7 Tree Houses Your Inner Child Will Want to Move Into And Never Leave

7 Tree Houses Your Inner Child Will Want to Move Into And Never Leave

It’s the place where children reign over their backyard kingdom, where rules like “No Boys Allowed” apply to all little brothers, and where memories that will last a lifetime are created.

When you’re a kid, there are few things cooler than a backyard tree house.  It’s the place where children reign over their backyard kingdom, where rules like “No Boys Allowed” apply to all little brothers, and where memories that will last a lifetime are created.  For those of us who never had a tree house to call our own, here are 7 tree houses your inner child will want to move into and never leave.

Bonus: these are all in the backyards of Coldwell Banker listings, so bringing that dream to life for your own kids can be a reality.

tree house_dallastx1

This multi-story tree house is what dreams are made of.  Complete with a “draw bridge”, windows and lookout tower, we can only imagine the fairy tales that would be created here.  But that’s not the only backyard fun to be had in this Dallas, TX backyard – there’s a zipline, fire pit and patio space galore.

344 Cognewaugh Road, Greenwich, CT listed by Joseph Porricelli with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

This Greenwich, CT home takes it’s tree house seriously.  With real windows, a front porch and a shingled roof, we’d live like royalty in this little home on stilts.

tree house_hinsdaleIL

This tree house leaves plenty of room for imagination.  Whether you’re looking out from the dock of a ship or reliving the Swiss Family Robinson, this simple but sweetHinsdale, IL backyard has plenty to offer.

The only thing cooler than a tree house is a tree house you can actually live in.  Next door (on the same lot) to a Lake Arrowhead, CA home is the (permitted) Tree House, the most wonderful log guest house built around & in an oak tree with living room, bedroom, bath, kitchenette, bonus room. Perfect for artists, writers or even guests!

tree house_northbrookIL

No backyard? No problem!  This Northbrook, IL home brings the fun of a tree house indoors to enjoy all year round.  We especially love the hanging swing bench, which would be perfect for catching up on summer reading assignments!

tree house_shermanoaksCA

This tree house is the trendiest on the block of tiny houses with skylights and a sliding barn door.  All this Sherman Oaks, CA tree house needs is a tiny kitchen and we’d move right in!

2210 N Rosemont Cir, Wichita, KS listed by the A-Team with Coldwell Banker Plaza Real Estate

They call this a backyard “dreamscape” for a reason: in addition to this awesome tree house, you’ll find vista views of the lake, an elevated covered patio with electronic screens, an outdoor fireplace and built-in grill, sprinkler system and irrigation well. Why the homeowners are moving out of this Wichita, KS beauty, beats us!


Backyard Grilling Cheat Sheet

Backyard Grilling Cheat Sheet

How to grill burgers, steaks, chicken and veggies to perfection on your backyard grill.

This summer and most likely this weekend, you’ll be firing up that grill in the backyard for at least a few meals. Below is a simple cheat sheet you can reference before putting on that apron and refilling the propane or charcoal to make sure your dish is cooked to perfection.

IMPORTANT: Salt and pepper are the building blocks of seasoning regardless of what you throw on the grill. Salt and pepper each side of your beef, pork or poultry before putting on the grill. Salt again when you turn them over. It helps bring out the natural flavors as well as add seasoning. You’ll thank me later.

How to Grill Burgers
Grill for 3-5 minutes per side depending on the thickness and size of the burgers.
Tip: DO NOT EVER press down on the burgers while they are grilling. It makes all those juices that keep your burger tasty spill right out.

How to Grill Hot Dogs
Grill for 5 minutes unless you really like your hot dogs blackened.
Tip: Rotate each hot dog after 2.5 minutes to get grill marks on both sides and add a few small knife cuts across the hot dogs to help them cook evenly without bursting.

How to Grill Steaks
With steaks up to 1 inch thick grill for 3 minutes on each side at high heat for medium rare cook.
With steaks over 1 inch thick grill for 5 minutes on each side at high heat for medium rare cook and rotate steaks clockwise after 2 minutes before flipping to get criss-cross grill marks.
Tip: Position steak across grill grates at a 45 degree angle to get a nice grill mark and when you take them off the grill, let the steaks rest for a few minutes before digging in to allow the juices that bubbled up to the top to settle back into the steak.

