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Living The Dream: Five Amazing Movie Houses That We Wish We Lived In

Living the Dream: Five Amazing Movie Houses That We Wish We Lived InOur dream homes are often inspired by our own imaginations, from the homes we see in our own neighborhoods or the perfectly designed interiors we see in magazines.

However, sometimes our dream homes can be seen on a much larger scale, operating as the home to some our favorite movie stars. Check out these five amazing movie houses that film buffs commonly lust after!

The Alaskan Mansion in The Proposal: A Colonial Stone Paradise

In the hilarious romantic comedy The Proposal featuring Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock, a gorgeous waterfront house acts as Ryan’s family house in Sitka, Alaska, nestled at the base of the mountains and featuring a pull-up-by-boat-only dock.

Though this house is just as incredible as it was portrayed in the film, its physical location is actually in Manchester, Massachusetts. The mountains were added using special effects, however, this natural stone house is just as lovely as seen in the movie.

The real thing is much more colonial in style, though, and much of the interior as seen in the film was created with a facade to create a more rustic feel.

The Fantastical Great Gatsby Estate: Better Than a Dream

Who doesn’t fantasize about throwing lavish parties in the castle-like mansion that played as Leonardo DiCaprio’s home in The Great Gatsby? Just as it might have been suspected, most of this castle is like something out of fantasy.

This house features an intricate pool, a two-story master bedroom, an incredible library with a winding staircase, and a grand ballroom. 42 different sets were built in Sydney to piece together this ultimate fantasy house.

The Cullen House in Portland, Oregon: A Log House With Style

Actually existing in real life is the magnificent house that was used as the Cullen house in the vampire movie Twilight. As a contemporary, ultra-modern log house – if you can call it that – the Cullen house drops jaws with its floor-to-ceiling windows that open it to its natural, woodsy surroundings.

The contemporary and beautifully designed interior is just as jaw-dropping, which was all completed in 2007 – just in time to make it to the big screen.

Sex and The City’s Real Estate Heaven

When Carrie walks into her soon-to-be apartment and exclaims “I think I’ve died and gone to real estate heaven!” we know that many of the women (and men) in the audience agreed.

Many of the interior sets were shot at Silvercup Studios in Queens, including the incredible entry and heavenly closet that Big builds for Carrie. Still, real or not, there’s no reason why you can’t aspire to reach this level of real estate heaven or own the closet of your dreams.

The Classic American House In Mr. & Mrs. Smith

The movie that can never be forgotten, which sparked Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s controversial – and lasting – relationship, is also one that presents a traditional American home that many lust after.

The house that plays as the family home to Mr. and Mrs. Smith resides in Pasadena, California, and offers many modern and contemporary design features. The home has many glass chandeliers, all of which are eventually destroyed in the characters’ “falling out.” Still, this movie house is a great source of inspiration for interior designers everywhere.

Wherever you get your inspiration from for your perfect dream house, knowing it’s a possibility is the most important thing. With your real estate agent on the lookout for you, it’s not only a possibility, it’s a high probability! Don’t wait any longer; contact a real estate agent today to find a piece of real real estate that will make you feel like a movie star.

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – March 17, 2014

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week March 17 2014

Last week’s economic reports provided rays of light as compared to the recent slump in positive economic news.

Unusually severe winter weather conditions affected housing-related indicators as home builders and home buyers stayed on the sidelines.

With spring on the horizon, last week’s economic news showed welcome signs of growth.

Job Openings Up, New Jobless Claims Fall

Employment is a major factor in the decision to buy a home; would-be home buyers received a vote of confidence last week as January’s job openings increased by one million to 40 million as compared to December’s reading of 39 million job openings.

February’s reading will likely reflect a lull in activity due to winter weather conditions in much of the U.S.

Weekly jobless claims fell from 324,000 to 315,000. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported expectations of 330,000 new jobless claims, so the latest report was good news.

