Consumer Real Estate News

    • Simplify Security This Back-to-School Season

      26 September 2022

      (Family Features) The beginning of a new school year offers plenty of excitement each fall, but it can also be a stressful time for parents and students alike.

      As expensive electronics like laptops and tablets become increasingly common for student use in classrooms and at home and complex schedules require students to bike to school or enter the house after school with minimal parental supervision, it can often be challenging for families to juggle the changes that back-to-school season brings.

      To help alleviate back-to-school stress and safeguard high-value purchases, Master Lock, the leading name in security for more than 100 years, offers a variety of solutions to provide peace of mind for both parents and students – whether enrolling in elementary school or heading off to college.

      For everything from padlocks for school lockers to bike locks for students on the go and personal safes for dorm room storage, parents and students can visit to explore back-to-school security products designed to safeguard everything worth protecting.

      Secure Lockers With Ease
      As one of the most known and widely used padlocks for back-to-school season, the Master Lock 1500D Combination Dial Padlock offers a reliable, keyless solution to help protect students’ personal belongings while in the hallway or locker room. With a shackle made of hardened steel and a locking mechanism with anti-shim technology, this padlock provides maximum security with extra resistance against cutting and sawing. Plus, the easy-to-use dial and three-digit combination allow for quick and convenient access between classes when time is tight.

      Safeguard Your Bike or Scooter
      Whether heading to school or commuting to campus, the Master Lock 8143D Combination Cable Bike Lock offers on-the-go security for students of all ages, especially those who may not be able to drive yet or simply prefer to ride a bike or scooter. Made with braided steel for flexibility, a protective vinyl coating for added weatherability and a preset four-digit combination for keyless convenience, this bike lock also features a self-coiling design for easy use and compact storage in a locker or backpack.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Practical Tips for Avoiding Cyber Scams

      26 September 2022

      Most cyber scammers are wily and persistent. Some days, we find ourselves bombarded with so many questionable emails and phone calls, that it’s hard to know what to answer.

      Studies by the Federal Trade Commission and the Better Business Bureau estimate that 229 million American adults—about nine out of every 10—experienced at least one attempted fraud in 2020. Of those, some 33 million lost their hard-earned money.

      Now, as we approach what’s predicted to be the biggest online shopping season in history, we need to be smart about spotting scams. Veteran scam-busters suggest these tips for recognizing ‘phishing’ emails and staying out of the scammers’ crosshairs.

      • Urgent Messages Demanding Action Now - Reputable companies do not send blaring email alarms stating your account has been suspended or hacked or is over the purchase limit. If you see such a message, do not click on the provided link. If you have any doubt, call your provider to verify.
      • Generic Greetings - Hit the delete button when an email begins with ‘Dear User’ or ‘Hello XYZ member.’ Reputable companies with whom you do business will always address you by name.
      • Giveaways, Sweepstakes and Prizes - If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is, so be wary. Some giveaways may be legitimate, but many are not. Contact the company offering the prize to verify before ‘entering’ a contest by providing your personal information. 
      • Requests for Account Details or Financial Verification - No reputable company sends out emails asking for your full name, account password or answer to security questions. Ignore it and never share your bank account number, debit or credit card number via email.
      Additionally, consumer advocates suggest that when shopping online:
      • Go directly to a retailers address to order versus clicking on an ad in a search engine
      • Use a credit card that protects you against fraudulent charges.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 7 of the Worst Ways to Save Money

      26 September 2022

      Nearly anywhere you look, you can find advice on the best ways to save money; shop with a list; save your change; pay yourself first out of every paycheck. But money experts warn consumers about a few of the worst ways to try to save money.

      • Skimping on Medical Visits - Preventive healthcare may be covered by your insurance. But even if it's not, paying a copay is a small price to pay to make sure your health is on track. Otherwise, you could develop serious health issues that will be more expensive to treat in the long run.
      • Skipping an Oil Change - Your car needs preventive care, too. They need an oil change every 5,000 to 7,500 miles, according to AAA. Skipping this routine service can lead to more costly car repairs down the line.
      • Buying a Cheap Mattress - Sleep has many health benefits, so invest in a mattress that gives you a restful night. Cheap mattresses leave owners with a backache and have a shorter lifespan than mid- and high-priced mattresses.
      • Not Contributing to Your 401(k) - It can be painful to part with a piece of your paycheck, but not contributing to your 401(k) is hurting your future, and if your company offers an employer match, not contributing means you're leaving free money on the table.
      • Eating too Much Fast Food - Ordering off the dollar menu is tempting when you're trying to save money, but making fast food a major part of your diet offers health risks including heart disease, type 2 diabetes and obesity. Cook in more, choosing lean proteins and veggies.
      • Buying Everything at the Dollar Store - A dollar store is a great place to find deals on paper goods, cleaning supplies and more, but for some items, like sunscreen, power strips, toys and meat, quality really does matter—and you're better off paying more.
      • Skipping Credit Card Payments - It’s tempting now and then when you need money for something else. But skipping a payment can not only lead to paying more in interest, but it can ding your credit score as well.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Can You Really Afford a New Car?