How to Grill Tenderloin
Grill for 4 minutes per side at high heat, then indirect heat for about 8 more minutes.
Tip: If you don’t care about grill marks on your tenderloin consider cooking it on top of foil for easier handling and clean up.

How to Grill Chicken Breasts
Grill for 5 minutes per side at high heat.
Tip: Before placing on the grill try to cut the chicken breasts to each be equal in size to ensure they cook evenly.

How to Grill Vegetables
Grill for 2 minutes on each side.
Tip: Grilling vegetables for too long will turn them into mush so you simply want to add some grill marks and char to them. Make sure the grill grates are hot so it will add marks to the veggies.

Remember, don’t keep opening and closing the grill once you put food on it. That releases the heat and makes the cooking temperature inconsistent. Let your grill do its work.

And again don’t forget the salt and pepper for seasoning!

6 Home Buying Tips

6 Home Buying Tips to Get You Ready for the Summer Real Estate Season

The key to home buying success is preparation. This is especially true in the summer months when the market heats up and competition gets fierce. With a little prep-work, home buying during the busiest season of the year can still work out.

Whether it’s your first or fifteenth time, the key to home buying success is preparation. This is especially true in the summer months when the market heats up, and competition gets fierce. Luckily, with a little prep-work, home buying during the busiest season of the year can still work out. Here are six ways to be prepared.

1. Know What You Want

Aside from the “wish-list” items you would love to see in your new home, like granite countertops or an updated garage, knowing the basics of what you need in a home will help narrow your search from the beginning. If you want a short commute to work, it helps to know what kind of homes exist in your chosen radius and whether those meet your needs. Researching an area to determine what amenities such as schools, restaurants, or outdoor activities are available can help you know where to start. From there, you can compile a list of other items that are important to you.

making a real estate list

Image Source: StockSnap.io

2. Know What You Can Afford

Many homebuyers enter the market thinking they can afford much more than they actually can. Before getting to the fun part of viewing homes, buyers need to be realistic about their financial situation, including their credit score, debt-to-income ratio, and a basic understanding of how home loans are calculated. What amortization is best for you? What if interest rates go up? How much do I have to set aside for closing costs? Home buying is much more than the final purchase price — it is ensuring that the biggest investment you will make is protected.

3. Get Pre-Approved

Once you’ve settled the basics of what you think you can afford, the smartest move is to visit your lender and get a mortgage pre-approval, especially in a competitive market. Obtaining a pre-approval shows sellers that you are serious about making a purchase — something that could put you ahead if pitted against other, less prepared, buyers.

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage

Image Source: StockSnap.io

4. Find an Agent

There really is no better resource to help you meet your needs than a qualified real estate agent. A local agent who knows the area can be a valuable asset if you aren’t familiar with an area, and can help you zero-in on a property that is perfect for you. Do your research and know what to look for in a great agent — after all, they are there to look after your best interests, so choosing one you are comfortable with is the most important step.

5. Know What You Can Live Without

Every buyer wants to find the perfect home that will tick all the boxes, but the reality of home buying can be a little more jarring. Know how to tell the difference between wants and needs to avoid getting caught up during your search. All home buying requires compromise, so knowing what you can live without — and sticking to it, will help you meet your goals and buy a house that’s on budget.

sunny window big backyard

Image Source: StockSnap.io

6. Don’t Rule Anything Out

This is where a good agent will come in handy. Don’t dismiss any property if it doesn’t look picture perfect over the Internet. Often a home needs to be viewed in person to get an accurate view of the area, yard, or room sizes. Your agent is there to help you find the right house for you, so if they find a contender, take a chance and have a look. Who knows? You just may end up finding the home of your dreams.

Questions for a Home Inspector

Be Sure to Ask These Questions Before You Hire a Home Inspector

One of the first and most vital steps in the home buying process is often overlooked – hiring a qualified home inspector.

Guest Post by NorthStar Moving Co-Founder Laura McHolm

Everyone knows that buying a home is a huge financial and emotional commitment. Most of us purchase a home just a few times in our lifetime. It’s full of countless decisions: Is this the right house for my family? Is the neighborhood where we want to live? Can we afford it?  Unfortunately, one of the first and most vital steps in the home buying process is often overlooked – hiring a qualified home inspector.

