Consumer Real Estate News

    • How to Choose the Right Vehicle for Your Family and Lifestyle

      23 April 2021

      Purchasing a vehicle is a major financial move. A new car, truck, minivan or SUV may cost tens of thousands of dollars. Considering your family’s size and lifestyle can help you decide which type of vehicle to buy. 

      How Many People Will Ride in the Vehicle?
      If you’re looking for a vehicle to drive to and from work and to run errands, a car may suit you fine. A two-door coupe may work if only one or two people will usually ride in the car, but a sedan will be more practical if you have kids.

      If you want a vehicle that can transport you, your partner and several kids, a more spacious minivan or SUV may better suit your family. Those types of vehicles can have two or three rows of seats that give the occupants plenty of room to spread out. If you plan to expand your family, it may be a good idea to buy a vehicle that’s larger than you currently need so you will be prepared for the future.

      What Will You Transport?
      If you’re mostly concerned about hauling goods for work or home improvement projects, a pickup truck may be your best bet. If you use a vehicle for work and you have to transport boxes of products, equipment or other objects that take up a lot of space, a minivan or SUV will also be a wise choice. 

      An SUV or minivan will be a good option if you have kids who are involved in sports or, if you like to take family camping trips, it will provide plenty of room for your family and your gear. An SUV is often powerful enough to tow a camper.

      If a member of your family uses a wheelchair or has other special needs, a van will give you more space and will be more practical than a car. You may also be able to modify a minivan to suit your relative’s needs.

      A hatchback or a station wagon may be right for your family if you value versatility. Each offers plenty of seating, and the rear seat can be folded down to increase the amount of cargo space when necessary.

      How Far Will You Drive?
      If you’re just looking for a way to transport your kids to and from school and run errands nearby, you may want to focus on vehicle size and amenities. If you have a long daily commute to and from work, gas mileage may be one of your top considerations. Cars generally get better gas mileage than larger vehicles, although those rates vary from one make and model to another.

      Where Will You Drive?
      For routine travel, any type of vehicle can get you from point A to point B. If you enjoy off-road driving or you live in an area that gets a lot of snow in the winter, an SUV may be the best choice for you, as they are designed to handle rugged terrain and harsh weather.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Make Reading Part of Your Mother’s Day Celebration

      23 April 2021

      (Family Features) Many childhood memories include sitting on mom’s lap and reading stories together. This year, you can show your mother how much those memories mean to you by giving her a Mother’s Day gift that harkens back to those special moments spent together.

      Whether your mom devotes time each week to read the latest best-selling novel or can only find a few moments every now and then to spend some quality time reading, there are plenty of thoughtful options available for nearly every mother regardless of how often she settles into a comfy chair with a good book. From cookbooks and memoirs to suspenseful non-fiction and coming-of-age stories, options like these can be an excuse for her to dive into a new read and steal a few minutes of uninterrupted me-time, which can be a special gift itself.

      Find more stories about motherhood, mother-child relationships and other popular topics at

      A Tale of Coming of Age
      A funny, wise and tender coming-of-age novel set in suburban Baltimore in the 1970s, “Mary Jane” by Jessica Anya Blau is complete with all the nostalgic trappings of the decade. The novel follows a straight-laced teenage girl whose world opens up after nannying for a progressive family in town and the celebrity couple hiding out there for the summer.

      A Memorable Memoir
      A story of unconditional love in the face of difficulty and the grace of perseverance “I Have Been Buried Under Years of Dust” by Valerie Gilpeer and Emily Grodin is a memoir that details the journey a mother and her nonverbal, autistic daughter took to get to a place where they could finally understand and communicate with each other after a breakthrough revealed a young woman who had been trapped inside for more than two decades.

      A Suspenseful Story
      In “Mother May I,” “New York Times” best-selling author Joshilyn Jackson delivers a novel of domestic suspense in which a mother must decide how far she is willing to go to protect her child and the life she loves. A tale of power, privilege, lies, revenge and the choices people make – ones that transform lives in unforeseen ways.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Reasons to Hire a Professional Landscape Designer

      23 April 2021

      If you’re thinking about upgrading your yard to improve your home’s curb appeal, you may be tempted to take a DIY approach. You may be able to handle planting and some other tasks yourself, but it’s a good idea to get advice from a landscape designer so you choose plant species and other features that are appropriate for your property and your budget.

      A Landscape Designer Can Set You up for Success
      If you seek advice from a professional, you may receive suggestions that you never would have thought of yourself and may be able to avoid making costly errors. Landscape designers work on properties with a variety of layouts, features and soil types. They understand which plant species work best in specific types of soil, how much sunlight and water they need, and how other factors can affect plants’ ability to thrive. 

      Landscape designers have learned how to handle a multitude of problems and avoid costly mistakes. A professional can tell you if a plant species that you’re considering wouldn’t do well in your yard so you don’t waste money and time on a project that’s unlikely to be successful.

