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After 18 years at home, your child is striking out on his own, whether to attend college or start an exciting new job. Though you may not be ready to do so immediately, you’ll probably want to convert the now-absent teen’s bedroom into a space you can use.
One of the best and most popular strategies is to remake the space as a guest bedroom. That may seem like a tall order — especially if you’re peering into a chaotic, poster-lined teenager’s haunt — but you’re closer to the finish line than you might think. With luck, you can get the job done in only one weekend. Here’s how to organize the effort:
1. Clear out what’s left behind.
Before your child leaves, or the next time he or she is home, ask them to help you pack all the stuff their not taking with them. From sports trophies to old textbooks, there’s likely a wide and assorted range of keepsakes arranged (or strewn haphazardly) around the room. At least for the time being, pack these belongings into large plastic bins and then relocate those bins to an out-of-the-way storage area, be it the attic, basement or garage. Once you’ve finished packing and stacking the bins, the bedroom — free of all clutter — should already begin to look a lot more adult.
2. Introduce a new wall color.
Your goal now is to alter the mood of the space and give it a fresh identity. There’s no quicker or more affordable way to revolutionize a room than with a fresh coat of paint. Whereas your son or daughter might have chosen a neon shade or a light pastel, consider a neutral hue — something that rarely goes out of style. White or cream are popular options, meshing well with any decor, while leaving you ample opportunity to add punches of personality through accents (e.g., window treatments or wall art). For a room with more shadows than sunlight, consider lime green or ocean blue; these bright hues can actually make a dark room look brighter.
3. Rethink the furnishings.
You may be surprised to realize that most of the furniture in the room can probably be reused, if made to look more mature. For example, it’s fairly easy to refinish a dresser that’s been covered in stickers and decals. It’s just a matter of sanding it down to the bare wood and staining or repainting. By the same token, putting a new shade on an old table lamp can dramatically change its look. Another good idea: Bring in a tasteful area rug, particularly if there are any stains on the floor. Lastly, upgrade the sleeping arrangement to a guest-friendly queen-size bed. If the room is too small for a larger mattress, opt for a pull-out sofa that doubles as daytime seating.
4. Don’t forget the extras.
Think like a hotel manager and outfit the room with thoughtful details to make guests more comfortable. At the foot of the bed, a bench or chest serves as a suitcase-landing zone. A glass and water pitcher, meanwhile, are always welcome on the bedside table. When it comes to wall hangings, don’t limit yourself to landscapes or abstract art. Framed family photos not only personalize the space but also remind you of the room’s history.
This article was originally published by Bob Vila on Zillow Blog. See the original article here.
Bob Vila is the home improvement expert widely known as host of TV’s This Old House, Bob Vila’s Home Again, and Bob Vila. Today, Bob continues his mission to help people upgrade their homes and improve their lives with advice online at BobVila.com. His video-rich site offers a full range of fresh, authoritative content – practical tips, inspirational ideas, and more than 1,000 videos from Bob Vila television.
There are some people that have not purchased a home because they are uncomfortable taking on the obligation of a mortgage. Everyone should realize that, unless you are living with your parents rent free, you are paying a mortgage – either your mortgage or your landlord’s.
As a paper from the Joint Center for Housing Studiesat Harvard University explains:
“Households must consume housing whether they own or rent. Not even accounting for more favorable tax treatment of owning, homeowners pay debt service to pay down their own principal while households that rent pay down the principal of a landlord plus a rate of return. That’s yet another reason owning often does—as Americans intuit—end up making more financial sense than renting.”
Also, if you purchase with a 30-year fixed rate mortgage, your ‘housing expense’ is locked in over the thirty years for the most part. If you rent, the one guarantee you will have is that your rent will increase over that same thirty year time period.
And, as an owner, the mortgage payment is a ‘forced savings’ which will allow you to have equity in your home you can tap into later in your life. As a renter, you guarantee the landlord is the person with that equity.
Whether you are looking for a primary residence for the first time or are considering a vacation home on the shore, owning might make more sense than renting since home values and interest rates are still at bargain prices.
This article was originally published on Keeping Current Matters. See it here.
Finding exotic homes to lust after can be fun. Why limit your real estate envy to properties that actually exist?
What would it be like to own Hogwarts Castle, where Harry Potter learned to be a wizard, and what would it cost to buy it? What about SpongeBob SquarePants’ house, or Superman’s “Fortress of Solitude?”
Real estate website Movoto determined valuations of what content editor David Cross calls “un-real estate” — properties from television shows, movies or video games. Here are 9 make-believe homes and their real-life prices.
1. Wayne Manor
Value: $32.1 million
The voice-over on the 1960s “Batman” television show described it as “stately Wayne Manor,” and a role-playing game from the early 1990s provided the specs behind that description: 42,500 square feet, 11 bedrooms, 7 bathrooms, a pool, gym, library, ballroom, game room and gallery.
Cross didn’t worry about including the “bat cave” when searching for comparable properties, reasoning that Bruce Wayne might sell his home but would never part with his secret lair. But his valuation is based on the controversial assumption that Gotham City is actually Chicago, not New York.
2. SpongeBob’s abode
What would you pay for a modest home with a view — of the bottom of the sea?
