How to Monster Proof Your House

How to Monster Proof Your House

Feeling secure in your home is one of the most important aspects of an enjoyable life. You don’t want to worry about vampires, werewolves, ghosts or the boogeyman coming to get you, but yet that’s something that creeps into the back of our mind from time to time. Like when you’re home alone on a stormy night or you hear something go bump in the night? We can try and convince ourselves there are no such things as monsters, but deep down we know that’s not the case.

To help put your mind at ease and assist you in evading even the most cunning of undesirable guests, we’ve compiled a few tips to help make a monster proof home:

Invest in large bags of salt

3794105536 0ff1ef806e m How to Monster Proof Your House RevisitedTable salt can be your best defense.

Salt is used to help preserve lots of things, but few people realize it can help preserve your life from the likes of vampires and vengeful spirits or ghosts. Your basic table salt is known in folklore to be a repellent of evil. In fact ancient mythological tales share how evil spirits cannot cross over lines of salt because they are required to count ever single grain before entering. Since that’s an impossible task, you’ll want to have plenty of salt on hand and if seven seasons of Supernatural have taught me anything it’s that you can line your home’s doorway and window sills with salt to prevent the unwanted from entering the premises. Not only is this an effective home protection measure, but it’s quite affordable too.

Decorate with religious items throughout the house
Monsters of all shapes and sizes don’t tend to like religious objects. Whether it be crucifixes, holy water or talisman, it’s a safe bet that a religious object can help ward the bad guys off. Try having a religious element as a decorative piece in every room of the house for easy access in the case of emergency.

Sleep on a platform bed

athena4 How to Monster Proof Your House RevisitedNo monsters can hide under this bed.

Every 6 year old knows the number one place for monsters to hide is under the bed. So what’s the best way to prevent monster from hiding there? Eliminate under the bed as a hiding place! Outfit your bedrooms with platform beds that have a solid base around it so there’s no room for the boogeyman to reside. It’s the simplest way to deal with all those lurking creature types.

Get a fireplace
Even more than religious symbols, monsters hate fire. It works on vampires, werewolves, zombies and even deer ticks (don’t even think of trying to say they’re not monsters). A home with a fireplace doesn’t just create ambiance, warmth and a winter weather gathering place. It also provides a great sense of security. Keep a large wooden stick nearby so that if monsters do get through your initial line of defenses, you have an accessible torch nearby that can be used instantaneously.

Own a set of ancient books

1189891134 8cace3c0dd m How to Monster Proof Your House RevisitedOld books seem to have the answers.

From Buffy to Angel toGrimm, every monster-related show has needed a set of ancient books to help solve for monster problems. Evidently, no one has taken the time to digitize these old texts and put them online. Maybe it’s because most of the time they’re in Latin, but in any case it wouldn’t be a bad idea to head out to your local garage sale or local library and see if you can’t get your hands on some really old, leather-bound books as they’re often the only source that can deal with the most absurd of monster issues.

Buy a treadmill
Let’s be honest. You just have to be faster than the next slowest person to evade a monster attack. Invest in a treadmill and use it regularly.

2816919970 9deb7f8224 n How to Monster Proof Your House RevisitedLive in Yuma, Arizona

When are monster least likely to bother you? When the sun is out of course. Have you ever heard of the boogeyman attacking in the sunlight? We know vampires don’t. Never seen a werewolf do that either. So why live in Yuma, AZ? Well it’s in the Guinness Book of World Records for having the most amount of sunlight in a year. The sun shines in Yuma 4,174 hours of the year making it the least likely place for monsters to want to reside.

So there you have it. Just a few tips to monster proof your home and keep your mind at ease during those dark, rainy nights. Some other ideas to consider include: don’t get a home with a basement, don’t live in the woods and refrain from saying “I’ll be right back” when there are thunderstorms.

Note: Coldwell Banker Real Estate in no way guarantees that these steps will prevent actual monster attacks. We’re pretty sure they can help, but in life there are rarely any guarantees. Good luck out there. 

Images courtesy of Flickr users SoraZG,  Parker Michael Knight, & Lin Pernille Photography and CasualHomeFurnishings.comand header image by prayitno

Originally from the Coldwell Banker Blue Matter blog.

Baseball Lover’s Field of Dreams

By Alicia Eisenbise, Social Media Specialist, Regional Support Center – @AliciaATcb

The baseball season may be over for fans of our local teams – the Cubs, Sox, Brewers and Tigers – but we’ve found a reason to keep your baseball dreams alive. This Highland Park home caught our eye because of it’s unusual backyard feature – a tailored baseball field complete netting and fencing. The double wood deck makes for a great entertaining space and excellent seats to witness the nail-biting game between neighborhood kids. The rest of this dazzling ranch style home doesn’t disappoint with a remodeled cooks kitchen, great family room and ideal location. Imagine your very own baseball diamond. What is your dream home feature?

