Home of the Week: A European Inspired Home in British Columbia

In our newest ‘Home of the Week‘ we move from a gorgeous home in Pacific Palisades, California to a European inspired masterpiece in Kelowna, British Columbia.

Listed for a shade over $4.3 million, this 10,000 square foot estate is nestled on over 14 acres of lush green land. As the popular saying goes, “you never get a second chance to make a first impression” and the architect of this home took that to heart. The gated entry and meandering drive surrounded by formal landscaping gives way to a dramatic front entrance that is dominated by regal 24 foot columns.

Everything about this home appeals to those with the most discerning of tastes and to those who have a fond appreciation of the great outdoors. The property was designed to take advantage of its privileged position by ensuring a sunny environment that provides breathtaking views of the mountains and surrounding orchards. This 5 bedroom and 5 bath jewel features a designer kitchen, billiards room with wet-bar and a wine cellar and tasting room.

The surrounding grounds of this estate are just as stately and wonderfully apportioned as the interior. It doesn’t get much better than the postcard-like views afforded to you from the pool that is encircled by vineyard and mountain views. And if prospective buyers crave more acreage and dream of even creating a winery, the adjoining 64.5 acres can be sold separately and will more than do!

Visit coldwellbankerpreviews.com if you’d like to see more of this stunning home listed by Jane Hoffman with Coldwell Banker Horizon Realty.

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Via: Coldwell Banker Blog


Finding the Perfect Home in Another State

Relocating for a new job or simply to start over can be an exciting venture. However, it can seem challenging to find a new home when individuals don’t know the nearby towns, neighborhoods or other features of their new location. There are several steps buyers can take to find the perfect piece of real estate for their move.

Find a real estate agent

A licensed real estate agent will have a wealth of information to help consumers narrow down their options, so this could a helpful first stop when you begin house hunting. Because each city or town may have different demographics, home prices, amenities and features, it can also be helpful for both the buyer and the agent to have a list of ideal characteristics to zone in on certain areas, according to the National Association of Realtors. Adults should write down a list of desirable features that cover everything from their price range and house size to whether they prefer a more rural or urban setting.

Each buyer is different, so individuals shouldn’t feel shy about mentioning the amenities that are important to them. For example, some may prefer neighborhoods that are more quiet or cultural, while other individuals may want to live in an area that offers a range of outdoor recreational activities. Families with children may also be concerned more with safety and school systems. Even these small factors can help agents provide a set of real estate listings that cater to what buyers are looking for, so provide as much information as possible.

Visit the area

When workers are relocating for a job quickly, traveling to the new location to see the housing choices before making a decision is crucial. Buyers can coordinate their travel plans with their real estate agent and decide on a time to attend open houses or view vacant properties. In addition, the neighborhood is an important factor in a buyer’s decision, so visiting the area prior to the purchase will give them a chance to meet potential neighbors, explore school districts and decide if the community is a good fit for them.

Lastly, buyers should act quickly once they find a home they are interested in to when it comes to having the home inspected and assessing the cost of repairs or remodels. This can help ensure all goes smoothly before the big move.

Image via jobtrakr.com

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Via: Coldwell Banker Blog


Being Home for Halloween

While Thanksgiving, Christmas and birthdays are often the celebrations most synonymous with being home, it’s actually Halloween that deserves the most credit. There’s no other day when random, crazy-looking people visit your front door and you open it without question bearing gifts for their enjoyment. And “being home” is the central part of Halloween.

For the last two years in the Northeast part of the United States, we’ve had to put Halloween on hold. Two years ago there was a bizarre snowstorm that dumped a foot of snow on the ground and halted all trick or treating activity. Last year, my home state of New Jersey canceled Halloween activities due to Hurricane Sandy and the fact that most of our homes were without power or worse. So the Halloween 2014, at least for us, is like an old friend we’re welcoming back after being away for a few years.

No one is more excited about Halloween than my 5, soon to be 6, year old. He is the epitome of the Jerry Seinfeld Halloween bit where he states that as a child his sole focus in life was to “get candy.” School, friends, family, these were just obstacles in the way of getting candy. He knows this not a day to be messed with. As a 3-year old he approached a neighbor’s door with bucket in hand awaiting confectionery treasures. Our neighbor placed a bag of “Halloween pretzels” in his bucket. My son looked at the pretzels, pulled it out of his bucket and handed it back to our neighbor. He had not time to waste on these snacks. Chocolate and lollipos were ripe for the taking elsewhere and he needed all the room he could get in his bucket for those essential October treats. And therefore Halloween is one of the most joyous days of the year in the Marine home.

Halloween is one of the few days of the year that people go out in their neighborhood, meet their neighbors and walk the streets where they reside. Somehow dressing up in costumes and the prospect of free candy makes us more neighborly. We need more of that in our world today.

