Consumer Real Estate News

    • Tips for Maintaining an Organized Home

      16 August 2019

      (Family Features)--This time of year, family life can get a little messy. School schedules and sports activities mix with work commitments and, before long, the house is as cluttered as the calendar.

      Fall is the perfect time of year to recommit to an organized household so you can keep the chaos contained. With these tips, you can make small changes to help you get organized and stay that way.

      Embrace routines. The idea of dedicating large chunks of time to organizing and tidying the house can be overwhelming. However, making time to clean as you progress through the day can help control clutter and keep the time commitment more manageable. Commit to cleaning up the kitchen after dinner each night. Set expectations for kids to pick up their rooms before bed. Before long, routines become productive habits that make a visible difference.

      Purge the excess. Over time, nearly everyone collects too much stuff, and clutter is often more an indication of too much volume than poor organization. Items are purchased to replace outdated things, but the old pieces sometimes don't actually get discarded. Getting control of your clutter starts with eliminating the things you no longer want or need. A good strategy is to create piles of items: keep, sell, donate and discard.

      Create a drop zone. In most homes, the entryway is a catchall for family belongings that get shed with each pass through the door. It's convenient to have shoes, coats, backpacks and other essentials ready to grab as you head out, so instead of fighting the inevitable jumble, find a way to organize it. A stylish drop zone organizers is a solution that attractively contains all those essentials. Consider shelving kits, complementing drawers, baskets, rods and more so you can customize the storage unit to your exact space and needs.

      Avoid junk piles. Nearly every home has at least one junk pile, drawer or even room. In most cases, the reason is that the contents are a mish-mash of items that don't really have any place else to go. Make a point to identify ways to create order, whether it's adding drawer inserts to contain all the odds and ends or buying a standing file to capture bills and mail.

      Be mindful about use. When you're on a mission to eliminate excess clutter, it can be tempting to go overboard putting things away. It's important to be realistic about where you store the things you need and err on the side of keeping the things you use regularly within reach. This may mean getting creative about how you organize or even adding new storage containers or furniture, but remember being organized is only helpful if it's also practical.

      Source: ClosetMaid

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • How to Stay Safe at Big Events

      16 August 2019

      Due to growing threats to cyber and physical safety, Americans are increasingly concerned about attending large-scale events, according to the 2019 Unisys Security Index, with more than one in five Americans reporting that they have cancelled plans over such anxieties.

      To combat fears about safety at big events, Unisys offers the following ways to protect yourself:

      - Only buy event tickets from official channels or websites you trust. Look for the secure padlock icon in the browser and make sure the address begins with https://. Don’t get duped - if ticket prices seem to good to be true, they probably are. 

      - Plan ahead and check local authorities' alerts. Event organizers usually offer travel or news alerts, so be sure to sign up to receive them. This will give you a heads-up about any potential problems on the day of the event.

      - Let people know about your plans. If you’re going to a big event alone, be sure to tell friends and family ahead of time. Let them know when you plan to arrive at the event and when you expect to return.

      - Leave valuables at home. Travel light when attending big events, storing just the essentials in your pockets.

      - Be aware of your surroundings. As soon as you get to the event, survey your surroundings. Know where the exits are and figure out a meeting point with your friends in case you get separated. Also find out where event workers and information desks are stationed should you need to speak with someone. 

      - Avoid unsecured wi-fi networks. Make sure your phone is updated with the latest software so that it’s as secure as possible, then only use password-protected wi-fi to prevent hackers from accessing your personal data.

      - Don't make electronic transactions with unofficial event vendors. Be careful with your contactless cards or making mobile transactions, particularly outside event venues. Criminals could be gathering your financial data for nefarious purposes

      - Watch for suspicious activity. Don't hesitate to report something you think is unusual, such as an unattended bag or suspicious or threatening behavior.

      - Make sure your phone is charged. Bring a cordless battery charger if you can to ensure your phone is always available.

      - In an emergency, stay calm and move to the edges of crowds. Try to leave the area quickly and calmly. If you need to, get away from the incident quickly, hide yourself if needed, call 911 when you can, and then let your family know you are safe.

      By following the above steps you’ll be able to attend big events and enjoy them safely.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Focus on Teen Driving Safety as Back-to-School Season Hits

      16 August 2019

      With the school season starting, there is a lot to navigate. If your teenager is preparing to drive themselves to school, prepping their car for prime safety should be top of your to-do list. Produced in conjunction with AutoNetTV (ANTV), the Car Care Council highlights five areas that should be checked to make sure vehicles are kid-safe and road ready:

      Check lights and wipers for visibility. With shorter days and inclement weather ahead, make sure lights and wipers function properly so that you can see and be seen. Check wiper blades for signs of wear and replace if necessary.

