Consumer Real Estate News

    • 7 Ways to Cut Carbs This Summer and Never Miss Them

      26 July 2021

      Summer is the time of year where friends and family gather for a cookout or a picnic, likely packed with yummy, carb-filled treats. But, if you are looking to lose weight or simply boost your health, those delicious carbs aren’t the best choice. While it’s not healthy to snub carbs altogether, nutritionists say that whether for health or dietary reasons, or just to help keep your body in swimsuit shape, there are clever ways to cut some of those carbs without sacrificing flavor or fullness.

      1. Swap Portobellos or Peppers for a Bun -If you’re a mushroom fan, skip the bun and serve your burger between two grilled portobellos. Pile on the lettuce, onions and tomatoes for a tasty and substantial meal without the carbs. For another taste pleaser, roast or chargrill a couple of red, yellow or orange pepper halves and make them the bun for your burger. Not only is this delicious and healthy, but it adds some color to your plate as well.
      2. Skewer Your Leftovers - Pass on a sandwich and thread chunks of leftover cooked chicken and veggies on skewers. Eat them for lunch with a salad and/or fresh fruit and you likely won’t miss the carbs.
      3. Whip Up Veggie Salads - Instead of potato or pasta salad, chop up a variety of summer veggies, dress them in a bowl with a simple vinaigrette and take them to your next outdoor gathering.
      4. Try Zoodles - Spiralized veggies are a new taste sensation and a great alternative to carb-filled pastas. Try them steamed and seasoned as you would your noodles, or with marinara sauce and turkey meatballs to enjoy a healthy alternative to a classic Italian favorite.
      5. Make Ultra-Thin Pizzas - Use flour tortillas as the base, then pile on your favorite pizza toppings. They’re a lower-carb base and the right size for a personal size pizza.
      6. Mash Parsnips or Carrots - Ditch the potatoes and mash up cooked carrots or turnips instead. They have far fewer carbs and their sweet taste may make them a family favorite.
      7. Bake Some Apples - Instead of fruit pies for dessert, cut down on both carbs and sugar by baking up some large red apples. Core them, stuff them with a little butter, some Stevia and a few chopped walnuts, then serve them with a dollop of vanilla yogurt—nobody will even miss the pie crust. 

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 4 Tips to Prepare a Pet-Friendly Fire Safety Plan

      26 July 2021

      (Family Features) After more than a year of nearly constant companionship, many pet parents are preparing to leave their pets at home while they transition back to the office. With more time away from home, it’s important for families to be prepared in the event of a fire.

      As COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, a vast majority of pet owners (91%) said they will leave pets home alone more often, according to a survey commissioned by Kidde and conducted online by The Harris Poll. Of those, more than 1 in 3 (35%) said they are nervous about doing so. 

      According to the American Veterinary Medical Foundation, 500,000 pets suffer from smoke inhalation and 40,000 die due to home fires. 

      “We know people will do anything to keep their furry family safe,” said Sharon Cooksey, fire safety educator for Kidde. “We’re committed to ensuring pet owners are equipped with the right products, resources, tools and confidence to prepare their family members – both two- and four-legged – in the event of an emergency as we transition to more time out of the home.” 

      To help protect your pets from the dangers of home fires and train them to respond positively to the sound of smoke or carbon monoxide (CO) alarms, consider these tips from Kidde.

      Include Pets in Fire Escape Plans
      Pets should always be included in a family’s evacuation plan. Stay aware of their typical hiding spots or locations where they often nap in case you must evacuate quickly. When you are not home, keep pets in areas near entrances where firefighters can easily find them. 

      Train Pets to Appropriately Respond to Alarms
      In the event of an emergency, ensure your pets are familiar with the sound of smoke alarms. According to celebrity pet trainer Sara Carson, you should pair the sound with a command that instructs your pets to proceed “outside” or whichever term you use to identify the best way for them to exit the home. As you practice the routine, reward your pets for positive responses.

      “As a proud dog mom of five super collies, I know pets are like our family, so it’s important we take proactive steps to keep them safe in the event of a home fire,” Carson said. “To successfully train your pets, make sure you keep training fun, short and always end on a good note.”

      For a full demonstration on how to train your pet to respond positively to a smoke alarm, visit

      Use Window Clings to Alert First Responders
      n an emergency, first responders need to be able to quickly assess the number of pets in a home. Consider attaching a non-adhesive decal to a window near your front door to let rescuers know how many animals are inside. 

      Maintain Smoke Alarms
      Smoke alarms must be replaced after 10 years. In addition to testing alarms once each week, check the manufacturing date on your alarms to make sure they are current. If they are older than 10 years, it’s time to replace them.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Talking Money With Your Kids

      26 July 2021

      Chances are, you picked up your attitudes about money from the adults around when you were a child. Phrases like, “Make it last. We can’t afford a new one,” or, “Let’s go ahead and buy this. We can put it on a credit card.” probably made a lasting impression on how you view your own money management.

      Today, your children are taking cues from you, and it’s important for them to understand where money comes from and how best to earn and spend it. From money managing experts, here are five ways you can be sure you are giving your kids the right money messages.

      Make It Tangible - Debit and credit cards, Venmo and home delivery are all useful tools. But they obscure the way money is exchanged from your kids. Give them some tangible practice. Ask your child to count the change in your piggy bank-in exchange for a 10% commission. Take them to the store and ask them to read the price of each item going into your basket. Point out how much you can buy for $10 or what it costs to buy the ingredients for one family dinner.

