Consumer Real Estate News

    • Increase Your Home’s Value: 5 Practical Upgrades to Increase Style, Function

      28 June 2022

      (Family Features) Whether you’ve purchased a new house or are just looking to invest in what is likely your largest asset, home improvements can make your living space more comfortable, functional and stylish.

      Homebuyers are looking for practical home amenities that allow them to live, work and play – such as dedicated home offices, backyard retreats, home gyms and more – without having to worry about any potential future restrictions caused by the pandemic, according to a survey by Zolo of more than 3,300 new homeowners and potential first-time buyers in 2022.

      Consider these popular upgrade ideas to create a space built for your family’s needs that can also increase resale value down the line.

      Home Office
      At the height of the pandemic, many professionals found themselves working remotely – a trend that continued as restrictions were lifted. In fact, 46% of survey respondents listed a dedicated office space as a must-have when purchasing a new home. When creating this space, keep function and efficiency top of mind. Build your home office around a desk – either standing or traditional – then consider additions like an ergonomic chair and keyboard, soft light desk lamp, mood-boosting plants and a white board to stay organized. Don’t forget to add flairs of personality like artwork, knick-knacks or photos of loved ones to make it your own.

      By improving the overall look and functionality of dark spaces, such as home offices where natural light can improve creativity and productivity, an option like skylights can increase the value of a home, and 55% of new homebuyers rated skylights as desirable or essential, according to research from the National Association of Home Builders.  For rooms that need brightening, skylights can free up wall space for storage while adding abundant natural light and increasing ventilation. An option like Velux No Leak Solar-Powered Fresh Air Skylights help rid indoor air of bacteria, volatile organic compounds and carbon dioxide.

      Over the long-term, high-quality skylights can also help reduce carbon emissions and home energy consumption, saving money on household bills, according to Urban Grade. Remote-controlled models can be opened to bring fresh air inside, and with light-filtering or room-darkening shades homeowners have maximum control over the exact amount of light they want. Plus, solar-powered shades come in more than 75 colors and patterns, allowing homeowners nearly endless customization options. Learn more at

      Backyard Retreat
      Perfect for hosting friends, dining al fresco or simply relaxing with the backdrop of nature, 48% of survey respondents cited a backyard retreat as a must-have home amenity. Start with a deck or patio then customize your outdoor living space to meet your family’s wants and needs. Weather-proof furniture can add comfort while features like outdoor kitchens, fireplaces, fans and lighting can create a connection to your indoor areas that add both style and function.

      Walk-In Pantry
      If you want to add a pantry in your kitchen, you’re not alone. Walk-in pantries found their way onto 48% of respondents’ lists of must-haves. To get started, consider your storage needs to determine the amount of space you’ll require and remember to vary shelving heights to maximize space. Open shelving can also be combined with additional counter space, cabinets, pull-out organizers and other features to help match the design to the rest of your kitchen.

      Home Gym
      Another trend that rose in popularity amid the pandemic, home gyms can take on a variety of shapes and sizes, utilizing available space in the garage, basement, a spare bedroom or even the backyard. Providing more time to fit workouts into your schedule, home gyms can be customized with equipment most important for your lifestyle. From yoga mats, jump ropes and free weights to treadmills, ellipticals and benches and racks, your space, budget and goals can help in the creation or update of a dedicated, in-home workout space.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • How to Teach Your Kids About Fire Safety

      28 June 2022

      Being in a building that is on fire can be a terrifying experience for anyone, but kids can feel even more overwhelmed if they don’t understand what’s happening or don’t know what to do. Here are some ways to discuss fire safety with your children.

      Talk About Fire Hazards and Keep Dangerous Objects Out of Reach
      Many fires start when children are playing with matches or lighters. Discussing the danger and telling your kids not to touch hazardous objects may not be enough. Store those items where your kids can’t get to them. Teach young children not to touch the stove. If necessary, use a gate to keep them out of the kitchen. 

      Make Sure Your Kids Know What to Do if a Fire Occurs
      Walk through your home, point out smoke detectors and explain that they make a sound if there is a fire. Let your kids hear the sound so they’ll recognize it if a smoke detector goes off. Check smoke alarms monthly and replace the batteries at least once a year.

      Explain that if there is a fire, everyone should get out of the house as quickly as possible. Point out ways to escape from every room in the house. Ideally, there should be two exits from each room. 

      Make sure that windows can be opened easily and that screens can be removed, even by a young child. Get escape ladders for rooms on the second floor and teach your kids how to use them.

      Teach your children how to stop, drop and roll if their clothes catch fire. Explain that running can give the fire oxygen and make things worse.

      Designate a meeting place where all family members should go after evacuating the house. Stress that once they get outside, they should not go back in the house for any reason—not to save a family member, pet or possession. If someone is trapped inside, they should tell a firefighter. 

