Home of the Week: An English Estate in Los Angeles

In our final ‘Home of the Week‘ of 2013, we move from a winter getaway in Aspen to a stunning English estate in the Hancock Park area of Los Angeles.

Listed for just $3,450,000, this country English style home features classical designs but has been expertly brought to today’s modern standards. What results is an interior space with the finest amenities but with all the original charm, design and character that truly makes it unique.

This light and bright home sits on nearly 20,000 feet of park like grounds and features sprawling lawns, private outdoor terraces and a sparkling marble pool to enjoy nearly year round. The interior of this handsome abode features beamed ceilings with original crown molding, wood and marble flooring, and opulent fireplaces and chandeliers peppered throughout in all the right places.

With a superb balance of chic elegance and modern luxury, this over 5,000 square foot home is perfect for those seeking warm sophistication in the heart of Los Angeles.

Click here if you’d like to see more of this home listed by Christophe Choo with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage.

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Real Estate Headlines for the Last Days of 2013

Oh 2013. Where did you go so quickly? Take this time to reflect on all that happened. But before you settle in on a new year’s resolution for 2014, here is your weekly dose of real estate headlines to close out the year.

New home sales have posted solid numbers to close out the year.

What was the biggest real estate story of 2013? How about homeowners gaining $2.2 trillion in equity?

Who wants to live in a haunted house? Turns out quite a few people don’t mind.

Turns out 2013 was a huge year for real estate records according to Business Insider.

These are some truly incredible kids spaces.

A new study claims that staging your home properly doesn’t influence selling price.

What was our most popular blog post of 2013? Would you believe it had to do with April Fool’s Day?

Everyone is predicting the real estate market in 2014, but how about the real estate market in 2030?

US News has a list of the 10 most competitive rental markets. No surprise that New York City is #1, but #2 is actually Portland.

And finally, this home looks like it is straight out of a video game.

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The Secrets to Real Estate Investing in the New Market

Guest Blog Post by Cara Ameer

With the real estate market coming back and property values on the rise, many people are looking to purchase real estate as an investment again. But in this new market, the rules and dynamics have significantly changed. Here are several points to consider:

Advice for getting in the real estate investment game:

Act and think conservative. Appreciation is typically not happening in huge increases as it has in the past. Expect it to be much more gradual and prices will bounce as there are still some short sale and foreclosure inventory to contend with.

What are your goals – are you looking to generate monthly income through a rental or to quickly turn the property? A turn of the property usually requires money to improve. Keep in mind there can be hitches for a buyer with flipping – lenders scrutinize the acquisition time to contract time –known as “seasoning”. You may end up having to carry the property for a few months longer than expected. Learn the nuances here.

Start out small and with something you can manage and/or have adequate resources to help. Don’t bite off more than you can chew – work with a manageable sum of money you are willing to risk. If you have never renovated a property – probably not a good first project to take on. It’s not as easy as all of the home improvement shows make it look. A condominium or something needing minimal work may be a good first investment. However, do your due diligence – there are always gotcha’s and hidden issues. Working with an experienced agent well versed in the type of properties that you are interested in can be a tremendous benefit. Just like you would seek out a financial advisor’s advice, a good agent can advise you of the risks, upsides and downsides and nuances. Their insight into the market and how to best accomplish your investment goals can be invaluable. You definitely need someone “in the know” here. Buying the wrong piece of real estate can be an expensive mistake to make.

With condominiums, the devil is in the details. Do your due diligence on the community – what is the financial health of the community, number of owners vs. renters, rental policies, any pending assessments or litigation?

Always overestimate the time and cost involved with any investment project. Make sure you are financially able to carry the property in case of the “what if’s”…. there are taxes, insurance, maintenance, association fees, etc.

Becoming a first time landlord can be stressful if you are not prepared – consult with several property managers and learn about using them vs. handling yourself. There are a host of issues to consider.

