Archive for the 'Plan Your Relocation' Category
Sharing food with your movers is a great way to kick-off moving day.
By Richard Farrell
Special to Relocation.com
On moving day, it is highly likely that your kitchen will be chaotic on move day so preparing and actually cooking food there will not really be practical in most cases. In a perfect world we would love to have the entire moving affair catered with an endless tray of gourmet snacks and dishes. In the real world it is not going to happen like that though, because there are far too many distractions not to mention costs. What are the alternatives then? Greasy Chinese food sounds good or maybe a cardboard pizza, or wait, what about a tasteless sub? None of the above, so why not rather go with the following suggestions:
The quickest and easiest option to purchase ahead of time and share with your moving company.
Here are some food suggestions to keep you and your movers fueled for moving:
1. Colorful veggie and fruit trays. A blend of grapes, bananas, berries and apples will keep you full and energized.
2. Cheeses, crackers, various spreads and cold ham or salami are very to prepare. Have them out for your movers, volunteers, family and friends.
3. Have a variety of frozen appetizers handy that you can quickly heat up in the oven.
4. Chips and dips like salsa and guacamole.
5. Homemade pizza. If you have some time you might want to create something more substantial like homemade pizza…or better yet you can order a pie for the crew.
6. Spaghetti and meatballs. If you have time the night before, make a huge pot of this classic dish.
7. Nachos and chicken wings are quick and easy foods that every mover will love.
8. Desserts. Offer some brownies, Popsicles, cheesecake or ice cream.
9. Drinks. Make sure to have an assortment of lemonade, cold water, tea and coffee for the movers.
Gorgeous Views of Downtown Austin
This guest post was provided by our friends at Realty Austin, an Austin real estate agency.
Whether you are test-driving a new car or sampling ice cream flavors, sometimes it is nice to try before you buy. Moving to a new city is definitely one of those situations. You’ve probably heard that Austin, TX is an amazing city with lots to offer, (in fact according to the Austin Business Journal, it’s one of the best places to find a job), but truth be told, only you can decide if it is a good fit for you.
One of the best ways to test the waters before making the big plunge is by spending a few days visiting the city while you explore and meet locals. Think of it as research! You’ll get the most out of your experience when you rent a room or house in an Austin neighborhood you might be interested in living in rather than choosing a hotel. There are many great resources on the web that can help you find a great place to stay during your visit.
• HomeAway is an Austin-based company that connects travelers with luxury rental homes. The site offers over 250 places to stay in Austin starting at $50 per night. Each site has detailed photos of the property including amenities, nearby attractions; reviews from people who have stayed there before, and the opportunity to community directly with the owner.
• AirBnB is another great option and features over 490 Austin rooms, homes, and lofts in some of the city’s trendiest neighborhoods for as low as $30 per night. Each rental has the unique charm you’d never experience at a 5-star-hotel. Users can search properties by neighborhood, price, and even connect on Facebook to see where their friends have stayed in the past.
• Finally, Couchsurfing is a non-profit organization that connects travelers with friendly folks who allow guests to stay at their home free of charge for a few days at a time. All users set up online profiles on the site. Travelers can search potential couches to crash, read reviews by former guests, then make a request to stay at a home. One of the best things about taking this route is having a host who can guide you to the best spots in the city.
Visiting Austin before making the decision to move will give you the opportunity to live like a local and meet people who can give you their honest opinions on what it’s like to live there. Take advantage of the many great web resources discussed here and you’ll be sure to get the full Austin experience.
Moving to a new city is a great way to get a fresh start. Follow our tips to make the most of this exciting transition.
By Stephen Davis
Special to Relocation.com
Moving to a new city is like pressing a reset button in your life. It is one of the rare opportunities that you have in life to make a fresh start. The first few days after your arrival are the most important as they will define your subsequent life in the city. The three most basic things that need attention are:
• Accommodation: Finding a new home or apartment.
• Finances: Arranging and maintaining your resources.
• Social Life: Meeting neighbors, friends and discovering new activities.
Start by researching your new city. Visit the central areas, hotspots and recreation centers to get a feel of the city and know what it’s like to live there. Find out other vital information from the web. Things like crime and unemployment rates, major business activity, schools, libraries and emergency services are important to know. Ask friends and relatives who have lived there before or who have visited the area. Once you have some basic background information and a basic layout of the city in your mind, you’ll be in a better position to make the above three decisions.
Choose your new home. Not only the house itself, but also the location in terms of its neighborhood and its proximity to essential places is important. Ask yourself a few questions:
• How many rooms do you need?
• Do you need a yard if you have kids?
• Will you use public transport or your own car? How much are you willing to spend on transport?
• Do you prefer a busy city center or a quiet neighborhood?
Asking these and a few more similar questions will help you make the right choice. Remember that once you make a decision for your housing, it is hard to change it later. If you are not completely sure, try to get a few months lease before deciding on a mortgage.
Search for local amenities. Look for basic services like restaurants, dry cleaners, pharmacies, restaurants and post offices. You want to make sure that these amenities are nearby – especially if you are moving to a new city without a car.
Think about your income. If you have a new job know your salary details. Some employers give a decent loan to help you to settle properly in the new city. If such a loan would help you, ask your employer for details. If you don’t have a proper income source prepared, use your cash wisely until your cash flow is restored.
Discover your new social life. Without good friends and interesting activities, even the most beautiful and comfortable homes become boring. The first step is to organize a housewarming party and invite your neighbors. This is the best way to introduce yourself and have a chat with them. Ask them about the city and the opportunities there. Both career wise and recreation wise. Take their advice about clubs and societies that you may want to join. Ask about good cinemas and theaters, good restaurants and the best shopping places. Plan activities with them and make yourself at home.
Moving to a new city is an exciting time but requires some planning and organizing to ensure that your transition goes through successfully.
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Chat with your friends before you move to ease any moving day tension.
By Dermound Becker
Special to Relocation.com
Moving to a new city can be both bitter and sweet. As excited you are about the new adventure in your life, you must also leave behind your loved ones. Telling friends and family that you have decided to move can be a traumatizing experience. Here are some tips to make your moving day easier.
Tell people sooner rather than later. If you put off telling your loved ones about your decision, you give them less time to get used to the idea. You limit the time that you can spend with them before the movers arrive. As much as you are dreading the idea, you really will be better off if you broach the subject early on. Even if they are upset, it will still give you time to explain the reasons for the move to them, answer any questions they may have, and just to enjoy the time you have together while you can.
Assure your friends and family that you will stay in touch. One big fear that comes up often when someone hears that a close friend is moving away is that this will be the end of the relationship. Make sure that these people close to you can, for instance, have a way to contact you. Luckily, these days it is even easier to stay in touch such as through blogs, email, Skype, or even writing a letter. Follow this up by contacting them as soon as you can after your move.
Decide who you want to tell. You need to decide exactly who you want to tell and just how you want to tell them. You could consider having a cook-out or picnic and inform everyone at the same time. Or you might want to have individuals over for coffee, or meet them for lunch, and tell them separately. However you decide to do it, expect tears and be prepared with tissues.
Be prepared for questions, and have answers. People who care about you want to know that you are making a good decision. Explain things carefully. If this is for a job, tell them all about what a great opportunity it is for you, for example.
Keep them informed. Let them know how things are progressing with the move. Give them your new address ahead of time. Assure them that you will call along the way, or when you have safely arrived. Any assurances you can give them will help soften the blow of losing you.
Everyone will react differently. Not everyone is going to be happy to hear your moving news. If you must, be firm with them about the fact that this is actually going to happen. You do not want to lose a close friend over this if you can help it, but then again, you have to think of yourself and your best interests first. Just give them time to come around.
As soon as you are settled in, send pictures and updates to your friends and family members. Let them see your new home, your neighborhood and where you work or go to school. Let them see how happy you are in your new area. Good friends and loving family will want you to be happy, after all.
Om - Practicing the art of yoga will help you stay sane leading up to moving day.
By Serena Norr
The activities leading up to moving day are going to be strenuous, and unfortunately stressful. From locating moving companies to finding to boxes to packing, these rigorous and draining moving day tasks have a way of living your body and mind all out of whack. Eating well, getting enough rest and exercise are sure bets to help you focus your energy on something other than moving for an hour or two – not to mention help you maintain your sanity. Here are some of our top workout picks for before and after the moving process.
Yoga. The ultimate in zen, yoga is the art of finding peace within the mind, body and spirit. This involves flexing the body and maintaining balance through a variety of poses and postures that can benefit both the mind and the body. When moving, try to set aside a few hours a week to practice a rigorous or gentle practice of yoga such as a vinyasa-style by creating heat or more basic and controlled poses by practicing Hatha. If you don’t have a lot of time to devote to yoga, try to focus on controlled and strong breathing exercises. This will be particularly helpful on moving day.
Pilates. Pilates is another exercise model that focuses on a connection between the mind and the body. The basic idea is to develop controlled movement from the body’s core such as by using resistance training through machines, exercise balls and bands. Strengthening your core will not only help you feel better but it will keep your mind and body energized and refreshed when dealing with the rigors of moving.
Walk. Sometimes something as simple as a walk is enough. Not only a great way to clear your mind it is an excellent form of exercise that is relevantly easy and free! Leading up to your moving day, establish a walking schedule – either an hour in the morning or after you have dealt with a stressful moving issue. Remember to load up your iPad with your favorite tunes for a much-needed break from your home and the sea of boxes.
Run. For those that want something more intense, try running. Running is ideal sport to not only improve your physical well-being but it can improve your emotional state and promote weight loss. It is also believed that after a run, you can experience a “runner’s high” where endorphins get released causing the body and mind to become intensely elated and positive. This is definitely something everyone needs during the planning stages of a move.
Zumba. Some people like to exert steam by working up a sweat. Zumba, a Latin-inspired dance, is a great way to exercise and take your mind off of the moving process through fun and intense movements. The high-energy classes will be a welcome break from packing resulting in an exhilarating workout that incorporates reggaeton, salsa, meringue and hip-hop. If you can’t make a class, try a DVD at home – ranging from Zumba Toning, Zumba Gold (for babyboomers) and Zumba in the Circuit – all of which can be adapted to all fitness levels.
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What are some of your tips to de-stress before a move?
The wacky and wild world of celebrity real estate did not disappoint this week. First, we have Charlie Sheen and his never-ending media circus has once again made the news – except this time it is within the real estate segment. He recently purchased a 9,020-square-foot mansion in Sherman Oaks, California that is reportedly for his ex-wife and their two children. On the rest of the Beat you will find homes listed on the market – ranging from Jennifer Aniston’s $42 million mansion to Julianne Moore’s $12.5 million dollar NYC townhouse. Those amounts are a bit out of our price range but we look forward to reporting on who the lucky buyers are. Stay tuned…
Charlie Sheen's New Mansion. (Image Credit: The Real Estalker)
• Charlie Sheen Buying a New Mansion
Much has been said about the drama involved around Charlie Sheen and his media circus and now he is making news within the real estate market with his recent purchase of a mansion in Sherman Oaks, California. Purchased for his ex-wife Denise Richards, the $7,495,000, 9,020-square-foot estate includes an elevator, six bedrooms, nine bathrooms, a library, a formal living room and a gourmet kitchen. The two-story gated home also includes a formal backyard with a swimming pool and spa.
Jennifer Aniston Lists Beverly Hills Home. (Image Credit: The Real Estalker)
• Jennifer Aniston Lists Beverly Hills Mansion for $42 Million
Jennifer Aniston has recently been featured on the Beat as she has been scouring NYC for a new condo. No word yet on whether a home has been picked but there is news this week that she placed her Beverly Hills estate on the market. Listed at a whopping $42 million, the 10,000-square-foot Asian and Balinese-inspired home includes five bedrooms, 7.5 bathrooms, two living rooms, a gourmet kitchen and a home gym. The home is also said to include state-of-the-art smart house technology, an extensive security system, tons of storage space, a three-car garage and an outdoor swimming pool. Originally purchased in 2006 for $13,500,000, we’ll be sure to let you know who buys this luxurious (and expensive) property.
• Julianne Moore’s West Village Home is on the Market
Actress and children’s book author Julianne Moore originally listed her five-floor West Village townhouse for $11.995 million in 2009 – unable to find a buyer the home has been re-listed for $12.5 million. Built in the 1800s, the six-bedroom, 3 bathroom home, includes a gorgeous 49-foot garden, eat-in kitchen, a high-tech security system, a home office, media room and a laundry room.
Tom Brady's floorplan. (Image Credit: Curbed NY)
• Tom Brady Selling Time Warner Center Condo
NFL star Tom Brady recently listed his three-bedroom condo for $14 million. Purchased in 2006, the condo, located in Time Warner Center, was then re-listed shortly after in 2007 where it has since been rented for $50,000/month. It has been reported by the Journal that the condo has a seller who is expected to enjoy a home with incredible light, oak flooring, a modern Chef’s kitchen with state-of-the art appliances, granite counter-tops and customized cabinetry.
Cher's former home. (Image Credit: The Real Deal)
• Cher’s Former Home Reduced to $10.2 Million
The Gorce Island mansion home formally owned by Cher in the 1990s has recently listed has recently been to $10.2 million. Located off of Miami Beach, the luxurious 11,460-square-foot mansion, owned by investor Armin Mattli, includes upgrades of about $1 million dollars, a 60-foot pool, and 158-feet or water front. The three-story home also has six bedrooms, seven bathrooms and a two-story hall embraced with double staircases. Originally listed for $16.9 million in 2008 and then for $11.5 in July – making this recent drop at least 40 percent below the market price.
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Tips to Ease Moving Day Strain When Pregnant
By Serena Norr
Sometimes you have to move, regardless of whether you want to or not. One of those special situations occurs during pregnancy. With all of the ups and downs that occur during this time, adding moving to the mix can increase a mother-to-be’s level of stress and anxiety. No need to fret, Relocation.com is here to help you make this transition as smooth as possible; whether you are moving down the block or to another state or across the country.
1. Move in the Middle:
If you have any sort of flexibility, move during your second trimester. The nausea and tiredness from the first trimester will likely have passed, leaving you feeling energized and pretty good (in general). This will be beneficial when you move, especially since your day may involve long travels, organizing boxes and dealing with movers.
2. Prepare for the Move:
In general, a successful move is determined by how organized and prepared you are. This involves planning your move by locating movers (and picking individuals that you trust), as well as obtaining boxes, packing and locating a storage facility. When looking for moving companies, ask friends and family members for referrals. You can also locate reputable and local movers online through Relocation.com. When calling moving companies, never accept an offer over the phone and be sure to research and then invite at least two-three movers to your home for an in-house moving estimate. This is the best way for movers to actually see your belongings (thus determine the price) as well as a great opportunity to interview them and ask them specific questions pertaining to your needs.
Tip: Since you are with child, make sure that you pace yourself when completing these tasks. It is best to give yourself extra time to stay on top of everything that needs to be done (writing things down helps), which will also prevent you from getting too stressed out along the way.
3. Ask for Help:
You are going to need help with your move. Even if you have a small move, be sure to ask friends and family members for their assistance with anything from packing to calling movers to locating storage. If you can, assign your helpers specific tasks in order to stay organized – having efficient and step-by-step moving checklists are great for this. You can also have your moving company do all of the packing (for an additional fee).
4. Organize your Items:
Hopefully you have some very handy helpers to assist you with your packing, but if not you can stay organized by devising a packing systems for your belongings. Through this efficient plan, organize your items into three piles: pack, donate and toss. The items that don’t work or maybe have holes in them are likely items to toss. The donate pile may be items of clothing that you no longer like or those that don’t fit to be given to friends or charity; while the keep pile are items that will move with you to your new home and can be placed in boxes. This moving system is also a great way to start fresh and get rid of old junk before the new baby. Stay organized throughout the packing process by labeling all of your boxes based on what room the items will be placed. This is also a great way for the movers to know where your belongings should go.
5. Test your Home:
If you are moving into an older home be sure to have it tested for lead. Although you likely had a home inspection, make sure that this also included looking for metals, lead and asbestos. This problem is common in older homes and even in homes that have undergone renovations where walls were simply covered and not stripped of these hazardous materials.
6. Rest and Rest Some More:
It’s finally here; your moving day! This goes without saying but be sure that you get plenty of rest before your move. During the move, be sure to take breaks to rest and stretch, use the restroom, drink tons of fluids and don’t strain your body. This includes not getting stressed out when the inevitable problem happens on moving day. Also, be sure that you are comfortable by wearing comfy shoes and loose fitting clothing and don’t lift anything heavy. Luckily, you don’t have to prove you are supermom on moving day, especially since you are prepared, organized and have a few helping hands to assist you along the way.
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By Serena Norr
This week the sports media was buzzing with the trade of Carmelo Anthony from the Denver Nuggets to the NY Knicks. Now that Anthony is back in the Big Apple he now needs a place to live and has reportedly been looking for a high-priced NYC rental for about $30,000 a month. We aren’t sure what he will choose but there is buzz that he has been eying the uber luxurious Soho Mews and 158 Mercer (the same building where Bon Jovi lives). The rest of the Beat takes us to California where reigning pop queen Britney Spears and celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe both recently purchased new mansions. There were also homes listed on the market in California by TV stars Dave Coulier and Mischa Baron whose home is described as a “modern villa.” Until next week…
• Carmelo Anthony Looking to Rent
Much has been said about trade of Carmelo Anthony from the Denver Nuggets to the NY Knicks. With everything in place, Carmelo and his family are now looking to rent in NYC for about $30,000 a month. He has been reportedly scouting 158 Mercer St., the same building where Jon Bon Jovi lives and SoHo Mews where Justin Timberlake has a place.
Britney Spears' New Hollywood Hills Home. (Image Credit: The Real Estalker)
• Britney Spears Buys in Hollywood Hills
Oops she did it again but this time it is an expensive real estate property. Purchased for $12,900,000, the Hollywood Hills home includes 19,107-square-feet of living space, 10 bedrooms and 13 bathrooms that is situated on a 3.39-acre village-like estate. The gated Tudor-style home also includes an arcade, a modern kitchen, a fitness center, a poker playing room, guest quarters, a swimming pool and spa.
Rachel Zoe's New Beverly Hills Home. (Image Credit: The Real Estalker)
• Rachel Zoe Moves to Beverly Hills Mansion
Celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe is on the move. The pregnant Zoe and her husband recently left their one-bedroom apartment and relocated to a huge 7,185-square-foot mansion in Beverly Hills. The two-story contemporary mansion includes five bedrooms, 6.5 bathrooms and two walk-in closets. The complex also includes a formal living room with a fireplace, a private terrace, private facilities, a well-lit kitchen and a two-car garage. The property also includes a backyard with luscious greenery, a swimming pool and spa. It was also reported that Zoe paid $8,250,000 for the property.
Deck View from Mischa Barton's Home. (Image Credit: Zillow.com)
• Mischa Barton Looking to Sell Beverly Hills Estate
Former “OC” actress Mischa Baron is looking to sell her gorgeous Beverly Hills estate for $8,695,000, or for lease at $30,000/month. Located in the gated Beverly Glen community of Bowmont Estates, the home includes an ivy-draped main house, 8 bedrooms, 10 bathrooms, and 9,800-square-feet of living space. There is also a modern kitchen, guest houses, an outdoor swimming pool, and spa. According to listing information, the main house and three guesthouses total 8 bedrooms.
Exterior View of Dave Coulier's Home. (Image Credit: Zillow.com)
• Dave Coulier Places Encino, California Home on the Market for $1.65 Million
Dave Coulier, better known as Uncle Joey on the popular show “Full House,” has recently placed his Encino, California home on the market for $1.65 million. The remodeled and gated home includes 4,000-square-feet of living space, six bedrooms, three bathrooms, an office, living room and dining room, and an outdoor space with a patio and a swimming pool.
Looking to buy a home in Hawaii? Whether you’re relocating to the islands or thinking of buying an investment property, finding the right piece of Hawaii real estate requires time, effort, and yes, an island visit — or two! Though you can easily narrow down prospective island properties with a myriad of online tools, virtual house hunting can only take you so far. There’s no substitute for the real thing.
Visiting Hawaii isn’t exactly a hard sell, but if you’re new to the islands; it can still be daunting. Here are some quick tips to keep in mind before you book your trip.
1. You don’t have to splurge on a hotel.
There are two versions of Hawaii: the one you see as a tourist, and the one you see as a resident. Though there is a massive amount of resources and services available to tourists, things work very differently for locals. While you’ll probably have to stay in a hotel, keep it simple. Forget the ocean view or the upgrade to a suite, and don’t rule out discount chains. After all, the point of visiting Hawaii is to spend as little time as possible in your hotel room. And you don’t want to mistake tourist luxury for day-to-day reality. You might even want to consider a Hawaii vacation rental… though be careful: these are tightly regulated, and not all of them are legal operations.
2. Be flexible on transportation.
For the most freedom and flexibility, you’ll probably want to rent a car while in Hawaii. But if your budget is limited, or if you’re not comfortable driving in an unfamiliar place, you have other options. If your interest is Honolulu real estate, the island of Oahu boasts one of the best bus systems in the country. If you find a place to stay near Waikiki or Ala Moana Center, you can catch the bus just about anywhere for $2.50 each way (or $25 for a four-day pass). Otherwise, you can look for shuttle and taxi services (though these often require reservations, as you can’t “hail a cab” on the street). Finally, remember that there are many friendly and knowledgeable Realtors in Hawaii. They would know the best way to get around your future neighborhood, and often schedule caravans or gladly take clients around on their own dime.
