Posts Tagged ‘vacation’

NC Private Communities – Bald Head Island

January 9th, 2019 Comments off

If privacy and island living is what you are seeking, then Bald Head Island is right for you. As the southernmost island in North Carolinas cape islands, Bald Head Island is a 12,000 acre private island community accessible only by 20 minute ferry ride from Southport, North Carolina.

Beautiful luxury homes overlook thousands of acres of preserved lands and salt marshes. The only transportation on the island is electric golf carts and bicycles, which allow for a peaceful getaway from traffic with all the luxuries and amenities of other gated communities.

Bald Head Island features 14 miles of pristine, sandy beaches, an 18-hole championship golf course, two clubhouses, fitness facilities, tennis courts, swimming pools, a full-service marina, vast network of walking and biking trails meandering through the island, and a range of shops and restaurants.

Created by designer George Cobb, the championship 18 hole golf course at Bald Head Island is integrated into the islands marshlands, sand dunes, and marine woodlands. During the courses construction much of the preserved landscapes were left untouched.

Tennis players will love the four soft-surface tennis courts at Bald Head Island. The club house also has exercise rooms, mens and womens locker rooms, and a resort style swimming pool. There is also a second swimming facility at the Shoals Club that has a lap pool and kiddie pool.

The ten acre Bald Head Island harbor and marina has boat slips from 30 to 100 feet in length. From the marina residents have access to the Cape Fear River and the Atlantic Ocean.

If you love food, you can enjoy the casual and formal dining or shop at the islands grocery store for all your supplies you’ll need on your stay.

Bald Head Island has it’s own fire and police department. All the firefighters are certified paramedics, and the fire department has a basic medical treatment room in the case of medical need. If an emergency arises, transportation is available to one of the nearby hospitals on the mainland.

Customized residential houses, villas, town homes, and buildable home sites available to purchase through the islands realty agency. If you are looking to build your dream home, a featured builder program offers custom home plans to fit your needs. There is even a fractional ownership option available with prices beginning at $150,000.

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Big Bear Lake, CA Homes For Sale: A Biased But Factual Account

December 29th, 2017 Comments off

Big Bear Lake has been my home for many years. I also make a living dealing in Big Bear Lake, CA homes for sale. The mountain retreats I sell are great in and of themselves with their charming construction. But another bonus Big Bear Lake, CA homes for sale is the fact that they are located in Big Bear Lake, CA.

Because Big Bear only has around 9,000 full time residents, it is very quiet up here during the week. If you want to go out to dinner or catch a movie, there is never a wait. I love the ability to go out and not be crowded or rushed. Since we are a second home/vacation home market, you can count on at least 50% of the homes in your area being vacant at any given time. This really lends itself to being able to get away from the noise and crowds of the city. Did I mention the clean air? Big Bear has the best air quality in The Inland Empire.

Take a trip to Big Bear Lake, CA and inhale the fresh, clean air. The air quality is virtually devoid of yuck. And do you now what else that means besides healthy lungs? More stars. So many stars that you won’t know where to look first. We have an amazing night sky unlike anything I have ever seen anywhere else.

What really sets Big Bear apart from the other mountain communities is our wide array of services. In the other communities, you are lucky if they have one smaller supermarket with a limited selection. In Big Bear we have two full size supermarkets with full meat departments, produce sections, deli’s, etc.

Big Bear also has close to 100 restaurants to dine at, unlike some other mountain cities. We have six movie screens in two locations, pubs, a dance hall and even Kmart. So if you do want to own a Big Bear vacation home, you don’t have to take a vacation from the essentials, and a few nice extras.

Finally, a Big Bear home is a good place to invest your money. Because we are comprised of mainly second and vacation homes, we have not been hit as hard as other areas by the current recession. As a whole, Big Bear Lake, CA homes have held their value much better than the rest of San Bernardino County. Bank Owned Properties are only making up between 5-10% of our current MLS.

Compare this to other areas with up to 50% or more of their market being taken up by foreclosures. As a matter of fact, we are experiencing a resurgence of sorts. While prices have not yet started to climb, sales volume has. We have had about 40% more sales this year than at this time last year. Multiple offers situations are the norm on well priced properties in the valley.

I hope this helps shed a little more light on Big Bear Lake, CA homes. If you want to know more about Big Bear Lake, CA homes for sale, I will be writing more soon. So keep your eye out.

Author, R. Boon specializes in Big Bear Lake, CA homes for sale. If you’ve more interest in Big Bear homes, please search for more posts by him on this and other websites.

How to pick up an affordable fixer-upper in Italy

March 17th, 2016 Comments off

Real estate purchasers’ spending power may have been restricted by the increased difficulty in obtaining home loans, however the draw of buying a home in a country such as Italy is still vibrant.

