Consumer Real Estate News

  • 4 Tips for Sellers in a Buyer’s Market

    20 November 2018

    Many real estate markets across the country are starting to regain some balance, with rising prices leveling off just a touch and the number of homes available for sale starting to tick back up. What does this mean for you if you’re ready to put your home on the market? A slightly adjusted strategy! Here are a few important tips to follow for selling your home as the market swings more to the buyer’s advantage.

    Pick a good real estate agent! First and foremost, do your homework and pick an experienced agent. When inventory is scarce in a red-hot seller’s market, it doesn’t take much to sell your home. When the opposite is true, you’ll need a savvy agent to help get your home sold in the shortest time for the best price.

    Price it right. Speaking of price, heed your agent’s advice on how to price your home properly. If your market has shifted, the bidding wars of a few months ago may be a thing of the past. Pricing your home too high could leave your home waning on the market for months on end. Work with your agent to choose a competitive listing price.

    Step up the marketing. Make sure you’re deploying the very best marketing plan for your home, including professional-quality photos (and plenty of them), videos, social media, and exposure on listing portals. Ask your agent to walk you through the details of the marketing plan so you understand exactly what tactics they have in their arsenal.

    Set the stage. While you may be able to leave the living room walls turquoise in a seller’s market, when buyers rule the roost, you probably want to take the time to make your home attractive to as many buyers as possible. So paint the walls neutral colors, declutter and stage every room, and spend a few bucks on landscaping. You may also want to invest in any necessary repairs that a buyer might’ve acquiesced to in a hot market. Whatever gives your home an edge over the competition will start to really matter.  

    Remember, be patient! If you’re expecting to flip your home, now may not be the best time to sell. Talk to an expert agent with great knowledge about the local market to get a realistic picture about days on market and current sales prices, then make your decision.

    Published with permission from RISMedia.

  • Tips for Reducing Waste over the Holidays

    20 November 2018

    If you're a pro at holiday hosting, you've likely seen containers of leftovers sit at the back of the fridge for weeks, or grown tired of yet another turkey sandwich. To help, the National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association offers several tips for reducing food waste this holiday season:

    Be realistic. The fear of not providing enough to eat often causes hosts to cook too much. Instead, plan out how much food you and your guests will realistically need, and shop accordingly.

    Plan ahead. Plan your menu and create a shopping list before going to the grocery store to avoid impulse buys or buying unnecessary quantities that may not be used right away and go to waste.

    Know portion sizes. If turkey is on your menu, allow 1 pound of uncooked turkey per person from an 8 to 12 pound turkey. Larger birds have a larger proportion of meat to bones, so ¾ pound per person should be sufficient (and you will have leftovers).

    Plan for leftovers. Cook creatively and repurpose food into other meals for less waste after the holiday.  

    Ask guests to bring to-go containers. Ask each guest to arrive with take-home containers and fill them up with leftovers as they leave.

    Host a post-holiday leftover brunch. Host a fun brunch a few days after the holiday and make it clear you're doling out leftovers. Not quite enough food to cover everyone? Make it a left-over potluck with one hard rule: no new dishes!

    Source: National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association

    Published with permission from RISMedia.

  • Deck the Halls for Happy Holidays

    20 November 2018

    (Family Features)--Whether you opt for fresh-cut or fresh out of the box, trimming the tree is a staple of holiday decor in most homes. However, if you'll be entertaining this season, you may want to go beyond the tree and take your seasonal decorating to whole new level.
     
    Create a scene filled with festive joy and get your home holiday-ready with these tips from the holiday hosting experts at Macy's:

    Choose a theme: Designing around a specific theme is a simple way to keep your holiday decor from feeling cluttered. Your theme might be based on color or a favorite seasonal character like Santa or snowmen. If you're starting from scratch, begin with a few statement pieces and let your collection grow over time. Choose a new item or two each year, and soon you'll have a treasure trove of beloved holiday items that can brighten up your home.

