Real Estate News


  • Reaching Out to Help From Your Kitchen Table

    1 June 2020

    Many Americans are still sheltering in place in the effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Teens and less-at-risk adults are donning masks and gloves, helping out at food banks, grocery shopping for shut-in seniors and even walking their dogs. Families ordering meal deliveries are double-tipping the drivers—and those who can afford it are writing checks to nonprofits in response to the coronavirus crisis.

    Consumers wishing to help financially can check with the National Council of Nonprofits for a list of organizations that need funds now as they struggle to meet the needs of others, or simply donate what you can afford to a local food bank or a chapter of the Boys & Girls Club or American Red Cross.    

    Beyond donating funds, there are many ways to help whether or not you are sheltering at home:
    Check in on neighbors, especially the elderly. Phone once or twice a week and, if you have a stock of groceries on hand, share the wealth if they need something.

    Provide a meal. Have pizzas or deli sandwiches, or doughnuts delivered to a police station,fire station or hospital. The donation helps out local food vendors as well as to frontline responders.

    Give blood. The need for blood is constant, and fewer blood donations are being made during this crisis. If you are healthy, and can safely get to a blood donation center, it could be a life-saving gesture.

    Join or start a community network. Call your local city hall or Chamber of Commerce to see if a local network exists; a database where individuals and organizations can post notices of what they need—diapers, cash, food, etc. —and others can help fill those needs. If no such group exists in your area, and you have spreadsheet and/or Internet skills, work with local service organizations to start one.

    Be a virtual volunteer. Whatever your age or background, you can use your skills and experience to help others. Go to VolunteerMatch.com, a long-standing and trusted online volunteer organization that works to match your skills and talents with local needs.

    Published with permission from RISMedia.

  • Dad-Approved Gifts for Father’s Day

    1 June 2020

    (Family Features) An entire day dedicated to dear ol’ dad may not be enough to show the depths of your appreciation, but a hug, a heartfelt thanks and some quality time (even from afar) are great places to start.

    When it comes to giving gifts for Father’s Day, practical and purposeful gifts are high on most dads’ lists. Think about his favorite things to eat and the ways he spends his coveted down time. A gift that celebrates the things that matter most to him is sure to earn dad’s gratitude.

    Find more ideas to make it a Father’s Day to remember at eLivingtoday.com.

    Special Steaks to Celebrate Dad
    Father’s Day gifting can be pretty simple: Many dads want a delicious steak. Give him a collection of tender cuts with the Filet for Father’s Day package from Omaha Steaks, which includes four 7-ounce Butcher’s Cut Filet Mignons, eight 6-ounce brisket burgers, four 3-ounce gourmet jumbo franks, four 2.88-ounce potatoes au gratin, four 4-ounce individual New York cheesecakes and a 3.1-ounce jar of signature seasoning. Find more meal ideas for dad at omahasteaks.com.

    A Sharp Gift for Dad
    A knife is only as good as the sharpness of its blade. This Father’s Day, get dad a helpful tool to keep his knives wicked sharp. Made from high-quality materials, the Wicked Edge GO knife sharpener is easy to use for both new and veteran knife sharpeners and can accommodate a wide variety of knives. With guided angle control, dad can get professional-level results every time. Learn more at wickededgeusa.com.

    Gear to Go Fishing
    Even the most avid fishermen can typically use more gear. From replenishing the tackle box with fresh supplies to a new rod he can use to reel in a real catch, gift dad with items that let him hang out a “gone fishing” sign and enjoy some time on the water. If he’s an extra-avid sportsman, be sure to also check out the wide variety of tech-enabled locators that give him a little nudge to boost his chances for a successful day.

    A Ladder for Dad’s Jobs
    As a 3-in-1 ladder that easily converts to stepladder, extension and leaning configurations, the Little Giant King Kombo gives you the perfect tool for nearly any job. A rotating wall pad lets you safely lean your ladder on inside and outside corners, walls and 2-by-4-inch studs. Made from lightweight, non-conductive fiberglass, you can safely work around electricity, and the IAA 375-pound weight rating makes the ladder sturdy enough for the job. Find more information at amazon.com.

    Supplies He’ll Auto-matically Enjoy
    If tinkering in the garage is dad’s favorite pastime, give him an excuse to spend even more time with a project that proves he’s passing the hours productively. A collection of car detailing supplies lets him buff and shine his ride to perfection. Be sure to include products that let him spruce things up inside and out, and throw in an extra touch like a personalized travel mug that will keep on giving well after Father’s Day has passed.

    Published with permission from RISMedia.

  • Maintenance Tips for a More Reliable Ride

    1 June 2020

    (Family Features) Your vehicle is a vital piece of transportation for getting you from point A to point B, making it important to keep it in good shape for when you’re ready to ride the roads. While the average American spends plenty of time behind the wheel, there can be periods of time where cars sit in the garage or on the driveway.

    Not only can weather impact a vehicle’s performance, but so can its usage. A battery not in use will eventually lose its charge. If a car hasn’t gained a lot of mileage over a period of three weeks or longer, the likelihood of a dead battery increases by roughly 50%, according to a study by Interstate Batteries, making it a leading cause of car trouble.

    In fact, nearly 1 in 4 car batteries will need to be replaced on the road this year, but more than half of consumers do not test their batteries every year or don’t know if their batteries have been tested, according to the study.

    Maintain your battery and your vehicle overall with these tips for safer driving.

