Latest Real Estate News

    • How to Brew a Better Cup of Coffee

      21 March 2018

      Coffee lovers, listen up! That morning cup of joe is a staple for most Americans, and luckily, a superior cup of coffee is possible right at home, if you consider the following tips from Capresso.

      Grind coffee beans right before brewing. If you're not already grinding your beans, start there. Conical burr grinders provide the widest range of precision grinding for any brewing method, including Turkish, espresso, drip coffee, French press, pour-over brewers and percolators.  

      Brew fast, brew right, at the ideal temperature.  If you're using an old drip pot, it might be time to upgrade. Check out some of the newfangled models that offer features like stainless-steel heating systems that brew coffee at the perfect temperature, and ensure coffee never comes in contact with aluminum.

      Descale your coffee maker every 2 to 3 months. This prevents limescale buildup that can lengthen brew time and add a bitter note to the brew.  

      Clean your stand-alone grinder too. Without regular cleaning, coffee residue and oil build-up can decrease grinder performance or degrade coffee taste.  Cleaning is also important when switching between flavored and non-flavored beans.

      Buy the best beans. Explore the world of coffee flavors with gourmet coffee beans.  Shop around for the beans you like best.

      Source: Capresso

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Earth-Friendly Decor: Make Your Home Greener

      21 March 2018

      In my search for ways to help make your home more "green," I discovered a blog by Blythe Copeland at about how more environmentally conscious homes are incorporating sustainable decorating techniques.

      Copeland says it’s easier than you think to make choices that are as good for the planet as they are for your sense of style.

      She says decorate naturally using plants to add pops of color and interest to your décor. Fresh plants look good and improve indoor air quality, making your house healthier, and you'll constantly be surrounded by one-of-a-kind, eco-friendly accents.

      Copeland also suggests instead of buying build-it-yourself furniture with materials sourced from who-knows-where, scour local thrift stores and yard sales for pieces to make over.

      A little sandpaper, some new paint or stain, bright fabrics, and a little time and energy make it possible to turn dingy coffee tables into pretty benches, worn-out cabinets into storage showpieces, and tired chairs into a new reading nook - plus, you’re saving resources by choosing to re-use!

      Copeland says if you can’t DIY a piece of furniture or décor, check local shops before hitting the big chains. She says you’ll be supporting your local economy and trimming your carbon footprint at the same time, since your new pieces won’t be shipped from halfway around the world.'s latest list of Sustainable Interior Designer Tips include going minimalist. The practice of simplifying, organizing and decluttering offers a perspective shift from storing stuff to selecting home possessions mindfully.

      Moving towards minimalism also reflects the simple, clean look that modern design aspires towards.
      With today’s focus on green design, says hiring a sustainable interior designer and shopping eco-friendly home design products isn’t as difficult as it used to be.

      Any sustainable interior designer will source pieces from trusted eco friendly vendors and apply up-to-date practices like selecting materials and FF&E (furniture, fixtures and equipment) that promote good indoor air quality, are toxin-free, and are water/energy-efficient.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • March is Peak Season for Shrewd Shoppers

      21 March 2018

      Valentine’s Day is over and there’s a shopping lull in March, so retailers traditionally present an assortment of goodies to draw in savvy shoppers.  

      Consumer watchdog lists the top eight March bargains:.

      - Chocolate – Some of the top names in chocolate, including Godiva, are left with lots of product after Valentine’s Day, making March the time to indulge your sweet tooth at savings up to 90 percent. (Yes, you can freeze chocolate if it’s vacuum-packed, but it will keep nicely in a cool, dry place for months.)

      - Frozen foods – March is National Frozen Foods month, so look for sales and stock up on your favorite frozen staples.(And yes, that includes pizza!)

      - Seasonal produce – The start of spring brings great buys on seasonal fruits and veggies, including oranges, artichokes, and avocados, so vow to eat healthy and take advantage of the season’s bounty.

      - Cruises and tours – Thanks to the industry's Wave Season, which runs from January to March, there’s still time to book a cruise or tour at a truly low price – like a three-to-five day cruise to the Bahamas for as little as $189 per person.

