Real Estate News

    • How to Do a Home Detox

      20 March 2019

      While you may have tried a juice cleanse or a gluten-free diet to rid your body of unhealthy substances, have you ever considered what harmful elements might be inhabiting your home?

      According to the home experts at Martha Stewart Living, giving your home a detox is a great way to purge chemicals and toxins that can lead to health hazards like allergies, asthma and more serious issues such as cancer. While going completely chemical-free may be impossible, here are six things you can do to improve your home’s health, and more importantly, yours:

      1. Household cleaners are one of the biggest sources of toxins in the home, so opt for natural cleaners such as baking soda, white vinegar, water and castile soap - a soap made only from vegetable oils that is both biodegradable and nontoxic. And don’t forget good, old-fashioned elbow grease.

      Before you throw away your old cleaning products, check with your city’s sanitation department to find out how to safely dispose of hazardous household waste. Never pour them down the drain as they could contaminate water supply.

      2. If you still want to buy cleaners, look for those that don’t contain phosphates, chlorine or artificial fragrances. For scented products, choose those that use essential oils for their fragrance.

      3. Remove toxins from your indoor air by eliminating volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are often found in scented air fresheners and disinfectants, as well as paints, carpeting and flooring. Increase ventilation by cracking a window or using an exhaust fan while cleaning. A good air filter will also do the trick; just be sure to change the HVAC filters regularly.

      4. Test your water for lead, heavy metals and PH levels, and buy a water filter if necessary.

      5. Read ingredient labels on skin care products, and familiarize yourself with common ingredients that may be harmful to your health, such as parabens  (a preservative) and triclosan (an antibacterial agent).

      6. Incorporate essential oils into your household routine, both in terms of your cleaning and personal care. Anytime “fragrance” is listed as an ingredient on a product, it may be hiding up to 3,000 ingredients that manufacturers are not required to disclose. Remember, essential oils are highly concentrated, so diffuse them accordingly.  

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • In Your 50s and Short On Savings? What To Do Now

      20 March 2019

      If you’re in your fifties and short on retirement savings, the money mavens at The Motley Fool remind us, you are not in a good place. Most seniors will need 70 to 80 percent of their previous income to live comfortably, and Social Security will provide only about half of that.

      If you’re looking at that scenario, you are right to worry, according to financial advisors. But it isn’t time to panic - yet - if you take the following three steps now:

      Make lifestyle changes - Downsize your living space. Become a one-car family. Eat out less often and cut down on clothing buys and other nice-but-not-necessary expenses. If you can manage to free up $500 a month to save over the next 15 years, and your investments generate an average seven percent return, you’ll be on track to accumulate $150,000 - not a huge amount, but a better position to be in.

      Get a side gig - You can only cut back on so many expenses before there is no lifestyle left. The obvious answer is to generate more income with a side hustle. Figure out what you can do. If you can bring in $500 a month in addition to the $500 you are saving, you will be on track to accumulate $300,000 by age 65.

      Plan to work a little longer - It’s hard to push yourself to keep working when you’ve been looking forward to retiring. But working longer means more time to contribute to your retirement plan. Also, the longer you delay taking your Social Security benefits, the higher the amount you will receive when you do retire.

      With Americans living longer these days, the last thing you want to do is be dreadfully short of funds in your senior years. Resolve now to do what it takes to put yourself in the best financial position possible.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Facebook Marketplace: How to Turn Home Clutter into Cash

      20 March 2019

      If you're sick of your home clutter and short on cash, consider turning to social media for a local selling solution: Facebook Marketplace. To help, the following lifestyle experts, interior designers, and Marketplace power users share their exclusive tips.

      Selling
      Tackle one item at a time
      : "Put yourself on a schedule and list one item per week. Eventually you'll chip away at minimizing your extra 'stuff' and collect some extra cash to spend on something fun!" — Kait Schulof, A Clean Bee organizing and cleaning blog

      Price to sell: "Think of your potential buyer and what they're willing to spend, then do some research on what items are selling for nearby. Remember people are looking for a good deal, and price accordingly." — Laura Durenberger, The Mindful Mom Blographer sustainable living lifestyle blog

      Be descriptive: "Be thorough in your description. In addition to sharing basic information, include common words and associations people might use to find it. For example, instead of just saying 'TV stand', include other descriptors like 'entertainment center' and 'media console'." — Diana Blinkhorn, The Gray Ruby Diaries motherhood blog