Weekly reports are more volatile than monthly statistics; analysts typically track employment trends by reviewing rolling averages of several weeks’ new jobless claims data.

Mortgage Rates, Retail Sales Rise

Freddie Mac reported that average mortgage rates rose last week. The rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage rose by nine basis points to 4.37 percent. 15-year fixed rate mortgages had an average rate of 3.38 percent; this was an increase of six basis points

The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage was 3.09 percent, up from the previous week’s reading of 3.03 percent.

Discount points dipped from 0.70 to 0.60 percent for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage, were unchanged for 15-year and 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages at 0.60 and 0.40 percent.

Retail sales increased for the first time in three months according to the Commerce Department.

February retail sales surpassed expectations of a 0.20 percent gain and came in at 0.30 percent. January figures were downwardly adjusted to -0.60 percent. Retail sales exclusive of automotive sales were also higher at 0.30 percent than expectations of 0.10 percent.

The University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment index for mark was slightly lower at 79.9 than expectations of 80.8.

This was the lowest reading in four months, and was attributed in part to higher gas prices and consumer concerns over developments in Ukraine.

What’s Coming Up

This week’s economic news includes several housing-related reports.

The NAHB Home Builder Index for March, Housing Starts and Building Permits for February, and Existing Home Sales are set for release.

On Wednesday, the Fed’s FOMC statement will be released and Fed Chair Janet Yellen will give a press conference. The Fed is expected to continue its ongoing tapering of quantitative easing.

Leading economic indicators will be released along with the Weekly Jobless Claims report and Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey.

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Make Your Home Green This St. Patrick’s Day

Make Your Home Green This St. Patrick’s DayYou’re ready to make some changes to your home, but you want to be smart with your money and see a positive return on your investment.

While most homeowners don’t see that return until they sell their home, you can start seeing the benefits now through conserving energy by making your home green.

So in honor of the upcoming green holiday, stop searching for that pot of gold. Get inspired by St. Patrick’s Day to go green to cut your energy costs with the environmentally friendly renovations below. You’ll soon see the savings building up at the end of the rainbow.

  • Use Reclaimed Wood For Flooring
  • Instead of chopping down more green for your floors, reclaim wood that’s already been cut. While prices vary depending on they type of wood and how it was transformed, you can get a unique look and conversational piece that no one else will have.

    Just think, you could be standing on the Jackson’s old barn or a dismantled ship.

  • Green Your Latrine
  • Install a low-flow toilet, which according to http://www.ConsumerReports.org could save you money. Older toilets use about 3.5 gallons per flush, while newer low-flow toilets can use less than 1.3 gallons.

    If you don’t want to dish out the dough for a new toilet, then add pebbles or a sealed water bottle into the back tank to displace water and reduce consumption.

  • Install A Programmable Thermostat
  • This is something you can easily do on your own. Purchase a programmable thermostat at any home improvement store for around $50, shut off power to the room you’ll be replacing it in, unscrew your old one and connect the wires to the new one.

    Finished! Now you won’t have to worry about remembering to turn the air down at night and you’ll save money monthly.

  • Replace Old Kitchen Appliances
  • If your refrigerator or dishwasher is more than 10 years old, then consider replacing them with newer energy efficient models. Look for appliances that have Energy Star labels, as these machines have passed strict energy requirements.

    While this upgrade might cost you up front, you’ll quickly be saving energy and leaving more green in your bank account. Don’t get pinched this St. Patrick’s Day! Instead of just wearing green, surround yourself in it by making environmentally friendly renovations.

    By taking your home green, you’ll reduce your energy usage and see savings in your monthly bills!

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    Kitchen Space Saving Designs To Maximize What You’ve Got

    Kitchen on the Small Side? 4 Space Saving Designs to Maximize What You’ve GoSo you’ve found the perfect home, but there’s just one problem: the kitchen isn’t as big as you’d like it to be. At first glance, a smaller kitchen might seem like a deal-breaker, especially if you love to cook.

