Consumer Real Estate News

    • How to De-Stress in Stressful Times

      14 August 2020

      A certain amount of stress from time to time is to be expected given the demands of work and family. However, the type of stress that is triggered by outside events beyond our control can be much more difficult to manage compared to everyday stressors. Here are a few strategies for staying calm when the world around you is anything but.

      Be more selective on social media. While social media sites are an important way of staying informed, waking up to a news-feed of alarming news and extreme opinions can be unsettling to say the least. If scrolling through your social feeds changes your mood for the worse, unfollow accounts or block contacts that trigger negative emotions. Instead, try following positive-news sources, your favorite comedians, nature or animal accounts, or inspirational leaders. This will help give you a break from the current stress around you.

      Spread some good will. One secret to reducing your own stress, is to be there for someone else. Sharing simple words of support and inspiration as well as random acts of kindness with everyone from your family to your coworkers to the pizza delivery guy, not only brightens someone else’s day, it creates an important sense of calm and connection for you. Of course, you could take this strategy a step further by volunteering in your community. Remembering that you’re not alone in a stressful situation is one of the best ways to maintain perspective and balance. 

      Be thankful. When the world around us is troubling and we’ve been dealt some difficult blows, it may seem impossible to feel a sense of appreciation. However, research proves that taking time each day to remember what we have to be thankful for is key to boosting your mood and putting you in a better frame of mind. All you need is a notepad or journal, or take it a step further and download an app that will help keep you accountable to your daily gratitude practice. 

      Get moving. The powerful endorphins that come with exercise cannot be underestimated. And thanks to our acclimation to the world of video conferences, you can get your daily dose of movement right in your own home with virtual fitness classes. What’s essential to remember is that you don’t need to be an Olympic athlete to get the mood-boosting benefits of exercise. A simple walk will do the trick!

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Your Best Strategy for Curb Appeal? Your Yard

      14 August 2020

      Obviously, when buyers are searching for a home, the house itself is top priority. But when it comes to choosing among similar houses, your yard can help make your home stand out over others. Here are some tips for creating a yard that boosts curb appeal and lets your home shine.

      Take your house into consideration. Create gardens based on the style and architecture of your home. Have a contemporary home? Go with a minimalist landscape or a Japanese garden design. Have a farmhouse? Choose a cottage garden with an informal design, and traditional and dense plantings. 

      Keep things in proportion. If your home is large, small, dainty flowers won’t showcase it properly. Instead, use plants in a repetitive fashion, such as rows of shrubs. Conversely, if you have a smaller home, make sure it’s not overwhelmed by large shrubs and overgrown plantings. Make sure your garden complements the shape and size of the house.

      Pay attention to hardscaping. While your lawn and plantings understandably take center stage in your landscape, your hardscaping can make all the difference. Take the time to clean or update walkways, front steps, gravel paths, slate patios, garden borders, etc. Then consider adding elements like a bird bath, garden bench or stone fire pit. Attention to detail when it comes to your yard’s hard surfaces can make or break your lawn, trees and garden beds. 

      Make your front door the star. Nothing says curb appeal better than a welcoming, attractive passage to your front door. Make the path natural and intuitive so guests easily know how to get to your front door. Accentuate the door or key points along the path with plantings and lighting.

      Don’t forget about the seasons. Your landscaping may look great in summer, but how does it fare in winter? Make sure your yard is adorned with trees, shrubs and evergreen selections that add structural interest and a healthy dose of green even on the dreariest winter day. 

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • How to Protect Your Lawn in the Heat

      14 August 2020

      All your hard work in creating a beautiful, lush lawn, can quickly go to waste in times of excessive heat and dryness. If you keep just a few simple things in mind, however, you can help ensure your grass holds up when conditions get tough.

      1. Don’t walk on dry grass. Well-watered blades of grass will bounce back when you walk on them. Dry grass, however, will stay tamped down when trodden upon. So when you're in a dry stretch, try to avoid walking on your lawn. Keep in mind, too much foot traffic is also a problem when the grass is wet as it can cause the soil to become compacted, which prevents air from getting to grass roots.

