Research NYC Neighborhoods with Online Resources

Using online resources to research NYC neighborhoods is an ideal way to begin the search for the perfect place to purchase or rent in New York City. Online tools allow you to see school statistics, local shopping, transportation, and more.

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How To Open a Tight Jar Easily

Have you ever come across a jar that had your number? If your jar seems like The Hulk or some other superhero tightened it, try this nifty trick to open it up easily.

For other helpful home tips & tricks, subscribe to Coldwell Banker On Location to view the complete Home Tip of the Day video series.

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Pool Maintenance Steps to Get Your Pool Summer Ready

As spring turns to summer, it’s helpful to know the basic pool maintenance steps to prep your pool for the season ahead. After a long winter, that water isn’t ready for diving into just yet. But it will be — after you run through these steps to get your pool primed and back into pristine condition.

Turn Everything On

If your pool equipment has been dormant all winter long, turn it on and see if it’s still quiet and free of leaks. Be sure to look at the concrete pad under the pump to see if it gets wet. Leaks are cheaper and easier to repair when they’re small and if you catch them early.

Do a Top-Level Clean Up

You can leave your pool cover on for this pool maintenance step. (You do have one, right? If not, here’s where to get pool covers in Dallas.) Your goal here is to clean out all the baskets, remove any plugs that are in place, and assemble the filtration system.

Clean Your Filter

There are three types of pool filters: sand, cartridge, and diatomaceous earth (DE). Each one needs periodic cleaning depending on how often it’s used and what kind it is. Just don’t clean it more often than recommended, as this can hamper the filtration process. Here’s a good article that details how to clean a pool filter.

Go To the Pros

Here’s a pool maintenance step that requires minimal work on your end: Bring a water sample to a pool store. They’ll test (often for free) the mineral content of the water, and the pH and chlorine levels. Then you’ll know what needs to be adjusted and by how much. See? Simple.

Get Your Tile in Tiptop Shape

Many pool owners remember to routinely vacuum as a way to keep the water clean, but they often overlook the tiles. It’s important to remember to brush the tiles and the walls to reduce the growth of algae and other calcium deposits. Stiff brushes work best on plaster-lined concrete pools, while you’ll want to opt for a softer brush if your pool has vinyl or fiberglass walls.

Do a Safety Check

Before opening your pool for the summer season, don’t forget to consider safety elements. Do you have all the standard pool safety equipment: a rescue hook, lifesaver ring, and first-aid kit? If your pool has a gate around it, be sure all the latches and locks are working properly. You’ll also need to install anti-entrapment covers in your pool.

If your DFW home has a pool in the backyard, follow the steps above to get it all set for summer. Do you have a pool maintenance tip to share? Leave a comment below!

Image Source: Flickr/Photo Monkey

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Condo or Townhouse: What’s the Difference?

When it comes to deciding between a condo or townhouse in NYC, it’s not the same as comparing the two property types in other cities. Generally speaking, the Manhattan resident in the market for a condo or co-op in an apartment building has a different mindset from the Manhattan resident looking for a townhouse. People here can buy a co-op or a condo that’s situated within a brownstone, but for the purposes of what we’re talking about, let’s assume when we say condo or co-op, we’re talking about apartments in full-service apartment buildings. People unfamiliar with the housing market in NYC may be unclear as to how owning one type of property differs from owning the other type. The following info can shed some light on whether to buy a condo or townhouse.

Townhouses Feel Like “Real” Houses

Imagine that you could have a suburban-sized house without having to actually, you know, move to the suburbs. You could have a real house in the middle of the city; that’s one of the key reasons why people choose to buy townhouses in NYC. Townhouses offer all of the perks that come with living in a house, including yard space, multiple levels, and complete privacy — but you don’t have to leave the island to get them.

Townhouses Are Easier to Change

When you own a townhouse, you are pretty much free to make changes and fixes as you see fit, as long as those changes abide by city codes. If you’d like to make changes to a co-op or condo, you have to go through a board in order to find out if it will even allow you to make your changes. Many people bristle at the very thought of being told what they can and can’t do in their own homes. Those people are often drawn to townhomes.

Speaking of Owning …

When you buy a townhome in NYC, you’re buying the entire building as well as the land that it sits on. When you buy a co-op, you’re buying shares in a corporation that owns the building. When you buy a condo, you own the actual unit; it’s like buying your own house inside of an apartment building.

When you buy a townhome, you don’t have to undergo the financial scrutiny you go through when you buy a co-op. If you’ve got the cash, you’ve got the house, a situation that appeals to many buyers who prefer to keep the details of their financial lives private.

Condos Have Awesome Amenities

One of the key reasons that people buy condos is because of the fabulous amenities they offer. Once you get used to having doormen, concierges, high-end gyms, and superintendents at your beck and call, it’s really hard to go without those things. On top of all of the amenities that come standard, there are tons of other a la carte amenities available for purchase in co-ops and condos.

