Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz Orders a Grande Greenwich Village Condo

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz has ordered a grande Greenwich Village apartment, paying more than $40 million for a condo at the new Greenwich Lane complex, The Real Deal reports.

The 5,587-square-foot duplex is spread over the 16th and 17th floors of the building on West 11th Street. It boasts a whopping 1,600 square feet of terrace space (that’s as big as most three-bedroom apartments in Manhattan).

Greenwich Lane is a development on the site of the former St. Vincent’s Hospital. It will include five buildings and five townhouses. More than 95% of the development has reportedly been sold or placed under contract.

Set to step down in April from his perch atop the coffee kingdom, Schultz was able to trim $5 million off the $45 million asking price for the condo. Even so, he paid a scalding $7,159 per square foot, which is among the highest prices paid per square foot for any Greenwich Village property.

Greenwich Lane complex
Greenwich Lane complex

thegreenwichlane.com

Is the pricey property just a pied-à-terre for the Brooklyn-born billionaire? The Seattle Times says, “Howard is not moving to New York.”

Regardless of how much time he plans to spend in his new digs, it won’t be far from a caffeine fix. A Starbucks locator found 15 of the ubiquitous coffee shops within a few blocks of his new condo.

Get Rid of the Gunk: 5 Genius Hacks for Cleaning Your Home Appliances

Home appliances don’t get a lot of love. On bad days, we scream at them to work better, faster, stronger. On good days, we slam the door shut or push them into a corner, forgetting about them until we inevitably need their services again.

But all that daily wear and tear can take a hefty toll on home appliances—and most of them don’t have a self-cleaning mode. Yes, even the things that do the cleaning for us get dirty. So show these kitchen and laundry room workhorses a little TLC with these cleaning hacks that promise to make your equipment run well—and sparkle, too.

1. Microwave

microwave
A little lemon can go a long way.

SeanPavonePhoto/istock

Nuking your coffee and popping (OK, burning) bags of popcorn can leave this box gummed up and smelling rancid. Fortunately, there’s an easy fix—and it can be found in your fruit bowl and pantry.

“The best way to loosen gunk and neutralize tough odors in a microwave is to use apple cider vinegar and some fresh lemon,” says Jamie Novak, an organizing guru and author of “Keep This Toss That.”

Pour a half-cup of vinegar in a microwave-safe bowl, float the slices of one small lemon on top, and then cook it on high for two minutes. The cider’s steam gets into the vents to combat odors, while lemon gives this appliance a nice scent.

Plus, citrus oils help to break down grease, Novak adds. The steam will also soften grime on the inside, which you can then scrape away with a (zero-balance) gift card. Not a fan of lemon? Trade it for a half-teaspoon of vanilla or almond extract.

2. Coffee maker

If you ignore this appliance for too long, your cup of joe will start to taste a little off. You’ll taste the residue of your coffee maker’s collective brews. In other words, remember that what you put in will eventually come out.

“Some people use their coffeepots to brew tea and other drinks, which can also affect the coffee you make later on,” Novak says.

Burned or flavored coffee, in particular, can leave behind a less-than-appealing smell, she notes.

To deodorize the pot, swish it with warm water and a splash of distilled white vinegar. For a deeper clean, run this same solution through the maker on the regular brew cycle.

“If you’re supersensitive to taste, you can put plain water through the appliance after to removed any traces of vinegar,” Novak says.

3. Dishwasher

Double dishwashers

Photo by Mullet Cabinet
That black buildup you see on the edges of your dishwasher isn’t pretty, and it certainly doesn’t make you feel good about the supposedly clean plates you and your kids eat off of.

“This substance is a mixture of soap scum, decomposing food, and water residue,” Novak says.

Gross, right? Attack this mess with baking soda and hot water.

“The baking soda will break down the fatty acids while water washes away the goo,” she explains.

You may also need a few cotton swabs to clean smaller areas around the edges. Want to prevent this gunk from accumulating in the first place? You can always give dishes a thorough rinse before loading them (too much food will clog the drain). If you’re staunchly in the “no prerinse camp,” then you should at least make sure to scrape all the food off your dishes before loading. We’re not animals!

4. Washer and dryer

Washer dryer
Scrub the glass so you can see your clean clothes!

Photo by Phoebe Howard
Maybe you’re tired of seeing your washer covered in caked-on detergent. Or perhaps you can never get all the tiny pieces of lint that stick to the edges of your dryer’s lint trap. If this describes you, it’s time to get intimate with the inner workings of these two appliances.

