Sales in the City – How to Prepare Your Home for the Change in Season

Brrr! As winter’s chill slowly comes upon us, just as we collectively unearth our favorite sweaters and sip pumpkin-flavored beverages, we should also cozy up our apartments. Here are some tips we’ve garnered from design, staging and sales experts on how to warm up your home without sacrificing the chic!

Anjie Cho, Architect and Interior Designer, Holistic Spaces
Cathy Hobbs, Interior Designer, Cathy Hobbs Design Recipes
Cristina Dos Santos, Interior Designer, Cristina Dos Santos LLC
George Case, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson, Citi Habitats



Winter Greening

According to Anjie Cho, architect and feng shui interior designer, one should pay close attention to respecting the environment and conserving energy (and money), even before aesthetics. She suggests removing your air conditioner because air infiltrates through its vents; if it is impossible to remove it or if storage is a big problem, fit the vent with a fabric cover that can easily be found in a hardware store. Do not use plastic, as it is not breathable and may cause condensation, which can damage your appliance. “Heavy drapes will also help to keep the cold air out and heat in,” Cho advises. “Weather sealing on doors or getting a door sweep (or even putting a heavy towel at the bottom of the door) will block the gap, preventing cold air from getting in.” “Don’t forget about your foliage!” Cho adds. As it gets colder it is a good time to move plants from window sills or outdoor spaces. “The extreme difference between temperatures can kill your house plants. Instead, move greenery a foot or two from the sills or doors, or get an indoor grow light set on a timer for the colder months.”

Speaking of plants, George Case, a licensed real estate salesperson at Citi Habitats, suggests getting floral arrangements of seasonal offerings to help bring the outside in. Think tall branches, evergreens, eucalyptus. The smell will be amazing and conjure up images of the holidays.

Designer and stager Cathy Hobbs of Cathy Hobbs Design Recipes agrees, “Why not brighten up your décor by placing cut flower stems in colored bottles or short jelly or canning jars?” She adds that potted succulents– plants having some parts that are more than normally thickened and fleshy, usually to retain water, such as cacti– can be a nice alternative to leaves and foliage.

“Succulents are quite hardy. I especially love them because they last a long time and don’t require a lot of care. They are not only beautiful, but they look fabulous in everything from rubbed terra cotta pots to glass vessels filled with stones and moss.”

Yule Log

Once your environmental concerns are addressed, it is time to focus on the visual and tactile warmth of your space. If one is lucky enough to have a fireplace—either decorative or woodburning— a stack of fresh-cut birch logs “creates a narrative— bringing to mind cozy nights around a fire—and will be the visual focal point of your room,” explains Case.

Let There Be Light

Ambient lighting is important as the days grow shorter and darker. Adding low-key fill light—ancillary lighting that fills in where primary lights cannot – will not only highlight areas of the home that may get ‘lost in the shadows,’ but it’s a good way to romance a space on a grey, chilly day,” adds Case.

Seasonal Scents

Scents play a big role in the energy of one’s space. “I love introducing vanilla-based diffusers or candles with Bordeaux or fig notes into a home during the colder months,” says Cristina Dos Santos, an interior designer in NYC. With the prevalence of wool garb and textiles during the coldweather season, it is important to use cedar hangers, closet or trunks to prevent damage from moths. The added plus? That great scent permeating through the home on a cold day, conjuring up thoughts of brisk jaunts in the snow-covered woods.

Textural Healing

Thin, gauzy or flimsy bedding and curtains, be gone! “Winter is all about thick knits, fur, and wool styles,” says Dos Santos. “Exchange summer pillows and throws for rich and warm fabrics.”

“Interesting decorative pillows made from colorful scarves in gorgeous, fun, winter prints make for an affordable fabric choice when it comes to throw pillows,” says Hobbs.

She adds, “One of my favorite patterns right now is toile. Toile originated in France and typically depicts a scene or a story. Many toile fabrics also come in a myriad of colors (including warm colors like reds and oranges) and in some cases can even be reflective of a particular season.”

Hobbs sings the praises of velvet as well, whether cut or crushed. “I not only love the look and feel of velvet but also the versatility and richness of the fabric.”

