Consumer Real Estate News

    • How-to Save Your Home From Summer's Heat

      18 June 2018

      Summer sun does more than merely burn your skin. Heat, humidity and intense sun rays can damage your home's features. Here are some ways to protect them.

      Paint
      To make sure you get the most out of your exterior paint, choose a top quality brand that will better withstand fading over time. Depending on how much sun you want on your home, you can also plant a tree border to throw shade on your space during the sunniest parts of the day, therefore adding life to your paint job.

      Roof
      The roof often absorbs the brunt of the sun's rays, and can be the first to show sun damage. While there is not much you can do to avoid this, you can stay on top of the damage by monitoring your roof closely each season, and replacing any shingles or patches that become cracked or discolored.

      Decks
      One of the top ways to protect your deck from summer heat, especially if your deck is made of wood, is by properly sealing it with a high quality, weatherproof, UV resistant sealer. This can stave off fading and warping. You may also want to consider a retractable deck awning, which you can pull over your space during the sunniest, most damaging part of the midday heat.

      Windows
      Make sure your windows are properly caulked and sealed to prevent heat from slipping inside. You may also want to consider shade awnings to prevent heat from penetrating, which can also cut down on your cooling costs.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Summer Patio Trends, Revealed

      18 June 2018

      Are you hoping to revamp your patio this summer? The experts at Infratec say outdoor design trends for 2018 are all about incorporating affordable luxury into your own backyard by turning your patio into a peaceful, lush oasis through low-maintenance water fixtures, a color refresh, and vintage materials.

      The company sees many homeowners gravitating toward easy-maintenance exterior garden designs that enhance physical and mental well-being by adding spa-inspired touches like meditation benches, fountains, reflecting pools, rock waterfalls and zen gardens to backyard spaces.

      According to Infratec, low-maintenance water features can add visual interest and soothing sounds to a yard — even in drought-prone climates because they actually require little water (and recycle the water they do use).
      Kate Simmons at decoist.com says a large number of cabana stripes can be found in this year’s collections, and this trend shows no sign of fading.

      She says that linen, teak and rope are a few of the materials designers are incorporating into exterior furnishings and accessories to give this year's easy-breezy trend pizazz.

      And when it comes to outdoor style this year, Simmons says pink is the accent color of choice! Especially if a hint of blush is introduced into your furniture vignettes.

      Meanwhile, at familyhandyman.com, their trend watchers are seeing patio furniture that mixes materials, such as metal and wood instead of a single material, such as wicker.

      If you have a covered deck or patio, the site says you can bring it up-to-date by adding a ceiling fan. If you haven't installed a ceiling fan before, rest easy — you can do it yourself in less than a day and you'll be comfortable even on the hottest summer days.

      Familyhandyman.com also says the days of small, bistro-style dining tables on the deck and patio are over and large-scale square and rectangular tables are hot.

      And as far as accessories are concerned, think bright and bold when it comes to fabrics for your patio furniture cushions in 2018. Go with yellows, reds and pinks will pop against all that natural greenery and your guests will be raving about your impeccable sense of style all summer long!

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Mobile at Home: Creating an Accessible Lifestyle

      18 June 2018

      (Family Features)--If you're like the majority of the population, mobility is something you take for granted. However, once you or a loved one encounters an illness or disability that results in dependence on a wheelchair, your perspective is likely to change dramatically.

      Mobility is a major factor in a person's independence, but when illness or injury hinders free movement, even a simple task like running to the store becomes a challenge. Fortunately, there are numerous options you can explore to improve mobility and accessibility if you or a loved one becomes reliant on a wheelchair or other assisted mobility.

      Ramps in Place of Stairs
      Safety is a primary concern for someone whose mobility is limited. Even minor falls can cause significant injuries, particularly for seniors whose bones tend to be more fragile. When a loved one begins experiencing trouble with the steps, a ramp is a good solution. In fact, ramps aren't just for those who are reliant on a wheelchair or other motorized device like a scooter. They are also a good solution for someone who uses a cane or walker, or someone who experiences pain or difficulty maintaining balance on the stairs.

      Accessible Vehicles and Parking
      Getting out of the house is an important way to help someone whose mobility is compromised continue to feel connected to the larger world, and practically speaking, even if they're not physically up to social engagements, chances are that doctor's appointments will still be a necessity. However, parking limitations cause major challenges for wheelchair users.

      Not only is getting in and out of the vehicle a chore, 74 percent of people have personally seen a handicap accessible parking space being improperly used, according to a survey by BraunAbility. Consider seeking wheelchair accessible vehicles that provide maximum maneuverability.

      Handrails and Grab Bars
      Hand rails add another measure of safety in the home. They can add stability and support on staircases, ramps and other walkways, but they're also beneficial in areas like the bathroom. A rail or grab bar near the toilet can help steady someone raising or lowering to use the facilities. Similarly, rails in or adjacent to the shower can assist with safe transitions into and out of the stall. Remember to follow all manufacturer instructions for installing rails to ensure they provide adequate support and can bear the weight of the user.

      Bathroom Modifications
      Proper hygiene goes a long way toward promoting overall wellness and independence, but a person with limited mobility may struggle using the features of a standard bathroom. In addition to safety rails and grab bars, devices such as shower stools and raised toilet seats can provide needed support. Depending on your circumstances, it may be necessary to consider renovations to include a roll-in tub or seated shower and a vanity with a counter at an accessible height.