    Offer cozy accents: Tables, shelves and mantels tend to get their share of decorative love, but don't overlook the ways you can bring cheer to other parts of a room. A snuggle-worthy throw in vibrant holiday hues and some plush seasonal pillows add practical warmth and good cheer. Another option: fun holiday floor decor, from welcome mats to area rugs to cushy kitchen mats that can make all that time cooking easier on your feet.

    Set a stunning stage: Go ahead and fill your guests with delight before they even sample their first bite. A holiday spread served over festive placemats and cheerful motifs can make your table come to life. Bring vibrant colors and cheeky detailed design to your dinner table wit placemats and coasters featuring seasonal images like snowflakes, ornaments and red and green lettering with a cheerful "Ho Ho Ho." 

    Add pretties to the powder room: The bathroom may not be the first place you think to add some holiday spirit, but it's a room virtually every guest will visit, so don't leave it undone. Deck out the room with hand towels in seasonal colors and prints, and add plenty of festive accent pieces like rugs and soap dispensers. Don't forget a candle with a subtle seasonal scent.

    Source: Macy's

    Published with permission from RISMedia.

  • Travel Safety Tips for the Holiday Season

    19 November 2018

    Many Americans plan to zip across the country for the holidays to visit loved ones. But with busier roads, it's important to pay mind to safety as you head to your destination. Consider the following travel safety tips from American Red Cross before you buckle in for a long ride.

    - Make sure your car is in good condition for a road trip.
    - Pack an emergency preparedness kit, supplies and a first aid kit in the trunk
    - Share travel plans with a family member or friend.
    - Check the weather before departing and along your route. Plan for travel around any storms that may be coming.
    - Be well rested and alert.
    - Buckle up, slow down and don't drive impaired.
    - Follow the rules of the road and use caution in work zones.
    - Give your full attention to the road. Avoid distractions such as cell phones.
    - Make frequent stops. During long trips, rotate drivers. If you're too tired to drive, stop and get some rest.
    - If you have car trouble, pull off the road as far as possible.

    Source: American Red Cross

    Published with permission from RISMedia.

  • Plumbing Blunders: How to Dodge Holiday Disasters

    19 November 2018

    A full house for the holidays can be wonderful--but not for your plumbing. According to Benjamin Franklin Plumbing® professionals, extra pressure is put on home plumbing systems during the holidays, with day-long meal prep and additional house guests, it's easy for the wrong items to go down the drain and disposal. Below are their top tips for dodging drain disasters.

    Your sink can't handle everything. Fats, bones and vegetable peels can clog drains and damage the disposal. When fats and grease cool, put them into a disposable container and throw it in the trash. If you have a compost pile, that's a good place for peels. Anything that you can hold in your hand, throw it out instead.

    Holiday cooking can strain your garbage disposal. Know how to properly use it! Always run the water when using a garbage disposal. If your disposal becomes clogged, turn it off, and shut off the water. Don't reach into a disposal, and never, ever use harsh chemicals to treat a clog. Like other kitchen appliances, disposals can use tune-ups, too.

    Think outside of the kitchen. Be mindful of the plumbing use in other areas of the home. Holidays guests can require more loads of laundry. Poor water quality and age can lead to breakdowns in the washer hose, which can lead to massive water leaks. Getting your hose inspected will save you from water damage from a defective hose.

    Avoid the messiest of all plumbing disasters by understanding what can and cannot be flushed. The amount of people in a normal household easily triples during holidays.  This means triple the amount of trips to the bathroom, which strains the integrity of your home's plumbing system. Remind your guests what can and can't be flushed, and inform them of any plumbing issues you are already aware of. Meaning, if you need to jiggle the toilet handle to get it to flush, spread the word.

    Preventative maintenance can save you a holiday headache. If it's been a while since you've had a plumbing inspection, now may be a good time to call a trusted plumbing professional. They can spot potential trouble areas and prepare your home for the holiday influx. They can also help winterize your plumbing system for the colder weather to come. Cold temperatures can put more stress on your pipes, drains, outdoor hose bibs and water heaters.

    Source: Benjamin Franklin Plumbing®

    Published with permission from RISMedia.