Townhouses Don’t Have Those Amenities.

What turns some people off of the idea of owning a townhome is that townhouse owners themselves are responsible for taking care of all maintenance and repairs connected to running the home. They take the garbage to the curb. They have to fix the leaky ceilings and all other repairs. For people paying millions of dollars for a home, this can be a bitter pill to swallow.

Image Source: Flickr/Kristin Wall

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No Worries At Home For Denard Span

In last week’s Homefield Advantage video, we were welcomed into the home of Kansas City Royals star, Lorenzo Cain. We are continuing the trend this week by profiling another sure-handed center fielder – the Washington Nationals’ Denard Span!

Being a gold-glove caliber center fielder and last year’s co-National League hit leader* for the Washington Nationals is no walk in the park. That is why Denard Span kicks up his spikes and gets comfortable in his Tampa, Florida home with girlfriend, Shadonna Copeland whenever he can. Home to Denard and Shadonna means first and foremost, family. Since Tampa also happens to be Denard’s hometown, driving around his neighborhood and passing his childhood home – where his mother still lives – brings back all of his best memories growing up playing the game he loves.

As Denard hilariously puts it, in his home, the kitchen is the REAL place where it “goes down”. And he is not complaining that it is Shadonna’s favorite room in the house too! As we continue on our tour, the upstairs entertainment room is a “man’s man” oasis. With an abundant sports memorabilia collection, pool table, theater and gym, like center field in Nationals Park, the upstairs is Denard’s territory.

How will Denard and Shadonna solve the dilemma of man cave extension or play pen for future babies with their extra room? Click the video above to find out! And click here to see the rest of Coldwell Banker’s 2015 Homefield Advantage line-up!

*Tied with Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Ben Revere with 184 hits.

Header image via Flickr user Keith Allison.

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New Apartment Therapy Series Highlights “Selling in Seattle”

AT Logo

With its bustling tech scene and down-to-earth vibe, Seattle has quickly become one of the hottest real estate market in the U.S. That’s why we’ve teamed up with Apartment Therapy – a lifestyle website devoted to helping people make their homes more beautiful, organized and healthy – for a five-part weekly series titled “Selling in Seattle.”

The series, which begins today and runs every Sunday through June 14, will feature Team Franz + Joe (also known as Franz Diessner and Joe Overland of Coldwell Banker Bain). For the next five weeks, we’ll go behind the scenes and see what it’s like to sell in Seattle. We’ll hear stories from some of Franz + Joe’s recent sellers and learn their top advice for selling a home in a hot market.

Check out the first post of the series today on Apartment Therapy, and learn more about Team Franz + Joe’s top advice at www.coldwellbanker.com/seller-experience.

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3 Secrets to Pantry Organization

wire rack

Organization at home always begins with storage. So, the key to an organized closet starts with an organized pantry. Here are three secrets to pantry organization at home.

1. Everything Must Have a Place – Disorganization begins with one thing out of place. When organizing your pantry, make sure to leave a spot for everything from dry goods to paper products. Find unique ways to customize the space for each item.

If you always have plenty of canned goods in stock, use a shelf system like this 8-tier wire rack from Home Depot that lines up your cans or spices in an easy-to-spot fashion.

If you’re struggling to find a cool, dry, dark spot for root vegetables like potatoes and onions, try a wire basket drawer.

wire baskets

via HGTV

2. If you can’t see it, you can’t see it. – Use clear containers whenever possible. For inexpensive, effective storage vessels, try filling glass mason jars with frequently used dry goods like rice, nuts and coffee grounds.

mason jar pantry

via the rigneys

Labels are a great way to quickly see what you have in stock, but be sure the labels are editable. We don’t always have the same exact items in the pantry, so a great way to label your pantry items in a non-permanent way is by adding chalkboard stickers or chalkboard tape that you can change with a quick swipe.

chalk board labels

3. Keep an Inventory - We always think we’re going to remember what items we need when we get to the grocery store, only to realize we forgot the most important one! Keep a notepad on your phone or in the pantry and jot down whenever you run out of something that needs to be replaced. Then, when you’re at the store, you’ll have a list to reference and eliminate the frustration of running to the store for one item.

pantry inventory

via Everyday Enchanting

Having custom organized storage space in your home is also a great selling feature, as many potential buyers look behind closed doors (whether you like it or not!)

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The 5 Best Homes from Mad Men

Mad Men (Season 5)

*Spoiler Alert: This post has Mad Men spoilers. If you’re not all caught up just look at the pictures!

Millions of fans have been in denial for months, but we are just two days away from seeing the last new Mad Men episode ever. Apart from the phenomenal writing and acting, the iconic show created by Matthew Weiner will go down in the pantheon of television’s most important shows for how it influenced different aspects of American (and global) culture.

