Consumer Real Estate News

    • Getting Your Space Newborn Ready: A New Parent Checklist

      16 October 2019

      Bringing a baby into your home carries with it a whirlwind of emotions: joy and excitement, but also a little fear, and a sharpened sense of responsibility. But just as you’ve learned that preparation makes a difference in other areas of your life, you will find that organization, and a little pre-planning, can ease some of the natural uncertainty as you bring your new baby home. 

      Real Simple, the magazine that prides itself on getting down to the nitty-gritty, suggests three steps new parents can take to get their living space ready for their new bundle of joy:

      Take care of safety issues. While your newborn won’t be crawling right away, you may want to take some safety precautions now, because baby-proofing can never start too early. Be sure all potentially harmful chemicals, detergents and medications are kept out of sight and reach, and invest in cabinet locks to add another layer of security. If you haven’t already, make sure to install smoke, carbon monoxide and radon detectors throughout your apartment or house, and make sure your water heater temperature is set below 120 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent bath water burns.

      Invest in baby-friendly technology. A few smart baby products that new parents love are high-resolution baby monitors, self-warming baby bottles, wireless baby soothers and smart bassinets. Do the research now to discover what technology is right for you and your budget—and which companies have approval from third-party consumer protection groups.

      Prep the nursery. This is where you and your baby will spend a lot of time among a seeming avalanche of diapers, toys and paraphernalia, so build in plenty of time to get it ready. If you’re dealing with a smaller space, prep it by: 
      - Buying a combination dresser and changing table and investing in a good changing pad.
      - Using the space underneath the crib to store extra diapers, wipes and seasonal clothes (at least until your baby begins to crawl).
      - Installing drawer and closet organizers to help you easily find clean socks, onesies and other baby gear
      - Using mesh laundry bags to hold worn socks, because those tiniest of baby accessories are so easily misplaced come laundry day.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 6 Keys to Success in Business and Life

      16 October 2019

      (Family Features)--It's not always easy staying organized. Life is busy, chaotic and fast-moving. Although it can be easy to get discouraged at times, there are ways to enhance organization and attitude through the peaks and pits life throws at you. 

      Carol Lavin Bernick, former executive chairman of beauty conglomerate Alberto Culver, published "Gather As You Go: Lessons Learned Along the Way," a book sharing insights she's learned through her many roles as a corporate leader, working mother, philanthropist and founder of the nonprofit organization Enchanted Backpack. Bernick offers these tips to be ready for the good times and difficult situations, highlighting the importance of loving what you’re doing in both business and life. 

      1. Attitude Is Key 
      A person who is passionately committed to the success of his or her business—who has an "I-can-do-it" attitude—is more likely to succeed. One person can make a difference, and it's up to you to demonstrate that you’re one of those people.

      2. If You Never Fail, You Will Never Grow 
      If it's always comfortable and easy, you can't know the big win. When challenged and stretched, you may have a greater chance to learn. Reach out, get involved, and take a risk. Oftentimes, the best talent has multiple experiences to share and on which to reflect. 

      3. Credibility Is Everything 
      Some of the most important career-saving words are "I don't know." Never fake it. If you're wrong, admit it and correct it. If you've made a mistake, fix it and learn from it. If it's going to take some time to find an answer, set a timetable and stick to it. 

      4. Complaining Gets You Nowhere
      People, especially in business, simply do not want to hear complaints. If you’re frustrated, it’s probably best to keep quiet and figure out how you can fix whatever it is, and if you can't change it, try changing how you think about it by altering your mindset.  

      5. Give Back
      Communities aren’t perfect. They’re the responsibility of business, government and citizens. If you don't commit to making a difference, you're instead leaving the burden to others. 

      6. Nice Guys Don't Finish Last...They Win
      Aggressive and passionate shouldn't equate with unpleasant. The higher you rise, the more pleasant and understanding you typically need to be. Never underestimate the importance of being thankful and the value of recognition. Ego has no place in business. If you have one, try to lose it.  

      Source: Gather As You Go

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Pre-Halloween Prep: What to Do If Your Dog Eats Chocolate

      16 October 2019

      It's a dog owner's nightmare: coming downstairs to a trail of chocolate wrappers leading right to your pup. If this happens, it's important to know how to act, and fast. 

      "Small dogs and those under the age of four are most at risk of seeing serious complications due to chocolate exposure," says Innovet Pet Co-Founder Matt Terrill. "It's very easy for both to consume too much chocolate, and that's why all pet owners need to know what action they should immediately take."

      As a precaution, make sure you understand the emergency contact process at your veterinarian’s office, including the number to call, and if there’s a fee associated. It may also be smart to get your pup in the system of a few local veterinarians so you have a backup in case of an emergency.

      If you notice that your pet has eaten chocolate right away, or within a few hours, Innovet Pet says owners should immediately induce vomiting.

      "We recommend that every pet owner keep a syringe and a bottle of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide (H202) in their dog's first aid kit," says Terrill. "With the correct concentration of hydrogen peroxide, pet owners can safely induce vomiting themselves without causing any harm. Now, it's important to know that only a certain amount of chocolate is dangerous to a dog, which is based on their weight. If you're not sure whether the amount they ate is dangerous, call ASPCA Poison Control or your veterinarian first."

