Consumer Real Estate News

    • 9 Quick Tips to Help Up Your Game in the Kitchen

      9 April 2021

      If you’re like many Americans, you’ve spent a good part of the past year improving your kitchen skills.  You have the right to be proud if you’ve mastered sourdough, learned to flip an omelet or turned out a high-top souffle.

      These nine easy hacks from professional cooks can help you up your kitchen game even more.

      • Remove Eggshells -  Dab your finger in water before trying to fish out an eggshell dropped into the yolk. Water acts like a magnet and the shell will stick to your finger so you don’t need to chase it around the bowl.
      • Ripen Fruit Faster - Put rock-hard peaches and avocados in a paper bag and close it with a paperclip. Concentrated ethylene gas will ripen them twice as fast.
      • Burnt Cookies - Shave off the evidence on the outside of the burnt cookie with your trusty microplane and no one ever needs to know you left them inside the oven a little bit too long.
      • Measure Sticky Stuff - Ingredients like honey, molasses or peanut butter may seem tough to measure due to their consistency. Add a quick spritz of non-stick spray in the cup or spoon before you measure and every bit of it will slip right out.
      • Makeshift Funnel - Use a regular piece of printing paper or snip off a corner of an envelope and open it to form a cone.
      • Nuke Herbs to Dry Them - Congrats if you’re growing your own oregano and basil. If you can’t use the fresh herbs fast enough, nuke some in the microwave for a minute or so to dry them for future use.
      • Core Berries With a Straw - Ditch the paring knife and instead push a straw through each berry from the bottom out. This will remove the core and leave the berry intact.
      • Get More Lemon Juice - To get every last drop of juice from a lemon, microwave it for 7 - 10 seconds, then roll it back and forth on the kitchen counter a few times before halving and squeezing.

      Reduce Salt - Toss in a few wedges of raw potato or apple to a recipe where you used a little too much salt Simmer for 10 minutes or so, then remove before serving.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Spruce Up for Spring: Fresh Ideas for Home Upgrades

      9 April 2021

      (Family Features) Spring means it’s time to start sprucing up your home and garden with a little TLC inside and out. If you’re unsure where to begin, consider these tips:

      Make function a priority. While aesthetic changes may boost value and please the eye, be sure to consider upgrades that make living easier, like organization units that give you more space or upgrades that create additional living space.

      Keep budget in mind. Make a list of the projects you’d like to complete and estimate how much each will cost. Use the list to determine what you can afford to complete now.

      Do your research. If you’ll be making a significant purchase such as a new vacuum or grill, be sure to explore your options, read reviews and shop around for the best prices for greater confidence in what you choose.
      Set yourself up for a more enjoyable spring with more home and garden tips at

      Hands Free Spring Cleaning
      For busy households, an all in one vacuum and mop robot like the Deebot N8+ is a perfect daily companion to help automate spring cleaning. It features high suction power (but low noise), TrueMapping technology to create an efficient cleaning path and the OZMO Mopping System to remove 99.26% of bacteria with dual vacuuming and mopping. Controllable with a smartphone app, it includes an Auto Empty Station for months of hands- and maintenance-free cleaning. Learn more at

      Enhance the Space Under Your Deck
      Optimize the space beneath an elevated deck by adding a drainage system such as Trex RainEscape. Designed to capture and divert water, this system protects a deck’s substructure from moisture damage while creating dry space usable for storage or an additional living area. Homeowners can safely add gas lines and wiring to accommodate grills, appliances, ceiling fans, lights and entertainment components to create an outdoor oasis. For more information, visit

      Perfect Your Pantry
      Cleaning out your pantry is an important step during spring cleaning as it allows you to discard expired items and rethink the space. Start by reorganizing and simplifying the area with ClosetMaid ventilated shelving like this Pantry Organizer. Built with the ShelfTrack system for a fully adjustable space along with close mesh to help prevent items from tipping over, it includes four 4-foot-by-16-inch shelves, a hang track and all necessary hardware. Find more information at

      Get Ready to Grill
      A grill’s lifespan depends on many factors, including where and how it is stored and your climate. When it’s time to upgrade, you’ll have some decisions to make. The biggest is which heating style you prefer: gas, electric or charcoal. Other considerations include the overall size, number of burners and grate quality. Also be sure to compare available features, such as side burners and igniters, which are fairly common, and upgrades like lighting and fuel gauges.