      - Ski and snowboarding gear – March is the start of discount season for winter goods. Careful shoppers can find as much as 70 percent off skis and other snow gear, as well as deep discounts at popular ski resorts.

      - Luggage – Spring break is around the corner and summer vacation time not far behind, so look for bargains on everything from backpacks and duffle bags to Samsonite and other fine luggage.

      - Gift cards – Outside of December, which is the best time of year to buy them, expect to see more gift card offers in March than at any other time of year. This month last year, a $100 iTunes card fell to $85. Check out gift card deals at eBay, in its daily deal section. Last March's top offers were from eBay and CardCash.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Getting a Bump From the Tax Change? Put the Money to Good Use

      20 March 2018

      Earlier this year, the IRS released guidelines requiring employers across the country to apply new federal tax withholding tables to paychecks by February 15th. The U.S. Treasury estimates 90 percent of all payroll employees will experience higher take-home pay as a result. The monthly increase for a single person earning $50,000 is expected to be about $200.

      This increase is good news for those seeking to get ahead of debt, however, financial counselors at Money Management International (MMI) say consumers must put a plan in place. Credit card, student loan, and auto lending have reached all-time national highs, while personal savings is just shy of its all-time low, according to the Federal Reserve. A survey conducted by Pollfish suggests many consumers intend to use the extra money to pay down debt, but the tax break may also compel them to spend more.

      Experts warn that financial inertia and projected interest-rate hikes could impede borrowers' progress. Rising rates will increase minimum payments and the total cost of carrying debt, while curbing promotional-rate balance transfer offers. MMI notes the tax break is not permanent and encourages employees to view the tax break as an opportunity to formulate – and fund – an achievable plan to improve their financial health.

      Now is a good time to learn what your best options are for effectively reducing debt, so consult a financial advisor to find out what will work best for you. While it may be tempting to spend the increased income you may receive, assess your financial picture to see if those funds are better spent by paying down debt.

      Source: Money Management International

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • The Homeowner's Secret Weapon: Vinegar

      20 March 2018

      You’ve probably heard that vinegar can be used for a myriad of household purposes, but you probably never would’ve imagined some of the problems it can solve around the house. Check out some of these creative uses for vinegar from home improvement maven, Martha Stewart:

      Banish odors. Have a foul smell permeating a room? Fill a dish with a half inch of white vinegar and let it stand in the room until the smell dissipates.

      Get rid of rust. To get rid of rust build-up on a knife or pair of scissors, pour white vinegar over the blade then sprinkle it with coarse salt and rub with a cork. Rinse with water and wipe dry to prevent further rusting.  

      Make your whites whiter. Add anywhere from 1/8 cup to 1/2 cup of vinegar to the first rinse cycle of your laundry to boost the whiteness your white clothes.

      Wash your windows. For streak-free windows and mirrors, clean with a solution of one part vinegar and one part water.

      Clean your coffee maker. Get a fresher cup of coffee by filling the reservoir of your coffee maker with equal parts water and white vinegar. Let it run through several cups with this solution, then several more with just water before brewing your first cup of coffee.

      Prevent pests. To get rid of pesky ants, pour equal amounts of water and white vinegar into a spray bottle, shake, and spray in areas where ants often appear, such as crevices by your baseboards, cabinets and window sills. Also use this solution outdoors on your deck or patio and bring to your next picnic.

      Unclog the showerhead. Fill a plastic bag with undiluted white vinegar and submerge your shower head in the solution overnight, secured with a rubber band. Scrub with an old toothbrush the next day to remove all residue.

      Banish weeds. Spray weeds with vinegar instead of harsh chemicals. They’ll usually wither away in a day or two.

      Clean your shoes. Get rid of salt and water stains on leather and suede shoes by rubbing them with a paper towel dampened with vinegar.

      No more fruit flies. Fill a small container with apple cider vinegar, cover it in plastic wrap and punch a few holes in it with a needle. The flys will get trapped underneath the covering.


      Published with permission from RISMedia.