3. Play early, work late.
Checking out Hawaii homes and Hawaii condos is hard work, but it’s hard to resist taking some time to play tourist. You should! But if you’re looking to see some of the most popular attractions — the Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor, Hanauma Bay, or Diamond Head on Oahu, or the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island — don’t waste your time in lines or fighting crowds. Start your day as early as possible to avoid the crunch, and to save more of your day for your property search. Hike Diamond Head at dawn, catch the first tour at Pearl Harbor, and be ready to get back to work by lunch. The afternoon and early evening is often the best time to meet with Realtors or sellers, anyway.
4. Eat different.
Hungry? Sure, Hawaii is a U.S. state, and has most of the brands and chains Americans love. But Hawaii is in many ways a whole other country, and overflows with unique dining options. Try to make it through your stay without visiting a single chain restaurant. Or at least stick to Hawaii-based chains: Zippy’s and L&L Hawaiian Barbecue restaurants are almost everywhere. Mom and pop diners and food trucks are great options as well. Remember that Hawaii has strong ties to the Pacific Rim and Asia, and explore those cuisines. You probably won’t be able to stick to your diet while in the islands, but you could quickly become an expert in sushi, or the local plate lunch.
5. Slow down, and take it easy.
If you’re used to the fast-paced, brisk and efficient pace of business in most American cities, landing in Hawaii can be a jarring experience. Bringing expectations from New York, Chicago or L.A. will only lead to frustration. Things in Hawaii move slowly, run late, and are usually very casual. (“Hawaiian Time” is an oft-used phrase that essentially means nothing starts or runs on time.) Leave your ties at home, don’t panic if you get a hug instead of a handshake, and expect to miss a few appointments. Rather than trying to squeeze in six visits or meetings, plan for three, then play it by ear.
Finally, don’t forget the basics. Wear sunscreen and carry water, as you can still get sunburned or dehydrated during “winter” in Hawaii. Don’t leave valuables in your rental car, and keep important documents safe. And most importantly, enjoy. You’re in Hawaii!
Gorgeous views from Katay Sagal's former home - sold for $3.77 million. (Image Credit: Housing Watch)
By Serena Norr
We saw some exciting properties listed on the celebrity real estate market this week. Starting with novelist Truman Capote whose Brooklyn Heights home was recently listed on the market for $15.9 million – a drop from its original listing of $18 million. Considered one of the most expensive homes for sale in Brooklyn, the gorgeous Greek Revival is said to be the home where Capote lived from 1955-1965 and where he also wrote “In Cold Blood” and “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” Kate Moss, the professional waif was also on the Beat this week for purchasing an historic mansion in London. Once owned by several literary figures, the home is situated on Highgate Hill and includes seven bedrooms and seven fireplaces – among many other attributes of this four-floor mansion. There were also numerous homes placed on the market from Los Angeles such as Rose McGowan’s Spanish-style home and Kyle Richards’ (of the Real Housewife fame) Los Angeles cul-de-sac and we are eager to see who purchases these hot properties. Until next time…
Exterior shot of Truman Capote's Brooklyn townhouse - Listed for $15.9 million. (Image Credit: Sotheby's International Realty)
Four flights of stairs in Truman's former townhouse
Kitchen in Truman Capote's former home. (Image Credit: Sotheby's International Realty)
• Truman Capote’s Brooklyn Home Drops to $15.9 Million
Truman Capote’s former Brooklyn Heights residence was recently placed on the market for $18 million – only to see a recent drop to $15.9 million. A Greek Revival townhouse, built in 1839, the 9,000- square-foot home includes 11 bedrooms, 11 fireplaces, columned porches, mahogany staircases, two kitchens, crystal chandeliers, an artist’s studio, a library and a gorgeous garden. The sale of the historic home is being maintained by Sotheby’s Realty that is said to be the most expensive townhouse for sale in Brooklyn. Capote lived in the home from 1955-1965 where he wrote “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and “In Cold Blood.”
Exterior shot of Rosie McGowan's home - Listed for sale at $1.8 million. (Image Credit: The Luxist)
Rose McGowan's living room- Listed for sale at $1.8 million. (Image Credit: Housing Watch)
• Rose McGowan Lists Los Feliz-Area Home
Actress Rose McGowan recently listed her Los Feliz-area home for $1,849,000 million. Purchased in 2004, the home features both Spanish and Moroccan architectural elements that cover the four-bedroom with wood doors, three-bathroom home. The vintage-inspired home also includes a formal dining area, arched windows and 4,278-square-feet of living space. The home also includes a renovated kitchen and dining room and French doors that opens to a balcony on the second floor.
Katey Sagal's Kitchen - Sold for $3.77 million. (Image Credit: Housing Watch)
View from the pool of Katay Sagal's former home.
• Katey Sagal Sells Her Hollywood Hills Home for $3.77 Million
Actress Katey Sagal and her husband Kurt Sutter have recently sold their spacious Los Angeles home for $3.77 million to Rickey Minor, former music director of “American Idol.” Measuring at over 7,202-square-feet, this five-bedroom, eight-bathroom home is located on a gated property that leads up to the wooded hillside property. Built in 1962, the home is situated on 1.5 acres of land that also includes a dining room, a two-sided fireplace, a built-in contemporary breakfast area and an outdoor area with a basketball court, swimming pool and spa that also happen to overlook the gorgeous LA hills and the ocean.
The new mansion Kate Moss purchased for £7,950,000. (Image Credit: The Real Estalker)
• Kate Moss Buys a Historic Literary Mansion in London
Model Kate Moss recently purchased a 6,728-square-foot home in London for £7,950,000. Situated on Highgate Hill, one of the highest points in London, the mansion is considered an historic home where numerous literary figures once lived. The historic four-floor home includes seven bedrooms, seven fireplaces, two kitchens and four full-sized bathrooms. There is also a wine cellar, boiler room, storage space and guest quarters that includes two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a laundry room and a kitchen/dining area. Moss also owns a 10-bedroom farmhouse in Little Faringdon and a property in St. John’s Wood/Primrose Hill area of London, which is expected to go on the market shortly.
Kyle Richards' Hollywood estate - Listed for sale at $2.4 million. (Image Credit: The Real Estalker)
• Kyle Richards, a Real Housewife of Beverly Hills is Looking to Sell
Kyle Richards of the “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” recently placed her four-bedroom, five-bathroom home on the market for $2,450,000. Located in Los Angeles, the 4,200-square-foot remodeled home also includes a formal dining area, an office and a resort-style back yard with a pool, barbecue area and a spa. The home, located at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac, was first listed for sale in 2009 for $3,450,000, which later dropped to its current listing price.
Research schools in Hawaii before you make the big move. (Image Credit: across.co.nz)
Guest Post by Aloha Living.com
In searching for the perfect Hawaii home, nearby schools are often as important a factor as the number of bedrooms or the view. Hawaii is unique in several ways, from its single statewide public school system to the prominence and size of private schools. Whether you have a family or are thinking of starting one, it pays to research your education options when buying Hawaii real estate.
Honolulu is home to the largest independent school: Punahou School. And Punahou’s alumni rolls are packed with notable leaders in business and politics. U.S. President Barack Obama is the school’s most famous graduate, but AOL founder Steve Case also went to Punahou, as did eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, and even Sun Yat-Sen, founder of the Republic of China.
Nestled in a valley amongst a mix of condos and historic single-family homes, Punahou houses over 3,500 students from grades K-12. Admission is fiercely competitive, with only one out of four applicants able to enroll. And the school’s prestige comes at a price: annual tuition is over $16,000.
Punahou’s closest rival is Iolani School, situated just across the way from Waikiki, perhaps the most famous stretch of Honolulu real estate. Also a private school, Iolani is known for its rigorous academics and emphasis on long-term, high-achieving career plans. If you can afford a Waikiki condo, you can probably afford to send your kids across the bridge to Iolani.
There are dozens of other good private schools in Honolulu, including the Mid-Pacific Institute in Manoa (not surprisingly, also home to some of the most expensive Hawaii real estate), and Kamehameha Schools, which focuses its efforts on benefiting students and families of native Hawaiian ancestry. Enrollment there is, obviously, pretty limited.
When it comes to public schools, choosing from among many varied Honolulu neighborhoods becomes even more important. Hawaii’s single, statewide Department of Education brings with it a few advantages, but many challenges, and compared to school systems in the rest of the U.S., it’s fair to say that Hawaii schools lag behind.
Fortunately, some Hawaii public schools have managed to distinguish themselves.
Locally, Honolulu Magazine publishes an annual ‘Grading the Public Schools’ issue that ranks all public schools in the state. And nationally, there are a number of education portals — such as GreatSchools.net — that apply their own scores and rankings to schools.
Three schools stand out in both the Honolulu Magazine and GreatSchools.net rankings.
Moanalua High School was the top-ranked public high school according to the latest report from Honolulu Magazine, and received a 10/10 rating from GreatSchools.net. Moanalua High School is located in Salt Lake, less than seven miles west of downtown. The area is among the most densely populated areas on Oahu, packed with a wide array of condo complexes.
Mililani High School also fared well in the school rankings, and it’s also one of the largest high schools in the state, with an enrollment of about 2,500. It’s located in Mililani in central O’ahu, the state’s largest planned community. Mililani is a large suburb widely known for being great for families, with thousands of single-family homes and townhomes. The commute into town is long, but the trip is often worth it to those seeking a safe community with great schools, parks, recreation centers and shopping.
Finally, there’s Kalani High School in East Honolulu, the last of the three public high schools to earn a 10/10 GreatSchools.net rating. In terms of enrollment, it’s half the size of Mililani. But because of its location near Kahala, its students generally come from more prosperous homes. East Honolulu real estate is among the state’s most coveted, and a Kahala home is often a sure sign of success.
When you’re ready to buy a Hawaii home, perhaps to start a new career or to retire, it pays to research what the area has to offer the next generation. AlohaLiving.com — a Hawaii real estate search portal powered by trusted MLS data — can help you start your search. The site includes a wide variety of neighborhood information, including school data from GreatSchools.net. Look up profiles on public and private schools, including test scores, reviews and more.
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Relaxing in a dog-friendly city
By Relocation.com Staff
When making a decision on where to relocate, does your pooch’s social life come into play? Moving with a pet can be hard, but it’s easier when you’re moving to a pet-friendly city! Here are some of our favorites.
Once you put away the moving boxes, both you and your best friend can take a bite out of the Big Apple, especially when shopping. Dogs are welcome in swanky Manhattan shops, including Saks, Bloomingdale’s and Tiffany & Co.
There are many outdoor restaurants that welcome canines. For a special treat, you can take a walk through Riverside Park (pup must remain leashed), and head to the Boat Basin Café. There, you will find a pet-friendly, open-air patio, where tails will be wagging as the sun sets over the Hudson River. Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx and Staten Island are also huge pet towns.
Dog beaches abound in Boston, where the both of you can get some exercise. If you’re hungry, most of the outdoor cafés will welcome your pack. Try Madison Park Café, which features an attractive garden setting and welcomes pets with a fresh bowl of water.
International relocations can be especially grueling, but in this case, completely worth it! Toronto is a doggie’s dream. In addition to the numerous dog parks and off-leash areas, you’ll find that almost every family in the city has a pup, so Fido is sure to find many friends.
For some serious treats, hightail it over to Three Dog Bakery and get a whiff of the yummy peanut butter scent that fills the shop. Pick up a pack of Peanut Woofers or some Jump ’n Sit Bits.
When you get hungry in Kansas City, head to nearby Country Club Plaza and grab a bite at re:verse, which has a great dog-friendly outdoor seating area. Then, for some off-leash action, head to Wayside Waifs Bark Park, which features five acres of fenced-in grass, plenty of room for Fido to burn off the extra energy.
This town is known for more than just beer. It is a super-friendly town that is super friendly to canine companions as well. You can give the pup a run at Granville Dog Park, Milwaukee’s only county park where dogs may run and socialize off-leash.
For even more Fido fun, take a trip to Petlicious Dog Biscuit Bakery and Pet Spa, located 30 minutes from the heart of the city in Pewaukee. Treat Toto to a spa grooming, a new sweater and a tin of homemade biscuits.
Everything might be bigger in Texas, but that doesn’t mean people are going to laugh at your favorite little buddy. Since the weather is always welcoming, pet-friendly outdoor cafés are a terrific way to spend some quality time with the pooch. In addition, large off-leash parks dot the city.
On special occasions, pooches can travel in style during a carriage ride with Party Animals Carriage Rides and tour the Historic West End and Uptown Dallas.
How to Choose a Pet Carrier
Pet Travel Warnings
Video – Don’t Make These Mistakes Moving With Pets
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Moving with young children can actually be enjoyable!
By Relocation.com Staff
Although it is advisable to move during the summer period to start children in school during the beginning of a new school year, this is not always possible. Given the other alternatives, experts are divided on the best time to move when you have children that are in school. Some experts think that it is best to move during the holidays, while others believe it is best to move during the school year.
If you have the flexibility to choose when you move your family, then you should consider a couple of points when making your decision.
Moving During the Holidays:
- The children are out of school anyway. Their studies will not be interrupted.
- Your children will start the new term with other new kids and therefore may not be considered the new kids on the block.
- Other activities such as sports or extra-curricular activities may begin after major holidays.
Moving During the School Year:
- Your children will make friends more quickly because they immediately jump into the classroom environment.
- A quickly established routine may help your children adapt easier.
Given the inherent challenges that both of these options create for your school-age children, you will want to carefully assess all of the factors before making your final decision. Most moving companies will provide meaningful discounts when you are not moving during the busy summer moving season, which is yet another factor that you will want to take into account when you choose your date to move.
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Home Sweet Small Home - More Americans Prefer Smaller Homes in the Suburbs, According to a New Relocation.com Survey
Could it be true? Has the “McMansion Era” finally come to an end? Surprisingly, recent survey results reveal that a majority of Americans prefer smaller homes.
During the 80s and 90s, large, opulent homes, dubbed “McMansions,” were what many U.S. homebuyers wanted. However, in our recent consumer lifestyle survey of nearly 1,500 Americans between the ages of 18 and 60, 48 percent indicated that their ideal home size would range from 1,000 to 1,999 square feet, while less than a third said they’d want a 2,000 to 2,999-square-foot home.
What do you think – have the days of the 3,000+ square-foot McMansions come and gone?
Additionally, the survey found that cost of a residence is NOT the #1 deciding factor when purchasing a home. In fact, only 29 percent of respondents stated that living costs was the most important reason when relocating. We also found that Americans prefer to live in the suburbs (54 percent of respondents) and only 24 percent of those who responded preferred to live in an urban area.
Are you as surprised by these findings as we were? What do you think this means for Americans and real estate in the next five to 10 years?
(Click here for full survey results)
Nicole Kidman's Living Room - Listed for Rent at $45,000/month. (Image Credit: Luxist)
By Serena Norr
Although T-Day has been on our brain, the real estate industry isn’t far behind – especially within the exciting world of celebrity real estate. This week, Nicole Kidman listed her NYC penthouse for rent at a whopping $45,000/month. For those that fork over the bucks, you can look forward to leasing a glass-filled living room and a space with three bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms and 3,785-square-feet of living space. Fashion director, Nina Garcia, is also on the Beat this week for placing her NYC condo on the market for $8.5 million dollars. This pre-war two-unit duplex includes 3.5 bathrooms, 12-foot-tall windows and a washer and dryer. Chelsea Handler and Jonah Hill also made an appearance on the Beat for buying homes in California with price tags of $6 million and $ 2 million, respectively. Whether you live a McMansion or an apartment, your home is only as important as those you enjoy it with you. Happy Thanksgiving!
Nicole Kidman's Living Room - Listed for Rent at $45,000/month. (Image Credit: Luxist)
• Nicole Kidman Renting Her NYC Pad
Actress Nicole Kidman recently placed her Perry Street apartment up for rent. Asking price? $45,000 per month, which even for NYC is a bit ridiculous! Kidman and her husband, Keith Urban, won’t have to worry about their real estate issues that long – they recently purchased a new luxury penthouse at 200 11th Avenue that comes complete with a sky garage – a car elevator that is accessible by a lift to one’s apartment complex. For anyone that can afford the rental on the Perry Street, they can look forward to having 3,785-square-feet, three bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms – not to mention a glass-filled living room (designed by Richard Meier) that stretches the full width of the apartment, including views of the West Side Highway and the Hudson River. Kidman and Urban also own homes in Sydney, Nashville and in Beverly Hills.
Nina Garcia's NYC Condo for Sale - Listed at $8.5 Million. (Image Credit: The RealEstalker)
• Fashion Director Nina Garcia Lists NYC Condo for $8.5 Million
Nina Garcia, fashion director and “Project Runway” judge recently listed her four-bedroom NYC two-unit condo for sale at $8.5 million. Located on East 66th street, the condo was originally purchased for $3,700,000 for one-unit and then $1,221,900 for an adjacent unit to create a two-unit condo. Located in a pre-war building, interested buyers will have to put down 50 percent of the asking price and expect to pay $4,080 in monthly maintenance charges. The condo also includes 3.5 bathrooms, 12-foot-tall windows, 11.5-foot tall ceilings, a large living room, a doorman, chandeliers, a washer/dryer and a kitchen with modern appliances such as the brands Subzero and Gaggenau appliances.
• Martha Stewart Drops Price on Home from $15.9 Million to $13.9 Million
According to Housing Watch.com, Martha Stewart recently lowered the price of her Perry Street penthouse from $15.9 million to $13.9 million. Another Richard Meier-designed apartment, Martha Stewart’s lower Manhattan pad includes 5,000-square-feet of living space, an on-site fitness center and 11-foot-high windows.
Chelsea Handler's New Home - Purchased for $6 Million. (Image Credit: The RealEstalker)
• Chelsea Handler Buys $6 Million Dollar Home
Chelsea Handler, host of “Chelsea Lately” and author recently purchased a 5,600-square-foot home in Bel Air, California for almost $6 million (she paid $5,942,500). Her electronically-controlled gated home includes 5,572-square-feet of living space, an outdoor kitchen with Viking appliances, a gym, six bedrooms and seven bathrooms. There is also two family rooms, a den and a backyard with a 50-foot pool, a raised spa and an outdoor fireplace.
Jonah Hill's New Hollywood Compound - Purchased for $2 Million. (Image Credit: The RealEstalker)
• Jonah Hills Buys Los Angeles Compound for Under $2 million
Jonah Hill of “Superbad” and “Get Him to the Greek” recently purchased a new home in Los Angeles for $1,865,000. The new estate, built in 1959, includes 3,660-square-feet of living space, four bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms, a storage room, a children’s playhouse and a detached guest house with a private bathroom. Other amenities include a fireplace, a sky lit kitchen with modern appliances and a modern suite that overlooks the swimming pool.
The gorgeous beaches of Hawaii. (Photo Credit: Ryan Kawailani Ozawa)
Guest Bloggers: Aloha Living
Try as you might, but you can’t drive from Waikiki to check out the volcanic eruption at Kilauea. Hollywood is partially to blame for the widespread impression that all the many wonders of Hawaii can be found on a single island. In fact, there are actually eight major islands (and countless smaller islands and atolls) that make up the Hawaiian Islands.
Each island is very different. Whether you’re trying to decide where to visit on your next island vacation, or looking to buy your first Hawaii property or picking a place to buy a home in Hawaii, here’s a quick guide to islands of Hawaii.
The most populated Hawaiian Island is probably the one most people are familiar with, home to the bustling tourist mecca of Waikiki, the historic World War II sites of Pearl Harbor, the world famous surf on the North Shore, and much more. There are over 870,000 people living on Oahu, most living and working in the capital city of Honolulu along the south shore of the island.
For the first-time visitor or home buyer, Oahu is usually your safest bet. On the tourist side, the island offers everything from unspoiled natural beauty to a modest nightlife, from high-end stores to a huge variety of one-of-a-kind boutique shops. You can also strike out on your own, or take advantage of countless organized activities and managed attractions.
When it comes to real estate, Oahu has $80,000 condos, $80 million estates, and truly everything in between. Whether you want to live in a high rise, on the beach, on a mountain ridge or deep in a valley, there’s plenty to choose from. Honolulu real estate offers the widest selection and largest inventory of any island. (As a result, it also has the most Hawaii foreclosures.)
Oahu has the most developed infrastructure, with solid public transportation, fairly ubiquitous Internet connectivity, low unemployment and a wide range of industries (though tourism and the military still dominate). Everything in Hawaii is expensive, but often less expensive in Honolulu, as most things shipped to the state comes through its airport and ports.
You get all the comforts of any American city, but of course, that means Honolulu is also the most crowded, has the worst traffic, and – by sheer math – has the most crime. But don’t panic. In 2010, Forbes magazine still named Honolulu the country’s third safest city.
The Big Island
The largest and youngest Hawaiian Island is the island of Hawaii. Of course, that’s also the name of the state, so most people refer to it as The Big Island. It’s the second most populous island, but that population is spread out over a much larger area. How big is it? All of the other Hawaiian Islands could fit on top of it, with a little room to spare. That’s a lot of Hawaii real estate!
Thanks to all that space, the Big Island offers the widest variety of climates and topographies. There are vast barren deserts, lush tropical rainforests, white sand beaches and snow-capped mountains. (Yes, snow in Hawaii.) Many locals roughly divide the Big Island into East Hawaii and West Hawaii, though of course there’s endless variety in between.
East Hawaii is the green, rainy, slower-paced side of the island. Hilo is the main city, situated on Hilo Bay, and it’s the second largest city in Hawaii. Even so, it feels like a small town. This side of the island is home to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, perhaps the main attraction on the island. As far as real estate, it offers everything from affordable but empty and remote lots to multi-million dollar ocean-view estates.
West Hawaii is the sunny, dry, resort side of the island. It’s got the blue skies you expect from Hawaii postcards, and is home to several high-end resorts and resort communities. Kailua-Kona is a bustling commercial and tourist town, and further up the coast, huge developments offer a wide range of condos – popular as vacation or investment properties.