      Due to some forms of chocolate containing more methylxanthines than others—the chemical toxic to dogs—pet owners will need to take into account the type of chocolate their dog ate.  

      Toxic Levels of Chocolate
      Baking Chocolate: 0.5 ounces per 10 pounds
      Dark Chocolate: 1.5 ounce per 10 pounds
      Milk Chocolate: 3.5 ounces per 10 pounds
      White Chocolate: 47 pounds per 10 pounds

      According to Innovet, if pet owners only notice their dog consumed chocolate after they've started vomiting it up, inducing vomiting with the H2O2 is pointless, as the chocolate has already been digested. In this case, owners will need to immediately get their dog to an emergency clinic.

      Source: Innovet Pet

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Creating a Lighter, Brighter Home for the Holidays

      15 October 2019

      Nothing says 'holiday cheer' like a brightly lit home. When it comes to outdoor lighting, there are a myriad of ways you can dazzle your guests and neighbors. Below, the American Lighting Association offers tips.

      Light layers. Like inside the home, exterior lighting should be designed using layers of light. Begin with the ambient or general layer of light for overall illumination. This layer typically uses light sources positioned along pathways, as well as lighting that washes light up and down the walls. Stagger pathway lights 6 to 8 feet apart for just enough light to see while walking and to avoid the "runway effect" that can occur when lights are evenly distributed along the path.

      Illuminate stairways with step lights installed into stair risers for safety and as a nice focal point for decks, patios and gardens. Another option is to place tape lighting underneath stair steps to highlight stairways. To wash the house with light, use lighting installed in the soffits of the home's exterior or use a mix of down and up lights to spread light across the entire surface for a balanced look.

      Enjoy the entry. When choosing entry lighting, which can serve as outdoor task lighting, the ALA offers these basic guidelines:

      - Wall sconces placed on either side of the doorway should be one-quarter or one-third the height of the doorway. Position them 66 inches from the floor to the center of the fixture and 6 to 12 inches from the door casing.

      - Fixtures placed over the doorway should be one-quarter or one-third the width of the door frame and centered 6 inches above the door.

      - Hanging lights, such as pendants and lanterns, should be one-fifth the height of the door and hang 6 inches above the door.

      Accent, accent, accent. Select accent lighting to add drama and provide the perfect curb appeal. Light trees with ground lights aimed up into the foliage, while making sure the trunk is also bathed in light. Or place lights high in trees and use a cooler light bulb of about 5,500 Kelvin to give the effect of real moonlight.

      Dazzle with drama. Create dramatic focal points by cross-lighting statuary, fountains and architectural elements with two beams of light. In garden beds, place fixtures no closer than 20 feet apart to create pools of light that draw the eye from one area to the next. A good rule of thumb is to use warm (yellow/orange) light on objects and cool (white/blue) light on plants.

      Remember, always select outdoor lighting that is wet-rated for places where the lighting receives direct exposure to the elements. Use weatherproof or outdoor-rated electrical boxes that safely hold the electrical wire connections and prevent contact with water.


      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Proper Boiler Maintenance All Season Long

      15 October 2019

      If you rely on your boiler to keep your home toasty, it's important to focus on boiler maintenance to avoid a mid-season breakdown.

       "We rely on our boilers to keep us warm, and it's important that we take early action to avoid untimely breakdowns and eliminate dangers like fires and carbon monoxide poisoning," says Michael Petri, owner of Petri Plumbing & Heating. 

      To help, Petri offers the following suggestions:

      Replace boiler filters. To maintain optimum performance, ensure efficient operation and prevent hazards such as fires and breakdowns, the filter should be regularly changed according to the manufacturer's recommendations. Also, consider upgrading to electrostatic filters. These high-performance filters do not need to be replaced, however cleaning them four times a year is recommended.

      Clear exhaust flues. A blocked airway can have devastating consequences, as pressure buildup from a boiler is a leading cause of fires, explosions and carbon monoxide buildup. To ensure safety, clean the flue and make sure any potential obstructions that could cause pressure buildup are removed. When in doubt, contact a professional.

      Clear the room. While space is limited in many homes, a boiler room is just that – a boiler room. Boilers generate extreme heat and need airflow circulation to keep the unit maintained properly. Hanging clothes and boxes stored inside boiler rooms are common fire hazards and should be avoided. Keep flammable items a safe distance from the boiler to protect the entire home and ensures professionals can access the unit when service is needed.

      Check the water levels. Checking the water level of your boiler is essential to its performance and safety. If the water level is low, it could affect the pressure and temperature level. If leaks are detected, contact a service professional to fix these issues as soon as possible.

      Schedule an annual tune-up: A professional visit will help identify potential boiler issues before they can develop into costly breakdowns. Not only for peace of mind, tune-ups ensure efficiency for lower heating bills and are often required by the manufacturer to keep the warranty intact.

      "Skipping maintenance on a boiler increases the chances of the unit breaking down later during the really cold days when more strain is placed on the system," says Petri. "Losing heat in the middle of winter can cause pipes to freeze and burst, which introduces a new set of issues. We'd much rather homeowners be proactive and prepare early for the heating seasons than endure any hardships when winter hits."


      Published with permission from RISMedia.