    With a few space-saving design tricks, though, you’ll have all the space you need and then some. It’s all about making the most of what you’ve got. Here’s how you can turn even the smallest kitchen into an efficient cooking and dining space.

    Fill Up The Walls: There’s Ample Storage All Around You

    Walls are a surprisingly underused surface area in most kitchens. From spice racks to towel racks to magnetic knife boards, walls can offer a wealth of space options. Ditch the bowl fruit painting and throw up some hooks and shelves.

    Not only will everything you need be within reach, you’ll open up more space in your cabinets and on your counters. For the gadget obsessed, rack storage will give you the chance to show off your nifty kitchen gadgets.

    Repurpose Your Corners with Shelving And Other Amenities

    In a small kitchen, sufficient counter space can be hard to come by. While knife blocks and spices racks tend to encroach on what little space is available, not all space saving designs are about reclaiming lost space. Sometimes it’s about repurposing forgotten spaces like corners.

    Most homeowners dismiss the corners of their kitchens, thinking the space is too awkwardly shaped to be of any real use. Take advantage of corners by installing clever storage like a lazy Susan system for under the countertop, built-in shelving for above the counter, or for a really creative update, dedicate the corner to an invaluable feature like the kitchen sink.

    Hang Your Pots and Pans

    Pots are bulky and often difficult to store without taking up several cabinets. A circular pot rack mounted to the ceiling allows you to take advantage of the height of your kitchen in the open space right above your head. In fact, pot racks can be used to store all kinds of cookware and cooking utensils that are too cumbersome to store in drawers, like ladles and colanders.

    Placing a rack in the empty space above an island or by the stove can provide excellent storage space and easy accessibility. Ceiling and wall-mounted pot racks often have hooks to hang your cookware from, so make sure you mount yours in a place that doesn’t force visitors to navigate an aerial obstacle course just to make it to the sink.

    Invest In A Rolling Tea Trolley

    Kitchens with very limited counter space can gain an extra work area as well as storage space with a tea trolley. A mobile work surface means to you can roll it anywhere in your kitchen to do your dicing and slicing, and then store it away when you’re done. Add multiple shelves to the trolley to create even more storage.

    There’s no need to be discouraged by a cozy kitchen. Not only can these space saving tricks help you gain extra space, they can also give you the chance to explore new ways to express your personal style.

    For more advice on homeownership and making the most of your home’s various features, or to find your next home, contact a real estate professional today!

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    Kitchen Space Saving Designs To Maximize What You’ve Got

    Kitchen on the Small Side? 4 Space Saving Designs to Maximize What You’ve GoSo you’ve found the perfect home, but there’s just one problem: the kitchen isn’t as big as you’d like it to be. At first glance, a smaller kitchen might seem like a deal-breaker, especially if you love to cook.

    With a few space-saving design tricks, though, you’ll have all the space you need and then some. It’s all about making the most of what you’ve got. Here’s how you can turn even the smallest kitchen into an efficient cooking and dining space.

    Fill Up The Walls: There’s Ample Storage All Around You

    Walls are a surprisingly underused surface area in most kitchens. From spice racks to towel racks to magnetic knife boards, walls can offer a wealth of space options. Ditch the bowl fruit painting and throw up some hooks and shelves.

    Not only will everything you need be within reach, you’ll open up more space in your cabinets and on your counters. For the gadget obsessed, rack storage will give you the chance to show off your nifty kitchen gadgets.

    Repurpose Your Corners with Shelving And Other Amenities

    In a small kitchen, sufficient counter space can be hard to come by. While knife blocks and spices racks tend to encroach on what little space is available, not all space saving designs are about reclaiming lost space. Sometimes it’s about repurposing forgotten spaces like corners.

    Most homeowners dismiss the corners of their kitchens, thinking the space is too awkwardly shaped to be of any real use. Take advantage of corners by installing clever storage like a lazy Susan system for under the countertop, built-in shelving for above the counter, or for a really creative update, dedicate the corner to an invaluable feature like the kitchen sink.

