Posts Tagged 'House'

11 Things to Do At Home Before a Vacation

Thanksgiving is one of the busiest times of the year when it comes to the number of people traveling in America. With that in mind, Apartment Therapy has a great post up listing all of the things you should do in your house before you leave home for an extended period of time. While this is prescient for the upcoming holiday, this advice holds true for any vacation where you leave home for more than a few nights. Here are their suggestions for converting your living space to “vacation mode” so you can avoid any unpleasant surprises when you get back:

Clean your refrigerator – Toss anything that is nearing its expiration date before you leave. You’re probably not going to eat it when you get home.

Refrigerate fresh fruits and vegetables – Produce sitting on your countertop is bound to attract bugs after a while. Sticking them in the fridge will avoid that problem.

Take out the garbage
– The longer garbage sits around, the worse it smells and it is also something that will attract bugs and mice.

Clean surfaces
– Give any countertops and tabletops a good wipedown before you leave.

Take care of your plants – Give them some extra water before you head out and move them to a cool area of the house. In cooler weather plants drink up less water and the rate of soil evaporation is much lower. This will ensure your best shot at keeping them alive while you’re out.

Stock up on easy meals – When you get back home you’re rarely in a mood to cook. A few ready made meals will help you get settled back in.

Suspend your mail – An overflowing mailbox is a huge sign to everyone that you’re out of town. Suspending the mail or having a neighbor pick it up is a good way to take care of that.

Turn down (or up) your thermostat – There’s no need to pay to keep the house at your ideal temperature when no one is home. If you’re leaving in the winter turn the thermostat down to 55 which is just warm enough to avoid frozen pipes. If you’re out in the summer, shut off the AC. Your wallet will thank you.

Throw out fresh flowers – Even if they look nice now they’ll probably be dead when you get back home.

Have a plan for your pets – If you’re not taking them with you, you need to have a plan to ensure that they’re taken care of.


That’s how your kitchen should look when you’re on vacation.

Churchill has short-term corporate housing available Nationwide. Please contact us at 866-255-0593 or National@FurnishedHousing.com for more information.

French Castles Are Cheaper Than New York Apartments

It’s no secret that real estate in New York City is expensive. Most city residents have resigned themselves to the fact that if they don’t already own property in the city limits they probably never will. But what if you do earn enough to make buying a house or apartment in New York a viable option? Would it even be worth it? Buzzfeed has put together a list of six lovely picturesque castles in France that while expensive, cost less than some houses and apartments on the market in New York City. What could possibly explain why a modest living space in New York could demand a higher price than an extravagant French chateau?

It all comes down to supply and demand. New York City crams about 8.3 million people into 302.64 square miles with many more people wanting to move in. By owning property in the city you are not only close to the office where you earn your money, but you also have the ability to make a killing renting your property. Living in New York also comes with the advantages of not having to own a car and all of those related expenses as well as fairly easy access to markets for goods and services that you want and need. All of those factors are what drive property values in New York up to the astronomical levels that they’re at now.

Now lets compare that to the French castles. Yes they’re quite large, luxurious, and have incredibly beautiful views. However, Many of them are out in the French countryside further away from shops, services, and places where people work. Also maintaining those incredible lawns and gardens can’t be cheap. There is also the issue of taxes. If you earn anywhere near the amount of money where you can afford one of those castles you’re going to pay far more in taxes living in France than you will in America. When you consider all of those factors together, that is why enormous French castles are cheaper than New York real estate. The list price of a New York apartment is far closer to the true cost of ownership than it is for a French castle. But I will defiantly keep that article in mind in the incredibly unlikely chance that I win the Powerball.


I’ll take that over a Bed-Stuy townhouse any day.

Churchill has short-term corporate housing available in New York City and Nationwide. For more information please contact us at 866-255-0593 or National@FurnishedHousing.com.

Al Capone’s Final House Sells for Over $7 Million

When people think of organized crime in America Al Capone if one of the first figures that everyone thinks of. The Chicago-based crime lord made a fortune in the black market for alcohol in the 1920s and he became the most notorious gangster from the era of Prohibition. In 1931, he was convicted of tax evasion and sentenced to eight years in Alcatraz. After getting out of prison he bought an estate in Miami Beach for $40,000 in cash where he lived until his death in 1947 at the age of 48.

Well it turns out that Capone and his successors could have made a fortune through more legitimate means with this house. The house where Capone spent the final years of his life recently sold for $7,431,750 according to Zillow. Adjusting for inflation the home’s value appreciated by $6.7 million between the time Capone bought the house and today. The estate has a two guesthouses and a 30′ x 60′ swimming pool and everything was recently renovated to add the most modern of amenities. Even if Capone had lived another 25 years the house’s value would have long since recouped the initial investment. Just consider that if alcohol wasn’t illegal in the 1920s Al Capone would have been a microbrewer instead of a mafia boss, but he still could have become a wildly successful real estate mogul in Miami.


It sure beats Alcatraz as a retirement home.

Churchill has short-term rental apartments throughout Florida and Nationwide. Please contact us at 866-255-0593 or email National@FurnishedHousing.com for more information.

How To Get Better at Haggling

Americans don’t like haggling very much and as a result we usually don’t have a lot of experience to draw from when the situation calls for it. For most transactions we simply pay the posted price for the product and if the price is too high we don’t buy it. For example, you won’t see anyone trying to talk down the price of their groceries at the supermarket which is fairly commonplace in some other countries (though you might see some extreme couponing). However, haggling is a very important skill to have especially if you’re buying or selling big-ticket items like cars and houses or negotiating your salary.

TIME recently wrote an article about the science of haggling and what people can to to get better at it. The biggest lesson? Avoid round numbers. In the study people who offered or asked for very specific prices were able to get more concessions from the other side than those who started with round numbers. Don’t ask for $1,500 for an item, ask for $1,519. The reasoning behind this is that presenting a more precise number suggests that you know what you’re talking about and that has a tendency to reduce the range that’s considered negotiable more favorably to your terms. As the article said: “If you say you want $10 for something, the other party takes that to mean a range of $7 to $13. If you say you want $11, that range becomes $10 to $12. The initial figure exerts a kind of gravitational pull.”

There are of course limits. If you offer a specific figure you still have to be able to justify it and you still have to have a good idea what the item is worth. When it comes to big things like cars, houses, and salary there is no substitute for doing your homework beforehand. It’s also good to have in mind a walkaway number that you can stick to. One of the biggest sources of leverage in any negotiation is the ability to walk away if you don’t get the deal you want. Haggling is about bending the price at the margins, not breaking it completely.

Churchill has short-term corporate housing available Nationwide. Please contact us at 866-255-0593 or National@FurnishedHousing.com for more information.

Real Estate – What you can buy — new — for $250,000

If you are in the market for a new home, as in brand new never lived in by another, MSN Real Estate has some great options available in their article, What you can buy — new — for $250,000. While some of these homes may require a bit more relocation then you were considering, it could be worth it for the value. Take a look at diverse markets such as Oregon City, Oregon; Vail, Arizona; or sunny St. Augustine, Florida where you can buy the house pictured below; all 5 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, and 2,917 square feet of it for only $247,900! Good luck finding a home that size and price in New Jersey or California! Now may be the perfect time to find your brand new dream home for a more affordable price than you had ever imagined.

Churchill has short-term corporate housing available Nationwide. Please contact us at 866-255-0593 or National@FurnishedHousing.com for more information.

Photo courtesy of: LMH Solutions