Consumer Real Estate News

    • Create a Stylish Home Office in a Limited Space

      13 July 2020

      With more people working from home and the trend expected to continue, many who’ve been co-opting the kitchen table are looking for better ideas. 

      From designers focused on meeting this need, here are four simple and workable ideas that won’t break the bank: 

      • Create a moveable work zone. Turn the area behind your sofa or in a corner of your bedroom into a comfy work space by day that knows its place in the evening. Start with a lightweight, sit-or-stand desk (many are now available at office furnishings stores) that can be moved out of the way after the work day. A flexible wire shelf unit installed along one wall can hold supplies, such as notebooks, pens and a printer, and you can roll your desk and chair right up against them when it’s time to replace the coffee cup with a glass of wine.
      • Clear out a closet. The closet in a second bedroom can easily house a hideaway office. Install modular wire shelving along the back wall, add a desk and some extra interior lighting and keep your office behind closed doors. A rolling desk chair or a balance ball can provide comfy seating, and a small bookcase can easily accommodate files or surplus supplies.
      • Go for invisible. In the living room, you can create a low-profile office with a glass topped, Lucite or acrylic desk that won’t dominate the space. Even go for a slimline desk you can spray paint to blend in with the wall behind it and use existing bookshelves in the room to hold your printer and supplies.
      • Use a room divider. Carve out a corner of your living room or bedroom for a small but usable office and conceal it from view whenever you wish. With a stylish, standing room divider or a curtained “wall” strung onto a rod with shower hooks,  you can span the width of the space as you desire.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Emotionally Preparing Your Children for Back-to-School Season

      13 July 2020

      (Family Features) Between sheltering-in-place, online learning and time away from friends, many children will need a little extra support as they head back to school this fall.

      Consider these tips from the experts at KinderCare to help you emotionally prepare your children to return to school with confidence, optimism and excitement.

      Address your feelings (and theirs)
      Children often take cues about how to react from their parents. Think about what it takes for you to feel calm and prepared (or even excited) for the start of a new school year. That could mean talking with your child’s teacher or school about the safety precautions they’re taking so you can feel more at ease, taking a few minutes to establish a morning routine or stepping away from news that makes you anxious. Focus instead on the positive aspects of school, like the opportunity your child will have to learn, make friends, interact with others and grow into his or her own person.

      “Children need a sense of belonging, and school provides an important connection point for them,” said Dr. Elanna Yalow, chief academic officer for KinderCare Learning Centers. “Nothing builds a sense of community like personal contact with friends and teachers. That connection is essential in supporting a child’s growth and development.”

      Set expectations about what to expect before the first day
      Some children may feel ready to go and eager to explore, while others can be more reserved or even fearful of new places, faces and routines. When your child knows what to expect, it can go a long way in soothing any worries he or she may have about leaving home and going to school.

      It’s also important to respect your child’s growing independence and empower him or her to help others. As you explain safety precautions like covering the mouth when sneezing or coughing, or proper hand washing, emphasize how your child’s actions can help keep family, friends and teachers safe.

      “Children may already be apprehensive about returning to school, let alone trying to cope with new safety practices,” said Dr. Joelle Simpson, a pediatric emergency medicine physician and medical director for emergency preparedness at Children’s National Hospital. “Explaining these precautions ahead of time can help your children see them as part of the school day routine instead of something to fear. For parents, remember that while children can get sick from this virus, it occurs less frequently than in adults and at lower rates than the flu.”

      Celebrate the start of a new school year
      Try to plan a special activity or some extra family time the week before school starts and encourage your child to participate in the planning.

      “Remember, children didn’t have time for a clean break and celebration at the end of the last school year, and this can help your child mentally adjust to a new routine and schedule,” Yalow said.

      Let your child know how proud you are to see him or her growing up, learning how to be a good friend and exploring and learning about the world. Be sure to talk with your child each school day – what was learned, funny things friends said, the things that seem little but are important to your child.

      For more tips about how to help your child prepare for the new school year, visit kindercare.com.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • The Screened Porch: A Must-Have for Some Buyers

      13 July 2020

      Porches are very popular, but a screened porch is a must-have for some because of bugs and weather that is more worrisome than before. Screened porches offer an outdoor sanctuary in an age of increasing concerns about pest-borne diseases, which is one of the reasons they have been increasing in popularity over the years.

      They will provide protection against bugs, but also offer shade from the sun and shelter from the rain. Additionally, a screened porch will lower ground temperatures, saving on cooling costs in the summer. A screened porch will also reduce the sunlight that reaches adjacent interior rooms.