      Photos are key: "Take multiple quality photos, and make sure you have good lighting. A plain white or light background works best for me. If you're selling clothes, hang the item up and make sure it's pressed." — Olivia White, House of White motherhood and lifestyle blog

      Buying

      Don't be afraid to ask for a deal:
      "Don't be afraid to ask if the price is negotiable. As long as you're respectful, and your price is reasonable, most people will accept lower offers." — Oscar Bravo, interior designer at Oscarbravohome.com

      Join buy and sell groups: "Join buy and sell groups in your area to get even more items specific to your interests, and to interact with other people in your neighborhood." — Kate Mundo, Kate Mundo lifestyle blog

      View public profiles and mutual friends: "In addition to looking at the item details, check out the seller's public Facebook profile. You never know, you may even have friends in common!" — Kate Nixon Anania, author of Twenties in Your Pocket: A twenty-something's Guide to Money Management

      Use filters for a faster search: "Once you know what you're looking for, you can filter results by price and how close items are to you. If something is too far, you can offer to pay extra in exchange for delivery." — Darrell Humphrey, DIY Dad Online blog

      Source: Facebook
       

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Saving for a Down Payment? Moving Back Home Can Help

      18 March 2019

      With rents rising approximately 3 percent last year, the best option for accelerating the path to homeownership might be moving back in with Mom and Dad.

      According to a report from rental search platform HotPads, housing expenses add two years and 10 months to the time it takes a typical renter to save for a 20 percent down payment on the median-priced U.S. home.

      With the median home value clocking in at $225,300 at the time of the report, that means the average 20 percent down payment would be in the neighborhood of $45,000. The typical rate of savings for U.S. renters is 16.5 percent of their monthly income, after housing costs. Doing the math on the median annual income means it would take at least eight years to save that $45,000 down payment.

      While earning a higher income would certainly help improve this scenario, today’s average renter is putting about 34 percent of their income toward housing costs. If that expenditure were eliminated by moving in with family, that former renter would be able to accumulate enough for a 20 percent down payment—even without a pay increase—after a little more than five years.

      Burdened by not only rising rents, but also student loans, most of today’s first-time homebuyers find saving for a down payment the biggest obstacle toward homeownership. That’s why living rent-free with family is becoming an increasingly common situation for many young adults. According to the Census Bureau, a third of those aged 18 to 34 lived under their parents’ roof in 2015, and more young adults lived with parents than with a spouse in 2016. The situation is even more common in expensive housing markets like San Jose and San Francisco, says HotPads, where it’s not uncommon for renters to spend more than half their income on housing.

      Important to note, however, is that while the 20 percent down payment is the gold standard in down payments, 60 percent of first-time buyers end up putting down less than 20 percent, according to the 2018 Zillow Group Consumer Housing Trends Report. So, the typical renter earning the median income needs just four years to save a 10 percent down payment ($22,530) on the median-priced home.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 5 Fun Partner Exercises to Do With a Workout Buddy

      18 March 2019

      Staying motivated to keep up with a fitness routine can be the largest part of getting in shape. Pulling in a workout buddy for accountability—and commiseration—can enhance the experience, and allow you to snag a little social time, too.

      Brian Zehetner, director of Health and Fitness for Planet Fitness, shares five exercises to have fun doing with a workout buddy:

      The Partner Switch-a-Roo. Implement alternating cardio and strength exercises, allowing both of you to oscillate back and forth between movements (and machines, if needed) in a time-efficient manner, all while completing the exact same workout. This set-up also allows you to skip a break and go back-to-back if you're looking to pump up the intensity.

      Get Your Heart Racing. Squeeze in a great cardio workout with some High Intensity Interval Training (also referred to as HIIT). If one of you is doing the high interval portion, your partner can do the low interval before switching. Don't forget to cheer each other on as the workout progresses to feel motivated throughout the circuit.

      In Friends We Trust. It's important to challenge yourself when strength training, however, always use a spotter (a.k.a. your bestie) if you find a particular weight or movement challenging. They'll allow you to push yourself past your limits in the safest way possible, and you know your partner will have your back.

      Hot Potato Pass. Pass a medicine ball back and forth as one of you does a sit-up before tossing. When your partner catches the ball, s/he will descend into a sit-up and toss it back. If you're looking for a challenge, continue on for 30 repetitions (15 for each individual).

      Twist and Share. Stand back-to-back with one of you holding a medicine ball. Rotate your torsos in the same direction, allowing the one who has the ball to pass to the other. Continue for 20 rotations (10 for each individual) before passing it back in the opposite direction.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.