It explains why growing numbers of foreign buyers in Italy are choosing to renovate   or even start from new instead of buying resale property.

The primary reason is obvious – cost. Ignore any hopes of being offered fixer-uppers for Euro 1, a PR ploy rolled out a few years ago by the Mayor of Salemi, Sicily. Nonetheless in sections of southern Italy such as Molise, Abruzzo and Sicily a countryside ruin can be picked up for a trifling Euro Euro 9,500. Throw in a bill for restoration that can begin from roundabout Euro 750 per sq m and is it possible to convert a an old wreck into a 90sq m idyllic holiday retreat for around Euro 95,000 – a small fraction of the cost otherwise. In addition, beyond the initial purchase price, restoration expenses may then be divided over the length of the building project, which can be as long as the you find convenient.

Stef Russo, founder of Italian property search experts The Property Organiser, reveals: “The credit crunch has seen greater numbers of investors following the renovation path. Restoration costs in places such as Abruzzo are about Euro 900 per sq metre – around half what it would be in the north of Italy. And instead of   having to produce funds at the start, it permits them to spread costs over months or even years.

“In addition, buyers get the opportunity to stamp their personalised imprint on their homes, which is easier to do if they renovate than if they buy a resale and then attempt to overhaul it.”

The country’s history means it is awash with buildings from as far back as the 18th century, needing only a bit of TLC to turn them into fantastic modern dwellings. There is also a plentiful supply of farmhouses – always popular with foreign buyers – in the main because of the mass migration of millions of people who, in the 19th and early 20th centuries, deserted villages for towns and cities or even a new life outside Italy. By the way, if you fancy trying something a little less orthodox, the answer may lie in the approxmiately 5,500 religious buildings available to be turned into homes.

Having picked a property, the next stage is to hire the right professionals to bring your dreams into reality. Some buyers are happy to do most of this themselves, the most advisable route is to pay a reputable geometra/surveyor (your realtor ought to be able to put you in touch with one). They will be able to find reliable builders for you as well as deal with local government departments for the necessary building permission. Remember that many ancient rustic homes are built in stone and therefore fixing up such homes calls for constructors experienced working with stone.

One constant danger with projects like this is that your outlay can rise out of control, often by up to 30%. Common pitfalls include pools (allow up to 20,000); improving access roads (up to Euro 2,000 for a 50-metre section); and upgrading lawns. But your surveyor can insist on a contract with your construction workers outlining a budget as well as a deadline, with penalties applicable if they are not stuck to. Although surveyors|geometre|geometras} design homes to a certain level, their knowhow only goes so far and it is a good idea also take on an architect to take charge of design. It is essential before a brick is laid that you are crystal clear what you hope to achieve and that you convey this to the architect. Going back to Square One during the course of work wastes time and a pain in the rear for the rest of your team.

Be realistic about the probable timescales involved. The purchasing process can take between one and three months and obtaining building permission a further 12-36 weeks depending on the Commune overseeing affairs.

One last thing, unless you intend being on-site most of the time, your team should also include an independent project manager to oversee everything and help keep things ticking over. Your architect or geometra can also step into this role. One project manager explains: “By visiting as often as is needed, more often than not with no prior warning, we keep the client clued in on the speed of work through fulsome notes and digital photos. Therefore any problems can be sorted out quickly. We keep everything on track and, even more importantly, ensure the client isn’t ambushed by ugly shocks.”

The author is an expert in Calabria property for sale at Homes and Villas Abroad. She also writes on Tuscany farmhouses for sale and real estate on the Amalfi coast.

Go shopping for a vacation villa on Italy’s Riviera

March 11th, 2016 Comments off

Around 100 years ago Sanremo was a Mecca for European aristos and the likes of Russian composer Tchaikovsky, who wrote his Fourth Symphony here in 1878 and the chemist Alfred Nobel, who died here in 1896.

A couple of generations later it was to Portofino, some 185km, to which the likes of Frank Sinatra, Brigitte Bardot and Liz Taylor came. Now the faces are those of Denzel Washington, George Clooney and Tom Cruise.

In other words, the coast of Liguria in Italy has for generations exuded the level of star quality that to this day attracts more than five million people annually, making it one of the country’s most visited areas and a favourite among investors on the lookout for attractive vacation homes. For good reason. For a start, this corner of Italy boasts a majestic 280km of coastline renowned as the Italian (or Ligurian) Riviera, spanning the French border at its western end to the picture-postcard villages that form the well-known Cinque Terre, now designated a UN World Heritage Site.

