10 Cool Places to Get Wet

What makes a water lover’s paradise? Beaches, rivers, lakes and water parks. These towns offer plenty of fun water activities.

1. New Braunfels, TX (population 51,804)

Hold on to your bathing suit! The Schlitterbahn Waterpark Resort, on the banks of the Comal River, is home to Master Blaster, a 1,000- foot water coaster. It also holds the title for the best U.S. water park, according to The Travel Channel.

2. Lake Havasu City, AZ (population 56,603)

Boaters on Lake Havasu can cruise under London Bridge, which was moved here from England’s River Thames in 1971. Each year this lake’s blue waters attract 2.5 million visitors, including the stars and film crew of the Bravo TV series “The Real Housewives of Orange County.”

3. Malibu, CA (population 13,041)

World-class beaches and unparalleled ocean vistas are two of the reasons celebrities such as Jennifer Aniston and Robert Redford call this town home. Even if you don’t have the bank account for a multimillion-dollar mansion, you can still dip your toes into the water at Zuma or Surfrider, two of Malibu’s 24 public beaches.

4. Mackinac Island, MI (population 500)

More than a million vacationers a year head to this island to soak in its Victorian charm. But you’ll have to cross Lake Huron in a ferryboat. Here horses rule the roads.

5. Lake Ozark City, MO (population 1,931)

The jewel of this resort community is the Lake of the Ozarks, which boasts a 1,100-mile-long coastline—longer than California’s. During July Fourth celebrations, take your boat onto the lake to watch four different fireworks displays burst over the water.

6. Nantucket, MA (population 10,000)

Swimming options are plentiful on this island, with its signature 17th-century architecture. Craving some surf? Head to the south shore to splash in the Atlantic. For calmer waters, aim your bike north toward Nantucket Sound.

7. Annapolis, MD (population 36,603)

Guide your sailboat toward this historic port city that’s home to the U.S. Naval Academy. And don’t miss the Wednesday Night Races from April through September, when 150 boats zip across Chesapeake Bay.

8. Duck, NC (population 500)

The population of this town—part of the spectacular Outer Banks, a chain of barrier islands along the Carolina coast—swells dramatically with summer beach-goers. Climb the historic 1875 Currituck Beach Lighthouse to grab a bird’s-eye view of the Atlantic.

9. Jackson, WY (population 9.631)

White-water rafting is a popular adventure on the Snake River, which winds through Grand Teton National Park. The most exciting rapids: Lunch Counter, Big Kahuna and Rope.

10. Key West , FL (population 25,478)

Snorkelers and scuba divers will barely have time to dry off between excursions to the area’s underwater caves and coral reefs, including Sand Key and Kedge Ledge.

Advice from an agent affiliated with the CENTURY 21® brand

Backyard pools don’t always make a big splash with potential buyers. But some might simply be nervous about maintenance. Sallie Bradford with CENTURY 21 H.T. Brown Real Estate in Annapolis, Maryland, encourages sellers to purchase a one-year home warranty for the lining, pump and more. “You give peace of mind to the buyer,” Bradford says.

 

Recommended Reading:

-Landscaping 101: Great Grass Alternatives

-The Secrets to a Perfect Staycation

-Worldwide Wanderlust: Homes From Around the Globe

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Evidence That Buying a Home Can Be Just Like Dating

Overwhelmed with the idea of buying a home? It can be a lot to handle, so try thinking of home-buying like dating. It’s a process that’s sometimes frustrating, but ultimately you’ll be glad you held out for “the one.” Here are some things to remember.

Make sure you’re worth the investment.

“Are you homeowner material” is kind of like, “Are you boyfriend or girlfriend material?” Banks, like dates, aren’t going to take a chance on someone they don’t see a future with. That means a credit score above 600 will increase your chances of getting approved for a homeowners loan.

It’ll cost you money.


Think of it as a “wine and dine” process – you’re going to have to woo a loan program with a down payment 3.5 to 20 percent of the price. After that, it’s common practice to spend about 30% of your gross income on your mortgage.

Compromise.