      Make It Visual - Have your kids count the money in your wallet. That is how much you have to spend. If you pay your bills electronically, show them how each bill you pay reduces the money in your wallet. When you write a check, explain how that does the same thing.

      Explain Why You Work - Your children see you leave for work every day or attend Zoom sessions at home. The next time they ask why you can’t play with them, explain how the money you earn from working at your job helps to take care of the family.

      Find a Simple Explanation for Budgeting - Your child asks for an iPad or a new toy, but isn’t in the budget. Instead of just saying no, help them understand that money only goes so far. “We can afford soccer camp or the iPad, but not both” is a good way to make the point that prioritizing is a necessary option.

      Encourage Them to Save - Giving your kids an allowance in exchange for jobs around the house, and encouraging them to save part of that allowance, is the easiest way for children to learn that working equals money in your pocket and a means to pay for what you want.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • How to Care for Carpet If You Have Pets

      23 July 2021

      If you have one or more pets, you probably struggle to keep your home looking and smelling clean. Fur and pet dander can easily cling to carpets. Pets can spread dirt that they bring in from outdoors and leave waste on the floor, plus untrimmed nails can snag on even the shortest carpet fibers. Here are some ways you can prevent damage from your pets to your carpet and keep your home clean.

      Vacuum and Clean Carpets Regularly
      When you own pets, frequent vacuuming is essential. How often you should vacuum will depend on the number and types of pets you have and how much they shed. Vacuuming once or twice a week may be sufficient, or you may need to vacuum every day to pick up all the hair that your pets shed. Vacuum furniture, too, so dirt and hair don’t get transferred to carpets.

      You may want to use a powder that you can sprinkle on carpets before you vacuum. A powder designed especially for pets can help remove pet dander that’s stuck to carpet fibers and get a deeper clean. 

      Even with frequent vacuuming, your carpets can benefit from an occasional deep cleaning. Steam cleaning can pull up pet dander that’s embedded deep in carpet fibers.

      Prevent Messes or Clean Them Up Promptly
      The more you can prevent spills and stains, the easier it will be to keep your home clean. If you have a pet that goes outdoors, have them re-enter the house in an area that isn’t carpeted. Train your pet to let you wipe their feet before they go to another part of the house, avoiding tracking in dirt, pollen and other things, like sticks or grass, that you don’t want all over the carpets. 

      If a pet leaves waste of any kind on a carpet, clean it up as soon as you see it. Use paper towels to absorb moisture, then apply a product that’s designed to remove stains from carpet. Follow the directions on the bottle or can. You may need to let the product sit on the stained area for a few minutes and then remove it in a particular way, by scrubbing with a brush or blotting with a paper towel.

      Be sure to brush your pets regularly so their hair doesn’t get shed and wind up all over your carpets. If you have dogs, bathe them regularly or take them to a groomer.

      Trim Their Nails
      It’s not just dirt and fur that you need to worry about. If your pets have long nails, they can accidentally scratch carpets when they’re running around and playing. They may also scratch carpets intentionally to try to shorten their nails. 

      Trim their claws on a regular basis. If they get agitated, consider scheduling appointments with a groomer or veterinarian who is accustomed to working with anxious pets and knows how to keep them calm.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • How to Navigate the Homeowners Insurance Claims Process

      23 July 2021

      If your house gets damaged by a covered peril and the cost of repairs is significantly higher than your deductible, you will most likely decide to file a claim with your homeowners insurance company. Before you do so, it’s important to know what to expect and how to handle each step.

      Understand Your Coverage
      Before you submit a claim, read through your insurance policy to make sure that your loss will be covered. Pay attention to the list of exclusions. If your home was damaged by something that is specifically excluded, your claim will be denied. The insurance company may also refuse to pay if the damage was caused or made worse by lack of maintenance.

      Make sure that you know if you’re covered for replacement cost or actual cash value, and that you understand the difference. Check your policy for additional coverage, like other accommodations, for example, if your home is uninhabitable.

      Report Damage to the Insurance Company
      If the damage to your home is serious and you decide to file a claim, get in touch with your homeowners insurance company as soon as possible. A representative will tell you what you should and shouldn’t do. 

      For instance, the company may ask you to take photos and/or videos to document the damage, but may instruct you not to have any repairs made and not to throw away any damaged belongings until an insurance adjuster conducts an inspection. The insurance company, however, may ask you to take steps to prevent further damage, such as covering a hole in the roof with a tarp. A representative can also explain how to get an estimate and submit it to the insurance company.

      Keep Detailed Records
      Get your claim number and the adjuster’s name and contact information. Every time you contact the insurance company, document it. Record the date and time of the communication, the person you spoke to, left a message for or emailed, and what was discussed in every conversation. Those notes may be helpful if there is a dispute or misunderstanding at any point in the process.

      Provide Necessary Information, But Don’t Share too Much
      Answer any questions honestly, but don’t volunteer information that isn’t requested. An insurance company is in business to earn a profit. The less it pays out in claims, the more money it will keep. Watch what you say and how you say it so you don’t give the company a reason to pay out less than you’re entitled to or to deny your claim altogether.

      Get the Compensation You Deserve
      You don’t have to accept the insurance company’s first offer. If you disagree with the amount, or if the insurer refuses to pay for something that you believe should be covered, you have the right to appeal the decision. You also have the right to seek help from a public insurance adjuster or an attorney.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.