Hazy Shade of Winter:
The Dos and Don’ts of Color

Christina Dos Santos says color is a major way to modify an apartment’s look for the change in season. “Add deep/bold colors to enrich your space. Changing your accessories to deep charcoals or earth tones brings warmth and comfort to your home.” Here are some easy and quick ways to update your home for the cold-weather season that don’t require a major commitment and can be easily updated every season–all according to Cathy Hobbs.

• Do consider using neutrals such as black, white, charcoal, gray or beige and accent them with a “bold color.”
• Do select a signature bold accent piece and build a color palette around it.
• Do consider an accent wall if you’re afraid to commit to a strong accent color in the entire room. You will probably want to change your colors somewhat for spring again.
• Do bring color into your décor through accent pieces such as artwork and accessories.

• Don’t just tie yourself into one shade of a bold color; consider tints and tones of the same color.
• Don’t use colors that are too grayed down or muted.
• Don’t use colors that are too warm in small rooms; it can make a room look smaller.
• Don’t paint your ceiling a color; it will automatically close in a space.

Scarsdale: A Community Rich in Spirit

Anne Moretti

Anne Moretti
Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s International Realty
Click Here to Contact Anne

Established in 1788, Scarsdale is a suburban village located 24 miles north of New York City. The name is a concatenation of “scar,” meaning crag, and “dale,” which is synonymous with “valley.” Since its emergence in the early 20th century as a choice abode of the city commuter, Scarsdale has prospered from its residents’ commitment to excellence in living and in education. With a population of 17,000, Scarsdale packs an array of cultural offerings into its 6.6 square miles. Its long list of famous denizens, from public and private sectors alike, is still growing.

This year, Scarsdale was ranked first in the nation among CNN Money’s “top earning towns.” While the wealth and prominence of Scarsdale residents attracts national interest and discussion, their down-to-earth demeanor and commitment to giving back are the real draws of living here. Citizens harness their intelligence and affluence to help on a local and global level: from next door neighbors to Cambodian women’s shelters, Scarsdale’s community opens its hearts and wallets to share their talents and gains with others.

The keel of Scarsdale’s community is its school system. Educators measure success by the degree to which students fulfill their potential to improve the common good. The high school’s motto is “non sibi”: not for oneself alone. Scarsdale teaches a traditional liberal arts curriculum through a progressive pedagogy that emphasizes holistic instruction. There are five elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school, through which 4,700 students pass every year. Scarsdale rivals the most elite private school in curricular depth and rigor. Language instruction is emphasized early: Spanish is offered starting in first grade and Mandarin is now offered in the high school.

The schools have recently integrated interdisciplinary studies, following some of the nation’s top universities. We have caps on class sizes in the elementary schools, and our middle and high schools stratify courses based on ability.

Photo By  Audrey Lynne Shares 2Residents run the professional gamut, from medicine to sports, from fine arts to finance. Through their individual commitments they form a caring, cosmopolitan community. Early 1900s architecture defines the village’s timbered Tudors, the dominant local mode. There is plenty of green space: parks, playgrounds, baseball fields, tennis courts, stables and a riding academy. A catalog of recreational programs is available to children and adults. Platform tennis, or paddle, was invented here in 1928, and the local paddle league remains active. The public pool facility has four swimming pools; lessons are offered in both swimming and diving. Sidewalks line almost every major road—you see people strolling, jogging, biking, pushing strollers on them all the time. Hoff Barthelson Music School offers top-tier music instruction and classical concerts, attracting students and attendees from across Westchester county. The downtown area in the village presents a lively assortment of delicious and diverse restaurants, delis, bakeries, and boutiques. Members of the Building Department keep a watchful eye on new construction and housing development in the Village to preserve a happy medium between consumer demands and historic character.

It is a noted trend for children raised in Scarsdale to move back as adults. Communities reshuffle and morph, but in Scarsdale, this one fact persists: it is a great place to raise your kids. My husband’s family has lived in Scarsdale since the 1920s; two of his three siblings are also raising their children here.

