5 Things to Look for in the Next Great Place to Live

Imagine getting into the next hot neighborhood before the prices skyrocket. Residents in NYC’s SoHo, LA’s Venice, and Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood know that living in a city’s trendy area is worth a lot. What does it take to spot the next up and coming area near you? In this segment of LXTV Open House, Mary Kae Higgins, associate broker with Coldwell Banker Reliable, gives us 5 things to look for in the next great place to live.

The next hot spot is often an affordable, but formerly unnoticed neighborhood. A great example is Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn, from where this segment comes to us.

So, what should you look for in the next hot neighborhood?

  • Cultural aspects – If business owners are willing to invest in the neighborhood, that’s usually a good sign. Look out for art galleries, trendy restaurants and cafes popping up.
  • Unique architectural design - Does the real estate have a particular look and feel?
  • How fast things are selling – Is real estate moving quickly? If that brownstone sells in a day, it usually means that the area is in demand.
  • Proximity to mass transit and business centers – Convenience is key. Is there a subway, bus stop and grocery store within short walking distance?
  • Closeness to other hip, trendy areas - Trendiness is contagious. Follow the artists and young professionals to their next new landing spot.

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Decorating Small Apartments: 3 Ways to Refresh Your Space

As much as you may love your small NYC apartment, every once in a while, it might feel like time for a refresh. When decorating small apartments, it can be hard to make big changes in floor layout or with your furniture pieces. However, you can still give your apartment a mini facelift from time to time by undertaking the following small changes.

1. Accessories

Decorative accessories lend tons of personality when it comes to decorating small apartments. They’re also among the easiest visual element you can switch up when you live in a small space. Keep this in mind when you’re out and about in the city, and you see objets d’art that catch your eye (candles, decorative objects, trinket boxes, trays, etc.). If you truly love them, buy them — even if you don’t necessarily have a spot for them. Keep these small items in a drawer or cabinet. Don’t go overboard, of course; just keep a carefully curated collection. When you feel like your space is stagnant, dip into your reserves. Switch out a vase or a tray, and you may be surprised at the impact such a small swap can have!

2. Throw Pillows

Throw pillows are another easy switch when it comes to decorating small apartments in NYC. When your space feels dull, switch out some pillow covers for different ones. The great thing is that pillow covers can be affordable (some are very expensive, but you can mix and match high and low options). Even better: They take up almost no space. You can keep a few different options on hand in your drawer or closet without losing any storage space.

3. Rearrange Small Items

While it may be difficult to rearrange your furniture once you hit on a good setup for your small apartment, you can still create a new look with minimal disruption. Move your throw pillows around: Take one from the bed and move it to the couch, put another from the couch onto a chair, and see the difference it makes to your eye. This is especially easy to do when all your pillows mix and match, so consider that when buying them. Try rearranging your coffee table by putting out new books, and rearrange the books on your bookshelves. Put something new on your kitchen counter, even something as simple as a bowl of seasonal fruit. Little changes like this can make a big difference.

Decorating a small apartment doesn’t have to stop once you’ve got the major layout all set up. If you make sure to change up little things every once in a while, your apartment will always feel fresh, vibrant, and new.

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Home Tip of the Day: The #1 Trick to Staying Organized at Home

Staying organized at home doesn’t have to take much work. Sometimes the simple tweaks make a big difference. See how easy it is to keep things in order at home.

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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What is a home inspection?

Buying a home is a big move. Literally! So, before you sign on the dotted line and make the home legally yours, it’s important to know exactly what you’re inheriting from a previous owner.

The best way to avoid surprises down the road is to have a licensed professional conduct a home inspection. In the video below, Jessica Edwards with Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage walks us through what is involved in a home inspection.

Your real estate professional is there to help you throughout the process and make sure that these tasks are taken care of on your behalf.

Ready to start your search? Visit coldwellbanker.com to find a real estate professional or to discover your dream home.