Your relationship with the seller will be one of compromise – price and closing details are something you’ll probably have to go back and forth on. If you’re unsure of how much you should be offering, read our guide on how to determine an appropriate amount.

Accept that nothing’s perfect.

The home for you probably won’t be perfect. But overall, will the home make you happy the way a true love can? Remember, if you can change your mate’s habits, you certainly can tear down a wall or redo a floor to get exactly what you want.

Trust your friends.


Think of your CENTURY 21® Real Estate Agent as the friend who will help guide you through the process. They’ll introduce you to prospects, give you advice, and just generally be your support until you sign and close.

The road to home-buying isn’t easy, but it’s worth it. Just remember that with the help of these steps, you’ll be living your happily ever after in the home that suits you.

Recommended Reading:
- Buying a Home: 5 Questions to Ask Your Real Estate Agent
- Myth vs. Fact: Home Buying

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Modern Homes for Your Modern Family

If you love sleek lines, glass walls, steel, and open floor plans, a modern style home may be right for your modern family. According to House Plans, “Modern style designs offer clean lines, simple proportions, open plans and abundant natural light, and are descendants of the International style of architecture, which developed in the 1920s. Flat or shallow-pitched roofs, large expanses of glass strong connections to outdoor space, and spare, unornamented walls are distinguishing characteristics of modern home style plans.” According to iMatchDesigners, modern style interiors are characterized by clean lines, minimal decor, materials like metal and glass, and lack of clutter.

These stunning CENTURY 21® homes are perfect for your modern family.

1. This Miami apartment has sleek lines, minimalist decor, floor length windows, and a great deal of natural light.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. This Miami home has an interesting and unique architecture. The inside of the home has straight lines and minimalist decor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. This modern home has a uniquely shaped pool, bright lights, and lots of windows!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. This Austin, TX home is an excellent example of modern style architecture. The interior has clean lines, unique shapes, and minimalist decor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No matter what kind of modern home style you prefer, there’s a place for every modern family to call home.

Recommended Reading:

-Kitchen Design Inspiration from CENTURY® 21 Homes

-Worldwide Wanderlust: CENTURY 21® Homes from Around the Globe

-The 5 Best “Man Caves” For Watching Football

 

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Watch & Vote: #C21ReadyToSell With Jolie Kerr

Today the CENTURY 21® brand is excited to launch a new video series with cleaning expert and The New York Times best selling author, Jolie Kerr.

This six part video series, #C21ReadyToSell, provides homebuyers and real estate professionals with the ultimate guide to cleaning and staging a home to sparkle and sell.

In addition to these helpful tips and tricks, once you’ve watched all six videos you can visit www.century21.com/aboutus/mediacenter/askacleanperson and vote for your favorite video to be entered for the chance to win a $250 gift card.

Watch, vote, enter and then share your favorite pro tips on Facebook and Twitter by tagging @Century21 and using the hashtag #C21ReadyToSell.

You can also send your personal cleaning and staging questions to Jolie via Twitter, @JolieKerr. To purchase her book, “My Boyfriend Barfed In My Handbag . . . And Other Things You Can’t Ask Martha” click here.

Which #C21ReadyToSell video is your favorite?

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8 Things You May Have Thought When Your In-Laws Stayed Over

You love your in-laws. They are your family. Still, when they come over on short notice you always feel unprepared.

We’re not pointing any fingers but you may have thought one of the following things while you were smiling, listening to the story they tell every year, or cooking a meal you know they’ll hardly touch.

1. How long are they staying?: He said they were just staying the weekend but that never happens. It’s always so much longer… At least it feels that way. Maybe I’ll fake sick Sunday afternoon to make sure they leave on time. Yes, that’s it! I’ll watch that Ferris movie to plan my strategy.

2. Anything that can go wrong, will: That is just my luck, isn’t it? Either the kids will get sick, someone will have to work later than usual, the house will flood, or the world will end. Nothing can go right if the in-laws are here, that is just not how life works. They call that Murphy’s Law; I call it Murphy’s In-Laws.

3. Cooking Criticism: Last time I slaved in the kitchen, “the chicken was overcooked and the pasta was undercooked.” I’m sure someone will have something to say this time, too. I think the cooking powers-that-be curse me when my in-laws are here.