I have worked in real estate throughout Westchester County for seventeen years, but my primary focus has been selling homes in Scarsdale, where I live. At its heart, Photo By  Audrey Lynne SharesScarsdale is a community of diverse individuals committed to the common good. As an agent with Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s International Realty, I often meet prospective homeowners who are curious about Scarsdale because its schools’ excellent reputation. Buyers are also attracted to the brief 30-minute commute to Grand Central in New York City. When they visit, they’re won over by the many parks, leafy environs, and vibrant international community. Schools often host events to celebrate the world cultures current residents have brought to Scarsdale, including an annual Thanksgiving luncheon that features a smorgasbord of international cuisine.

The juxtaposition of comfortable living with deep-rooted values distinguishes Scarsdale among the suburbs of New York. People come here for the schools, but they stay for the richness of spirit they discover when they see the town for themselves.

Small Town America in the Shadows of NYC

Heidi Henshaw

Heidi Henshaw
Trump International Realty

Located on the beautiful Hudson River, Briarcliff boasts its own Town pool and tennis facilities plus the stone Law Pavilion (rentable for private events) and historic Briarcliff Library which was once a train station early in the 20th century.

The overall feeling is freedom, warmth and a supportive community–security.

Briarcliff is also surrounded by prestigious world-class golf including Trump National Golf Course. Spectacular luxurious golf town houses can be purchased for those who want 24- hour- manned gate-house security in a beautiful private setting. The Trump Club offers golf, pool, tennis, gym and fitness, dining and social events and activities for members.  However, many of the town’s people line the course to watch the spectacular July 4th fireworks which are not to be missed!

Westchester backgroundThere are also many open spaces and parks.  Rockefeller State Park borders Briarcliff and is a very popular spot for hiking, running, dog-walking, sledding, cross-country skiing or just catching an amazing sunset….Other recreation includes basketball, hockey, tennis, softball,swimming and classes for children and adults.  There are also annual town community events that include races, rides, parades and celebration!

The Westchester Mall is just a 10 minute car ride for a great shopping experience.  Or visit one of the many spas that are nearby. Traveling North one can find peace and tranquility in the Catskills or Adirondack Mountains areas.  Traveling South one is relaxing at a Hamptons beach in under two hours.

Although Briarcliff is just under 7 square miles, there are also impressive estate areas including Scarborough Rd. which includes the 65 acre Holly Hill estate that Riveronce belonged to Brook Astor.   Other Scarborough Rd grand 20th century turn-of-century estates have breathtaking Hudson River views.  There are several other estate areas with beautiful homes that have golf course views or Hudson River views.

The award winning, sought after Briarcliff school system has some people comparing it to private educational facilities.  There is one elementary school, and the middle school and high school are on the same campus.  Briarcliff High School offers a vast array of quality courses including many AP and honor level courses. There are also performing arts stage productions, dance and art shows, and science programs and competitions where students exhibit their talents and knowledge.  The sports scene is popular for both male and female students.  Briarcliff sports teams have garnered many awards over the past ten years including Womens  NYS Basketball and  Soccer Champions and Mens NYS Baseball Championship Finalists..

While Briarcliff has it’s share of celebrity and successful individuals, they blend in and are able to maintain their privacy.






Where To Find Luxury Golf Resort Real Estate in Florida

Jennie Heal

Jennie Heal
Supreme Auctions
Click Here To Contact Jennie

The Sunshine State is one of the most frequented by avid golfers – and, as such, you can expect to find plenty of golf resort real estate in Florida. But, just where are the most luxurious long-term golf resort communities? Here are my top 5 picks.

Palm Coast, FL – Ocean Hammock

Ocean HammockBetween St. Augustine and Daytona Beach on Florida’s Atlantic Coast is where you’ll find Ocean Hammock, a private gated oceanfront community in the city of Palm Coast. It’s within this community that you’ll find one of the most exciting pieces of beachfront Golf Resort Real Estate Florida has to offer – a sprawling three-level oceanfront retreat that boasts over 5,800 square feet of high-end indoor living and another 2,000 square feet of outdoor space on numerous balconies.

