Real Estate News

    • Say Yes to Yogurt With a Better-for-You Snack

      6 December 2021

      (Family Features) Changing daily habits, like what you eat, can enhance your overall wellness. However, it doesn’t have to mean forgoing favorite flavors or skipping out on delicious snacks.
       
      Treating yourself in health-conscious ways is an important tactic to keep your health goals on track. In fact, healthy eating isn’t about restricting yourself; good nutrition simply starts with a balanced plate. By incorporating nutrient-rich options like milk and dairy foods, fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins, you can establish an eating pattern that supports wellness and an overall healthy lifestyle.
       
      This Chocolate and Strawberry Greek Yogurt Bark offers a sweet snack that curbs cravings without ditching your daily commitment to a balanced diet. With 1/4 cup of plain non-fat Greek yogurt per serving, you’re making a responsible decision at snack time because, when it comes to good nutrition, dairy is an irreplaceable source of essential nutrients.
       
      Dairy foods provide nutrients that people need to grow and maintain stronger bodies and minds. While Americans consume about two dairy servings per day on average, adding just one more serving can help fill dairy and nutrient gaps.
       
      Add more dairy to your diet with this easy-to-make snack and find more better-for-you recipes at MilkMeansMore.org.
       
      Chocolate and Strawberry Greek Yogurt Bark
      Prep time: 5 minutes
      Servings: 12
       
      3 cups plain non-fat Greek yogurt
      1/3 cup honey, plus additional for drizzling, divided (optional)
      1 teaspoon vanilla
      1/4 cup melted dark chocolate
      1/2 cup strawberries
      1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
       
      In a medium bowl, combine Greek yogurt, honey and vanilla.
       
      On a parchment-lined baking sheet, spread the Greek yogurt mixture to 1/4-inch thickness. Drop spoonfuls of melted chocolate onto yogurt and use a toothpick to drag in circles. Press strawberries and chocolate chips into yogurt. Freeze for at least 3 hours.
       
      Remove from the freezer and break into pieces.
       
      Nutritional information per serving: 140 calories; 18 g carbohydrates; 6 g protein; 6 g total fat; 3 g saturated fat; 0 g trans fat; 20 mg sodium; 8% calcium.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Common Mistakes Homeowners Make When Remodeling a Kitchen

      6 December 2021

      Your family probably uses the kitchen more than any other room in your home. If it isn’t well designed, it may feel cramped. If you want to remodel your kitchen to make it more suited to your needs, avoid making these common blunders.

      Not Giving Yourself Enough Storage and Workspace
      If you’ve been living in your home for a while, you may wish that you had more cabinet space or that your cabinets were configured differently to better store items you use frequently. When you design your new kitchen, think about how your current cabinets come up short and how to address that problem.
      You may have also found that your current amount of counter space is inadequate. You can change the kitchen’s layout to give you more counter space or install an island.

      If you want to add an island or buy new appliances, make sure you don’t sell yourself short when it comes to storage space. Top-of-the-line appliances and more workspace are all well and good, but you’ll be frustrated if you don’t have enough room to store food, dishes and small appliances.

      Not Making Enough Room to Get Around Easily
      You use your refrigerator, stove and sink more than any other features in the kitchen, so they should be close together. In most kitchens, these three elements are arranged in a triangle so people can move effortlessly from one to another.

      Measure the refrigerator, stove, and cabinet doors and drawers to make sure there is plenty of room to open them without them bumping into something else. If you want to install an island, don’t choose one so large that it will be hard for people to move around in the kitchen and to open and close cabinets and drawers. Make sure aisles around an island are wide enough for two cooks to work at the same time or for family members to walk around while someone is cooking without people bumping into each other.

      Not Having Sufficient Lighting
      Poor lighting can make it hard to find items when you need them and can lead to accidents in the kitchen. Make sure your new kitchen will have plenty of overhead lighting, as well as lights in the pantry and over the sink and food preparation areas.

      Buying Cheap Cabinets
      If your cabinets are worn out from years of daily use, they will probably need to be replaced. New cabinets can be costly, but they will last, whereas old, damaged cabinets can detract from the appearance of the entire kitchen. Spend the extra money to buy quality cabinets.