In addition to its impact on fashion (skinny ties!), Mad Men is largely responsible for the return of mid-century modern home decor and design that were hallmarks of the 1960s. If you’ve been on the Mad Men ride over the last seven seasons then you’ve been exposed to some stunning homes and apartments in New York City, the Hamptons, Connecticut, Los Angeles and even Europe that showcase this design aesthetic.

In honor of the season finale airing this Sunday, here are our 5 favorite homes from the seven seasons of Mad Men.

1. Don Draper’s Upper Eastside Penthouse

Don moved into this hip apartment at the start of season five after marrying Megan. Contrary to the decor and architecture of the time, Draper’s new penthouse features a stunning wide open floor plan that mirrors the new open and less secretive life he attempted to lead. According to set decorator Claudette Didul, the home was “in a high-rise that feels like it was built in 1960 with a white-carpeted sunken living room and a fascinating fireplace and a Case Study-style kitchen with two pass through windows”.

Don Draper preferred solitude, but his bright and earthy home was perfect for entertaining as well, as exemplified by the infamous “Zou Bisou Bisou” party Meagan threw for him.

2. The Palm Springs Home from Season Two

In one of Mad Men’s best episodes, “Jet Set” – Don ditches the convention he’s supposed to be attending and ends up following a woman to this swanky one-level masterpiece in Palm Springs. This open concept home built in 1949 hosted legendary parties attended by the likes of Lucille Ball and was even the residence of Jersey’s own Frank Sinatra for about a decade. The four bedroom and 6,600 square foot property features a detached guesthouse, two pools and walls made of glass that let in views of the valley.

Pam 1

Palm

3. The Don and Betty Draper Residence

Don and Betty weren’t the picture of marital bliss, but their Ossining, NY home in Westchester is the quintessential All-American home. The home featured a sizable backyard, a formal living room and a formal dining room that was frequently used for dinner parties where the Draper’s would entertain work colleagues. The Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria recently hosted a once-in-a-lifetime Mad Men exhibit and on display was the actual kitchen from this location. Having had the chance to visit the exhibit, I can say that the kitchen seemed outdated by modern standards, but there is something about it and the home that represents family and the American Dream.

Family 2

Draper Resdience

4. Peggy Olson’s Apartment

It sure doesn’t look like much now but Peggy’s decision to buy an entire brownstone in the then seedy Upper West Side is a genius investment that we’re guessing would have paid off big time eventually. A wife and husband who bought a similarly sized building in the same dilapidated neighborhood in 1960 for $18,000, listed it for $5 million a few years ago. They were also taking in about $14,000 a month in rent! If it didn’t work out for Peggy at McCann, we’re guessing she would’ve been just ok holding on to her home.

Peggy

5. Megan Draper’s Laurel Canyon Bungalow

While her husband Don hamms (pun intended) it up in New York, Megan quits her soap opera gig and heads to Hollywood for a shot at the “big time”. Instead of opting for a home with the same aesthetic as their mid-century modern penthouse, she moves into a bungalow in Laurel Canyon. The home with spectacular LA city light views beautifully captures the “bohemianism” of the hippie movement and is a preview of the changing design tastes that would come with the 1970s. The pine-paneled residence is small but open, and who wouldn’t like to wake up to that view every morning?

Megans Home

laurel2

– – –

There are a few other homes that could have made the list, including the Betty and Henry Francis residence! What do you think about our 5 favorite homes? What else would you add to the list?

If you’re not too busy weeping over the impending series finale and want to watch the final episode with friends, click here for party ideas that would make Don and Roger proud.

Cheers.

– – –

Don Draper Penthouse images courtesy of: LA Times Blogs & 6Sqft
Palm Springs images courtesy of: Curbed
Don and Betty Draper Ossining home images courtesy of: Daily Mail & I am not a stalker
Peggy Olson Brownstone images courtesy of: One Herald
Megan Draper’s Bungalow images courtesy of: LA Times & The State of Things

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Dallas Restaurants: Top 5 Lists for Every Cuisine

The best Dallas restaurants can be found across several cuisine types. Take a break from cooking at home and visit these Metroplex restaurants to find out why they’re foodie favorites.

Mexican

Mi Dia From Scratch

In Grapevine, this restaurant prides itself on homemade recipes and features interpretations of Mexican dishes from different regions across the country. Its food is often infused with rich Tex-Mex hallmarks or served with Santa Fe twists.

1295 South Main Street, Grapevine, TX

Avila’s

Featured on Food Network, Avila’s delivers Tex-Mex menu items using recipes passed down through generations.

4714 Maple Avenue, Dallas, TX

Los Torres Taqueria

A newcomer to the Dallas scene, Los Torres Taqueria offers a taste of Sinaloa without having to leave the United States.