So today Darth Maul, Boba Fett, an Orca (yes, an orca), and a dragon will depart from our home with empty buckets, but grinning faces. They’ll return home with those same smiles, sticky fingers and the anticipation of having candy for dinner. While candy may be the catalyst for the day, it’s the fact that others are opening the door of their home and the enjoyment of the day with family and friends that make the day so special.

Here’s to being home for Halloween.

Header image courtesy of Flickr user Violentz

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Here’s to the Clothes You Only Wear At Home

Do you know what the most popular question is from my 4 boys as we travel home from any destination? Could be coming home from church on a Sunday afternoon, school on a Tuesday or a week’s long vacation in the summer. The most popular questions is: “When we get home, can I put on my pajamas?”

Pajamas, or “jammies” as they’re often referred to in our home, are the wardrobe option of choice for my children. Why do they love them so much? What is the obsession of getting into their jammies when they get home? I believe it’s because pajamas are the perfect representation of everything a home is.

They’re comfortable, casual, and often represent who we are by the cartoon character or thematic element emblazoned on them. This got me thinking about the clothes I have that I only wear at home. You know what I’m talking about. The gray sweatpants that you’ve had since college but are just too ridiculously comfortable to throw out. The pair of jeans with the holes in them and the tattered ends that you just need to keep for when you need to repaint that spare room.

That sweatshirt or t-shirt that’s faded or worn out but has too much sentimental value to throw it away. What about the baseball cap that has more sweat stains than you care to think about but fits just the right way for those weekend warrior projects.

The list could go on and one from the flannel pajamas that make you stay in all day when it snows or even accessories like Snuggies and slippers that have zero fashion relevance but you wouldn’t trade them for a Burberry shopping spree. Ok, maybe you’d trade them for that. But the idea is the same for all of these clothing items. They represent the comforts of home.

Of course you wouldn’t wear them out in public. Why would you? They can only be appreciated and enjoyed in that place you call home.

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Is the F Word Stopping You From Buying a Home? (Part 2)

joe1 Is the F Word Stopping You From Buying a Home? (Part 2)

The Three Biggest Moments in a Person’s Life

1) Having a Baby

2) Getting Married

3) Buying a House for the First Time

(You may debate the order but let’s just say these are the top 3)

I checked off getting married in 2011 and wasn’t ready to tackle #1 on the list quite yet, so for the past two years my husband and I have been preparing for #3 on the list, buying a first house.

Despite the thought of jumping into homeownership being incredibly exciting, it also really scared me. To dispel my own fears and to help out others who were in the same boat I took to our blog and wrote Is the F Word Stopping You From Becoming a First Time Home Buyer?. The post focused on one of the biggest barriers to us, and so many others, beginning the journey toward owning a home…the F word…Fear.

Well it is ten months later and I am giddy to finally say I, Lindsay Adele Listanski, am a proud first time homeowner. I’m not the only one bursting with excitement check out my husband in the first official picture in our new place:

So now that our ten month adventure of house hunting has come to an end and our new adventure of being first time homeowners begins, I felt it would only be right to offer up what I learned to those who may be starting a journey of their own.

Here are some things that I learned along the way.

1. Working with a Real Estate Agent is a Must

Despite growing up in the real estate world (my father has been with Coldwell Banker nearly 30 years), having my own real estate license and being the social media manager for Coldwell Banker I STILL had seemingly endless questions. Without the help of my agent (who happened to be my dad) I truly would have been lost. Check out what could happen if you don’t use one.

2. Get Pre Approved (Immediately!)

I am NOT a numbers girl, but thankfully my husband happens to be a financial analyst. Despite him being a number crunching genius we learned very quickly that “we didn’t know what we didn’t know.”

When we first started out we made up some rough numbers based on monthly payments, average taxes in towns we liked and a guesstimate on what utility bills might cost. What a HUGE mistake this was. We completely forgot about closing costs and didn’t factor in private mortgage insurance which ended making a significant difference in our price range.

Thankfully we weren’t too far along in the process when we realized this and got connected with Coldwell Banker Home Loans. The team helped us to understand our price range, closing costs, and the different types of loans available to us. By understanding the pre approval we had a much more realistic view of what we could and couldn’t afford. If you are thinking about buying a home …read more

Via: Coldwell Banker Blog


Real Estate with a Global Mindset

With offices and across the world, it’s not a big deal to say that Coldwell Banker Real Estate is a global brand. But just because you have a footprint in dozens of countries, doesn’t mean you have a global mindset.