4. Clean, Clean, Clean: I wonder, if I had hired a cleaning service to come in and take over the house, would it have been noticeable? The house would be cleaner than usual so they might suspect something. That might open a whole other can of worms, so maybe I’ll just clean myself. If only I had a bunch of birds following me along cleaning, like a certain princess who lost her shoe. I wonder what the prince’s in-laws were like. They probably loved the good lady’s chicken.

5. Wine, Wine, and More Wine: I should probably run to the liquor store and pick something up… for them, not for me. I swear, these six bottles of wine are for my in-laws, not for me. I swear, I’m opening the first of them right now even though they don’t arrive until this weekend FOR THEM, NOT FOR ME.

6. Where are those gifts?: I know I put that ceramic elephant they got us for Christmas three years ago in the attic, but which box is it in? I thought I wrote it down the last time they visited so this wouldn’t happen again. Ok, now let me practice my “I love it and look at it every day” face.

7. Please don’t bring that up: I know that his/her ex still lives down the block from you. No, I do not want to hear about their new job and how they look better than ever. Please just don’t bring it up, please.

8. Good attitude: Lots of smiles and a clear head. If I remember to be nice, all will go well — hopefully. After all, in-laws can smell fear.

You finally understand the line, “to have and to hold you, to honor you, to treasure you, to be at your side in sorrow and in joy, in the good times, and in the bad, and to love and cherish you always. I promise you this from my heart, for all the days of my life (Traditional Wedding Vows).” Even this weekend.

Recommended Reading:

-5 Stages of Having Your Kids Home from College

-Moving Advice You Should NOT Take from People in Stock Photos

-7 Reasons You’re Secretly Jealous of Your Dollhouse Family

-5 Zombie-Proof Houses Your Family Won’t be Caught Dead In

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8 Things You May Have Thought When Your In-Laws Stayed Over

You love your in-laws. They are your family. Still, when they come over on short notice you always feel unprepared.

We’re not pointing any fingers but you may have thought one of the following things while you were smiling, listening to the story they tell every year, or cooking a meal you know they’ll hardly touch.

1. How long are they staying?: He said they were just staying the weekend but that never happens. It’s always so much longer… At least it feels that way. Maybe I’ll fake sick Sunday afternoon to make sure they leave on time. Yes, that’s it! I’ll watch that Ferris movie to plan my strategy.

2. Anything that can go wrong, will: That is just my luck, isn’t it? Either the kids will get sick, someone will have to work later than usual, the house will flood, or the world will end. Nothing can go right if the in-laws are here, that is just not how life works. They call that Murphy’s Law; I call it Murphy’s In-Laws.

3. Cooking Criticism: Last time I slaved in the kitchen, “the chicken was overcooked and the pasta was undercooked.” I’m sure someone will have something to say this time, too. I think the cooking powers-that-be curse me when my in-laws are here.

4. Clean, Clean, Clean: I wonder, if I had hired a cleaning service to come in and take over the house, would it have been noticeable? The house would be cleaner than usual so they might suspect something. That might open a whole other can of worms, so maybe I’ll just clean myself. If only I had a bunch of birds following me along cleaning, like a certain princess who lost her shoe. I wonder what the prince’s in-laws were like. They probably loved the good lady’s chicken.

5. Wine, Wine, and More Wine: I should probably run to the liquor store and pick something up… for them, not for me. I swear, these six bottles of wine are for my in-laws, not for me. I swear, I’m opening the first of them right now even though they don’t arrive until this weekend FOR THEM, NOT FOR ME.

6. Where are those gifts?: I know I put that ceramic elephant they got us for Christmas three years ago in the attic, but which box is it in? I thought I wrote it down the last time they visited so this wouldn’t happen again. Ok, now let me practice my “I love it and look at it every day” face.

7. Please don’t bring that up: I know that his/her ex still lives down the block from you. No, I do not want to hear about their new job and how they look better than ever. Please just don’t bring it up, please.

8. Good attitude: Lots of smiles and a clear head. If I remember to be nice, all will go well — hopefully. After all, in-laws can smell fear.

