Consumer Real Estate News

    • Emergency Plans for Your Family

      15 January 2021

      Do you know what to do when a disaster strikes? Do your children? By creating and practicing an emergency safety plan, you can protect your family when natural disasters happen. Wildfires, tornadoes, hurricanes and earthquakes each require special preparations, including emergency kits with food, water, first aid, medicines and blankets.

      Fires. The National Fire Protection Association advises you to have at least two ways to escape the home in case of fire. Practice fire drills with your children at least twice a year so they can identify safer escape routes from anywhere in the home.

      Tornadoes. Tornadoes are fast, unpredictable and destructive. The Red Cross recommends the safest shelter for the family are rooms without windows, such as interior rooms, closets, hallways or a storm shelter/basement, if available.

      Hurricanes. The Insurance Information Institute suggests learning where the nearest public shelters and evacuation routes are before hurricane season begins.

      Earthquakes. Earthquakes happen without warning and can be followed by powerful aftershocks. says to practice drop, cover and hold-on drills, like getting under a sturdy desk or table, against an interior wall or in the jamb of a door on a load-bearing wall.

      Before disaster strikes, review your homeowner’s insurance and make sure you’re covered for flooding and wind damage. Upload photographs of your home and valuables to the cloud. Keep valuables, important files and priceless photographs in a safety deposit box and prepare your emergency kit. 

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Match Your Winter Skin Care Routine with Your Active Lifestyle

      15 January 2021

      (Family Features) Winter weather can pose some unique challenges to your skin, especially if you’re trying to maintain an active workout routine. Exposure to the elements while exercising outdoors can have a harsh impact on the skin. On the other hand, the humidity and constant running of heaters can also wreak havoc if the weather forces you to work out indoors. 

      “The winter season can be a challenge for those trying to maintain their workout regimens, especially this year when many people are staying closer to home,” said Dr. Jeanine Downie, board-certified dermatologist and Medline Remedy consultant. “An outdoor workout is a great way to get some fresh air and burn calories, but it’s also important to nourish your skin before and after you’ve completed your workout.”

      Just like establishing a good winter workout routine, there are some things you can do to keep your skin in shape all winter long. Use sunscreen any time you venture outdoors and dress for whatever elements you may be facing. Be sure to remove wet clothes, which can create friction and skin irritation, immediately after returning inside. Limit the length of hot showers, which can also dry out skin, and use a quality moisturizer, especially after exposure to harsh weather. 

      Learn more about winter skin care at 

      Long-Lasting Moisture
      When you spend time working out outdoors, your body’s natural hydration is more prone to evaporating. That, in turn, can lead to dry skin. Whether you’re battling rough skin or simply want to help keep your skin hydrated, a clinically tested lotion can help maintain the skin’s natural defenses. After spending time outside and every time you wash your hands or bathe, help retain moisture for up to 24 hours with an option like Remedy Dermatology Series Body Lotion, which includes safflower oleosomes for lasting moisturization with natural oils. Its smooth, rich formula absorbs quickly, leaving skin feeling soft with no greasy or oily residue.

      Enriched Skin Nutrition
      Repeated exposure to the winter elements can take a toll, leading to dry, cracked and dehydrated skin. A quality lotion that matches your skin type can help. Formulated by skin care specialists for dry, dehydrated skin, Remedy Dermatology Hand & Body Moisturizing Cream contains soothing antioxidants and vitamins that support skin nutrition. The fragrance-free, hypoallergenic cream goes on rich and thick but still absorbs readily into the skin to help it stay hydrated. The proprietary botanical blend of humectants, manuka honey, natural oil emollients, ceramides and botanical nutrition is also free of 80 of the most common allergens that contribute to skin sensitivity.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • The Best Homebuying Strategy

      15 January 2021

      You don’t want to throw money away on rent anymore, do you? Instead, you can build an asset that can grow large if you handle your money wisely. Your best strategy? Prepare financially—now.

      Down-payments. Small down-payments spell risk for lenders. You’ll pay a higher interest rate and you’ll have to get private mortgage insurance, about 0.5 to 1.0 percent of your mortgage. That’s about $2,000 a year on a $200,000 mortgage, which will add about $167 to your monthly bills.   