The lint trap and soap dispenser can be removed for cleaning in many washer and dryer models. Take a sponge with hot water and dish soap and give both a scrub. You can also run the washer through its cycle with a 50-50 mixture of water and white vinegar.

The dryer can be wiped clean with a damp cloth to remove any lint, hair, and bits of fabric. And when it comes to those sticky glass doors, grab another lemon.

Halve it, dip the cut end in baking soda, and then scour the inside of each appliance door, Novak suggests. The lemon juice cuts through the buildup, and the baking soda acts as a mild abrasive. Finish by wiping with a damp lint-free cloth.

5. Toaster

First things first: Unplug the darned thing. OK? You don’t want to mess with electricity and this home appliance.

After you’ve cut off the juice, sprinkle cream of tartar on a damp, nonabrasive sponge and clean the exterior and top of the toaster. You can also use a slim paint brush to remove those pesky crumbs on the inside.

Carefully brush crumbs away from the coils in your toaster so they fall to the bottom and land in the tray, Novak says.You can also gently tap the toaster to dislodge crumbs—but not too hard, or the coils can loosen, she adds. Next, remove the tray and wash and dry thoroughly before replacing. Voila! Clean as new.

The Early Bird’s Guide to Buying a Home

Planning to buy a home this spring? Then right now—yes, during these last days of winter—is the time to get rolling.

“Spring is peak home-buying season, which means you’re going to have a ton of competition from other buyers,” says Peggy Yee, supervising broker at Frankly Realtors in Vienna, VA. Hence, winter is the ideal time to get ahead of the curve, but how? Follow these steps and you’ll be way ahead of the pack once the spring home-buying season heats up.

Step No. 1: Find a buyer’s agent

Teaming up with a buyer’s agent during the winter offers several advantages. For starters, because business is slow, an agent can take the time to help you identify what type of home you want and educate you on the local market so that you’ll have realistic expectations of what you’ll be able to find in a few months.

Also, “your agent may hear of properties that are going to come on the market in the spring, which could enable you to get a sneak peek at homes before other buyers,” Yee says.

To find a real estate agent, you can ask friends or family for referrals, or use a reputable real estate agent database.

“If you’re laser-focused on a specific neighborhood, you’ll want to work with a neighborhood specialist—someone who knows the community like the back of their hand,” Yee advises.

Step No. 2: Get your financing squared away

Before you even lay eyes on a house, you should be looking at lenders. Why? Because lenders will help you get real about how much house you can afford. They will determine how much money they’re willing to lend you by checking out your financial details, from your income to your credit score and more. Plus, if your finances are less than perfect, you’ll be able to find out in plenty of time to make amends.

“Depending on what shape your credit is in, it may take a couple of months to raise your score,” says Richard Redmond, mortgage broker at All California Mortgage in Larkspur and author of “Mortgages: The Insider’s Guide.”

There’s no magic spell to banish poor credit; the strategy will depend on your financial situation.

“For some people, it might make sense to pay off their credit card balances over the next couple of months, but that might not be the right move if you’re going to need the money for closing costs,” Redmond explains. Thus, it’s beneficial to get credit advice from a mortgage professional at least two to three months before you plan to buy.

If your credit score is strong (760 and above will qualify you for the best interest rates), getting pre-approved for a home loan now makes sense.

“Pre-approval is usually only good for 90 days,” says Redmond, “but it’s easy to renew it if the borrower’s financial picture doesn’t change. And when interest rates are trending upward, which they currently are, it’s better to lock in your rate sooner rather than later.”

Step No. 3: Start previewing homes

You’ll probably do an initial consultation with your agent to identify what type of home you want to buy. However, you won’t really know what type of home you’re looking for until you actually step inside some homes, says Lisa Cahill, co-owner of Evolve Real Estate in St. Petersburg, FL.

“Your criteria can change when you start to look at properties,” says Cahill. For example, you might think you need a home with 2,500 square feet of living space, but that number could change when you start seeing homes in person. Your real estate agent can alert you to open houses to attend during the winter months.

Step No. 4: Scrutinize prospective neighborhoods

Have your sights set on a particular neighborhood? Winter is a good time to see whether the community is going to be a good fit.

“You can tell whether an area has good schools on paper, but there are a lot of things you can’t judge unless you go there in person,” says Cahill.

For instance, online research won’t show you what the noise level is during rush hour or what the neighbors are like (e.g., is it more for young families or older residents?). Those are things that you need to assess with your own eyes. Concerned about traffic? “Go and test-drive your commute,” says Yee.

Step No. 5: Don’t rule out buying early

Even if you had originally planned to buy later in the spring, what if you find a home you absolutely love earlier? If you’re willing and able to move earlier, then keep an open mind with respect to buying a home during the winter. Granted, there are fewer homes to choose from, but there’s also less competition.