Once considered a runner-up to Oahu, Maui and its many amenities has – in many ways – surpassed the capital city in both appeal and value to both tourists and real estate investors alike. It’s the second largest of the Hawaiian Islands, and has the third largest population.
In terms of visitor attractions, Maui may very well be growing the next Waikiki. There are several resort areas, from Kihei, Wailea and Makena to the south, to Lahaina, Kaanapali and Kapalua to the west. All offer the great escape at moderate to high prices, with gorgeous beaches, and great scenery. The whole island has a lot to offer ocean lovers, shoppers, and sightseers. The infamous road to Hana and the summit of Haleakala are unique ways to get away from it all.
For those that want to call Maui home, the island’s real estate market is strong, with median prices below but easily comparable to those on Oahu. Maui sees as much activity in condos as it does in single family homes, with continuing high-end resort development bumping up property values in many neighborhoods. There is an abundance of vacation rental properties on Maui, even though they are heavily regulated.
Maui also has among the highest numbers of Realtors per capita of any island, let alone any region in the country. With as many as three percent of Maui residents carrying real estate licenses, you’ll either have a lot of options, or a lot of competition.
Kauai is the oldest and among the smallest of the main Hawaiian Islands. Essentially a round dot on a map, the island is about 70 miles around, with one main highway wrapping most of the way around (though the Na Pali coast on the northwestern rim of the island is undeveloped).
Home to one of the wettest spots on earth, its lush green landscape is cut with deep valleys and tall waterfalls. Kauai also has some of the longest and widest stretches of white sand beaches in the state. Some of the most dramatic mountain vistas can be found on Kauai, towering over the many small and diverse towns scattered along its rim.
A popular destination for people looking to get away from the typical tourist traps, Kauai is more rural but nonetheless has an economy that relies largely on tourism. Indeed, Kauai has the most pronounced love-hate relationship with development. On one hand, many people are flocking to nab their piece of paradise, mostly in gleaming resort condos along the north ends of the island. On the other, strict regulations and occasional protests often stop construction and commerce in its tracks.
Island real estate on Kauai is always in flux, because there’s so little of it. The most active properties are condos, ranging from modest apartments to luxury oceanfront resorts. Nonetheless there is a healthy range of single-family homes, as well as more than a few multimillion dollar estates.
There isn’t a single stoplight on Molokai, and what few businesses there are often close up shop before sunset. With a population of about 7,000 people, it’s just about the most rural main island you can easily visit, and it is often described as the most Hawaiian island as well.
Much of the island is inaccessible, or accessible only by boat, small plane, or donkey. But the island’s largely untouched natural beauty is second to none. As on Kauai, the few permanent residents on Molokai have long resisted large-scale developments, turning away planned resorts and offering instead small hotels, and condo and vacation home rentals.
There isn’t much to do on Molokai, but that’s the point. You can admire the striking sea cliffs and tall waterfalls, or make a pilgrimage to the historic town of Kalaupapa (where Saint Damien tended to the sick). You can go hiking, biking, swimming or sunbathing. But generally the less you do, the happier you’ll probably be.
In terms of real estate, the market is very small, and fairly slow moving. There are usually fewer than 200 active listings at any given time, most clustered at the remote and dry west end of Molokai or along the central south shore. Considering the deliberately slow pace of growth, you probably wouldn’t buy a Molokai property as an investment. And you really shouldn’t consider living there without spending a lot of quality time experiencing the place.
Like Molokai, Lanai also boasts of its lack of traffic lights. Its population hovers below 3,000. But Lanai is also the home to two incredibly luxurious world-class resorts.
The island has been privately owned for much of modern history, much of it serving as the world’s largest pineapple plantation for much of the 20th century under James Dole (of the Dole Food Company), and now as a world-class getaway under billionaire David Murdock.
Apart from condos within the resort complexes, most of the properties available for sale on Lanai are single family homes, many in Lanai City. Prices range from a quarter of a million dollars for a modest cottage to nearly three million dollars for a custom oceanview home. There are also luxury homes clustered around the resorts in Koele and Manele.
The smallest of the inhabited Hawaiian Islands, Niihau has been wholly owned by the Robinson Family since 1864. Most of its 130 or so residents speak Hawaiian as their first and only language, and very few people outside the family ever get to visit.
The smallest of the eight main Hawaiian Islands, Kahoolawe is uninhabited. For more than 50 years, the U.S. military used the island for target practice, hitting it with bombs, missiles, and massive test explosions. In 1994, the U.S. military formally handed control of Kahoolawe back to the state of Hawaii, and modest efforts are now underway to recover and restore what remains of its historic, cultural and natural resources.
The gorgeous beaches of Kailua - One of the many Hawaiian neighborhoods that await you when you relocate to Hawaii. (Photo Credit: Ryan Kawailani Ozawa)
Guest Bloggers: Aloha Living.com
Although there are dozens of fantastic neighborhoods in the Aloha State, there’s no single best place for everyone that is considering moving to Hawaii. After all, everyone is looking for different things. Nightlife? Good schools? Rugged natural beauty? Nonetheless, to help you get a feel for the many flavors of Hawaii living, here are five very different local towns worth considering.
1. Kailua on the island of Oahu.
When people imagine small town life in Hawaii, they’re probably thinking of a town like Kailua. Downtown Honolulu is a mere 20 minutes away, just over and through the Ko’olau mountain range, but Kailua feels like part of an entirely different island. This green, breezy, fiercely preserved historic neighborhood is the heart of the Windward Side of Oahu.
Kailua is the third largest city in the state, but it doesn’t feel like it, making it one of the most sought after areas in island real estate. It’s a residential neighborhood that’s home to a mix of local families, military families and many recent island transplants. Long-time residents work hard to preserve Kailua’s distinct character, choosing small and quirky boutique stores and restaurants over megamarts and mainland chains. Its farmers market is said to be the best on the island.
Kailua is green, clean, safe and friendly, surrounded by the natural beauty that postcards are made of. There’s Kailua Beach, wide and welcoming, and nearby Lanikai Beach, a world-famous stretch of sand tucked behind some of the most coveted real estate on the island. And the nearby mountains and hills offer great hiking, and great views.
Kailua is one of the more bike friendly towns in Hawaii, and is developing a reputation for being pet friendly as well. The big city is a 20 minute drive (or bus ride) over the Pali Highway, but if you’re lucky, you’ll never want to make the trip.
2. Lahaina on the island of Maui.
For those seeking to live somewhere that offers something closer to a permanent vacation, there’s Maui’s crown jewel: Lahaina. Nestled against the breathtaking West Maui mountains, Lahaina has all the amenities of the perfect vacation, but still retains a distinctly Hawaiian history and personality.
Lahaina hosts a myriad of great activities, from land tours to ocean cruises, surfing and snorkeling, as well as being the location of several galleries, great restaurants and countless shops. There’s not much nightlife anywhere in Hawaii, but Lahaina has a good share of it, with bustling Front Street still serving as Maui’s after-hours hotspot.
Lahaina is located near Kaanapali, the quintessential resort town with high-end luxury hotels and huge golf courses, but is also a short drive away from pristine natural areas, including the imposing majesty of Haleakala, the largest dormant volcano in the world.
You can find everything from condos right on the beach, to single family homes, to multimillion dollar estates in Lahaina. If you’ve been looking to buy a Hawaii condo, Lahaina and nearby Kaanapali are great places to start your search. Lush and green and full of history, this former Hawaiian whaling village has something for everyone who wants to call Maui home.
3. Kapaa on the island of Kauai
On the tiny island of Kauai, Kapaa doesn’t capture the headlines and buzz that surrounds other Garden Island neighborhoods. Neither a quaint rural enclave nor a glistening resort town, Kapaa nonetheless has a lot to offer.
Kapaa feels like a smaller town than it is, with a great mix of small shops, boutique stores, restaurants and coffee shops lining its main avenues. For the artistically inclined, Kapaa shines, with museums galleries, and cultural exhibits galore. It’s also home to the island’s largest shopping center – which actually isn’t very large.
Nature lovers can explore the Makaleha mountains, admire Opaekaa Falls, or relax at nearby Kapaa Beach, a popular surf spot that’s renown for picture perfect sunrises. Families can enjoy several great parks, as well as the Kauai Children’s Discovery Museum.
Kapaa is centrally located, with world famous resorts to the north, and the airport and county center Lihue to the south. Kapaa also offers the widest range of housing options. More middle class than high class, it’s home to a great mix of people, from long-time working families to Hawaii newcomers.
And since it’s Kauai, if you’re still looking for something else, it’s no more than a 20-minute drive away.
4. Hilo on the Big Island
At a glance, Hilo would probably not be anyone’s first choice in choosing a tropical paradise. Instead of sunny skies, this East Hawaii town is known for its almost constant rainfall. Instead of four-star resorts with glistening swimming pools, Hilo is a sleepy residential community where most people work for a living.
But if you want a taste of the real Hawaii, of old Hawaii, Hilo fits the bill. To be sure, there’s a Wal-Mart and a shopping center and a modest rush hour every morning and evening. But the pace of life is slower, the people are friendlier, and the vibe is unmistakably local. Hilo is the second largest city in Hawaii behind Honolulu, but couldn’t be more different.
Hilo is the government seat of the Big Island, and also home to the University of Hawaii at Hilo, one of only two four-year college campuses in the state. With a population of over 40,000 people, Hilo is home to a wide variety of businesses and industries, from agriculture to astronomy to heavy industry. Though the economy is weak, the city’s character is strong, and whatever your specialty, you’ll likely find a niche to fill.
The East Side of the Big Island offers some of the lushest rainforests and tallest waterfalls in the state, although beaches are practically nonexistent. What the area lacks in sand it makes up for in lava, as Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is just south of Hilo on Highway 11.
Best of all, Hilo real estate is affordable. At least compared to almost anywhere else in Hawaii. There are no towering condos in Hilo, however, mostly single family homes ranging from brand new to historic. They fill the sweet spot between cheap empty lots and overpriced resort condos.
5. Mililani on the island of Oahu
Mililani is the largest planned community in the state. With its countless cul de sacs and manicured medians, it could probably pass for a middle-class suburb anywhere else in the U.S. But what it lacks in personality, it makes up in amenities — particularly for families with kids.
Mililani is a relatively young city, established in 1968 but really coming into its own in the late ‘80s. It received the All-American City Award from the National Civic League in 1986, and has continued to grow and thrive ever since. Located near the center of Oahu, Mililani is a long drive from downtown Honolulu. But if you don’t have to commute, you can find everything you need in the neighborhood.
This master planned community was designed to have it all. It’s filled to the brim with parks, playgrounds, and sports fields, and has several community recreation centers with pools and gyms. There are three bustling shopping centers, strong schools, movie theaters, and a golf course. Mililani is ideal for families, and is where many local professionals find their first home. Situated near major military installations, the neighborhood is also popular with military families that want to live off base.
Mililani offers mostly single-family homes, some with huge yards but others clustered tightly together. But there are also hundreds of townhomes, and a few low-rise apartment buildings for more affordable options. For home buyers, it’s a great microcosm of Honolulu real estate.
Many urban Honolulu dwellers still see Mililani as too far away from the city, but compared to newer developments now sprawling across the west side of the island, its an increasingly popular neighborhood even for those who work in town. Served by both the Interstate H-2 freeway and Kamehameha Highway, residents are as close to Waikiki as they are the pristine beaches of the North Shore.
If you need more than one bedroom, crave the pride of homeownership, or want your kids to have room to grow and play, Mililani may be your best bet.
Guest Bloggers: HireAHelper.com
You’re on a tight budget for your move. You don’t want to do it yourself (DIY) and inflict the sweat and pain on your body, and you also don’t want to have to bribe your friends and family to begrudgingly help you on a Saturday. The quotes you’ve seen from full service moving companies (they provide the truck, pack, load, drive and unload) seem too expensive. Fortunately, there is another option: moving labor services. It’s halfway between the DIY option and the full service option. With a full service move, you pay for the convenience of having someone else take care of every aspect. However, if you compartmentalize it and do the easy part yourself, you get a cheaper alternative. You can rent your own truck and have someone else load it and unload it for you. However, it’s very important to hire moving labor that’s reliable, experienced, and well-reviewed in order to protect yourself and your belongings. You can find such movers and their reviews through services like HireAHelper.com, an online moving labor marketplace.
Since a move breaks down to two main components, transportation and labor, it’s easy to split up. Depending on the size, distance, and whether or not you need storage will determine the best mode of transportation for your move. The three main options are the ubiquitous rental truck, the multi-purpose portable storage container (“pod”), or the lesser known “rent space in a commercial semi-trailer” if you’re moving long distance. Let’s take a look at how moving labor works with each of these.
If you’re moving locally and don’t need storage, then a rental truck should work perfectly for you. You can normally get a truck, at most, for a few hundred dollars to take care of your move. Then, you can hire moving labor to do the heavy lifting. They can pack up your belongings in boxes if you’d like them to, or you can save money and do that part yourself, since it’s not too taxing. You’d then decide if you need your movers to load, unload, or both. Since you rented the truck, you’ll be driving your belongings to your new residence while the movers follow you in their own transportation. However, it’s understandable if you’re not comfortable driving that monster rental truck with the thousands of pounds of your belongings in it, which is why most moving laborers also offer driving help. They can drive it for you for an additional fee if you so desire. Otherwise, they’ll follow you like your own personal moving escort to your unload destination, or destinations. That’s right. If you need to load and/or unload at multiple destinations that’s not a problem. For example, if you need to pick up or drop off additional items at a storage unit, your movers will simply follow you to each location and load and/or unload your belongings. You can think of them as your moving entourage (they may or may not be able to get you to the front of the line at the storage facility office, truck rental counter, etc.).
If you do need temporary storage, perhaps you can’t move into your new place immediately or are doing a remodel, then a pod is a great solution. The pod company drops the container off at your residence and then you’re free to load it as you like. You can hire moving labor to load all or part of it. The pod company picks it up and stores it for however long you need and then delivers it back to you. Then, when you’re ready to have it unloaded, simply schedule some more moving labor to move your belongings out of the pod and into your new home. With this option you get to take advantage of the convenience of a pod without having to load and unload it yourself.
If you’re moving long distance, then renting space in a commercial trailer might be a good option for you. Services like Movex have fleets of commercial trailers for transporting household goods. However, since most people don’t need the space of the whole trailer, it’s split up into compartments which are rented out to different customers. The shipping cost is shared and it makes it a considerably cheaper option for you. Again, by compartmentalizing the aspects of your move, you create a much cheaper alternative. Now all you do is hire moving labor to load your portion of the trailer and you’re all set. You might be thinking, “Well, my moving labor company won’t be able to unload me thousands of miles away though.” Good point. Fortunately, HireAHelper.com has a network of moving labor companies across the country, from Los Angeles movers to New York movers, so there’s qualified moving labor for you on both ends of your move.
Remember, it’s important to know your moving labor company before you hire them, and it’s also beneficial to have a third party involved to provide accountability. Hiring day laborers off the street may seem like a cheap option at the time, but it can end up costing you much more. So, don’t put yourself in a position to be scammed or cheated, use a service like HireAHelper.com where you can find out what kind of company you’re hiring before you hire them by reading their past customer reviews.
Have a great move!
Oceanside, CA 92056
Val Kilmer's Ranch - Listed for sale at $23 million (Photo Credit: Santa Fe Realty Partners)
By Serena Norr
Grandiose properties – in both price and size – are on this week’s Beat. Although this is no different from any week on the Beat, we were particularity intrigued by Val Kilmer’s massive Rowe, New Mexico ranch that encompasses 5,328-acres and 11, 573-square-feet of living space. The new property owners (whomever they may be) will also enjoy seven bedrooms and eight bedrooms as well as 10 springs and 10 miles of hiking and biking trails. This is, of course, for the reduce price of $23 million – guess a luxury ranch isn’t in our future. The Donald is also selling one of his many properties. This one, located in Rancho Palos, California, includes a 18-hole golf course, ocean views, five bedrooms and 11,000-square-feet of living space. We also heard that Bill and Giulania Rancic purchased a luxurious Chicago mansion this week as did Toni Collette who purchased a Spanish-style home in California for $1,300,000. Until next week…
Donald Trump's Rancho Palos Estate - Listed for $12 Million (Photo Credit: Housing Watch)
• Donald Trumps Puts California Estate on the Market
Real estate maven, Donald Trump, recently placed one of his zillion-plus properties on the market. A bit of an overstatement, but as we all know the name Trump equals real estate. This latest property on the market, located in Rancho Palos, California (a community outside of Los Angeles) is situated on 300 acres of land and includes 11,000-square-feet of living space. Listed for sale at $12 million, the Mediterranean-style property was purchased for $27 million and includes five bedrooms, several fireplaces, a 18-hole golf course an outdoor area with an infinity pool and gorgeous views of the ocean due to its location on the bluffs of the Pacific Ocean. The house also includes a glass wine room, a game room and a master bath with a spa and a double shower.
Bill and Giulania Rancic's New Mansion - Purchased for$1,560,000. (Photo Credit: Laura Rubin Dresner)
• Bill and Giulania Rancic Purchase Mansion for $1,560,000
Bill Rancic, winner of the first season of “The Apprentice” and his wife, Giuliana Rancic, recently purchased a mansion in Hinsdale – a suburb outside Chicago – for $1,560,000. As a seasoned real estate flipper, Bill Rancic is no stranger to real estate purchases with homes in both Chicago and Los Angeles. This latest home, calculating at 12,000-square-feet, includes seven bedrooms, 9.5 bathrooms, a 1.5 car garage and a state-of-the art security system.
Pics of Toni Collette's New Home - Purchased for $1,330,000. (Photo Credit: The RealEstalker)
• Toni Collette Buys a Hollywood Home for $1,330,000
Actress Toni Collette, “United States of Tara” and her partner recently purchased a new home in Los Angeles for $1,330,000. Encompassing 2,236-square-feet, the home also includes three bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms (including one bathroom in the pool house) and a wide front porch. The Spanish-style home is also gated and fenced and features walnut-flooring, a fireplace, an arched doorway, and a modern kitchen with stainless steel appliances. Collette and her partner also own properties in Australia and Ireland.
• Actress Amanda Seyfried Buys at Devonshire House
Mean Girl Amanda Seyfried recently purchased a luxury condo in NYC for $1.875 million. Located in Central Village’s Devonshire House, a pre-war condominium designed by architect Emery Roth, Seyfried’s unit includes two-bedrooms, two-bathrooms and 1,585-square-feet of living space. The building itself also includes interesting amenities such as a 24-hour doorman, a courtyard garden, a rooftop terrace, an on-site gym and storage, a children’s play room and a cold storage unit for groceries.
Val Kilmer's Ranch - Listed for $23 million (Photo Credit: Santa Fe Realty Partners)
• Val Kilmer Re-lists Rowe, New Mexico Ranch
Much as been publicized about Val Kilmer and his attempts to sell his 5,328-acre ranch located in Rowe, New Mexico. Originally listed for $33 million, the price was recently reduced to $22 million (a substantial price jump) that Kilmer, at one point, wanted to turn into a lodge. According to the listing, the property, located in the the wilderness, is situated near 10 natural springs with six miles of the Pecos River and 10 miles of hiking and biking trails. The house itself includes seven bedrooms, eight bathrooms and 11,573-square-feet of living space.
Don't forget to pack your fruits and veggies on moving day.
By Serena Norr
You are what you eat and if you eat junk on moving day – you are going to feel pretty junk, not to mention tired, irritable and moody. The common rite of passage on moving day involves gorging on high-carb, high fat fare like pizza, chips, candy and fast food – where anything in sight is often fare game. Carb loading may initially feel great and a welcome comfort to dealing with the rigors of moving but when your blood sugar spikes causing your body to crash, it won’t be pretty. And not feeling your best is not how you want to begin moving day – especially when throughout the day, you will have to be on top of your game – dealing with packers and movers, and in some instances, the loading and the driving of the moving truck yourself. So while we believe that staying organized and double-checking your to-do list will contribute to the success of your move, feeling good, rested and energized is also a huge part of the success of your move.
1. Breakfast: As mom says “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” Eating a nutritious breakfast is not only advisable on the day of your move, but you should do so every day to keep you energized and maintain your blood sugar so that you don’t overeat. Consider a breakfast with a balance of complex carbohydrates and high protein/fiber to keep you sustained. We like Zen Habits and their healthy breakfast suggestions like oatmeal with flaxseed and blueberries, protein shakes, muffins and fresh fruit. Spark people is also on top of the breakfast game and suggested starting the day with waffles, bran muffins and an egg white omelet.
2. Get Snackin’: While breakfast is essential to get you through the day, so are snacks – and of course we only mean the healthy ones. Experts suggest that eating throughout the day is actually more advisable – as opposed to eating three big meals. Since you might be snacking on the road, consider snack items that are portable like trail mix, almonds, protein bars, fruit, carrots and hummus and cheese are quick snack options to keep you full until lunch.
3. Lunchin’ on the Road: Hopefully your healthy snack will have sustained you, but now it’s time for lunch. Consider making a brown bag lunch to save you money and use some of your left over food. Eating Well magazine recently released their picks for the 25 best lunches. Simple sandwiches like their Tuscan-style tuna salad and even pizza roll-ups (great for the kids) would be easy to travel with and prepare the night before on the. You can also make a simple peanut butter and jelly on whole wheat bread (also great for the kids) or a spinach salad packed in a plastic container. Load up the sandwiches in a cooler, along with your snacks and water. If you can’t make lunch, be wise when on the road. Even popular chains like Mickey D’s now offer salads and fruit these days.
4. Dinner Time: Hopefully you will be in your new home by dinnertime. Since everything will be packed away, this is a good excuse to try out a restaurant in your new area. If you are too exhausted to go out, consider take-out, but still sticking to a healthy meal. Remember, tomorrow and the next few days are going to be exhausting with unpacking, sorting out utilities and decorating your new home – tackling the madness by eating healthy is one easy way to keep you on your toes during the hectic time that is moving.
