Consumer Real Estate News

    • A New Year, a New Sustainable You

      17 January 2022

      (Family Features) Committing to healthier living isn’t just about calories and fitness. Choosing a healthier lifestyle also means making smarter choices for the world around you, especially when it comes to eating and other daily routines.

      Commit to doing your part for a healthier environment with these tips:

      In and Around the Kitchen
      What you eat accounts for a great deal of your environmental impact – in fact, more than one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions caused by human activity can be attributed to the way people produce, process and package food, according to a United Nations-backed study. Factors like animal agriculture, processing, packaging and transportation all influence a food product’s cost to the earth. Being conscious of where and how you shop for food can have a positive effect on the world around you. For example, by shopping locally, you can reduce transportation impact. Choosing to buy in-season produce as opposed to fruits and veggies from other regions can also help.

      Consider Your Food Footprint
      One simple step you can take is to check the packaging of foods you buy to understand their carbon footprint. For example, each box of Airly Oat Cloud crackers helps remove greenhouse gases from the air through an innovative farming technique that makes agriculture a solution, not a contributor, to climate change. The carbon footprint is on the back of every box, so you can see how many grams of carbon dioxide you are helping remove from the air and start rethinking the food supply chain. Sustainable doesn’t have to mean bland or expensive, however. Made with real, wholesome and 100% truly delicious ingredients, all four flavor varieties (Cheddar, Sea Salt, Chocolate and Salted Caramel) make for delicious, satisfying, convenient anytime snacks.

      Plan to Start a Garden
      Through the plants’ photosynthesis process, gardens can help manage carbon dioxide while increasing oxygen. Producing your own food means you’re relying less on the supply chain and you have a ready supply of fresh, nourishing food without having to leave your home. Gardens are also natural habitats and food sources to important critters like bees, which play an essential role in pollinating and sustaining the earth’s vegetation.

      Eat Less Meat
      For many people, creating a more balanced diet means adding more fruits and veggies while cutting back on things like meat and carbs. Diet aside, eating less meat can promote environmental health, too. Agriculture, and livestock production in particular, contributes to global warming. Livestock animals are a significant source of methane gas, which can be more detrimental than carbon dioxide to the atmosphere and is growing at a rapid pace, according to the International Panel on Climate Change. The livestock industry also affects land usage and clean water, among other environmental concerns.

      Practice Upcycling
      Giving new life to old things is known as upcycling. It’s a concept that keeps useful things with plenty of functional life from filling landfills. You can practice upcycling by reimagining everything from furniture to clothing. Before tossing an item, consider how it could be used differently or serve a new purpose.

      Use Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products
      Some cleaning products are full of chemicals that pose hazards to the environment. Green products are generally free of those harsh, smelly chemicals and often come in packaging that is more earth-friendly, too. If you make your own eco-friendly cleaners using household ingredients like baking soda, vinegar and lemon, you can also save some money.

      Explore more ideas for a healthier approach to living at

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 5 Household Chores for Kids Under 10

      17 January 2022

      When everyone pitches in around the house, there is more time for fun, games and family bonding. Teaching household chores and responsibilities at a young age can help children grow up to be clean, organized and happy adults. 

      So, what chores should you assign to the young ones? Be sure to avoid heavy objects, like vacuum cleaners, and chemical cleaners to reduce the risk of injury or death. Instead, start with easier tasks that still provide a sense of responsibility and success. 

      Here are five chores for kids under 10 to get you started on the road to a cleaner home and a happier, healthier (and more responsible) family:

      Dust Furniture
      Dust accrues almost daily in every room in your home. By assigning this task to young children, they get a better understanding of the spaces that get dirty, even where they would least expect it. Dusting is easy enough that risk of injury is minimal, yet extremely helpful in the overall cleaning process.  

      Water Plants
      If you have indoor plants, or even a beautifully landscaped garden outdoors, you can connect your children to nature while also teaching them to acquire a green thumb. This can also be a great way to dive into science, demonstrating photosynthesis and the importance of sunlight and water. If you grow herbs, you can even show them how to use the plants they care for in the kitchen! 

      Feed Pets
      Having a pet is a huge responsibility, especially for a child. And when that child is too young to take a dog for a walk or clean out a litter box, feeding time is a great way to pitch in. Make it easier by providing a scooper, rather than lifting a heavy bag, and giving them a set number of scoops for how much food is needed. 

      Set the Table
      As dinner is cooking in the kitchen, have younger children take on the job of setting the table. A plate, utensils, a cup and a napkin at every seat is simple and easy. If the meal requires serving utensils (other than knives of course) or condiments, have them handle it so they understand where things are located and where they belong when it’s time to put them away. 

      Sweep the Floor
      A vacuum cleaner may be a bit heavy duty for a small child, but a broom is not. Similar to dusting, children will learn the nooks and corners that need to be swept for a deeper clean when you follow up with a vacuum. Also, since sweeping collects physical piles of dirt that need to be scooped up, kids may feel a sense of pride when they see what their hard work has accomplished.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Start Fresh Each and Every Day

      17 January 2022

      Routines are an important part of a healthy lifestyle. But day after day, repeating the same things can become stale and boring. Before you know it, you’re in a mid-week slump and you wake up feeling tired and worn out. 

