Consumer Real Estate News

  • Home Cleaning Hacks for Fall

    16 September 2021

    (Family Features) Cooler fall temperatures mean you’re likely to spend more time indoors. Taking time to spruce up inside and out can make you more comfortable and give you peace of mind that your home is tidy, clean and prepared to weather the months ahead.

    Tidy Outdoor Spaces
    Before stashing your lawn care equipment, give your home and landscape some end-of-season attention. Use a power washer to clean lawn furniture and store it away from the elements or use covers to protect it. Clean out gutters and remove debris from flower beds to encourage proper drainage.

    Check for Repair Projects
    Give your home a thorough inspection to identify any problems that need attention before cold weather sets in. Look for concerns like loose shutters or siding, cracked or loose shingles, cracks and gaps around doors and windows that may allow moisture or cold air to creep in. Severe weather and cycles of freezing and thawing can exacerbate these problems, so it’s best to make repairs before they result in major damage.

    Eliminate Dirt and Dust
    Moving indoors, take time to remove any dirt and grime that has accumulated. Wash textiles like curtains and rugs. Wipe down kitchen and bathroom surfaces with an antibacterial solution. Dust other parts of the house, including blinds, windowsills, baseboards and other hard-to-reach places.

    When it comes to vacuuming, make sure to keep floors clean and free of outside dirt all season long with an all-around cleaner that can vacuum and mop simultaneously, like the DEEBOT OZMO T8 AIVI. It provides convenient, efficient, hands-free cleaning you can control via smart home devices. With a built-in HD camera, the AI-powered robot identifies common household obstacles and intelligently determines how to clean around them, while also providing on-demand home monitoring. Complete with laser mapping and navigation technology to scan and map your floors for faster cleaning and fewer missed spots, it is also compatible with an optional, automatic emptying station that allows for up to 30 days of fully maintenance-free cleaning.

    Promote Air Quality
    In addition to keeping floors clean and allergies under control, there are other steps you can take to promote better air quality while you’re spending more time indoors. Scheduling service for your furnace can help ensure it’s in good condition before cold weather hits. This is also a good time to replace your air filter and consider a duct cleaning. Take time to clean ceiling fans and reverse the blades so the air circulates but fans don’t create a chilling effect.

    Swap Seasonal Essentials
    A new season brings change, whether it’s simply swapping out your wardrobe or gearing up for a busy season of school activities and sports. Make time to put away out-of-season clothes and other necessities to make room for the things you’ll need for the autumn months. Keep only the things you need and store the rest to help keep clutter under control.

    Find more tips for efficient fall home maintenance and cleaning at ecovacs.com.

    Published with permission from RISMedia.

  • How to Clean Your Gutters in 5 Steps

    16 September 2021

    It might not be anyone’s favorite chore, but cleaning your home’s gutters is an essential maintenance task not to be overlooked. When leaves, sticks and other gunk clog your gutters, it can lead to serious and costly issues, such as foundation problems, leaky basements and attic damage.

    To help keep your home in good shape and save money, you should clean your gutters at least two times a year, depending on where you live, which types of trees you have on your property and other factors.

    HomeAdvisor suggests following these five steps to debris-free gutters:

    Step 1: Get Prepared. Put on a long-sleeved shirt and heavy rubber gloves to protect yourself from sharp edges on your gutters. Also, be sure to wear non-slip shoes to ensure a good grip on your ladder.

    Step 2: Set Yourself Up. Secure your ladder to the roof, and use standoff stabilizers to avoid damaging your gutters. Put a bucket or drop cloth on the ground below your work area to catch any falling debris.

    Step 3: Remove Your Gutter Covers. Unscrew your gutter covers, and set them aside. Be sure to place your covers in a safe location away from your work area so they don’t get damaged.

    Step 4: Clean Out Large Debris. Now you’re ready for the fun part! Begin at the drain outlet, and use your hands or a trowel to remove any leaves, sticks or other clutter from your gutters. It’s best to scoop out debris when it’s damp, not dry and stuck to the inside of your gutter.

    Step 5: Flush Your Gutters. Use a hose with a high-pressure nozzle to flush smaller materials out of your gutters. If the water isn’t draining, it could be a sign that your downspout is clogged. To clear downspout buildup, install a nozzle onto your hose and set it to full pressure. Insert the hose from the bottom of your spout and snake it upwards. You can also use a plumber’s snake to clear difficult blockage.

    If you’re pressed for time, afraid of heights or unable to clean your gutters for some other reason, HomeAdvisor suggests hiring a professional to tackle the job. The money spent on this important home maintenance task would be well worth it in the long run.

    Published with permission from RISMedia.

  • 6 Security Tips for Your New Home

    16 September 2021

    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.

  • Quick, Nutritious Dishes to Enjoy Dairy Without the Discomfort

    15 September 2021

    (Family Features) Dinnertime dishes loaded with nutrients help keep loved ones connected while refueling after busy days spent at work and school. Dairy foods – key ingredients in many at-home meals – provide nutrients for people of all ages to grow and maintain stronger bodies and minds.

