Welcome Fall! What You Need to Know about the September Housing Numbers

This past September proved to be a successful month for existing-home sales. After a slight decline in August, sales reached their highest pace of the year in September, according to the National Association of Realtors September Existing-Home Sales Report. With steady price gains and continued low interest rates, sales have been able to carry their spring momentum into the fall. The median existing-home price for all housing types in September was $209,700, 5.6 percent above September 2013. Last month marked the 31st consecutive month of year-over-year price gains.

Only 14 percent of homes purchased last month were purchased by investors, down from 19 percent in September 2013. This is good news for traditional buyers as they face a less competitive market with low interest rates and steady price gains. Buyers looking to purchase a home this fall should be aware of tight inventory that generally occurs during the winter months.

With exception of the Midwest, all major regions of the country experienced gains this September. See below for a breakdown of the median price of homes sold in each region this past month. As we experience more and more crisp autumn days, check out the following listings currently on the market. All of which include beautiful fireplaces, perfect for curling up on the couch with a good book.


Northeast median sales price: $249,800

84 Grove Ave, Leominster, MA 01453

 $300,000 for a 5 bedroom, 2.5 bath home (3,379 sq. ft.)

Midwest median sales price: $165,100

1550 E Irving Pl, Milwaukee, WI 53202

 $197,000 for a 4 bedroom, 1.5 bath home (2,536 sq. ft.)

South median sales price: $180,900

30 Glascow Way, Hampton, VA 23669

$149,999 for a 3 bedroom, 2 bath home (1,607 sq. ft.)

West median sales price: $294,200

4868 Deerfield Place, Mukilteo, WA 98275

$299,950 for a 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath home (1,484 sq. ft.)

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Home Tip of the Day: How to Organize Your Kitchen Cabinets

Do you knock over your entire spice rack every time you reach for the cinnamon? Well, it’s officially baking season and time to get your cabinets in order.  Try this handy Home Tip of the Day on how to organize your kitchen cabinets.

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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Royals or Giants: A Real Estate Dilemma for the World Series

Giants or Royals? That’s the question being posed to baseball fans across the country. If you picked the Kansas City Royals and San Francisco Giants to be facing off in the fall classic, you are an extraordinarily prescient person.

As you probably know at Coldwell Banker Real Estate, we’re big fans of baseball. The metaphor of home is prevalent throughout the game and the baseball season perfectly coincides with the prime real estate buying and selling season. Plus our partnership with MLB.com for the Coldwell Banker Home Field Advantage video series has pushed us even further into the baseball paradigm.

So who are we picking to win the World Series? Ugh. Tough decision. Let’s look at the facts.

The Giants are from our hometown of San Francisco where Coldwell Banker was founded back in 1906, but the Royals represent our favorite colors: blue and white.

The Royals are the underdogs with the never quit style of play much like our own mindset here at Coldwell Banker, and they haven’t lost a playoff game at home (or on the road for that matter).

The Giants have one of the best homes in all of baseball at AT&T Park. Perfect waterfront location with tons of amenities and a ridiculously large slide in the back for the kids…or adults. But then the Royals have a spectacular waterfall and fountain in their yard.

The Royals come with a Butler. The Giants have Brandon Belt who was part of the Coldwell Banker Home Field Advantage video series.

San Francisco is always one of the most luxurious real estate markets in the U.S. and Kansas City is one of the most affordable places to live.

Dinner at home in San Francisco could be a nice sourdough bread bowl of chowder. Or we could have some KC BBQ with the Royals?

It’s a tough decision to make, but the series is sure to be a good one. Will the Royals lose a game? Can the Giants continue this “every 2 years win a World Series” streak? In either case, the World Series trophy will be brought to someone’s home before the end of the month.

Who’s your pick to win? Let us know in the comments.


Header image courtesy of sportslogos.net

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Why Are People Putting Teal Pumpkins Out for Halloween?

Halloween is one of the most anticipated events of the year for children. However, for those children with food allergies, trick or treating can be frustrating and even dangerous. In an effort to make Halloween more enjoyable and safer Food Alergy & Education (FARE) is encouraging communities to start a new tradition called Teal Pumpkin Project.

