How To Choose The Right Front Door

A few years ago we did an addition on our house. Even though it was a massive job where we refinanced to a larger mortgage, everything added up and prevented us from doing some of the little things we wanted to.

Like replace the antiquated and quite ugly front door!

But three years later it was time. So off I went to explore the world of new front doors. And my belief that “a door is a door” is just way wrong!

I spent a lot of time reading and learning and realized I had never shopped for a front door before. They just came with the house or previous apartments. I essentially went to door school!

I started online and found a great resource at This Old House. From there and other online sites, it was then just plain ole detective work, store visits and lots of questions.

I found out there are three major types of doors: Wood, metal and fiberglass.

From what I learned here are the basic advantages and disadvantages of each for a standard 36 x 80 door:

Wood: Looks amazing. It is the most common with the most choices. I turned away from wood because several different sales people explained that you have to routinely protect the wood with new coats of paint or polyurethane. After restaining my deck, I’m wasn’t for another outside paint job.

Steel: Cheaper and sturdiest for protection. But clearly not in the wood category of looks. Plus I figured one errant baseball and the thing would ding like my Honda CRV.

Fiberglass: I had no idea this option even existed. It combines the beauty of wood and durability. Pricing seemed to be in the middle of the previous two options. No maintenance required! I was hooked and found one that passed the looks test.

The next step was the screen door. Again, who knew there were so many options? The only thing I thought was a “must have” was the little sliding piece that keeps the door locked open when you bring things in/out of the house. How 1970s of me! Not only did I learn they have more modern foot-tap versions of that feature but the doors come in a variety of styles. We choose a see-through version simply because we could leave the front door open and give our dog an automatic sunbathing option.

Now onto the doorknob. Again a variety of options, but we made an assumption that all have the same locking systems. Wrong again! The one we bought didn’t have the ability to lock from the inside when leaving. We would have to get used to turning the key every time we left. No way! I learned what we really wanted was a two-point locking system. Now I know why my parents used to yell at me and my sisters to “double lock” the house!

As far installation, you’re on your own. We hired someone!

Check out our before and after!

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Real Estate Headlines Featuring Jimmy Fallon, Bikinis and Queen Latifah

As you can tell we have a new design on the Coldwell Banker blog. Pretty nice if you ask me. But I know you didn’t. You’re too busy not reading this well thought out intro because you like to jump down to the links and see the headlines. I get it. But for those who may not realize I do like to end my intro every week with here’s your weekly dose of real estate headlines:

In England some are offering cheap rents in exchange for building community spirit.

Bloomberg reports that US home prices rose 6.9% in February.

Could 20% of the real estate markets be more expensive than ever before within a year?

Alex Rodriguez may not be taking swings for the Yankees this year, but he’s still busy as he sold his Miami Beach condo for $2.6 million.

Are BMWs and bikinis boosting China’s real estate market?

Here are 11 keys to a successful property purchase overseas.

What’s the best strategy for new real estate investors?

Take a look inside Queen Latifah’s home in New Jersey.

And finally, yes I’d love a tour of Jimmy Fallon’s getaway in the Hamptons.

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Home of the Week: A Country Style Gem Just Outside of Charlotte

In our newest ‘Home of the Week‘ we move from the waters of Newport Beach, California to a magnificent country style estate in Belmont, North Carolina.

If you’ve already taken the few minutes out to watch the video above, then not much more can be said about how stunning this European inspired manor is. What you immediately notice is that it’s cradled by awe inspiring trees, sprawling gardens and a lovely bay with private dock. If you love nature, the outdoors and being by the water, then this $1,375,000 home is right up your alley.

The meticulous design and expert craftsmanship is evident throughout this over 6,000 square foot home. From built-ins, to hickory hard wood floors on over to the custom stone fireplace in the great room – no expense was spared in the construction of this custom built home. The home also features a chefs kitchen fit for the Food Network, 4 bedroom suites, an array of patio and terraces and a sun room with a massive cathedral ceiling.

If I happened to live here, I’d spend many a summer day swimming, boating or canoeing off my private dock on the bay! Click here if you’d like to see more of this beautiful home listed by Allison Cottingham with Coldwell Banker MECA Realty.

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Learn to grow cactus and succulents from cuttings

Proven Flowers for Your Texas Garden: 10:15 a.m. at Cornelius Nursery, 1200 N. Dairy Ashford and 2233 S. Voss; corneliusnurseries/clinics.

Open Garden Day: 8:30-11 a.m., 9:30 educational program at Harris County Master Gardeners at Precinct 2′s Genoa Friendship Garden, 1202 Genoa Red Bluff Road; hcmga.tamu.edu.

Backyard Basics – Fruit Production: sponsored by Fort Bend Master Gardeners. 8:30-11 a.m. at the Fort Bend County Texas AgriLife Extension Service, 1402 Band, Rosenberg; 281-342-3034 or fortbend.agrilife.org. $15, $25 per couple.