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Apartment Decorating: Make Your Rental Sing

The next time someone scoffs because you’re looking at books about apartment decorating even though you live in a rental, set them straight. Just because you live in a rental apartment doesn’t mean you have to live in some sort of bizarre, design-based indentured servitude; renters should be able to bring their own personality into their decor.

Even if you’re saving up to buy your dream home or you’re only going to be living in the city temporarily, you still need to live your very best life right now, and apartment decorating can be a big part of that. Feeling good about your home and its aesthetics puts you in the best frame of mind. Conversely, feeling bad about your space (no matter how temporary it is) can be a huge emotional drain. The good news is, apartment decorating is easy — these rental-friendly home improvement ideas can take as little as an hour or a weekend to complete. Try them; you’ll be surprised at how much these simple changes can transform your space.

Give Your Walls a Makeover

That fresh, renewed feeling that you get when you give your apartment’s walls a fresh coat of paint isn’t just your imagination. Sprucing up your walls is one of the most effective ways to give your space a brand-new feel.

  • Paint: Hopefully, you’ve confirmed with the landlord that you can paint the walls of the space before you’ve moved in. Even a bright, crisp white color like Benjamin Moore’s Atrium White can make your space seem cleaner, more high-end, and spacious. Accent walls can be effective, too.
  • Wallpaper: Temporary wallpaper is a real thing that really, really works. Really! Brands like Tempaper are extremely popular with owners and renters alike, thanks to all the mind-blowingly gorgeous patterns they offer. If none of their patterns work for you, you can upload your own design, and they’ll make it for you.
  • Decorate: Hang up beautiful photos. If you can’t (or don’t want to) stick things directly to the walls, picture-hanging strips allow you to hang items up to 16 pounds in weight.

Replace Those Fixtures ASAP

Nothing screams “rental” like a dome light. Dome lights, old sink faucets, fluorescents — these are the hallmarks of spaces that people only give scant attention to. The good news is that renters can easily swap out these items for new ones, which means that you can simply put the old fixtures back when you leave.

  • Lighting: Get rid of the ugly lighting. It can make a decent room look like an interrogation room. Cover it with affordable buys from retailers like Home Depot. Check out the one on 23rd Street in the Flatiron District; its lighting section is filled with both modern and traditional lighting options, much of it under $100.
  • Faucets: You may think a faucet is just a faucet, but replace a dingy one with a shiny new one, and you’ll wonder why in the world you never did it sooner. It will seriously make it look like you went and did a little bit of reno on your bathroom.
  • Flooring: Try out temporary flooring like that sold by Eco Woods. You haven’t heard of Eco Woods? This gorgeous snap-and-go wood flooring product can transform a shabby bathroom floor into something straight out of a Swedish spa. Simply snap it into place, and you’ve got a brand-new room.

Image Source: Flickr/Bruno Trombetta

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25 Thoughts Homeowners Have During Fall

1. Sigh…Summer is over.



2. But I love fall!



3. All the pretty colors.



4. Pumpkin flavored lattes!



5. A whole new set of decorations to take out!



6. All my favorite TV shows are back.



7. And an entire new wardrobe to wear!



8. You know it’s a little chilly in here.



9. Let’s turn up the heat.



10. Wait, how much is my heating bill?!?!?!?!



11. Where did all these leaves come from?



12. This is my Saturday for the next 2 months.



13. Is it Halloween yet?



14. I need a costume.



15. The kids need a costume.




16. Think of all the candy.



17. Mmmm, candy.



18. Then I’ll need to buy a treadmill.



19. And the holidays are coming.



20. But I do love pumpkin decor.



21. And I’m excited with how nice the house looks.



22. Fall isn’t so bad.



23. Except for the leaves.



24. Since fall is here, let’s grab a cup of something hot.


25. And enjoy just being home…



All gifs are courtesy of Giphy.com. Header image courtesy of Flickr user Ryk Neethling

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Home Tip of the Day: Protecting Your Floors and Furniture from the Sun

Few things make us happier than a bright sunny day spent outdoors picnicking or running around. The same can’t be  said for that sofa you spent a fortune on, or those hard wood floors you recently had installed. Here’s an easy way to protect your floors and furniture from the hot sun, all while keeping your home cool.