Relocation.com’s Ideas for the Best Breakfast, Lunch, Snack and Dinner Options.
Cereal with fresh fruit – not the sugary kind
Protein shake with mixed berries, bananas, flax seed, oats and protein poweder
Egg white scramble with spinach, mushrooms and a light cheese
Oatmeal with flaxseed and berries
Tofu Scramble with whole wheat toast
Low-fat granola with yogurt
Tuna sandwich on a whole wheat wrap
Peanut butter and jelly sandwich
Spinach salad with a lean protein like fish or chicken, carrots, beets, avocados and rice
Trail mix with nuts and dried fruit
Fruit like melons or mixed berries
Carrots, cucumber and celery with hummus or peanut butter
apple with peanut butter
Lean protein like grilled fish or chicken
Whole grain rice
Sautéed broccoli or spinach
If you have any questions, comments or inquires, please contact me at email@example.com.
Justin Timerlake's NYC Loft - Listed for sale at $5.25 million. (Photo Credit: Modlin Group)
By Serena Norr
Mr. Sexy Back aka Justin Timberlake seems to have no real estate or financial issues in sight. Before the sale of his current NYC loft-style condo was completed (listed at $5.25) Timberlake purchased a new NYC penthouse for $7.65 (at the Soho Mews). Citing lack of privacy as the reason for the move, the new penthouse includes three-bedrooms, an ultra-luxe 4,000-square-foot shared courtyard and private parking. We’re not sure how much privacy Timerlake will get – especially since the address has been published — but the new building does have a 24-hour security team as opposed to his current pad that only had a part-time security team. The Beat also reported that Patricia Cornwell (the crime novelist) recently purchased a luxurious two-floor penthouse at the Fairmont Battery Wharf for $6.5 million. A quasi-hotel – the condo features 24-hour cleaning services and an on-site gym and restaurant. Stay tuned for next week’s Beat — we have a special haunted house edition in the works…
Pics from Lenny Kravitz's New Orleans home - Listed at $775,000 (Photo Credit: The Real Estalker)
• Lenny Kravitz’s New Orleans Cottage for Sale
Lenny Kravitz recently placed his New Orleans cottage on the market. Purchased in 1994, the 220-year-old French Quarter cottage with its weathered exterior was originally purchased for $360,000 that is now listed at $775,000. Many of the design elements are created by Kravitz including an enhanced and dramatic main living space with gleaming hardwood floors and silvered wallpaper. The modestly-sized and narrow 1,725-square-foot home also includes sleeping loft for guests, sleek marble counters, central air, a small courtyard that is described as “metro chic,” two bathrooms and one bedroom. Kravitz likely did not live solely in this property since he owns properties in the Bahamas, Paris and Brazil.
• Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones Purchase a Colonial Mansion
Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones recently purchased a Colonial mansion in Bedford, New York. Sold to the couple for $5.25 million, the Westchester mansion includes five-bedrooms, 5½-bathrooms, a pond, pool, guesthouse and three-car garage that is situated on 5.7 acres. The couple reportedly rented out the 6,300-square-foot home before they decided to purchase it.
Justin Timberlake's kitchen - Loft listed for sale at $5.25 million. (Photo Credit: Modlin Group)
• Justin Timberlake Lists NYC Apartment and Buys Another
Justin Timberlake recently purchased a new penthouse from the new building Soho Mews - a pair of buildings designed by architects Gwathmey Siegel & Associates – before he completed the sale on his Tribeca loft. Located in the heart of Soho, the 2,598-square-foot penthouse, purchased for $7.65 million, includes three-bedrooms, parking and a 4,000-square-foot private garden. The reason for the quick sale? Timberlake reportedly wanted more privacy from the paparazzi that frequently set up camp outside of his home. The Tribeca 3,000-square-foot loft still on the market is located in the Pearline Soap Factory and is listed at $5.25 million. The listing through the Modlin Group states the loft has 11-foot ceilings, plenty of light and an open kitchen with “restaurant quality appliances by Wolf, Sub-Zero, and Miele.” The Pearline Soap Factory is also noted for having one apartment per floor and key-locked elevators.
Patricia Cornwell's new home - Purchased for $6.5 million. (Photo Credit: The Real Estalker)
• Author Patricia Cornwell Buys Boston Penthouse for $6.5 Million
Crime novelist Patricia Cornwell recently purchased a 4,553-square-foot penthouse in the North End area of Boston. The modern four bedroom, 4.5 bathroom condo, located at the Fairmont Battery Wharf development includes on-site security, 24-hour housekeeping services, valet parking, an on-site gym and a restaurant located on the lower level of the complex. The duplex-style penthouse itself has a circular staircase, fireplace, hardwood flooring, large windows, stainless steel appliances and granite countertops. The property was sold to Cornwell and her partner for $6,500,000. It was also reported that Cornwell purchased another two-bedroom property for $1,650,000 in another area in Boston.
Jesse James' Kitchen - Condo recently reduced to $999,999
• Jesse James Reduces Price of Condo
In June, we reported on this Sunset Beach home that Jesse James placed on the market following his quickie divorce from Sandra Bullock. And now it seems that property is still on the market but for a reduced price. This three-bedroom, 3.5-bath condo was originally listed for $1,290,000 – that is now listed for a little under a million for $999,999. The Mediterranean home itself, encompassing 2,634-square feet and two floors, is actually quite gorgeous. There an elevator, a rooftop deck, a quaint kitchen with modern appliances, a media/game room, an office, a guest room, a fireplace, a modern kitchen, an island bar and a three-car garage with a built-in space for tools and storage – not to mention being located right next to the beach!
If you have any questions, comments or inquires, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Considering relocating for coffee?
By Serena Norr
We are a caffeinated nation. We wake up craving coffee, need it to perk us up midday and even enjoy it as a treat at night. We know how we like it and choose to have it black or sweet or light or as a latte or a cappuccino. It is the center of our business meetings and friendly get-togethers; it warms us when we are cold and keeps us cool when we are hot. There are blogs about coffee and magazines dedicated to it – there are even those who relocate to a new town just be near their beloved brew. Some even say that it can prevent stroke, Parkinson’s Disease and some cancers. Although we don’t know much about that we can speak about the popular cities that fuel our desire for caffeine more than others. Thanks to data from Daily Beast and Share Ranks, we complied a list of the best cities to get your (caffeinated) buzz on.
Some may say that Seattle is the birthplace of the specialty coffee industry. The first Starbucks was built there in 1971 (across from the Pike Place market) and we all know what happened to that little company. Seattle, though, isn’t solely about this popular chain especially when there are endless options to get a decent cup of coffee. We love the single-estate coffees (beans purchased from individual farms) from the retailers Espresso Vivace, Caffe Vita, Louisa’s Café, Zoka and numerous other independent roasters through the city.
New Orleans, Louisiana:
According to Share Ranks, New Orleans (pronounced Nawlins) ranked number two as the go-to city for coffee. As a French Market area, you won’t be able (or want) to leave New Orleans without trying their signature chicory-infused coffee. This blend is infused with a chicory root from an endive plant that is roasted and ground with coffee – creating a rich flavor and enhanced body that also softens the bitterness (and acidity) of the dark blend. We suggest accompanying your café with a delicious fried fritter known as the beignet. Check out Café Du Monde for a coffee served Au Lait style (with half and half and milk) or PJ’s Coffee and Tea where you can choose from over 20 different blends of coffee.
Portland often parallels with Seattle has having the best coffee where it often said that Seattle led the way but Portland has taken over the crown [kuow.org]. The home base of World Cup Coffee and Tea, Urban Grind, and of course, the popular roaster Stumptown where you can try locally roasted blends from Latin America, Africa, Indonesia and more.
New York, New York:
New York has finally gotten around to the buzz surrounding the specialty coffee market [the New York Times]. Not that we are am knocking a 75 cent cup of coffee from a truck vendor or the bodega blends, but having Ninth Street Espresso, Gorilla Coffee, Think Coffee and Café Grumpy has now given us New Yorkers more peep in this fast-paced city that never sleeps.
One of Relocation.com’s top healthiest cities, the mountainous Denver, Colorado – also known as the “Mile High City” – is packed with coffee roasters and independent cafes. Check out Stella’s Coffee for a gourmet blend of coffee from Costa Rica, Panama, Guatemala, to name a few choices or Fluid Coffee Bar for a freshly roasted cup of Joe.
San Fransisco, California:
According to the Daily Beast, San Fransisco residents spend more than $30 bucks a month on coffee that we are sure is wisely spent at the historic Caffe Trieste or the organic roaster Blue Bottle Coffee. Ritual Coffee Roasters on Howard and Valencia streets is also a signature purveyor in this hilly city where you can try their signature sweet tooth espresso as well as delicious seasonal blends.
Residents of the Windy City surely love to take refuge in a warm cuppa Joe. Intelligentsia Coffee and Tea is based here where you can try a single origin, blended coffee or reserve blend. Metropolis Coffee Company and Chicago Coffee Roastery are also excellent Chicago coffee roasters.
As the only state in the U.S. that grows coffee, Hawaiian coffee comes from several regions on this tropical state, but is probably better know for its varietals from Kona. Try Bad Ass Coffee or Maui Coffee Roasters. Even better, visit a coffee plantation to test a blend fresh from the source. If interested in visiting a coffee farm, be aware that the bulk of the harvest occurs from September through December. For more information, visit the Hawaii Coffee Association.
Other Popular Coffee-Friendly Cities:
• San Jose, California
• Houston, Texas
• Phoenix, Arizona
• Los Angeles, California
• Boston, Massachusetts
• Washington, D.C.
• San Diego, California
• Miami/Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
• Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota
By Serena Norr
Pricey real estate listings seem to be theme in this edition of “the Celebrity Beat.” Starting with Candy Spelling’s mega-mansion — a 14-bedroom, 27-bathroom home that has been on the market since 2009 and recently placed on the multiple listing services (MLS). Asking price? A cool $150 million, which her lawyer recently stated “is not a lot for the home.” Another expensive property we noticed this week was the sale of the Olsen twins’ NYC penthouse. On the market since 2005, the home was listed for $11 million in 2007 that was finally sold to a property developer for $8.4 million. Meg Ryan is also in city, but as a renter. She is reportedly leasing an apartment in Soho for $25,000 a month while her home in California is on the market. Well, all of these millions are making us realize that we have a lot to save in our piggy banks before we can purchase a home – much less a million-dollar one. Until next week…
Katy Perry and Russell Brand's New Penthouse - Sold for $2.9 million. (Photo Credit: The RealEstalker)
• Katy Perry and Russell Brand Purchase Home in NYC for $2.9 Million
Pop singer Katy Perry and her fiancé comedian Russell Brand (of “Take Him to the Greek”) recently purchased a 1,500-square-foot duplex in TriBeCa. This luxurious and renovated two-bedroom, two-bathroom penthouse cost the pair $2.9 million that RealEstalker describes as an “oddly shaped.” The modern penthouse includes the standard real estate amenities like built-in bookcases, stainless steel appliances, large windows, exposed beams and high ceilings. The penthouse also includes a gorgeous cherry wood staircase that leads up to the master suite — that is lacking a closest. The lack of storage space probably doesn’t bother the couple that will spend most of their time in their recently purchased 4,706-square-foot house in Los Angeles.
Angie Harmon and Jason Sehron's Home - Listed for $3.9 million. (Photo Credit: Zillow.com)
• Angie Harmon and Jason Sehron List Home for $3.9 Million
Actress Angie Harmon and her husband Jason Sehorn have recently placed their Hidden Hills, California home on the market for $3.9 million. The real estate listing describes this Cape-Cod style home as a “pastoral setting with no nearby sidewalks and street lights” that is also located near equestrian trails. Purchased in 2005, the 6,872-square-foot home sits on 1.5 acres of land that includes a pool, an office, hardwood flooring, five bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms. To match its natural setting, the home includes a barn, a sprawling lawn and a tree-lined driveway.
1 Morton Square - Former home of Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen - Sold for $8.45 million. (Photo Credit: Curbed NY)
• Olsen Twins Sell West Village Penthouse for $8.45 Million
Michelle Tanner better known as Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen recently sold their five-bedroom NYC penthouse for $8.45 million (that “Full House” franchise sure did them well.) The 5,700-square-foot penthouse – located at 1 Morton Square – has been on the market since 2005 that was listed in 2007 for $11,995,000 that has finally found a buyer with property developer Bruce Eichner for a lowered, but still expensive price tag.
• Meg Ryan Renting NYC Apartment for $25,000 a Month
According to Housing Watch, America’s former sweetheart, Meg Ryan, is now renting an apartment in Soho. This rental agreement will have Ryan paying $25,000 a month for a three-bedroom, 3.5 bathroom unit. This place, though, isn’t a typical rental – it includes 2,500-square-feet of living space, a private bar and lounge, an on-site pool, sauna that is housed in a glass building.
Candy Spelling's Mega-Mansion - Listed for $150 million. (Photo Credit: The RealEstalker)
• Candy Spelling Places Home on the Market for $150 Million
Candy Spelling, wife of the late Aaron Spelling, recently placed her California mega-mansion on the MLS for $150 million. Dubbed “the Manor,” the four-floor home, located in the posh Holmby Hills, includes 14 bedrooms, 27 bathrooms (!) and 56,500-square-feet of living space. On the market since 2009, Spelling recently placed it on MLS in hopes of a sale but did not lower the price — with a response from her lawyer stating that “this is not a lot for the home” [Wall Street Journal]. Of course for a $150 million-dollar home there has to be extras and this estate has plenty. Amenities like a billiard room, arcade room, doll museum, a bowling alley, an art studio, a tennis court, a personal gym and a 16-car garage are just some of the extras found in this mega mansion. Spelling also reportedly purchased a-yet-to-be-completed penthouse in Century City where she is looking to downsize, which to Spelling is a $47 million dollar condo with 16,500-square-feet of living space. Spelling will customize the condo with her own architects and designers that is expected to be completed in two years.
Try a house swap the next time you travel
By Faith Teel
Special to Relocation.com
Have you ever dreamed of taking an international vacation, but then stayed home after you calculated the cost of travel and lodging? Traveling isn’t always necessarily expensive, but the costs of housing often make or break ones decision. If you have “champagne” tastes but a “wine cooler” budget, then a housing or vacation swap might be the perfect option for you. These temporary living situations are growing in popularity where some people are even testing out a new city in someone else’s home in order to determine if moving is right for them. Here’s our guide on how to swap and get started for an exciting temporary relocation.
In a housing swap, you use an online service to find someone who lives in a vacation destination that you like. You write to them offering to swap houses for a period of time, so that each of you eliminate or reduce the cost of lodging during your vacations. Some housing swaps come with a car or (in cities) a bicycle or subway pass, but you don’t have to include your vehicle in the swap.
In addition to helping you save the money you would have otherwise spent on a hotel, a housing swap can offer other perks: it may make your vacation seem more intimate, because it allows you to live just like a local. Most private homes are more charming and comfortable than a hotel, and of course, you’ll have access to a full kitchen and other amenities. This means that you could also save money by cooking your own food and washing your own clothes.
Who Can Swap?
Obviously, if you live in a ritzy beachfront house in Los Angeles or a swanky New York condo, you are going to get more offers to swap than if you live in a quiet suburb, in say Michigan. On the other hand, many swappers are looking for places to be near to relatives, business conferences or specialized hospitals. If you’re not sure what your area has to offer, do a little research and find out why people visit your city right now.
If you live out in the country and life seems too quiet to be interesting to a tourist, remember that what seems dull to you may be a quaint and restful paradise to a busy businessman from the city.
How to Get Started:
The internet offers a wide variety of housing swap services. Many of them charge a membership fee in exchange for the ability to list their house. These websites often offer perks, such as databases search-able by locations or amenities. For example, you could search for a beachfront house, or a house with a hot tub, or a condominium in France.
Paid sites also offer a ratings system, which allows users to give feedback on the swaps that they have already tried. Some sites even offer to referee in the event of a disagreement.
Some classified ad sites (such as Craigslist) offer simple, no-frills listings. These may not offer the same perks as the paid sites, but they are free of charge.
Of course, there are practical considerations with housing swaps. As you plan your swap, keep in mind these simple precautions:
• Get to know your swap mate as well as possible. Exchange photos, phone calls and emails. If possible, meet in person. Keep in mind that if anything seems strange, you can cancel the swap.
• According to popular vacation swap services, theft and vandalism are rare in housing swaps, but it never hurts to take precautions. Put away your most valuable items, and put fragile items out of harm’s way.
• Get the physical address of the residence you’re planning to visit. (Be wary of anyone who refuses to give the address.) Check it out online, using Google Maps or a similar service.
• Check with your insurance company to ensure that the swap is covered. Your swap mates are usually covered as “guests” in home insurance plans and “permitted drivers” in auto insurance plans, but may guidelines vary, so make sure.
• If possible, be on-site when your swap mates arrive, or have a friend show them around the house. If there are any pets to be cared for during the swap, this should be discussed beforehand.
• Many swap services offer simple contracts which can be signed beforehand, and which cover the most important legal aspects of swapping.
Once you get started with swapping, you’ll be addicted!
By Serena Norr
What would you do if you had $312 million dollars? Most people would invest or travel or save or buy a nice piece of real estate. But if you are Greek billionaire Constantine Alexander-Goulandris you wouldn’t use the money for all of those luxurious items, but rather, use it to purchase a penthouse in Monte Carlo. Dubbed as “the world’s most expensive penthouse,” Alexander-Goulandris’ new pad includes six bedrooms (three of which include a theater, kitchen, dressing room and two bathrooms) and a sprawling backyard that we are guessing would be ideal for late-night and opulent parties. Back in NYC, we learned that Kelsey Grammer and his new girlfriend took a peak at 200 Eleventh Avenue (the very building that Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban recently purchased). The $5.95 million-dollar property includes massive windows to view the Hudson and beyond, three bedrooms and the much talked about Sky Garage. We’ll keep you posted on that exciting sale. In NYC, Yankees star Derek Jeter is also on the Beat for listing his 70th floor condo for $20 million. Jeter’s pad is currently empty, but we are thinking that he little to worry about, especially since he has homes in Florida, New Jersey and Upstate NY.
View Grammer can take in daily if he purchases this Chelsea apartment - Listed at $5.95 million. (Photo Credit: Pudential Douglas Elliman Real Estate)
• Kelsey Grammer Eying Hudson River Property
Kelsey Grammer of “Cheers” and “Fraiser” fame has recently been making an appearance in the gossip columns for splitting with his wife, having a new (pregnant) girlfriend, and what we care about the most: his search for a new property with said girlfriend. Although, Grammer rents in the West Side of Manhattan it looks like he may be looking to settle down at 200 Eleventh Avenue (the very building where Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban reside). Overlooking the Hudson River, $5.95 million-dollar property includes three bedrooms with a master suite and 3.5 bathrooms as well as 2,364-square-feet of living space (more than enough for Grammer and his growing brood). The fifth-floor duplex also includes a private elevator that leads to the living room and a modern kitchen with stainless steel appliances. Also included with this hot property is the one-of-a-kind sky garage, an automatic car elevator that will go directly to Grammer’s swanky pad.
Judge Judy's home - sold for$2.25 million. (Photo Credit: CurbedNY)
• Judge Judy Sells Penthouse for $2.25 Million
Judy Sheindlin better known as the fearless Judge Judy recently sold her Sutton Place apartment. Originally listed a year ago at $3.15 million, the price was lowered to $3.15 million and finally sold for $2.25 million. The undisclosed buyer will enjoy quite the penthouse – which includes two floors, an outdoor terrace, a fireplace and three bedrooms with walk-in closets. The Judge and her husband won’t be without a home – it was reported that they already purchased a new two-bedroom co-op for $6.75 million dollars [City File].
Jerry Garcia's family room - home listed for$3.9 million. (Photo Credit: Zillow.com)
• Home of the Late Jerry Garcia for Sale
According to Zillow.com, the Marin County home of the late Jerry Garcia is on the market for $3,995,000. A very different home that what we would expect from Garcia, the five-bedroom, six bathroom home has a Mediterranean-feel, open floor plan and numerous windows. The 7,189-square-foot home also includes an outdoor swimming pool, a personal gym, a master suite with a sauna and a private deck. The new buyer will also enjoy views of the Berkeley Skyline and Mount Tamalpais and being near San Francisco.
Backyard of the most expensive penthouse - sold for $312 million. (Image Credit: Housing Watch)
• The Most Expensive Penthouse Sold for $312 Million
According to Housing Watch, the most expensive apartment was recently sold for $312 million in the equally opulent Monte Carlo. Greek billionaire Constantine Alexander-Goulandris purchased the property – dubbed La Belle Epoque – that includes six-bedrooms (three of which include a theater, kitchen, dressing room and two bathrooms), a library, spa and sprawling gardens. The home also features immaculate décor that underwent a $40 million-dollar remodeling project since the home damaged was damaged in a fire – where the previous owner, Edmond Safra, died.
Derek Jeter's condo on the 70th floor - listed for $20 million (Photo Credit: The Real Estalker)
• Derek Jeter Lists Manhattan Penthouse for $20 Million
Just as DJ’s teammate, Alex Rodriquez, is looking for a new pad Derek Jeter is selling his luxurious home-in-the sky. Located on the 70th floor, the penthouse purchased in 2001 for $12,600,000 was recently listed on the market for $20 million. Now the elevation is a bit steep for us, but if you’re willing to live that high up (not to mention pay 20 million) you can look forward to 5,425-square-feet of living space, four bedrooms and 5.5 bathrooms; not to mention a bare apartment to decorate. The condo also includes 16-foot ceilings, an eat-in kitchen, a library, laundry facilities and an 84-square-foot storage facility which will also be sold to the new owner. Jeter is no stranger to real estate; he is building a mega mansion in Tampa, Florida, he owns a mansion in Marlboro, New Jersey and an historic mansion in Greenwood Lake in New York.
