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‘The Castle’ Inspired by Beer Barrels

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A copper brewing kettle isn’t out of place in this home.

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from Zillow

7525 S Highway A1a, Melbourne Beach, FL
For sale: $2.95 million

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from Zillow
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Cars seem to disappear when they arrive at “The Castle” on Melbourne Beach. Like a medieval keep, a metal gate leads into three stories of fortified concrete.

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“Unique is definitely the word,” said listing agent Marion Thacker of Engel & Völkers Orlando Winter Park.

The home was built to withstand hurricanes, but the curved design was inspired by beer barrels.

“It’s owned by a corporation, and one of the corporation owners used to own a brewery,” Thacker explained. “He put a lot of thought into it.”

A solid copper brewing kettle from Germany accentuates the home bar, serving as a light fixture and storage space.

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from Zillow

The home is also lined with high-end European antiques and furnishings including a German kitchen stove dating back to the 1800s, a German wood-burning fireplace and high-end Italian tile.

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“The bar backdrop alone holds tiles valued at $25,000,” Thacker said.

But the home’s main selling point isn’t inside. Overlooking a premier surfing spot just north of Vero Beach, the house features tranquil ocean views from nearly every room.

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“[The original owner] wanted an ocean view from wherever he was in the house,” Thacker explained. “When you lay in the master bed, you can see the pool and the ocean.”

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Photos by Harvey Smith and Walt Simpson.

This article was originally published by Catherine Sherman on Zillow Blog. See more photos and the original article here.

Buying a Home? Don’t Let Fear Get in Your Way

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The founder of Keeping Current Matters, Steve Harney, occasionally asks to do a personal post on what he sees as important to our industry. Today we are re-posting one of his favorites!

Buying a Home? Don't Let Fear Get in Your Way

Last week, I was talking to a young couple I know that was about to close on their first home. They were riding the wild rollercoaster of current mortgage rate swings and were not happy about the mortgage process overall. Yet, when the conversation shifted to finally living in a home that they own, their disposition changed dramatically.

A smile came across their faces as they talked about decorating their son’s bedroom and how much he will enjoy the backyard. They talked about inviting friends over for dinner and their family over for the holidays. The more they talked, the more excited they became.

I asked them if many of their friends were also buying. I was shocked to find out that they weren’t. Why not? Their friends believed that homeownership was financially unobtainable right now. Many wanted to own but didn’t think they could afford the monthly mortgage payment. They decided to rent instead.

I said that, with interest rates and prices where they are today, owning a home might not be any more expensive than renting one. The couple agreed but said their friends were afraid; afraid they might not qualify for a loan, afraid to handle negotiations with a seller, afraid of the home buying process itself.


People should not make decisions out of fear!

I’m not saying that every young person should own a home. I am saying that anyone that is qualified and wants to buy should not be afraid of the process. I realize the process may seem daunting but realize over 10,000 homes sell every day in this country. Sit down and discuss your goals with professionals from both the real estate and mortgage industries. Get the facts. Make an informed decision. Don’t let the fear of the unknown prevent you from living the life of your dreams.

This post was originally published by Steve Harney on Keeping Current Matters. See the original post here.


Don’t Forget These 6 Things When Moving Out

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Leaving an old community can be difficult. On top of moving your possessions, selling your home, and saying goodbye to old friends, it can be hard to remember the things you need to do in order to set up the new life waiting for you in a new locale.

Don’t Forget These 6 Things When Moving Out

To make it easier, make a checklist and follow this handy guide to make your move smoother.

1. Banks

Check your new city to see if your bank has a branch nearby. If not, you may need to switch banks; this is especially true if your bank is regional.

Don’t forget to grab anything you have in your safety deposit box, as well.

2. Medical Needs

If you can, have your current doctor call in prescriptions to a pharmacy in your new town. This will give you time to pick out the right doctor—not just one that is available.

Keep your old doctor’s number so you can contact them when you need paperwork forwarded to your new doctor.

If you’re keeping your health insurance plan, look for doctors in your new area that will accept it. If you need to switch providers or update your plan, try to do so before you move.