“This campaign encourages people to raise awareness of food allergies by providing non-food treats for trick-or-treaters and painting a pumpkin teal – the color of food allergy awareness – to place in front of their house along with a free printable sign from FARE to indicate they have non-food treats available.” (FARE)

I am absolutely thrilled to learn about such a great campaign for children with allergies and can really relate in my neighborhood. When I moved into my new home last October I was so excited to meet all of our neighbors. While introducing ourselves to the neighbors to the right, I noticed their daughter was wearing an allergy bracelet. I was informed that Danielle has severe allergies to latex and dairy. Being so close to Halloween I knew I wanted to make trick or treating special for Danielle so I found out her favorite non-dairy candies and had them all ready for her on Halloween night. I started thinking about how difficult it must be for children with food allergies to go trick or treating and was thrilled this year to learn about The Teal Pumpkin Project that is sweeping the country.

Love this campaign as well and want to spread the word? FARE created these great social graphics:

You can even change your profile picture or add this graphic to your blog:

Need some ideas for trick or treaters looking to participate in this new tradition? FARE suggests the following creative ideas:

  • Glow sticks, bracelets, or necklaces
  • Pencils, pens, crayons or markers
  • Bubbles
  • Halloween erasers or pencil toppers
  • Mini Slinkies
  • Whistles, kazoos, or noisemakers
  • Bouncy balls
  • Finger puppets or novelty toys
  • Coins
  • Spider rings
  • Vampire fangs
  • Mini notepads
  • Playing cards
  • Bookmarks
  • Stickers
  • Stencils

Do you plan on participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project this year?

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Home Tip of the Day: Getting a Home Inspection

Some homeowners might be tempted to skip getting a home inspection because of timing or cost.  Today’s Home Tip of the Day explains why getting a home inspection is one of the most important steps in the home closing process.

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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An Expert Guide to Choosing the Right Window Treatments for your Living Room

Guest post by Bali Blinds & Somfy Systems

Installing new window treatments is a quick home improvement project that immediately adds style and personality to bedrooms, living rooms, and beyond. Whether you’re excited about adding color, texture, and volume to a space, or simply rejuvenating a room by playing with the light, the 5 beautiful window treatments below provide plenty of inspiration.

Roman Shades

roman shades

Above: Flat Roman Shades with 6″ Valance and 1″ Teardrop Crystal Bead Trim in Light Gold 202 and Motorized Lift: Damask, Warm Amber 3264, Square Pillows: Dover, Rainy Afternoon 3721

Want to transform your space with the touch of a button? Pair the relaxed folds of a Roman shade with motorized lift. Motorization allows you to use a handheld remote control, wall switch or programmable timer to adjust out-of-the-way window coverings, lower an entire room full of shades to enjoy the last rays of the sunset, or dim the light (and reduce glare) to sharpen the picture of your favorite TV show.

Natural Shades


Above: Standard Bali Roman Natural Shades with Cordless Lift: Highpoint, Brook 35113 with 2″ Edge Banding: Taupe 1007, Room Darkening Liner, and 6″ Standard Valance.

Natural shades bring a rustic look to your windows, playing off of this season’s popular rough hewn wood furniture and accents, as well as other natural fabrics. Taking elements of the landscape inside, natural shades are hand woven with bamboo, jute, grasses, and other sustainable materials, adding an earth-friendly vibe your space.

Solar and Roller Dual Shades

solar shades

Above: Dual Shades with Motorized Lift and Cassette Valance: Roller Shade (Back): Rowland, Slate 20004; Solar Shade (Front): Terrace, Sterling 40233.

Two great shades that go even better together: Sheer solar shades protect your furnishings and rugs from harmful UV rays, while softening natural light. Room darkening or blackout roller shades can block out the sun like you’re flipping a switch.
Put them together in a dual shade and you have ultimate flexibility: either shade can be lowered or raised to match your mood, your activities, or even the time of day.

