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Arlington TX Real Estate Blog

11 Absurd Mansions You Can Rent For A Dirt-Cheap Vacation

Want to do a fun summer trip with ALL your friends or family? Well, there are some amazing houses you can rent these days that could be cheaper than renting hotel rooms. Plus, you get the added benefit of everyone staying in one place together for some quality bonding time.

And these are not your normal everyday homes. These mansions are designed for huge groups and come with everything you could possibly want to make your trip unforgettable.

Check out these houses for some ideas to help you get started planning your next friend bash or family reunion.

**The prices are based off the average cost per night divided by the total number it sleeps.** The key is getting a big group together to keep the costs low. Even without filling to the max, the prices are still pretty good. Plus, it’s fun just looking at these crazy homes.

Destin, Florida

Located off the Scenic 98 in Destin, FL, this house has something for everyone. The swim up bar in the middle of the pool is the icing on the cake. Details here.

Sleeps: 34

Price: $40 per person / night


Now that’s what you call a pool. Details here.


Clean Your Whole House In Only 15 Minutes!

I can do this! Clean Your Whole House in Only 15 Minutes! (click through for more info)

If you live in a giant palace with a whole staff of housecleaners, this post is not for you. However, if you are a Regular Joe (or Regular Joan) that has to clean up their own messes (and probably the messes of others too), then you've come to the right place. Now, I do know a few people that genuinely enjoy cleaning their house. While I understand how it can be a therapeutic thing to watch something go from dirty to clean, I would always rather skip the actual cleaning part and just have it go right to the "it's-already-clean" stage without any help or interference from me. That being said, clean doesn't just happen by itself though, now does it? I tend to do the procrastination method of cleaning where it's a pretty big mess until the night before there is a party, event, or my husband comes home from a long trip. For some reason he prefers walking into the house vs. wading into the house. Weird, I know. So when a job that I don't really want to do anyway now involves cleaning the entire house all at once, well, it's no surprise that it takes forever. Emma said recently she knew someone who kept their house clean by only cleaning for 15 minutes a day, and I was certainly intrigued to try the mini cleaning solution. After I thought about it for a while, I came up with a process to make it work for my house too!

I can do this! Clean Your Whole House in Only 15 Minutes! (click through for more info)

Estimate your efficiency: First,...

5 Surprising Homebuyer Turnoffs

Make your home a serious contender.


Selling your home requires a lot of prep work. After all, you want to impress as many potential buyers as possible. You can spend lots of time and money adding new upgrades, improving your curb appeal, or staging your home. But if you make one wrong move, it can lower your sales price, or even worse, prevent a sale at all. Make your home a serious contender and steer clear of these buyer turnoffs.

1. Dirty or cluttered homes

OK, you’ve probably heard this one before, so it’s not that surprising, but it’s a big deal. It can’t be overstated how important it is to keep your home spotless for a showing. No visible dirt or disarray, and above all, no smells. Keep buyers focused on your home, not on your messes.

2. Wallpaper

Universal truth: Homebuyers hate wallpaper. And if that wallpaper is outdated, brightly colored, or themed, it can be hard for an otherwise serious buyer to look past it. Replace wallpaper with a neutral paint to create a fresh, new canvas that buyers will be eager to make their own.

3. Hovering sellers...

Thinking of reversing your mortgage? Consider these alternatives first.

Reverse mortgages are a means of converting the equity in your home to income to use for living expenses or other purposes. They are attractive options for retirees, mainly because there are no monthly repayments. Assuming that the owner pays all taxes and insurance and keeps the home in good shape, repayment does not take place until the owner dies, transfers ownership, or permanently moves out of the home.

However, reverse mortgages are not the only method of extracting money out of your home to meet expenses during retirement. Here are several alternatives to consider.

1. Refinancing

If interest rates are sufficiently low and you plan to stay in your home for a long time, you can refinance and lower your monthly payment, freeing up some cash for other uses. This also keeps the home under your control as an asset, should you wish to leave it to your heirs.

Online calculators are available to help you determine whether refinancing is a good choice for you. You can run scenarios with different loan terms, rates, and closing costs.

If you have owned the home for a long time, your payments may have reached the point where they are mostly principal and little interest. Since you are acquiring a larger percentage of interest payments, refinancing may not be the most economical long-term choice for you.

