Consumer Real Estate News

    • Don’t Put These Items in the Dishwasher

      21 August 2019

      If you’re like most people, you’ve come to rely on your dishwasher to clean a multitude of kitchen items. But despite the convenience and deep cleaning the dishwasher offers, not everything can be safely cleaned there. Here is a list of items that should never be cleaned in your dishwasher:

      Your carving and steak knives. Dishwashing detergent can dull the blades over time, and the heat of the water and drying cycle can loosen the handles. To preserve the form and function of these knives, wash them by hand with warm, soapy water.

      Certain plastics. If your plastic items don’t say “dishwasher safe,” do not put them in the dishwasher, as they most likely won’t stand up to the heat. Even for dishwasher-safe plastics, put them on the top rack where they’re further away from the intensity of the heat source.

      Nonstick cookware. Most nonstick cookware is coated with Teflon, a substance that won’t stand up to the heat of the dishwasher and will, therefore, wear out over time. If you want to keep your omelettes from sticking, wash your nonstick cookware by hand unless the pan specifically says “dishwasher safe.”

      Fine china and crystal. The delicate nature of these items makes the dishwasher a hazardous place for them. Avoid damage to the fine finishes of china or chips to your crystal stemware by keeping them out of the dishwasher.

      Copper cookware. Popular copper cookware can discolor and get dull in the dishwasher. Instead, wash it by hand with soapy water, then restore its shine with lemon juice, salt and vinegar.

      Aluminum cookware. While stainless steel cookware is fine in the dishwasher, aluminum is not, as it can fade and oxidize when exposed to the high temperatures of the dishwasher. Aluminum also doesn’t do well with soaking. Instead, clean it with a mixture of cream of tartar and water. To remove discoloration, simmer a mixture of one tablespoon lemon juice per quart of water on the stovetop.

      Wooden utensils and cutting boards. The abrasive nature of dishwashing detergents can damage wooden items over time, and the drying cycle can cause them to warp and crack. To disinfect a cutting board after cutting raw meat on it, clean it with white vinegar or a mixture of two tablespoons bleach in a gallon of water. Rinse thoroughly and dry the board by hand.

      Cast iron. Dishwashing detergent will break down the seasoning you created when you first got your cast iron pan, and prolonged exposure to water in the dishwasher will cause it to rust. Instead, rinse your cast iron with a tiny bit of soap or an abrasive such as salt, then dry it thoroughly, leaving it on low heat in the oven or on the burner for a minute or two to thoroughly dry it. 

      Source: Real Simple Tips

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Making the Back-to-School Transition Easy From Kindergarten to College

      21 August 2019

      (Family Features)--It's time to get your household organized for another school year and all that comes with it. 

      Whether your child is headed off to kindergarten or going away to college, these useful tips can help make the transition back to the regimented school year easier and get your busy household organized for the upcoming season.

      - Tour the school. It is important to visit the school with your kids so they can get familiar with their new environment.

      - Meet the teacher. Introduce yourself to your child's teacher and discuss the best ways to communicate with him or her throughout the school year. Some teachers prefer to keep the conversation going through email, while others are more casual and utilize phone calls or in-person meetings.

      Elementary School
      - Get into a routine. Set your kids' sleep schedules back to "school time" at least two weeks before the first day.

      - Get your kids involved in sports or other activities they can do after school to keep them active. 

      Middle and High School
      - Have a conversation about technology. In this day and age, it's nearly impossible to avoid tech. Many students probably have schoolwork that requires use of the internet. It's important to have a conversation with your children about reducing time spent on their laptops for educational purposes during the week. 

      - Keep track of everyone's schedule. There are plenty of free family calendar applications available for smartphones and other devices that can help you keep up with all members of the family and stay organized.

      - Simplify the laundry routine. When it's your child's first time living on his or her own, you'll want to do everything you can to make things easier. Consider detergent pacs that fight tough stains while also being dye- and perfume-free, hypoallergenic and gentle on skin. 

      By implementing some of these simple tips, you and your kids can look and feel your best, setting up a seamless, stress-free transition back to the school year.  


      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Managing Stress While Caring for Someone With Alzheimer’s

      21 August 2019

      If you're caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s, you already know the job is not an easy one. But when stress rises to the surface, it will be more difficult for you to care for your loved one, and yourself. To help, the Alzheimer's Foundation of America reminds everyone about the importance of managing stress for good brain health.