      Wider Doors and Hallways
      While it's not always possible to widen doors and hallways, this is an important consideration for someone who is heavily reliant on a wheelchair or other motorized device. If the chair can't clear hallways and maneuver around corners, a person's access to the home is severely limited, sometimes to the point of needing to find new housing accommodations. When considering whether the doors and hallways will meet your needs, remember to take into account any accessories or equipment, such as an oxygen tank, that may affect the chair's turn radius.

      Source: BraunAbility

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 9 Gas-Saving Tips to Save at the Pumps

      15 June 2018

      Summer driving season is upon us, but so are some of the most expensive gasoline prices we’ve seen. Consumer watchdogs at State Farm Insurance and Popular Mechanics Magazine provide gas-saving tips for drivers bent on watching their wallets:

      Keep tires inflated to ideal pressure – Under-inflated tires tend to decrease mileage – and they can be dangerous. Check your car-owner’s manual and make sure tires are inflated to the maximum recommended PSI.

      Plan your route – Take the one with fewer stoplights, less traffic and lower speed limits. If you save even 0.1 gallons of gas each day, you’ll save more than $130 per year.

      Avoid rush hour, if possible – Stop-and-go driving drains gas. Errands can be run anytime, and many offices today offer flexible hours. Leave earlier or come in later to avoid the worst of commuter traffic.

      Multi-task when possible – You can cut fuel usage in half if you plan your day and week to accomplish several errands in one trip instead of making one short trip per day.

      Drive like you’re on a bike – No, you don’t need to do 20 miles an hour, but your car burns the most gas when it’s forced into high-load situations. When you’re headed uphill, take it easy and let yourself lose a few mph. When you’re headed downhill, ease up on the gas and let yourself coast.

      Stay alert – The less often you hit the brakes, the more gas economy you achieve. Maintain speed or coast a bit and try to anticipate if a light will turn green when you get there – and be alert to brake lights ahead so you don’t have to jam on the brakes.

      Keep up routine maintenance – Your car needs the right proportions of air and fuel to run efficiently. A well-maintained vehicle runs at its best.

      Travel light – Extra weight in your car creates a drag on the engine and consumes extra gas. Don’t haul around anything you don’t need – and check the trunk and remove unnecessary items that could be stored elsewhere.

      Drive friendly - Aggressive driving habits like speeding, gunning the engine, screeching around corners, and jamming on the brakes are major fuel wasters. Avoid jackrabbit starts, and drive in a measured fashion for top fuel savings.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Ideas for an On-Trend Bathroom

      15 June 2018

      (Family Features)--Bringing an outdated bathroom into the now is a sure way to infuse value and personal enjoyment into your home.

      Whether you're tearing down and starting fresh or simply looking to infuse some new life with a few key elements, these ideas, paired with an option such as Wellborn cabinetry, can give you the inspiration you need to transform a tired toilet into a modern marvel.

      Make a singular statement. For a bolder look, the best approach may actually be quite simple. Use a single material throughout the room for big impact. For example, run the same tile you select for the floor up the walls, across the vanity, around the shower and up to the ceiling. It's a dramatic approach, but with the right color and pattern, it can work, especially with a pale or neutral tone. The same concept applies to other materials, such as plaster or concrete, which can create a uniform look that makes a statement.

      Try a timeless tub. Freestanding tubs were once associated with older, outdated homes, but like many things in design, these stand-alone vessels are once more back in vogue. Today's freestanding tubs offer tons of style to fit nearly any design motif. If the claw-foot style of yesteryear is your thing, there are plenty of contemporary takes on the look for an updated, traditional bathroom. There are also a wide range of sleek styles that look nothing like the classic version for a completely fresh, sophisticated bath. Give your tub extra star power by setting it against a backdrop of tile or reclaimed wood, and punch up the style with standout fixtures to make your tub a truly unique feature of the bathroom.

      Float your vanity. Take a look at today's trending bathroom designs and you'll see floating vanities cover the pages of most design magazines and articles. Floating vanities, also known as wall-mounted vanities, mount directly to the wall, providing more floor space and creating a streamlined look.

      By mounting the vanity to a wall, the space is broadened, naturally making the bathroom look and feel larger. Additionally, the wall mount allows homeowners to customize the space in terms of countertop height and comfort.

      Although the aesthetic benefits often come at the cost of limited under-sink storage space, this potential pitfall can be overcome with a customizable U-shaped drawer option that allows functional drawers to be placed within the wall-mounted cabinetry.  

      Infuse unexpected color. If you think of bathroom fixtures as purely functional, think again. Not only can they add a stylish focal point to your tub (and shower and sink, for that matter), the ultra-practical fixtures can actually be a source of color. Bold brass and gold tones are in style, or for something completely different, explore a new look like solid black fixtures that pop against several different textures and surfaces.

      Introduce ample lighting. Sub-optimal lighting can hamper the ambiance of smaller spaces like bathrooms. If the space has a window, ditch any coverings that restrict the natural light and instead rely on textured glass windows that provide privacy while allowing light to shine freely. Another option is a skylight, which is surprisingly easy to add. If access to the roofline is an issue, consider one (or even a couple) tunnel skylights.

      Also give care to selecting the right fixtures for the space. Not only should they coordinate well with the overall decor, they should provide plenty of task and ambient lighting to make the room both useful and inviting.

      Source: Wellborn Cabinet, Inc.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.