Wood Blinds with Drapery

wood and drapery

Above: 2″ Wood Blinds with Cord Lift/Wand Tilt and 4-1/2″ Eloquence Valance: Fig 1851, Cloth Tape: Willow Dark Taupe G696 and Bali Custom Drapery: Dresden, Olde Town 3443

Wood blinds offer great light control—adjust the slats just so, to let in as much sunshine as you need. When lowered and tilted closed, these blinds also let you enjoy total privacy. Add drapery panels to accentuate (or create!) long lines, cool contrasts in texture, or to make wall colors pop. Full folds of fabric can both brighten and soften the space.

Sun Up/Sun Down Cellular Shades 

sun up

Above: Cordless Sun Up/Sun Down Cellular Shade in 3/8″ Single Cell Sheer Bliss, Butter Cream 0161 (top) and 3/8″ Double Cell Storm, Lemon Drop 3938 (bottom)

With the Sun Up/Sun Down cellular option, it’s a snap to pair fabrics of different styles, colors, and privacy levels to create the perfect combination shade. The split makes all the difference when you mix sheer and blackout fabrics to let in light through the day and have absolute privacy when you need it.

These are just a few of the possibilities. Are you ready to re-do a room? Or overhaul the whole house? Remember, if you can dream it you can do it. And Bali can help.

For more great information and galleries of pictures to add to your inspiration wall visit Bali Blinds powered by Somfy or the Bali Blinds blog.

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Real Estate Headlines with Lady Gaga, WikiHouse and 14 Mistakes

Welcome to another Monday. Hard to believe it’s the middle of October already. As I sit here with my French roast coffee, a certain chill has entered the air here in the Northeast. While I wait for all the folks in Southern California to stop laughing, here’s your weekly dose of real estate headlines to start your week:

The Motley Fool wants you to know the obvious: home ownership won’t make you rich.

Is it the right time to refinance your mortgage?

You want a tiny 1-bedroom apartment in New York City? That’ll be $1 million.

Here are 3 tips for real estate investing newbies.

There are at least 10 places where it is cheaper to buy a home than to rent.

I kind of like these barns turned into homes. Very Old McDonald chic.

Break out the Windex. Here is a collection of some drool-worthy glass houses.

Yes this is a real headline: 3D Printed WikiHouse You Can Build Yourself.

Country Living has 14 mistakes that can decrease your home’s value.

And finally, Lady Gaga has bought her first home and it has a bat cave and a secret bowling alley. Yes, for real.

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Haunted Happenings and Halloween Party Tricks and Treats

Here in the Northstate, Halloween isn’t just for kids; this is a holiday the whole family can enjoy. Whether you’re partaking in all the spooky festivities the Redding area has to offer or throwing a Halloween party of your own. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Halloween Happenings in Redding

The Nash Ranch has a haunted house that’s beyond scary, with zombies and no shortage of things that make your skin crawl. This is the 21st year of their haunted house, and they just keep raising the bar on scary! This year, the theme is “Dreams of Darkness.” They also offer a 15-acre pumpkin patch, where you can find your next jack-o’-lantern.

Hawes Farms offers a corn maze, a pumpkin patch, a zip line, cow train rides, and lots more for the family. For those seeking monster thrills, check out the zombie attack ride and the “Carnival of Fear”! Hours of operation vary, but both facilities are open on October 31.

Halloween Party Ideas: Haunting Sweets and More

Having a Halloween party? The perfect way to set the mood is in the food presentation. Here are some fun, quick, and easy tricks that will inspire your zombie guests and get the party started.

