Consumer Real Estate News

    • How to Prep for an Open House

      21 January 2020

      An open house is a terrific opportunity to find the right buyer for your home. It’s simple —the more people who tour your home, the more likely it will be discovered by someone who loves it. And like any other step in the home-selling process, open houses need to be done wisely in order for them to be effective.

      Here are some things to consider as you and your real estate professional work out the details on the perfect open house.

      Choose the Right Date: Obviously, you want to set aside a weekend for the open house. Pick a date where you can be away from home during the big event. For example, don’t schedule it to take place before a family celebration or the night your kid is starring in the school play. And during the winter months, have a backup date ready in case your original date gets snowed out.

      Wake Up Early: You want your home to be in perfect condition during the open house, so be sure to get a head start on the day. Wake up early enough that everyone in your household has time to make their beds, eat breakfast, clean up  and get ready for the day so that your house looks its best when the first house hunters arrive.

      Get Out: Having the owners around can make things awkward for potential buyers as they look over a home. Your real estate agent knows how to run an open house, so leave it in their hands. Go to a movie, have a nice lunch out or go see your favorite team in action.

      Take Your Pet Somewhere: Spend some quality time with your dog at a park during the open house or let them have fun with other canines at a doggie day care facility. You can also spend the day with the dog at a friend’s or relative’s house- a terrific option for cat owners.

      And who knows? By the time you come home, someone may have decided that your home is the place they want to live.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 6 Smart Tips for Decluttering Your Home

      21 January 2020

      Maybe you’re moving and want to properly stage your home. Or perhaps you just want to enjoy your home more, with less “stuff” interfering with your décor. In any case, decluttering your house or apartment can create a more peaceful, aesthetically pleasing environment that everyone who enters your home will appreciate. Here are some easy tips to help you get started:

      Set Goals/Make a Plan
      The first step is making a list of the areas in your home—problem zones—that need your attention. Plan a day to tackle each area (or two, if it’s particularly troublesome). Setting aside an hour every morning before your day gets going (or one morning a week, depending on your schedule) can help. 

      Look for Things That Give You Joy or Efficiency
      For each item, consider the last time you used it, how useful it is and whether you enjoy using it. If the answer to these three questions is “over a year ago” or “no,” toss or donate it.

      Invest in Attractive Storage
      From a new hamper to shelving, spending a bit of money on organizing tools that double as décor can help your home feel less cluttered and help you keep it that way. 

      Pare Down Collections
      Some items have sentimental value—childhood collections like dolls or trophies are common dust gatherers and waste space. Choose 2 or 3 to keep and you won’t agonize over the decision or lose valuable shelf or storage space. 

      Check All Expiration Dates
      Double check the dates on food, spices and medicine. Prescription meds can be turned into most police stations for proper disposal. 

      Start Small and Slow
      If you’re someone who has hoarding tendencies (no judgement here!), acknowledge it and don’t give yourself anxiety by bringing half your wardrobe to charity or throwing out half of your childhood mementos all at once. Take one box at a time and you’ll stay the course without giving yourself additional stress. 


      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Find the Right Security System for Your Home

      21 January 2020

      Installing a home security system is an important step to protecting your home and family. But with technology on the rise, there is an overwhelming number of systems and services to choose from. Here are some things to consider when choosing the right security system for your home:
      Systems & Services

      For many years, home security was either a guard dog, locked windows and doors, or both. Today, something as simple as your doorbell can be a camera that you can view from anywhere in the world. Companies like ADP and Vivint offer a range of professional packages, including indoor, outdoor and doorbell security, as well as smoke detectors and smart home capabilities. Systems like Ring and Nest can be purchased online and shipped directly to your door. These systems also offer indoor, outdoor and doorbell security, smart home technology, and can be easily installed or moved to a new home by you, with no appointments necessary. 

      You’ll want to decide whether you want a professionally installed system or would rather take a DIY approach. A professional security company will most likely require a consultation, as well as a separate scheduled appointment with the homeowner present at the time of installation. If you choose to purchase and install on your own, you have the luxury of setting up your system on your own time, no appointment necessary.

      According to HomeAdvisor, the 2019 average installation cost for home security systems is $694, but can range anywhere from $69 to $2,000. Aside from installation costs, you’ll need to consider the cost of equipment, such as sensors, cameras and optional smart home features. For those on a budget, purchasing and installing on your own will save you a lot of money, as systems start as low as $99 and have no installation fee. Other costs include activation as well as monthly fees, which start at $3.00/month and top out at $50.00/month.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • First Time Buyers: What NOT to Do

      13 January 2020

      If this is going to be the year you break out into your own place, you likely want to be sure your path is as clear as possible. First and foremost, buying one's first home is one of the most exciting - and challenging - life experiences. 

      To come out ahead, don't make any of the common mistakes that could put your home-buying experience in peril. The U.S. Farm Bureau ( advises first-timers against doing any of the following leading up to or during your closing:

      Don’t Open New Lines of Credit. Taking on new debt, no matter how small, could throw off your debt-to-income ratio — a magic number in mortgage lending — and disqualify you.

      Don’t Miss Bill Payments. In the stress of preparing to buy a house, it’s easy to miss a payment, but it could have serious consequences that will make you ineligible for a loan from certain lenders for at least a year, the bureau says.

      Don’t Change Jobs. During the mortgage loan process, change — even good change — could set you back. Avoid a change in job status that will cause a lender to question your financial stability. warns that too much of a good thing can be bad, so just because a bank will lend you a certain amount of money doesn’t mean you should take it unless you want to be house poor. 

      The site says you need to think about the other expenses that come along with a house, like insurance, property taxes, utilities, maintenance, and home improvements beyond your monthly mortgage commitment.

      Finally, blogger Jiordan strongly advises getting a thorough home inspection done. She says a professional will ensure the foundation is solid, the wiring is up to code - even check for lead paint and wood-eating pests.

      If you know before you buy, the esurance blogger says it could help you negotiate a lower price - and prepare you for any repair costs you might be facing.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • How-To Prevent Injuries in the Kitchen

      13 January 2020

      A large amount of home injuries happen in the kitchen, where fire and sharp objects lurk around every corner. To help, USAHS Occupational Therapy faculty member Dr. Terri Roberts offers these kitchen safety tips if you are going to make a holiday feast for your family:

      - Always use oven mitts when handling hot pots and pans. Keep an abundance of these in close reach so you're never tempted to swap for a dish towel.

      - Do not leave food cooking on the stove unattended. Let that phone call go unanswered and the doorbell ring if necessary.

      - Do not wear loose clothing or jewelry while cooking. Consider changing into tighter, safer clothing before you hit the kitchen to cook.

      - Keep kids and pets out of the kitchen. If you don't have a door to the kitchen, use a baby gate to keep that curious pup at a safe distance.

      - Be sure to wash your hands frequently, especially if handling meat. Remember to wash frequently between tasks to avoid cross contamination.

      - Have a fire extinguisher on hand. Do you know how to handle a fire if it pops up? Make sure to be prepared for the worst, but hope for the best.

      Source: University of St. Augustine For Health Sciences

      Published with permission from RISMedia.