2. Home equity borrowing with periodic repayment

You can draw off of your home equity in another fashion with either a home equity loan or a home equity line of credit (HELOC). Both tend...

How to Make a Wall Lamp Out of a Metal Vase

A wall sconce is constructed from an old metal vase, a swag light kit and a bracket that is normally used for hanging plants.


  • drill and 3/8" drill bit
  • wire strippers
  • pliers
  • screwdriver
  • knife


  • swag light kit (should include electrical wire with plug at one end, inline switch, metal chain, socket)
  • black electrical tape
  • plant hanger
  • vase

Sconce Made From a Vase


Plug-in bedside lamps are convenient because you don't have to be hard-wired into a wall. This is an
accent light, so use a low-wattage bulb so heat does not build up inside the vase.


This Selfie Stick is Arm Shaped to Make You Look Less Like a Loner


If you’re already turned off by the idea of ordinary selfie sticks, you might not want to read on.

The “Selfie Arm” is a new selfie stick design that adds an arm to your self-portraits, making them look like photos of you taken by someone who loves you.

The prototype was created by artists Justin Crowe and Aric Snee out of lightweight and portable fiberglass.


It’s a problem designed to solve a “quintessential problem”: “nobody wants to look alone while they mindlessly snap pictures of themselves.”

By fashioning the stick to look like an arm, you instantly look 100% less lonely in your photos.


Mad Scientist Builds Fully Functional Hoverbike

Because a thermite-blasting cannon isn’t crazy enough, Colin Furze used a pair of motors and propellers designed for parasailing to build himself a fully functional flying hoverbike. It’s easily one of the mad scientist’s most dangerous builds to date, but seeing how maneuverable it is almost makes us want to build one too.

That being said, even though Colin is about the farthest thing you’ll find from a trained professional, you might want to think twice about attempting this build. But just in case you were to try this insane task at home, here’s a series of videos outlining how Furze’s latest project came together.


4 Steps to Staging for an Open House

Open House With Home Buyers

Give your home the "wow" factor it needs to impress potential buyers.

Holding an open house can be a great way to get your home for sale noticed -- that is, if your home is in good condition. If not, well...

"I have personally witnessed people who have walked into a house, turned around, and walked back out," says Alice T. Chan, a professional stager in San Francisco.

If you're even thinking about selling your home, chances are you've heard of "staging," or the process of preparing a home for sale via de-cluttering, depersonalizing and neutralizing, among other techniques. If you want to avoid an open house snub similar to the one described above, staging, repairing and generally prepping your home for sale is a must in today's market.

"Buyers really want turn-key these days," Chan says. "If a buyer can actually get a loan right now, they're so strapped after they purchase a property that they literally just want to move in and live. Even if they want to make upgrades later on, they want to feel like they're getting the best value possible. So give it to them."

So how do you make your home open-house ready? Depending on your home's current condition, it can be a large, overwhelming...

Why You Should Buy the Least Expensive House You Can Afford

The housing market has changed a lot in just the past few years. The old philosophy of buying the most expensive house you can afford has become obsolete. There are far more advantages to buying the least expensive house you can afford.

Consider some of the following . . . .

Lower Down Payment and a Lower Monthly Payment

Every expense and cash outlay that you have in connection with a house rises and falls with the price that you pay to purchase it. That includes your down payment. For example, if you purchase a $300,000 house, and need a 20% down payment, you’ll need to have $60,000 upfront. But if you opt instead for a less expensive house, say $200,000, your 20% down payment will be only $40,000.

That will leave you with $20,000 extra after closing on the home. This is more important than it seems on the surface too. The down payment that you make on a house can be thought of as trapped equity. That means it is capital sitting in the property, but unavailable for other purposes.

The same is true with expenses. A higher-priced home will result in higher property taxes and insurance, and if the house is also larger, you’ll have commensurately higher utility and maintenance costs.

One of the fundamental problems with both the down payment and the monthly expenses in regard to higher-priced homes, is that you essentially locked them in at the time you purchased the home. There will be no opportunity to lower those expenses after the fact.