    Hang Your Pots and Pans

    Pots are bulky and often difficult to store without taking up several cabinets. A circular pot rack mounted to the ceiling allows you to take advantage of the height of your kitchen in the open space right above your head. In fact, pot racks can be used to store all kinds of cookware and cooking utensils that are too cumbersome to store in drawers, like ladles and colanders.

    Placing a rack in the empty space above an island or by the stove can provide excellent storage space and easy accessibility. Ceiling and wall-mounted pot racks often have hooks to hang your cookware from, so make sure you mount yours in a place that doesn’t force visitors to navigate an aerial obstacle course just to make it to the sink.

    Invest In A Rolling Tea Trolley

    Kitchens with very limited counter space can gain an extra work area as well as storage space with a tea trolley. A mobile work surface means to you can roll it anywhere in your kitchen to do your dicing and slicing, and then store it away when you’re done. Add multiple shelves to the trolley to create even more storage.

    There’s no need to be discouraged by a cozy kitchen. Not only can these space saving tricks help you gain extra space, they can also give you the chance to explore new ways to express your personal style.

    For more advice on homeownership and making the most of your home’s various features, or to find your next home, contact a real estate professional today!

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    Where To Find Inspiration For Your Home Decor

    Where To Find Inspiration For Your Home DecorAre you working on decorating your home? Perhaps you want to spruce up your decor, but you aren’t sure where to start. Where can you find inspiration for your home decor, besides the obvious home decor magazines and websites?

    Here are some fun and creative ideas that will inspire you when designing your decor:

    Luxury Hotels

    The next time you go on a vacation, you can find decor inspiration at your hotel. Most hotel rooms in mid-range to luxury hotels have beautiful, comforting and understated designs, so take photos if you find something that you like.

    Perhaps you can invest in plush throw pillows for your bed, a sleek bed table lamp or thick white towels for your bathroom to recreate the look of a luxury hotel.

    Art Galleries

    Take a walk around your local art gallery and see if you can find some inspiration there. Perhaps the harmonious colors of Impressionist paintings or the angular shapes of Cubism will inspire you to add visual interest to your decor.

    You might not be able to afford an original Picasso or Monet, but you can always order prints of your favourite artists online and add art to your home on a budget.

    The Beauty Of Nature

    Another place to find beauty and inspiration is from Mother Nature herself. Take a walk outside in the country and take some photos of what you encounter.

    Perhaps you will be inspired to paint your walls a shade of green just like the spring leaves, or create a centrepiece for your table made from pinecones.

    Fashion Design

    You can also find inspiration from the colors, textures and patterns that are popular in the world of fashion design. Look at magazines, fashion shows and advertisements to see what colors and styles are popular at the moment.

    If you love the look of a certain item of clothing, think about how you can incorporate that color, texture or pattern into your decor.

    If you have an open mind, you can find inspiration for your home decor all around you. These are just a few ideas to get you started, but of course there are many other sources of inspiration out there.

    For more info and tips regarding your home, contact your trusted real estate profesional.

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    Furry Friend Blues, The Best Ways To Settle Your Pet Into Your New Home

    Furry Friend Blues, The Best Ways To Settle Your Pet Into Your New HomeMoving can be a stressful and exciting process, and when moving with pets, your furry friend most certainly feels the stress and excitement as well.

    Pets don’t always respond well to a new environment, so it’s important to do whatever you can to ease your pet into your new house.

    Settling yourself and your pet into your new home may take time, but you can make it a smoother process by doing some research and planning. Here’s how you can create a stress-free transition for your beloved pooch or kitty.

    Where To Put The Pet During The Move

    During the actual move itself, it is best for your dog or cat if you can get them away from the action altogether. Ideally, it’s best if a neighbor or family member that your pet is familiar with can take the pet for the day.

    For long haul moves, some pet owners opt to take their dog or cat to a kennel for a few days to help them avoid the stress of the moving atmosphere.