Smart Tips to Winterize Your Home

Tips to Winterize Your Home - Dream Blue Blog

Blogger: Lana Simon, Communications Specialist, Regional Support Center

Prepare Your Home Now Before Old Man Winter Arrives

As the temperature begins to drop and the leaves begin to fall, now is the time to prepare your home for winter. Changing seasons can mean wear and tear on your home, unless you plan ahead. Here are some tips to winterize your home the right way:

  • Clean gutters after leaves fall. Leaves and other debris that clog your rain gutters can cause leaks, so it is best to get to this chore as soon as possible after most of the autumn leaves have fallen. If your home is more than one story, hire a pro.
  • Repair roof and siding. If you see any damaged areas to your roof, siding or shingles, it is important to take care of the problem before winter storms come through.
  • Shut off outdoor faucets and roll hoses. Freezing temperatures can damage hoses and water pipes, so be sure to shut off faucets and empty hoses of water before the first big freeze.
  • Warm it up. Check working fireplaces for loose mortar and debris prior to getting cozy in front of the firelight. Get heating systems inspected and stock up on filters for timely changes throughout the season.
  • Put up storm windows and doors. Now is the time to install your storm windows or doors. These features can help conserve energy during cold months and protect your home from drafts. Plus, switching out the screens will help protect the mesh.
  • Don’t forget the driveway. Snow, ice and salt that come with the winter season can wreak havoc on driveways. Protect yours by caring for any cracks and holes before the freeze sets in.

Halloween Decor that Won’t Scare Away Buyers

By Alicia Eisenbise, Social Media Specialist, Regional Support Center

Scary Witch c/o Connie Eisenbise

Scary Witch c/o Connie Eisenbise

“Oh no, scary witch” whined my 3-year old nephew when he saw the witch my mom made standing on the front porch. I agree. The thing is pretty intimidating. Trick or treaters either love her or are too frightened to even approach the door. Over the years, my nephew and I have come to love the wart-faced, creepy old lady, but if my parents were to put their home on the real estate market, it would be the first thing to go. 

When you have your home on the market, is it still okay to decorate for the holidays? I’ve been told the answer is — yes, but keep the decor neutral and minimal. You don’t want to scare the buyers (or their children) off your property. You also don’t want them to only focus on the “scary witch” and not see the beautiful original door with leaded glass windows.

  1. Declutter and stage first. Before you worry about decorating for the holidays. Have you decluttered and staged your home? Begin by staging, then add the touches of Fall and Halloween.
  2. Compliment your decor. Make sure any decorations compliment your color scheme and decor.
  3. Keep it minimal. Less is more. If you’re like my mom and go crazy for Halloween, then you may want to choose only a few decorations to feature out of your Halloween stockpile. Instead of decorating every room, maybe choose 2 or 3 rooms to have a 1 to 2 decorations in each room.
  4. Halloween curb appeal. The front door is a great place to decorate with a few gourds, pumpkins and leaves or maybe a wreath. (Save the giant scary witch for next year.)
  5. Hire a great real estate agentLast, but NOT least. The best way to judge if you have found the right balance is to ask your real estate agent. A great agent will tell you if your ‘boo-factor’ is too high and will scare away sellers.

Halloween Trick or Treating Safety Tips

Guest blogger: Lana Simon, Communications Specialist, Regional Support Center

Trick or Treat Safety

It’s that time of year again.  Last week we made our annual trip to the party store to pick out Halloween costumes.  My son wanted to be something scary.  My daughter wanted to be a fairy.  Everything he chose was too gory or the masks blocked his vision. So, we settled on a ghoulish ghost with a nice white robe that will allow him to be seen. On the flip side, my daughter picked a very sweet fairy costume.  But, she’s always cold and chances are when we go trick or treating, it will be chilly and we will have to wear coats that cover the costume.  Fairy wings will not fit under a jacket!  So, after a little negotiation we settled on a princess with a longer gown and longer sleeve.  But, I made sure the dress wasn’t too long in order to prevent tripping.

With choosing costumes out of the way, I will next have to enforce trick or treating rules:  be careful of cars, always say thank you, and stop once it gets too dark. I will also remind my kids that I need to check the candy before eating.  And, only two pieces each per night (yeah, right!)

Here are some Halloween trick or treating safety tips to keep your little goblins safe:

Wearing a Mask – If you, or your child, are planning to wear a mask for your spooky night out, make sure that the holes for the eyes are large enough to clearly see both straight ahead and peripherally. You may have to cut the eye openings larger to allow more visibility.