“You’re less likely to encounter a multiple offer situation,” says Yee. Translation: Don’t hesitate to make an offer in February or March if you find the perfect house.

Planning to sell the home you’re currently in this spring as well? Tune in tomorrow for the early bird’s guide to selling your home.

Trent Dilfer Hopes to Manage a $7M Mansion Sale in California

A longtime NFL quarterback with roots in the San Francisco Bay Area is taking a real estate shot downfield and hoping for a big score.

Current ESPN NFL analyst Trent Dilfer is selling his Spanish-style mansion in Saratoga, CA, for nearly $7 million. The Super Bowl champ’s five-bedroom, six-bath home sits on an acre and a half of land in the heart of one of the Bay Area’s most scenic areas. The 5,500-square-foot home is right on the border of the exclusive enclave of Monte Sereno and only five minutes from downtown Los Gatos.

According to the listing, the mansion was built just 10 years ago and was briefly on the market in 2010 for $5.1 million.

Trent Dilfer's home
Trent Dilfer’s home

realtor.com

The ex-QB is married and has three daughters, so it’s no surprise the two-level home is designed for comfortable, everyday living. The layout features grand formal rooms, main- and upper-level family rooms, an executive office, and two project rooms that can be transformed into office, hobby, or study spaces.

There are four bedroom suites, and the kitchen features granite counter tops, a wine refrigerator, and a pantry.

The exterior resembles a resort and features a vineyard, gazebo, pool and spa, outdoor kitchen, pizza oven, fireplace, and bocce court.

Dilfer, a Bay Area native, was at one point a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers. His NFL career spanned 13 seasons in a variety of locales. His most notable season was in 2000, when he helped defeat the New York Giants and led the Baltimore Ravens to their first Super Bowl victory. He spent the early part of his career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

After Baltimore, Dilfer bounced around the league and played for Seattle, Cleveland, and San Francisco before joining the ESPN broadcast team in 2008. In 2016, Dilfer signed an undisclosed extension with the network to stay on their broadcasting team and expand his role. Over the course of his career, Dilfer tossed 113 touchdowns and 129 interceptions.

 

‘Modern Family’ Star Ty Burrell Buys Spanish-Style Stunner in L.A.

Now that “Modern Family” star Ty Burrell has a contract pending on his penthouse in Culver City, CA, the actor has paid a smidge more than $4.2 million for a Spanish Colonial Revival–style home in Los Angeles, says Variety.

The 3,200-square-foot, circa 1920s home boasts four bedrooms, three bathrooms, and a guesthouse. It’s located in the Cheviot Hills neighborhood, just a couple of blocks from the home the sitcom uses for exterior shots for Phil Dunphy’s house. (Phil is the character Burrell inhabits each week on ABC’s hit sitcom.)

Burrell’s new digs, originally designed by California architect Gerard Colcord, features a gothic arched entryway, a living room with wood plank ceiling, a kitchen with lacquered teal cabinets and terra-cotta floor, and a master suite that opens to a porch on one side and a balcony with city views on the other.

Lovely courtyard
Lovely courtyard

realtor.com

The house was listed in November for $4,395,000, and Burrell, through a blind trust, paid $4,225,000 in December 2016.

Burrell and his wife, Holly, also own a home in Salt Lake City, where the actor is proprietor of the Beer Bar gastropub.

Millennials Are Less Mobile Than Young People Have Been in Decades

Most millennials are unmarried, childless and mortgageless, which should mean they have boundless freedom to pursue opportunities in different places.

It seems the opposite is the case.

Today’s young Americans are less mobile than the previous four generations were at the same age, according to a new analysis by the Pew Research Center using recently released U.S. Census data.

In 2016, just 20% of 25 to 35 year olds said they changed addresses in the previous year. By contrast, in 2000, 26% of members of Generation X said they had moved in the previous year. In 1990 27% of late baby boomers said they had moved in the prior year.

The research provides a clue to what might be driving a puzzling trend in the eighth year of an economic expansion: The share of Americans of all ages who moved in the previous year fell to an all-time low of 11.2% in 2016, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

The pattern concerns economists because moving has historically been a way for Americans to pursue job opportunities. As the economy improves, one would expect Americans to be moving in greater numbers.

That is especially true of millennials, because they are less likely to be married or have children than prior generations at the same age, both of which are significant constraints on mobility.

“When you look at their demographics, they should be fairly footloose, but they’re not,” said Richard Fry, a senior economist at Pew.

