Consumer Real Estate News

    • Fight the Beg: Don't Overfeed Your Pet

      11 December 2018

      Do you tend to give in to your begging pet? You're far from alone. "When sad eyes plead for one more treat or constant meowing reminds you the treats are in easy reach, it's common for pet owners to give in to the temptation and play into that begging behavior," says Dr. Eric Mueller, veterinarian and Royal Canin spokesperson. "Unfortunately, in the long run, those quick responses can have some damaging results for a pet's overall health."

      To help, Mueller offers the following tips:

      Talk to a veterinarian. Obesity is a medical concern. Pet owners should feel comfortable seeing their veterinarian to start a conversation about their pet's weight. If a veterinarian identifies that there is an issue, he or she can develop a weight loss plan to help a pet reach its ideal weight and body condition, as well as discuss solutions to help control begging during the weight loss process.

      Practice smart nutrition. Not surprisingly, proper nutrition is often one of the first solutions a veterinarian is likely to recommend to address a pet's weight problem. Choose a formula that will provide great taste and is clinically proven to support a healthy weight by using quality ingredients designed to help keep pets feeling full and satisfied between meals.

      Focus on portion control. Although many varieties of pet food include recommended serving sizes on the packaging, those servings are general guidelines and don't take into account a pet's unique circumstances and dietary needs. A better approach when working to bring a pet's weight down is to measure out the recommended feeding amount directed by a veterinarian.

      Encourage exercise. Encourage regular physical activity. This can be anything from brief periods of play to long walks. Remember to adjust the intensity based on the individual abilities of your pet.

      Maintain consistency. Changing behaviors can be challenging. Your personal motivation and commitment are critical to the success of your pet's weight loss program. Remember that a pet is not likely to immediately understand why the treats have ceased or why mealtime looks different.

      Attention-seeking behaviors may even amplify for a time. Hold firm and be consistent in resisting those begging eyes and you can find the process becomes easier for both of you.


      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Homeowners: Look Out for Utility Scams

      11 December 2018

      Lately, there's been a growing chorus warning utility customers to be hyper-aware of unscrupulous callers and visitors set on stealing everything from an energy supplier authorization to your personal and financial data and your hard-earned cash.

      As we make our way through the winter season, utility companies want customers to be reminded about common utility scams - and have banded together to promote a comprehensive and far-reaching #StopScam awareness campaign.

      According to this consortium of over 100 energy companies branded Utilities United Against Scams (UUAS), a growing number of gas, electricity, water and communications consumers are getting calls on the phone and even encountering these imposters at their front doors.

      So UUAS is partnering with the media and law enforcement to amplify their advisories.

      A common utility con involves a caller claiming to be a utility billing representative claiming that you have an overdue bill, and in order to avoid an immediate shut-off, you must provide a credit card number or prepaid debit card.

      Sadly, scammers are meeting with great success using this tactic. While the median monetary loss for all scam victims is $274, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) says the median loss for a utility scam victim is $500.

      In fact, the BBB has found people more susceptible to utility scams than they are to Internal Revenue Service scams.

      Utility customers are advised to read and heed these reminders - and share them with everyone in the household:

      - All UUAS member utility employees carry photo identification

      - Field workers generally wear clothing with the company logo and drive company vehicles. When in doubt, do not allow them in - and if they persist, call 911

      - UUAS utility representatives never demand instant payment in person - or over the phone

      - Utility representatives from UUAS companies do not require the use of prepaid debit cards (such as Green Dot MoneyPak, Vanilla or Reloadit)

      - UUAS reps will never request customers meet them at a payment center, such as a department or grocery store, to make a payment

      - None of the UUAS utilities solicit door-to-door - or on the phone on behalf of third-party energy suppliers

      The Utilities United Against Scams website ( provides more information on how to protect personal information and avoid becoming a victim of utility scams.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • What Comes With the House? Negotiating 'Fixtures'

      10 December 2018

      After receiving a piece of furniture as a last-minute gift from a friend who was selling and moving, the buyer became upset assuming they would inherit the item even though it had not been agreed upon.  

