Consumer Real Estate News

    • Top Tips to Make Your Home More Green For Earth Day

      20 April 2018

      If you have earth day plans, they may be to dig into your garden, plant a tree or spend time volunteering to pick up trash at your local park. But have you thought about turning your green efforts inwards? How about to your own home? Below are a handful of earth day tips to improve the efficiency of your home both inside and out, courtesy of Ply Gem.


      Window efficiency. Check for signs of drafts and seal any air leaks. If windows are extra drafty, consider adding weather-stripping around the frame. Time for new windows altogether? You will want to look into energy-efficient options to help improve thermal insulation and save energy.

      Idling electricity. Unplug small electronics like computer monitors, cell phone chargers, lamp fixtures and other small appliances around the home while they are not being utilized.

      Right lights. Make sure the lightbulbs in your home are halogen, compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) or light-emitting diode (LED). According to, energy efficient lightbulbs use 25 percent -80 percent less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs and can last 3 - 25 times longer.


      Roofing. Check your roof for leaks, ponding water and damaged shingles, as those issues may lead to needed maintenance or a roof replacement. If you need to replace your roof, consider a green option, like roofing made from recycled materials.  

      Siding. If your home feels drafty, check your siding for any vulnerable areas where air may enter, such as loose or detached siding pieces. Siding that lays flat against a home’s exterior adds a continuous blanket of insulation and helps to improve a home’s thermal protection and preserve energy.

      Learn your materials. If you are looking to make some outdoor updates, be sure to go with eco-friendly materials, such as vinyl siding, fencing, railings, windows and shutters. According to the U.S. Green Building Council, vinyl is one of the most durable and cost-effective construction materials. It offers a long life with little to no maintenance and can save on energy in the long run.

      Source: Ply Gem

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 5 Ways to Keep Your Basement From Flooding

      20 April 2018

      Heavy storms can wreak havoc on our homes, especially if you have a basement that’s in danger of flooding. New York-based T. Webber Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning offers the following tips to protect your basement from water damage when foul weather strikes:

      1. Look for Signs of Water – Do a walk-through and search for any signs of water damage, especially under basement stairs. Keep an eye out for moisture on walls or floors.

      2. Act Quickly – If you discover water stains or standing water, call an expert right away. If it isn't resolved quickly and professionally, you risk more significant damage, as well as possible mold contamination.

      3. Be Proactive – Check the operation of your sump pump, if you have one, to remove excess water. Also make sure the drain and catch basin are clean. If you don't have one, but have a history of basement flooding, consider having a sump pump installed to prevent future damage.

      4. Clear Gutters and Downspouts – Inspect for clogs and make sure that water is flowing away from your home and foundation.

      5. Turn off Electricity – If you do encounter flooding in your basement, turn off all power sources by switching off the main breaker. Do this before entering the basement any time there is standing water. It's best to get help from a professional to reduce electrocution risk.

      The most important step a homeowner can take is to be proactive. This will save you from the stress and expense of more severe water damage.


      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 5 Tips to Get Ready to Run That Race

      20 April 2018

      (Family Features)--You've made the decision to get in shape, and whether your goal is a full marathon or simply a few laps around the neighborhood, there are a few steps to consider taking before you strap on those shoes and head toward the finish line.

      Here are a few tips to help get you ready for the big race:

      Seek quality sneakers. Feet come in a variety of widths and sizes, so visit a specialty running store to find perfect-fitting sneakers. These may come with a hefty price tag, but there are no shortcuts for comfort and support while running long distances.

      Make a schedule. Try to aim for at least 10 hours of training per week, including three days where you run and two or three days of other physical activity, such as cycling or strength training. To avoid exhaustion, be sure to include at least 1 - 2 "rest" days per week.

      Stick with water. Avoid sports drinks that are loaded with preservatives and sugars. You can't go wrong with the hydrating power of water. As a rule, try to consume at least 6 - 8 ounces of water for every 20 minutes you run. Proper hydration after a run is also vital.

