Real Estate Advice

    • 4 Home Items that Should Be Replaced (and How Often)

      18 August 2022

      Keeping your house clean and germ-free is a priority for most homeowners. While a cleaning schedule and regular maintenance can do a lot to ensure this goal, there are likely a few items you’re missing. Some items in your home should simply be replaced at regular intervals to prevent a buildup of grime and germs. Take inventory of these four items to ensure that you have replaced them as appropriate.

      Pillows
      Everyone knows to wash their sheets once a week, but few people think about their pillows. While your pillowcase will prevent some buildup, over time, your pillow will begin to collect some unpleasant stowaways. Dust mites, bacteria and even body oils and skin cells can build up in your pillow, meaning you need to replace pillows annually or once every two years.

      Shower Curtain Liners
      Shower curtain liners collect scum and gunk, and especially since this item is often ignored when it comes to bathroom cleaning day, you likely need to plan to replace it every 6 months to a year. If you want to prevent excess waste, opt for a thicker and sturdier liner. Depending on the cycle setting, they can often hold up to a wash in your washing machine, allowing you to clean off the buildup. Since shower curtain liners are plastic, be sure to never put them in the dryer.

      Fire Extinguisher
      Every home should have a fire extinguisher to keep potential housefires at bay. You may already know this and have an extinguisher in a prominent place for safety reasons. What you may not realize? Like many items, fire extinguishers have an expiration date. Be sure that you keep your home and family safe by replacing your fire extinguisher before it expires.

      Kitchen Sponges
      You may use your sponge to ensure clean dishes, but if you don’t replace it, you could be spreading more bacteria than you’d care to think about. Kitchen sponges should be replaced every 2-8 weeks depending on how often you wash dishes by hand and depending on the soil level of your items.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Meal Prep Ideas for Busy Mornings

      18 August 2022

      Between school days, daycare drop-offs and rushing to the office, most families have their fair share of hectic mornings. Thankfully, a few hacks can be used to create a plan that will ensure that your family’s morning routine runs smoothly. Planning outfits the night before, making lunches ahead of time and meal prepping breakfasts can all be effective strategies. If you need some help getting your family out the door on time, look no further than these meal prep ideas for busy mornings.

      Egg Cups
      If you find yourself headed to a coffee shop for egg cups or egg bites in the mornings, consider shaving some time off of your commute by prepping your own egg cups at home. Batch cook them in muffin tins and bake them, or get a copycat recipe for your favorite coffee shop-style egg bites to make them in a silicone tray in an electric pressure cooker. No matter what option you choose, you’ll find that you can get more creative with ingredients and save some extra cash by hand-making your egg cups over the weekend. Simply refrigerate your egg cups in an airtight container and microwave a couple in the mornings.  

      Frozen Breakfast Burritos
      Breakfast burritos are a hit with kids and adults alike. To make your morning breakfast prep painless, batch prep some burritos for an easy and protein-packed way to start your day. Fill your favorite tortillas with scrambled eggs, breakfast meat and cheese. Get creative and customize with roasted potatoes, bell peppers and/or onions. Roll your burritos up and wrap the individual burritos tightly in aluminum foil or plastic wrap and place them in a freezer-safe bag or container. Heat them up in the microwave or toaster oven when you need a quick and hearty start to the day.

      Breakfast Charcuterie
      Everyone loves a good charcuterie plate. This picnic favorite can also serve as a well-balanced breakfast. Create a sweet and savory mix of cheeses, honey, fruit, mini bagels and a few cured meats. For added time savings, create your board the night before and place it in the refrigerator. This breakfast may have you dreaming of brunch at your local winery, but the ability for all family members to quickly graze makes it an ideal morning meal.

      Protein or Veggie Muffins
      Muffins are a breakfast classic that everyone enjoys, but they don’t always keep you full for long. Make your muffins filling long-term by adding a protein powder or nut powder to your recipe. For an added nutrition boost, choose a veggie-packed recipe, like a carrot or zucchini muffin. Whatever you decide to make, save time by prepping extra in the freezer for the next busy start to your day.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Dorm Essentials to Send With Your Kids This Year

      18 August 2022

      It’s back-to-school for kids of all ages. For many parents, that means heading to the store in search of glue and scissors. However, for parents of students headed for college, your school supply list may be a little different. Send your students to school prepared this year by making sure you gather these dorm essentials.

      Bedding, Bath and Laundry Essentials
      Student dorms often include mattresses, but a mattress pad may add additional comfort. Sheets, blankets and bedding are necessities, but be sure to check the mattress size before purchasing any items. Many dorms use extra long mattresses, so be prepared. Towels, bathroom rugs and small area rugs should also be on your list. Don’t forget laundry baskets, detergent and fabric softener so your student can wash their bedding and clothing.

      Decor and Organization
      Dorms, like rental homes, will have strict rules about what kinds of decor are approved. Most dorms will likely not allow residents to use nails, screws or paint to decorate or organize. Purchase damage-free hanging options, like command hooks, and opt for some removable organization items. Rolling carts are ideal for dorm rooms and can be moved around during study time or relaxation time. These can be used to house anything from snacks to school supplies.