San Francisco -- One of the Top Towns for Vegetarians. (Image Credit: www.nps.org)
By Joann Pan
These days being a vegetarian isn’t as hard as it used to be, but we say that from a big city standpoint. We’re not quite sure how it is for folks in small towns. Here in NYC, instead of getting a burger, there’s always an option for pizza or salad. Instead of having a sausage sandwich for breakfast, there’s always an option to get some sweetly caked waffles from a food truck. With a plethora of stands, kiosks and restaurants in New York City [average rent for a two-bedroom apartment $5,286: Figure provided by www.mynewplace.com]that seem to take up every nook and cranny of our beloved city, it’s actually hard to eat meat every day (and not that hard to eat meat ever again) when there’s so much vegetarian food around—from the cheap and delicious falafel sandwiches on St. Marks, avocado rolls in Midtown, to the meat-shaped tofu Asian place that we enjoy when we visit the beloved borough of Queens. Our vegetarian food tours of our hometown have inspired us to see what’s available in other hometowns across the U.S. This is for you current veggies or wannabe vegetarians out there: Relocation.com’s Guide to the Best Vegetarian Towns in the U.S.
Austin, Texas [average rent for a two-bedroom apartment $1,239: Figure provided by www.mynewplace.com]
Wow—who knew that there was such a big vegetarian metropolis in the southern state of Texas where the beef and poultry are abundant. Personally, without having taken a trip to out West, I only know of Texas from the old-time cowboy movies and from trying out a Texas-style steakhouse in Queens (pre-veggie days). From doing vast research online; we found out that Austin vegetarians love living animal-friendly in their city. They are really proud of the fact that they can ride their bicycles (Austin is also one of the greenest cities in the U.S., according to USAToday.com) to get to a dozen vegan trailers and cafes with ease. Some of the mentionable restaurants are: Counter Culture (we hear that their Jackfruit Philly is delicious), Korean vegetarian restaurant Koriente and Casa de Luz (picture lush green decorations and pebbled paths leading to the most peaceful meal you’ve ever had).
Portland, Oregon [average rent for a two-bedroom apartment $1,626: Figure provided by www.mynewplace.com]
Goveg.com and Relocation.com love Portland, Oregon—who recently named it “America’s Best Vegetarian-Friendly Large City” and the top city people are relocating to (in respective order). They say Portland is a big city (much like NYC) that persuades people to eat vegetarian with convenient veggie meals on wheels, amazing animal-free meals at star restaurants and vegan desserts you can only have here. Such as something called a Voodoo Doughnut that sells many vegan options that includes the “Fruit Loop Donut,” which you can imagine looks like something out of your childhood breakfast bowl and the “Old Dirty Bastard,” which actually doesn’t look how it sounds—it’s a doughnut with chocolate frosting, crumbled Oreos and peanut butter drizzle. And when we looked up vegetarian places in Portland we came up with over 1,035 restaurants, carts and bistros that include popular digs such as Vita Café in Alberta Arts District, Paradox Café in Southeast Portland, and Swagat Indian Cuisine in Alphabet District.
San Francisco, California [average rent for a two-bedroom apartment $3,969: Figure provided by www.mynewplace.com]
San Francisco the city by the bay is a perfect location for vegetarians because of the plethora of vegan restaurants and organic food markets. I can even say that the vegetarian establishments can outnumber the city’s large number of cafes. PETA lists it in spot number seven on a list of “The Most Veg-Friendly Cities in North America.” I believe it should be higher on the list. There were over 2,777 restaurants that came up as vegetarian when we did our own search. Some of the most popular vegetarian/vegan restaurants we know of are: Weird Fish in the Mission neighborhood, Greens in Cow Hollow, Enjoy Vegetarian Restaurant in Inner Sunset, The Plant Café Organic in Cow Hollow (we seriously recommend the green curry) and Golden Era Vegetarian Restaurant in Civic Center.
Asheville, North Carolina [average rent for a two-bedroom apartment $827: Figure provided by www.mynewplace.com]
Asheville is different than the big vegetarian cities we’ve featured because it’s a small town nestled in the back woods of North Carolina. Asheville was once named “the Happiest City in America” by Self Magazine; probably because of all the vegetarian eateries and pleasant neighbors that the city has to offer. Asheville veggies love the Sunny Point Café and Bakery that serves amazing tofu chorizo, we hear, and the best mussels in town. After dinnertime, head over to the Crispycat, where you can buy and taste the very first candy bar of its kind made from fully organic ingredients. There is the chocolate sundae flavor, mint coconut flavor and the toasted almond bar, all made from real organic ingredients.
Of course, we have only skimmed the surface of the best vegetarian-friendly towns in the U.S. What are your favorite vegetarian cities? Let us know where you had the best vegetarian/vegan meal—we never pass up the opportunity for a good food story.
Here are other lists for the best vegetarian towns:
• North America’s Most Vegetarian-Friendly Cities [GoVeg.com]
• Top 16 Best Vegetarian Cities in the USA [Vegetarian-Restaurants.net]
• The Most Veg-Friendly Cities in North America [PETA]
Joann Pan is a freelance writer and photographer based in New York City. She has interned and contributed to Buffalo Spree Magazine and Racked NY.
Does this junk pile look familiar? Don't relocate with stuff you don't need.
By Kathy Woodard
So, you finally found the perfect home, congratulations! The next step is planning for your big moving day, and the first thing you need to think about is packing. While packing for a move, getting rid of unneeded or unwanted belongings can save you time, money and a whole lot of aggravation. Here are some great ideas for The Great De-Clutter!
Room by room:
Most of us have a whole houseful of clutter that we don’t even realize we move! It can feel overwhelming to consider everything you need to go through, so start by breaking it down into smaller jobs. Sort through each room one at a time; don’t try to tackle the whole house in a weekend. Plan ahead and give yourself plenty of time to decide what’s worth keeping, and what needs a new home. Have three piles; one for trash, one for give away, and one for packing. When you finally get through all the rooms, move all your give away piles into a garage or empty floor space, and begin the de-cluttering! Here’s what to do with all that stuff…
Lots of the things you no longer want may be old for you, but may be a great find for someone else. And guess what; they may be willing to pay you for it. Items often in demand are electronic equipment, furniture, books, entertainment and items of value, such as jewelry. You may even sell enough stuff to help pay for your move! Great ways to find buyers for your unneeded belongings:
- Local classified newspaper
- Bulletin boards at apartments, churches, and health clubs
- Social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter
- Friends and family
Speaking of friends and family…
Many times the people you love the most have similar tastes and needs as you. They may have had their eye on that dog painting above your fireplace for years, and now is their chance! Host a “Moving On” party. Move all your give away items to a garage space, a yard, or an unused room. Now invite all your friends and family for pot luck, inviting them to bring both a dish, and plenty of extra space in the car for the ride home A good time to be had by all, and everyone gets to pick and choose what they would like. Everyone wins!
In the case that not all your treasures are snapped up by those who know you best…
Give it away
There are many benefits to donating items you no longer need, or just plain don’t want to pack. Donating so items can be reused is environmentally responsible, can give you a tax savings and most of all, will help you to accomplish the main objective… de-cluttering! Many charities will even come to your door and pick up for free. When you have sold all you can sell, and given away as much as you can to family and friends, this is your next step. Make sure to get (and save) a receipt from the charity you choose to donate to so you can deduct the value from your taxes. You might want to call several weeks in advance of your move if you want to get a pick up; some charities book far in advance for those services. Here are some great ideas for charities to donate to, but there are many more. Check your local phone book, or ask at a local church for more ideas.
Also, consider the website Freecycle.com. You can post your items to give away in your local area, just like on Craigslist. Things tend to get snatched up pretty quickly, so it’s a good place to try if you can’t wait for a charity pick up.
Getting rid of your belongings while packing for a move is a necessity not only for the packing process, but to help you enjoy your new home as well. After all, why start over in a new home with all your old stuff? On top of all that, having a little less stuff is sure to save you on some money when using movers.
Want free home and garden ideas? Kathy Woodard, is an author, columnist and home decorating expert. Visit her at her website www.TheBudgetDecorator.com and also at www.DecoratingYourSmallSpace.com.
Views the undisclosed buyer of the 'most expensive home' in the world will enjoy. The home was purchased for $220 million. Photo Credit: www.telegraph.co.uk)
By Serena Norr
The spectrum of ridiculousness and luxury real estate just took a turn to the extreme on this week’s edition of the Celebrity Beat. To start things off with a bang, it was reported that the most expensive home was sold in London by an undisclosed buyer – insert your speculations here – for $220 million. Located in a building called One Hyde Park, the new owner will have six bedrooms, bulletproof windows and a panic room — perhaps these are standard amenities when you purchase a home of this nature. On a smaller scale (but not by much), there were many other homes shuffled through sales and placed on the market. In NYC, Rachel Maddow purchased a two-bedroom West Village apartment for $1.25 million that was once owned by the lead singer of R.E.M. Nicole Kidman and her hubs Keith Urban are also on the Beat for reportedly buying a three-bedroom home in West Chelsea. This newly designed home is being touted for its modern amenities, in particular, a sky garage that transports cars to its resident’s homes and back to the garage – seems to us that Jetson-like living isn’t that far away.
An undisclosed buyer recently purchased the most expensive homes in the world, according to Housing Watch.com. The new development called One Hyde Park was purchased for a whopping $220 million. Beginning construction in 2006 — the building with 86 properties – is still undergoing development with plans to complete the landscaping by December 2010. The unit purchased by the mystery buyer is reported to be a two-story, six-bedroom place with view of nearby Hyde Park. The London home also includes bulletproof windows and a panic room — for what we could imagine is needed the homes hefty price tag
Sky Garage at Nicole Kidman's new $10 million-dollar home. (Image Credit: www.200eleventh.com)
The starchitecture district, located in West Chelsea will soon have new residents. The New York Post and Curbed NY are reporting that Nicole Kidman and her husband Keith Urban have purchased at new penthouse at the posh 200 Eleventh Avenue for $10 million. Originally listed for $12.5 million, the super luxurious pad features amazing views of the Hudson, a private elevator opening to their foyer and access to Sky Garage, an automatic car elevator that will take Kidman directly to her apartment (see picture). The penthouse – featuring 3,248 square feet – includes three bedrooms and a master suite with a walk-in closest, 3.5 bathrooms, a large study and a modern kitchen with stainless steel appliances. According to the building’s website, Kidman and Urban can also enjoy several on-site amenities such as a 24/7 attended lobby and a fitness center with a spa.
Pics of Scarlett Johansson and Ryan Reynolds new home - Purchased for $2.9 million. (Photo Credit: realestalker.blogspot.com)
Super couple Scarlett Johansson and Ryan Reynolds recently purchased a new 2,835-square-foot home in Los Angeles for $2.9 million. The home, located in the hills of Los Feliz, includes two bedrooms, three bathrooms, a guest room with hardwood flooring and high ceilings. The small home also includes a two-car garage, a state-of-the-art security system and an outdoor area with a swimming pool and small garden. It is also reported by the RealEstalker that Johansson and Reynolds are looking for another home in Louisiana with eco-friendly amenities.
Live like the king for a night and rent Elvis' honeymoon home. (Photo Credit: Zillow.com)
• Elvis Presley’s Honeymoon House for Rent
According to Zillow.com, the Palm Springs, California home where Priscella and Elvis Presley stayed during their honeymoon is currently listed for rent. According to the estate’s website, ElvisHoneymoon.com, you can also have a corporate seminar, tour, film or have your own wedding/honeymoon at the home. Once considered “the House of Tomorrow” for its art deco design concepts, the home has been preserved with furnishings from the 1960s that also includes two bedrooms, four bathrooms and 4,695 square feet of living space.
Shots of Rachel Maddow's new apartment - purchased for$1.25 million. (Photo Credit: NYCurbed.com)
• Rachel Maddow Buys Michael Stipe’s West Village Apartment
Rachel Maddow, host of “MSNBC,” recently purchased a West Village apartment that was once owned by R.E.M’s front man, Michael Stipe. Purchased for $1.25 million, the luxurious loft is quite the step up for Maddow who was formerly living in a 275-square-foot NYC apartment, according to Curbed NY. Her new digs – on Jane Street – include two bedrooms, gorgeous view of the Hudson and 1,325 square feet of living space. A former paper warehouse, the building was turned into condos in 1976.
Joey Fatone's home for sale - To be sold at auction for $6.5 million
By Serena Norr
We had quite the mixed bag of homes for sales and home purchases this week. “Extra” host Mario Lopez recently purchased a 4,430 square-foot home in Glendale, California for the obvious reasons: outdoor pool, courtyard with a fountain and state-of-the art and modern amenities as well as for the not-so-obvious reasons: it will be the location of his new reality show where he and his baby mama will be filmed as they experience the trails of becoming new parents. While some may tune-in to catch Lopez juggle his abdominal workouts while changing diapers, we are more interested in seeing how he will upgrade and personalize his Spanish-style home with home improvement projects and decor. Disney star-turned-actress, Hilary Duff also made this week’s Beat for purchasing an elegant Toluca Lake estate with her fiancé Mike Comrie for $3.85 million. We also reported on an interesting auction of the home of Joey Fatone. Fatone, who was in the band ‘NSync, is asking $6.5 million for the home that features a swimming pool and an outdoor sushi bar. These properties never cease to amuse and amaze us! Until next week…
• Former ‘NSyncer, Joey Fatone Selling Orlando Home for $6.5 Million
Joey Fatone, of the popular 90s boy-band ‘NSync, will auction his home for $6.5 million citing wanting to be closer to his family as the reason for the sale. The gated estate, located in Orlando, is situated on 4.4 acres of lakefront property that includes 10 bathrooms, a 10-car garage and six bedrooms, including a 3,800 square-foot master suite with a butler’s pantry. The home also has 12,400-square-feet of living space that includes a movie theatre with stadium seating and an outdoor grotto area with a sushi bar, swimming pool and spa. The minimum bid for the auction is $3.7 million, which will take place on September 11, 2010.
• Mel Brooks Sells Ocean-Front Home for $5.3 Million
Comedian and director Mel Brooks recently sold his Watermill, New York home for $5.3 million. The 1,968-square-foot property was originally purchased for $2,995,000 by Brooks and his late wife, Anne Bancroft, which has been rented out for several summers. The home, situated by the ocean on. 74 acres, includes three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a fireplace and is right down the street from last week’s celebrity beat seller, Christie Brinkley.
• Leeza Gibbons Buys New Home for $6,600,000
Entertainment reporter Leeza Gibbons recently purchased a home in Beverly Hills, California for $6,600,000. The Mediterranean-style home includes five bedrooms, 5.5 bathrooms and backyard complete with a heated swimming pool, spa and lush greenery. The 6,579-square-foot home also includes walnut wood flooring, a family room, a fitness room, a billiard room, an office, a three-car garage, a home theatre, four fireplaces and a state-of-the-art security system.
• Mario Lopez Gets a New Home for $1,940,000
Mario Lopez of “Saved by the Bell” fame recently purchased a new home in Glendale, California. Sold to Lopez for a modest price tag of $1,940,000 (at least in celebrity real estate terms), the home will soon be seen by the rest of America when VH1 starts filming a new reality series about the trials and tribulations of Lopez’s life with a new baby. If you can’t wait to see the show, we can tell you the Spanish-style home includes four bedrooms, six bathrooms, three-car garage and a gorgeous courtyard with a fountain. The home, built in 1929, is fully renovated that also includes 4,430 square-feet of living space, a eat-in kitchen with modern appliances, an office, a formal dining area with hardwood flooring, arched doorways, fireplace and a swimming pool.
Exterior shot of Hilary Duff's new home - Sold for $3.85 million
• Teen Queen Hilary Duff Buys Home for $3.85 Million
Hilary Duff, former Disney star- and sometimes-designer/singer/actress recently purchased a colonial-style home for $3.85 million with her her fiancé Mike Comrie. Located in Toluca Lake, the elegant 5,260-square-foot two-story house includes five bedrooms, 6.5 bathrooms, an outdoor fireplace and a swimming pool and a modern kitchen with stainless steel appliances. Other amenities include a wet bar, French doors located throughout the home, a curved staircase, high ceilings and hardwood flooring. Duff and her fiancé Mike Comrie can also look forward to getting to know other Toluca Lake residents like Jenny Garth, Gwen Stefani and their next door neighbor, Britney Spears.
By Joann Pan
The greatest adventures and “relocations” have taken place in books; if only, based on the sheer will given to the created characters, but it’s facilitated by the factor of otherworldly places. Think: Dante’s trek through nine circles of the Earthly Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso as depicted in “The Divine Comedy” or Homer’s journey home to Southern Greece from a long battle in Troy—not without time-consuming pit stops all along the Aegean Sea.
Even a person with an imperfect imagination can take in a modern tale of a magnificent journey in a favored spot at home—mine being a velvet couch next to my northern facing windows. I have often gone along to the rough slum houses of Mumbai where tightly knitted communities reign, have taken late-night walks on Roman cobblestone drunk on moonlight, and have simply walked the streets of New York City witnessing something even crazier than what happens day-to-day. I have learned that the greatest readers are also some of the greatest travelers—from my own firsthand experience as traveling and talking about books seem to be the top pastimes amongst friends and co-workers.
Here at Relocation.com, where we can’t stop talking about relocating and moving, we complied a list of the Top 5 Greatest Relocations in book form to inspire you (and ourselves) to take a trip of a lifetime and maybe introduce you to places you’ve never heard of. Happy Reading!
1. “Shantaram” by Gregory David Roberts
Where: From Australia to Mumbai [or Bombay as it was formerly called but still commonly referred to as].
Reason for move: Based on sort of true events…Roberts is convicted of armed robberies and convicted to imprisonment. But, like most adventure book protagonists, as Roberts sees prison is not in his destiny, he quickly rewrites fate by getting lost in Mumbai—probably to become lost in a sea of faces in the most populous city in India with over 14 million people.
2. “Little Bee” by Chris Cleave
Where: From Nigeria to England
Reason for move: In this great chronicle of the disparity of the Third World of Nigeria and First World of England, Little Bee is saved by the O’Rourke family and brought to their safe haven of London. The juxtaposition of new nations is as striking as it is startling. There is a lot of violence in this sweetly covered and titled book.
3. “Eat, Pray Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert
Where: From New York to Italy, India and Indonesia
Reason for move: As Gilbert recounts her past relationships and the breakdowns of her life, there is no doubt she needed therapy in form of a life-changing trip by herself—in every sense of the word. Spending a couple months in each country, she learns to deal with the issues that have plagued her short life of 30 years which she has filled with responsibility and bad relationships. On her journey, she heals herself by eating, praying and eventually learning to love in a pure way. After you read the book, check out the movie version starring Julia Roberts.
4. “Under the Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy” by Frances Mayes
Where: From the U.S. to a summer home in Italy
Reason for Move: Yes, this is another memoir about a woman living a “troubled” life in American only to discover herself in Italy by buying an old farmhouse and refurbishing her way to recovery. This book is full of recipes, weather reports, gardening tips and a woman’s chronicle of falling in love with Italy.
5. “Heart of Darkness” by Joseph Conrad
Where: England to the Congo in Africa
Reason for Move: Charles Marlow is on assignment from a Belgian trading company as he treks through the Congo River on a ferry where he will transport ivory. A simple job transporting goods down river turns into a psychological mission in trying to rescue a dark man named Kurtz after he has entwined himself with the native groups residing in the Congo.
Other books we love based on life-changing relocations are “Everything is Illuminated” by Jonathan Safran Foer, “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald and “Look Homeward, Angel” by Thomas Wolfe. What are your favorite books based on moving or traveling?
Joann Pan is a freelance writer and photographer based in New York City. She has interned and contributed to Buffalo Spree Magazine and Racked NY.
By Joann Pan
Having been to London, England a couple times during my college years, I got little tastes of British life during week-long trips over official breaks from school. Now thoughts of these trips have amounted to a desire not only to vacation, but to relocate to England. I imagine myself visiting Harrods for fresh seafood or some other awesome concoction in their renowned cafeteria or to spend my days visiting the cool (and free!) museums or simply taking a stroll thinking of all of the people I would meet. I now reminisce about the fields of green that I walked through, juxtaposing itself with the busyness of the City of London. This feeling of longing to move is one shared by many other Americans who have thought of ditching their hurried way of life—fueled by Starbucks—for something more abroad. There are 195 countries in the world today; why live in just one?
England is one of the top places for American expatriates simply for the fact of the common language. Communication is huge, but more of us are moving to England due to the areas stark commonalities to the U.S. such as its similar food, entertainment, technology and cultural amenities. We are also convinced to know England because we’ve seen all the movies based out of English cities like Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Newcastle, Bradford, Nottingham and others. We want the UK-typical adventure being offered up in “Wuthering Heights” (1936) or the “Harry Potter” series. So, here’s the plan: trade in my 9-to-5 routine and daily treks through the concrete jungle for afternoon tea, run-ins with The Queen and stopping every so often to sample the best fish and chips in the world.. My plans may be far-fetched, but what we need to get there isn’t. Stay a while and read Relocation.com’s guide to moving to beautiful England. Even better, Scotland is right above, Wales adjacent on the West and the English Channel to the South, along nearby Paris and Belgium. But before you go, check out some of the essentials you’ll need to traverse the sea as you make one of the most exciting moves of your life!