You finally understand the line, “to have and to hold you, to honor you, to treasure you, to be at your side in sorrow and in joy, in the good times, and in the bad, and to love and cherish you always. I promise you this from my heart, for all the days of my life (Traditional Wedding Vows).” Even this weekend.

Recommended Reading:

-5 Stages of Having Your Kids Home from College

-Moving Advice You Should NOT Take from People in Stock Photos

-7 Reasons You’re Secretly Jealous of Your Dollhouse Family

-5 Zombie-Proof Houses Your Family Won’t be Caught Dead In

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Instagram Tips for Real Estate Agents

Instagram is a social media platform that allows people to share and edit photos. More than 100 million people use Instagram every month, making it a valuable space to engage with potential, current, and past clients. Use Instagram to showcase listings, promote your personal brand, and generate leads.

Here are a few best practices for Instagram.

1. Optimize Images: Instagram is a visual platform so the most important best practice is that the images are visually appealing. Whenever possible, take photos when there is natural light and take photos that are clear and focused. One of the unique features of Instagram is the ability to edit photos. Users can apply filters and make advanced edits to components like brightness, saturation, contrast, and warmth. There is also wide variety of third party editing tools such as Snapseed and Afterlight. These apps provide even more editing tools and features.

2. Utilize Hashtags: If you caption your photo with a hashtag such as #RealEstate #Listing or #HouseForSale, your followers will able to click it and track all photos captioned with that hashtag. Using hashtags is an essential and necessary part of boosting engagement and creating a following on Instagram. It allows people to find and follow you in a simpler way. People can also search for hashtags and photos will come up in search. This is a great way to get noticed as a user!

3. Engage with Followers: Follow and engage with other users. You can find people to follow by searching hashtags that interest you. Once you’ve followed people engage with them by liking posts and leaving meaningful comments.

4. Analyze Timing: Timing matters on Instagram. There are times of the day when your community is more active. It is important to know when your followers are online so you can interact with them and, hopefully, get more engagement on your photos. Most communities are more engaged at night so consider posting pictures in the evening. You can track your most engaged time of the day by using Iconosquare, a website that analyzes your Instagram statistics.

5. Create Videos: Videos are a newer feature to come to Instagram. You can take a short video tour of your listing to give buyers a look before even entering the home. If they like what they see, they can contact you immediately to set up a time to meet. Potential clients may also be so impressed with your innovative new media skills that they will call you when they are ready to buy or sell a home.

6. Promote Posts: Share your photos on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and your blog to create maximum engagement and exposure.

7. Use Instagram Photo Maps: When posting a photo to Instagram, you have the option to add location, essentially adding it to your photo maps. The photo will show up on an actual map, allowing your followers to see where you have taken the most photos. This will allow you to show your knowledge of certain areas and neighborhoods and the exact location of any listings.

Now that you know these best practices you can apply them and grow your Instagram following. Interested in learning more about how social media can help your career? Read our best practices for Twitter, Pinterest, and SEO.

Recommended Reading:

-Home Office Essentials

-Productivity Tips for Working from Home

-Picture Perfect: How to Take Great Photos of Your Home

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Ask Our Expert: Christopher Lowell’s Advice for DIY Curtains

 

Custom curtains are so costly. Got any good tips for do-it-yourselfers?

—Sara Boling CENTURY 21 Boling & Associates, Inc. Myrtle Beach, SC

New window treatments can offer a whole new look that will re-theme any space with a brand new attitude. And yes, you can do it yourself! My top three rules for success:

• When choosing drapery fabrics, keep them solid or texture-driven but pattern-free. Pattern is the first thing to date a room and can easily overwhelm or compete with the rest of the room’s decor.

• When in doubt, keep it simple. Straight, well-constructed panels are often enough.

• Mount your rods as high to the ceiling as possible. Then extend them at least a foot past the casings on both sides. This will prevent the curtains from shrouding the window and make the room seem bigger.

The layered look can save money by helping reduce heating and cooling bills. Here’s how to do it:

• Use great fabric panels for the look only—meaning they remain stationary.