More Money for Living Life – Avoid Being ‘House Poor’

The more money that you have tied up in the house – whether in the form of a down payment or a high monthly payment – the less you will have available for everything else in your life. At the extreme, a high-priced home could lead you to be house poor – owning a nice home, but having little room in your budget or your bank...

Buyer's Guide For Garden Hoses and Sprinklers

Learn what to look for when purchasing water hoses and sprinklers. Plus, how to maintain your watering equipment so it lasts a long time and a few quick repair tricks to save yourself in a pinch.

The Green, Green Grass of Summer

If you spend a lot of time and sweat equity in your yard, make sure you've got good equipment to keep it well hydrated.

A Hose Dissected

You may be tempted to buy the cheapest hose you can find, but just like anything else, you get what you pay for. A reinforced hose with a limited life-time warranty will last a lot longer than the ubiquitous and generic “green” garden hose. Of course, color doesn't determine hose quality, look for hoses that are reinforced on the inside (generally with nylon) and on the outside, referred to as the jacket. In this photo, you can see the multiple layers of the hose. The frayed bits around the edge are part of the nylon reinforcement, which is wound like webbing in between the inner hose and outer jacket.


Crab Cake Hush Puppies

Crab Cake Hush PuppiesRecipe

Serve these Crab Cake Hush Puppies with your favorite rémoulade or cocktail sauce for tasty appetizers. Hush puppies, a Southern classic made by deep-frying a cornmeal batter gets a seafood makeover. Served with a creamy, thick dipping sauce, these salty critters are a great option for a potluck meal or an appetizer that serves to impress. Freeze any leftovers and defrost up to 3 months later.


Makes about 32
Total time: 35 Minutes

How to Save More Money in Just 10 Minutes

There are so many great ways to save money. You can collect spare change in a mason jar, skip your takeout coffee once a week, or use your Crockpot more often. But the best way to save is as easy as making room in your budget. And it only takes about 10 minutes!

Here’s how:

1. Name your goal. Before the month begins, figure out what you’re saving for. Are you refilling your emergency fund? Saving for a car? Be specific and focus on one thing at a time.

2. Set your amount. Once you know what you’re saving for (that car), figure out how much you’ll need to save. If you want a $6,000 new-to-you SUV, save $500 a month for 12 months. See, math is useful!

3. Pay yourself first. Next, open your EveryDollar budget and plug $500 into savings before you do anything else. This will keep your saving goal at the top of your mind—and the top of your budget.

4. Budget to zero. Finally, round out the rest of your budget in order of importance (necessities to luxuries). If your budget is working at full speed, the end result will always be zero. So if you make $5,000 a month, you need to allocate every dollar of that $5,000 to saving, giving or spending. You should have $0 left over. Math again!

Follow your progress each month by putting your $500 in a separate savings account immediately after you get paid. This will keep you from accidentally spending it on something else. Plus, it gives you a morale-boosting number to watch grow each month! Save more by budgeting better....

Why You Should Be Eating Purple Bread

Move over, kale — there might be a new superfood on the scene.

White bread has a seriously bad reputation. While its whole wheat counterpart is lauded for being rich in fiber and protein, plain ol' white loaves are criticized for spiking blood sugar levels and not offering much else. But now there's a solution: purple bread.

Before you think we're crazy, hear us out: Food scientists have discovered that adding anthocyanin — a natural pigment that gives black rice, plums, and eggplant their distinctive violet hue — to white bread can slow down digestion and provide cancer-fighting antioxidants, CNN reports

According to professor Zhou Weibiao, a food scientist at the National University of Singapore, purple bread is digested 20 percent slower than normal white bread, lowering its glycemic index. Plus, by bringing down its rapidly digestible starch content, people will eat less of it and not more than they should (which is often the case with processed white bread). 


Brain Drain: 5 Low-Maintenance Features Millennial Buyers Will Love


The low-maintenance movement has taken hold across generations of homeowners. For millennials—the leading segment of homebuyers—the lower, the better. So summarized by Jill Waage, editorial director of home content for Better Homes and Gardens:

“They want to use their brains for other things, not for remembering whether they adjusted the heat or closed the garage door.”

Smart home automation has answered that call (admittedly with a few questionable products), all but guaranteeing low-maintenance living. Still, there are other, lesser-known low-maintenance features millennials may want to consider when hunting for the home of their dreams.