      "It's super important to make managing stress one of your top priorities, particularly when you are juggling many different responsibilities," says Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr., President and CEO of the Alzheimer's Foundation of America. "Too much stress can affect sleep, appetite and productivity, and, of course, impacting your ability to be at your best for those you are caring for in your life."

      The Alzheimer's Foundation of America (AFA) offers the following 10 simple reminders for managing stress:

      1. Maintain a positive attitude.
      2. Acceptance is key—all you can control is how you react to a situation.
      3. People can't help if they don't know there is a problem—be honest and open with your feelings.
      4. Relax–taking time to breathe is important.
      5. Get moving–exercise reduces tension and stress.
      6. Take it one day at a time–if it's not an emergency situation, do not turn it into one.
      7. Sleep is important—a good night's rest keeps us functioning at our best.
      8. Eat a balanced, healthful diet full of fruits, vegetables and water.
      9. Set realistic goals and go slow—life is not a race; it's a journey.
      10. Be social and have fun!

      Source: Alzheimer's Foundation of America

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 4 Ways to Ensure a Smooth Closing

      19 August 2019

      Buying a house is a thrilling experience! But before you can cross the threshold, you have to get through the closing...which, unfortunately, can be a confusing and stressful process for many.

      While every homebuyer’s situation is different, there are some steps everyone can take to make sure the closing goes as smoothly as possible:

      Have cash available. Make sure you have extra cash that is easily accessible well ahead of the closing. You will need the cash to pay some of the closing costs, and be sure to build in a 10 percent buffer for final costs that come in higher than estimates.

      Have all your documentation ready to go. Ask your lender and real estate agent to provide you with a list of every piece of documentation you will need for the closing. Make sure it is complete and gathered ahead of closing day, so that you have time to double check and troubleshoot as needed.

      Preserve your credit score. Keep in mind that your loan approval was based on your credit score at the time you signed the purchase agreement for your home. If you’ve taken out any new loans or debt since then, such as a credit card or car loan, this could affect your credit score and jeopardize the home loan. Wait to make any large purchases until after the closing, and make sure you’re paying everything on time.

      Keep your employment steady. Don’t change jobs or decide to quit and start your own business prior to closing. Keep your employment record and income steady.

      Settle the inspection. Review the inspection and make sure you are satisfied with the results. If there are any issues that need to be addressed, decide how they are going to be handled - by you or the seller? It’s critical that all decisions regarding the inspection are made before closing - you may have no further recourse afterwards.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Boat Safe: Ensure Your Boat is Ready for the Water

      19 August 2019

      ( matter how much experience you have on the water, prepping your boat - and your passengers - before leaving the dock can make for a more enjoyable experience.

      To prepare for a safe and comfortable trip, review this pre-departure checklist to ensure your vessel is in good working order and well-stocked for the adventure:

      - Documentation - Have all required documentation for planned activities readily accessible, including boat registration, fishing permits and boater education cards. 

      - Float Plan - File a float plan with a responsible party who will remain on land. Provide contact info, explain where you're going, when you intend to return and what to do in case he or she doesn't hear from you.

      - Weather Forecast - Always check the forecast before you head out on the water. To regularly monitor any changes, keep a handheld radio onboard.

      - Fuel - Before leaving, check that your fuel level is adequate for the trip and that other fluids, like oil and coolant, are at the proper levels.

      - Batteries - Check to make sure the boat's battery, as well as battery-operated items like flashlights and handheld radios, are fully charged and operational.

      - Lights - Check to make sure you have properly functioning navigation and instrument lights and pack a flashlight as well.

      - Life Jackets - Ensure you have at least one U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal floatation device per passenger with a minimum of two onboard. If your boat is longer than 16 feet, you'll also need a throwable device.

      - Anchor - Keep at least one anchor, attached to an anchor line, and at least two fenders for docking onboard.

      - Bilge - Before launching your boat, ensure the bilge is dry, clear of waste and has a properly functioning pump.

      - Fire Extinguisher - Keep a U.S. Coast Guard-approved fire extinguisher securely mounted in an accessible place.

      - Distress Signals - Store flares and day signals in a dry, accessible location and ensure all passengers onboard know how to use them. Also have a noise-making device, such as an air horn, bell or whistle, capable of producing a four-second blast audible for at least a half mile readily available.

      - Tools - Keep a basic toolbox onboard with commonly used tools and spare parts like wrenches, screwdrivers, batteries, fuel filters, hull plugs and light bulbs.

      - First-Aid Kit - Keep a well-stocked first-aid kit - and extra sunscreen - in an accessible location in case of accidents.


      Published with permission from RISMedia.