Golfers will love the home for its exclusive club access to the Hammock Beach Resort Golf & Spa Resort with its Ocean Golf Course

and Conservatory Golf Course, designed by Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson, respectively. For those who enjoy the greens, they will find more holes here than on any other golf course in Florida. And, those who love to hear the wind and waves of the Atlantic, they’ll love the serenity of where this Caribbean style plantation home rests, and the private wooden walkway leads to the soft sandy beach.




Jupiter, FL – Admiral’s CoveAdmiral’s Cove

Take, for example, the custom-built $9.75 million, 14,452 square foot property at 370 Eagle Drive in this Jupiter, Florida golf community and you’ll realize just why it’s considered THE luxury golf community of the greater Palm Beach area.

From custom homes ranging from the mid-$50s top $15 million to more modest $500K -$2 million condo and patio style homes, over 900 property owners call The Club at Admiral’s Cove home – and the waiting list to get into the community is longer still.

Stuart, FL – Sailfish Point

SailfishNestled on the southernmost tip of Hutchinson Island on the southeast Atlantic coast of Florida, Sailfish Point is a private and prestigious community that requires no tee times for play.

Named one of Golf Digest’s 10 Best New Remodeled Courses for 2008, prices range from $475,000 for mere lots on up to $29.9 million for custom finished single family homes – in the middle of that price range you can fetch detached golf villas, condos and patio homes with golf or water feature views. It’s an impressive community with spacious lots, 520 residences and plenty of land options from oceanfront to riverside and right along the Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course.

Naples, FL – Talis Park

Talis Park in Naples considers itself a luxurious golf community for the young and the young at heart. With village homes starting in the $800,000s on up to customTalis Park 4,500 square foot Park Estate Homes starting at $2.5 million, the architecture takes its cue from the Italian Renaissance style.

The Talis Park Golf Club features a course designed by Greg Norman and Pete Dye, one of two in the world created by the partnership. The clubhouse boasts a spa, fitness studio and a market café – all lending to its hip spirit.

Destin, FL – Sandestin

SandestinMoving to Florida’s Gulf Coast is where you’ll find the Sandestin Community in Destin, Florida. Located on the famous 26-mile stretch of “sugar sand” white beaches of the panhandle, this is one of the most beautiful pieces of Golf Resort Real Estate Florida has to offer – and one of the most affordable areas. Unlike the more heavily developed South Florida areas of Palm Beach and Jupiter, Destin is less crowded, less “touristy” and tends to be a place where your dollar will go a bit further.

Featuring four amazing golf courses, including The Raven by Robert Trent Jones, Jr., Sandestin has condos in the $200,000 range on the low end but most of the nicer luxury homes will run higher into the multi-million range. When it comes to great golf and a more small town feel, Sandestin is a fine choice.





Atlanta: The City in the Trees

People always ask me what it’s like to live in Atlanta. Atlanta is an impressively green city compared to most metropolitan areas: with four distinctive seasons, there is always some blooming species of tree or shrub. The seasons are mild and offer a variety of outdoor living and entertainment possibilities. Living in Buckhead and Tuxedo Park, considered the Beverly Hills of the south, residents enjoy a small community vibe, while the heart of Atlanta harbors a population of over 6 million people. Chastain Amphitheater, Piedmont “Common Ground” Park, and the Appalachian Mountains are just an hour away.

These in-town neighborhoods have some of the most beautiful residences, particularly those in Tuxedo Park which is a neighborhood comprised of three or four streets behind the Governor’s Mansion. These highly-coveted streets include Valley, Tuxedo and Blackland Road, which pave the foundation for truly breathtaking estates and boast lot values of over a million dollars per acre. Even at that price, Atlanta’s luxury market maintains an outstanding value and is roughly a third of the cost compared to most large cities, including Los Angeles, Miami and New York.

Atlanta Skyline from Piedmont ParkExamples of two notable properties for sale in Tuxedo Park are www.421Blacklandroad.com and www.450Blacklandroad.com. There are also charming residences in walking neighborhoods off of West Paces Ferry and Peachtree Road available in all price points. Residents have access to excellent restaurants, shops and cultural centers.  In 2014, a new shopping concept at the corner of Peachtree Road and West Paces Ferry, next to the St. Regis called Buckhead, will be completed where residents can walk among tree lined streets for dining and high-end shopping.

