Consumer Real Estate News

  • 5 Steps to Fight Sleep Deprivation

    8 April 2020

    (Family Features) Despite a desire for perfect sleep, Americans are not even close to getting the recommended eight hours a night, and 1 in 4 Americans believes the sleep they are getting isn’t the quality rest they want and need.

    “To put sleep deprivation into perspective, 37% of Americans report they have fallen asleep behind the wheel,” said Dr. Sujay Kansagra, a sleep health expert for Mattress Firm. “About 5% report falling asleep while driving on a monthly basis. Clearly, sleep deprivation is wide-spread and a risk factor for overall well-being.”

    With chronic sleep deprivation, the brain’s ability to maintain attention and focus continues to decline over time. In addition to impairing mental function, lack of sleep has been associated with a host of risks to overall health. 

    Prevent sleep deprivation and take charge of your mental and physical health with these tips from Kansagra:

    Nap responsibly. When you’re feeling tired, it’s no surprise the best solution may be sleep. Some research suggests a quick power nap can actually give you a stronger boost than caffeine. However, too much rest during the day can throw off your nighttime sleep pattern. Aim for no more than 20 minutes so you don’t wake up groggy, and time your nap for the mid-point of your wake cycle (halfway between when you wake up and go to sleep).

    Limit screen time. If you turn to your phone to help wind down while you’re in bed, you’re not alone, but you may be doing more harm than good. According to a survey conducted by Mattress Firm on sleep habits, the average person scrolls on his or her phone while lying in bed for more than 12 minutes before shutting down for the night. What’s more, the light from the screen serves as a stimulant, as does the digital content you’re viewing. That means you’re making it physically harder to fall asleep than if you put down your devices at least 30 minutes before bed.

    Stick to a sleep schedule. The average person gets less than six hours of sleep per night, according to the survey – a far cry from the eight hours most experts recommend. One way to buck this trend is to make it a point to turn in and wake up at the same time every day so you synchronize your sleep time with your internal clock. While eight hours is the standard, you may need to adjust up or down to find the amount sleep that lets you wake feeling rested.

    Develop a pre-bedtime routine. You can train your body to prepare for sleep by creating a pattern or a routine that eases you toward sleep.

    “Even something as simple as putting on a sleep mask each night, reading in bed for 20 minutes or practicing the same shower routine at the same time every night signals to your brain it’s time to hit the hay,” Kansagra said. “Creating a bedtime routine that lasts 20-30 minutes and sticking to that routine can make all the difference in your energy, productivity and mood.”

    Find the right sleep position. If you’re looking for the secret to a good night’s sleep, comfort may be the key. According to the survey, those who sleep on their backs at night are most likely to report they slept “perfectly well.” The most common sleeping position, on your side, correlates with the worst sleep reports. It may take some trial and error to find the right position that keeps your spine aligned, allows you to breathe freely and evenly distributes your weight.

    Find more tips for getting better sleep at

    Top 5 Bedtime Rituals
    A consistent bedtime routine, including these common rituals disclosed by respondents in a Mattress Firm survey, can help ease your way toward better rest.

    1.     Reading (42%)
    2.     Watching TV (42%)
    3.     Taking vitamins (36%)
    4.     Taking a shower or bath (36%)
    5.     Drinking warm milk (36%)

    Published with permission from RISMedia.

  • The Costs of Owning a Dog

    8 April 2020

    One of the biggest responsibilities a child—or a family—can take on is adopting a dog as a pet.

    Feeding, walking, grooming and cleaning up after a dog are daily responsibilities that everyone can do, and will also help teach children how to take care of something they love. For parents, however, there's the extra task of paying for all the costs associated with the dog.

    Here are some of the primary expenses of owning a dog that a family should consider before bringing one home:

    Upfront Fees
    Adoption fees are the first costs you'll incur, whether from a pet store, private breeder or animal shelter.

    Animal shelters will be the least expensive, though they'll likely require your dog to be spayed or neutered at a cost of up to $200 or so. There are also the costs of vaccinations, license and microchip, all of which can easily add $100 or more to the initial cost.

    Add in some initial necessities such as a leash, collar, food, dishware, bed and a crate, and you can easily spend $200 or so at a pet store to make your dog feel at home.

    Animal shelters may give you a coupon for a free visit to a local veterinarian for your dog's first checkup. After that, you'll have to pay for more vaccinations, annual physicals and any injuries that may pop up.

    Bear in mind your vet may recommend a kennel cough vaccination for your dog, heartworm test and prevention pills, flea and tick prevention tablets, and other services.

    Pet Insurance
    This is an optional cost, but one worth considering when adopting a dog. If your dog doesn't have any serious illnesses and is spayed or neutered, $35 per month for a pet insurance plan is reasonable. That includes 80 percent reimbursement and $250 annual deductible. That's $670 per year out of your pocket before medical costs are paid.