Pack your bags -- it's time to relocate to England! (Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dpattinson/412897896/)
Number 1: Obtain a Work Visa
Now, you didn’t think the United States was going to make it easy for you, did you? The first hurdle of moving out of the country will be obtaining for visa, which will grant you permission to work in the U.K. You can’t show up with a Holiday Visa and expect to find work—you will be turned away at the airport, most likely. There is a variety of visas you can get. They seemingly are tailored to what you need abroad—whether you are a student, temporary employee or trying to start a business. Available visas include: a Work Permit that requires you to receive sponsorship from an employer in England, a Tier 1 Visa for Highly Skilled individuals or a Tier 1 Entrepreneurs Visa that allows someone to set up or take over a business in the UK. We recommend going to the Skillclear Website or the UK Border Agency’s official Website for more inquiries about the different visas you can obtain.
Number 2: A Bank Account
In order to obtain an bank account in England you will need your passport, a letter from your current employer in England and proof of residency. These documents may be hard to obtain, if you are in the middle of the move and haven’t found a job yet. If possible, you should check with your local bank to see if you can switch to a UK branch before departing America with your global bank such as Citigroup, HSBC, Deutsche Bank and others.
Number 3: Health Care
The National Health Service (NHS) provides free hospital care and medical consultations to those with UK Work Permits and their dependents. Anyone who is in an accident or emergency situation gets free medical attention and treatment, no matter what the status of their visa. Most people in the UK see a general practitioner. We recommend going to the NHS official website to find a general practitioner in your new English home: www.nhs.uk/England.
Number 4: A Car
You will probably need a car to get around most parts of England because of the great disparity in rural parts and suburban parts of town. You will notice people drive on the left side of the road. American drivers will have to get used to the narrowness of all the roads and the lack of billboards on the highways. This is an effective way to move around different cities and towns in England. But, before experiencing the open roads, you will need to get a driver’s license as well as other paperwork. Licenses issued in countries such as Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand and South Africa may be traded in for a Great Britain driver’s license. More information about licenses may be found here at: www. Dvla.gov.uk. Once, you buy a vehicle, you will have to register it in the UK to be taxed. For more information: www.direct.gov.uk/.
Number 5: Moving professionals to help you move
Whether it’s storage or moving overseas with international movers, you will need professional, experienced help with such a big move you are planning. You will have to hire a company that can handle shipping all your furniture, clothes and other life necessities by ocean in a large metal container. To ensure you have chosen the best moving company with the best prices, compare prices early of licensed moving professionals [More on how to choose a mover].
Here, you have it. Just a condensed version of what you need to ensure you have the smoothest ride to your new life based in England. For those who are in the middle of a move or for those who have already moved, please leave your own ideas and tips for Americans hoping to move to England.
Additional tips for your next move:
• Don’t make these five overseas moving mistakes
• Tips on Moving Internationally
• Before an Overseas Move, Check on Customs Regulations
Joann Pan is a freelance writer and photographer based in New York City. She has interned and contributed to Buffalo Spree Magazine and Racked NY.
Paul Allen's New Malibu Home -- Sold for $25 million (Photo Credit: Westside Estate Agency)
By Serena Norr
Whoa, baby it is sure hot over here in NYC (recent temps have hit the 101 mark), but even the scorching weather hasn’t slowed down the celebrity real estate market. One example: Paul Allen (co-founder of Microsoft) who recently purchased a $25 million Malibu, California. Not only is this contemporary mansion covered in glass and white stucco, but the home is located along the über luxurious Carbon beach aka “Billionaire’s Beach” — where music mogul David Geffen, Courtney Cox-Arquette and Jennifer Aniston also have homes.
If buying is out of your range, you can always rent like Tracy Morgan recently did. Or you can stay in Malibu — on a temporary basis — in Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne’s home. Then again, the $40,000 a month rental fee is a little out of our range. Stay cool and we’ll see you next week.
• Tracy Morgan On the Move…To Midtown
“Saturday Night Live” and “30 Rock” star, Tracy Morgan has recently relocated to a luxury condo in the West 50s. Morgan made the move after his previous Trump Place apartment went on fire (a fish tank lamp was to blame). His new $14,900 a month rental comes complete with “four bedrooms, three-and-a-half baths, private parking and a 1,000-square-foot terrace with views of the city” according to NYMag.com.
• Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne’s Home for Rent
The market for rentals is surging and this can also be said for celebrity homes. Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne recently listed their 4,500-square-foot Malibu home for rent for $40,000 a month for the rest of the summer. For approximately two months, you can reside in the rock star’s cottage complete with five bedrooms, five bathrooms and views of the ocean. The home also features a modern kitchen with stainless steel appliances, flat screen TVs, a fireplace and French doors leading to an outside area with a terrace and to-die-for views of the beach.
• Pierce Bronsan Puts His Malibu Home on the Market for $3.9 Million
Actor Pierce Brosnan of “James Bond” movies recently listed his Malibu mansion for sale for $3.9 million. His gated beachfront home “designed as an artist’s retreat,” according to the LATimes.com includes an office, a media room, a library, five fireplaces, three bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms. The Mediterranean-style home also features several balconies facing the ocean and nearby mountains. There are no reports as to why Bronsan is selling his luxurious property.
• Michael Imperioli Lists NYC Townhouse for $6.995 Million
According to the NYPost, “Sopranos” star Michael Imperioli has recently listed his TriBeCa townhouse for sale for $6.995 million. Imperioli’s four-story, 4,720-square-foot home features four bedrooms, three bathrooms, high ceilings and a roof top-deck. On top of all of that, the cast-iron building is described as a “movie set” with draped curtains, gothic décor and an interesting color scheme of deep reds and purples.
• Paul Allen Purchases Malibu Home for Approximately $25 Million
Paul Allen (co-founder of Microsoft) recently purchased an oceanfront home in Malibu for $25 million. This modern home features a clean interior finish with floor-to-ceiling glass doors and white stucco. Located on a strip of the beach dubbed “Billionaire’s Beach,” the 5,800-square-foot home features five bedrooms, a deck with a pool, a gym and a screening room, according to the WSJ.com. Allen also owns numerous properties in Seattle.
Big smiles after a green move
By Joann Pan
Let’s face it; moving your belongings from one place to another is harder than simply hiring a moving company to do it all for you. First — on the long list of things to do before moving — is organizing and packing up your old space. Unfortunately, most people are pack rats by nature; especially, when we have had a place to call our own for an extended period of time. This stuff (over time) grows and grows until we are left with a whole lot of junk to sort out come moving day.
Take a look at your home and you will be astounded by how many mugs, books and electronics that you have accumulated, but have barely touched in recent months years. Don’t we all wish someone would condense our belongings and pack up the reusable moving crates for us? But, in the end, we know what to keep and what to throw away, give away or recycle to make our moving load lighter – not to mention cut costs on our moving expenses.
Since moving is what we are concerned with 24/7, Relocation.com has compiled a list to help you save space on your journey to your new home while treading lightly on the Earth. And this couldn’t come sooner — most people in the 20th century are guilty of tossing away old computers, CD players and TVs for the latest and greatest new electronic wonder, never thinking of where their old belongings will end up. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection, the amount of computers in the U.S — ranging from 30 to 40 million — will end up in the trash in a few years. On top of all of that waste, this years switchover from analog televisions to digital ones meant that 25 million television sets found a new home in landfills. Many of these electronics contain lead, mercury, arsenic, cadmium, beryllium and other chemicals—which are as toxic as they sound—were not disposed of properly. They ended up in national landfills as well as those overseas as a result of illegal smuggling of e-waste to disassembly centers abroad. There, scavengers pick out plastic, valuable metal pieces and microchips that they can sell at a profit, leaving the scraps to be washed off to sea.
Now that you know where your old items go, it’s easy to see why disposing of them properly is not only easy but essential for the preservation of the earth. Here’s how to do your part on moving day — this will not only save you money and clear up some space, but will result in less environmental consequences. Now that’s moving in the right direction.
1. From old fire extinguishers, fungicides, household cleaners and hazardous materials such as compact fluorescent light bulbs to mercury thermostats, the eco-conscious resource, Earth 911.com has all the bases covered. Just enter what you are looking to throw away and by zip code the website will tell you how far, where, when and what various drop-off sites accept.
2. Don’t need your old mattress anymore? Usually local home-furnishing stores and mattress outlets will take your discarded bed parts because cotton, cloth, springs and foam can all be recycled and given new life. The wooden frame can even be turned into wood chips. Before lugging your cumbersome mattress to any old store, call or check MattressDonation.com to find the most convenient place to drop your old bed.
3. Do you have piles and piles of clothes that are discolored, too small or those that you are simply not interested in (clothes with tags are a good indication of this)? Well, there are plenty of places that will take your bags of shirts and pants, which in the long-run will prevent them from filling up landfills. According to organicgardens.com, you can use your cotton, wool and old leather gloves as compost. But, that’s only a last minute resort when there is a plethora of Good Will facilities, Salvation Army locales and organizations like Housing Works NY that will take your old clothes and make money for those who need help such as for AIDS research. Or, as another option, if you have friends your size have a swap party where you exchange shirts you are tired of for new fashions—as they say, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Recycle, reuse and renew the Earth in style.
4. For all the miscellaneous junk—from old picture frames, CDs, bulky furniture to gifts you’ve never opened—there are online resources such as Craigslist, Ebay or Amazon where people are looking for deals daily. On the “Free” neighborhood sections we have seen everything from chairs, tables, bed frames, pool tables, camera equipment, grills to pet cats! Most people are moving or making room for new stuff, so you can decidedly let willing people take your junk away for free. On Ebay or Amazon, you can “sell” your stuff for a few cents or dollars and someone will gladly pay shipping to take your old junk away from you. These options make for a win-win situation for you and the environment.
If you need additional help, there are resources such as the official EPA website, theDailyGreen.com and company websites of Apple, Dell, HP, Gateway and Best Buy— all of which tell you what to do with products after you’re done with them.
More Green Resources for your Move:
More Green Home Ideas [Relocation.com]
High-Tech Trash [National Geographic]
Start small and your garden will grow
By Kathy Woodard
Whether you are moving to a new home or have lived in your residence for a long time, there are certain home improvement projects that can spruce up your landscape and add value to your property, while also being an enjoyable activity for you and your family. As the top hobby in the country and a fun home improvement project, gardening beautifies your property, relieves stress, offers good exercise and even supplies you with fresh herbs for your dinner. Not to mention, it allows you the opportunity to commune with nature in your own backyard! Not knowing how to garden can stop many people from picking up that first trowel or planting that gorgeous rose they have long admired. No need to fear those hydrangeas, beginners can easily learn how to garden by following these simple tips.
Learn, learn, learn.
There are so many resources now for learning about gardening. Libraries and book stores overflow with gardening books and the internet has a wealth of information. Consider joining a local gardening club or online forum. Start a notebook where you can keep magazine pages of yards or plants you’ve admired, notes from online searches, or snapshots of your yard, both before you start gardening and as you progress.
Don’t bite off more than you can chew.
The biggest mistake beginner gardeners make is to start with too large a garden, or to use plants that require an expert’s care. You can always add more to your garden as you gain experience; nothing is as off putting to a newbie as a huge garden that turns, practically overnight, from gorgeous blooms to overrun weeds. Talk about taking the bloom off the rose! It’s common to quit gardening after a bad experience, so don’t let this mistake choose for you. Start small. Start simple.
Plan… but be flexible.
Make sure you spend some time drawing out a plan for your new garden. Make lists of plants that you would like to try, and research what times of year they bloom or fruit and what their special needs are. Group plants with similar needs together. Make sure shade plants are planted in shade, and sun plants in the sun. All that have been said don’t be afraid to try something new. Sometimes a volunteer plant will pop up and look just gorgeous right where it is. Other times you will have chosen a certain plant for a site and find that even after all your preparation, it doesn’t do well there. So, move it! Head to the nursery with a list, but don’t be afraid to substitute a plant for a new find. (Be careful with this one, you may come home with twice the plants you need!) Also, make sure that you purchase the proper gardening tools and don’t be afraid to ask for help!
Find a passion within your garden.
Once you learn a bit about how to garden, most beginners find a niche in gardening that ignites their passion. Find it, and enjoy it. Wildlife gardening, growing your own food, growing flowers for your own arrangements or water gardens complete with koi and living water plants are common passions. Letting yourself find that connection with the outdoors that speaks to you will only enhance your love of gardening all the more.
Consider hiring help.
If you love the idea of having a garden, or have gotten in a little over your head, hiring a gardener can be the perfect solution.
• Decide what kind of help you need. Do you need just regular mowing and fertilizing, while you take care of the flower beds? Do you want your gardener to do it all? Are you somewhere in between? Knowing what you need and what you can afford is the first step.
• Ask for reference from family and friends.
• Choose a garden service you can communicate with well. The last thing you want is for your new “help” to cut down the prize hydrangea you have been growing all season, or to use pesticides on your organic vegetables.
Learning how to garden is a fun and healthy hobby for beginners. Just follow these tips to get turn all your fingers into “green thumbs”!
Want free home and garden ideas? Kathy Woodard is an author, columnist and home decorating expert. To read more articles by Kathy, visit The Budget Decorator and The Garden Glove.
Diane's Keaton's Spanish-style home on the market for $10.95 million-Image from The Huffington Post
By Serena Norr
Yet another week of real estate buzz-Tina Fey, Will Ferrell, reality starlet Teresa Giudice and Diane Keaton are the talk of The Celebrity Beat. And with an Upper West Side condo on the market, a Spanish-colonial home for sale and a New Jersey foreclosure it’s easy to see why. Check out the Beat and let us know what property peaks your interest.
Will Ferrell recently purchased a loft in the West Village (13th street to be exact) for $4.2 million. In contract since March, the 2,699-square-foot loft features three bedrooms, two bathrooms, an open-aired study with a fireplace, maple hardwood flooring and a newly remodeled kitchen and bathrooms. Purchased by trustee Matt Lichtenberg, this luxurious New York City property was built in the 1890s that was converted into condos in 1998.
Purchased in 2005 for $1.9 million, Fey and her husband recently put their Upper West Side condo on the market as they upgraded to a $3.4 million five-bedroom condo in the same neighborhood. Now selling for $2.3 million, the 1,873 square-foot condo features two bedrooms with a private bathroom and two additional bathrooms with a 31-foot entrance way. The condo also appears to have some lovely hardwood floors, French doors, a guest bedroom, a fireplace, an eat-in kitchen and its own laundry facilities.
Real Housewives of NJ “reality star” Teresa Giudice has recently reported as having $11 million dollar in debt, ranging from home foreclosures and bankruptcy The old spending more than you make is to blame here with reported earnings of $79,000 per year and $104,000 in credit card debt, fertility payments, car payments and real estate debt of $2.6 million. Zillow.com via the New York Post is reporting that her Towaco, New Jersey home (valued at $616,000) is going through the foreclosure process as Giudice and her husband have not been making mortgage payments.
Academy Award-winning actress Diane Keaton has reduced the price of her home from $12,995,000 to $10,950,000. Although we still can’t afford such luxurious digs, her impressive casa is sure to draw in a buyer, especially as Zillow.com noted “her hobby is buying historically interesting homes in California and renovating them.” Designed in the 1920s, the 9,000 square-foot Spanish Colonial home features seven bedrooms, nine bathrooms (wow!), an entryway converted into a library, a courtyard with a fountain, media room, a den, a pool and Keaton’s design touches featured throughout the home.
Hello there! It's so nice to meet you.
By Carolina Pichardo
Now that you’ve moved into your new home, unpacked the boxes and started to settle in by putting everything in its proper place, it’s time to get to know your new neighborhood and meet your new neighbors.
Getting to know your community is very important, especially if your family was upset the second the moving company arrived. Not all your neighbors will be like Mr. Rogers, so take the time to get to know them. Whether they’re noisy, pleasant or always getting into your business, these people will define how happy you’ll be in the years to come.
Although it might be a little difficult to get the process going, it can actually be a lot of fun and a great way to learn about the amenities of your new location. There are several places to begin, such as your child’s school or your local community center, but the Internet and local businesses are also great resources. The main thing is to get out there, make an effort and we promise that you be on your way to having a beautiful day in your new neighborhood.
Start with Family and Friends. If you’re fortunate enough to have family and friends in the neighborhood, then take advantage of that direct connection. These are people that already know the best schools, supermarkets and how to get around the area, so don’t be afraid to pick their brains. This is also a great opportunity to meet their friends, as well as a way for them to show you around in your area. Chances are that they’ll be more than happy to show you the ropes!
Community Events and Publications. Most towns and cities, regardless of size, have a local newspaper or community board available. These provide great events and activities, such as fundraisers, picnics and parent conferences that could help get your search started. Because of the scheduled meetings, forums and contact lists, this is the simplest and most organized way to meet those living in your neighborhood.
Social Networking and the Internet. These days, the Internet makes meeting new neighbors easier than ever. Social networks, such as Facebook, Meetup.com and Twitter, bring together neighborhoods with a common interest, cause and skill. Although joining these requires a more proactive approach (researching groups, participating in forums, etc.), it’s the best way to find local “niche” groups. There is something for everyone, including knitters, actors, writers and Karaoke singers.
Coffee Shops, Bars and Small Businesses. Despite the Internet, coffee shops, bars and even laundromats are still the most effective and best spaces to meet new neighbors. That’s why it’s important to walk around your new community and learn about the businesses that keep it running. These aren’t just resources that you share with others; they’re also the life of your neighborhood. You’ll be surprised at how much you could learn by just waiting in line, enjoying a favorite drink or even finishing several loads of laundry.
Hosting Your Own Party. Often the Internet, community events and newspapers don’t get you the results you want, which means that you’ll have to take the matters into your own hands. If this is the case, then go ahead and have your own soirée, such as a housewarming party. Invite other families, co-workers, and the few people that you’ve already met from your new neighborhood. More than likely, these people will bring along other friends and before you know it, you will have a large network of people under your roof. Usually, all it takes is for you to open your home so that others could do the same.
Give It Time. Like all communities, your new home has an identity and personality of its own. Large cities, for example, have a different beat than the smaller towns. That’s why, regardless of what approach you decide to take, remember that meeting new neighbors does take time. You’ll find that some people are very easy-going and open, while others just aren’t that simple. However, continue to participate and remain vocal in the community, and you will soon be attending children’s birthday parties, school rallies and other cultural events.
Annie Rice's Home Listed at $3.3 Million-Image from the LATimes.com (Photo Credit: Jeff Atkins)
By Serena Norr
Welcome back for another addition of The Celebrity Beat: Relocation.com’s real estate report. This week James Bond and Jon Stewart purchased new homes; while Anne Rice and Jesse James are looking for sellers. From duplex lofts to homes on the beach, which space peaks your interest?
• Daniel Craig (one of the James Bond’s) Scores TriBeCa Home for 1.9 Million
Double 007 just scored a luxurious 1,121-square-foot pad for $1.9 million. The penthouse (purchased in cash!) is located in the über hip neighborhood of TriBeCa that includes one bedroom and two bathrooms. According to the Real Estalker, this hefty price tag means that Mr. Craig is paying about $1,700 per square foot, along with monthly condo charges of $2,265! The duplex loft features three terraces, a dining area with 20-foot ceilings, hardwood flooring, a balcony and two closets (one of which is a walk-in).
• Jon Stewart Buys Home in New Jersey for $3.8 Million
According to Housing Watch.com, political satirist and “Daily Show” host, Jon Stewart recently purchased a new home on the Navesink River in Red Bank, New Jersey. The 4,999-square-foot Victorian home features 1.3 acres of land located on the river with what we all can assume features some amazing views of the nearby landscape. Other details include a wrap-around porch with a deck, a swimming pool, two-car garage and a boat house.
• Anne Rice’s Home on the Market for $3.3 Million
Author Annie Rice has listed her six-bedroom home for sale. Built in 1995, the California residence features an outdoor pool, a garden with fruit trees, an air-conditioned garage, a separate dining area and an updated kitchen, seven bathrooms (yup, seven!), a private living area for a housekeeper or maid and a detached two-bedroom home for guests with a full kitchen. Rice is selling her home for a smaller pad, but stated that “I’ve loved it here in Thunderbird Heights with views of the valley and the mountains.”
• Jesse James Puts Sunset Beach Home on the Market
Much has been mentioned about motorcycle manufacturer and reality star, Jesse James from the tabloids. Mr. James is also causing some buzz within the real estate industry as his $6.75 million dollar beachfront home was recently placed on the market. The two-floor Mediterranean-inspired casa features four bedrooms, a media/game room, an office, a guest room, a fireplace, a modern kitchen, an island bar and a three-car garage with a built-in space for tools and storage. The home also has a built-in security system and an outdoor area with a swimming pool, tiki torches, waterfall and a waterslide!
Biking in the City
Let’s Get Physical: Where are the Healthiest Cities to Live?
By Serena Norr
A wise person once said: “Your health is your wealth.” Although this can’t more true, living in major metropolitan area such as the great (and stressful) New York City makes it rather challenging to stay on top of the healthy game – both physically and mentally.
Regardless of what stressors plague their way into our lives, we try our best by eating well, exercising and staying mentally stimulated (oh, do we try!). But despite what we do, some geographic locations are prone to induce stress and affect our health more than others.
While some cities are major detriments to our health, there are others that actually encourage healthy living; ranging from those with numerous outdoor parks and facilities to those that focus on eating healthy from local resources. Centrum and Sperling’s Best Place recently uncovered the healthiest cities to live; ranking how they stack up in the categories of mental, lifestyle, activity, health and diet and how they contribute to ones overall well-being. From the looks of this survey, cities in California are leading the pack, with Indiana not doing so well—which oddly enough is one of the most affordable places on our buy vs. rent report. Check out what healthy spot would be ideal for your next relocation.