      Get Professional Design Help
      A remodeled kitchen can make it easier to prepare meals and enjoy time with family and friends. Since this is likely to be an expensive project, think it through carefully. Consult a kitchen design expert and a contractor to choose a layout and features that will make the best use of your available space and help you avoid common mistakes.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 6 Things You Should Know About Homeowners Insurance

      6 December 2021

      If, as is often the case, your home is your biggest investment, it stands to reason you want to protect it against damage, theft or other disasters. Your lender, who also has a stake in the property, wants to protect it, too. In fact, they will require proof of insurance coverage before you can close on the purchase.
      If you are ready to purchase homeowners insurance, here are six things you need to know:

      1. There Are Different Types of Policies.
      Policies differ in terms of what they cover, so be sure you understand what you are buying. Does the policy protect you in case of any disaster except those omitted in the policy, such as flood damage? Does it include total replacement coverage? Coverage if someone is hurt on your property, and/or loss of personal belongings? The more substantial the coverage, the more the policy will cost.

      2. Not Everything Will Be Covered.
      If you’re covered up to $2,000 in personal belongings, for example, and your $4,000 ring is stolen, you won’t be fully reimbursed. But if your luggage is lost or stolen while you are traveling, you will be covered up to the policy limit.

      3. Home Maintenance Counts.
      Damage incurred because of homeowner negligence, such as failure to fix a longstanding slow leak, will likely not be covered. Also, some companies are leery about dog breeds known to bite, so be sure your dog is covered—and keep potentially dangerous breeds contained.

      4. Your Credit Score Counts.
      Except in Maryland, California and Massachusetts, insurance companies use credit-based insurance scores to predict losses and determine which customers are more likely to file claims. The scores also evaluate your outstanding debt, length of credit history, whether you pay bills on time, etc. The higher your insurance score, the lower your premium will be.

      5. Document What You Own.
      Keep receipts and appraisals for your belongings and maintain a list of personal possessions and their value.

      6. Ask About Discounts.
      Will your premium be discounted if you buy other insurance, such as auto or life insurance, from the same provider? Will making home enhancements, like adding a security system, lower your premium?

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Improve Your Home and Its Value

      3 December 2021

      (Family Features) Home upgrades happen for different reasons but enhancing your home’s curb appeal and value are often at the top of the list. These projects can make it easier to enjoy your home knowing they carry a return on investment of up to 92%, according to the Remodeling 2021 Cost vs. Value Report published in “Remodeling Magazine.” Plus, you’ll have the added benefit of knowing you’re making a sound investment should you decide to sell down the road.

      Stone Veneer
      Stone veneer is an upgrade that adds warmth and texture with the look of natural stone, but without the expense. It’s also a durable product that is low maintenance, so you don’t have to worry about sealing or painting.
       
      With the variety of styles and colors available, it’s easy for homeowners to mix and match to create a custom look. Mortarless options like ClipStone are designed to be installed with screws and common tools, making them accessible options for both professionals and DIYers. With a built-in water management system, overlapping edges to minimize gaps, reversible outside corners and a variety of accessories, mortarless options allow homeowners to achieve the look of traditional masonry without the hassle.
       
      Garage Doors
      Exterior features often bring a big return on investment because a home with strong curb appeal can make a great first impression on potential buyers. The garage doors are no exception. If you think of your garage doors as a purely functional element of your home, you may be surprised to learn garage door replacement is actually the best home upgrade you can make, according to the report.
       
      Garage doors aren’t just functional; they can be a focal point of your home’s exterior design, completely transforming the exterior. Depending on the style and features you choose, an updated garage door is also a smart strategy for managing climate and adding security to your home.
       
      Windows
      Windows are another smart investment for numerous reasons. Not only do they provide a sophisticated presence that can greatly enhance curb appeal, upgraded windows play a major role in energy conservation. Homeowners also rely on windows to make a bold statement. For example, Simonton black exterior windows and patio doors can help perfect a wide range of architectural styles including farmhouse, modern, industrial and contemporary designs.
       
