Fifteen Contract Contingencies You Should Be Aware Of

Following is a list of fifteen contract contingencies that any seller should be aware of in regards to a purchase contract for their home. Many of these contingencies can make or break any transaction.

  1. Building inspection contingency
  2. Survey and flood plain contingency
  3. Stigmatized property contingency
  4. Accountant review and approval contingency
  5. Environmental hazards contingency
  6. Planning department approval contingency
  7. Lead paint contingency
  8. Loan approval contingency
  9. Attorney review and approval contingency
  10. Title inspection contingency
  11. Occupancy permit contingency
  12. Sale and/or closing of current home contingency
  13. Appraisal contingency
  14. Termite/pest inspection contingency
  15. Subject to someone else’s signature contingency

Home Buying: Online Shopping

What’s great about the internet, is that you can do a lot of your shopping online. Did you know that almost 3 out of 4 home buyers actually do their home shopping online!?! What is great about these online searches is that a consumer is able to narrow their search by shopping for specifics, for example the number of bedrooms, number of baths, square footage, garage/parking, lot size, and so much more. They can even narrow down by price range. Homes can be located by ZIP code, price, special features, video tours, pictures. The neighborhoods can be explored via aerial maps, crime statistics, school ratings, and so on.

Shopping online is not as easy as it may sound. (1) There is no single online location with all the listings available in a certain area. (2) You are not always seeing the “freshest” data, it some times takes time for these listings to update to the most current/recent information.

The most and the most recent listings can be made available via a real estate professional. Even if you find a listing through your internet search, confirm with your agent that all of the information for that property is current and correct. With the agents ability to access the local Multiple Listing Service, they will be able to research the necessary information quickly.

The internet is a great place when conducting home research. You can gain information about neighborhoods, home features, and other pertinent factors. It can help in eliminating or adding certain homes and with that research in hand, you’ll be better equipped to make a decision when it comes time to purchase.

Home Buying: Wish List

We have been covering so much information over the past couple of days, that it can be a bit overwhelming. So, lets go ahead and move forward to the fun part – creating a property wish list.

You may find that your opinions may change over time the more you view and shop for a home, so here is a list to help in prioritizing and in making the shopping less time consuming:

  • How close do you need to be to the following: Public transportation, schools, airport, shopping, other
  • What neighborhoods do you prefer
  • What school systems do you want to be near
  • What architectural style(s) of home do you prefer
  • Do you want a one- or two-story house
  • How old of a home would you consider
  • How much repair or renovation are you willing to do
  • Do you have special facility needs that your home must have
  • Do you require a fenced yard or other amenities

Next you should create a priority list, with taking into consideration some of the following items (as either a must have or a would prefer):

  • Yard (size)
  • Garage (size)
  • Patio/deck
  • Pool
  • Bedrooms (number)
  • Bathrooms (number)
  • Family room
  • Formal living room
  • Formal dining room
  • Eat-in kitchen
  • Laundry room
  • Fireplace
  • Spa in bath
  • Air-conditioning
  • Wall-to-wall carpet
  • Hardwood floors
  • View
  • Light – windows
  • Shade

A View of the Share

A window is an eye-catching accessory in any waterfront home. A view of the water’s edge easily transforms a wall of windows into an exhibition of art. To showcase this view, make it the focal point of your interior, and design a personal oasis for your home that will make you, as well as your guests, feel at ease.

To complement the view and prevent any obstacles from destroying it, fit your windows with disappearing blinds or shades. Choose a brand of shades with vanishing cords and an untrained eye will marvel at your ability to live without window embellishments.

Color is an important element of any room. Focus on colors that mirror the shoreline to lift the ambiance of the room and allow you to feel as if you are sitting in the sand while you are relaxing in the comfort of your own home.

Subtle hints of a beach cottage design theme will add to the cohesiveness of your room. A nautical painting or a sculpture depicting marine life can be ideal finishing touches to a room that illustrates the best that a waterfront home has to offer.