    A slow and steady packing of boxes will also indicate a change to your pet, and if done over a longer period of time, can help them prepare for the upcoming change of scenery.

    The Interior Introduction: Getting Your Pet Settled

    Before the actual move of all the boxes, it might be a good idea to take your pet’s belongings to the new house first. Having some of their familiar items, such as toys, a kennel, and blankets, can help to ease the process of settling into the new home.

    You may also want to dedicate a room or part of the house as your pet’s sanctuary, where they can feel safe and secure while boxes and pieces of furniture are being moved into the new home. Ensure that you don’t switch your pet’s food too much around the time of the move, as this can exacerbate the effects of the change.

    Some pet owners have found it effective to wait until the new house is unpacked and settled before introducing their pets to the home. This way, the pet can becoming acquainted with the new atmosphere without the chaos of movers, piled up boxes, and a stressed-out, scrambled owner! If using this method, you can keep your pet at the kennel of family member’s house until you are settled in.

    The Surroundings: Exploring The New Neighborhood

    If you have a dog, it is just as important to get him acquainted with the new neighborhood as it is to get him acquainted with the home itself. This is something you can also do well before the move; when preparing for a move, drive your dog over to your new neighborhood and let him explore where his new home will be.

    This way, when you arrive to introduce your dog to the home itself, he will already be familiar with the area, thereby reducing the stress of the new atmosphere in the house.

    Moving is no easy feat, and it’s even more complicated when pets are involved. By following some of these simple steps and planning ahead, you can achieve a move that involves much less stress.

    Avoid the furry friend blues and introduce your pet to its new home in a gentle way. For more great moving tips, or to find the home that’s right for you, contact a professional realtor today.

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    What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – March 10, 2014

    Whats Ahead For Mortgage Rates March 10 2014Last week’s economic news included construction spending and the CoreLogic Home Price Index for January.  Reports for February included ADP Employment, Non-Farm Payrolls and national unemployment data.

    The Federal Reserve’s Beige Book report and weekly reports on mortgage rates and new unemployment claims rounded out the week’s economic news.

    Highlights for last week include:

    Consumer spending gained 0.40 percent for January. The expected reading was 0.20 percent and the reading for December was flat.

    The Commerce Department reported that increased spending was less an indicator of consumer discretionary spending than an indicator of high utility costs caused by severe winter weather.

    Construction spending ticked upward in January with gain of 0.10 percent as compared to expectations of -0.40 percent and the prior month’s reading of 0.10 percent.

    January’s reading translates to a seasonally adjusted annual figure of $943.1 billion.  

    Federal Reserve: Winter Weather Obscures Accurate Economic Outlook

    According to the Fed’s Beige Book report, much of the U.S. economy was impacted by severe winter weather. The report is based on anecdotal information provided by business contacts and industry leaders throughout the 12 regions of the U.S. Federal Reserve System.

    Eight regions reported slow economic growth. Janet Yellen, chairwoman of the Fed, noted that winter weather was not expected to alter the Fed’s plan to continue reducing its asset purchases under its quantitative easing program. She also said that it may be months before accurate economic readings can be obtained in the aftermath of winter weather conditions.

    Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey brought good news on Thursday as mortgage rates fell across the board and discount points were also lower in most cases.

    Average mortgage rates were down nine basis points for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage at 4.28 percent. The average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage was 3.32 percent, a decrease of seven basis points.

    The rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage was 3.03 percent, down by two basis points from the prior week. Discount points were unchanged for 30-year fixed rate mortgages at 0.70 percent, but dropped to 0.50 percent for 15-year fixed rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

    Employment Sector: Surprise Results

    The ADP payroll report showed a reading of 139,000 jobs added in February as compared to the prior month’s 127,000 jobs. ADP tracks private sector jobs. The BLS released its Non-Farm Payrolls report for February, which also surpassed expectations.