Sperling’s Best Places Healthiest Cities
1. San Jose, California — As the third largest in California, San Jose is renowned for its spacious gardens and parks (Almaden Quicksilver County Park, Alum Rock Park and Kelly Park, to name a few), outdoor festivals and cultural attractions such as the San Jose Museum of Art and the Tech Museum of Innovation. Being the number one healthiest and cleanest cities, San Jose residents rank highest for health, diet and lifestyle. And its no wonder, since residents have access to numerous outdoor trails for walking, running, camping and mountain climbing, as well as other recreational sports that encourage exercising outside. With rents averaging $950-1,200, according to apartments.com and two-bedroom homes at $450,000, San Jose, California is also an affordable moving destination.
2. Washington, D.C. — As the nation’s capitol there is never short of something to do in Washington, D.C. According the cities website-Washington.org, D.C. is the number one city for walking, which is a great way to discover the areas historic monuments and museums. Residents also rank the highest for mental health and diet, along with affordable living that features modern and historic neighborhoods. Homes average $330,000 and increasing in sales of 2.36 percent in March, 2010, according to ziprealty.com.
3. San Francisco, CA— On top of being number three on Sperling’s list, San Francisco, California residents were recently surveyed by the Kaiser Family Foundation for the state of their health and wellbeing. The results? 71 percent of residents reported being in excellent or good health. And it’s no wonder why with a city that encourages walking, biking and running up and down its uphill and windy streets. Activities don’t fall short here either with golf, trips to Fisherman’s Wharf, the Yerba Buena Gardens or simply taking in the views of the Golden Gate Bridge. Rents range from $1,000-1,200 for a two-bedroom apartment, according to apartments.com and homes average $799,000, according to zip realty.
4. Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, WA— It’s not all rain and coffee (although this is part of the Seattle, Washington experience) in the Seattle-Bellevue-Everett areas of Washington. This healthy city is renowned for their outdoor activities— biking, fishing, running and exploring— that is also considered one of the cleanest cities to reside. Residents can also enjoy the Space Needle, visits to the Pike Place for fresh fish, local fruits and vegetables, walks to the waterfront and exploring the areas many zoos, sporting facilities and wildlife trails at the Northwest Trek.
5. Salt Lake City-Ogden, UT — This outdoor lover’s paradise is home to the historic temple square, national parks (The Bonneville Salt Flats, Kennecott Copper Mine and Miller Motorsports Park) and attractions such as The Utah Museum, the Historic Temple Square of Natural History and Great Salt Lake. A healthy culture, Salt Lake City is also all about outdoor recreation where residents can enjoy skiing, golfing, biking, hiking, camping and extreme sports such as scuba diving, rafting, paragliding and skydiving to keep you busy and very active. The average two-bedroom rental in Salt Lake City, Utah is $804, according to mynewplace.com.
6. Oakland, California — Another California City-are we starting to see a trend? Oakland, California ranks very high on the list for its healthy lifestyle choices and activities available to its residents. Visits to Peralta Hacienda Historical Park, Preservation Park and local attractions (Chinatown, Oakland Museum of California and the Chabot Space and Science Center) are a part of life in Oakland; along with access to healthy dining options, farmer’s markets and walking that keep residents fit. Apartments average $895 for a two-bedroom place, according to mynewplace.com and homes averaging $895,000, according to zillow.com.
7. Sacramento, California — The state capital, Sacramento, California ranked very well in the lifestyle, activity, health and diet categories, which is apparent by the areas attractions that includes historic buildings, museums, and recreational parks (Old Sacramento national and California state historic park). Residents can also take advantage of the areas natural surrounding area by biking, hiking, camping, golfing and partaking in numerous recreational sports throughout the year.
8. Orange County, California — Much as been chronicled about life in “The O.C” by reality shows, but little is discussed of the high quality of diet, lifestyle, activity and metal health in Orange County, California. With 42 miles of coastline, numerous beaches and recreational parks that include historic sites and open spaces, for biking, camping and hiking. Recreational activities such as surfing, running, tennis, volleyball, basketball and golf also keep residents of the O.C. healthy and active. All the healthy amenities are great, but real estate in the area is a bit steep, averaging 1.5 million for homes, according to zillow.com.
9. Denver, Colorado — Residents of Denver, Colorado have access to historic western and cultural attractions (Denver Art Museum and the Denver Zoo) and natural beauty to hike, raft, horseback ride and camp. The Mile High City also has affordable rentals with $978 for a two-bedroom apartment, according to mynewplace.com.
10. Austin-San Marcos, Texas — Dubbed the “live music capitol of the world,” Austin, Texas is also one of the healthiest cities for its high ranks in physical activity. The area also has the highest number of gyms and health clubs in the U.S, along with being a biker friendly area and one that is very eco-conscious, aptly named the “Greenest City in America,” by MSN. The city also has affordable apartments with the average two-bedroom rental at $1,065, according to apartments.com.
And now for the low-ranking cities…
1. New Orleans, LA
2. San Antonio, TX
3. Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN
4. Cleveland-Lorain-Elyria, OH
5. Orlando, FL
6. Columbus, OH
7. Detroit, MI
8. New York, NY
9. Las Vegas, NV-AZ
10. Indianapolis, IN
Listing Courtesy of Sperling’s Best Places
Night View of the Brooklyn Bridge and Lower Manhattan
By Serena Norr
Often dubbed “the Greatest City in the World,” New York City is a cultural melting pot that millions of people call home. Within this prime locale, residents have access to fine dining and nightlife, ethnic cuisine, museums and galleries, Broadway shows, sporting events and recreational parks and facilities.
With all of these unique amenities, it’s no wonder people from all over the world are moving to New York every year. However, once you relocate to NYC there is the issue of finding a place to live. There is no shortage of housing options in NYC with luxury apartments, two-family houses, buildings, condos and coops, brownstones, and even some houses with property; however these places don’t come without a sizeable price tag. In fact, when you move to NYC you will quickly find that locale determines the price of real estate. Due to these high-rentals (and desire for space), many people have moved away from Manhattan, opting for a two-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn, as opposed to a studio in the Lower East Side. This real estate shift has greatly altered what neighborhoods are desirable in NYC; however the high-end Manhattan real estate shows no signs of slowly down with new development deals and luxury condos throughout the city.
From new commercial developments to residential brownstones on the market to celebrity deals, there is always something exciting happening in the NYC real estate scene. On the beat of the real estate industry are some extraordinary NYC bloggers that are on top of the latest industry news and trends and whose sites feature in-depth articles ranging from tenant’s rights to real estate taxes. Here are some of Relocation.com’s favorites:
Created by Jonathan Butler in 2004, Brownstoner covers Brooklyn’s real estate market, latest news, new housing developments and renovation projects. This also includes covering housing issues in Brooklyn, buying tips and pictures of houses, and listings of apartments, coops and condos on the market. The site has grown tremendously since it began that also includes a directory of services, a community forum, restaurant guide, links to various renovation blogs and a sister site called Brownstoner Philadelphia.
A free listing resource, How to Rent in NYC features no broker fee and no fee apartments. The site also includes a renters section where users can write reviews about their landlords, as well as place to read past tenant’s experiences. Created by Alicia Schwartz, the site also features a directory of no fee management companies and landlords, a helpful question and answer segment for renters, rental articles and a listing of moving companies to get you to NYC.
Covering all of Manhattan, NYC Blog Estate features current real estate listings, recent developments and informative articles about the industry. Users can also navigate their way through the site based on the neighborhood they are interested in. The site also has a buyer and seller section where interested parties can post their home or apartment for a direct sale.
A self-professed “real estate solider,” Property Grunt features the latest news on Manhattan’s real estate industry. The daily blog also provides commentary pertaining to current issues such as crooked real estate transactions, taxes and housing issues, problems with landlords, housing reports, tenant’s rights and pictures of local real estate developments.
A print and online edition, The Real Deal features daily content about real estate news, commercial developments, foreclosed properties and expensive deals throughout the NYC area. Stories can also be broken down by neighborhood and users can share their tips about real estate to the website’s editors. The site also has an event section and listing of offices, retail spaces and commercial properties for sale.
The New York Observer’s blog-The Real Estate covers stories about high-end real estate transactions, building developments, tenant experiences and market reports. They also showcase “it’s free to look” area where users can check out luxury apartments and condos on the market.
Published by the Heddings Property Group, the True Gotham blog delivers content that pertains to the inner workings of the real estate industry. Taking an open and honest approach, the site features market reports of transitions in Manhattan, industry news, podcasts and videos and a residential listing section.
As mentioned, in our Best Real Estate Blogs in Los Angeles post we are fans of Curbed and their network of websites. The New York addition — aptly named Curbed NY— follows a snarky and direct approach to covering the latest news and headlines of the NYC real estate market. The site also features celebrity homes on the market (Olsen twins home for $.45 million is just one example), real estate gossip and developments, commercial real estate news, real estate construction and a link to their flickr site showcasing gorgeous photos of real estate around the city. Sellers can also list their home and buyers can search through homes on the market at the Curbed Marketplace.
A comprehensive real estate site, Urban Diggs analyzes the Manhattan real estate market through the use of macro economics to determine real estate trends and investment strategies. Created by Noah Rosenblatt, the site provides in-depth articles, a user discussion section, charts of current trends and insider tips. The also site covers renovations, mortgages, inventory and features a contractor directory.
Everything is coming up green, which also rings true for the real estate industry. Green Buildings NYC not only covers the real estate segment, but design and construction projects in the greater NYC area. The content on the site is organized by neighborhood where users can discover the latest news and articles on green building and sustainability on office spaces, commercial real estate, architecture projects, environmental issues, energy efficient buildings, alternative energy sources, lawn development and much more. Through the site users can also learn about local events, engage in a community forum, locate jobs and search for green real estate listings.
Buy or Rent? The 10 Best Cities in the U.S for Both Markets
By Serena Norr
The great debate lives on: Should you buy or rent? Both sides of the discussion are very passionate about their stance. Renters scuff at the idea of buying due to an inability to put down a sizeable down payment or perhaps they live in an area where renting is favorable to buying a home. Buyers, on the other hand don’t understand why anyone wouldn’t want to own their own property in order to build a home for themselves or their families, as well as own a piece of real estate that may increase in value over time. This friendly debate has seen a bit of a shift with the upturn of the economy where some renters can now afford to buy due to foreclosures and financial assistance from the $8,000 tax credit for new homebuyers. Whereas, some homeowners have been forced out of their homes and can now only afford rent.
Of course, the complexity of the housing bubble isn’t so black and white. Location also plays a huge factor in an individual’s decision and ability to buy or rent. For example: in New York it is cheaper to rent than to own; whereas in Boston the market is stronger for buyers. As this paradigm continues to flip, we at relocation.com won’t be taking any sides; but we can offer a list of the best cities (area amenities, price, thriving job markets and real estate growth) for both markets. Now if we could just solve the mortgage crisis, we would all be one big happy family.
10 Best Cities for Renters
1. Columbus, Ohio: According to apartments.com, the average rental in Columbus, Ohio is $837 for a two-bedroom apartment—pretty amazing deal for the largest city in Ohio and home of Ohio State University. Real estate is also expected to pick up, but for now it is certainly a renters market.
2. Indianapolis, Indiana: As the largest city in Indiana, Indianapolis is experiencing a steady job market that is also renowned for its job market within the manufacturing industries and home of the Indianapolis 500. Residents of this Midwestern area also have access to numerous cultural attractions such as the Indiana State Museum, the NCAA Hall of Champions and the White River State Park. Renters can also look forward to affordable apartment prices with an average monthly rent of $751 for a two-bedroom apartment, according to mynewplace.com.
3. San Antonio, Texas: As the second largest city in Texas, San Antonio has cultural ties to Mexico and the U.S. where residents can see a rodeo or check out exciting cultural attractions such as the Alamo and the River Walk. The area is also home to major universities and research centers such as South Texas Medical Center. The area is also ideal for renters where months rents average $850 for a two-bedroom apartment, according to apartments.com.
4. Salt Lake City, Utah: The average two-bedroom rental in Salt Lake City, Utah is $804, according to mynewplace.com. This outdoor lover’s paradise is home to numerous ski resorts, golf courts and national parks and attractions such as The Utah Museum, the Historic Temple Square of Natural History and Great Salt Lake.
5. Austin, Texas: Dubbed the “live music capitol of the world,” music and Austin, Texas are often mentioned in the same sentence, which is evident by the numerous musical festivals (South by Southwest and Austin City Limits Music Festival) that are held here. Austin is also the corporate headquarters of Whole Food Market, Dell and recently a new office for Facebook. The city is also a biker friendly area and one that is very eco-conscious and not to mention affordable with the average two-bedroom rental at $1065, according to apartments.com.
6. Charleston, South Carolina: An exciting southern city, Charleston, South Carolina features numerous recreational amenities such as beaches, campgrounds, museums (Gibbes Museum of Art and the Charleston Museum) and an historical downtown area. The area also boosts a mild climate throughout the year to enjoy an outdoor lifestyle. What’s even better is that you get all of this for a monthly rate of $ 825 as stated by mynewplace.com.
7. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: As the largest city in Oklahoma, Oklahoma City is renowned for its livestock industries and oil production. This western city is also home to the Ford Center to check out a basketball game or a concert, the American Banjo Museum and Oklahoma City Museum of Art. Renters will also love the price of $665 for a two-bedroom apartment, according to apartments.com.
8. Sacramento, California: Sacramento, California is known as a lively area for its recreational amenities (Sacramento Zoo, national parks, museums and marina). There is also favorable rent in this area of $934 for a two-bedroom apartment, according to mynewplace.com.
9. Tucson, Arizona: Dry, arid climates are in the norm in Tucson, Arizona where residents can enjoy outdoor adventures such as rock climbing, hiking at one of the areas numerous parks and nature reserves. New construction is also promising for renters with an average two-bedroom apartment at $723 a month, according to apartments.com.
10. Denver, Colorado: If surrounded amongst natural beauty and access to historic western attractions aren’t enough, cheap rents are sure to entice you to move to Denver, Colorado. According to mynewplace.com the average rent in the Mile High City is $978 for a two-bedroom apartment.
10 Best Cities for Homebuyers
1. Boston, Massachusetts: A vibrant college town, Boston, Massachusetts is the home of Harvard, Boston University and the Boston Conservatory of Music. The area is also experiencing a strong housing market with a 2.17 percent increase in home sales and an average single family home priced at $359,900, according to ziprealty.com.
2. Atlanta Georgia: Dubbed the Sun Belt for its hot temperatures, Atlanta, Georgia is the headquarters of CNN, the Coca-Cola Company and Delta. Not just a mecca for big business, this area is a hot market for homebuyers with the average single family home costing $146,500, according to zillow.com.
3. Baltimore, Maryland: Centrally located in Maryland, Baltimore is a vibrant seaport city situated along the Patapsco River. The area also has a downtown commercial district and nine surrounding neighborhoods for your pick of a suburban or city environment. According to ziprealty.com, the average home is $194,000 whose area is experiencing a steady increase since January 2010.
4. Minneapolis, Minnesota: The average single-family home in Minneapolis, Minnesota aka the Twin Cities is $184,000 , according to zillow.com along with a 2.33 percent sales increase in March, 2010 that makes this area favorable for buyers. In addition to affordable homes, the job market is seeing a slight increase, along with area amenities such as the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden at the Walker Art Center, recreational parks and parks and historical tours that makes for an ideal (and affordable) location.
5. Washington, D.C.: As the nation’s capitol there is never short of something to do in while living in Washington, D.C. Exploring the White House, Arlington National Cemetery and the Smithsonian Museum are just some of the many area attractions residents can take advantage of. This area also has a combination of modern and historic neighborhoods that is favorable for buyers with homes averaging $330,000 and increasing in sales of 2.36 percent in March, 2010, according to ziprealty.com.
6. Sacramento, California: Famous for the home of the gold rush in the 18th century, Sacramento is now a thriving city situated along the Sacramento River. The area is also the state capitol of California that is a hub for parks, modern museums and music (Crocker Art Museum and the Sacramento Philharmonic Orchestra), theatre (Sacramento Theatre Company) and colleges (Sacramento State). Buyers can also look forward to affordable housing prices with homes averaging $239,900, according to ziprealty.com.
7. Charlotte, North Carolina: Known as the “Queen City,” residents of Charlotte, North Carolina have access to numerous artistic and cultural attractions such as the NC Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, the Discovery Place: a hands-on science museum, a vibrant financial center located in downtown Charlotte and historic neighborhoods. On top of all that buyers can score a major deal with the average price of home at $148,900, according to zillow.com.
8. Dallas, Texas: With a motto like: “Live Large, Think Big,” Dallas surely lives up its credo with its diverse culture, modern restaurants and access to one of the largest arts districts in the U.S (the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Dallas City Arts Festival, and Shakespeare Festival of Dallas are just a few of the many cultural offerings.). This vibrant city is also very affordable with the average home at $189,750 and a steady increase in sales at 2.57 percent, according to ziprealty.com.
9. Jacksonville, Florida: The largest city in Florida, Jacksonville is sure to please sun worshippers but will also be favorable to individuals who seek a diverse area whose job market is steadily rising. Jacksonville is also home to the largest park system in the country, according to coj.net, along with beaches and a vibrant downtown area. Home buyers will also love this area for its affordable home prices. In March, 2010, the average home in Jacksonville was $165,000, according to ziprealty.com.
10. Las Vegas, Nevada: Hit pretty hard by the housing market, real estate in Las Vegas is starting to see signs of growth with a 1.19 percent increase in home sales in March 2010, as opposed to the -4.95 percent loss in December 2008. This dessert city is sure to be exciting for residents (and not just cause of the Vegas Strip), but an area that features natural beauty, an arid climate and established neighborhoods whose homes feature modern amenities and access to great schools. Houses typically range from $169,900 and new construction is promising for this dessert city.
• AOL’s Best Cities for Renting
• Ten Cities for Real Estate Steals
• Columbus, Ohio
• Indianapolis, Indiana
• San Antonio, Texas
• Salt Lake City, Utah
• Austin, Texas
• Charleston, South Carolina
• Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
• Sacramento, California
• Tucson, Arizona
• Denver, Colorado
• Boston, Massachusetts
• Charlotte, North Carolina
• Dallas, Texas
• Jacksonville, Florida
• Las Vegas, Nevada
The Picturesque California Sunset
By Serena Norr
As the second largest city in the United States, and the largest city in California, Los Angeles is renowned as a hub for glamour and entertainment, amazing weather, fine dining, attractions and breathtaking beaches.
This “City of Angels” is also home to some of the most immaculate real estate properties in the world with seaside residences, homes situated in the mountains, über modern architectural wonders and green design concepts. Although these housing options are plentiful, the area was hit pretty hard by the declining housing market, causing market price to plummet and foreclosures throughout the city. However, this area is now starting to see signs of growth with the rebound of home sales. Forbes magazine even named Los Angeles one of the top 10 metro areas in the U.S that is easing from the recession. Good prospects are up ahead and relocation.com is very excited to cover these Los Angeles bloggers who are on the pulse of what’s happening in this (once again) burgeoning real estate market.
As part of the popular Curbed network, the Curbed LA edition covers anything and everything real estate throughout all of the neighborhoods in the City of Lights. This up to the minute blog is certainly on the beat of what is going on in the market through their informative, but fun articles. The site also features breaking real estate news and deals, developments in architecture, home improvement and design concepts and real estates listings, accompanied by gorgeous pictures.You can also find restaurant reviews and everything about LA fashion on its sister sites-Eater LA and Racked LA for the complete LA experience.
Covering the Westside of Los Angeles and Downtown, the Los Angeles Real Estate Blog features the point of view of real estate broker-Keller Williams and his first hand insight of this residential real estate market. Since the blog covers Downtown, most of the listings feature apartments, condos and coops, along with location information (restaurants, area amenities, etc) room features, floor plans, pictures and even YouTube videos that give users an interactive tour. The site also provides informational articles such as green living, analysis of home growth in certain areas and parking in LA with a dead meter.
Crafted by the Valerie Fitzgerald Group, Los Angeles Real Estate Talk covers the market in Beverly Hills, Bel Air, Brentwood, Malibu, Santa Monica and the Westside of Los Angeles. This luxury real estate blog showcases the latest buying and selling trends and listings, as well an a great resource for informational articles about home inspections, construction sites, loans, mortgage rules and tax credits. Buyers and sellers should be sure to check out the blogs resource page, where they can check out a payment calculator, moving checklist, budget calculator, closing costs, and understanding investment, among many other informational (and free!) resources.
The Malibu Real Estate Blog gives users the “low down” on high end real estate from techy/real estate agent, Michael Gardner. Auctions, listings and pictures, sales and real estate developments throughout Malibu are all covered on the site through Gardner’s straightforward tone. He even lists his cell phone number, so that users can call or text him directly with their listing information or any questions.
A Manhattan Beach real estate blog, the Manhattan Beach Confidential lists properties on the market and compares current asking prices to its previous sales, which gives buyers a comprehensive analysis on property values and real estate trends. The reviews also include open house times, location information and a straightforward review of a homes appearance. Recent posting such as: “First, there’s that exterior, with its hard-on-the-eyes adornments. It just doesn’t work” are just some of the brutally honest remarks regularly found on MBC.
Blogger/real estate broker, Irina Netchaev breaks down the real estate market in Pasadena through her site, Pasadena Views. This informational resource covers architecture, home sales, real estate market reports, as well as information about loans and mortgages. Home owners can also list their homes here, or buyers can search through the up-to-date free listing section. The site also features foreclosures, market statistics and profiles on Pasadena’s neighborhoods such as average home price and amount of time a place is listed on the market. The site also has a personal touch with Irina’s real-life stories of the buying/selling market, advice and insider secrets.