Investing with others may sound attractive and help leverage cash, but remember it can be …read more

Via: Coldwell Banker Blog


Fruit tree classes begin after the holidays

Urban Harvest’s Fruit Tree Care: with Bob Randall. 10 a.m.-noon in Room 206 of Science and Technology Building, University of Houston, 3601 Cullen; 713-880-5540, urbanharvest.org. $24 members, $36 nonmembers.

Spanish language tree workers safety workshop: sponsored by the Houston Area Urban Forestry Council. 7:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. at the Houston Arboretum and Nature Center, 4501 Woodway; 713-688-8931, mmerritt@tfs.tamu.edu; early registration $50 council member, $60 nonmember, through Jan. 7; $65 late registration, includes lunch, materials; isatexas.com. …read more

Via: Gardening


Slideshow: 10 Beautiful Vacation Homes

winter 1 300x200 Slideshow: 10 Beautiful Vacation Homes

There is no better season, in my opinion, to getaway than during the winter months. Although I’ve lived on the east coast my whole life, I still cannot get acclimated to the cold, wind, snow, and gray skies. That’s why in the summer, even before winter arrives, I’m planning my escape. I find that a lot of destinations are relatively empty compared to if you travel in the summer, which is a plus. So in the spirit of traveling and holiday vacations, we’ve come up with some awesome vacation homes and destinations that will hopefully inspire but might just make you sulk!

For those who like to escape to cold, snowy destinations:

1. A Remarkable Custom Home in Aspen, CO

A remarkable custom home sited on one of the most private lots in Aspen. You also, aren’t more than minutes away from the most incredible ski/snowboard slopes in the country.

2. A Private Estate with Unparalleled Views in Aspen, CO

Recently featured in the Wall Street Journal, this spectacular legacy estate has stunning views of Aspen and all of its surrounding peaks. Described as ”a grand European country house”, this unique property features luxurious finishes and sophisticated spaces.

3. A Luxurious Log Cabin in Granby, CO

winter 5 300x173 Slideshow: 10 Beautiful Vacation Homes

No need to fight over space in this huge 5 bedroom/5 bathroom, 8,000 square foot home!

4. A Colorful Two- Story in Orono, MN

winter 8 300x173 Slideshow: 10 Beautiful Vacation Homes

This family retreat has exquisite details and finishes throughout.

5. A Picturesque Dream Home in Bountiful, UT

winter 9 300x173 Slideshow: 10 Beautiful Vacation Homes

There isn’t much this outstanding home doesn’t feature.

For those, like me, who like to escape to warm, sunny destinations:

6. Regal Living in Nassau, Bahamas

summer 1 300x173 Slideshow: 10 Beautiful Vacation Homes

Benefits of owning this home include: membership access to the 18-hole golf course and numerous amenities and facilities at the Atlantis Resort and One & Only Ocean Club including Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s cuisine, Versailles-inspired gardens, private spa treatment villas and tennis courts at the members Beach Club located inside the Ocean Club Estates Community. Sounds great to me!

7. Vacation in a Luxury Villa, Tortola, British Virgin Islands

summer 6 300x173 Slideshow: 10 Beautiful Vacation Homes

This modern villa is minimalist in style with clean lines and vibrant art deco colors of lime, blue and orange, combining modern furniture with an exquisite Indonesian tree-house layout. And all set within beautifully manicured, lush tropical gardens.

8. A Private Beach Front Villa in Runaway Bay, …read more

Via: Coldwell Banker Blog


Almost Home

We were driving back to our home in New Jersey last night, visiting with family in Long Island to celebrate our niece’s Christmas Day birthday, when my mind drifted back to my childhood. My memory took me back to my dad’s light blue Oldsmobile Omega (that ultimately became my first car) or my mom’s Chevrolet station wagon where I was stuck in the back seat with my two sisters on the way home from our holiday trips.

Not afforded the luxury of movies in the car, Walkman’s, iPhones or any other more modern “kidstraction” tools, those rides took foreverrrrrrrr, even if they were only an hour-and-a-half at max. They were even tougher when we came home late, when excitement blended into exhaustion-filled head bobs that rarely turned into a peaceful sleep.