      A landscape designer can incorporate native plant species in your yard, which can increase the likelihood that they will thrive and help you keep your overall maintenance costs down. A landscape designer can also give you advice on irrigation, drainage and other critical aspects of a landscaping project. 

      A professional may recommend that you place trees or plants in specific areas to control the amount of sunlight that enters your house. That may help you lower your utility bills and save money throughout the year.

      A Landscape Designer Can Give You a Reality Check
      You may have all sorts of creative ideas, but that doesn’t mean they’re all feasible or advisable. Some may be difficult or impossible to execute for practical reasons, may create new problems or may be much more expensive than you imagine. In other cases, it may be possible to realize your vision at a reasonable price, but the amount of maintenance involved may cause you to think twice. A landscape designer may be able to suggest an alternative that will be more realistic and manageable and will still allow you to have most of the things you want.

      A Landscape Designer Can Help You Implement Your Vision
      If you are unable to carry out the project yourself or would rather not because of time constraints or other factors, a professional can do it for you. Many landscape designers work with contractors who follow their instructions, while others have identified local contractors they trust and will wholeheartedly recommend. A professional can also ensure that whatever changes you decide to make to your yard will comply with local codes so you can avoid expensive fines. 

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Why You Should Test a Few Paint Colors Before Choosing One

      22 April 2021

      The colors that you see on paint cans or cards in a store may not reflect the way the paint would look on your walls under different lighting. That’s why it’s a good idea to get a few samples and test them all in your home before you make a choice.

      Lighting and Décor Can Impact Perception of Color
      The lighting in a room will influence the way you see a paint color. Even if you use the same paint and the same number of coats on each wall, the shade on one wall may look different than those on other walls depending on the way light hits each section of the room. Those differences may be more pronounced than you would expect.

      Natural lighting can change throughout the day, and the types of artificial lights, their locations and the brightness of the bulbs can affect the way the paint color looks. The furniture, curtains and artwork in a room can also affect your perception of paint colors and may therefore influence your choice. It’s important to take all those factors into account.

      How to Choose a Color
      Get at least three paint colors that are close to what you want. You can paint sections side by side on a wall to see differences between the shades and make comparisons. Make the sections at least 1 square foot and use two coats of paint. Painting swatches on walls that get different amounts of natural light and arranging furniture, lighting and other décor the way you plan to have it after you finish painting can help you see how everything looks together.

      If you would rather not paint directly on the walls, you can paint sample boards or sample sizes of drywall and tape them to a wall. One of the benefits of that approach is that you can easily move sample boards from wall to wall to see how colors look under different conditions.

      Don’t Rush to Make a Decision
      Think about when you are most likely to be in the room and the amount and type of lighting that will be present. If you will spend a lot of time in the room during the day, focus on how each paint color looks in differing amounts of natural light. If you plan to use the room more at night, pay attention to how artificial lighting influences the way you perceive each color. Taking your time will help you be confident that you’re making the right decision.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 6 Foods That Can Help You Shed the ‘Quarantine 15’

      22 April 2021

      If you are one of the millions of Americans who have been working remotely, missing the gym and snacking for the pure comfort of it during the months of coronavirus chaos, you may be among those who’ve packed on 15 pounds or more.

      If you’re looking to drop the weight now, as the world tilts back to normal, you need to get those steps in, add some cardio exercise and eat healthy foods known to be fat-burners.

      • Avocados - In addition to their high complement of antioxidants, copper, magnesium, manganese, niacin and riboflavin, avocados are full of healthy fats—the kind that helps your heart and may increase the rate at which body fat is burned. The high-fiber content also keeps you full to help reduce your appetite.
      • Eggs - Remember all the bad press egg yolks once got? As it turns out, not only is there no established link between cholesterol in foods and cholesterol levels in your body, but the yolks contain metabolism-boosting nutrients that can help reduce both body fat and bad cholesterol. Plus, they’re low in calories and high in protein to fill you up and promote muscle growth.
      • Beans - Besides being high in fiber and protein, beans, especially white and kidney beans, contain resistant starches that can potentially increase the amount of fat used for energy and prevent new fat cells from forming.
      • Blueberries - Berries are loaded with vitamin C, potassium and fiber. The latter will help fill you up without extra calories. Studies have shown that blueberries, in particular, may affect genes that regulate fat burning and fat storage, possibly due to their high levels of antioxidants and anthocyanins. Blueberries can also help lower cholesterol and control glucose levels.
      • Fish - Fish including salmon, tuna, cod, herring and sardines, are chock full of vitamin D. That’s key because D intake has been linked to weight loss in many studies. Fish are also a lean source of protein that is rich in beneficial omega-3 fatty acids.
      • Cardamom - A spice available ground or in pods, cardamom is known to reduce bloating and curb cravings. Studies also suggest it can boost metabolism and reduce water retention. Its melatonin content also encourages the burning of fat. Add it to soups, stews, fish and more.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.