Seventh annual Quail Valley Backyard Tour and Tropical Demonstration and Plant Sale: featuring five gardens. 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; addresses available at traction.typepad.com/QVTour. $10.

Heritage Gardeners of Friendswood 22nd annual garden tour: five sites, vendors, plant sale. noon-4 p.m. April 26, 1-5 p.m. April 27 at 112 W. Spreading Oaks, Friendswood; 281-992-4438, heritagegardener.org. $7 in advance, $10 day of tour, ages 10 and younger free. …read more

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How To Open Your Pool

Pool 11 e1397504191493 How To Open Your Pool

Spring is in full bloom and this can mean a lot of things for many different people. For example, if you own a pool you’re surely thinking (probably dreading) about opening it for the season. There is nothing like watching all your loved ones enjoying its crisp coolness but they don’t know how much work goes into getting it ready. I am here to bring optimism to the equation and tell you that opening your pool doesn’t have to be as horrible as you anticipate. I came across this great article from Popular Mechanics that will definitely help guide you in your efforts. I’ve highlighted a couple of steps below.

1) Don’t Empty Your Pool

According to the article, you should never have to completely empty your pool of the water that had been sitting from the past season. Exceptions to this include if you neglected to cover it or if you need to do any actual construction work to it. Why you ask? Apparently, if you remove all of the water you could run the risk of your pool lifting since it doesn’t have the weight of the water to hold it down. What that ultimately might result in is you needed to replace the whole thing.

2) Cleaning Your Pool and Water

The most basic way to start cleaning your pool and its water is by buying a chemical opening kit, or by shocking it. Then, change all the filtration systems and clear all of the baskets. You should also take this time to remove any plugs you may have put in place last year. During this step you should still have your pool cover on.

3) Refilling Your Pool

Pools 3 e1397504391257 How To Open Your Pool

If your pool is running low on water, feel free to top it off at this time. However, this should only be done after you have replaced your filters. Once your pool is filled to the desired amount, you can take a sample to your local pool store where they will test it for you. Some places do it for free, but if not, don’t skip this step because it is super important to make sure your water is swim ready otherwise it could be dangerous.

4) Get Ready for Fun in the Sun

Pool 4 e1397504503360 How To Open Your Pool

Your pool’s filter should be cleaned daily until the water appears clear. A ready pool means that you can see the bottom without any issues. You may need to continuously add chlorine to help you reach the perfect balance.

5) Dive In

Pools 5 e1397504596726 How To Open Your Pool

Once the water is completely clear and all of the water levels are good …read more

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Can You Guess the Top 10 Cities Americans Move To and From?

Moveto Can You Guess the Top 10 Cities Americans Move To and From?

Guest Blog via NorthStar Moving Co-Founder Laura McHolm

Have you moved to a city because it offered warmer temperatures, cheaper cost of living, more job opportunities, or simply to fulfill a dream? They are all common desires and clues as to where Americans move, and why we pick up and leave a city.

The team at NorthStar Moving recently compiled the Top Ten Cities Americans Move To and Top Ten Cities Americans Move From. Can you guess which metropolises made the list?

The city with the biggest revolving door is the capital of our great nation, taking the #1 spot in both lists. In fact, many of the cities make both lists, with the states of California and Texas have the most cities on the lists. Check out the two lists illustrated in their infographics below to see how many you guessed right!

Top 10 Cities Americans Move To

Click to Enlarge

Top 10 Cities Americans Move From

Click to Enlarge

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4 Quick Ways to Make Your Home More Attractive to Buyers

Guest Post by Andrea Davis

The time has come to sell your home—are you prepared? Do you need quick solutions to get top dollar for your home? Depending on its age and location, preparing a home for prospective buyers can be as simple as a few touch-ups or as involved as a few remodels and additions.

If your realtor thinks the house just needs a few changes, then don’t spend thousands of dollars on needless upgrades. By performing these quick fixes to increase its appeal, you’ll not only stand out to buyers, but you’ll also have fewer surprises after their inspection:

1. Declutter

Clutter is not appealing to anyone, least of all prospective buyers. By depersonalizing your home, buyers will be able to walk through and get a feel for themselves living in the house. It’s also a good opportunity for you to decide what goes with you and what might need a new home in a secondhand store.

2. Paint your walls

Painting your walls is inexpensive to you and refreshing for prospective buyers walking through the home. Repainting allows an opportunity to paint over any patches, paw prints, hand prints or other problems that could detract from room appeal. Stick with neutral colors like whites, greys and browns because buyers may want to personalize the house with colors of their own after purchase.