A brick home, for instance, doesn’t demand the maintenance required for wood or vinyl siding. It won’t rot, and its color won’t fade, sparing the homeowner the expense to repaint the exterior.

“Brick itself is a relatively low-maintenance building material, thanks to its durability and color retention,” explains Jason Hargraves of Angie’s List.

Similarly low-maintenance is metal roofing, which, according to Paul Kazlov of Global...

Senior Housing Is Expensive—A Reverse Mortgage Could Help

**Call The Mark Cabal Team if you have any mortgage questions and we will put you in touch with our trusted Residential Mortgage company**

For most people, the retirement dream consists of independence, relaxation, and enjoyment of free time. And for many, that dream is well within reach. But as retirement continues on, old age may begin to take its toll. Eventually, you may find yourself needing help with certain things like cooking or cleaning, or that you or your spouse needs help with taking medication, bathing, or simply getting around.

The good news: there are several common senior housing options for individuals and couples who find themselves in need of assistance. Independent Living, Assisted Living, and Memory Care are all rising in popularity as the aging population increases. Communities that provide these different housing types can help with activities of daily living such as cooking, or with higher levels of care, such as medication management. They also typically include transportation, activities, wellness programs, and more.

The bad news: they can be quite expensive and the costs are rising. In fact, the average annual price per unit rose by $1,200 in 2015 versus 2014, according to national senior living referral service A Place For Mom. Regionally, southern and western states face the fastest acceleration in cost growth compared to other U.S. regions, APFM found based on its survey of actual rents paid across senior living communities nationwide.

Nationally, the average cost of independent living is $2,700 per month, according to the findings. For assisted living, the average price per month is $3,900 and for memory care, which requires more care expertise, that figure is $5,100. If you happen to live in the Northeast, the average is even higher....

30+ DIY Storage Ideas To Organize your Bathroom

The bathroom is undoubtedly one of the most important rooms in your house – this is where you get to relax and let off all the steam and stress that you have accumulated over the day. This is why it is important to make sure that your bathroom is clutter-free, organized, relaxing, friendly and welcoming, and here are several useful bathroom storage ideas that will help you do just that.

1. Organize Your Bathroom

Organize Your Bathroom

Do you have a small bathroom and too many objects to store? Nothing to worry about!
Here is how you can make the best of the available bathroom storage space.

Project Source and Tutorial – alejandra

2. DIY Bathroom Storage

DIY Bathroom Storage

Why spend money on expensive storage shelves and racks when you can easily make your own, with several basic tools and materials? This tutorial will quickly teach you how.

Project Source and Tutorial – shanty-2-chic

3. Rustic Bathroom Ideas

Rustic Bathroom Ideas

If you have a cabin log or if your bathroom is decorated in a rustic fashion, then you will love this
tutorial on how to make your own rustic bathroom shelves on a budget.

Project Source and Tutorial – ...

Contemporary Style Meets Oriental Design At The Sea Ranch Home

There is an undeniable sense of peace and tranquility that comes attached with traditional
Japanese design. Featuring simple lines, a balance of elements and heavy natural textures,
 Japanese design style allows you to take a break from the hustle and bustle of modern city life
and slip into a more peaceful retreat. This is precisely why many homeowners even in the west
are now eager to invite oriental-inspired elements into their homes. The Sea Ranch Residence
 in California is another gorgeous case of east meeting west as architects from Turnbull Griffin
 brought together cool modern interiors and a Japanese-styled silhouette.

Beautiful Sea Ranch Residence in California by Turnbull Griffin Haesloop Contemporary Style Meets Oriental Design At The Sea Ranch Home

The remarkable house is spread across 1,030 square feet and is accompanied by another
guest house that occupies 500 square feet. Surrounded by a beautiful open meadow, the architects
incorporated a continuous band of large windows and doors that ensure that those inside are always
connected with the nature around them. This also gives the Sea Ranch house its exclusive shape
that is distinguishable even from a distance. On the inside, decor is kept simple, minimal with warm
wooden tones dominating the setting.

A spacious living room, rustic kitchen and dining area are housed in an open floor plan while
a cozy little dining and ...

Happy New Year!

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Wishing you peace and prosperity this New Year!

Love and well wishes from all of us here at the Mark Cabal Team!