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Home of the Week: Manhattan Views from Weehawken, NJ

In our newest ‘Home of the Week‘ we move from a masterpiece on Kauai’s fabled North Shore to a turn of the century home with incredible views of New York City.

I had the pleasure of visiting this $3,550,000 home in Weehawken, New Jersey a few weeks ago and was seriously impressed with everything about it. The home built roughly around 1900 sits quietly on a tree-lined street in one of northern New Jersey’s most desirable neighborhoods.

One look at the exterior of the property and you might think to yourself, “They don’t make ‘em like this anymore“. The solid stucco facade exudes a level of craftsmanship and attention to detail that you rarely see in newer constructions in this area. The entire home was recently renovated from top to bottom so as you would expect, the home is outfitted with the best high-end stainless steel appliances and other luxurious touches like imported Italian granite floors. Most homes look good after renovations, but there’s something special about how the owner went about retaining those turn of the century touches that make this home truly one-of-a-kind.

The interior of this three bedroom home is absolutely awesome, but the outside is in a word, sublime. The expansive yard offers up unobstructed Manhattan skyline views from both the bottom level of the outdoor space as well as the second level. The view from the pool with recessed lighting at night was absolutely incredible. I freely admit to zoning out during my conversation with the listing agent Ronnie Aiosa, as I was already imagining entertaining friends by the dry bar, eating a meal by the covered patio and soaking up those inspiring views from the pool on a wonderfully moonlit night.

Click here to see more of this beautiful home listed with Ronnie Aiosa and Bill Boswell. Located just steps from New York City, this $3.5 million dollar home offers up a great mix of city living and zen-like serenity.

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3 Sugar Hill Restaurants You Need to Check Out

Sugar Hill restaurants are well worth the trip uptown. Sugar Hill, the tiny neighborhood located at the northern part of Hamilton Heights, was a central player in the original Harlem Renaissance era of the 1920s. Filled with stunning brownstone mansions as well as many of the upscale amenities and services found further downtown, the area functioned as home and haven to upper-class African American educators, politicians, doctors, lawyers, writers, and celebrities who were drawn to the area’s classic architecture, as well as its rich cultural and intellectual scene. Part of the West Harlem Historic District, the tiny enclave is filled with historic, landmarked brownstones and gorgeous condos awaiting the many people interested in moving to the area. Listed below are a few of the eateries that locals and visitors alike tend to frequent.

1. Queen Sheeba

Ever been hit with a sudden craving for Indian or Middle Eastern, and find yourself thinking, “Man, I wish there was a place where I could have both!” Well, if you happen to be walking along Harlem’s West 141st Street, wish no more. Tuck into Queen Sheeba, the neighborhood’s well-known, oft-visited Yemeni eatery. Yemeni food has been described as a blend of Indian and Middle Eastern tastes, and the menu options here bear out this claim. Start out your meal with the restaurant’s famous hummus, a gorgeous blend of chickpeas, tahini, sesame seeds, lemon juice and garlic. Try the delectable sambosas, the Middle Eastern version of Indian samosas; you won’t be able to eat just one. The garden salad here tastes fresh out of a Yemeni grandma’s garden, with cucumbers, cabbage, carrots, tomatoes, olives, and feta cheese drizzled with extra virgin olive oil. For the main course, it’ll be hard to choose. The roasted half chicken — dajaj bilforn — is marinated in aromatic, exquisite spices. They offer a host of vegetarian options, including mushakal adie, a rich vegetable stew made with corn, eggplant, squash, potatoes, lima beans, and carrots. Sop it all up with fresh, hot pita bread.