3. Optimize your lighting

Walking through a home at nighttime or in the middle of the day requires good lighting to get the best look at every room. This means you should have plenty of natural light through windows or additional lighting. Invest in lighting for the low price of $130 if a room is particularly dark and clean windows to get the sunlight streaming in. LED lights are a good idea because they’re just as bright as fluorescents but not as hard on the eyes. They’re energy efficient, and they don’t emit buzzing.

4. Enhance curb appeal

Your house needs to stand out to buyers from the moment they drive up. This means the landscape must look appealing from the sidewalk to the front door. You can hire professional landscapers if needed to design the most appealing lawn for prospective buyers if you’re uncertain about doing it yourself. Trim or prune trees and bushes to be the right length and height during buyer inspections. Also be sure to keep flower beds well-maintained and mow the lawn regularly during the duration of the sale.

Andrea Davis is the editor at HomeAdvisor, which connects homeowners with home improvement professionals in their area for free.

See more of the beautiful Colorado home listed above here.

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Your Home + Nike

Who knew I might someday walk ON my old sneakers?

We are putting runners on the two sets of stairs in our house. I had absolutely no idea how many choices you have. But that wasn’t the really fun part.

I got all geeked out about the padding that goes under the runner. We chose Step Ahead by Nike. Ok, the minute the salesperson said Nike I was hooked. After all, I’ve been Nike brand loyal ever since my days as the basketball team manager at Syracuse where we got Orange-swooshed Nikes, sweat suits and bags!

I had no idea that Nike had a carpet pad division so I had to explore.

What I found out was fascinating. No, Nike doesn’t have a pad division, but they do have Nike Grind. For the last two decades, Nike has been collecting worn out shoes and recycling them for playgrounds and other uses. Carpet padding is one of them:

“Nike takes top quality, unused shoe scrap and sends it to Future Foam, which converts the scrap into the premium Step Ahead 8 lb. carpet cushion. Enjoy the cushiony comfort of Nike even when you’re barefoot.”

I guess we will adopt “Just Do It” as our family motto as we enjoy the richness of our Sapphire Sarouk Chocolate 26-inch runners to honor the sneakers that went into the padding.

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Unique DIY Easter Crafts

Easter 1 Unique DIY Easter Crafts

If you’re like me, then you can’t wait for Easter. When I was younger, I thought that dying eggs was so cool. The only thing that could possibly trump it was the hunt that ensued in the backyard afterwards. But as I’ve gotten older, dare I say it, dying eggs has gotten a little repetitive. So when I stumbled upon this great article from Country Living titled, “29 Easy Easter Crafts,” I knew that it was something that needed to be shared. Take a look at a few of the most unique, Easter themed, do-it-yourself projects I’ve ever seen.

Ombre Eggs

If you live on planet Earth, chances are you’ve heard the word ombre mentioned once or twice. Its popularity surfaced mainly because of the ombre hairstyle, but I think I like ombre eggs better.

Papier-Mâché Egg Nests

Papier-Mâché definitely brings me back to the joys of second grade, or was it third? It may be messy but the outcome, this adorable bird’s nest, makes it all worth it.

Edible Easter Wreath

Easter 3 Unique DIY Easter Crafts

Jordan Almonds are something I grew up eating, this is a fun and affordable way put a spin on the classic candy.

Decorative Boxes

Easter 4 Unique DIY Easter Crafts

These small cardboard boxes can be found at any craft store. If you look closely, the eggs painted in white on the box above are actually little finger prints. Who wouldn’t love to receive such a cute customized gift, filled with their favorite treats?

Bunny Ears

Easter 5 Unique DIY Easter Crafts

I am not ashamed to say that I would love to make a pair of these Easter bunny ears. Make enough for the whole family and take advantage of a picture perfect moment.

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Home of the Week: A Bit of France in Newport Beach

The boat in the Harbor, I rule the Marina”
Donald Glover from his album ‘Because the Internet’

In our newest ‘Home of the Week‘ we move from an estate just outside of Salt Lake City to an impressive waterfront home in Newport Beach, California.

Listed for $11.9 million, this remarkable French style residence is located on Harbor Island – Newport Beach’s most exclusive address. The sizable estate features panoramic waterfront views that are punctuated by breathtaking snow capped mountains in the distance.

The home is characterized by a refined sense of style and charm that you’ll see evident in every inch of the 5 bedroom and 5 full bath property. From a grand formal living room with stone fireplace and patio access, to an entertainer’s dream kitchen equipped with professional appliances and generous granite counter tops; this home seriously rocks.

While the interior of this estate offers up a tranquil refuge from busy days, the sprawling grounds are perfect for entertaining. It features a relaxing spa, built in outdoor kitchen, a sizable patio and your very own dock! I could picture relaxing afternoons barbecuing with friends and family followed by pushing off the dock and sailing around the harbor during sunset.

Click here if you’d like to see more of this truly impressive home listed by Bill Anderson with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage.

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