If not, ask your insurance agent for a recommendation, call the local chamber of commerce or research companies online.

3. Things to Transfer

Formally resign or transfer memberships from any local organizations, gyms, associations, and clubs.

Be aware that canceling before your membership has completed can result in early termination fees. Factor it into your moving costs and move on.

And just for safekeeping, ask the school system to make copies of all your children’s records for you to take with you.

4. Raid the Kitchen

About a month before moving, be sure to start using up any frozen goods so that you avoid waste.

Also use up, give away, or donate any unopened food in your pantry. These items can be bulky and heavy to transport.

5. Check the Car

Tune up the car to avoid a breakdown on the way to your new home. If you have a trusted mechanic, ask if they can refer you to another near your new address.

If it’s a long road trip, pack a first-aid kit just to be safe. This should contain bandages, bug spray, sunburn spray, tissues and medications you or your family will need along the way.

6. Final Closure for Moving

Moving can be tough on the whole family. To bring a sense of closure for everyone, try these six tips:

  • Visit local spots that hold dear memories. Take snapshots or a short video for keepsake purposes.
  • Host your own going-away party, and encourage your children to invite their friends. This is a good-bye for everyone—including friends, neighbors, former teachers, and colleagues.
  • Take one last walk through the house together, noting spots you’ll never want to forget.
  • Take a picture of the family in front of the old house.
  • Take a picture of your family in front of the new house. Display both photos side-by-side somewhere in the new place for everyone to see easily.
  • If you can, make plans to visit your old hometown within the first year after your move. Visit friends and drive past your old home, through neighborhoods, and landmarks. This post-move reconnection with dear friends and fond memories will help your family bring finality to the move—even after you’ve settled into your new digs.

This article was originally published by  on See it here.

How to Plan a Celeb-Worthy Halloween Party

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It’s all about perception and creating that element of surprise.

From fake snow to trees and tombstones, this haunted cemetery is authentic. Source: Ricky Brigante via Flickr Creative Commons

Celebrities like Heidi Klum are known for having extravagant Halloween parties, taking the occasion to another level. To create a memorable, celeb-worthy bash of your own, we asked interior designer David Brian Sanders — whose A-list clients include “Desperate Housewives” star Marcia Cross — as well as event planner Emily Cann to share their tips.

Pick a theme

“My first Halloween party I planned … I crammed [in] every single idea I had,” Cann said. “Everyone loved it, but it ended up being too many ideas and not necessarily cohesive.”

Sanders says it’s OK to draw inspiration from multiple places, but the key is to make it believable.

“You can always incorporate a little ‘Chainsaw Massacre,’ ‘Friday the 13th’ [and] ’70s,” he said. “Just keep it real. Keep it authentic.”

Once you narrow in on a theme, have fun with it.

“I would probably do something like ‘Twilight,’” said Sanders, who is friends with the creator of “The Vampire Diaries.” “But take it to the line and cross over. Create the illusion of what we think a vampire world could look like and add an element of fantasy.”

Be a kid at heart

When planning a party for adults, it doesn’t have to be serious. In fact, Sanders says it’s important to create a fun environment not just for kids.

“Incorporating the idea of a fairy tale into holiday-themed bashes is huge — especially for adults,” he said.

Foosball adds excitement to any party, and it’s a fun addition to your home. Source: Aaron Booth via Flickr Creative Commons

One way to boost the fun factor: add a game to your space.

“I’m doing a lot of foosball tables [in celebrity homes],” he said. “They’re back with a vengeance.”

He’s also a believer in a classic ping-pong or pool table. “It adds a rush to the evening,” he said.

Plan a surprise

Halloween is all about making people jump out of their skin, but Sanders says space planning can make or break a surprise.

“People will be more frightened when they don’t know what’s around the corner,” he said.

To add suspense, consider taking your house party outside.

“Create a house outside your home with tents, hallways and plywood ceilings,” he said. “Make it look fun with decorations. A lot of it is psychological.”

Consider using your outdoor space to add an element of surprise. Source: Ricky Brigante via Flickr Creative Commons

Watch the clock

If you decide to build something big like a haunted house, be careful you have enough time to take on the project.