    Having major surgery can more than pay for the cost, and even a middle-of-the road illness can make pet insurance worthwhile.

    Daily Expenses
    Daily care costs are minimal. You can probably get by spending $30 or less per month on dog food. You can give your dog a bath and haircut yourself, and dog toys are pretty cheap.

    Once you've got a dog leash and collar in hand, walking your dog is free—and that may be the best part of these expenses: free exercise. 

    Published with permission from RISMedia.

  • Protect Your Eyes from UV Rays at Home

    8 April 2020

    When it comes to protecting our eyes against harsh, damaging UV rays, most of us think about popping on sunglasses for long days at the beach; however, it's possible to incur UV damage right at home, especially if you have an abundance of wide, bright windows. In fact, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), nearly half of all eye injuries occur at home.

    Untreated windows protect the eyes from only about 25 percent of damaging UV rays. As the AAO states, continued exposure to UV light raises the risks of many issues for the eyes, from cataracts to cancer.

    To battle this, the International Window Film Association (IWFA) suggests consumers consider the real estate trend of professionally installing window film to all windows in their homes. Window film will help protect your family's eyes from the damage caused by UV rays.

    Professionally installed window film can block up to 99 percent of UV rays from entering the home, protecting eyes from damage over time, while at the same time reducing glare and eliminating the need to squint when enjoying the view outside.

    While extremely thin and virtually invisible to the eye, window film provides powerful protection without altering the look of a home.  Though it can be tinted in several shades, homeowners can also opt for clear film, which does not alter the view in any way.


    Published with permission from RISMedia.

  • Cool Ideas for Dressing Up Your Kid’s Room

    7 April 2020

    Icons and superheroes go in and out of style, so decorating your kids’ rooms to reflect their current favorite may not be the best idea. Decorators suggest using timeless themes and practical ideas to make their spaces cheerful and organized:

    Start with color – Choose a favorite, preferably a soothing one, to help your child ease into sleep. Consider painting one wall in chalkboard paint, ready for years of artistic expression.

    Use cool family art – Choose a favorite family, vacation, or kid photo and blow it up to large standard frame size at an office supply store. Then cut it evenly into thirds or fourths vertically, frame each one, and hang them side by side as separate pieces separated by just an inch or two.

    Make it a gallery – String wire from one wall to another, just high enough for you to reach, to hold a changing display of your child’s drawings. Or frame the drawings in standard acrylic frames that can be changed as new masterpieces emerge.

    Try dresser magic – Perk up a drab white dresser inexpensively by tying a length of colorful ribbon into a bow around each of the knobs.

    Create a reading nook – Make it an inviting place for shared reading with a bookcase full of books, soft lighting, and seating comfy enough for cuddling.

    Add maxi-storage – A rack of colorful, stacked bins from the local home store is better than a toy box for storing trucks, games, building blocks, and other large toys.

    And mini-storage – A multi-pocketed shoe organizer hung from one wall is a great place to stash mini action figures, Hot Wheels cars, hair goodies, and other small treasures.

    Stock cubbies or a shelf with art supplies – Keep it full of construction paper, markers, poster board, and other supplies your kid may need for school projects.

    Create a play space – Kids love to play dress-up. Find an old trunk and fill it with vintage clothing and hats they can use to ‘put on a show.’

    Published with permission from RISMedia.

  • Should You Paint or Stain Your Kitchen Cabinets?

    7 April 2020

    So you've got new kitchen cabinets. Congratulations! But now what? For those wondering how to finish their brand-spanking-new cabinets, we run down the pros and cons of painting vs. staining—the two most popular finishing avenues. The kitchen is one of the most important factors in your home’s value, so consider how the following information impacts your real estate investment.

    Pros for paint

    It's flawless. Regardless of the color you choose, painting your cabinets covers up any quirks or blemishes in the natural wood, which can often be magnified by staining.

    Your color choices are endless. When it comes to picking a paint, the world is your multi-colored oyster. Get crazy and really customize the look and feel of your cabinets.

    Paint sticks to lower quality materials. If your cabinets are not made of wood (think particle board), paint is your BFF. It sticks to these materials just as well as higher grade wood options, and no one but you will know the difference.

    Cons for paint

    It looks more uniform. Remember those natural quirks we mentioned? Well you may not want to cover them up. If you're looking for a more natural, country vibe that highlights those stunning features like grain and knots, opt for a stain over paint.

    It's pricey. While not too expensive in the grand scheme, paint is more expensive than a stain, so if budget is a concern, take heed.

    Harder to touch up. Even if you can't find an exact match for your cabinet color, when you're working with stain, odds are you'll have better luck blending touch-ups in stain than with picky paint.

    Source: Houzz

    Published with permission from RISMedia.