Harbouring Your Adventures

Whether you live on the shore of a lake or by the edge of a rolling river, waterfront living brings with it the opportunity to enjoy a bevy of recreational activities Adding a floating or standing dock to your waterfront home will give you easy access to fun and will be an investment that adds to the value of your property.

When designing the layout, it is important to focus on function as well as visual appeal. Do you want room for seating, grilling, sunbathing, fishing? If so, be sure to include space in the layout for these and any other favorite activities. After completing a sketch and double-checking any laws or neighborhood rules, you are ready to build your ideal dock.

You can hire someone to construct the dock, or you may decide to do it yourself. Just be sure to consult a professional if needed, and keep in mind that building a dock is similar to building a deck, only on the surface of a body of water. The perfect material for your dock will be durable and beautiful and will have nonslip surface. Some of the most popular material choices for docks are vinyl, cedar, and aluminum. While cedar is arguably the most beautiful choice, vinyl is eco-friendly, and aluminum is the most durable. Your selection should fit your lifestyle and assure that you, your friends, and your family will enjoy and use your dock throughout the season.

Lighting the Waterfront Living Experience


Written By: Al Bombick

Living on or near a body of water is a dream for an astounding number of North Americans. Waves lapping upon the shore in a rhythmic tempo, a refreshing stroll along the water’s edge, or watching the sunrise or sunset from the comfort of your deck – waterfront living offers the serenity that cannot be found in any other environment. Whether the home abuts an ocean, a lake, a river, or a canal, the idea of living on the waterfront creates a feeling of calm and peace. Gardens, pathways, ponds, a gazebo, and a variety of plants and trees help create the refuge that the homeowners envisioned.

In a home survey conducted by the National Association of Home Builders, outdoor living areas were cited as one of the top priorities of new home buyers as well as home builders. That same survey listed a deck, a patio area, several trees, and lighting as “must-have” amenities. This makes sense since in recent years, Americans have adopted more of a “stay at home” attitude. Probably the greatest external influence is the trend called “cocooning,” which began in the mid-1990s.

Work and other commitments continue to keep families away from their homes during most of the daylight hours. And yet the lines between indoor and outdoor living are steadily blurring and becoming less distinct. To optimize their time in their extended living areas such as their deck or patio or their garden or courtyard, homeowners are choosing to invest in professionally installed lighting systems. Outdoor lighting is a high-impact way for homeowners to enhance the appearance of their property, to accentuate the natural alfresco areas of their landscape and architecture, and to improve safety and security for navigating the property.

Creating a beautiful outdoor lighting scheme begins with a consultation with a knowledgeable lighting designer. An experienced lighting designer will be able to meet with the homeowners, identify their objectives, and strategically place fixtures with the most appropriate brightness to precisely illuminate facades, architectural details, trees, gardens, statues, decks, patios, gazebos, ponds, pool areas, and fountains.

Once a custom outdoor lighting system is installed, the homeowner benefits from the creation of a luxurious and welcoming ambiance, increased safety for those walking the pathways; enhanced security through the lighting exposure of dark areas of the property, “new” open air areas for entertaining, and increased property value and curb appeal.

Lighting systems should be low-voltage to minimize energy consumption and the fixtures should be designed to direct their subtle glow only onto the intended subject. A well-planned, professionally designed lighting system will provide all the usability, safety, and security without creating the nuisance of lighting pollution commonly caused by 120 line voltage flood lights.

Upscale waterfront properties as primary residences or as luxury retreats provide the sanctuary that so many families strive to attain. To maximize the enjoyment and functionality of useable areas of waterfront properties in the evening, architectural and landscape lighting has proved to be an integral part of a well-planned home.