“Time can definitely work against you when you are planning,” Cann said. “Cute items on Etsy, a place where I always look to get lovely and unique details, can take weeks to ship to you, and some vendors are booked until certain time frames, so the earlier you start the better.”

This advice also applies to the day of your event.

“Try to shoot for your party being set up 30 minutes before you had planned,” Cann added. “There are always those early guest arrivals that you want to be ready for!”

Listen up

To create a truly spooky party, it isn’t just about looks.

“The element of sound can make or break a haunted house [or party],” Sanders said. “You can have a recording going that’s all ‘ooohhh, aaahhh,’ but that’s not authentic. You need to have the element of surprise with sound.”

He recommends investing in sound equipment and making your own recording.

“Create a dead person talking, but make it as real as possible with no echoes,” he said.

While digital sound equipment can be expensive, Sanders says it’s worth every penny for themed parties.

Save & splurge

It’s hard to believe, but Halloween candy can make or break a budget. Source: B. Lovely Events

That isn’t to say you need to spend a ton to create a celeb-worthy party.

“With celebrities, the sky is not always the limit,” Sanders said. “A number of high-profile people are very conscious about budget.”

He’s a believer in spending $100 on one item and then going to a dollar store for other items.

“Mix how and where you spend your money to get the most bang for your buck and create that wow factor,” he said. “I love pumpkins, but I also love a good smoke machine and spending some money on audio/visual.”

Cann also notes Halloween candy can be surprisingly expensive.

“Bigger is always better from what I’ve learned,” she said. “Go with popcorn and jumbo marshmallows rather than black M&M’s to fill an apothecary jar.”

At the end of the day, Halloween parties are all about perception.

“It’s the collection of multiple elements that creates the experience,” Sanders said.

This article was originally published by Catherine Sherman on Zillow Blog. See it here.


How to Sell a Tiny House

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While home buyers have sought large one- and two-story traditional homes for years, a new trend is emerging on the market: tiny houses.®®

These houses, sometimes as small as 500 square feet, have developed a following, but it takes more than minimal space to catch a buyer’s eye.

To sell a small home, you’ll need to make the most of the square footage.

Space-Saving Features Are Key

While many home buyers are looking to downsize into smaller homes, they don’t want to downsize their lifestyle. Buyers are attracted to tiny houses that contain space-saving features—allowing the homeowner to store more than one would think.

To make your own small house appealing to buyers, consider installing space-savers or highlighting what you already have:

  • Attached fold-out furniture: A kitchen table that folds flat against a wall frees up floor space.
  • Built-in bookshelves: These can hold more than just books, giving buyers more storage options.
  • Hanging pot racks: Making use of ceiling space helps add kitchen storage.

Utilize Outdoor Space

Emphasizing the outdoor space is an excellent way to make a tiny house feel spacious.

To maximize your yard space, remove overgrown or large plants and opt for minimal landscaping like ornamental grasses, day lilies or English lavender to make the yard appear larger.

For outdoor furniture, replace large, umbrella-covered dining tables with smaller bistro sets—or keep the space open.

Highlight Energy-Saving Perks

One of the biggest draws to tiny houses is tiny utility bills. If your home already has energy-efficient features, ask your listing agent to include the details and to point them out to potential buyers during the walk-through.

If your home doesn’t have energy-saving perks, consider making small upgrades to appeal to more buyers. For example, replacing the weather stripping is quick and inexpensive, and it cuts down on utility costs.

For Tiny House Staging, Keep It Simple

Having a clean, uncluttered home during an open house is important for any seller, but it is absolutely essential for small-home sellers. Start by removing any personal items like photo frames, knickknacks and children’s art. Then you can declutter every room and organize closets, drawers and bookshelves.

Before you open house, stage your newly organized rooms using a minimalist theme. Simple décor typically makes small spaces appear larger.

For example, a sofa with four throw pillows and a blanket may overwhelm a small living space. Instead, cut it down to two throw pillows and tuck the blanket in the closet.