Many young people are stuck in place in part because of their inability to buy a home or their lack of interest in doing so. For previous generations, moving to the suburbs or to smaller towns often was a way to afford a mortgage. But today’s young adults are less likely to do so, in part because many enjoy living in walkable—and more expensive—urban downtowns with shops and restaurants.

It is also more difficult for many to buy a home because of tight credit and rising rents and home prices that have made it difficult to save for a down payment.

In all, just 6% of millennials who moved last year said their primary reason was to own a home. In 2000, 14% of Gen X movers had that motivation.

The low homeownership rate among young adults has been one of the biggest dim spots in the housing-market recovery. The homeownership rate among households headed by someone 35 or younger fell to 34.7% in the fourth quarter of last year, down from 39.2% in the fourth quarter of 2010, according to U.S. Census data.

While recent data have shown an improvement in employment opportunities and wages for young adults, Mr. Fry said mobility could pose a long-term obstacle.

“I think this is an indicator that opportunities may still be limited for today’s young adults,” he said.

Date Night at Ikea: Surprising Confessions of an Ikea Virgin

Intense excitement has been zinging through the air in my suburban Los Angeles neighborhood, and it has nothing to do with the fact that Valentine’s Day is here. It’s that the nation’s largest Ikea store had just opened nearby.

“Have you seen it?” neighbors asked breathlessly, as if Machu Picchu had just been transplanted into our hood.

“I don’t get what all the frenzy is about,” I confessed to my husband, Jim. After all, I added, I’d never been to an Ikea.

“What!” Jim gasped. “Ten years of marriage, and you’re only now telling me that you’re an Ikea virgin? How can anyone go this long without visiting the most famous furniture store in the world?”

“I guess I’ve just never found the right person to go with,” I replied sheepishly.

“Well, I’m glad I get to be your first,” he said tenderly. “Let’s take it slow. Maybe begin with dinner and a little browse. I know! We’ll have an Ikea date night!”

“Ikea date night” might seem strange, but it made sense for us, given we often did Costco date nights: You can do a lot of bonding over a hot dog and soft drink for $1.50 before you waltz off to buy a 60-pack of toilet paper.

Before our Ikea outing, I took my sweet time getting properly primped. I put on yoga pants (for ease of motion), a hot pink hoodie (so Jim could easily spot me if we got separated), and trainers (since we had eight football fields’ worth of shopping floor to cover). In lieu of my leopard-print clutch, I grabbed my backpack and a couple of bottles of water, because I had a feeling we’d need to stay hydrated.

So when all was said and shopped, did the reality of Ikea match my expectations? Well, yes and no. Like almost all dates, in some instances it fell short of or delightfully surpassed them. Here are the surprises that hit me as I meandered through those aisles.

Surprise No. 1: There’s a reason those meatballs are so cheap

Famous Swedish meatballs are not all they're cracked up to be, but the price is right!
The famous Swedish meatballs are not all they’re cracked up to be, but the price is right!

James Mandell

Everyone has heard about Swedish meatballs, and it sounds like the deal of the century when you can get 10 nuggets of Scandinavian goodness, plus veggies and mashed potatoes, for a mere $4.99.

But there’s a reason Ikea keeps its food prices so low: According to one chef who worked there, cheap meatballs “reinforce their low price profile,” which rubs off on the rest of the store. In other words, you marvel at the reasonable menu and presume the furniture is a deal, too (some of it is, but some of it isn’t).

What’s more, price alone does not make for a great date meal. Those meatballs and everything else on my tray looked—and tasted—like plastic play food. Plus, we waited a half-hour to get seats—that’s longer than we’ve waited at a five-star restaurant, and the ambiance was a cross between a low-end cruise and a Las Vegas buffet. Not romantic!

Nonetheless, once we left the dining area my husband resumed his much-relished role of suave know-it-all, saying in so many words, “C’mere, little lady, let me introduce you to paradise.” Time to shop!

Surprise No. 2: There’s free baby-sitting

Lovebirds with kids, you’re in luck: There’s a Swedish forest–themed play area, with cartoons and balls and plenty of supervision. You can drop your kids off, and staff will give you a pager in case there’s a meltdown.

Kids spend time playing in an enchanted Swedish forest while their parents shop
Kids spend time playing in an enchanted Swedish forest while their parents shop.

James Mandell

In fact, one mom interviewed in a New York Times article, “A Cheap Date, With Child Care by Ikea,” admitted, “It’s a very creative way to get a night out and see if you can capture a little social life.”

In fact, it may end up being a longer date than anticipated: One dad I talked to was struggling to drag his three young kids away.