2. Grange Bar and Eatery

What’s that? You said you’re looking for a cozy spot with a fun crowd, a menu made with locally grown produce, and a fabulous bar filled with everything from an amazing cocktail menu, a 16-draft beer system, and a wide-ranging wine selection? Then get thee to the Grange Bar and Eatery on Amsterdam Avenue. Sit out in the open and eat, drink, and be merry with everyone else, or go incognito in the private dining room called The Study, a haven where you and a dozen of your nearest and dearest can feast in seclusion. Try the decadent spinach ravioli stuffed with a rich filling of ricotta and topped with rainbow micro-greens and poppyseed butter, or the 1635 Burger, a grass-fed beef patty topped with a cornichon remoulade and served on a brioche bun. Stopping by for brunch? Two words: Lobster Benedict.

3. People’s Choice

Great Sugar Hill restaurants aren’t always of the sit-down variety. Some of them function purely as takeout spots. Get a taste of the Caribbean fare served up at this neighborhood pick-up spot, and you’ll completely understand why it’s called the People’s Choice. Menu choices are what you’d expect from Caribbean restaurants: the marinated oxtail stew and the tender jerk chicken are some of the most frequently ordered items. It’s not fancy — it’s takeout only and you better bring cash — but the delicious food transcends the no-frills ambiance.

Image Source: Flickr/Aamer Javed

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5 Ideas That Will Make Your Front Porch Shine

With fall in full swing, your front porch needs to transition to attract buyers. Luckily it’s easy to make a few changes so it blends in for the season. Here are five front porch design ideas to make your home stand out:

via  Tiger’s Testing ServiceDesignMine

#1 Clean out debris with a power washer.

The first step is cleaning out the debris from summer. You could use old-fashioned equipment like a broom, mop, washcloth and elbow grease or hire a professional pressure washing service to clean away stubborn debris so your porch looks like new. Dirt and grime in the floor and on the siding can be dusted off quickly by a pressure washer, which will save you time and effort otherwise spent hand washing your porch.

#2 Add a new coat of paint.

A new coat of paint is a great way to revitalize the front porch, whether it’s touching up the trim, railings and banisters, or repainting the front door. It is also an opportunity to add a bright new color as part of your front porch design. Painting is a good DIY project on the weekend, or if you intend to do a complete overhaul, you might need to get a painter to help. Make sure the color will complement the rest of the house. You could always paint the porch a neutral tone and then cover the door in a bright color so it stands out as buyers walk up.

#3 Revitalize the front door.

Once you start getting the porch fixed up, it’s time to turn your focus to the door as it will be the first area buyers see. If the door is scratched, scraped or muddy, it won’t seem welcoming to potential homebuyers. Start by cleaning off any dirt and grime with the power washer or with a washcloth covered in vinegar and water. Then you can add on decorations like wreaths, a new door knob made of brass or steel, window dressings and more. That way it will look brand new without having to install a new door for hundreds of dollars.

#4 Imbue the porch with the natural landscape.

To make your porch blend in with the landscape, consider adding potted plants with seasonal flowers. They are inexpensive, add a splash of color and can be either standing or hanging in baskets throughout your porch. They will also help to create a welcoming atmosphere on the front porch. You should coordinate the colors of the plants to match the front door or the landscape so they stand out against the porch and blend with the yard.

#5 Brighten the porch with fixtures and new decor.

If the house numbers and mailbox are showing signs of age, you might need to spend a few hours or hire a handyman to revitalize them. You should also install light fixtures to make those house numbers easy to see at night or on rainy days. Light fixtures are also good for illuminating front porch decor like chairs, rockers, swings, dining chairs and tables. If you have night showings at your home, they will be useful for giving the porch a warm feel at all hours.

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

See more of the beautiful Chatham, NJ  home in the cover photo here.

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