    175,000 jobs were added against expectations of 140,000 jobs added and January’s reading of 129,000 jobs added. The national unemployment rate rose to 6.70 percent against an expected drop to 6.50 percent from January’s reading of 6.60 percent. Once again, foul weather was seen as a major influence.

    Whats Ahead This Week

    This week’s economic news schedule is relatively light with no releases set for today.

    Mortgage rates will be released by Freddie Mac on Thursday, along with weekly jobless claims. Retail sales and the University of Michigan consumer sentiment index round out next week’s schedule. 

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    How To Add Color To Your Home Decor Without Going Overboard

    How To Add Color To Your Home Décor Without Going OverboardThere is a fine line between adding color to your home decor and using too much color, so that you feel like you are living inside a rainbow.

    A little bit of color will add a lot of fun and interest to your home design, but too much color can be overwhelming. How can you achieve that perfect balance?

    Here Are Some Tips To Keep In Mind For Using Color In Your Home In A Subtle And Balanced Way:

    • Use Color Schemes

    Before choosing the colors for your decor, do a little bit of research into color schemes and how they work, so you know how to combine colors harmoniously.

    For example, you can choose a complementary color scheme with shades that are across each other on the color wheel – such as blue and orange or purple and yellow.

    Or you could try an analogous color scheme, which is a scheme where the colors are next to each other on the colour wheel – such as blue, green and purple.

    • Use The 60/30/10 Rule

    This is a rule that interior decorators use in order to use colors in a balanced way. Use the dominant color on 60% of the room, so that it will create a unifying look.

    Then, use the secondary color on 30% of the room in order to add visual interest. Lastly, use an accent color for 10% of the room to add that little extra.

    For example, you might use the dominant color for the walls and carpet, the secondary color for the upholstery and the accent color for some pillows, a wall hanging or a throw rug.

    • Try An Accent Wall

    Perhaps you have found a gorgeous paint color, but it’s just a little too bright and overwhelming to use for all four walls of a room.

    In this case, you can simply paint one wall with the color and the other walls with a neutral tone, so that you can enjoy the shade without it being overpowering.

    You could also simply use the color in one aspect of the room, such as the baseboards or the door jams.

    These are just a few of the ways that you can incorporate color into your home design, without it being overpowering. For more information, call your trusted real estate professional.

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    Winter Blues, 9 Easy Ways To Brighten Your Home And Your Spirit

    Winter Blues, 9 Easy Ways To Brighten Your Home And Your SpiritThese gray, dreary winter days can really sap your energy and dull your enjoyment of life. To survive the winter doldrums, brighten your home.

    Use These Easy Tips:

    1. Open your home’s window treatments during the day to let the light brighten and warm your room. Close them again as soon as night falls to retain heat.
    2. Brighten dark rooms with few windows by placing spotlights on the floor behind furniture.
    3. Add a mirror. Wherever a mirror reflects light in a room, it visually doubles that light.  Place a mirror opposite a window to immediately brighten your space. No window?  Hang a large mirror above a console table and place a pair of lamps in front of the mirror.
    4. Install higher watt bulbs in rooms that tend to be dark.
    5. Eliminate dark corners by adding recessed lighting.
    6. Use full spectrum lighting in areas where you read, knit or do other up-close work.
    7. Lighten living areas with colorful throws and pillows.
    8. Lift the winter blues by adding flowers and plants to your decor. Colorful indoor blooming plants include the African violet, Cyclamen, Orchid and desert cactus.  Use tropical flowers to transport yourself mentally to climates where the sun always shines.
    9. Do A Little Winter Cleaning:
      1. Wash the inside of your windows. Fireplace and candle soot coats windows with a dingy film that blocks the sun.
      2. Polish your furniture. Shiny furniture reflects ambient light.
      3. Wash ceiling light fixtures in soapy water. Light is muted when filtered through dirty light fixtures.

    Lighting can change how you (and potential buyers) feel about your home. It’s one of the easiest and least expensive ways to quickly improve the ambiance of your home.

    If you’d like to sell your home, I can help. Contact your real estate professional today.