      While 20 percent down is ideal, paying PMI allows you to get into a home faster with less money down. You’ll benefit in a desirable housing market where home equity is rising.

      The costs of homeownership. According to The Motley Fool, you should prepare to pay about two to five percent of the transaction in closing costs. Afterwards, expect to pay for maintenance and repairs, which average about one percent of your home’s annual value. 

      Property taxes can be reassessed annually by multiplying your home’s value by the mill rate (percentage) for your county. Prepare for utilities to rise in winter and summer.

      Debt management. Money guru Dave Ramsey says buying a home when you’re in debt is like running a marathon with weights chained to your legs.

      Rutgers University economists suggest your monthly consumer debt service should be no higher than 10 percent of your net income. At 20 percent or more, you’re in the danger zone. Divide your monthly consumer debt payments by your total net income to find your percentage.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Hiring an Interior Designer

      14 January 2021

      Don’t call them decorators! Interior designers are trained, degreed and licensed professionals who do far more than choose curtains. Their job is to transform the interior of your home to make it more functional and beautiful. Here are some perks to hiring an interior designer.

      They save you money. Interior designers can buy appliances, cabinetry, flooring, fabric, furniture and accessories that are sold “to the trade” only. While they charge for their time and/or add a markup to each item they choose for you, you’ll pay about the same for unique wow-factor results as you would for big-box, off-the-shelf items. 

      They save you time. The interior designer learns your lifestyle, personal preferences and space concerns. They know the latest products and design solutions, and if they don’t have an immediate answer, they do the research so you don’t have to.

      They help you prevent mistakes. An interior design is like a symphony—every detail should compliment everything else in utility and beauty. Designers give you what you want, but they also expand your tastes to try new ideas. 

      They have resources. Many design solutions aren’t available at retail. Designers have their own go-to teams of contractors, upholsterers, artisans and craftspeople, so they can customize solutions for you.

      Most designers offer a free consultation to help you decide if you’ll work well together. Contact the American Society of Interior Designers for more information.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Make Managing Eczema Easier

      14 January 2021

      (Family Features) More than 30 million Americans, including nearly 10 million children, have eczema, the umbrella term for a group of non contagious, inflammatory and painful skin conditions marked by an itchy, rash-like appearance. Because one of the most challenging aspects of eczema can be its unpredictability, the National Eczema Association (NEA), designed an app to help people and parents easily track what’s important and make sense of it. 

      The app, called EczemaWise, aims to revolutionize how people living with the condition manage it with a faster, more efficient tracking system that helps uncover trends and makes preparing for doctors’ appointments easier. 
      People with eczema tend to have an overactive immune system that produces inflammation on the skin when triggered by a substance outside or inside the body, such as food or pollen, along with factors like stress and sleep. Experts say tracking and recording symptoms and possible triggers is key to managing the condition, but it can be time-consuming, and many people struggle to keep thorough notes in journals or on their smartphones.

      “One of the best things out there to help keep track of your child’s eczema is EczemaWise because it’s so easy to use,” said Aisha Bryant, mother of a 3-year-old with eczema. “Within a few days of using it, I was able to identify that tomato sauce was causing my daughter to flare.”

      The app can help track nine different disease and care factors, including:

      • Itch intensity on a scale of 0-10
      • Pain on a scale of 0-10
      • Skin symptoms using a body map to note affected areas
      • Stress on a scale of 0-10
      • Sleep problems on a scale of 0-10
      • Weather, which auto-populates using your location
      • Triggers, which track exposure to materials such as metals, chemicals, irritants and environmental allergies
      • Diet with tracking of water intake and foods
      • Treatments logged by time of day

      The free app, which is available for Android and iOS as well as a web app, is designed to identify trends and patterns so people and their doctors can better determine the most effective treatments. NEA recommends tracking a minimum of three times each week – and ideally daily – though people can log as many or as few factors as they like. App users can also print their health data to share at doctors’ appointments.
      “Using EczemaWise will empower patients with eczema,” said dermatologist Eric L. Simpson, MD. “The app allows them to communicate a much broader story about their disease than we can typically capture in a 15-minute visit.”

      For more information, visit

      Published with permission from RISMedia.