In this segment we did with our friends at NBC’s Open House, we talk with Coldwell Banker agents from across the globe about how the real estate market is getting even more local of late. Buyers in Dubai are searching for Miami while Los Angelinos are seeing what’s for sale in Paris.

Sure real estate is local, but the reach is global. Check out the video above to see just how international the real estate market is.

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HOA Fees: What You Need to Know Before Buying a Home

Homeowners association Fees (HOA fees) are charged in many Philadelphia-area communities, yet they are not a uniform type of expense. Monthly dues charged by homeowners associations cover a wide range of different expenses, which varies from community to community. If you are curious about the homeowners association in a particular community, look for information provided in the Seller’s Property Disclosure Statement, a required document in Pennsylvania. The seller’s disclosure indicates whether a particular home is part of an association. If so, you may want to inquire about what services the association provides for the community and how much is charged on a monthly or annual basis.

Types of Fees Assessed by Homeowners Associations

Initially, some HOAs require a one-time capital contribution at settlement. In this situation, the contribution should be factored into the total amount you are willing to spend. Capital contributions typically help to build a reserve of cash for future improvements to a neighborhood. In addition, monthly and annual fees pay for ongoing maintenance items, such as common-area landscaping. Finally, special assessments are sometimes required by the homeowners association for large, one-time repairs or maintenance items not covered by monthly fees or capital reserves. Researching the past frequency of special assessments may sometimes, but not always, give an indication of future payments of this kind.

Expenses Covered by Monthly Fees

The types of expenses covered by monthly HOA fees vary greatly from community to community. Some HOA fees include trash pick-up and landscaping of individual lots. In condominium associations, utilities expenses such as water and sewer may even be a part of monthly fees. These differences make it difficult to make a straight comparison between different communities’ HOA fees. Even though fees associated with one home may be higher, for example, those fees may cover more household expenses — that means the total household expenditure is actually cheaper than other houses.

Another factor to consider for comparison purposes is whether or not your community is dedicated to the township. If your neighborhood has been dedicated, the local municipality will use your tax dollars to fund snow removal and ongoing street maintenance. Some communities are not dedicated to the townships in which they reside, and therefore must cover additional costs through HOA fees or special assessments. Common-area expenses, such as signage and lighting, are also costs typically shared among homeowners.

Capital Improvements Maintain the Community’s Appearance

Large, long-term projects may also be covered by HOA fees. For townhouses or condos, association fees may cover all or a portion of exterior maintenance, including roof and siding replacement. This ensures a uniform look throughout the community, and homeowners benefit from favorable pricing from contractors looking to do bigger jobs.

Overall, individuals buy homes in a community with a homeowners association to ensure that the neighborhood looks a certain way and is properly maintained. This, in turn, increases homeowner satisfaction and helps future resale values. If you’re house-hunting, be sure to compare the pros and cons of these associations before buying in.

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What They Didn’t Show You on Undercover Boss

If you recently saw Undercover Boss on CBS, Buffet, Inc. CEO Anthony Wedo awarded a new home to employee Whitney Durant. What CBS did not show was the work of Coldwell Banker Reap Realty agent Alicia Abels in Alexandria, LA. Alicia assisted Whitney in the purchase of her family’s new home.

Congrats to Alicia for helping make a HUGE difference in her client’s life!

Image Above: R-L Coldwell Banker Reap Realty agent Alicia Abels with Buffets, Inc. CEO Anthony Wedo and the Durant family

You can watch the video here

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Take in a day of bonsai at society’s program

Brazoria County Master Gardeners’ EcoFest: plant sale and demonstrations. 9 a.m.-noon at the Brazoria Environmental Education Station, 585 County Road 443, Angleton; 979-864-1558.

Garden of Good and Evil: discussion of poisonous plants. 10-11:30 a.m. at Maas Nursery, 5511 Toddville Road, Seabrook; 281-474-2488; register at maasnursery.com. $15 goes toward annual and perennial purchases.

Perennial Herbs for Fall: with Ann Wheeler. 10 a.m. at the Arbor Gate, 15635 FM 2920, Tomball; 281-351-8851, arborgate.com. …read more

Via: Gardening


Best Backyard Roller Coasters of 2013

A roller coaster in your backyard. As a father of 4 boys, I can’t think of anything that would turn my home’s yard into the ultimate play land. What kid wouldn’t want their own roller coaster? No lines. No how tall are you charts. No tickets. Just free rides whenever you want.

The folks over at Corkscrew Giant have compiled videos from the best backyard coasters they’ve come across this year. My hat is off to the dads, moms, uncles or whomever built these things. This is craftsmanship and ingenuity at its finest.

Check out the video above and let us know which one is your favorite. I’m partial to Otto Vilante because it’s indoors. Yes an indoor homemade roller coaster.

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Via: Coldwell Banker Blog