      Electronics
      Laptops, printers and other electronics may be available through your kid’s school. Be sure that you know what is accessible to your student and plan accordingly. For instance, if the university provides laptops, you won’t want to purchase one unnecessarily, but you may find purchasing a printer is worthwhile if your student will need to constantly travel across campus and pay a few dollars to the library every time they need to print a research paper.

      Cleaning and Toiletries
      Dorms are often the first time many kids live alone and enter adulthood. Be sure that your student is equipped with all the stuff they need to clean properly. The dormitory will likely have a vacuum for residents to use, but a small, handheld vacuum for crumbs could be useful. Cleaning sprays, reusable wipes or disposable paper towels, sponges and other cleaning items need to be purchased. Naturally, don’t forget toiletries, shower curtains and toilet paper.

      First Aid and Health Items
      Your student will likely have access to a university nurse and a dormitory first aid kit, but being prepared is always a good thing. Be sure to get a basic first aid kit and pre-purchase a small stock of over-the-counter medicine for digestive issues, headaches and coughs or colds. Disposable masks, a thermometer, hand sanitizer and health insurance information is also important.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Don't Make These Common Mistakes When Painting Your Home's Interior

      17 August 2022

      Painting the walls and ceilings in your home isn’t as complicated as a lot of other home improvement projects, but there are still plenty of ways that things can go wrong. Don’t make these mistakes when tackling a DIY painting project. 

      Not Choosing the Right Color and Sheen
      The paint strips in a store may not accurately indicate what paint will look like on your walls. Get a small can of paint, apply it to one area, then see how the color looks at different times of day. Figure out if that’s the right color before you paint the entire room.

      Don’t use glossy paint on walls with imperfections. A high sheen will make imperfections more noticeable.

      Failing to Prepare the Walls
      Paint won’t attach well to dirty walls. Clean the walls before you start painting, even if they don’t look dirty. They probably have a lot more dirt, dust and oil on them than you realize. Let the walls dry thoroughly before you begin painting. 

      If any paint is peeling or flaking, remove it. If the room has glossy paint, sand the walls or use a deglosser before you repaint. Replace any rotted wood and use compound to repair any other damaged areas.

      If the walls currently have paint in a dark color and you plan to cover them with a lighter color, use primer. Applying primer can help paint adhere and give you good coverage.

      Not Protecting Surfaces That You Don’t Plan to Paint
      Use painter’s tape along the edges of walls to protect trim and to give the walls clean, straight edges. Cover light fixtures, doorknobs, flooring and anything else that needs to be protected from stray paint.

      If you only intend to paint the walls, paint an area along the top of each wall first. That will give you a buffer so you don’t accidentally get paint on the ceiling.

      Painting Incorrectly
      Paint on a day when the temperature is moderate. If it’s too hot or too cold, the paint won’t adhere well. Make sure the room has plenty of light so you can spot any problems with coverage.

      It’s important to paint in the right order. If you paint the ceiling after the walls, paint from the ceiling may drip down onto your freshly painted walls.

      A roller can help you efficiently cover large surfaces. When using a roller, paint sections quickly and make sure the edge of one section is still wet when you begin painting the next section. After you cover a wall, use the roller again at a right angle to the direction you painted the first time.

      Use a brush to get into tight areas around windows, doors and trim. When painting surfaces with a brush, don’t go back and forth too much. That can leave visible brush strokes after the paint dries.

      Cover paint cans when you’re not using them. That will prevent spills, keep the paint from drying out and keep dirt and dust out of fresh paint.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 7 Best Foods to Eat for Breakfast

      17 August 2022

      Your mom said it; your doctor said it; maybe even your best friend said it—and it’s true: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. The right breakfast can make you feel better, help control your weight and even set you up for a more productive day. Here’s why, as well as the best foods to choose in the morning, according to nutrition experts.

      • Oats - Eaten as a hot or cold cereal, oats are a whole grain filled with fiber, plant-based protein, B-vitamins, calcium and magnesium—all linked to reduced risk of heart disease. Plus, they help keep you full enough to resist those office donuts.
      • Eggs - Full of vitamins A, D and B12, two eggs contain more than half the choline that impacts memory, mood and muscle control—plus each egg has about 8 grams of protein to keep you full. If you don’t have time to cook eggs in the morning, keep some hard-boiled eggs in the fridge to grab as you go out the door.
      • Whole Grain Avocado Toast - Spread a slice of whole grain toast with mashed avocado. You’ll get all the benefits of the whole grain, plus the avocado provides a unique mix of heart-healthy fats and fiber to keep you full. The unsaturated fats in avocado are linked to decreased risk of heart disease, diabetes and some cancers.
      • Whole Grain Waffles - Throw a frozen whole grain waffle in the toaster and take it with you to get all the benefits whole grains offer. 
      • Bananas - Bananas will fill you up, they come in their own portable packaging and the folate and B6 vitamin in them help improve mood and reduce anxiety. Their soluble fiber can help lower cholesterol by removing it from your GI tract before it moves into your bloodstream. 
      • Nut Butter - Unsweetened peanut butter and other butters contain eight grams of protein per two tablespoons to keep you full and have been linked to reduced risk of chronic disease. Spread some on your whole grain toast and go. 
      • Black Coffee or Tea - There are a slew of studies out there linking the antioxidants and caffeine in unsweetened coffee and tea to decreased risk of chronic disease. At zero calories, it may also help with weight management.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.