Surprise No. 3: Everything is tiny

One thing that struck me was the small size of most of the furnishings. There wasn’t an overstuffed couch in sight. Plus, Ikea now features fully furnished “sample layouts” for tiny houses measuring a mere 270 square feet! I swear I saw one guy hanging his jacket in the tiny closet in an effort to move in.

Then lo and behold, I spotted a shockingly small double vanity. My husband and I had been pining for such an item that would fit in our oddly shaped bathroom so we wouldn’t have to elbow each other over the same sink.

“Let’s get it!” my husband said, the passionate, impulsive Lothario.

“But we should go home and measure first,” was my sensible reply. After all, this was my first Ikea trip, and I didn’t want to do anything I’d regret.

double vanity
This double vanity caused some tension between us.

Ikea

Surprise No. 4: Ultimately, resistance to buying is futile

Even though this was supposed to be a browse-only date, it really is true that you can’t leave the store’s clutches without buying something. Although I managed to pry a stuffed dog named Gosig Golden out of my husband’s hands, we did end up caving to a Lillangen bathroom cabinet and a Klabb floor lamp for a little mood lighting for the bedroom.

At first, my husband was reluctant to even point out the floor lamp, since he’d already been burned over the double vanity. So, he just sidled up to it and waited hopefully for my reaction.

“I like this lamp,” I said finally.

“You do?” his eyes lit up.

Since most of the floor lamps we’d seen in other furniture stores were priced well over $500, we were hesitant—that is, until we turned over the tag: $89.99. Well then! At that price, I allowed myself to get swept up with my husband and bring it home.

So it turns out Ikea was pretty romantic after all—that is, before we went home and tried to assemble the stuff we had bought.

Looking for Love? Surprisingly, Singles Should Avoid These Cities

Singles looking for love—or even a packed social calendar—may want to think twice before moving to Riverside, CA.

Just about an hour and a half outside Los Angeles (depending on that all-determining traffic), Riverside was named the worst metro in the nation for renters when it comes to dating and making new friends, according to a recent survey by Apartment List.

The rental website asked more than 13,000 renters across the country to rate their opportunities to find a mate and friends in their neighborhoods and cities. The 30 metros that received the most responses from residents were then ranked for the report.

The worst metros to find the love of your life

In Riverside, only 28.4% of respondents were “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with local opportunities to forge new romantic—and platonic—relationships, according to the survey. Men were definitely happier with the situation than women, with 44.4% of them giving the metro high marks, compared with just 26.4% of women.

“It’s not one of those places that is super thriving,” like the San Francisco Bay Area, says Chris Salviati, a data analyst at Apartment List. “It’s not attracting as many young people.”

Riverside is known as the birthplace of the state’s citrus industry and is home to more than 20,000 students at the University of California, Riverside.

The next worst city on the list was Orlando, FL, with just 35.4% of participants giving the thumbs-up. Rounding out the top 10 dating wastelands were Seattle, Detroit, Las Vegas, Indianapolis, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Denver, and San Francisco.

The most romantic metros for singles

Overall, about 48% of participants were happy with their shots at love and friendship, while about 22% were not, according to the survey. And men and college-educated renters were generally more happy with opportunities to find love than women or those without degrees.

On the other hand, the best place for singles looking for love was Raleigh, NC. Yup, that’s right.

“Raleigh is definitely a place that has been growing quite a bit and attracting a lot of millennials,” Salviati says. And those new transplants “are more likely to be going out and being social.”

About two-thirds of respondents in the capital of North Carolina, which is a tech and innovation hub, felt positively about their dating options. The city is also home to about a dozen colleges and universities, including Duke University.

That may be because life in the small Southern city isn’t as stressful as some of the bigger cities like New York or San Francisco, people are friendlier, and the cost of living is less. (The median rent for a two-bedroom apartment in the city was just $1,010 as of Feb. 1, according to Apartment List. It was $4,110 in New York and $4,610 in San Francisco.)

“You have happier people” in Raleigh, says Paige Armstrong, a Raleigh-based clinical social worker specializing in relationship issues. “You can stand in line at the Whole Foods and have a conversation with the stranger who’s next to you. In other cities, you might stand in line and be lucky to get a smile.”

However, while Raleigh may be a bachelor’s paradise, it didn’t score so highly with the single ladies. About 94% of men rated the metro positively, while just 53% of women did the same, according to the survey.

After Raleigh, residents of San Antonio; Boston; Charlotte, NC; and Washington, DC, gave their metros high marks for finding love and friendship. Austin, TX; Baltimore; Tampa, FL; Houston; and New York City fleshed out the top 10.