Atlanta’s Hartsfield airport is within 30 minutes from Buckhead and can take you anywhere in the world.  In 2000 the Department of Aviation embarked on what has become a $6 billion-plus Capital Improvement Program (CIP). The Capital Improvement Program benefits domestic and international travelers by increasing airline and passenger capacity, and by improving the overall customer service experience. CIP projects maintain, renovate and build the capital infrastructure facilities necessary to attract and retain businesses in Atlanta and the state, creating thousands of jobs for Atlanta residents.

Exciting artistic changes are happening in Atlanta these days. With the Georgia tax incentive in place, the film industry is here to stay. Film locations are Skyline Atlantapopping up all around the city, and prominent producers, directors and actors are taking up residence in Buckhead and Midtown.  New movies and reality shows can be seen shooting in eateries, residential areas and nighttime hotspots, creating an entirely new industry for Atlanta.

Every year, the BronzeLens Film Festival of Atlanta celebrates the accomplishments in film and is a networking event dedicated to bringing International attention to Atlanta as a center for film and film production for people of color. This year the BronzeLens Film Festival will have over 1,000 attendees and will feature screenings in multiple venues, as well as informative panels, and enlightening master classes led by top names in film, direction and production.

Atlanta offers a broad variety of tourist attractions including amusement parks, museums, aquariums and historical sites. Visit the World of Coca-Cola, the Botanical Garden, the Georgia Aquarium (the largest in the world) and Turner Field to watch the Braves. Atlanta has something for everyone combined with an undeniable quality of life for a major metropolitan area.





Downtown Tribeca

KANE MANERA Douglas Elliman Licensed Real Estate Salesperson 212.321.7177

Douglas Elliman
Licensed Real Estate

The majority of the buildings in 10013 were designed for industry, yet proportionally speaking, they make for exceedingly luxurious living that is now being mimicked by architects and demanded by home buyers everywhere. High ceilings, large windows, exposed brick and quality interiors that are as custom to the apartment as the artistic individuals who colonized the neighborhood during the 1960’s and 70’s, not only add to the community and its abodes being diverse, but illustrate an inherent resilience to carve out a residential landscape and grow when times have been difficult. Couple these qualities with cobble stone streets, Hudson River Park sunsets and thriving restaurants, and you have the private and comfortable alternative to the finest neighborhoods in New York, with the ease of enjoying a superior caliber of lifestyle.

“TriBeCa is one of the most unique neighborhoods in the World and its inception as the residential locale of choice is something which could only have been conceived in New York City.”

Locanda Verde
377 Greenwich St
(corner of N.Moore and Greenwich) Great breakfast spot

J Crew Men’s Shop at the Liquor Store
235 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013 (at White St.)
First men’s only store for the ubiquitous brand

24 Hubert Wines
24 Hubert St
(between Washington St & Greenwich St)

Tutto II Giorno & NY Academy of Art
114 Franklin St., New York, NY 10013
De Felice’s rustic Italian. Tip: try the Chicken Milanese

New York Academy of Art
111 Franklin St.

Downtown Soho/Nolita

CHRISTINA VISCA BOND New York Senior Vice President 917-806-6867, 917-806-6867 christinavisca@bondnewyork.com

BOND New York
Senior Vice President
917-806-6867, 917-806-6867
Click Here to Contact Christina

I’ve seen the neighborhood change dramatically…mostly for the good. It’s off the beaten path, yet has so much to offer. You’ll find a chic boutique or restaurant underneath classic tenement buildings and next door a new condo with starting prices of $10M. It’s a fabulous mixture of old and new, yet even the new feels old.

Brink of Little Italy “I am fortunate to have been selling and renting homes at The Police Building for the past 23 years.” 


408 Broome Street Food shop and tapas café

Ed’s Lobster

222 Lafayette Street

A proper seafood shack

Allan and Suzi

237 Centre Street

Retro clothing store

Animal Haven

251 Centre Street

Non-profit organization for abandoned cats and dog

Rice to Riches

37 Spring Street

Rice pudding boutique perfect one bedroom/convertible 2

Sales in the City – Fall 2013

The residential sales market traditionally heats up after Labor Day, and because this year our Summer selling season was just as active as Fall usually is, firms are gearing up for a wild ride.