Stef Russo, founder of Italy real estate firm The Property Organiser, reveals:  It is pipped only by perhaps Tuscany when it comes to areas of the country most in demand among our househunters. In addition to the Cinque Terre, its beaches and lovely landscapes, the French Riviera is just a leisurely drive away, there are ski resorts in Piedmont, just 40 minutes away, and it is served by two airports in Genoa and Nice.”

The priciest locations on the seafront for Liguria property are probably the Cinque Terre, Bordighera and Alassio. Prices also rise if you insist on overlooking the sea. The real estate market is kept bullish by demand from well-heeled French, Swiss and Italians. On average you will be asked for in the region of Euro 395,000 for a two-bedroom property within strolling distance of the beach and up to two and a half times that for a villa with sea-view in a similar position.

As usual, canny buyers can pick up bargains by looking around. In Alassio, 90sq m flats overlooking the coast can be discovered from Euro 225,000. And in Bordighera, Euro 345,000 can pay for a two-bedroom apartment again with sea view, although you will have to be content with being somewhat farther out from the coast.

However, within easy reach of the coastal resorts is the mountainous countryside chock-a-block with lovely villages and hamlets. But if you are happy to forgo a sea view, troop just less than half an hour inland, to hamlets such as Apricale, Perinaldo and Isolabona, which is what swathes of American and British bargain-hunters have done in recent times. Here, budget for a one-bedroom apartment to cost around Euro 135,000. Don’t mind getting to grips with a rustic to restore? Then you may get away with Euro 100,000, possibly with up to 2,000sq m of garden thrown in. Given Liguria’s enduring popularity, rental potential is buoyant, in particular if you have bought near the coast. Expect a two-bedroom flat can be let for Euro 1,400 a week in summer and a high-end house with pool up to Euro 3,000.

Among the most attractive resorts on the coast are Alassio, Sanremo and Portofino. Alassio has two miles of sandy beaches and has been a favourite of tourists for over a century while celebrities such as American writer Ernest Hemingway started coming here in the 1930s. Sanremo reeks of timeless glamour and is today best known for its pop event. Meanwhile one of Portofino’s most striking features is multi-coloured rows of fishermen’s houses along its harbour. In high season its swanky fashion outlets packed designer names and the sleek boats moored in its waters say it all about the type of moneyed visitor that holidays here.

However, for rich, natural beauty little tops the five clifftop hamlets that form the Cinque Terre. Some things in life are priceless.

The author specialises in Sicily real estate at Homes and Villas Abroad. She also focuses on luxury property in Abruzzo and houses in Tuscany for sale.

Is It Possible To Find Cheap Flights?

September 11th, 2014 Comments off

Flying anywhere can be expensive. Even a short hop to a nearby location can end up costing you a lot of money. When you search for flights, you also have to make certain the quoted price is for a round-trip fare. Some search engines do not automatically give you the round-trip prices. You may find yourself paying too much for just a one-way ticket. There are ways, however, to find cheap flights.

In addition to paying for your flight, many airlines also charge baggage fees. You have to pay a certain amount for each piece of luggage that you are checking it. If you are planning a long vacation, this can really end up costing you a lot of money. There are only a few who still check your baggage for free. Even those that do, usually restrict it to just one bag. All of this helps make air travel much more expensive.

There is really no one website that you can always use to find the cheapest airfares. Usually, you will have to check several travel sites. You can compare the prices for the flights they find and select the cheapest option.

Flight aggregators allow you to check many airlines, at once. This is a great way to compare prices and flight details. If you use them, you can easily see what your cheapest options may be. For instance, non-stop flights are usually more costly than those that have lay-overs.

To make it even easier, many of them allow you to vary your search criteria. If your travel dates are flexible, you can search within several days to see if there is a cheaper choice. This could end up saving you a lot of money. There are certain days and times when airlines are not as busy, so fares usually drop.

You should also try not to plan your trip on days that are considered premium for travel. You should try to avoid weekends and holidays. Airlines know they will be busy then, so they raise their prices on those days to make more money. You can save a lot if you are willing to fly on alternative days.

Since most cities are near more than one airport, it can also be smart to check their prices. If you can drive a little further to a different hub, you could get a much cheaper ticket. Companies that fly from these are not generally as busy and need to sell those tickets. They lose money if they fly planes that are mostly empty.

Booking early is also usually cheaper. Last minute tickets are usually sold at a premium price. So, if you plan ahead and book in advance, you can save a lot of money. You should always try to buy your tickets at least two weeks ahead of your trip.

To find cheap flights, usually just requires a bit of careful shopping. You only need to invest some determination and time. It could end up saving you a lot of money. What you save on your flight is more you can spend while enjoying your trip.

Think smart and always be aware in unfamiliar settings. Travelling on certain days of the week can be much less expensive. Be on the lookout for incredible travel deals.