      Go online. Many websites have training guides for various skill levels or different types of races. If you have a smartphone, look for apps that can take you through day-by-day workouts to get you marathon-ready.

      Nutrition. Filling your body with the proper amount of fuel can help ensure finish-line success. Load up on quality carbohydrates, such as beans, peas, whole-wheat pastas, whole-grain cereals, apples, brown rice and root vegetables. Protein also plays an important role in a runner's nutrition, so fill up on lean meats, fish, eggs, low-fat dairy, peanut butter and soy protein sources, as well.

      By following these general rules, you'll be able to focus on achieving your goal and enjoy the thrill of finishing the race.


      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Hiring a Home Inspector? Read This First

      19 April 2018

      If you're hiring a home inspector for the first time to look at a house you'd like to purchase, you may be unsure what to expect. A professional home inspection can not only educate you on the condition of the home, but can also minimize costly surprises later on; however, not all home inspectors are created equal. Before hiring that inspector, read these tips from HouseMaster.

      Check experience and training. Ask how long the company has been in business and about the specific formal training and ongoing education the inspectors have, and verify the company carries professional liability insurance, also known as "errors & omissions" (E&O). If the company doesn't carry this insurance, it could indicate a poor track record or lack of experience.

      Ensure accountability. Buyers want to know their inspector is committed to doing their best every time. Only hire a home inspector who will be accountable to you for the quality of their service with their own written guarantee. Many home inspectors today pay third-party companies to cover issues they may miss.    

      Discuss confidentiality. It's not uncommon for home inspectors to offer customers certain extras, such as discounts on products and services needed during a home purchase. While everyone loves a deal, you will want to ensure your contact information is not distributed to third parties you don't know about in exchange for these so-called savings.

      Inspect ancillary systems. It's hard for first-time homebuyers to know what they need, so ask what additional services the company offers. If the home you are considering has a septic system, for example, a professional home inspection company may offer septic system inspections or can coordinate that service for you. Generally, the company will offer you a multiple services discount. That also provides you the added convenience of only having to attend one inspection appointment. Other common services offered by home inspectors are termite inspections, mold screening, water testing and radon testing.

      Go along on the inspection. Ask the inspection company if they encourage buyers to tag along on the inspection. If the inspector discourages you from going along and asking questions, find another inspector. A home inspection is not simply a laundry list of what is wrong with the home; in addition to documenting issues and needed repairs that may exist, a professional home inspector will also show the new buyer how to operate the various systems in the home and provide tips on improving energy efficiency and maintaining the home in general. Being present during the inspection will make the final written report that much more meaningful.


      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 5 Ways to Eat More Veggies

      19 April 2018

      Looking to add more veggies to your diet, but sick of salads and steamed sides? Below are a handful of ways you can up your veggie count with ease.

      Blend them. If you're a smoothie fan, you'd be thrilled to know adding a handful or two of baby spinach to your morning blend won't alter the flavor or texture of your favorite drink. It will, however, give you an added vitamin punch and a bright color.

      Juice them. Dust off that unused juicer and aim to make a fresh juice at least once a week. Enlist the help of your family to prep veggies and wash the juicer when you're done. Unsure of what blend to go with? Try green apple, spinach, cucumber and fennel.

      Chop them. Skip the chips! Keep chopped celery, peppers and carrots in the fridge for dipping into salsa and hummus.

      Shred them. Shred carrots, broccoli or cabbage and toss them into soups, stir fries, salads or casseroles, or toss them together with your favorite herbs and dressings for a savory slaw. To make this easier, shred up a bag at the beginning of the week and get to sprinkling.

      Cream them. Colorful carrots with a dash of ginger, chopped onion, salt, pepper and veggie stock can make an easy, creamy, low-fat soup. Just boil the ingredients up in a pot, then blend with an immersion blender for an easy, filling meal.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.