      Instead of following your same old morning ritual, you can boost your mind and give yourself energy to get through the day with a few simple changes. Switch it up throughout the week to ensure you’re keeping your mind open and feeling refreshed. Here are a few activities you can add to your morning ritual: 

      Whether you have only five minutes or a full hour, meditation can help clear the mind and reduce stress. This ancient practice helps you focus on your breathing, steering any thoughts—especially negative ones—out of your mind. In a quiet area, free from distractions and noises, sit back, close your eyes and give yourself some peace before you start your day.

      Whether you want to record your dreams or simply write out your thoughts, journaling can help release any stress or tension you may have first thing in the morning. This practice can also open your mind and spark creativity. Whatever the result, taking a few minutes to write out your thoughts is a simple way to change up your daily routine and engage the mind.

      If a workout is not already part of your morning schedule, it can be an exciting way for you to change things up and get your body and mind moving. Even simple stretching and breathing, similar to meditation, can help clear the mind and help you feel refreshed. 

      Though this may seem like a regular morning activity, lots of people trade omelettes and toast for a quick bowl of cereal or an on-the-go power bar. Slow your morning down and take some time to cook yourself a healthy breakfast. Not only does breakfast kick your day off with a boost of energy and nutrients, it can relax the mind and distract you from your boring routine.

      There are many ways to step out of your regular pattern and feel refreshed every morning. Try one of these activities, or find something new. Either way, remember to open your mind and allow yourself to value your time in the mornings to guarantee a fresh start each and every day. 

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 5 Factors Newlyweds Should Consider When Buying a Home

      14 January 2022

      Now that the wedding is over, you and your spouse are ready for the next exciting milestone: homeownership. But there are so many factors you need to keep in mind, and you want it to be a pleasant house hunting experience. The following are just a few things you should consider as newlyweds searching for a new home.

      Marriage is a big transition, and it may come with some adjustments to your lifestyle. Have a talk with your spouse and discuss your long-term goals, such as whether you want to start a family or move to a different location for job possibilities. You also should take into account the safety of the neighborhood, the school district in which you live and the amount of families that reside in the area. If you're thinking about having kids soon, having great public schools nearby is important.

      Required Space
      Discuss what your expectations are for square footage and the general space you want within your home. Keep in mind the space you need for day-to-day activities, family gatherings and your future children. Create a list that helps you prioritize what kind of space is important to you as individuals and as a couple. For example, if you host a lot of parties, you may want to prioritize a large kitchen and living room. If one of you works from home or needs office space, put that on the top of your list.

      Compromise is often necessary. Identify which spatial features are and aren’t deal-breakers, especially when compared with other factors like location.

      Bed and Bath Layout
      The number of bedrooms and bathrooms in your home is another important factor you should discuss. Determine whether you want your home to be able to lodge many people or if you’d prefer to not have visitors. Just make sure you don't go over your budget, because the number of bedrooms and bathrooms has a major influence on the asking price of a house. Decide if you really need that extra guest room if it means sacrificing a large kitchen or the perfect location.

      If you intend to add a bedroom or bathroom in the future, check the county’s code and permit requirements, as well as the potential cost of the addition. If the price is less than what it would cost to buy a house that already has an extra bathroom, it may be worth it to wait and build one that’s to your exact specifications.

      Hidden Expenses
      When you determine your budget for your home, make sure you include any ongoing expenses the home has. Utilities are a major cost that vary based on the sustainability and efficiency of your house. Consider the cost it may take to upgrade your heating and cooling system, major appliances, and windows and doors. It may cost more upfront but save you a lot of money in the future, so it's important to figure out what you can afford in the short and long term. You should also be aware of costs like homeowners association dues (if applicable), structural update costs, property taxes, insurance and any other regional fees.

      Shopping for your first home as a newlywed couple should be a fun and memorable experience. Be sure to discuss your needs ahead of time, stick to your budget and enjoy the process.

      Source: Kyla Stelling/RISMedia’s Housecall

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Is It Time to Sell Your Home?

      14 January 2022

      Choosing to sell your home is a big decision—one that requires the careful weighing of a variety of factors, both lifestyle and financial. To help sort things out, here are a few telling signs that now might be the time to finally put your home on the market.

      You’ve outgrown your space—really. Truly needing more space is about more than an overflowing closet or two. Do you have kids outgrowing shared bedrooms? An in-law moving in? A new virtual work opportunity that requires a home office? These are the life events that truly necessitate a bigger home—not the inability to curb one’s shoe-buying habit.

      Your neighborhood is booming. Are you smack-dab in the middle of a hot housing market? Contact your local real estate agent and check out comparable sales. If homes in your neighborhood are selling above listing price and you’ve been on the fence about selling for a while, now might be a wise time to take the leap and cash in on the opportunity.

      You’re letting things go. Remember when home improvement projects and landscaping chores were fun? Well, if that’s a distant memory and your grass is knee-high and the porch railing is rotting, this may be a sign that you’re ready to move on to a maintenance-free way of life. Realize that the more you let things go around the house, the more money you’ll have to invest to get it ready for market. So, honestly evaluate if it’s time for a home that offers a simpler, less work-intensive option.

      Your life has changed. An important life change can surpass all other reasons to sell your home. Growing or shrinking families, a new job with a new, long commute, retirement, divorce, etc., are all cause to seriously consider moving to a home that makes more sense for life as you now know it. Ultimately, a happy home is one that’s in sync with your current phase of life.

      Of course, these are just a few signs that it might be time to sell your home. Reach out to a real estate agent for more information that may help you decide. 

      Published with permission from RISMedia.