      Get an annual brake inspection. The braking system is your car's most important safety feature. Before carpool season gets in full swing, make sure that your brakes are functioning properly. Schedule a brake inspection and look for warning signs that your vehicle may need brake service, such as an illuminated brake light or screeching, grinding or clicking noises when applying the brakes.

      Check tires for under-inflation or excessive wear. Check tire pressure and refill underinflated tires, including the spare, and look for uneven wear and check tread depth.

      Make sure everyone is buckled up. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website has important tips on seat belt fit and position. For the younger ones riding along, the site has information about how to install car seats as well as guidelines on selecting a car seat or booster based on your child's age and size. 

      Consider a back-up detection device. Consider having a back-up detection device installed that provides rearview video or warning sounds when moving in reverse. While drivers should not rely solely on these devices, they can help to reduce the risk of back-over incidents along with following other prevention tips from NHTSA.

      Source:  the Car Care Council 

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 10 Red Cross Safety Tips for Traveling Outside of the Country

      15 August 2019

      A trip to a foreign destination is a thrilling prospect, but there are several safety precautions that should be taken when traveling beyond U.S. borders. Follow these steps recommended by the American Red Cross to ensure your globe-trotting adventure doesn’t turn into an unexpected emergency.

      - Keep a printed copy of critical information, such as your passport, travel documents and important phone numbers. If you rely on your mobile phone to store this info, you’re out of luck should you lose it.

      - Come up with a plan ahead of time for where and when to meet up with family members should you become separated. 

      - Find out in advance what natural disasters your destination may be prone to - such as hurricanes, floods or volcanoes - then learn the basic safety protocol about what to do during such events.

      - Consider registering your trip with the State Department’s free online Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, which will facilitate assistance in the event of an emergency while you are abroad. You’ll also find information about safety conditions in the country you’re traveling to.

      - Also read ‘What the Department of State Can and Can’t Do in a Crisis’ to have an understanding of just how the U.S. government can help. 

      - Always know where the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate is.

      - Know the emergency numbers - in other words, the 911 of your destination country.

      - Make sure your passport is current. Some countries will deny you entry if your passport expires in less than six months. 

      - Contact your credit card company and let them know which country you’ll be visiting and when, so they won’t think your card has been stolen and deny charges.

      - Request your International Certificate of Vaccination from your physician or local health department and pack it with your important documents. 

      - Finally, if you’re traveling somewhere at risk for mosquito-borne illnesses, be sure to bring bug repellant and/or clothing that provides appropriate coverage. 

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 5 Tips for Upgrading Your Historic Home

      15 August 2019

      Making upgrades to your home is often complicated, but if your home is historic, complications can multiply. What should you focus on changing in your older home when the updates you need may feel endless? A few upgrades Petri Plumbing & Heating, Inc. suggests for those looking to upgrade their older homes include:

      Ductless mini-split air conditioners. Many historic homes don't have proper ductwork, or they may not have modern ducts at all. Adding ducts is expensive, and ductless mini-split air conditioners provide a less expensive alternative that can efficiently keep the home cool and comfortable.

      Convert from oil to gas heating. Fewer homes are using oil as a heating source every year. Natural gas is easier to maintain, less expensive and more convenient. It also burns cleaner for more environmentally-conscious heating.

      Repiping. One hundred years ago, buildings and homes used different materials for internal piping and plumbing than is used today. If a home has pipes that are original to the building, they could be a cause for concern as they tend to degrade and erode over time, losing water and money to leaks.

      Low-flow toilets. Not too long ago, homeowners and renters were advised to put a brick in their toilet tank to lower water usage. Modern toilets use much less water per flush than their counterparts from 20-30 years ago. A low-flow toilet is an upgrade to consider to lower water bills.

      Tankless water heaters. Space comes at a premium for many, and a tankless water heater can help achieve two goals at once. They heat water on demand and more efficiently, and they also take up less space than traditional storage water heaters.

      "There are some limitations to what can be done with older homes, either from a structural or historical preservation standpoint," Petri says. "But there are still some ways [to] modernize amenities and maybe even save a little money while still preserving the irreplaceable character of the home."

      Source: Petri Plumbing & Heating, Inc.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.