      Make sure every child knows how to call 911. Tell them to call from a cell phone or from a neighbor’s home. Stress that they should always get out of the house first. 

      Have Fire Drills
      Talking about what to do in the event of a fire can be helpful, but practicing can make it sink in more. Have your children climb out of a window and crawl out of the house blindfolded, because in a real fire, smoke may make it difficult to see and breathe. 

      Have fire drills on a regular basis, preferably once a month and at different times of day, including in the middle of the night. Don’t tell your kids about fire drills ahead of time. You want them to learn to spring into action quickly so they will be prepared to do so if there is a real fire. 

      Hold a family meeting after each fire drill to discuss what went right and ways to improve. Address any problems or areas of confusion so you’ll be better prepared next time. 

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • How to Choose the Right Crib for Your Baby

      28 June 2022

      A new crib for your baby should be designed in a way that will minimize the risk of an accident. The crib’s design, type of bedding and its placement in the room are all important. Here are some things you should know.

      Types of Cribs
      A standard crib has slats on four sides and is durable enough to last for years. Many families use the same crib for multiple children.

      A convertible crib can be modified to transition from a crib to a toddler bed to a full bed as your child gets older. A convertible crib will be more expensive than a standard crib, but it can save you money in the long run since you won’t have to buy additional furniture in the future.

      Safe Crib Design
      Crib designs have changed over the years. Some features that used to be common, such as drop rails, have been found to be dangerous and are no longer permitted. 

      If you purchase a new crib, it should meet the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s current requirements. If you buy an older crib or get one as a gift, or if you still have one that you used for an older child, inspect it carefully to make sure that it meets all current guidelines. Don’t use a crib that doesn’t meet safety criteria or that has any broken or missing parts.

      The bars should be 2-3/8 inches apart, at most. A baby’s head can get stuck in a gap wider than that. The headboard and footboard should be solid so your baby’s head can’t get trapped. The sides of the crib should be a minimum of 26 inches above the mattress. The corner posts should be no more than 1/16 inch high. Posts higher than that can snag your infant’s clothing.

      How to Keep Your Baby Safe and Comfortable
      A crib shouldn’t be too close to a window. Direct sunlight or drafts can make your infant hot or cold, and cords attached to blinds or curtains can cause injury to your infant. Keep the crib away from a radiator so your baby doesn’t get too hot or potentially burned.

      The crib should have a firm mattress that fits snugly and touches all the corners of the frame. Don’t put bumper pads, bulky blankets or comforters, pillows, toys or stuffed animals in the crib. They hamper an infant’s ability to breathe or an older child may use them to climb out of the crib, creating risk for an injury or fall. Put your baby to bed in warm clothes, but don’t put on so many layers that your infant will be uncomfortable.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Sunny Summertime Safety: Tips for Enjoying the Great Outdoors

      27 June 2022

      (Family Features) A bright, sunny day offers opportunities for warm-weather fun. To make the most of your summer, you’ll need to take a few steps to enhance the experience and ensure you’re ready for whatever the day may bring.

      When it’s time to head outside, consider these tips from the experts at CURAD® to protect your body (and skin) from the elements this summer:

      Protect Skin From UV Rays
      Any time you’ll be outdoors for more than 15 minutes, you should wear protective sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, even if it’s partly cloudy or overcast. One mistake many people make is applying sunscreen before they leave the house then not reapplying throughout the day. To help protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays, reapply sunscreen at least every two hours and more frequently if you’re swimming or sweating.

      Also be sure to cover all exposed areas, including often overlooked spots like the tops of your ears, neck and tops of your feet, if they’re exposed by sandals or other open shoes.

      Stay Hydrated 
      One of the most important ways to protect your health when you’re spending the day outdoors is staying hydrated, especially on warm days when you’re losing your body’s water reserves to sweat. Drinking plenty of fluids, especially water, throughout the day can help replenish what you lose so you don’t get dehydrated, and you’ll also have an easier time regulating your body’s temperature.

      Be Prepared for Cuts and Scrapes
      Summer cuts and scrapes are to be expected, but the faster you can take care of them, the faster you can get back to having fun. An option like CURAD Kendra Dandy Adhesive Bandages can help you heal in style with a four-sided seal that keeps dirt and germs out and a non-stick pad that’s extra absorbent. Designed by Dandy, a renowned artist and illustrator, these fashion-forward bandages are made with a comfortable, stretchy material that conforms to your body for maximum protection. Available in a 30-count standard-sized strip and a 50-count variety pack, these eye-catching bandages feature trendy, one-of-a-kind pineapple, papaya, banana and dragon fruit designs that can add a little fun and flair to your summer wardrobe.