      When to Update Home and Garden Goods
      Investing in quality products, properly maintaining and storing them all have an impact on how long they’ll stay in good working condition. As you tackle spring cleaning this year, take stock of your common home and garden equipment to determine what may need updating.

      Lawn Mower: If your mower needs a repair that exceeds its value, it’s time for a replacement. However, there may be other signs that an upgrade is warranted. Rough operation, frequent breakdowns or other indications of faulty performance deserve a second look. Before you buy new, remember to check your warranty to determine whether repairs might be covered.

      Vacuum: Many homeowners discard their used vacuum when it stops picking up dirt and debris as efficiently as it did originally. Before you move on, be sure to check that performance issues aren’t the result of clogged hoses or a filter than needs cleaning or replacing. A belt may also be worn or need adjusting. Other signs it may be time to replace the vacuum include damaged or frayed cords, motor issues like overheating or making strange noises. 

      Grill: A grill may last anywhere from 5-15 years, depending on the quality of the materials and how it is maintained. However, it’s common to have to replace parts along the way. Signs you may need a new grill include a firebox (the main enclosure) with cracks, rust or holes and burners that distribute heat unevenly. Damaged grates can affect even grilling if they’re warped or if they’re flaky or rusted, they can contaminate food. If you’re not able to replace the grates, or any other essential part, including hoses and connectors for a gas grill, you’ll be better off replacing the unit.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Trophy Homes: What Exactly Are They?

      9 April 2021

      Even in the top tier of residential real estate, there are, in fact, a few select residences that stand in a league of their own, often referred to as trophy homes. While there’s no exact definition as to what constitutes a trophy property, it usually has at least one, if not more, of the following characteristics.

      Historical Significance
      Perhaps it was designed by a celebrated architect, the site of a historic event, or previously lived in by someone famous, but some sort of past significance is often found in a trophy home. Having an exciting story behind the property gives it a special quality that cannot be recreated and adds to the appeal.

      Grand Scale
      A trophy home can come in many forms, but chances are it’s not small. They’ll usually have a breathtaking sense of grandeur that’s rarely seen in residential properties. From extensive acreage to spacious interiors with tall ceilings and sweeping lines, the scale of these homes has a way of defying expectations.

      Unique Location
      They say real estate is all about location, location, location, and that certainly rings true in this situation. Whether it’s situated at the tip of a promontory with mesmerizing views, or it’s the penthouse at the top of a prestigious luxury building, chances are the location is truly one-of-a-kind and set within an exclusive neighborhood. 

      Delivers a Lifestyle
      It’s fair to say that there’s an overlap between trophy home and lifestyle properties. For instance, it could be located at the base of a famous ski resort or set behind the gates of a prestigious golf community. Additionally, a trophy home will commonly be full of all the high-end amenities that affluent buyers look for to support their lifestyles, like a home gym and wellness area, home theater, swimming pool and more. 

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 8 Ways to Reach a Healthy Blood Pressure

      8 April 2021

      (Family Features) To take care of your heart, it’s important to know and track your blood pressure. Millions of Americans have high blood pressure, also called hypertension, but many don’t realize it or aren’t keeping it at a healthy level. 

      For most adults, healthy blood pressure is 120/80 millimeters of mercury or less. Blood pressure consistently above 130/80 millimeters of mercury increases your risk for heart disease, kidney disease, eye damage, dementia and stroke. Your doctor might recommend lowering your blood pressure if it’s between 120/80 and 130/80 and you have other risk factors for heart or blood vessel disease.