We interviewed four NYC real estate experts to get the lowdown on what buyers, sellers and agents can expect.

Michael Signet, Executive Director of Sales, BOND New York
Susan Abrams, Senior Managing Director, Warburg Realty
Edan Pinkas , Friedberg Pinkas PLLC
Douglas Heddings, President, Heddings Property Group

What should an agent, buyer and seller be doing to prep for Fall?


Signet: Fall is typically the busiest time of year. Agent preparation would include doing extra networking and more marketing, such as soliciting buildings they’ve done business in before and sending out line letters for the buyers that have not found their dream home yet. Sellers should take some time this summer to stage their apartment, put a fresh coat of paint on the walls and get rid of any clutter they may have.

Abrams: Sellers should use the summer to wash windows and make any necessary repairs to their property and they should also have a conversation with their accountant and attorney about closing costs and taxes incurred in connection with a sale. Buyers should interview and select a buyer’s broker. A good broker will help a buyer navigate the process, understand the nuances in neighborhoods, price ranges, pre-wars, post-wars, co-ops and condominiums and prepare a buyer for the condo or co-op board application process. A buyer should also pre-qualify for a loan and have their financial information in order. Agents should be thinking about what properties will be coming on the market in the Fall, what new developments are coming to market and what properties that have lingered on the market may be ripe for negotiations and price reductions.

Heddings: My best advice to everyone regarding the early fall market is that it is never as active as people anticipate it to be. In NYC, summer continues through September and combined with the Jewish holidays it generally means that inventory doesn’t pick up until mid-October. Likewise, the number of buyers doesn’t increase until about the same time.

What do you expect for Fall in terms of sales?

Signet: We normally expect the Fall season to be the busiest of the year. As sellers return from summer vacation, more inventory comes to market, which in turn brings out more buyers that have run out of things to see and have been waiting. This year I expect the Fall selling season to be all of this but on steroids. We have predicted that there are currently six real buyers for every property and the multiple bid scenarios that have become common place prove this prediction. So, as more and more home owners that have been watching prices rise decide that now is a good time to cash out, more inventory will appear and more deals will get done.

Pinkas: I expect all facets of the real estate market (both the high-end market and regular market) to pick up where it left off in July and to really pick up steam. This will lead to many people trying to close before year end.
Abrams: . Inventory is at historic lows, especially in the two and three bedroom markets. As such prices will continue to be steady and may even rise due to low inventory in many sub markets. Properties that are priced right will experience competitive bidding.

Heddings: The Fall should be interesting based on what the economy is looking like and where mortgage rates are at the time. Any significant pop in rates will create even more of a buying frenzy (it always does) and with inventory still low we could see further price appreciation. If there is no viable threat of rates rising, the market will remain on an upward trajectory due to the continued inventory shortage.

What factors are coming into play when getting sales done this autumn?

Signet: The rules and procedures don’t change from season to season. Buyers need to have their pre- approval letters ready, their financial statements filled out and their real estate attorney in place.
Sellers, on the other hand, need to price their property correctly. Even though the market is hot, buyers are more educated now than ever and overpriced property will just sit and get stale.

Pinkas: Now that summer is over and people are back from vacation I expect contracts and closing to start happening at a faster clip.

Abrams: The biggest challenge in the fall will be inventory, especially in certain markets. Most of the new construction coming to market is serving the very high-end of the market. The very wealthy seeking new construction will have more options. It will continue to be a challenge to find properties in the $1-4 million dollar range that meet buyers’ requirements.

Heddings: DUCKS IN A ROW! To compete in the Fall market, buyers will have to make sure that they can present a clear, accurate and positive picture of their finances including pre-approval for a mortgage when submitting a bid. Sellers need to work with someone who has a reputation for solid and accurate pricing strategy.

What neighborhoods may have the most and least sales traffic and why?