      2. Check your mower blade. If your lawn mower blade is dull, it will shred the grass, causing it to lose moisture. Shredded tips will also turn an unsightly brown. Make sure your blade is sharp so you can get a clean cut, and keep it at one of the highest settings to maintain taller grass. Tall grass means deep roots that can reach moisture hiding further down in the soil.

      3. Water in the morning. The ideal time to water your lawn is between 6 am - 10 am. Watering during this time frame prevents water from evaporating too quickly (like it would in the middle of the day) and gives your lawn a chance to dry before nightfall. Watering at night makes your lawn prone to disease.

      4. Time your fertilization. If you have a stressed, dried-out lawn on your hands, avoid feeding. Fertilize before the peak of your hot season, then again once things cool off and the rain returns.

      Source: Scotts

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 5 Great Vacation Traditions

      13 August 2020

      Even if your vacation this year only takes you as far as the backyard, you can make it a memorable one by creating simple yet meaningful traditions. Consider these ideas from the vacation-planning experts at VRBO:

      1. Hang a sheet and host a backyard movie night. You can spread out a big blanket for everyone to gather on or arrange a collection of outdoor chairs. Serve appropriate snacks, like popcorn, s’mores and fresh lemonade.

      2. Collect memorable quotes. Some of our best vacation memories are the comical and inspirational moments we share together. Start a quote-of-the-day journal, to record the best quips and words of wisdom from various family members. Review it at the end of your vacation or at other times the family gathers, such as the holiday season.

      3. Host a potluck. Nothing is better than an outdoor pot-luck dinner, where everyone brings a dish so that no one family member is overburdened with the responsibility of cooking and cleaning. Make sure to involve everyone...even the kids...and have fun sampling everyone’s creative and sometimes crazy concoctions.

      4. Planner for a day. Whether you’re on a road trip or staycation, let everyone play a part by getting to take over the itinerary for the day. The designated planner gets to choose the day’s activities, as well as the foods that will be eaten. Giving in to this concept opens up all sorts of possibilities for fun and adventure!

      5. Make it an annual occurrence. Whatever vacation traditions you choose, be sure to make them an annual event. This will give the entire family something to look forward to, cherish and pass down through the generations.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 4 Ways to Save on Your Utility Bills...Even With a Full House

      13 August 2020

      If you’re spending more time at home, as well as accommodating more family members than usual under your roof, you may be seeing an increase in your utility bills. But don’t despair! There are several simple strategies you can implement to save on energy costs, even with a house full of people—just make sure everyone’s on board and follows suit!

      1. Lower/raise your thermostat. Heating and cooling is typically a home’s biggest expense. If you’ve got the heat on, lower the thermostat by a couple of degrees, and do the opposite if you’re running the air conditioning—raise the temperature a degree or two. According to the Department of Energy, you’ll save about 3 percent for every degree you lower/raise...that adds up quickly! A programmable smart thermostat will make this a seamless process as you can set it to automatically readjust during certain times of the day.

      2. Decrease oven usage. Don’t turn the oven on to cook a small meal or warm something up. Use a toaster oven, outdoor grill, slow cooker or microwave instead. When you do need to use the oven, avoid opening the oven door as much as possible; every time you do, heat is released and the cooking time is extended. Of course, the best idea of all, is to add a couple of cold dishes to your dinner schedule. Consider a weekly “sandwich night” or integrate some healthy but satisfying salad mains to your repertoire.

      3. Don’t overtax the fridge. Keep the refrigerator door closed as much as possible by encouraging family members not to open the door for random perusing. Grab all the items you’ll need for a dish in one shot, instead of going back and forth. You’ll also save energy costs associated with your fridge by letting leftovers cool off on the counter before putting them away.

      4. Maximize laundry time. There are a few tricks that will help you save on energy costs related to doing laundry as well. For instance, use the maximum spin time when you can to remove as much moisture as possible in order to cut back on drying time. You can also make your dryer more efficient by cleaning the lint screen to improve air circulation. Get in the habit of using the dryer sensor to let you know when clothes are done, as opposed to setting a specific dry-time.

      Source: Consumer Reports

      Published with permission from RISMedia.