      Something that should be assumed to come with the house is known as a 'fixture.' But what counts as a fixture is the basis for many real estate disputes, according to Elizabeth Weintraub at - even when that feature or fixture is outside the building.

      Generally speaking, she says, a fixture is not required to exist inside the house. Landscaping, or any type of plant with roots firmly ensconced in the ground, is considered a fixture, Weintraub says.

      Connecticut REALTOR® Kathy Hamilton says determining what will stay with the home and what will go with the previous owner will vary by seller and contract. She first suggests checking the listing, however, because a seller may have already specified any such items included in their asking price.

      When it comes to any questions about which items will stay, Hamilton advises both sellers and buyers to know the "screwdriver rule."

      For the most part, she says, if it takes a screwdriver to remove, it’s considered part of the home - this includes shelves, light fixtures and even curtain rods. But, if it’s hung on a nail, or is a piece of movable furniture - even a grand piano - it’s likely not included in the sale.

      Devon Thorsby at U.S. News & World Report says states have different standards regarding what things are included in a home sale, but light fixtures and major appliances are typically included unless otherwise noted in the contract.

      One luxury property specialist she spoke with in Fort Lauderdale on the subject said, as a rule, a fixture is something that’s bolted down - if it’s not, you can take it.

      Thorsby reminds buyers that the negotiation also works the opposite way. If you don’t want the seller’s old washer and dryer, you may be able to stipulate they remove the appliances in your contract.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Save Your Pipes This Winter

      10 December 2018

      Between gifts and home heating costs, the holidays can hit your bank account hard. If you add frozen pipe damage to the roster, it can be financially brutal.

      "The holidays can make your budget very tight, but frozen pipes can literally put you under water," says Michael Petri, owner of Petri Plumbing & Heating. "The average cost to repair damage from burst pipes is in the thousands. Preparing your home to avoid these mishaps can save your wallet and help you avoid added holiday stress."

      To help, Petri Plumbing and Heating, Inc. brings homeowners to proactively prepare their homes to avoid frozen pipe damage.

      Allow cold water to drip from faucets – When temperatures are expected to drop, allow faucets to slowly drip. Standing water is more susceptible to freezing and keeping the water flowing will prevent disastrous issues from developing.

      Monitor the thermostat – Make sure the home's temperature is no lower than 55 degrees, especially if there are plans to travel for the holidays. A dip in temperature can increase the chances of frozen plumbing.

      Open cabinets under sinks and vanities – These areas are more susceptible to damage from a temperature drop. Keep cabinets open to maximize the ambient heat circulating in the home.

      Insulate the home – Attics, basements, and crawl spaces can develop leaks and cracks over time. Insulating these areas will maintain warmer temperatures and don't forget to check around the foundation of the home as well.

      Insulate the pipes – There are many products on the market to add insulation to your pipes. Heat tape, pipe sleeves, and heat cable are easy, low-cost options that will add an extra level of protection when temperatures are low.

      Source: Petri Plumbing & Heating, Inc.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Making Prescriptions Easier

      10 December 2018

      If you manage one or more prescription medications for yourself or a loved one, you know it can be challenging at times. A new survey conducted by AllianceRx Walgreens Prime found that more than half (57 percent) of adults surveyed take prescription medicine regularly, with the percentage increasing steadily with age. Additionally, nearly three quarters (73 percent) of adults manage all or most of the medicine needs for themselves or their family.

      To help ease your prescription management, AllianceRx Walgreens Prime offers the following tips:

      Ask your pharmacist about prior authorization: Ask your pharmacist now if prior authorizations are required or need updating. If so, submit new insurance information to your pharmacy and update your financial assistance or copay information.

      Ask your health plan about medication coverage: Check with your health plan to determine if your medication coverage will change in the new year. Verify your copay costs and contact your health plan with any questions.

      Ask your doctor about appointments: Contact your doctor about prescription refills. Schedule an appointment now, if required, for new or existing medication. During your appointment, discuss any medication concerns with your doctor.

      Ask your doctor to verify your ePrescribe pharmacy of record: Verify with your doctor who they have listed as your pharmacy of record and update if necessary.

      Source:  AllianceRx Walgreens Prime

      Published with permission from RISMedia.