Candy from Strangers – This is the only time of year you allow your kids to take candy from strangers, you can never be too careful. Make sure your kids understand not to eat any candy or treats until they have properly examined. This allows you to check for any possible tampering with the candy wrappers; and at the same time, you get a chance at the first pick of candy!

Be Seen! Halloween is spooky enough outside without having to worry about your child not being seen in the dark while trick-or-treating. Prepare your child’s costume for strong visibility at night by choosing a costume that can be made with bright materials. If the theme of the costume does not allow for bright colors, add reflective tape to your child’s costume or treat bag.

Stay Away From Haunted Houses – Ensure your kids only visit houses with lights on. And, you might also suggest the houses they visit have some sort of Halloween decoration on the porch. Make sure your kids don’t go inside someone’s house. They can get their candy from the porch.

Monster Route – Sometimes a lost or missing child can be scarier than a thirsty vampire, for both you and your child. Know the trick or treat route your kids take, especially if you are not going with them. Have them check in regularly, by phone or by stopping back at home and make sure they do not deviate from the preplanned trick or treat route so you will always know where they are and will be.

Watch out for fast moving Mummies and Zombies!  Always drive well below the posted speed limit in any residential area during trick-or-treating hours. You always want to make sure you have extra time to break if a child darts in front of your car.

Real Estate Rose from the Ashes

Guest blogger: Alicia Eisenbise, Social Media Specialist

A few months ago I was at an event at 1871, a space in Chicago’s Merchandise Mart where digital startups work in a techy, open space. The space is named after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, but not because of the destruction. It’s named 1871 because of the amazing engineering, architecture and inventions that happened afterwards.

As I was wandering around, I saw a framed article about the first business to open after the Great Chicago Fire…a real estate business. It rose from the ashes a day after the fire with a hand-painted sign reading “All gone but wife, children and energy.”

The article reminded me of two things: the resilience of Chicagoans and the resilience of real estate. The Great Chicago Fire knocked down Chicago, but it was rebuilt one brick at a time and emerged a bigger, better and stronger place. In 2007 the housing crisis was upon us and the real estate industry took a big hit. Five years later, and we’re witnessing housing recover, home prices increase and lending practice tightened to help prevent a resurgence. Throughout it all, we’ve seen real estate agents use innovation and an entrepreneurial spirit to rise like a phoenix from the ashes. This month marks 142 years since Great Chicago Fire, so let’s take a moment to celebrate that resilient spirit.

Charitable Foundation Spotlight: Special Spaces

Guest blogger: Shannon Smith, Marketing Coordinator, Regional Support Center

How excited and empowered did it make you feel when your parents decided you were old enough to decorate your room? A bedroom provides children a necessary outlet for self-expression. Special Spaces, a new partner of the Coldwell Banker Charitable Foundation, believes this is particularly important for children with critical illnesses as they spend a substantial amount of time in their rooms.

Regardless if their dream is to live like a superhero or a non-traditional princess, the Special Spaces team works together to provide each child a uniquely designed room. Special Spaces National was founded in July of 2004 on the precedent that children battling life-threatening illnesses need their own special space of hope, inspiration, and comfort. With branches now in several areas worldwide, the organization receives assistance through fundraisers, donations, garage sales, thrift store finds and dedicated volunteers.

Kelly Knox of Naperville began the Chicagoland Chapter in 2012 and currently plans at least one makeover each month. “I am so blessed to be surrounded by so many goodhearted people and it is so rewarding and exhilarating every single time,” said Knox. “We appreciate any time, talents and treasures that anyone wants to provide. If you have the time to clear out a room, come. That doesn’t take skill, it just takes heart. Talent—we need those in construction, seamstresses, muralists, etc. And treasure, we need the funds. We would love to do everything brand new but that is not always possible and we accept every kind of donation.”

Special Spaces is constantly seeking volunteers and donations to support their cause. Click here to see the video clip of Special Spaces on the Today Show! Find out how you can support Special Spaces and other Coldwell Banker Foundation partners by visiting givehousing.com

Fall Family Fun

Guest blogger: Amy Eiduke, Communications Director, Regional Support Center

Amy and her family enjoying a Fall festival.

Amy & her family enjoying a Fall festival.

I have to admit, autumn is my favorite time of year – the smells, the crisp weather, the beautiful colors, pumpkin farms, apple picking, corn mazes, the fun  – there is nothing quite like it. Every year I try to squeeze in as many family outings as I can before the winter quickly takes over. Here are just two of my favs:

In both Barrington and Hampshire, Goebbert’s Fall Festival is a must visit for me and my boys every year. Where else can you find tons of beautiful flowers, pumpkins, gourds and goodies, and still be able to feed a giraffe, walk through a hay maze, and see over 50 amazing animals from all over the world? And, I haven’t even mentioned the gem mining, enormous dragon, pony and camel rides, or jumping pillow. Each time we go we have a blast, and also take some fantastic family photos!