1322 West Clarendon Drive, Dallas, TX

Greek

Greek Cafe and Bakery

A sleeper favorite among Dallas restaurants, this cafe serves up genuine Greek flavors at modest prices.

334 West Davis Street, Dallas, TX

Kosta’s Cafe

Billed as “classic Greek cuisine,” a section of the menu offers especially tasty plates, some of which are particular to Kosta’s.

4914 Greenville Avenue, Dallas, TX

Zorba’s

In Plano, authentic Greek cuisine is only a few blocks away at Zorba’s, where the food is made with the freshest ingredients. Bring your own libations.

Preston Parkway Center, 1501 Preston Road, Plano, TX

Italian

Nonna

The upscale Dallas neighborhood of Highland Park prides itself on Nonna, which offers regional and artisanal Italian food.

4115 Lomo Alto Drive, Dallas, TX

Roman Cucina

For a more family-centric style of Italian cooking, Roman Cucina delivers great bursts of flavor and has a reputation for being the go-to Italian restaurant in Dallas.

7989 Belt Line Road #315, Dallas, TX

Cane Rosso

Famous for its Neapolitan pizza, Cane Rosso is known as the go-to Italian neighborhood restaurant and has even been featured in “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.”

2612 Commerce Street #101, Dallas, TX

Asian

Kenichi

Kenichi is on a roll, having been voted as having the best sushi in Dallas multiple years in a row.

2400 Victory Park Lane, Dallas, TX

Bangkok City

As one of the first Thai restaurants to pop up in Dallas, Bangkok City has had plenty of time to perfect its spicy culinary offerings.

4301 Bryan Street, Dallas, TX

Pho Pasteur

In Richardson, Pho Pasteur is legendary for its Vietnamese food and generous bowls of pho.

1342 East Belt Line Road, Richardson, TX

American

Off-Site Kitchen

The award-winning sandwiches and burgers at Off-Site Kitchen make it one of the more prestigious burger joints in town.

2226 Irving Boulevard, Dallas, TX

Kenny’s Wood Fired Grill

For the best in grilled seafood and steak, visit Kenny’s to experience a Texas interpretation of the Windy City’s famous local chop houses.

Addison Walk Shopping Center, 5000 Belt Line Road, Dallas, TX

Hibiscus

A special emphasis on Texas can be found at Hibiscus, where foods and wines have been sourced from local farms and ranches.

2927 North Henderson Avenue, Dallas, TX

Image Source: Flickr/Sergey Galyonkin

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New York City Small Space: Decorating an Apartment for Big Living

Living in New York City is a very exciting experience and decorating an apartment can be fun. In exchange for being in the center of the world’s culture and action means many times accepting a smaller living space for your money. Optimize your living quarters by decorating the New York City apartment to use every valuable square inch to its fullest and most beautiful. Here are some great tips for decorating the smaller living space to turn it into a dream abode.

Make a Plan of Action

Before moving in and getting overwhelmed not knowing where, or how to fit your furnishings and needs, you can measure the space and draw up a floor plan. When decorating an apartment this is the perfect tool to start with.

  • A floor plan will allow you to understand exactly where you can place furnishings and what size furniture will fit perfectly into your apartment.


Reach For the Heights

So maybe the square footage might be on the smaller side, but often New York City apartments offer higher than the common eight-foot-high ceilings. Using the tall walls can be valuable when decorating a small apartment for bigger living.

  • Loft beds are not just for children. Grownup-style lofts come in full and queen size and provide addition square footage below for a sitting area or office space.
  • Install shelving and, or, cabinets directly below the ceiling for storing items that you might not need every day. Seasonal clothing, dishes, and extra blankets can neatly reside high above without taking up much needed floor space.


Use Multi-Purpose Furniture

From flip out beds to modular furnishings there are many options to furnish a small space. Decorating an apartment that is on the smaller side can be fun using furnishing that can turn a room from a comfortable sleeping quarters into a grand entertainment space. Using multi-use furnishings to decorate can make it seem like you have much larger living quarters.

  • Beds can flip up into a wall unit complete with a sofa or table built in to use during daytime hours.
  • Modular furniture pieces are made to fit together like a puzzle piece and can be pulled out as needed for, sleeping, working, and entertaining.
  • Beds are made that can be lifted to specifically hide storage below.

Decorating an apartment that is on the small side can be a challenge. Remember to keep the apartment clean and well organized. Use every nook and cranny to store items. Brooms and mops can be hidden next to the refrigerator. Place shelving over the toilet for towels and linens. Over the door hooks can hang everything from coats to towels and jewelry.

Although you may not have the biggest of spaces to call home, you can still make it beautiful. Many people dream of living in New York City. Know that you have the advantage of walking out the door to the excitement of the city that never sleeps.

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