residents can sometimes feel a bit cut off from the city as a whole. This con can also be a pro, however, if you’re seeking a small town milieu instead of a big city influence.

Ready to check out these opportunities in Fort Worth real estate? Get started by calling your real estate agent today.

Image Source: Flickr

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