      Lighting options are greatly increased as well. During the day, you can still rely on the sun, but at night, you can use recessed lighting, pendant lights or even a ceiling fan to give the room even more light and comfort.

      Sellers or those who recently purchased a home might even consider building an entirely new porch if there is space available, say between the garage and house. But keep in mind that it doesn't add to the home's total square footage.

      If you do decide to go this route, there are numerous options when deciding on the materials to build with. A quick look around the web will provide advice on designing the porch in three phases: flooring, exterior materials and interior trim. Everything from pressure-treated Yellow Southern Pine to vinyl and to up-cycled composites can be considered.

      When getting started, know what you want in the look of your ceiling from the beginning. Flat ceilings can give a screened porch that interior room feel, whereas a vaulted or cathedral ceiling is spacious, allowing for better ventilation.

      Also, think about doors carefully. Do you want one leading directly to the house, or do you want it to wrap around the side for easier entry from a pool or outside entertaining area? Aluminum doors are highly recommended because wood doors tend to warp over time.

      While this might seem like a project you might want to tackle yourself, using a professional contractor is probably best, as they will know the zoning laws, can deal with any issues of wires that might pop up, and can create something in less time.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Simple Tips to Tackle Credit Card Debt

      10 July 2020

      Credit cards are convenient for shopping and can come in handy during emergencies, but unless you’re careful, it’s easy to rack up debt fast. If you’re one of the millions of Americans that hold credit card debt, the following tips from the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors will help set you on your way to living debt-free:

      Hit the Pause Button. Take a look at exactly what you’re spending during any given month, and determine if there are any automated payments that can be eliminated or paused temporarily while you work to pay off your debt. You might even consider putting off large expenses for one year to help you pay your debt off faster.

      Reduce Interest Rates. Once you’ve taken stock of all the credit cards in your wallet, as well as interest rates and minimum payments, call your credit card companies to see if there’s any chance they could waive late payments or reduce interest rates.

      Work Toward Eliminating Your Most Expensive Card First. While it’s important to pay the monthly minimum on all cards to avoid fees, any leftover money should be applied to the card with the highest interest rate. Once you’ve paid this card off, apply the same strategy to the card with the second-highest interest rate while making minimum payments on all other cards. Repeat the process until all of your credit cards have been paid off.

      Create a Written Budget. Putting pen to paper and creating a written budget will go a long way toward helping you stay out of debt in the future. Be sure to include an emergency fund in your budget so that you’re financially prepared should you experience a job loss or health crisis. And don’t forget to check in with your budget each and every month.

      Set Goals and Keep Your Eye on the Prize. Whether it’s saving for a down payment or preparing to go back to school, write down your goals so that you’re more driven to reach them. Remember that the changes you’re making now will help you reach your goals well into the future.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 6 Security Tips for Your New Home

      10 July 2020

      Buying and moving into a new home is exciting, but it also requires a lot of attention to detail, from closing the deal to figuring out the logistics of getting all your belongings from point A to point B. Amid all the excitement, planning and unpacking, many new homeowners overlook one essential factor: the security of their new house.

      If you’re moving, consider these six tips from the home security experts at ADT to help keep your family and your property safe and secure:

      Change the Locks. You never know who lived in your property before you moved in. Do yourself a favor and change the locks regardless of the situation.

      Transfer or Invest in a Security System. There’s no better way to ensure your home is secure 24/7 than installing a home security system. Burglar-proof your house by adding video surveillance and motion sensors for complete security. If there’s already a security system in the house, have it properly looked over and reactivated. If you’d like to bring the security system that you're currently using to your new house, consider relocation services.

      Install Indoor and Outdoor Lighting. Don’t stand out as the “new neighbor” by being the only dim house on the street at night. Keep your family protected by making your house look occupied at all times using light automation.

      Keep Your Outside Area in Excellent Condition. Did you know burglars see the exterior of your property as a bullseye? If your lawn is unkempt or you have large shrubbery, burglars will see that as an invitation to break in.

      Talk With the Neighbors. Having trusted neighbors can immediately make living in a new place much safer. They may be able to help keep your house look occupied while you’re away by simply picking up the newspaper, shoveling your walkway, etc.

      Remind Your Kids to Be Cautious. Moving to a new neighborhood means a lot of unfamiliar faces for you and your family. Make sure your children are aware that they should never let a stranger into the house, leave the garage door up when they come in or go exploring too far until you’re more familiar with the area.

      By taking care of these security measures when moving, you can turn your focus to truly enjoying your new, safe home.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.