The home inspection can make or break your home purchase. The inspection should uncover any structural issues, aging systems, and every detail of the home’s condition from ground to roof. The inspection predicts any problems you may have and if it will be a top functioning home for you. So, make sure the inspection is handled by a qualified pro. After all, we all know: there is nothing like Home Sweet Home.

I connected with a long-time friend and veteran home inspector, Toby Deming of  Associated Master Inspectors, to uncover the steps and questions that should be asked to find and qualify a top home inspector. Here are his nine nifty tips:

1. Experience & Location: Ask the home inspector how long they have been working as a full-time home inspector in your region. The most critical factors when selecting a home inspector are the number of years they have experience in the business and their experience in the region you are buying a home. Home inspecting is a trade that requires real time on the job to be one of the best.

2. Education: Check their education background. There are some national schools for home inspection, but many home inspectors come from an engineering or general contractor background. While their education background can vary you want to make sure you find an inspector that has knowledge of the construction of homes.  

3. Association: Are they a member of a regional or national home inspectors association? Active membership demonstrates they are staying on the cutting edge. They are talking to and learning from other inspectors’ experiences. The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) is a great association. The ASHI  requires inspectors to fulfill at least 250 paid inspections to become a full member as well as pass a more demanding written examination. Their exam is more intensive than most states require for licensing.

4. Use Friends & Family: The popular review sites for other home services is not an ideal place to find a home inspector. The folks posting reviews usually just had their home inspection completed. They don’t know what defect might be hiding in their new home that was overlooked by their home inspector. Instead, ask friends and family who have used a home inspector in the past few years for a recommendation. They will have lived in their home, and will have had time to discover if any items were overlooked.

5. One Trade: Do not hire someone that also works on and fixes the homes they inspect. Most states don’t allow home inspectors to work on homes they inspect. It is a conflict of interest. You want someone that only inspects homes.

6. Licensed: Licenses for home inspectors vary from state to state, so check to see what your state requires of a home inspector.

7. Insurance: Don’t let Error and Omissions insurance affect your decision. Even if a home inspector offers this insurance, there are still a lot of time, trouble and legal processes you will have to go through if a problem does arise.

8. Personality Check: When interviewing your potential home inspector, check to see if their communication skills and personality work with yours. You want to be able to communicate well. If you are getting a bad vibe over the phone, it’s probably going to be difficult to interact with this individual. Trust your gut and move on.

9. Sample report: Lastly, review a sample report. How easy is it to read and navigate? Does the inspector make the hard call or does he defer to an expert at every opportunity? You are paying for his opinion; he should give an educated assessment and detailed inspection.

Thanks to these nine nifty tips, you can feel confident with your home purchase. You know you had a pro handle your inspection. Now, on to the next steps – purchase, close, escrow, and move!  Now you can have peace of mind moving into a safe and secure house that you can call: SWEET! Yep, that’s what home sweet home is all about.

Backyard Bites for a Sizzling Summer Party

Fire up your grill, throw on some shades and get ready for some good eats!

Summer tastes sweet for more reasons than one – sunshine, beach time, and delicious summer treats. The Coldwell Banker Blue Matter team has rounded up recipes for their favorite backyard bites so you can bring the taste of summer to life at home.



Recipe from Alton Brown

Tori Lee’s backyard bite pick 

A patio party doesn’t start at our house without eating our bodyweight in avocado.  I find Alton Brown’s recipe to be a guac-afficianado’s dream: bright, fresh and flavorful.

Chicken Sausage & Veggie Skewers

Recipe from Food Network Kitchen

Alexandra Kozinski’s backyard bite pick 

These kabobs are a symphony of flavors that truly deliver backyard bite goodness. This recipe is super easy to make but even more fun to eat!

Lemon Capers and Rosemary Salmon

Recipe from Giada De Laurentiis

David Marine’s backyard bite pick 

There is nothing like a classic burger or dog at a backyard BBQ but if you are looking to switch things up there is nothing better than this easy and delicious salmon dish.

Campfire Cookies

Campfire cookies

Recipe from Holly Ledingham

This sweet twist on a campfire classic is the perfect backyard bite for the end of a perfect summer day spent at home.

Looking for more great entertaining tips? You’ll love these.