      16 September 2022

      If you’re interested in purchasing a new vehicle, you have to consider more than just a monthly loan payment. When you factor in all the other costs associated with owning a vehicle, you may realize that the brand-new car you’re considering is outside of your budget.

      Consider the Total Cost of Car Ownership
      When you own a car, you have to cover a lot more than just a loan. For one thing, you’ll need to pay for gas. Since vehicles vary widely in terms of fuel economy, even a car with an affordable loan payment may cost you a lot for fuel.

      Insurance is another item that can stretch your budget beyond your comfort zone. Before you buy a vehicle, learn how much it would cost to insure it. You can get quotes online to find out if a car you’re considering would be affordable or, once you’ve narrowed your choices to a few vehicles, you can compare insurance premiums for all of them to help you make a final decision.

      Cars need maintenance and repairs. Even if you buy a new car with a warranty, it won’t cover routine maintenance, such as oil changes. The warranty may expire in a few short years. If you keep the car past that point, you’ll have to pay for repairs yourself. Research the vehicle you’re considering and find out if that particular model tends to experience certain types of problems and how much it costs to fix them. 

      Depreciation is something that many people don’t consider when shopping for a new car. All vehicles lose value over time, but new cars depreciate at a faster rate than older ones. Rates of depreciation vary from one make and model to another. There isn’t much you can do to slow depreciation, but you can look for a type of vehicle that tends to hold its value so you’ll be able to get a good price if you decide to sell it or trade it in later.

      Figure Out If the Car You Have in Mind Is Really Affordable
      It’s generally a good idea to limit your vehicle-related spending to about 15% of your net income. Once you’ve estimated the total amount that it would cost you each month to own a particular vehicle, you may realize that it would be a stretch.

      In that case, you may be better off going with a new vehicle that’s smaller, that gets better gas mileage or that will cost less to insure. Purchasing a used car that’s in good condition is another way to save money. If you buy a used vehicle that’s still under warranty, that can help you keep your repair costs down, at least at first. 

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • How to Get Your Baby to Sleep Through the Night

      16 September 2022

      Caring for an infant can be exhausting, especially if the baby wakes up soon after falling asleep and you can’t get more than a couple of hours of sleep at a time. Here are some important things you should know about an infant’s sleeping habits and tips to help your baby sleep through the night so you can get some rest, too.

      Understand Your Infant’s Needs
      For young babies, eating is more important than sleeping, regardless of the time of day. During the first couple of months, it’s normal for an infant to wake up several times during the night to eat.

      After three to six months, your baby may sleep for longer periods of time. When your infant begins to realize that you will leave the room at bedtime, the baby may cry so you won’t leave. That’s a normal part of an infant’s development.

      Keep Things Consistent 
      Following a routine can help your infant understand the difference between day and night, and get them on a sleep schedule. The sooner you start, the better. The most important thing is to keep the routine consistent and to do the same activities, in the same order, every day.

      Keeping your baby active during the day will make the infant tired in the evening. As bedtime approaches, switch to calmer, quieter activities that promote relaxation, such as giving your baby a bath and looking at a book together. 

      The last activity should take place in the nursery and should be something that your baby enjoys. That will help your infant associate the nursery and bedtime with positive feelings. 

      An infant who is overtired may have trouble falling asleep. If your baby has a hard time dozing off, try making bedtime earlier. 

      Waking up and finding the room different can be unsettling for an infant.  Don’t adjust the lighting after your baby goes to bed. 

      Overstimulation can make it hard for a baby to fall asleep again. If you have to feed or change the baby during the night, keep the lighting the same as it was when the infant was sleeping and talk as little as possible. 

      Teach Your Baby How to Self-Soothe and Fall Asleep 
      You can soothe your infant with cuddling or rocking, but babies also have to learn how to soothe themselves. At 6 to 12 weeks old, start putting the baby to bed while drowsy, but not quite asleep. 

      You may want to try the Ferber Method starting at the age of 5 or 6 months. Put your baby to bed drowsy, but awake, and leave the room. If the baby cries, wait a few minutes before you return. Console, but don’t pick up, the infant. Only stay for a few minutes, even if the baby is still crying. 

      If the baby keeps crying after you leave, return to the room, but wait longer. This process can be stressful, but parents often find that their babies begin to sleep better within a week.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.