Covering Bel Air, Beverly Hills, Brentwood, Los Angeles, Malibu, the Pacific Palisades, Santa Monica and Westwood, the Los Angeles Real Estate Voice provides a neighborhood-by-neighborhood breakdown of real estate listing and housing news. The blog also features these areas through their own profile pages, as well as through lifestyle articles covering local restaurants, where the best schools are and an interactive video section where experts give their opinions on real estate in these markets.
Looks like brighter days are coming for Los Angeles, as the market is showing signs of some real change. Check out some of these blogs to stay up-to-date on current trends, real estate listings and industry news as they happen—we know we will!
California’s second largest city and the United States’ eighth largest, San Diego is renowned for its idyllic climate, 70 miles of pristine beaches and dazzling array of world-class family attractions. No wonder moving companies are doing such a great business in the area.
San Diego County encompasses 18 incorporated cities and many neighborhoods and communities, including downtown’s historic Gaslamp Quarter, Little Italy, Coronado, La Jolla, Del Mar, Carlsbad, Escondido, La Mesa, Hillcrest, Barrio Logan and Chula Vista.
The city’s real estate market was hard hit during the past couple of years by the recession, but it is bouncing back. Home values rose in February of this year compared with February 2009, according to real estate professionals.
We thought this good news afforded the lovely city of San Diego a best real estate blogs post.
As with the other real estate posts that have gone up here during the past several weeks, the San Diego blogs can help a stranger learn about the city. Whether a user is thinking about moving or is just curious and looking around, the featured blogs offer opportunities to explore neighborhoods, taxes, mortgages and even prices of staples like utilities.
These blogs even help users find the best restaurants, doctors and dentists in the area, so if someone is planning on moving to the city, they can hit the ground running.
BubbleInfo.com, run by Jim Klinge, has more than real estate listings for San Diego and the surrounding areas. You can find San Diego crime data and school information by neighborhood, as well as a short list of recommended service providers, which include everything from insurance agents to piano tuners to home contractors.
Klinge also has a video library that puts the user on the ground in San Diego with virtual tours of properties and luxury REOs in foreclosure, as well as tips and tricks for getting the most out of the real estate market.
The San Diego Home blog is run by Kris and Steve Berg, owners of San Diego Castles Realty. For more than a decade, they have helped literally hundreds of families purchase property, and sell homes and investment properties throughout San Diego County.
The site’s listings feed allows users to view the latest 25 properties that have come on the market in each neighborhood they cover. It’s a great way to take a virtual tour and see what is available in the city.
Peter Toner’s San Diego Real Estate blog features some great articles on home buying, the state of SD’s real estate market and tax credits, as well as fantastic tips for home sellers and renters.
San Diego Real Estate Market blog has a very healthy listings page, with hundreds of San Diego rentals and homes for purchase. The blog also offers visitors a real connection to the city through event pages that list large and small happenings in and around San Diego.
Users that are interested in the social scene will delight in SD Urban, which covers the city’s urban neighborhoods and features art, architecture, dining and community events. It’s authored by Paul Jamason, and really puts the user on the ground so they can see what is happening right now. A lively comments section and diverse blog roll add to the feeling that you are already part of the community.
Voice of San Diego.org/Housing has a great home page with tons of SD housing news. The site is run by voiceofsandiego.org, a nonprofit news organization that focuses on in-depth and investigative reporting. They cover the issues that are crucial to the region’s quality of life: its politics, educational system, environment, housing, economy and more.
You can find really good reporting on this blog, and get an unbiased view of exactly where the real estate market stands in San Diego. Once you get your fill of housing, browse through the rest of the tabs and see what else is happening in this great surfer city.
The Best Real Estate Blogs in San Francisco
The Best Real Estate Blogs in Minneapolis/St. Paul
The Best Chicago Real Estate Blogs
Today we take a look at Austin real estate blogs.
Known as an artists’ enclave, Austin is a diverse mix of university professors, students, artists, musicians and high-tech workers. The University of Texas is located in the city, but that is not what Austin is best known for. The official slogan of the town is “The Live Music Capital of the World,” and it is a fitting title. The city hosts the wildly popular SXSW Festival. One of the largest music festivals in the United States, SXSW sports more than 1,400 performers playing in more than 80 venues in Austin during four days in March.
In recent years, many in Austin have also adopted the unofficial slogan “Keep Austin Weird,” which refers to the eclectic and liberal lifestyle of many residents, as well as the unofficial campaign to preserve local businesses and resist excessive corporatization. Despite, or maybe because of efforts to keep Austin’s small-town character, real estate is booming. Moving companies are busy in the city and you can see moving trucks trundling along the streets daily.
As with our past real estate blogs, we were looking for sites that allow visitors who are thinking about moving to the city to view real estate offerings and get great real estate advice, while also exploring neighborhoods through local information, such as restaurants listings, the price of utilities and even lists of the best doctors, dentists and veterinarians in town.
So without further ado:
Realtor Eric Bramlett, owner and blogger on Ericbramlett.com, gives those interested in the Austin market some real insight with lots of local real estate news, property listings, information on green building and a very lively comments section.
The website and blog are linked to Bramlett’s One Source Realty (he is co-owner). He has been licensed to sell real estate since 2003 and his experience has given him great knowledge of the city. Green building is huge in Austin and Bramlett is all over it, so if saving the planet is your passion, be sure to visit this blog.
The Sky Realty blog features posts from several of their agents, each explaining what properties they are working with and where they see the market going. You can get some really valuable advice from these veterans.
AroundAustin.com covers almost everything that is going on in the city, not just real estate. Here, you can catch up on restaurant news, great shopping, art fairs, charity events, current affairs and of course, the latest real estate news. With the linked Twitter feed, this blog is really connected to the people of Austin.
Austin Real Estate Eye Blog is run by Ryan Kucera, who updates his readers on the real estate market and the local happenings in the neighborhoods of Austin Balconies and Spicewood. During a visit to this blog you can learn where to get free mulch (seriously), perform a home search and get hard numbers on exactly how much the two neighborhoods have grown in the last couple of years.
The Real Deal, run by local newspaper The Statesman, gives real buzz on private and public real estate deals from all over town. This is the place to go if you are looking to buy a home, or see what shop is opening in that vacant spot downtown. The site specializes in business, commercial, restaurant, hotel and downtown real estate news.
Austin Real Estate Guy blog publishes information on current real estate market conditions in the Austin area, and developments that will affect the market in the future. Blogger Sam Chapman is also a real estate agent with Private Label Reality and posts real estate stories heard around town, personal observations and opinions.
In addition to real estate listings, Discovery Austin offers valuable information to visitors and those new to town. Lists of restaurants, watering holes, places to shop and even who is playing SXSW this year are all at your fingertips.
Austin Texas Real Estate Blog is run by Roselind Hejl, a realtor with Coldwell Banker United. The “About Austin” tab, located on the homepage, has great information for those of you who are looking for more information on the city. Spend some time going through details on neighborhoods, schools, Austin lifestyle and government services, just to name a few.
If you have any Austin real estate blogs that you love, send them to us so we can take a look and possibly include them in a future post.
The Best Real Estate Blogs in San Francisco
The Best Real Estate Blogs in Minneapolis/St. Paul
The Best Chicago Real Estate Blogs
We’re back with part two of our Washington D.C. real estate blogs listing.
As with our first post, we searched for sites that catered to visitors looking to relocate to the city, as well as those just wanting to take a peek and get a feel for what’s happening.
These blogs allow a person to explore neighborhoods, view real estate offerings, see the price of utilities and even find a dentist.
So, on to the rest of the list:
Capitol Homes is written by Pat Kennedy, a realtor of 27 years and author of The Irreverent Guide to Real Estate: Buying, Selling and Making Money. This is the place to go for some sound real estate advice, whether buying in D.C. or not.
Kennedy is also a connected source of information when it comes to D.C. real estate trends.
Greater, Greater Washington was created by David Alpert, a man devoted to improving the vitality of Washington, D.C. and walkable neighborhoods in Alexandria, Arlington, Bethesda, College Park, Rockville, Silver Spring and Tysons Corner.
This blog is loaded with insightful information that will take someone who has never been to D.C. on a virtual tour, neighborhood by neighborhood.
Weichert realtor Dewita Soeharjono is behind the Urban Trekker Blog, a good place to find real estate news and trends. The regular Real Estate News Roundups compile links to interesting R.E. news pieces from across the country.
Prince of Petworth was created by Dan Silverman in November 2006 and has since been quoted by a variety of trusted news sources, including The New York Times, the Washington Post and Financial Times.
The blog does a great job of chronicling the happenings in Washington D.C.’s neighborhoods with a particular focus on Petworth, Columbia Heights, Park View, Pleasant Plains, U Street, Mt. Pleasant, Logan Circle, Shaw, Adams Morgan, Dupont Circle, Cleveland Park, Woodley Park, Georgetown, Chinatown/Penn Quarter, H Street, NE and Capitol Hill.
In addition to real estate news and listings, you can find in-depth information on neighborhood happenings, restaurant information and great photos. Best though is the bustling comments section, which gives you a great lay of the land as to who is thinking what in Capitol City.
RealAstute, run by realtors Kevin Shirley and Michael Dillon from Long & Foster real estate, blog about their lives as realtors with hilarious RealtorRant posts, and give readers really valuable information in the Feeling Nosy posts. Perfect for those of you who do not plan on moving this very second, but are still interested in poking around various neighborhoods. The posts also contain lots of current listings that have just come on the market.
So, that’s what we have. If you have any Washington D.C. real estate blogs that you love, send them to us so we can take a look and possibly include them in a future post.
The Best Real Estate Blogs in San Francisco
The Best Real Estate Blogs in Minneapolis/St. Paul
The Best Chicago Real Estate Blogs
Looking for a new job – particularly when you don’t have a current job – is not a lot of fun.
Fortunately, there is a way to lessen the pain a bit, at least financially.
As you continue your job search, you are able to deduct certain job-hunting expenses. Most people know that they can deduct moving expenses for moving; I bet few realize they can also deduct these sorts of expenses.
1. Who Qualifies
If you’re a banker and wanna be a baker, you’re out of luck. The IRS only allows deductions for job searches related to finding a job in one’s current or previous occupation. It’s the nature of the job that matters; if you’re a journalist (ahem) who worked at a newspaper and now are looking at online opportunities, that’d qualify. However, looking at a marketing position would not.
It also doesn’t matter if you’re working a part-time position in another field while looking for full-time work in your chosen field; this is likely grounds for deducting job-hunting expenses.
However, you can’t deduct expenses if you’re looking at a job after graduating college (it’s considered a new occupation), or you’ve had a long period of time off for things like travel.
2. Expenses That Qualify
Some things you can write off:
* Headhunter or employment agent fees
* Travel expenses for interviewing, which includes 50% of meals while out of town. This includes airfare and lodging, but the primary reason for the trip MUST be job-hunting.
* Any expenses to do with resume preparation – a professional to help prepare them, paper costs, and postage costs.
* Driving expenses for interviews and such get the standard IRS business mileage allowance of 55 cents per mile.
* If you’re researching starting a business, that’s also an allowable deduction.
Some things you can’t deduct: Anything you might normally pay for if you weren’t searching for a job, like any personal health expenses (haircuts), or Internet or cellphone costs.
3. To get the deduction
You have to itemize the expenses as ‘miscellaneous itemized deductions.’ And these expenses (which also include other expenses like investment expenses and tax preparation services) must exceed 2% of your adjusted gross income.
In other words, you need a pretty significant amount of job hunting expenses to qualify. However, if you’ve been out of work for awhile, you might meet it because your income is lower than usual. Also, the first $2,400 of unemployment compensation benefits received in 2009 is not included in your AGI.
For more information, talk to your accountant or talk to the IRS.
What Moving Expenses You Can Deduct
Negotiate a Relocation Package
Being transferred for work, or just accepted a new job in a new town?
Take some negotiating tips from a Microsoft executive who scored a pretty sweet relocation package.
Microsoft business division president Stephen Elop got a cool $4.1 million in relocation expenses for the fiscal year ended June 30. It included the usual goodies (movers, etc.), but also the sweetener that the company would take his Silicon Valley home off his hands if he couldn’t sell it himself.
Such relocation deals, while not uncommon, are becoming rare except for the upper echelons of management. It’s pretty clear why: In today’s housing market, corporations, relocation companies and moving companies that offer this service have lost of ton of money buying employee homes that have plummeted in value.
In fact, more and more employees are simply being handed a lump sum to handle their move, rather than having the company, or an outside firm, arrange it for them. Just too expensive.
And if you’re moving to take a new job, particularly if you don’t have a lot of negotiating power, you might be totally on your own for relocation costs. But depending on your situation — particularly if you don’t have a job currently — you might be completely fine with that.
But back to Microsoft’s Elop, who buy all measures did pretty well. Microsoft said it would buy Elop’s old house at a price equal to the average of three independent appraisals if he were unable to sell the home in a preset time.
If the average appraisal came in below what Elop originally paid and adjusted for home improvement projects, Microsoft agreed to pay the difference. He also was given a “tax gross up” – a reimbursement from Microsoft on any individual income stemming from the real estate sale.
Because the California real estate market tanked, Microsoft ended up owning Elop’s house, later selling it at a price “significantly below” the original purchase price. In addition to the $4.1 million in relocation expenses, the filing says he received a $1.2 million tax gross up.
How to Negotiate a Relocation Package
4 Challenges That Can Mess Up Your Job Interview
People Are More Willing to Relocate for Work
Isn’t youth all about taking risks?
Not if you’re the Wall Street Journal.
It recently consulted a group of demographic and relocation experts and compiled its list of magnet cities for youth, and most of the obvious candidates are there: New York, Washington, D.C., Austin and the rainy redoubts of Seattle and Portland.
‘Post-Recession Boomtowns,’ is how the Journal described them.
But it had a glaring oversight: ‘stretch’ cities. Most of the list are the obvious and safe, with large populations and solid economies.
That probably helped exclude a lot of cities that might have qualified, like, for example, ANY city in the South, and just a couple in the Southwest.
The article notes that Naples, Florida had been listed as a popular relocation destination for youth earlier this decade, but that its pummeling in the economic crisis helped keep it off the list.
Same probably goes for any city in Florida, as well as most large cities in California.
However, isn’t the very pummeling of a city a reason for youths in particular to take a look, particularly as a ‘post-recession boomtown’? The Journal’s list seems to focus on cities that are doing well now, not that might do well in the future.
For example, Portland probably wouldn’t have made this list a decade ago — it was dirty, gritty and didn’t offer much economic opportunity.
But you might say that very reason it’s on the list now is that it attracted youth. That youth helped revitalize the downtown and made it a much more inviting place to live. Inevitably, that helped attracted businesses that wanted to tap into what’s now an enviable lifestyle for people of all ages.
So when you’re looking to move, also take a look at the cities that are in the dumps. You’ll find cheaper housing and a cheaper overall standard of living, and perhaps less competition for entry level jobs as your peers flock to the more popular cities.
And if you’re intent on being an entrepreneur, you’ll probably find local government that would love to give you some financial assistance.
Make your decision for moving based not entirely on how things look now, but how they might look in the future.
Here’s the top 10 (er, 11 – there were some ties that apparently couldn’t be decided by a coin flip).
1. Washington, D.C.: Thank God for the stimulus — what happens when that ends?
1. Seattle (tie): I hear it rains there.
3. New York City: Financial industry not as hard-hit as expected, but let’s wait to see what greater government regulation (or more accurately, enforcement) does to it.
4. Portland, Ore.: See Seattle
5. Austin, Texas: I imagine even Austin is getting tired of making everyone’s top 10 list (including our own Best Places for a Fresh Start).
6. San Jose, Calif.
7. Denver: If you can’t work, you can at least ski (if you can afford to ski).
8. Raleigh-Durham, N.C.: Another fave on the top cities lists.
9: Dallas: Buoyed by oil, it will continue to do well.
10: Chicago: You don’t see this on many lists, and I don’t know why — great econ and Olympics tie should help.
10: Boston: Also not a city you see much on these lists.
weeks ago I wrote how people who can’t sell their home are starting to mull renting it instead.
If you’re one of those on the opposite side of the equation — you want to rent a home — here’s a quick list of things to look for in a rental home. Even though you’re just renting, you’re still investing in a community, and there are some important things to consider:
• The quality of the neighborhood and area schools as well as school bus routes, schedules and stops. If you have kids, find out if their school schedule fits your own.
• Check crimes rates in the area, as well as the sex offender registry.
• Is the new place convenient for your work, and does it have ready access to services and businesses that you frequent?
Here’s what to check on the house itself:
• Who’s responsible for general maintenance and utility bills, you or the landlord?
• Can you get the landlord easily if there is an emergency? Some homeowners who rent are doing so because they are moving out of state. Check to see if that’s the case.
• Do a background check on the homeowner just as they’d do one on you, say experts — you’ll never know what secrets may be in their financial closet. You don’t want the house to get foreclosed on, leaving you having to find a new place. Make sure whoever you’re renting from is current on their mortgage — and looks set to stay current.
• Check for environmental hazards like lead paint, asbestos and mold, particularly older homes. Don’t assume that the landlord has done those checks for you. And don’t assume any defects you see in the house will be fixed in the months ahead — make the fixes a condition of your signing the lease.
• Go over the lease carefully, particularly the section about breaking your lease. Also, be sure to check out renters insurance — your landlord’s insurance won’t cover you for most things.
A recent survey we commissioned has found some optimism for the real estate and relocation biz: 50 percent of people who recently moved did so to improve their living situation, whether to move into a bigger home or move to a better neighborhood. It’s quite a change from a similar Relocation.com survey in March 2009, which found the recession played a much larger role in the relocation decision.
As the primary reason for moving, No. 1 on the list was to live in a bigger/better home (26 percent), followed by living in a better neighborhood or area (24 percent); to be closer to family/friends (12 percent); living in an area with a lower cost of living (9 percent); or a move that was sparked by a change in marital status (6 percent). Moving because of school, job loss, retirement or foreclosure each garnered 3 percent or less.
The change between the March and July surveys could indicate that consumer attitudes are shifting. With more people taking advantage of favorable real estate deals and falling rents, even as the recession continues to pinch most Americans, they suggest a boost in consumer confidence.
While finances still factor into relocation decisions, the survey indicates that fewer people were feeling the need to move due to job losses, foreclosures or downsizing to cut costs. The people who looked to improve their living situation were a mix of those buying a home or renting that were seeking to take advantage of lower rents and home prices to move smart.
Government incentives to buy a home, coupled with market forces lowering housing prices, have helped boost home sales in recent months.
The overall slowing of demand for housing has also produced lower rents in many major metropolitan areas, benefitting renters. Of the people who indicated they were looking to improve their housing situation in the survey, 54 percent were renters who moved into a new rental.
Nearly 42 percent were people buying a home or planning buy one: either renters who became homeowners (15 percent), homeowners who moved to a new home (16 percent), or homeowners who moved into a temporary rental as they continued their search for a home to buy (11 percent).
A similar survey in March found that people were more likely to list symptoms of the economic downturn as reasons for their move: 41 percent said that the recession had a moderate to strong influence on their decision to relocate.
Family reasons also played a larger role in the earlier survey: 23 percent said their primary motivation was moving closer to family or friends, while 13 percent cited looking for work or starting a new job. Only 14 percent listed moving to a bigger home or moving to a better neighborhood as a reason for their move.
This is a question and answer with Barb Brady, a life transition specialist. Click here to see Part 1.
Q: When people relocate, what is the biggest factor they overlook or misjudge in what will make them happy at their new place?
A: Not looking at the move holistically and how it will affect all areas of life, including friendships, finances, community, etc. Be clear about your most important criteria (the non-negotiables) and have a plan to make sure these are met. If someone moves for a new job, they may overlook the importance of their current connections are – e.g. family and friends – especially if they find it challenging making friends in their new place.
I’ve seen folks move to Asheville, NC because they love the city and mountains, then they can’t find work and end up suffering financially.
Years ago, when living in Massachusetts, I almost transferred with my then employer to San Diego, thinking climate was my most important criteria (as it was 10 years earlier). On a pre-move trip I realized that community was now most important to me, and this job would have been very isolating. I didn’t move.
Q: What’s the best way to explain to your family and friends that you’re leaving the area?
The key is, don’t tell your family and friends you are leaving until you feel at peace with and confident about your decision. Until then, talk out your thoughts only with supportive people who are not attached to whatever choice you make, but truly care about your well-being and will encourage you to listen to your inner voice.
Once you’re at peace with the decision to move, tell your family and friends. Focus on the positive aspects of the new place and your feeling “that it’s right.”
No one can argue with a gut feeling. Friends and family may take your leaving as a personal rejection. Avoid saying anything that’s personally negative about your current location, such as “I don’t like the people here.”
Talk in terms of preferences. “I really feel more energized in a warmer (sunnier, drier, etc) climate.” Let them know how important they are to you. Make a plan for visits and staying in contact – will you call each week? Daily? Use Skype or email? How often will you visit each other?
If you are not sure about the longevity of this move, let them know that too. “I’m treating this as a one year experiment, and if I like it, I’ll stay longer.”
Q: Fewer people are moving nowadays. Why do you think that is, and what does it mean for the future?
A: Uncertainty about the economy, job losses, foreclosures and difficulty selling homes have all contributed to more people staying put. There have been news reports recently that migrations to the Sunbelt and more remote suburban areas are slowing, while the exodus from major cities is slowing as well.
Factors contributing to this include more economic opportunities and shorter commutes in major urban areas. I think this will remain the same in the near future. In the distant future, I think more people will be re-assessing their values and priorities, weighing lifestyle and relationship factors more heavily in their decision on where to live than job opportunities that may not be here tomorrow.
“New urban centers” may emerge – smaller cities created on the village concept where people live, work, shop and gather in community. There are many such places in Europe and elsewhere – harder to find outside major cities in the U.S. due to the advent of the automobile, investment in highways verses railroads and the proliferation of sprawling suburbs.
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