Consumer Real Estate News

    • Should You Build an In-Law Suite?

      15 August 2022

      An in-law suite is a group of rooms or a small apartment that may make up part of a larger home or may be a separate building. A suite may have a door that connects it to the rest of the house, or each residence may have a separate entrance. To create an in-law suite, the homeowner may build an addition, remodel a section of the house, or build or modify a separate structure. 

      An in-law suite can serve as a long-term residence for a homeowner’s parents or other relatives. A household worker may live in an in-law suite, or an apartment may be used for guests who come to stay for short periods of time so they and their hosts can have privacy. 

      Reasons to Construct an In-Law Suite
      If one or both of your parents need help with daily tasks, or if you’re concerned that it might not be safe for a parent to live alone, an in-law suite may be the ideal solution. You and other relatives will be close by and able to check in and help out when needed, but you and your parents will have the privacy you crave. 

      An in-law suite can promote family bonding. Your children will be able to spend time with their grandparents, and your parents may be able to help with babysitting, which can save you money. Having large family dinners will be easier with everyone in the same house.

      If you want to hire a nanny or housekeeper, providing housing can help you attract qualified applicants. If you like to entertain guests, having an in-law suite will let them avoid paying for a hotel.

      Adding an in-law suite may significantly increase your home’s square footage and its value. A future buyer who wants to have a parent move in or who likes to host out-of-town guests may find an in-law suite appealing. 

      You may decide to rent out an in-law suite, either on a short- or long-term basis. That extra stream of income may allow you to quickly recoup the cost of renovations and then help you cover your mortgage and other expenses. 

      Downsides of an In-Law Suite
      Increasing the size of your home and raising its value may increase your property taxes and homeowners insurance premiums. You will need to spend more time cleaning if you have frequent short-term guests, and you’ll need to budget more money for maintenance and repairs.

      Building an in-law suite can be expensive. A home equity loan or a home equity line of credit may give you the money you need, but make sure you’ll be able to pay it back.

      If you build a suite for houseguests, you should expect relatives and friends to want to visit more often, and possibly want to stay longer. Members of your immediate family may want to have guests over more frequently. If entertaining tends to stress you out, building a suite specifically intended for guests may not be a good idea.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Keeping Toddlers Safe at Home

      15 August 2022

      As every parent quickly learns, toddlers are notoriously curious. They reach, they climb and they fearlessly taste whatever they stumble upon. Parents and grandparents need to take extra steps to keep little thrill-seekers from harm. Health and safety professionals provide some tips for toddler-proofing your home. 

      • Cook on the Back Burners - Keep simmering pots and pans on the back burner of your stove with handles facing away so toddlers can’t reach them.  
      • Lock Away Cleansers and Bags - Store all house cleaning products and plastic grocery bags in a locked or latched cabinet your toddler cannot open.
      • Safely Stow Medications - Don’t leave medications on the counter. Instead, keep them in cupboards high enough that a toddler cannot reach them. 
      • Plug Unused Electrical Outlets - Use plastic outlet covers in unused outlets to keep curious fingers out of them and be sure not to leave dangling cords anywhere.
      • Use Bumper Guards - Bumper guards placed on the corners of sharply squared coffee tables or other furniture will protect against accidental falls.
      • Snuff the Candles - Never leave candles burning unattended where a child can climb up and reach them and keep matches locked away.
      • Anchor Tall Furniture - Dressers and other tall furniture are magnets for young climbers. They should be safely anchored to the wall.
      • Take Care With Tablecloths - Toddlers and creeping babies tend to pull on tablecloths, so take care with what is placed on top of them. Better yet, use placemats for the duration.
      • Guard Against Swallowing Small Items - Keep toys and other items small enough to swallow out of reach, including dolls or stuffed animals with small, removable parts.
      • Use Safety Gates - Place them at the top and bottom of the staircase, and even at the entrance to the kitchen to keep your toddler out of it when not in use.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 7 Easy Ways to Make Your Home More Sustainable

      15 August 2022

      Sustainable homes are unquestionably better for the planet, and because the materials used to maintain them are typically stronger and last longer, they also offer opportunity for cost savings. Environmentalists suggest a few simple and budget-friendly ways to make your home more sustainable.