Waterfront Living #6 – A Modern Retreat with a GOTHIC TOUCH


Written By: Ashley Griffin

Its shoreline stretches for 62 miles and encompasses both the Lake Burton Fish Hatchery and Moccasin Creek State Park on its western side. In the forest surrounding the lake, wildflowers, vines, herbs, and lush green trees are in full bloom and have granted the area the nickname of the “vegetation cradle” of Eastern North America. Also thriving in the forests are the white-tailed deer, fox, raccoon, bobcat, and black bear that call them home; in the lake, several species of fish – including bass, trout, catfish, and perch – might watch as Canadian geese, wood ducks, and herons soar above them.

Such rich natural beauty and wildlife are an obvious draw for both Lake Burton’s permanent residents and the vacationers who retreat to its shoreline homes for rest and relaxation throughout the year. But not all these homes are as rustic as the surrounding land; homes like this 4,056-square-foot cabin are modern in both style and amenities.

And indeed that is precisely the look the homeowners and the builders at Blue Ridge Cedar Homes imagined when they were designing this eye-catching vacation home.

Since 1993, Blue Ridge Cedar Homes, an independent distributor of Lindal Cedar Homes, has been helping clients bring their dream homes to life. This home stays true to the company’s signature style, one that incorporates detailed craftsmanship and signature post-and-beam designs throughout the home but also offers a departure from the norm.

Small, unified touches such as the wrought iron elements define the space, but not so much as the large prow wall of glass that frames the main living area and gives way to views of the expansive lake outside. When combined with the home’s open, airy feel, these soaring windows manage to bring the beauty of the great outdoors inside.

The builders highlighted the home’s proximity to the lake in two separate winds of the house, and again outside on an elegant two-level deck. The deck is one of the home’s most striking features because it represents a shift away from  traditional deck materials like wood.

Back inside, the design and decor of this modern cabin proves that classy and comfortable can go hand in hand. To create a homey ambience, the builders used cedar for the ceiling and natural stone throughout the space. The stately stone fireplace in the main room provides a gathering space for the homeowners and their guests; a buttery soft couch sits atop sleek wood flooring and gives the home a lived-in feeling while maintaining a modern aesthetic.

Other rooms in the home continue to marry comfort with function. The kitchen adheres to a conventional look with black granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, hardwood flooring, and fine wood cabinetry. An open layout makes it user-friendly for any home chef, while soaring ceilings and windows high and low provide plentiful natural light to warm the space.

High, vaulted ceilings also make for a sunny space in the main suite’s bath. Unlike the kitchen, however, the builders lent the master bath a wow factor with spa-like touches. To aid in relaxation, they incorporated a walk-in shower and Jacuzzi tub. Wrought iron touches spring up again in the chandelier to give the room great character.

And indeed the entire home has a rich character without straying from its function to create a space for nature appreciation as much as for indoor relaxation. After all, the natural beauty of wildlife found here are the area’s real draw.

Waterfront Living #5 – Living Beyond Their LUCK


Written By: Blake Miller Vossekuil

As Marlee Krohn sits on her back porch looking out over the Atlantic Ocean just yards away, she realized it wasn’t just luck that she and her husband, Todd, finally nabbed their cozy, intimate beach cottage. It was serious persistence.

For much of 1998, the Krohns searced for their perfect second home on the coast of Northern Florida. Fernandina Beach, an eclectic counterpart to the traditional look and feel of nearby Amelia Island where Marlee had grown up, seemed the best location to start their hunt. For weeks the couple made trips to the area with their realtor, looking at various oceanfront properties only to pass them over, knowing that they simply couldn’t settle.

After a few months the couple finally found their home, though it was certainly not picture-perfect.

The circa-1929 home, though, was not for sale. So the Krohns waited. And waited. Nine months later, their persistence paid off. The homeowners had decided to sell and the Krohns were ready to buy.

But along with the purchase came challenges. The home was in need of serious repair. Excessive water exposure had damaged the hardwood floors, which lay beneath out-moded vinyl covering. The 1,600-square-foot home had three bedrooms, one bathroom, but no kitchen. And the home desperately needed to be lifted almost a foot and a half off the ground as it was literally sinking into the sand. To start renovating the home, the Krohns enlisted the help of local architect Tom Norman to restore the home to its original splendor and preserve the architectural details to which the Krohns were drawn.