      High blood pressure is often “silent,” meaning it doesn’t usually cause symptoms but can damage your body, especially your heart over time. Having poor heart health also increases the risk of severe illness from COVID-19. While you can’t control everything that increases your risk for high blood pressure – it runs in families, often increases with age and varies by race and ethnicity – there are things you can do. Consider these tips from experts with the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s (NHLBI) The Heart Truth program: 

      • Know Your Numbers. Everyone ages 3 and older should get their blood pressure checked by a healthcare provider at least once a year. Expert advice: 30 minutes before your test, don’t exercise, drink caffeine or smoke cigarettes. Right before, go to the bathroom. During the test, rest your arm on a table at the level of your heart and put your feet flat on the floor. Relax and don’t talk.
      • Eat Healthy. Follow a heart-healthy eating plan, such as NHLBI’s Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH). For example, use herbs for flavor instead of salt and add one fruit or vegetable to every meal.
      • Move More. Get at least 2 1/2 hours of physical activity each week to help lower and control blood pressure. To ensure you’re reducing your sitting throughout the day and getting active, try breaking your activity up. Do 10 minutes of exercise, three times a day or one 30-minute session on five separate days each week. Any amount of physical activity is better than none and all activity counts.
      • Aim for a Healthy Weight. If you’re overweight, losing just 3-5%  of your weight can improve blood pressure. If you weigh 200 pounds, that’s a loss of 6-10 pounds. To lose weight, ask a friend or family member for help or to join a weight loss program with you. Social support can help keep you motivated. 
      • Manage Stress. Stress can increase your blood pressure and make your body store more fat. Reduce stress with meditation, relaxing activities or support from a counselor or online group. 
      • Have a Healthy Pregnancy. High blood pressure during pregnancy can harm the mother and baby. It also increases a woman’s risk of having high blood pressure later in life. Talk to your health care provider about high blood pressure. Ask if your blood pressure is normal and track it during and after pregnancy. If you’re planning to become pregnant, start monitoring it now. 
      • Stop Smoking. The chemicals in tobacco smoke can harm your heart and blood vessels. Seek out resources, such as smoke free hotlines and text message programs,  that offer free support and information.
      • Work with Your Doctor. Get help setting your target blood pressure. Write down your numbers every time you get your blood pressure checked. Ask if you should monitor your blood pressure from home. Take all prescribed medications as directed and keep up your healthy lifestyle. If seeing a doctor worries you, ask to have your blood pressure taken more than once during a visit to get an accurate reading. 
      To find more information about high blood pressure as well as resources for tracking your numbers, visit

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 4 Important Home Features for Night Owls

      8 April 2021

      Some people do their best work late at night. Others are so busy during the day that the evening is their only opportunity to enjoy personal time. If this sounds familiar, chances are you’re a night owl. For those who find themselves with a nocturnal sleep schedule, here are some of the best home features to support your late-night lifestyle without disturbing the rest of the family.

      Smart Lights
      Tripping over furniture in a dark house or grasping at the wall for light switches are common occurrences, potential hazards even, for night owls. Smart lights that are equipped with motion sensors will quickly solve this problem and illuminate your way as you pass through the house so you don’t have to worry about taking a fall on your way to bed at the end of the night. 

      Private Space
      Whether you’re doing work or binge-watching your favorite show, making too much noise is probably a concern, especially if there are light sleepers in your house. For this reason, it’s beneficial to have a private space that’s located away from the bedrooms in your home, perhaps in a separate wing, the basement or even a guest house, where you can spend time after everyone has gone to bed.

      High-Quality Construction
      The quality of a home’s construction is another important factor if you’re concerned about waking up the rest of the family. This is particularly true when living in a city and space is at a premium. Make sure your home has thick, insulated interior walls that will limit the transmission of noise and floors that won’t creak when you’re moving throughout the house at night.

      Blackout Shades
      When it’s finally time for you to go to bed, the last thing you want is to be awoken by daylight. Make sure your bedroom is equipped with true blackout shades that will allow you to get some shut-eye in total darkness long after the sun comes up. 

      Published with permission from RISMedia.