This article was originally published by  on See it here.

Bavarian-Style Homes Primed for Oktoberfest

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It’s that time of year when lederhosen- and dirndl-wearing tourists head to Munich for the world’s largest funfair: Oktoberfest. But you don’t have to leave the U.S. to join in the festivities. From Fredericksburg, TX to Leavenworth, WA, towns across the country celebrate Bavarian culture, beer and architecture year-round.

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from Zillow

In celebration of all things Oktoberfest, here’s a look at Bavarian-style homes for sale in America.

Tamworth, NH

26 Margo Ln, Tamworth, NH
For sale: $136,200

This cute-as-a-button ski chalet is nestled among pine trees near White Lake State Park. In the winter, you can snowmobile from your door or head to King Pine Ski Area, a 15-minute drive away.

See more listings near White Lake State Park.

Leavenworth, WA

303 Commercial St, Leavenworth, WA
For sale: $687,500

“Haus Timmermans” is located in the heart of Leavenworth, a Pacific Northwest village where everything — even the street signs — are Bavarian-themed. The three-level chalet is filled with a collection of authentic European furniture, a wine cellar and sauna.

See more homes for sale in Leavenworth.

Fredericksburg, TX

685 Pedernales Estates Rd, Fredericksburg, TX
For sale: $473,000

Fredericksburg or “Fritztown” attracts visitors with its boutiques and local wineries. This custom 2-bedroom in the heart of Texas Hill Country shows off scalloped eaves and railings reminiscent of a Bavarian home.

See more Fredericksburg real estate.

Beaver Creek, CO

65 Elk Track Ct, Beaver Creek, CO
For sale: $8.5 million

This Bavarian-style manor mixes German taste with a presidential past. Previously owned by former President Gerald Ford, the ski-in, ski-out home features a presidential seal in the entryway floor and wear and tear left by Ford’s favorite desk chair.

See more homes for sale in Edwards.

Incline Village, NV

1313 Moritz Ct, Incline Village, NV
For sale: $419,000

With hiking trails just outside the front door and views of the Diamond Peak Ski Resort, this Incline Village home is an ideal ski chalet. It also shows off Bavarian-style shutters and trim.

See more Incline Village homes for sale.

Franklin, NC

184 Pinecrest Ln, Franklin, NC
For sale: $84,900

This rustic mountain retreat is on the market fully furnished for less than $100,000. Located in Franklin’s Swiss Colony Estates, the home boasts long-range mountain views.

See more homes listed in Franklin.

Tafton, PA

116 Shore Rd, Tafton, PA
For sale: $359,000

With details like a gingerbread house, this A-frame is directly across from a dock and boat slip on Lake Wallenpaupack. The home features a new refrigerator, windows, carpet and roof.

See more Palmyra Township homes for sale.

Tacoma, WA

8624 E Side Dr NE, Tacoma, WA
For sale: $725,000

Built in 1990, this Bavarian-style custom home has five balconies to maximize mountain and Puget Sound views. Each bedroom is a suite with its own bathroom and a large closet.

See more homes in Pierce County.

Gaylord, MI

2214 Michaywe Dr, Gaylord, MI
For sale: $79,000

Cozy up this fall with a wood-burning fireplace or take a hike through lush woodlands at this Gaylord, MI property. Public amenities include cross-country ski trails, nature areas and a championship golf course.

See more properties for sale in Gaylord.

Londonderry, VT

480 Magic Cir, Londonderry, VT
For sale: $249,900

With snowflake shutters and a beautifully-crafted Swiss-style fireplace, this ski chalet has character. The home was designed to suit a mountain lifestyle close to ski, golf, hiking and lake destinations.

See more Londonderry homes.

Bolton Landing, NY

73 Longview Ln, Bolton Landing, NY
For sale: $845,621

If you’re looking for a huge Bavarian chalet to celebrate Oktoberfest with friends and family, look no further. This home has 6 bedrooms and 4 baths on 8 acres.

See more homes for sale in the area.

