Infinity pools are designed to make swimmers feel as though they could swim right out of the pool and into the world around them, and guests of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel feel as though they could swim right into downtown Singapore. The infinity pool atop the luxurious hotel is the largest outdoor pool in the world– it sits over 650 feet above the street below. The pool itself is designed to make swimmers feel as though they take a huge risk by swimming near the edge, but there is a small catchment area where water quietly cascades to. Opened in 2010, the pool is three times that of an Olympic sized swimming pool and offers guests gorgeous and thrilling views of downtown. The next time you take a dive in your pool, imagine being 55 stories off the ground; perhaps the thought will make your summer swim more refreshing.
For more pictures of the pool and the Marina Bay Sands Hotel, click here.
Backyards aren’t just for vegetable gardens anymore. Beautiful outdoor spaces are becoming more and more popular around the country. Homeowners want to create the perfect ‘outdoor room’ that will allow them to enjoy their time outside the walls of their home, while feeling simultaneously that what they have outside is just an extension of what’s within. And these spaces aren’t just limited to the “confines” of warm climates: they can be seen at Western New York’s many Garden Walks. Until then, use these tips of the trade to help foster a sense of style and comfort outdoors:
1. Too many electric lights remove the sense of being outside. They also attract insects. Think about using (citronella) candles to make your outdoor room feel more natural.
2. Outdoor ceilings (awnings, tents, umbrellas, or trellises) help block out sun and rain. That means you can spend more time outside, no matter what the weather.
3. Placing large pots of plants on patios, decks, and porches help make the space feel more natural and beautiful.
4. Using light blue, white, and lilac flowers in your garden actually helps make your garden more beautiful at sunset. These colors attract and reflect light better than bright flowers.
5. On your outdoor dining table, only use flowers from your garden. It will help connect the room and the garden, and your guest are sure to be impressed with your gardening prowess.
6. Buying stronger outdoor furniture means that you have less to store when winter comes. Wrought iron and wicker will last better through the elements if you don’t have the space to store other furniture.
7. Enjoy your space, daily. Especially here in Buffalo, the weather isn’t always as forgiving and it would be a shame to spend the summer the same way we spend the winter.
In its monthly foreclosure report, RealtyTrac found that the number of foreclosures in one month hit a five year low; they also found that distressed homes were being listed for short sale rather than being foreclosed. Yet despite the overall decrease, 26 states reported foreclosure increases, and those states were on the east coast including New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Florida. The report did not give an explanation for this, but found that the only major cities with foreclosure decreases were on the West coast.
US News and World Report recently released its rankings of the nation’s best high schools– Buffalo’s City Honors school was ranked #23 nationally. The report also gave specifics, including a breakdown of New York state’s best high schools. Buffalo area schools performed very well on this index, with three of its top high schools achieving a ‘Gold’ ranking (City Honors, Williamsville East, and Clarence) and the majority of other area high schools receiving a ‘Silver’ ranking (Williamsville North and East, Amherst, and Sweet Home). Yet most of the schools on the report were outside of Buffalo’s city center, and only Hutchinson Tech received a ‘Best High Schools’ ranking (it was named a ‘Bronze’).
It has been a rough few years for the national real estate market. While the local market has remained almost untouched by the downwards trend, it still counts to know these tips for selling your home– in any market:
1) Curb appeal counts. Most home buyers want homes which look great from the outside. It’s not just a question of curb appeal — it’s about perception. If a home looks good from the street it probably means the property is ready for a new occupant without a lot of cost or hassle.
2) A clutter-free home. With the new emphasis on cash sales and speed owners must show homes which are free and clear of clutter. A clutter-free home will make interior spaces look larger and eliminates the need to get rid of stuff when you are in the throes of moving. It makes sense to donate or reduce clutter before a home is placed on the market — not only as a sales tactic but also as a practical step toward relocation.
3) Working condition. Having your home’s systems in good mechanical condition is an advantage in today’s market. Most distressed homes can’t compete when it comes to such basics as working heating, plumbing and air-conditioning. Properties that can readily pass a professional home inspection are often easier to finance, and are generally more appealing to buyers who don’t want to face the unknown costs and delays sometimes associated with major renovations.
4) List and negotiate properly. According to Forsythe, “a seasoned REALTOR® can show owners how best to market a particular home according to such factors as location, price, condition and financing. Owners want to work with us because our experience brings value and confidence to a transaction, factors that are enormously important in a changing marketplace.”
5) Seek prequalified buyers. While many sales may be for cash, the majority still require financing. It would be frustrating to enter into a sales contract with a potential buyer who ultimately cannot obtain financing to purchase your home — meaning you have lost time — and potentially money — and then you have to start over. When a home is shown by appointment, the buyer should have a pre-qualification letter in hand.
6) Distressed properties. Roughly 30 percent of today’s home sales involve “distressed” properties — a term which includes short sales and foreclosed properties owned by lenders. You need to consider the distressed properties in your neighborhood when pricing and marketing your home. These properties typically sell at discount, especially in major foreclosure centers and sometimes require substantial repair and rehabilitation