    • At regular intervals, have your car battery tested at a professional service or repair shop. From phone chargers to built-in security systems, your car battery may power more than you think, and it can place a strain on your alternator. If the alternator can’t keep up, your vehicle relies on the battery to make up the difference, which can cause further strain. Having an external battery charger on-hand can help maintain your car’s power during its off time.
    • Regularly check fluid levels, including your coolant and oil, replace air filters and ensure your tires are properly inflated.
    • Check to make sure you have your owner’s manual with you either in the glovebox or bookmarked on your smartphone’s browser.
    • Replace your jumper cables with a road trip kit containing more practical items, such as a jump box, LED flashlights, first aid kit and duct tape. Jumper cables require another car to power your dead battery and the right positioning to make the cables reach, so a jump box containing a battery and permanently attached jumper cables can be an easier alternative for getting your car back up and running.
    Especially when you use your vehicle irregularly, it’s important to practice proper and routine car maintenance so your vehicle is ready when you hit the road again. Find more advice for keeping your car in top condition at InterstateBatteries.com.

    What to Do If Your Car Won’t Start

    Turn everything off. From electronics and climate control to any other accessories that can be powered down, make sure to turn all of them off. This can make it easier for another car to start yours and can prevent potential damage from voltage surges when power is restored.

    Call for help. Roadside assistance is available through some auto insurance policies as well as numerous club memberships. Alternatively, try contacting friends and family, or if you’re parked at an apartment building or in an office complex, its maintenance or security team may be able to help.

    Raise the hood and leave it open. This is a universal sign for help that doesn’t use your battery. If you don’t already know, consult your owner’s manual to find where your battery is located. If you find corrosion around the negative terminal, carefully brush it off or knock it loose with a wrench or tire iron. Do not blow on it, as this can result in debris entering your eyes.

    Jump-start your car. If possible, use a jump box, which is a compact, rechargeable battery that can jump-start your car. They’re safer and easier than jumper cables and provide a gentler jump-start for your engine.

    Published with permission from RISMedia.

  • Tips for Maintaining Your Marble Countertops

    29 May 2020

    With marble countertops being all the rage, it’s time we talk about how to care for this stunning surface. While it lends a timeless and elegant look to your kitchen and bathrooms, truth be told, the beloved stone can be rather high maintenance. Take the proper measures, however, and it’s totally worth it for a classic look that isn’t going out of style any time soon.

    Here are a few tips to keep your marble countertops looking as new as the day you got them.

    Use a Sealer
    Unlike quartz or granite, marble is a porous surface. That means that a spilled glass of red wine could potentially be the end of your all-white kitchen. To avoid that from happening, you’re going to have to apply a marble sealer. Your supplier can likely do this upon installation, as well as provide advice on how often to reapply the sealer. Typically, once a month will do the trick.

    Avoid Acids
    Acidic substances, like lemons, should never be in direct contact with marble because they will etch the surface. Be sure to use a cutting board and stay away from cleaning agents that may have vinegar or lemon in them. Although marble is heat resistant, it’s also a good idea to always use a trivet or pot holder when placing a hot pan on the countertop.

    Clean Carefully
    For daily cleaning, you can use a mild dish or stone soap, then rinse with water to keep marble spick and span. If you do end up with a stubborn stain that refuses to come out, a mixture of hydrogen peroxide with a few drops of ammonia can be applied to the surface and repeated as necessary. One major benefit of marble is that, unlike other surfaces, it can be sanded down to remove the impossible stain if necessary.

    Whether you go with a classic Calacatta or a sophisticated Statuario, take these proper precautions and you’ll be enjoying a flawless kitchen for years to come!

    Published with permission from RISMedia.

  • 10 Tips to Stretch Your Food Budget

    29 May 2020

    Food is a major expense in any household, and for those on a tight budget, a few dollars saved can make a big difference. ChooseMyPlate.gov offers 10 tips based on planning and smart shopping to help you feed your family while keeping more money in your wallet.

    1. Plan, plan, plan. Before you head to the grocery store, plan your meals for the week. Include meals like stews, casseroles or stir fries, which “stretch” expensive items into more portions. Check to see what foods you already have, and make a list for what you need to buy.

    2. Get the best price. Check the local newspaper, online and at the store for sales and coupons. Ask about a loyalty card for extra savings at stores where you shop. Look for specials or sales on meat and seafood, which are often the most expensive items on your shopping list.

    3. Compare and contrast. Locate the “unit price” listed on the store shelf directly below the product. Use the price to compare different brands and different sizes of the same brand to determine which is more economical.

    4. Buy in bulk. It’s almost always cheaper to buy foods in bulk. Smart choices are family packs of chicken, steak, or fish and larger bags of potatoes and frozen vegetables. Before you shop, remember to check if you have enough freezer space to store the extra food.

    5. Buy in season. Buying fruits and vegetables in season can lower the cost and add to the freshness. If you aren’t going to use them all right away, buy some that still need time to ripen.

    6. Ditch the convenience costs. Convenience foods like frozen dinners, pre-cut vegetables, and instant rice, oatmeal, or grits will cost you more than if you were to make them from scratch. Take the time to prepare your own, and you’ll save.

    7. Choose cheaper. Certain foods are typically low-cost options all year round. Try beans for a less expensive protein food. For vegetables, buy carrots, greens or potatoes. As for fruits, apples and bananas are good choices.

    8. Cook once to eat all week. Prepare a large batch of favorite recipes on your day off (double or triple the recipe). Freeze the portions in individual containers. Use them throughout the week, and you won’t have to spend money on take-out meals.

    9. Get your creative juices flowing. Spice up your leftovers by using them in new ways. For example, try leftover chicken in a stir fry or over a garden salad, or use it to make chicken chili. Remember, throwing away edible food is throwing away your money.

    10. Be savvy at restaurants. Eating out can be expensive. Save money by getting the early bird special, going out for lunch instead of dinner or looking for “2 for 1” deals. Stick to water instead of ordering other beverages, which add to the bill.

    Published with permission from RISMedia.