Consumer Real Estate News

    • Do You Have An Emergency Disaster Plan?

      20 July 2018

      Don't let disaster hit you unprepared. When every moment counts, it's important to know what steps to take to keep you and your loved ones safe. Consider the following from USAGov.

      Here are some steps you can take to become better prepared:

      Download the FEMA App to get alerts and warnings about weather conditions. Receiving timely information about weather conditions or other emergency events can make the difference in knowing when to take action to be safe. The app also provides safety tips about what to do before, during, and after disasters.

      Create and test a family communications plan. Your family may not be together if a disaster strikes, so it is important to know which types of disasters could affect your area. Know how you'll contact one another and reconnect if separated. Establish a family meeting place that's familiar and easy to find.

      Document and insure your property. When a disaster strikes, having insurance for your home or business property is the best way to ensure you will have the necessary financial resources to help you repair, rebuild, or replace whatever is damaged.

      Buy insurance that covers the specific risks associated with your region. Look for homeowners or renters insurance that covers damage caused by floods, high winds from tornados and hurricanes, earthquakes, or other concerns.

      Strengthen your financial preparedness. Collect and secure personal financial, insurance, medical, and other records so you have the documentation needed to start the recovery process without delay. Know your disaster costs.

      Get trained to help others. Minutes matter in a disaster, and if emergency responders aren't nearby, you can be the help until more help arrives.

      Learn how to find volunteer opportunities and donate to survivors. After a disaster strikes, many people want to donate their time, money, or goods. Learn tips on how to avoid scams when you're searching for a charitable organization to work with, and the best steps to take to support first responders.

      Source: USAGov,

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 5 Surprising Things You Can Power Wash

      20 July 2018

      Have a power washer buried in the recesses of your garage? Time to pull it out and put it to good use! While you may think that power washers are just for prepping your home’s exterior before a paint job or cleaning the roof, there are a myriad of ways to use your power washer to get tough jobs done in no time. Try some of the following:

      Clean your patio furniture: Trade in the scrub brush and soapy water and make quick work of wood and iron furniture clean-up with your power washer. Just keep the nozzle several feet away to avoid stripping off paint and other finishes.

      Banish weeds: Use your power washer to blast well-entrenched weeds out from in between paver stones and slate tiles on your patio, walkways or driveway. This will remove weeds right from the root. Bear in mind, you may need to re-sand between slate tiles that are not placed closely together.

      Make stonework gleam: Quickly remove dirt and mildew from stone planters, birdbaths and garden statues.

      Clean your deck: A power washer can quickly clean your deck for the season, getting it ready in a jiffy for restaining if need be.

      Glass tables: Remove the film and stains that accumulate on outdoor glass tables with your power washer, making it sparkle like it’s brand new.

      Keep in mind, a power washer will kick up a lot of dirt and debris, so be sure to wear old clothing and protective eyewear. Also take care not to damage plants and flowers with the force of the power washing spray. And of course, make sure pets and children are out of the area before you begin.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Money Matters: Tips for Resetting Your Personal Finances

      19 July 2018

      Whether you are just setting out with savings, or hoping to beef up your portfolio, below are tips from the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. about how you can reboot your personal finances.

      Track your Money: Are you keeping track of money that's coming in and going out? In today's digital age, enlist the help of apps to make this process easier.

      Check/Repair Credit: As we approach the one-year anniversary of the Equifax data breach, make sure your credit is in good standing. If you notice any suspicious changes, be persistent when correcting your report.

      Evaluate Insurance Policies: Don't wait for disaster to strike. Be proactive and evaluate if the policy in place is the best for your current situation.

      Consolidate Accounts: By combining your accounts, the resulting higher balance may avoid fees and even help you get a better deal. Not to mention, it will help streamline your finances.

      Review Retirement: Have you calculated your retirement number? If not, it can't hurt to boost your retirement contributions in order to boost your savings when you do decide to retire.

      Manage Investments: As market volatility increases and the second quarter ends, it is the perfect time for long-term investors to rebalance their accounts.

      Source: Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Tips for Managing Caregiver Stress

      19 July 2018

      (Family Features)--Stress can affect anyone and caregivers may find themselves faced with additional stressors. To help manage stress and avoid caregiver burnout, keep these tips from the Alzheimer's Foundation of America in mind:

      - Maintain a positive attitude
      - Be flexible and accept the circumstances
      - Be honest and open about your feelings
      - Take it one day at a time
      - Get a good night's sleep
      - Incorporate stress management techniques, such as meditation or deep breathing, as well as exercise into your daily routine
      - Drink plenty of water and eat a healthful diet full of fruits and vegetables
      - Set realistic goals and go slow

      Getting Help with Caregiving
      Everyone needs a break from time to time, even caregivers. Look into respite programs for a chance to care for yourself. Types of respite include:

      Home Care
      - Home care is often initiated by a doctor's order or hospital stay and administered by medical professionals who come into the home and help with personal care and housekeeping functions.
      - Medicare covers some home health services.

      Adult Day Programs
      - Social-model programs offer stimulation, socialization and therapeutic activities in a community-based group setting and often include meals.
      - Medical-model programs (adult day health care programs), offer health-based services as well as social activities in a group setting.
      - Some programs include assistance with activities of daily living and transportation.
      - Adult day services charge per hour and may be covered under some long-term care insurance policies.
      - Medicaid covers some adult day health programs.

      Facility-Based Respite
      - Provide a short stay for your loved one in a nursing home or another facility
      - Facilities typically charge for each day your loved one is in their care.
      - Medicare or Medicaid may cover some costs of an inpatient facility.

      Family and Friends
      - Identify responsible family members and friends who can lend a hand in providing supervision for your loved one and create a rotating care schedule, if possible.
      - Enlist the help of family members living in different states by assigning them tasks such as legal or financial paperwork.

      Source: Alzheimer's Foundation of America

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Put Your Home Equity to Good Use

      19 July 2018

      With home values enjoying a steady rise over the past several years, most Americans have witnessed a return of home equity, and many are leveraging that equity toward other important financial goals.

      A recent study by LendingTree, which assessed home equity loan requests since the start of 2018, tracked six uses for home equity loans: home improvement; debt consolidation; retirement income; investment property; emergency funds; and other uses. The research revealed some interesting findings about how homeowners are using their equity:

      Home improvement is the No. 1 reason for taking a home equity loan. According to the study, 43 percent of respondents reported requesting a home equity loan for home improvement purposes.

      Real estate investors borrow the largest amount. Borrowers who were looking to invest in another property had the highest property values and requested loan amounts. For property investments, borrowers requested an average of $103,625.

      For non-property investments, which likely include small businesses, borrowers requested $80,241.

      Just over 1 percent of requests were to fund retirement. This group had the highest average age of 63, 12 years above the next highest average age.

      A small share accessed their home equity for emergency expenses. This group had the lowest loan amount requested of $35,747 and kept their (loan to value) LTV low at 51 percent.

      Debt consolidators push the limits on LTV. Borrowers looking to consolidate debt had the highest LTV of 74 percent.

      If you’re looking to take advantage of your home equity, talk to a local real estate professional to find out the current value of your home. You may find it’s the right time to put your home on the market and move up to the larger home or new neighborhood you’ve been eyeing.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.