Roselle, IL

790 S Roselle Rd, Roselle, IL
For sale: $364,900

With German and Dutch architectural elements, such as a clinker-brick construction and cedar-shake roof, this 1928-built home is full of charm. The Roselle, IL home is located on a 1-acre wooded lot with a spacious patio for cookouts.

See more listings in Roselle.

Bartlett, NH

77 Linderhof Strasse, Bartlett, NH
For sale: $179,900

A curved door and wooden cut-outs add to the personality of this Bavarian-style home. The interior features a nice layout with 3 bedrooms, 2 baths and a fireplace.

See more Bartlett homes on the market.

Spokane, WA

9227 N Mountain View Ln, Spokane, WA
For sale: $440,000

With a recent $10,000 price cut, this custom-built Spokane home is available for $440,000. Neighbors reportedly call the street “The Lane,” and it’s not hard to see why. This 1912-built home is filled with Bavarian-inspired details, making it a historical and cultural gem.

See more Fairwood residences for sale.

Wellesley Island, NY

22238 Stone Gate Ln, Wellesley Island, NY
For sale: $575,000

A German-style, half-timbered design, this century-old property was built by self-made millionaire George Boldt to house his prominent guests at the height of the Golden Era. The house has since been renovated for a more contemporary lifestyle.

See more homes listed in Alexandria.

This article was originally published by Catherine Sherman on Zillow Blog. See it here.

Catherine Sherman, a real estate writer for Zillow Blog, covers real estate news, industry trends and home design.

Autumn Advantage: 4 Tips for Selling Your Home in Fall

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A crisp chill in the air, the turning of leaves and the scent of pumpkin spice are all hallmarks of fall.

Autumn Advantage: 4 Tips for Selling Your Home in the Fall

There’s no doubt it’s a beautiful season, and if you’re planning on selling your home by the end of the year, you can capitalize on all the good work nature already provides for us.

Accentuate the Positives When Selling Your Home

You want your home to stand out when you put it on the market, so start at the curb.

To play up the fall feel outside of your home, clean up flower beds and rake any leaves off your lawn—the first thing buyers should notice is the changing colors on your trees, not the muddled dead leaves on the grass.

Add a wreath of seasonal plants on the front door for a finishing touch.

In the backyard, store away any summer items like pool floats, inflatable water slides and tiki torches. Add fall-related decor like a self-contained fire pit and warm-colored cushions on your patio furniture to create an outdoor space perfect for chilly evenings.

You can also add a pumpkin to the front stoop, but don’t carve it up because it will spoil much faster.

Remember to avoid using a pumpkin altogether if the weather is bitterly cold already, as it will rot faster—that will only attract flies.

Bring the Colors Indoors

Autumn’s natural color scheme is warm and earthy, reminiscent of cozy, fireside nights.

To bring some of that warmth inside for your open house, fill vases with red, orange and deep yellow flowers like marigolds, Mexican sunflowers or strawflowers. Place vases in the entryway, in the master bedroom and on top of mantles to add color throughout the house.

To make your home feel cozy and inviting, invest in throw blankets or pillows in the same shades as your floral arrangements. Place the pieces around your living room and bedroom to draw out the fall colors.

Add dried decorations, like dried wheat or dried cornstalks, to fill in empty wall spaces with that fall feeling.

Use Favorite Fall Foods

The pleasant scent of fresh-baked cookies or a warm apple pie wafting through the house can trigger memories of comfort and home.

To tie in with the season—and the much-beloved holiday foods—light some candles scented with apple spice, pumpkin spice, cinnamon, cranberries or ginger spice.

Add warmth and a touch of the holidays to your kitchen or dining room by creating a cornucopia centerpiece on your table or countertop. Fill the centerpiece with gourds, miniature pumpkins and maize to help potential buyers picture themselves cooking their first Thanksgiving dinner in their new home.

Don’t Overwhelm

While adding a bit of color and warmth will help buyers picture holidays ahead, keep your decorations clean and minimal.

Avoid overpowering a room with too many flowers and candles, and always remember keep personal items tucked away.

Even if the piece is holiday or fall themed, buyers like to picture their own decorations in a home.

This article was originally published by  on See the original article here.