      This award-winning line of vinyl windows offers homeowners a variety of styles and colors to customize both their home’s interior and exterior spaces. The windows are AAMA Gold Certified, passing some of the industry’s most stringent quality assurance testing for air leakage, water penetration and wind pressure – resulting in low-maintenance windows with lasting durability, weather resistance and energy efficiency.
       
      Deck Additions
      Adding a deck is an easy way to improve your home’s exterior appeal and increase your livable space. Wooden decks rank in the top 10 for ROI, according to the report. An attractive deck situated off the living room or kitchen can make those rooms feel larger, especially when you’re entertaining, and guests can circulate freely between indoor and outdoor spaces. A well-constructed deck also serves as a transition point from the home to the backyard, where you may invest in even more outdoor living features.
       
      You’ll achieve the greatest ROI by designing your deck to integrate seamlessly with your home and landscaping and even stone accents. Also take functional features into consideration, including privacy and protection from the wind and sun. Depending on your climate, it may be beneficial to design a deck for maximum shade during the warm months or to make the most of sunlight during the cool seasons. Features like built-in kitchens, stone accents, TV mounts and access to water features all lend high-end custom touches that also boost ROI.
       
      Siding
      If you’re considering updating your home’s color and trim, re-siding is a great way to transform its curb appeal while also earning a hefty return on the investment and giving yourself (or a future owner) the gift of lower maintenance living.
       
      With 15 different collections, Ply Gem Mastic has an array of solutions to help homeowners transform their living spaces such as board and batten, hand-split shake shingles, traditional Dutch lap siding and more. Each is available with detailed wood grain texture in a variety of rich, on-trend colors, including increasingly popular dark options.
       
      Entry Doors
      One of the simplest projects in the report, a new entry door can also make a big impact because it’s one of the first things potential buyers see. Not only can a steel door help make a good first impression, it also serves as an updated security feature and can offer additional insulation, which makes for a good investment if you live in an area that experiences extreme weather.
       
      Explore more high-ROI ideas and products for upgrading your home and its value at cornerstonebuildingbrands.com/residential.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Is It a Good Idea to Buy a House Around the Holidays?

      3 December 2021

      The holiday season is a busy and often stressful time. Many people don’t want to think about house-hunting with everything else going on, which is precisely why the end of the year may be the best time to buy a house.

      Potential to Get a Great Deal
      Since fewer people shop for houses during the holiday season, you might face significantly less competition than you would at other times of the year and be able to negotiate a lower price, especially if a homeowner was eager to wrap up a sale. If you’re open to buying a foreclosed home, you might get a great deal around the holidays since banks want to sell as many properties as possible by the end of the year. You might be able to buy a bigger and better home than you would otherwise be able to afford.

      The owner of a house that needed repairs might be reluctant to lower the price under most circumstances. An owner who needed to sell soon, however, might be willing to accept a lower offer.

      Mortgage interest rates rise and fall for various reasons. Since fewer people look for mortgages around the holidays, a lender might offer you a lower rate, which could make a significant difference in the overall cost of a house.

      Limited Inventory
      Many sellers take their homes off the market during the holiday season to avoid the stress of dealing with showings while decorating, shopping for gifts and hosting family and friends. On the other hand, those who choose to keep their homes listed might have to sell soon to start a new job or for some other reason.

      Since fewer people list their homes around the holidays, the selection is more limited than at other times of the year. If you’re looking for a house with specific features, you could have a hard time finding it during the holiday season.

      Other Potential Headaches
      If you view a home when snow is on the ground, you won’t be able to get a good look at the outside of the house and the landscaping. That means you could miss some flaws or have an inaccurate impression of the yard’s appearance and be disappointed come springtime.

      Many people, including real estate agents and home inspectors, take time off and financial institutions modify their schedules around the holidays. If you want to close on a house before the end of the year, be up front about that with everyone who would be involved in the process.

      So, Should You Buy During the Holidays or Wait?
      You might benefit from reduced competition around the holidays and get a home at a great price, but you could also have trouble finding a house with all the features you want. Look at the properties available in your chosen area and ask your real estate agent whether the holiday season is the right time to buy or whether you would be better off waiting for a larger selection.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.