    However, some bodies are unable to break down the sugar found in milk, known as lactose, which causes an upset stomach and a heavy, bloated feeling. Rather than avoiding dairy and missing out on beneficial nutrients, people with lactose intolerance can enjoy real dairy products that are naturally low in or don’t contain lactose without the stomach ache with foods like:

    • Lactose-free milk, which is real milk with the same 13 essential nutrients as regular milk
    • Hard and aged cheeses, such as cheddar, colby, Monterey Jack, Parmesan and Swiss
    • Yogurt with live and active cultures, which help break down lactose, making it easier to digest
    These easy-to-make meals offer lactose intolerance-friendly options for families seeking to keep milk on the menu. Because they all require an hour or less in the kitchen, they provide quick solutions for those hectic schedules without sacrificing taste or nutrition.

    Visit MilkMeansMore.org to find more delicious dishes that fit a lactose intolerant meal plan.

    Chicken Cordon Bleu Kebabs
    Recipe courtesy of Rachel Gurk of “Rachel Cooks” on behalf of Milk Means More
    Prep time: 15 minutes
    Cook time: 10 minutes
    Servings: 3

    Skewers:
    Nonstick cooking spray
    2 chicken breasts (6 ounces each), cubed
    1 ham steak (6 ounces), cubed
    6 bamboo skewers (8 inches)
    1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
    1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
    1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
    1/4 teaspoon paprika
    1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

    Sauce:
    2 tablespoons butter
    2 tablespoons flour
    1 cup lactose-free 2% milk
    1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
    1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
    salt, to taste (optional)
    pepper, to taste (optional)

    To make skewers: Preheat broiler to 500 F. Line broiler pan with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.

    Thread cubed chicken pieces and cubed ham pieces onto skewers.

    In a small bowl, combine Dijon mustard, maple syrup, black pepper, paprika and oil.

    Brush mustard mixture on skewers.
     
    Broil about 5 minutes, flip and cook for 5 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.

    To make sauce: In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Whisk in flour and cook for 1 minute, whisking constantly. Gradually add milk, whisking constantly. Add Dijon mustard. Continue cooking for 5 minutes, or until thick. Reduce heat to low and stir in cheese, whisking until melted.
     
    Add salt and pepper, to taste, if desired.
     
    Serve chicken and ham kebabs with sauce.

    Chicken, Spinach and Feta Casserole
    Recipe courtesy of Marcia Stanley, MS, RDN, on behalf of Milk Means More
    Prep time: 15 minutes
    Cook time: 45 minutes
    Servings: 4

    1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed
    3 eggs, slightly beaten
    2 cups cottage cheese
    1 1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken
    3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
    3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    2 tablespoons butter, melted
    2 teaspoons dried minced onion
    1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon pepper

    Preheat the oven to 350 F.

    Place spinach in a colander. Use the back of a large spoon or rubber spatula to press moisture from spinach.

    In a large bowl, combine spinach, eggs, cottage cheese, chicken, feta cheese, flour, butter, onion, oregano, salt and pepper.

    Spoon into a greased 1 1/2-quart casserole dish. Bake, uncovered, 45-50 minutes, or until set near center (160 F). Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

    Published with permission from RISMedia.

  • How to Negotiate Your Salary for a New Job

    15 September 2021

    You nailed the job interview and got offered the position–woohoo! Landing a new gig is exciting, but when it comes down to talking about money, some people feel uncomfortable. You don’t want to sell yourself short, nor do you want to risk losing an opportunity by making over-the-top demands.

    According to CareerOneStop, an employment information source sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, it’s best to wait until after an employer offers you a job to discuss pay. To help prepare you for that conversation, CareerOneStop provides the following tips for negotiating salary and finding a win-win solution:

    Evaluate the Offer Wisely
    Make sure you have a clear understanding of the job description. Note your reporting relationships, authority and advancement potential.

    Find out typical pay for the type of position. Unless you have an outstanding qualification that’s unusual in your field, your expectation should match the typical pay for your level of experience in your location.

    Remember that salary is only one part of job compensation. Better benefits—like flexible schedules or excellent health insurance—often make up for a lower salary.

    Identify your own salary needs according to your household budget so you know the salary you can afford to accept.

    Consider the job offer in terms of your long-term career goals, the work environment and the benefits. Talk it over with someone you respect. Make a list of the pros and cons of the job offer.

    Communicate Effectively
    Begin the negotiation with reasonable requests. Be willing to accept compromises like receiving additional benefits in place of a higher salary. These could include tuition help, training, more vacation time, a flexible schedule, stock options, a company car, onsite daycare, parking privileges, etc.

    Listen carefully. If the offer is less than you expected, let the employer know that. State that you’re still interested in the position if the employer wants to reconsider the offer.

    If you’re uncertain if you want the job, state that you’d like to discuss some items before you can accept the job. Suggest meeting again to talk about the offer.

    Negotiations should never become emotional or hostile. Negotiate using your value, skills, experience and education, not your need for the job.

    Understand the Rules of the Game
    Don't assume the first offer is fixed. Even if the employer tells you it is, it typically isn’t.

    If the same figure is offered a couple of days later, it probably is the last offer. In that case, you can ask for a salary review in six months. Or, you can turn the job down, asking that the employer keep you in mind for future openings paying more money. If you do this, remember to leave on good terms.

    Even when saying "no," leave the door open to negotiation. However, don’t use this as a trick to negotiate a higher wage. When you say "no," be ready to lose the job forever.

    When you reach an agreement with an employer, request it in writing. Review it carefully.

    Published with permission from RISMedia.