Richardson’s Corn Maze in Spring Grove continues to expand every year. Since my oldest son was able to walk we have visited this “World Largest Corn Maze” letting him lead the way! He has gotten us lost many a time, but that’s all part of the excitement! And the maze really is HUGE! I don’t think we’ve ever made it through the entire thing. Now they also offer a zip-line, pumpkin patch, pig races,  ORBiting and much more. Pack some snacks and bring a flashlight if you are going later in the day and see if you can make it through all the twists and turns.

Looking for some adventures for your family? Check out: Chicago Kids, Oaklee’s Guide and/or Metromix’s 2013 Fall Festival Guide.

What’s your favorite place for a fun Fall family outing?

#FlashbackFriday: What Home Means to Me

My childhood home.

My childhood home.

Guest blogger: Jennifer Kirchen, E-Marketing Specialist

backyard

When I think back to the three houses I lived in growing up, one really sticks out in my mind. It’s a white, cape cod style house located in downtown Arlington Heights that we moved into when I was three, and it still stands today. Years later we moved to the north end of Arlington Heights as I entered fourth grade, but I never forgot that home on Wing Street.

It stands out in my mind not because of the house, but the warm memories I have there. That was the place where I became a big sister and got a little brother to chase around, where Dad taught me to ride a bike, and where we played in the kiddie pool with best friends on hot days.

Halloween

That was the home that I shared every birthday with cool Uncle Joe, Mom dressed us for Halloween in many handmade creations (i.e. Rainbow Brite – was I a child of the 80’s or what?). Holidays were a cause for celebration in the Kirchen house, we baked Christmas cookies with Mom, decorated them with our aunt, and every Christmas and Easter we took family photos by the respective holiday tree.

EasterThe one thing all of my happy memories have in common is that they include family and friends: Mom, Dad, brother, cousins, grandparents, aunts and uncles, neighborhood friends. Because that’s what home really is all about: the family and friends (and pets) with whom you share your home, and the love that surrounds you.

But this is not just my story or my family’s story. This is your story, your parent’s story, your child’s story. It’s the story of all of us. Share your #FlashbackFriday story with us. What memories and photos do you have of home?

First Time Home Buying – Not So Scary After All

Home buying isn't scary

Guest blogger: Brooke Balco, Communications Specialist 

It’s that time of year. Time for tricks, treats, and haunted houses. Owning your first home, which hopefully won’t be haunted, is undoubtedly one of life’s biggest and momentous accomplishments.   Although a decision this big may seem frightening to some, when you lay out a solid plan and come to the table prepared – there’s really nothing to be scared about!

“Today’s market presents an excellent opportunity for first time buyers,” said Fran Broude, our president and COO.  “The key to a smooth process is for buyers to have a good sense of their financial situation before starting their search.”

According to the 2013 National Housing Pulse Survey by the National Association of Realtors, Americans overwhelmingly believe owning a home is a good financial decision, so why do so many people that are financially prepared to purchase a home continue to rent?  Taking the plunge for the first time often seems scary, and it does take time, preparation and education, but the payoff can be well worth it.  Once a plan is in place, the rest is smooth sailing!

Here are the 5 key tips to guide you towards a successful home purchase:

  • Finances Don’t Lie.  Buying a home doesn’t make sense for everyone, but if you’re financially fit to make the investment you should act sooner than later while it’s still less expensive to buy than rent in most cities around the country.   Although mortgage rates and home prices have risen slightly over the past month, they are still well below normal.
  • Mix Business with Emotions. Purchasing a home is not only a financial decision, it’s a very emotional decision. Will buying a new home benefit you personally? If so, begin to think about what kind of home you want to build a future in.  Since this is a long-term decision it is best to consider where you see your life 5-10 years down the road and what makes sense in terms of location, price, and size.
  • Look to the Future.  A home purchase is an investment, so it’s important to keep in mind the earning potential down the road.   Do your research to determine up and coming neighborhoods that are planning for redevelopment and you may find yourself capitalizing in years to come.
  • You’re Not Alone: Consult your real estate agent throughout the process. Your Realtor is the expert, with both knowledge and experience, so they are in the perfect position to advise you on this matter. The best agents are not merely negotiators; they are trusted counselors to their clients.

If you’re still on the fence, reach out to a real estate professional to learn how home ownership can be a treat, not a trick to be afraid of.