That’s the vista SpongeBob SquarePants enjoys from his residence, which happens to be a pineapple on the ocean’s floor. Cross estimates the 238-square-inch home is located in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, where outsiders can’t buy property. So the valuation is based on what Movoto’s Mortgage Calculator estimates that SpongeBob, a fry cook at the Krusty Krab, could afford.
3. Ghostbusters’ firehouse
Value: $15.7 million
Manhattan real estate was cheaper in the 1980s, and paranormal activity in the borough wasn’t helping sellers get the best prices. But what would it cost you to buy a “Ghostbusters“-style headquarters today?
Movoto content editor Randy Nelson notes that a character in the 1984 film says the firehouse that serves as the team’s headquarters is 9,622.55 square feet. Based on comparable properties in the area, that space would sell for about $1,630 per square foot today.
Movoto estimates that the $15.7 million price tag for the property would buy you about 643 tons of marshmallows — plenty to recreate the movie’s gooey finale.
4. Hogwarts Castle
Value: $204.1 million
You can’t put a price on magic, but to estimate the value of Great Britain’s premier training facility for spell-casters, Cross says that you need three bits of information: Hogwarts’ location, its square footage and the price of comparable properties.
The location — Galloway Hills in Scotland — came via an online post. Another Harry Potter fan provided a clue to Hogwarts’ size by working out how many students would have attended the wizardry academy.
Cross decided that the whole building must measure about 414,000 square feet and that large homes — including castles — around Galloway Hills go for about $493 per square foot.
5. Fortress of Solitude
Value: $814 trillion
A firm handshake can be a career plus, but if you’ve got a grip that can turn lumps of coal into diamonds, you can afford a pricey retreat — even if you’re just an underpaid reporter moonlighting as an unpaid superhero.
Superman’s Fortress of Solitude is indeed expensive, not because of its location, in an Arctic wasteland, but because of its high-end building material: Kryptonian crystals.
Cross says that diamonds would be the best terrestrial stand-in, and he estimates you’d need more than 2 million of them — each the size of the $400 million Cullinan Diamond — for the dome-shaped roof.
6. Yoda’s hut
Afford it, you can.
Yoda first appears in the Star Wars movie “The Empire Strikes Back,” which finds the green Jedi master living in a spartan hut on the water-logged planet Dagobah. Movoto’s Nelson wondered what a place like that would cost if it were located in the United States, rather than in a galaxy far, far away.
He decided that swampy Morgan City, La., would be a good stand-in for Dagobah. Yoda’s residence was built of mud and the remains of his escape pod. But the average local price per square foot is $86, and Yoda’s abode is just over 90 square feet.
7. Tony Stark’s mansion
Value: $117.25 million
Tony Stark, aka Iron Man, is a billionaire genius with an ego, so you know he has a nice house.
How nice? Cross says that he based his Movoto assessment on the latest cinematic version of “Iron Man,” which had Stark living in a cliff-side mansion in Malibu, Calif. The design of the computer-generated place was based on the work of architect John Lautner, whose 25,000-square-foot Casa Marbrisa was about the right size to be Stark’s abode.
The sale of a comparable Malibu mansion yielded $3,750 per square foot, which Cross boosted to $4,690, to account for the view.
8. Fawlty Towers
Value: $9.94 million
After Monty Python, John Cleese starred as a hotel proprietor in the British sitcom “Fawlty Towers.” Cleese claimed his character was based on a real person, and his establishment was based on a real inn in the seaside town of Torquay, England.
Cross says that he was dying to value the property using the mini-fridge method, which assumes a hotel is worth 10,000 times the price of a soda in the hotel’s mini-bar. But Fawlty Towers didn’t offer its guests such in-room amenities. So Cross used the room-rate multiplier approach for the hotel, which has 22 guest rooms and a daily rate of 35 pounds, or $46.
9. Spencer Mansion of ‘Resident Evil’
Value: $1.75 million
Most visitors to Spencer Mansion back in the 1990s were too busy blasting away at mutants to focus on the property itself — encounters with zombie dogs can shake up your priorities like that.
But Movoto’s Nelson, a fan of the original “Resident Evil” video game, wanted to know what its setting would list for on today’s market. His research convinced him that Springfield, Mo., was the best real-world stand-in for the game’s fictional Raccoon City.
He also found that Spencer Mansion measures 10,125 square feet and that similar mansions in the Springfield area sell for about $173 per square foot.
This article was originally published by By Scot Meyer of SwitchYard Media on MSN Real Estate. See the original article here.
Although it’s Shark Week, we weren’t able to locate any homes with a built-in shark tank.
So … we opted for the next best thing: homes on the market with awesome built-in aquariums.
Care and upkeep of these huge watery enclosures is likely a job in and of itself, but the reward of being able to bliss out and behold the fish swimming within your walls may be worth it.
We found six stunning tanks in cities from coast to coast, and the beauty in Boca truly stole our hearts. When you see the enormous aquarium in this gleaming penthouse unit, you may not want to scroll any further.
But please peruse all of these interesting homes—including the enormous mansion in Urbandale, IA, we’ve written about before.
If any of the aquariums prompt you to dive in, just click on the image to learn more.