I would have my highway markers that told me we were getting closer to home, like the golf course in Clinton, NJ, or the Willowbrook Mall on the way back from New York. But nothing meant more than my mom or dad saying, “we are almost home.” It was like a shot of adrenaline that I needed to get through those few last miles and get into my bed.

I thought of this last night because our youngest son Michael got tired. And even though he had his iPod touch and listened to music on the radio, he still wanted to get home. That’s what brought me back! He was me! He just wanted to see his dog and go to sleep.

I knew how much “we are almost home” would mean to him. But when do I say it? 30, 20, 15 or 10 minutes out? I decided on about 10 minutes when we hit the familiar strip of stores on Route 22. Just as I had done many, many years earlier, he perked up – in a relaxed way – because he knew he only had to hang on a few more minutes.

And when we hit the driveway, he gave the same sigh of relief I always did. We were home!

Image courtesy of Flickr user sudoking

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Home of the Week: A Remarkable Winter Getaway

In our newest ‘Home of the Week‘ we move from a celebrity getaway in Kailua-Kona, to a remarkable custom built home on the slopes of Aspen, Colorado.

With today being Christmas Eve, it’s only right that we swap our swim trunks for some skis and snowboards by admiring a $29.9 million jewel in one of the world’s premier cold weather destinations. Located on one of the most private lots within the affluent Eagle Pines area, this over 12,000 square foot estate is the perfect high-end vacation home.

The home deviates from the traditional log-cabin aesthetic that permeates the Aspen area; instead opting for a more modern and bold look that is reminiscent of the famed Frank Lloyd Wright’s work. In all this property features 7 bedrooms and 7 bathrooms set on over 5 acres of secluded serenity.

The nearly priceless location atop the slopes of Aspen afford this home seriously breathtaking views of the city and the surrounding snowcapped mountains. Enjoy those views from the jacuzzi, massive patio or from the geothermal heated interior that offers up equally captivating vistas.

Click here if you’d like to see more of this gorgeous home listed by Carrie Wells with Coldwell Banker Mason Morse Real Estate.

From our home to your home, we wish you all a very happy holiday!

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Real Estate Headlines with Some Christmas Cheer

Twas’ the week of Christmas and all through our house. Creatures are still stirring as work is about. The stockings are hung by the artificial fireplace with care in the hopes that something tasty and chocolate will be stuffed in there. While we all wish we were still nestled in bed, here’s your weekly dose of real estate headlines to run through your head.

This story deserves coal in its stocking: Expect Higher Mortgage Rates in 2014.

Santa Claus came early for Rob Lowe as he found a buyer for his luxurious $42 million home in Montecito, CA.

Got mega millions like Ebenezer Scrooge? This article recommends buying real estate and not stocks, bonds or gold.

There are no turtle doves or lords a leaping in this list, but Home Buyer Nation has 32 mortgage experts reveal tips for first time buyers.

You may not believe it, but more people will be saying I’ll Be Home for Christmas in Namibia. Yes, Namibia. It’s probably the hottest real estate market you’ve never heard of.

Keep that Yule log burning all Christmas long with these 10 steps to keep home fires burning safely.

Here’s a story on how some investors who jumped on the “Rental Revolution” are having a happy holiday this year.

Have you seen our resident elf sharing his last minute home Christmas tips? #TooCute.

And finally, the Grinch-esque movie this Christmas season is “Wolf of Wall Street” and the penthouse featured in the film is on the market for just under $7 million.

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From Texas to New York: A New Holiday Home

DDA From Texas to New York: A New Holiday Home

Darla Delayne

Guest Blog Post by Darla Delayne with Coldwell Banker Bellmarc in NYC

Five years ago I packed up my life in Texas and moved to the New York City. As my sixth Christmas in the Big Apple nears I can’t help but reflect on what this life changing transition has been like. Many of my Christmas traditions from life in Texas have been carried over to my new life in the city, but this year there is a new tradition that reminds me that home, during the holidays and every other day, is always better when it is filled with those we love.