First the home was raised off the ground 16 inches. Then the team tackled the interior, peeling away the vinyl flooring exposing gorgeous tongue-and-groove curly pine hardwoods. The bathroom was transformed into a miniature spa complete with custom dual vanities and cottage cabinetry. Weathered paint was chipped off the 1-by-4 wooden beams found on the ceilings throughout the house and then painted a subtle white.

While the footprint and bones were given much-needed attention, the interior aesthetics and decor also needed a boost. The couple and much of Marlee’s family had worked with Atlanta-based design firm Pineapple House Interior Design on previous residences. For this space, the Krohns looked to Pineapple House again and asked interior designer Stephen Pararo to help create an elegant yet comfortable beach retreat.

In order to take advantage of the home’s traditional “shot bed” footprint (i.e. a floor plan where the hallway entrance leads straight through to the back entrance of the home and, in this case, reveals a spacious view of the ocean) and limited space, Pararo kept the accessories and furniture minimal.

The minimal yet seamless flow, though, was accented by a cache of personal and heirloom treasures scattered throughout the house. Pararo spread out pieces from Marlee’s childhood bedroom suite such as the living room chest, which was her dresser as a child, while her grandparents’ round gateleg dining set was painted white, then distressed, and placed in the cozy breakfast nook near the back porch. And seashells Todd and Marlee collected while strolling the beach add a whimsical touch to ledges and shelves in each room.

In spite of the long wait, the structural obstacles, and the major renovations and additions, the project was well worth it.

Waterfront Living #4 – An Education in FINE DESIGN


Written By: Ashley Griffin

Occasionally, waterfront homes focus at bit too much attention on the views that surround them, thus failing to address the other important elements that enhance a home such as its layout, amenities, and those tiny design details that separate an everyday home from a truly eye-catching residence.

The opposite is true at each of the new hilltop Bayview residences in Victoria, Canada, where well-known commercial interior architect Patricia Mariash turned her attention to creating homes with interiors and amenities on par with the stunning ocean, mountain, and city views that surround them.

In particular, this three-bedroom suite represents Mariash’s extreme attention to detail and her desire to push the limits of modern design to create a home that is luxurious and yet still highly functional. Her limitless desire to create a sophisticated, high-end home shows in every inch of this 1,727-square-foot unit that boasts a state-of-the-art kitchen, two spa-like bathrooms, a powder room, and a spacious balcony that capitalizes on Victoria’s natural beauty.

After entering the home through elegant, recessed double doors, guests will find themselves drawn to the main living areas to take advantage of the views.

To make possible a home that capitalized on these vast views, Mariash focused on both how the home’s layout would look and how it would function. Rooms that would benefit from an open airy feel were placed as close to the windows as possible, while rooms that demanded privacy were placed away from them.

When deciding where to place the walls that divide these rooms, Mariash also made it a goal to create surfaces that would give the home a gallery feel to help invite in the owner’s personality.

Next, Mariash addressed the minute details that not only five this residence its character but also lend it a penthouse ambiance. Take, for example, the kitchen, where Mariash has gone above and beyond to create an appealing, functional room. Here, the appliances sit flush with the cabinets and are built-ins selected for their function, energy efficiency, and appearance. Countertops are a substantial, rich-looking double-thick granite; custom European cabinets are enhanced with high-end oak wood veneers and solid stainless steel handles that run the full length of each door or drawer.

And  though many industry insiders told her that it couldn’t be done, Mariash even sourced dark gray melamine interiors for the cabinets rather than falling back on the standard cheap white melamine interiors.

Such attention to detail is also evident in rooms beyond the kitchen, including the residence’s living and dining rooms that rest at the kitchen’s hip. The placement of these rooms creates a layout conducive to entertaining and allows that high-traffic rooms to flow into on another while taking advantage of the stunning waterfront views.

