When DOMAINE HOME asked me to swing on by and pick a few of my favorite ski places on the market ... well, let's just say it was my version of a winter fairytale. Though there's something fun about "beach," I admit with X Games, Sundance, and the Olympics in the near past and future the slopes are feeling much more appealing than ever.
So, if you're looking for a place to ski, snowboard, or just plain apres-ski (no coordination necessary for that .. well maybe a little ...), take a peek at ten great spots to do just that. So from Gstaad to Aspen, let the Snow Games begin. Read More
Alex Brunkhorst for Domaine Home. Read More
When Domaine Home asked me to write about Halloween real estate, I admit I had a moment when I didn't believe I was up to the task. But then our editor Eleanor Donohue and I got to work: And what we found were a few purportedly haunted spots (including one of my favorites in Lake Forest, Illinois) and a bunch of places that are beautiful AND perfect for penning your next horror novel or just plain scaring trick-or-treaters. Hmmm. Who needs modern? It's all about castles now. Read More
Although many people think the coolest part of my job is seeing fantastic houses, in reality, the best part of my job by far is coming in contact with amazingly talented people. And Meredith Baer is definitely one of those incredible talents.
Imagine how hard it is to pick out a single sofa for a living room, and then imagine furnishing, top-to-bottom and head-to-toe, a 10,000 square foot house in a few days. I can't, but Meridith, Brett Baer, and the rest of her team manage to do just that. They are superstars in the world of both house staging and design. Time and time (and time) again they create magic through their staging, and I've seen it directly translate to faster sales and higher prices.
I had the opportunity to chat with Meridith, (who's not only a star in my world - she's now the star of HGTV's "Staged to Perfection"). Take a look at our Top Ten to get some insight and advice from Meridith on dressing up your house. Whether you're an agent or a seller, Meridith's advice is invaluable.
Thanks, Meridith, and I'll see you, Brett, and the rest of the gang on our next project.
Tips for Vacation Home Buying:
1. Choose a good real estate agent. This is obvious for any purchase, but particularly when buying a vacation home. Most likely you don’t know the ins-and-outs of a foreign market, so work with someone who does.
2. “Too good to be true” often is. That four bedroom shingle house in the Hamptons with a pool for $500K? Before you stick it on your Black AMEX do some checking. Maybe it’s sitting on a rarely used runway at East Hampton airport or in a mosquito protection area.
3. Visit the house you’re buying in person. Remember that guy you met on Match.com who looked so cute in photos? Vacation homes are often the real estate equivalent. Photos lie.
4. Consider investment objectives. If times turn the vacation home is the first to go. Is the area blue chip and saleable? Should you need to lease it out, is it a viable and/or profitable rental?
5. Don’t make an emotional buy. A vacation home is one of life’s ultimate luxuries, but you still need to be practical about it. Is the house in an area you’d want to visit during all seasons? (Ski destinations are great second homes because they’re fantastic in summer too.) Sure, Marbella sounds great, but is there stuff for the kids to do there? Does the area have easy in-out-access or does it take you a weekend to get there? Are you buying on a lake but hate lakes? The last is a true story from one of my clients, so think it through.
We had the honor of welcoming Simone LeBlanc last year as she joined us on Bungalux to talk about Valentine's Day gifting. Her VALENTINE'S GIFT GIVING ARTICLE remains one of our most-read stories ever, and it's a must-read for all of you who have a Valentine this year and are in search of the perfect gift.
For those of you who don't know her, Simone not only founded the world's most fabulous luxury gifting service, Simone LeBlanc, but she is also one of those women whose real life mirrors the incredible life she creates for others. Simone is fashionable, stylish, fun, and down-to-earth.
We wanted to do something different this year ... so we did. I sat down and interviewed Simone and it's one of my favorite interviews because she was so warm and forthcoming. Of course Simone gave us advice on Valentine's gift giving - 'tis that time of year after all - but she also allowed us a sneak peek at her secret shopping spots and a few outrageous gifting stories as well.
For those of you searching for the perfect gift for that perfect someone, we highly recommend you contact Simone for assistance. Gifts from Best Buy for Valentine's Day don't count - be creative!
Photo of Simone taken by Katrina Dickson. Read More