My mom, who happens to be an agent with Coldwell Banker United in Austin, TX, finally picked up her roots and planted them right alongside mine in NYC. With her at my side, Manhattan seems even better than before…especially at the holidays!

Manhattan at the holidays with her at my side has given Manhattan even greater wonder.

We started the holiday season with “how fix” (that’s “Texan” for prepare) a Thanksgiving dinner. But we are now New Yawkers. Up here they don’t sell the same brand name products or ingredients we’ve always had. Talk about culture shock! And that’s not even including our new tradition of the watching The Thanksgiving Day Parade..in person!

The tree lightings all over the city were next. Yes, there is more than one: Bryant Park, Lincoln Center, and of course, Rockefeller Center. This and all of the skating rinks, street decorations and holiday shopping markets in the squares and parks make the whole city get into the spirit. Two weeks after Thanksgiving, my mom and I started venturing out almost every evening to see lit trees and store window displays. That is, me, my mom and every other tourist in the world! Now I know what a “gridlock alert day” means. Even though we are a long way from warmer weather in Texas, I have to admit when the snow falls at dusk it is so incredibly pretty in Manhattan. As long as you don’t look down at the slush.

I’m looking forward to Christmas dinner, skyping with the family back in Texas and bundling up for our planned day-after Christmas walk through Central Park, which looks like Narnia at dusk.

I’m still not sure about New Year’s Eve. Joining millions at Times Square or watching the Coldwell Banker commercial on Carson Daly’s New Year’s Eve Show? I have a feeling this southern gal will stay inside!

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10 Creative Gifts for the Kid in Your Home

parents zoomer 300x225 10 Creative Gifts for the Kid in Your Home

The holidays, while they should be filled with nothing but joy, can sometimes get clouded with stress. One of the biggest dilemmas that come with this time of year is the question of ‘what gifts to buy.’ In this latest holiday shopping installment, I thought it would be useful to feature some cool holiday gift options for the youngsters in your home. I must advise you however, if your looking for the hottest video games and devices–you won’t find them in this list. These suggestions solely highlight gifts that promote good ol’ fashion fun, fun that won’t have kids bogged down and glued to their T.V. or handheld device, but that can create some special moments and memories at home this holidays season. Happy shopping!

1. Zoomer

For a lot of families, owning a pet just isn’t in the cards. They can be too much of a smelly responsibility to take on in addition to life’s everyday craziness. Thanks to technology, there is a new breed of dog available called the Zoomer. Zoomer is an interactive dog that behaves just like a real dog. It can be taught tricks and understands English, French, Spanish, and Russian. This holiday season, give your kids what they want most: a puppy!

2. Lego Architecture

This Christmas, I will be ditching electronics for some good ol’ Legos. My younger brother, who is 9, used to be in love with building creations but this past year he has become consumed with playing video games. As young as he is, he can build kits that have 500+ pieces, which is incredible. Legos are perfect for any creative kid and really great for keeping them busy for a couple of hours. I love their Architecture kit line because it features popular landmarks like the United Nations Headquarters, The Empire State Building, and even The Leaning Tower of Pisa.

3. Slackers 90′ Zipline Eagle Series Kit with Seat

slackers zipline 300x257 10 Creative Gifts for the Kid in Your Home

I had the special privilege of enjoying 2 miles of zip-lining in Mexico. Ever since then, I’ve been addicted and can’t wait to try it again. This awesome gift will definitely keep your kids (and adults!) entertained and outside for hours!

4. Black & Decker Junior Power Workshop

black and decker 300x225 10 Creative Gifts for the Kid in Your Home

I think this Black & Decker mini workshop is just the cutest thing of all time. Set this up in your garage and let your child help you do some weekend work around the house. Teach them to start contributing …read more

Via: Coldwell Banker Blog