Signet: The most sales happen where there is the most inventory, so right now: Upper East Side, Midtown East, Midtown West and Chelsea. Trendier neighborhoods such as Soho, Tribeca and the West Village where there is very limited inventory will see the biggest spike in prices, but the fewest number of transactions.

Pinkas: I think areas that do not have much new development or conversion going on will stall slightly in sales traffic and one such neighborhood is the East Village.

Abrams: Today almost all neighborhoods are desirable. Traffic is strong on the Upper East Side, Upper West Side, all over downtown, Harlem, prime Brownstone Brooklyn and Williamsburg. The fact that homes are priced at $1.5 million in Bedford Stuyvesant is proof that neighborhood boundaries have virtually disappeared.
Due to the construction of the Second Avenue Subway, sales traffic is not as brisk along York, First and Second Avenue. However, the neighborhood is changing. The Second Avenue subway is bringing transportation and an influx of new and interesting retail to the area. This location is one to watch and I predict home prices will increase.

Heddings: The Upper West Side should remain consistently sought-after because of the demographics, proximity to parks, schools and transportation. I doubt we will see any immediate stalls in sales anywhere barring a spike in interest rates or a major political or world event.

The 3 most relevant policies for mortgage protection

HarryIn an era of large home purchases and jumbo mortgages, how does a buyer ensure his home is properly protected from future disasters? We must first evaluate and determine the types of disasters that can befall a home owner. Once these are determined, the owner should then decide which risks they are willing to accept and which risks they would prefer to have insured.

This article will deal with the risk of death or disability of the primary income earner homeowner. In every circumstance, working with the right advisor is the first critical decision in determining insurance requirements. The advisor should do a complete financial evaluation prior to determining a plan of action. Once the owners are comfortable they have the right advisor, they should then think about the effects the death or disability of the primary income earner would have on the rest of the family.

For example, an investment banker earning $2 million per year could require a different plan than the owner of a software development company earning the same income but with equity in the company and a properly funded buy-sell agreement with his partners. In either case, the risk of loss of income is the most important criteria relating to home mortgage protection. In many cases, the risk of disability is much greater than the risk of death, but both need to be effectively addressed. Disability insurance can be acquired to replace a complete income stream for virtually any level of income if the advisor is using the right market resources.
Life insurance comes in many varieties. In this article we will only address the 3 most relevant policies for mortgage protection.
Term Life Insurance- This type of policy pays a death benefit only during the term that the buyer determines at policy acquisition. The term can be one, five, ten, fifteen, twenty or thirty years. The premiums are fixed for the entire time period, but at the end of the period there is no value left and the insurance is gone. For those who are just concerned with income replacement, this is the cheapest for of insurance.
Guaranteed Universal Life Insurance- This type of policy is used to provide permanent protection while keeping the costs as low as possible. These policies are best used to deal with large estate planning needs as well as long term mortgage protection for clients whose age may impact the ability to use term insurance for the full term of the debt.
Whole Life Insurance- This type of policy provides clients with many benefits beyond the pure death benefit. These include tax free cash build up, modest but steady rates of return, and in many states creditor protection. For these reasons the premiums are significantly higher, however the value the insured and their family receives more than adequately compensates for the cost. Whole life has been the savior of many families for nearly 200 years. The policies have performed very well throughout every major financial crisis this country has endured. When used properly as part of an overall financial plan, whole life insurance is a valuable asset class that should not be overlooked.

In addition to using insurance for protection, having the proper documentation is crucial. The proper use of trusts and other planning vehicles can provide significant risk mitigation without the need for insurance. Proper planning requires the use of knowledgeable professionals to help create the right structure for each situation. This is not the time for do-it-yourself planning. Use the resources available to you to keep your assets and family protected.

