Consumer Real Estate News

    • First Time Buyers: What NOT to Do

      13 January 2020

      If this is going to be the year you break out into your own place, you likely want to be sure your path is as clear as possible. First and foremost, buying one's first home is one of the most exciting - and challenging - life experiences. 

      To come out ahead, don't make any of the common mistakes that could put your home-buying experience in peril. The U.S. Farm Bureau ( advises first-timers against doing any of the following leading up to or during your closing:

      Don’t Open New Lines of Credit. Taking on new debt, no matter how small, could throw off your debt-to-income ratio — a magic number in mortgage lending — and disqualify you.

      Don’t Miss Bill Payments. In the stress of preparing to buy a house, it’s easy to miss a payment, but it could have serious consequences that will make you ineligible for a loan from certain lenders for at least a year, the bureau says.

      Don’t Change Jobs. During the mortgage loan process, change — even good change — could set you back. Avoid a change in job status that will cause a lender to question your financial stability. warns that too much of a good thing can be bad, so just because a bank will lend you a certain amount of money doesn’t mean you should take it unless you want to be house poor. 

      The site says you need to think about the other expenses that come along with a house, like insurance, property taxes, utilities, maintenance, and home improvements beyond your monthly mortgage commitment.

      Finally, blogger Jiordan strongly advises getting a thorough home inspection done. She says a professional will ensure the foundation is solid, the wiring is up to code - even check for lead paint and wood-eating pests.

      If you know before you buy, the esurance blogger says it could help you negotiate a lower price - and prepare you for any repair costs you might be facing.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • How-To Prevent Injuries in the Kitchen

      13 January 2020

      A large amount of home injuries happen in the kitchen, where fire and sharp objects lurk around every corner. To help, USAHS Occupational Therapy faculty member Dr. Terri Roberts offers these kitchen safety tips if you are going to make a holiday feast for your family:

      - Always use oven mitts when handling hot pots and pans. Keep an abundance of these in close reach so you're never tempted to swap for a dish towel.

      - Do not leave food cooking on the stove unattended. Let that phone call go unanswered and the doorbell ring if necessary.

      - Do not wear loose clothing or jewelry while cooking. Consider changing into tighter, safer clothing before you hit the kitchen to cook.

      - Keep kids and pets out of the kitchen. If you don't have a door to the kitchen, use a baby gate to keep that curious pup at a safe distance.

      - Be sure to wash your hands frequently, especially if handling meat. Remember to wash frequently between tasks to avoid cross contamination.

      - Have a fire extinguisher on hand. Do you know how to handle a fire if it pops up? Make sure to be prepared for the worst, but hope for the best.

      Source: University of St. Augustine For Health Sciences

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • How To Have More Professional Video Conferences

      13 January 2020

      Whether you're a freelance contractor or managing a small business from home, video conferences are a popular and effective way of communicating. However, nothing looks less professional than chatting to a client with family members milling around or your dog barking behind you. To help,  AV managed services, IVCi, lists five ways to impress your clients on your next video call.

      Set up ahead of time. Be sure to proactively avoid any technical difficulties by setting up and testing all features ahead of time. Make sure wireless signals are strong, screen sharing features work, and audio is crisp and clear. Nothing is more frustrating than having the first 15 minutes of an hour-long meeting focused on getting the technology in place.

      Check your surroundings. You want to make sure your surroundings and environment work well for video conferencing. Test the camera to see the lighting in the room and make sure the camera angle is favorable for everyone in your room. Working with a professional company to establish the camera view out of the gate is a helpful trick to make sure from day one you are connecting visually. 

      Dress to impress. Since your client can see you, it's important to present yourself the same way you would in an in-person meeting. If your company's dress code is casual, make sure your attire is at the nicer end of that scale. If you are taking the call from home, at least make sure to dress professionally as far as your clients can see.

      Avoid distractions. Just as you wouldn't take out your cellphone and start texting during an in-person meeting, respect your client's time by minimizing distractions. Keep all typing, talking, or phone use to an absolute minimum. If you plan to take notes during the meeting, try jotting them down with pen and paper to minimize typing sounds.

      Keep it professional. Anything that you wouldn't do during an in-person meeting should be avoided during a video call. This means eating, getting up, leaving the frame, and not making eye contact should be avoided. Remember beyond dress, if you are taking the call from home to keep the background void of chaos and clutter to keep you the focus of the meeting. A coffee table with a vase of flowers? Probably fine. A pile of unfolded laundry? Probably not.

      Following these tips will be sure to leave your clients impressed after your video call.

      Source: IVCi

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Selling This Year? Read This Before You List

      10 January 2020

      If you plan to sell your home this year, it's more important than ever to do your homework first to clarify the value of your space.

      According to Marian White at, start by researching the local housing market: 

      - Take a look at comparable sales in your neighborhood to figure out the appropriate listing price for your home. 

      - Pay attention to the various comps’ square footage, features and location. 

      - Think about how they compare to your home. 

      - Consider consulting a reputable REALTORⓇ to assist with finding comps and determining a listing price for your house.

      The team at says before you begin staging and put your house on the market, do a thorough walkthrough and put on your “buyer glasses.” 

      Think like a buyer might think. Are there any weird stains on the flooring or crayon on the walls? Is the bathroom really outdated compared to other houses they’ve been looking at? 

      Try to identify anything you might notice if you were considering buying your own house, and then address any major red flags.

      Elizabeth Weintraub at suggests if you end up choosing a real estate agent to work with, make sure the REALTOR® you choose is a person you like. Then have a discussion about your preferences upfront - like how you prefer to communicate and how often. 

      Weintraub says you'll make it easy for your agent to meet your expectations by establishing those preferences clearly and early on.

      At, Nick Gerhardt says to ensure buyers want to see the inside of your home, make sure the outside is well-kept, tidy and inviting. 

      Gerhardt says it’s important to touch-up or completely repaint trim, keep the grass cut, edge along sidewalks and paths, maintain flowers and shrubs, and keep the yard tidy in case any prospective buyers are driving by.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Create a Healthier Car Commute

      10 January 2020

      Whether you're driving ten minutes or an hour to work each day, your commute can often seem like a slog. And, when you add your commute time to the number of hours you sit at a desk, your daily health may seem at risk. To help,  the Car Care Council has a number of tips for commuters to help ensure their trips to and from work are as healthy and worry-free as possible.

      Change your cabin air filter. The cabin air filter is responsible for cleaning the air entering the passenger compartment. A functioning cabin air filter will help keep dirt, pollen, dust and exhaust fumes from entering your vehicle's interior. Changing the cabin air filter at recommended intervals will allow you and your passengers to breathe clean air, free from allergens and pollutants while commuting to and from work.

      Maintain vehicle safety systems. A vehicle's wipers, mirrors, lights and brakes are key safety features that require routine maintenance. To ensure that you can see and be seen while on the road, make sure all lights are properly functioning, mirrors are clean, and both are properly aligned. Replace wiper blades that are cracked, chattering or streaking in order to maintain a clean windshield. Because driving in stop-and-go traffic is hard on a vehicle's braking system, have your brakes inspected regularly as brakes are your car's most important safety feature.

      A clean car makes a happy driver. The more time spent in the cars, the more likely dirt and clutter will collect inside. Maintaining a clean vehicle not only makes for a more comfortable drive, but it also contributes to a vehicle's safety and longevity. Remember to keep the floors free of debris that may obstruct the foot pedals, and wash your car regularly to protect the paint, minimize rust and corrosion, and keep your windows clean for improved visibility.

      Source: Car Care Council

      Published with permission from RISMedia.