  • Finger Food: Sugar cookie dough becomes “fingers” when rolled into finger-sized pieces, place a sliver of almond at the end to make a fingernail. Lay the fingers on a greased cooking sheet and bake at 350 degrees until golden brown. Eat as-is or dunk them into the vampire-approved dipping sauce described below.
  • Bloody Fun: To make a bloody treat fit for a hungry vampire, heat white chocolate in a chocolate fountain and add red food coloring. The illusion will be frightful.
  • Monster Mush: Tint instant vanilla pudding with a hint of green food coloring. Pour into small clear plastic cups. Draw scary faces on the front with black marker to resemble Frankenstein. Top with crushed Oreo cookies for his hair.
  • Ghostly Goodies: Cut 24 six-inch rounds of white fondant. Drape the fondant over baked, cooled, and frosted cupcakes. Create cupcake ghosts by drawing eyes, nose, and mouth on the white fondant with an edible marker.
  • Ghoulish Brew: Set the mood of your Halloween party by making a cauldron filled with dry ice the centerpiece of your refreshment table. Just before guests arrive, pour water over the ice for a spooky illusion.
  • Helping Hand: Tint a gallon of water with green food coloring. Pour water into rubber gloves; tie off each glove with a rubber band and freeze. Right before the party starts, peel off the rubber from the hands and place in a punch bowl.

In addition to the snack table, don’t forget to add some spooktacular flair to the rest of your party decor. No matter what age group, your guests will delight in vases wrapped in gauze with flickering LED votive candles. Add orange and black accents and a frightful tablecloth, and you have the makings of a “bootiful” Halloween party that will keep your guests howling for months to come!

Image Source: Flickr

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Getting Philadelphia Gardens Ready for Fall and Winter

Fall can and should be a busy time in Philadelphia gardens. Vegetable crops that perform well in the early days of spring also do well in the fall, as long as they are planted well in advance of the first frost in the area. Along with getting in one last round of planting before the winter hits, it’s also a good idea for Philadelphia homeowners to tidy up the garden before things get too cold, so that you don’t let diseased plants linger over the winter or give pests a place to rest for the season.

Make Your Last-Minute Plantings

Some vegetables can be planted in Philadelphia gardens up until early or mid-October and will be ready before the first freeze, which usually happens in early November. Lettuce, greens such as kale and chard, and radishes are all ideal for planting in the fall, as they grow quickly and perform well when the temperatures are cooler. You can also plant certain veggies, such as spinach, later in the fall, to enjoy before the freeze and then again once the outside world thaws in the spring.

Fall is also a great time to plant ornamentals that do well in cooler temperatures. If you don’t like eating kale, you can grow ornamental varieties for their looks. Ornamental kale plants can withstand freezing temperatures and will provide decoration through the chilly winter months in Philly.

Pansies are another plant that’s great for the fall garden. The name is deceptive, as pansies are actually pretty hardy little flowers that can survive the winter in Philly, giving your garden a burst of color through the winter chill and into the spring. According to Mike McGrath, of WHYY’s You Bet Your Garden, pansies are more likely to make it through the winter months if planted in a spot that’s sunny during winter but shaded in the spring. When planting in the later fall, choose plants over seeds, so that you can enjoy the blooms this season and next.

Get a Jump on Bulbs

If you want to enjoy tulips and daffodils come the spring, the time to get them in your garden is actually in late October or early November, when the temperature has cooled off significantly but before things have frozen over. Adding some bulbs to your garden is a pretty hands-off way to guarantee some color early in the spring. Water the bulbs right after planting, then leave them be for the rest of winter, until the first leaves appear.

Clean Up

Once you’ve gotten your last round of plants and bulbs in the ground, it’s time to think about cleaning up the remains of your spring and summer garden. While it’s a good idea to leave some root vegetables, such as carrots and leeks, in the ground for a harvest later on, others should be pulled up. Tender plants, such as tomatoes, peppers, and squash, should be pulled out and either discarded or composted. Pull up any remaining weeds and rake leaves that have fallen, so that pests don’t have a place to hide over the winter.

You can trim some perennials, but many do better over the cold winter if left alone. Wait until spring to trim them back so that new growth can come in.

Philly might not offer the chance to garden for all four seasons, but you can make your garden last well into fall. Leaving out pansies, kale, and other cold-hardy plants all winter means your garden will retain some visual interest even when it’s freezing outside.

Image source: Flickr/Jim Linwood

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Home Tip of the Day: Never Forget Your Lunch at Home Again!

There’s nothing more demoralizing that getting to work and realizing you forgot that wonderful lunch you packed at home. Here’s a way to make sure you never leave home without your brown bag again.

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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