Visit Harry Armon

Gurney’s Inn & Seawater Spa: A Sanctuary of Wellness and Luxury

ThalassotherapyApproached by winding country lanes that meander throughout the bucolic town of Montauk, Gurney’s Inn and Seawater Spa commands one of the most spectacular panoramic views on Long Island. Perched high on windswept bluffs, this idyllic destination overlooks a world-renowned private ocean beach, offering the majestic Atlantic to all who visit. It is a space for personal discovery, solace and healing; a refuge from the everyday world and a place to restore and reflect.
Founded over 30 years ago by Nick Monte, who purchased the original Gurney’s Inn in the late 1950’s, the spa was built in a European tradition, and is the only true Thalasso Center in the continental United States. Monte, also known as ‘Keeper of the Inn,’ believed in the healing and restorative properties of the sea so much that he drank a shot of seawater every day. His dream of creating a spa environment that encompassed the sea’s finest qualities became a reality in 1979 with the opening of the International Sea Water Health Spa and Fitness Center at Gurney’s Inn.
Thalasso Therapy comes from the Greek word for “sea,” and refers to a variety of treatments that use seawater and seaweed, each designed to tone, moisturize and revitalize the body and skin, and in many cases to improve circulation. “Our facilities are renowned throughout the International Spa Communities as one of the principal healing spas, using the latest and purist natural products,” explains Spa director Candice Monte. “The spa includes a heated indoor seawater pool overlooking the Atlantic, seawater Roman baths, finish rock saunas, Russian steam rooms and Swiss showers.”
Beach setup kellyA Thalasso program at Gurney’s includes hydro massage in specially designed hydrotherapy tubs filled with filtered sea water, exercise in heated seawater pools, body treatments, massage, relaxation and good nutrition. “The effect of Thalasso Therapy is profound,” says Candice. “Our treatments have a beneficial effect on the skin, cellular exchanges, the respiratory system and the body as a whole with a better oxygenation, an increased elimination of toxins and a revitalization of the mind and body.” After a long, hard week in the office, people are stressed and off-balance. Taking a day at the spa to reconnect and rebalance is a wonderful way to boost your bodies’ natural defenses and immunity.
The spa pumps in genuine ocean water and then heats it. “Heated seawater allows minerals and trace elements to pass through the barrier of the skin,” describes Candice. “The ions that penetrate into the body will selectively wander and fix themselves in the organs where they are most needed. The body recharges itself with minerals and trace elements, therefore detoxifying and rebalancing all body functions.” Seaweed offers an even greater concentration of sea water minerals and beneficial elements. Candice explains the important benefits offered: “Seaweed products used in our spa are created by Spa Technologies, using the rich seaweeds harvested off the coast of Brittany in France. The special properties of seaweed help elasticize the skin tissue, increase circulation, stimulate metabolism, and promote detoxification.” The spa offers a multitude of customized treatments- one of their signature therapies is the Brush and Tone Seaweed Wrap, combining gentle dry exfoliation with a nourishing wrap and lotion. “A soft natural brush is used to promote circulation and to exfoliate the skin, followed by an application of our pre-warmed seaweed gel,” says Candice. “The wrap facilitates the absorption of all the rich minerals and bio-trace elements from the seaweed and helps to tone and detoxify the body. This treatment finishes with an application of our signature seaweed body cream.” What bliss!
It is no wonder that for over 3 decades the spa has been frequented by celebrities and dignitaries who flock from far and wide in search of spiritual and physiological healing that is unrivaled in the U.S. Many people come for the day on the Hampton Jitney, enjoy a treatment, take a walk on the beach, stay for dinner, and then head back home. Full week or day spa plans are available and the resort offers reasonably priced rooms with stunning views, in which to relax and vacation for a week or more. “Many of our guests return season after season to benefit from the abundant use of our natural therapeutic products and the healing hands of our professional therapists,” Candice reports.
logo_and_beach_shot-540x360_450_300also features two of Montauk’s finest restaurants, where you can experience classic oceanfront dining in a superb setting. The Sea Grille offers fresh seafood and locally-grown produce, while Café Monte serves up casual Italian fare and is open for breakfast daily. The al fresco lounge is the perfect spot for an after dinner drink or morning coffee, allowing you to admire the splendor of the vast ocean.
Luxury and wellness is not only reserved for the rich and famous- we must all seek out our own healing, no matter the cost. Rest assured, a day at Gurney’s is priceless in every sense, and well worth the trip.
Gurney’s Inn and Seawater Spa
290 Old Montauk Highway, Montauk NY 11954