• Inside the window casings, add coordinating woven, cellular shades or blinds to handle light and privacy issues. This way you protect your fragile fabrics from repeated open-and-close usage, letting the inside shades do all the heavy lifting.

• Don’t worry about lining the curtains (which is good for the budget-minded), but be sure to weight them so they hang properly.

CHRISTOPHER LOWELL, an Emmy Award-winning interior designer and TV host, is known for doable design advice that nets stunning results.

Recommended Reading:

-How to Style a Gallery Wall

-How to Style Your Home on a Budget

-A Day in the Garden: Paint Palette

-How to Style a Bookshelf

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Tech Talk: 5 Apps for Real Estate Agents

Real estate agents are often on the go visiting listings, showings, and clients. Luckily, technology makes it easier to get work done from anywhere and maximize productivity while doing so.

There are hundreds of apps on the market that could be helpful for agents but here are five currently on our radar.

Evernote: Evernote is a high tech note taking app. Take notes by hand, type them on your mobile device or tablet, or take photos of business cards and loose papers. This technology allows you to use search to quickly and easily find specific notes or concepts – even if you wrote a handwritten note! Sign up for Evernote Business to collaborate with colleagues in real time.

Sitegeist: Sitegeist quickly provides data about a location. Learn demographics, nearby restaurants and entertainment, public transportation, the average rent price and more. Share these insights with clients as they choose and explore different neighborhoods.

Google Maps: Use Google Maps for transportation directions to and from listings. The app can also help you find restaurants and shops in the neighborhood.

Dropbox: Have access to important documents and files at the touch of a button. Wish you had brought a contract or lease with you? If you saved it to Dropbox, you can pull it up on your device no matter where you are. Quickly share individual files with colleagues and clients. Sign up for Dropbox for Business to share access to presentations and files.

CENTURY21®: Use the Century21® app to view nearby homes for sale or rent, nearby open houses, search for homes, save properties, and find price reductions. Show the app to your clients and use it to find new properties that might interest them. If you are in a neighborhood for a showing, go and visit more homes in the area!

We hope that these apps will help you stay organized in and out of the office. We care about helping you advance in your career. You can find more resources at Century21 SM University.

Recommended Reading:

-Tech Talk: Home Office Essentials

-Productivity Tips for Working from Home

-Let’s Get App-y: 3 Apps for Interior Design

*Some of these apps may require payment for certain features.

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Dorm Room 101: How to Decorate a Dorm Room

A dorm room is a student’s home away from home. It is possible to make it feel more home-y (while still ensuring that they come back home for breaks).

Use these tips to help them show off their style and personality!

Decorative Bedding: The beds are the focal points of a dorm room. Bedding is a great way to showcase your child’s style. Have fun choosing the perfect extra long twin sheets, comforter, decorative pillows, and other bedding necessities. If they know their roommates in advance, you can coordinate a color scheme with them!

Clutter Concealers: Dorm rooms are notoriously small and students generally share the space with at least one roommate. Conceal clutter by using storage pieces such as under the bed boxes, a storage ottoman, slim hangers, and closet storage accessories.

Cover the Walls: Most schools won’t allow students to paint the walls of your dorm room, but there are other ways to enhance a bland white wall. Frame posters, art, and personal photos. You can also put up a wall decals or removable wallpaper, just make sure to take it down at the end of the year.

Extra Lighting: Dorm rooms often have fluorescent lighting. To create a home-like feel, use floor lamps, desk lamps, or table lamps instead of the main lights for a room.

Curtains: Curtains make any room feel more like home and they block out light better than blinds. If you are allowed to install a curtain rod, purchase curtains for the space.

Extras: Extra items could include a small couch, a behind the door mirror, desk organizers, a small trashcan, a lap desk, and a small floor rug.

Follow these suggestions to style your child’s dorm room. They’ll enjoy having a cozy and comfortable space that they can call their own (for at least a year).

Recommended Reading:

-How to Make a Rental Feel Like Home

-Sweet Dreams are Made of These: How to Style a Bed

-How to Style a Bookshelf

-Home Office Essentials

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