The master bedroom sits directly off the living room, giving the owner access to the balcony from the bedroom and again to the views. Plush carpeting, a well-organized walk-in closet, and the suite’s master bath lend the room greater appeal.

As is the case with the home’s second bathroom, Mariash calls the clean-lined master bath “over-the-top well-done.” Mariash fitted it with two white porcelain sinks by Caroma, GORHE bathroom tap sets, crhome bath hardware from Italian design source Columbo, and a Philippe Starck water closet. Acting as the room’s anchor, Italian porcelain limestone colored tile is artfully installed on the floors, base, and walls to heighten the room’s upscale ambiance. Additionally, custom-designed European-built cabinetry with whisper quiet doors and drawer closers gives a refined quality to the vanity when coupled with the full-panel mirror that rests above it and acts as both a backsplash and a dressing area.

Truly spa-like, the bathroom also features a surface-mounted porcelain white soaker tub for relaxation and a sleek, frameless glass shower enclosure with chrome fittings and a built-in tiled convenience bench. In the shower, Mariash used as little hardware as possible to avoid a bulky look, thus adding to the room’s appeal as a retreat within the home.

With the surrounding views and an interior that heeds both function and luxurious design, this entire home acts as a relaxing retreat from everyday life.


Waterfront Living #3 – Cottage by the SEA


Written By: Jillian Blume

Neponsit is one of New York’s best-kept secrets. Just 15 miles from Manhattan, it is a small beach community resting like an oasis on the shores of the Atlantic and Jamaica Bay; the name is Native American and means “the place between the water.”

The Elgarts are long-term Neponsit residents who recently decided to move to another house in the same area. When they purchased a 1940s cottage-style house facing the Atlantic, they turned to interior designer Gail Shields-Miller to work her magic.

Shields-Miller started her business, Shields & Company Interiors, 20 years ago. It was originally a family business founded by her mother, also an interior designer, who began the business in the 1960s, but Gail has been on her own since 1987. The company, with four other employees, focuses on both major and minor architectural renovations and interior design, though Shields-Miller admits she prefers jobs for which she can do both as part of the project.

The Elgarts had already done the exterior renovation to bring the house up-to-date.

Mrs. Elgart sees her house as having a cottage appearance.

In the initial consulting process, Shields-Miller explored colors with the Elgarts.

Right off the bat, she decided to make some serious changes.

Her face-lift included painting the original knotty pine a soft, creamy yellow to brighten up the living room and make it “happier and sunnier.” She added lighting between the existing beams on the ceiling and designed the built-in shelves to display the antique vases and other objects that Mr. Elgart collects. Shields-Miller stained the floor a dark, espresso brown and designed the couch, the red chaise, and the chairs herself. The couple’s accessories, such as the 1920s standing ashtray, give the room a unique, personal touch.

The kitchen leads into a greenhouse room with a table for dining and chairs for reading and relaxing, while the greenhouse/sunroom leads to a little porch at the front of the house overlooking the ocean. Shields-Miller used antiqued limestone for the kitchen floor and granite countertops. She also helped the Elgarts embellish the front porch columns with the same cedar shake that’s used on the exterior of the house.

The most ambitious renovation was undertaken in the master bedroom. The Elgarts had raised the ceiling into the attic above, but that space remained empty. Shields-Miller added a spiral staircase and converted the space upstairs into a sitting area with bookcases, a small library, and an alcove window seat with a view of the ocean.

Shields-Miller also added unique details, such as the ram’s horns that she sold Elgart to go on her existing antique Chinese console table in the dining room.

Other unusual details include a washed-out celadon green wallpaper by Osborne & Little and a custom-made dining room table. In the den, an African table made of Mbambakofi wood, a hard wood found off the island of Lamu in the Indian Ocean, was commissioned from the company Lamu and designed by Bo van den Assum. Elgart kept her zebra table, while Shields-Miller added an antique poster above the couch.

The process of renovating and decorating a house is a bit like a marriage, Shields-Miller says.