Consumer Real Estate News

    • In the Dark About Household Finances?

      15 August 2018

      In many couple situations, the task of handling various financial chores fall on one specific person. But that doesn't - and certainly shouldn't - mean that only one person should know what's going on with the household bills, expenses, and credit accounts.

      According to a recent report from The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), if responsibilities unexpectedly shift due to a sudden illness or loss of a spouse, getting up to speed quickly could be challenging
      for the person least familiar with handling family finances.

      Without the help of the person who has always handled the money, CFPB blogger Erin Scheithe says the one left in charge will face major headaches. Scheithe offers the following insights:

      - Schedule time for you and your spouse to go over your financial picture. Start by taking an inventory of your family finances: income, expenses, debt, and investments, if any. It’s good to get in the habit of sharing this every so often as your financial picture changes or so it stays fresh in your mind.

      - Maintain a list of account information and store it in a secure location. Make sure you both have access to online accounts. Create a list that includes account numbers, usernames, security questions, and passwords. There are many options available for securely saving the list digitally or printing it and storing it in a locked fireproof box. Remember to tell your spouse how to access the file and update it when necessary.

      - Have a plan. Make sure to plan for what will happen and who will manage your finances if one or both of you become ill or die unexpectedly. Consider creating a durable power of attorney so you will have someone in place to pay your bills or make financial decisions if you can no longer do it on your own.

      Losing your spouse is challenging on its own Scheithe says, and that stress multiplies if you find you are in the dark about your family finances.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 8 Tips to Kick Off the New School Year

      15 August 2018

      Prepping your family for back to school? Are you and your kids ready for the new school year? To help ease stress, USAGov offers these eight tips.

      Don't skip the shots. Your pediatrician can tell you which vaccinations your kids need each year. Check if your family qualifies for low-cost or free vaccines.

      Shop the sales. Some states have sales tax holidays in August for clothes and school supplies. Take advantage of the deals and save money.

      Get smart about smart phones. Talk to your kids about cyberbullying, appropriate phone behavior, and staying safe online.

      Be on track for college. Advise your middle or high schooler to prepare for higher education through their classes, extracurricular activities, and even chores at home.

      Beat the after-school blues. Encourage your kids to get involved in extracurricular activities at school or in the community. Learn how to find quality after-school child care in your area.

      Discuss drug abuse. While painkiller use is down among teens, vaping has become popular. Talk about the harmful effects of e-cigarettes and other drugs with your children.

      Nurture nutritious eating. Your children may be entitled to free or reduced-price breakfasts and lunches at school. Find out if they're eligible and how to apply.Ditch the stress. Students can worry about grades, friends, bullying, or changing schools. Help your kids respond to stress in healthy ways.

      Source: USAGov

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 5 Tips for Snagging More Steps

      15 August 2018

      Did you know, people who take fewer than 5,000 steps every day are considered to be sedentary or inactive? The ideal number of steps to hit in a day for optimum health is 10,000 - but this can be hard for those of us with desk jobs. Below are a few tips to stretch your steps.

      Hit the stairs. This is one of the easiest tricks. Opt for the stairs over an elevator whenever possible.

      Park further away. While it may seem great to grab a parking spot right by the entrance to your destination, purposely parking across the lot--or even better, across the street - means you will grab some steps en route.

      Make a walking date. Instead of sitting down with a friend for coffee, go and hit the park instead. Walking and talking often makes for a more stimulating experience, anyway.

      Get a dog. It may seem extreme to get a dog just to up your daily steps, but dogs bring so much joy to their owners lives, in addition to helping them become more active. If you have time in your schedule to care for a pup, consider adopting a rescue and watch your steps soar.

      Drink tons of water. Why does this trick work? Improved hydration means more trips throughout the day to the restroom! Bonus: being properly hydrated has a myriad of other health benefits, too.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Which Home Improvements Deliver the Highest ROI?

      14 August 2018

      You may not be able to tell a book by its cover, but consumers looking to maximize spending value in spot home improvement projects should focus on exactly that: the exterior "cover" of their home.

      A new report from Remodeling Magazine shows the highest ROI homeowners can squeeze out of specific improvements comes from replacing or installing a steel entry door, your garage door, or installing manufactured stone veneer, either as an accent or across the full exterior of a home.

      The report says these three projects, done individually, return just over 91 percent of cost for the entry door; 97 percent for the stone veneer installation; and a whopping 98.3 percent for the garage door change out.
      On the flip side, the report points out that some more traditional and much larger scale improvements simply don't seem to warrant the cost unless they are absolutely necessary for quality of life, health, safety, or resale purposes.

      The Remodeling Magazine's annual Cost Vs. Value Report puts the ROI on a backyard patio installation at just 47.6 percent; a Master Suite addition ROI at just over 48 percent; and a major upscale kitchen remodeling at 53.5 percent or mid range kitchen facelift ROI at 59 percent.

      The irony in those last numbers is that size matters - because the report projects an ROI on what it classifies as a "minor kitchen remodel" at 81.1 percent.

      This year’s report highlights a slight decline, to 56.8 percent in 2017 from 57.9 percent in 2016, in the average payback for 20 common professional remodeling projects in 100 major markets. That’s mainly because the cost of doing those projects went up for all 20, while values rose for only about two-thirds of them.

      Experts at Remodeling expect those trends to continue through 2018, because the 3 percent to 5 percent gains in cost that are reported were calculated before fall hurricanes and fires began fueling what one building-products distributor calls “a freight train of extraordinary demand” — demand anticipated to keep elevating the prices for many building materials.

      The report also telegraphs an even greater shortage of skilled workers in disaster-struck markets as those workers struggle to fix up their own homes and employers feel pressure to respond with pay hikes.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Why You Should Get a Dog

      14 August 2018

      (Family Features)--Few things compare to the feelings of love and companionship that come with owning a dog. Many owners even call their dogs "fur babies" or say they're a "pet parent." While having a pet comes with responsibilities and commitment, the physical and emotional benefits can make bringing a pet into the family a worthwhile experience.

      Consider these benefits of having a pet and why it's one of the most satisfying feelings in the world.

      Work Out with a Buddy. If you're looking to stay active, look no further than your four-legged friend as the ultimate workout partner. Take your pooch for a walk or run, or play a rousing game of fetch. You'll get in some exercise, and he can expel some extra energy.

      Share Your Healthy Lifestyle. When trying to eat healthy, it can be easier to do it with a buddy to help keep you motivated, and your furry friend can be the perfect partner. Provide your pooch with a nutritious pet food made with real, recognizable, nutritious ingredients.

      Meet New Friends. Your pet isn't the only one who can make friends at the dog park. Use your dog walks and trips to the dog park as an opportunity to socialize with fellow dog owners in the neighborhood and make some new, dog-friendly buddies to spend time with.

      Feel Good About Doing Good. The relationship between pets and pet parents is a special thing for everyone involved. Pets bring unconditional love, goodness and endearing innocence to their owners' lives, and pet parents provide their furry friends with their forever homes. These loving homes are especially meaningful for rescue dogs.  If you're looking for a new pet, consider a rescue.

      Enjoy Constant Hugs and Kisses. At the end of the day, it's hard to beat the feeling of coming home to a wagging tail and a smiling, furry face. Simply put, dogs can bring joy into peoples' lives with unconditional love and endless hugs and snuggles.

      Source:  Family Features Editorial Syndicate

      Published with permission from RISMedia.