      “We created our Kendra Dandy designer bandage line to add a splash of fun, color and flair to our classic adhesive bandages, offering consumers thought-provoking styles that add a great feeling to empowered healing,” said Kim Washington, Medline vice president of marketing.

      Repel Bugs 
      Aggressive insects can put a damper on outdoor fun. Bug spray or roll-on products should go on top of your sunscreen, but never under your clothes. Apply a sparing coat to all exposed skin and clothing, paying special attention to your waistband, pant and sleeve cuffs, collar and socks. Rather than applying spray directly to your face, spray the palms of your hands then rub the repellant onto your face. Be sure to wash your hands afterward to avoid accidentally transferring spray to your mouth or eyes.

      If you have sensitive skin or prefer not to use spray or roll-on for other reasons, products like repellent fans or wearable repellent bracelets may be good alternatives. Some essential oils are also natural bug repellents.

      Don’t Forget Your Lips 
      While faces, necks, arms and legs are often top of mind to protect from the sun’s rays, lips can be easy to forget. However, using a lip balm that is rich in oils, beeswax and petroleum can help seal in moisture. Similar to sunscreen, lip balms featuring SPF should be reapplied every two hours when outdoors and often offer added moisturizing benefits. Available in a variety of flavors, some even taste good enough to leave you wanting to apply them over and over again regardless of if you’re venturing outside or not.

      Wear Light Clothing 
      When it’s hot outside and you’re engaged in physical activity, you’re at a greater risk of overheating. Dressing for the climate, while also protecting yourself from the elements, should be a top priority. If the temperature will vary throughout the day, consider layering so you can warm up or cool down as needed. Lighter clothes that don’t add weight are a good idea, and it’s important to be conscious of the fit. Ideally, clothes should be loose enough to allow for easy, comfortable movement, but not so baggy they get in the way or pose a snagging or tripping hazard. Don’t forget accessories like a hat and sunglasses, which can protect your head and eyes.

      Support Summertime Injuries
      Twisted ankles are one of the more common summertime injuries, especially for hikers or runners who may stumble over rocks or curbs, and even weekend warriors playing pick-up basketball or softball games. Keeping an ankle support on-hand can help stabilize a sprain or provide extra support during recovery. If you do experience a mild injury, it’s important to choose a high-quality product, like CURAD Performance Series IRONMAN ankle supports and braces. With options available to support both mild and moderate ankle injuries, they offer a rugged yet comfortable design to wear on the field, in the gym, at work or out on the town.

      Find more tips and resources to take care of your body this summer and beyond at

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • How to Make Moving as Stress Free as Possible for Your Pet

      27 June 2022

      Moving can feel overwhelming to members of your family, but you may not realize how the controlled chaos is affecting your pet. Here are some tips to help your pet cope with the changes.

      Comfort Your Pet While You’re Packing
      Let your pet get used to boxes and other packing materials before you actually start the packing process. An animal can pick up on your emotional state and will react accordingly. While you’re packing, talk to your pet in a cheerful voice so it doesn’t get stressed out. If you feel frustrated, anxious or overwhelmed, take a break to unwind. Be sure to pet and play with the animal from time to time during the packing process.

      Make Your Pet Feel Safe
      Animals feel safe when they know what to expect. Keep your pet’s routine as consistent as possible, both before and after the move. Obviously, there will be some disruptions, but the more you can keep things the same, the smoother the transition will be.

      On moving day, put your pet in a safe place. If you’re moving locally, ask a friend or family member to take care of your pet so you can get settled a bit before you bring them into the new house. If you’re moving a long distance, you will have to transport your pet with you. Make sure that the place where the animal will be staying or the carrier or crate that they will be transported in is familiar before the day of the move to avoid creating additional stress. 

      Bring along essentials, such as food and water bowls, bags for waste and any medications your pet needs. Give your pet some objects that make them feel safe, such as a blanket, toys and treats, and speak to them in a calm and reassuring voice. 

      Help Your Pet Settle Into Their New Home
      When you get to the new house, set up a safe, relatively quiet place for your pet right away. That may mean putting their bed in a quiet room or putting the animal in the laundry room with the door shut while you begin unpacking.

      Let your pet adjust to the new house gradually. Depending on their personality, it may be a good idea to walk through the house and explore together, or it may be better to allow your pet to venture out on their own and retreat to a safe space if they feel overwhelmed. 

      If you have a dog, take it for walks around the neighborhood so they can get used to the new sights, sounds and people. Pay attention to their reactions and demeanor and return home if they seem frightened or stressed. 

      Anticipate and Respond to Your Pet’s Needs
      Animals can be frightened by change. Do as much as you can to comfort your pet before and after moving day. Pay attention to how your pet is responding and make adjustments as needed to help them cope.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.