      • Use Fewer Disposables - Take inventory of the single-use items you use regularly, like paper towels and plastic bags. Then commit to using sustainable alternatives; reusable rags instead of paper towels, glass or washable silicone pouches in place of plastic storage bags. 
      • Save Your Jars - After a good washing, all those jam, pasta sauce and pickle jars can be used to shake your salad dressings and/or store anything from leftovers to homemade favorites, or even as impromptu flower vases. 
      • Invest in Glass Containers - Think of the savings. The lidded glass food storage containers you buy today will outlast dozens, maybe hundreds, of disposable plastic containers over the long haul. 
      • Use Dryer Balls Instead of Dryer Sheets - Dryer sheets reduce static, but they're packed with chemicals that can be toxic to the environment once you've tossed them in the trash. Reusable dryer balls are eco-friendly and can be scented with a few drops of essential oils if desired. 
      • Eat More Plant-Based Foods - Animal agriculture has a significant impact on the environment. If going meat-free is out of the question, lower your carbon imprint by planning a few meatless meals each week or try a few of the plant-based ‘meats’ now available in grocery stores.
      • Turn the Thermostat Up (or Down) - Adjusting the thermostat by just two degrees can have a major impact on how much electricity your home uses,  especially with a programmable thermostat that can raise the temp when you're not at home and cool it down before you get home. Using less air conditioning and heat can save big on utility bills. 
      • Look Into Renewable Energy Options - Many electric providers allow customers to pay a little extra to have some or all of their electricity come from renewable sources like wind and solar energy. Check with your provider to see what’s available to you. 

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 5 Designer Secrets for Mixing Wood Tones

      12 August 2022

      The key to creating a designer-inspired space lies in the art of layering. Regardless of the material, layering textures and tones creates an intentional and inspired look. Mixing wood tones is an excellent way to design with depth and prevent the room from falling flat. Here are some go-to designer tips to seamlessly blend wood tones throughout your home.

      Select a Dominant Tone
      Identifying a single dominant tone is the first step in mixing wood tones. Selecting the primary tone creates the base on which to layer different wood tones, textures and colors. Depending on the space, the dominant wood tone will likely be the largest surface area, such as the dining room floors, the living room entertainment center or the kitchen cabinets.

      Coordinate the Undertones
      With the dominant wood tone selected, it’s time to layer in other wood tones. To ensure a cohesive look and feel, it’s important to choose complementary wood with undertones in the same family as the dominant tone. For example, if your prevalent wood is warm, it’s best to select accent woods with warm undertones. The same holds for cooler wood tones.

      Use Repetition
      To create a cohesive look that is visually interesting, incorporate each wood tone in at least two ways. This is the secret to making it look intentional. However, these varying wood tones also need to be spaced out to create balance. For example, if you group all the dark-toned woods together on the wall and group all the light-toned woods together on the built-ins, the room will look off-balance. 

      Contrast Furniture and Flooring
      In a room with hardwood floors and wood furniture, selecting different color woods with the same undertones will create a visual break. Different tones will create visual interest and break up the heaviness of the wood tone layered on top of each other. An easy rule of thumb is to select three wood tones in a space: light, medium and dark.

      Soften Space With a Rug 
      Even with contrasting wood tones, wood furniture on top of hardwood floors can feel a bit overwhelming. However, you can break up the wood-on-wood look by adding an appropriately sized rug to the space to provide a visual pause. The rug should be large enough to anchor the legs of every piece of furniture.

      Accentuate With an Accent Color 
      To complete the room, incorporating accent colors or patterns can act as the room’s jewelry. One or two accent colors or repetitive patterns can tie the space together and can be incorporated throughout the room in the upholstery, curtains, throw pillows, lampshades and more. Another way to break up the monotony of an all-wood space is to incorporate furniture pieces in various textures like leather, rattan, metal or painted wood accent pieces.

      While there is no magic formula for mixing and matching wood finishes, knowing the basics can make the layering process feel less complicated. 

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Some of the Best Things to Buy at a Drugstore

      12 August 2022

      It’s tempting, in our busy lives, to do all of our shopping at the supermarket—and you can stay within budget if you watch for sales and save even more with coupons. But consumer watchdogs say there are at least seven things that are almost always cheaper at the drugstore, especially when combined with coupons.

      • Cereal - Most drug stores offer good deals on name brand cereals as a way of bringing customers into the store. Take coupons with you and stock up.
      • Cosmetics - A number of name brand cosmetics, shampoos and conditioners are almost always on sale or offered at buy-one-get-one free prices at the drugstore. You can also find low prices on similar store-brand products.
      • Dairy and Eggs - Prices vary regionally, but consumer advocates say you’ll almost always pay less for these products than you will at a grocery store.
      • Toothpaste and Toothbrushes - These are almost always on sale at the drugstore at better prices than the supermarket—and the experts say toothpaste purchased at the drug store is more reliable than toothpastes found at many dollar stores. 
      • Diapers - Store-brand diapers are deemed as consistently as good as name brands and are often offered at two-for-one prices.
      • Sweeteners - Artificial sweeteners, fairly high-priced items at the supermarket, are said to be typically cheaper at the drugstore.
      • Detergents - This is another loss leader frequently featured in drugstore ads to bring consumers in. Name-brand laundry detergents are almost always on sale at prices you won’t find in the supermarket. 

      Published with permission from RISMedia.