Consumer Real Estate News

    • Reverse Commuting Hacks

      23 September 2019

      Many big corporations are joining the movement to relocate out of the city and into the ‘burbs. With more affordable rents allowing for bigger space, locations that are more accessible for many employees, and technology replacing in-person client meetings with virtual ones, it only makes sense for companies to hop on the suburban bandwagon.

      But what if you’re a city dweller now confronted with commuting out of town for your job? An increasingly common scenario for those who prefer to live in an urban environment, even if their employer does not, here are few reverse commuting hacks to make an easier go of it:

      Weigh the costs. Look into the costs of commuter trains and buses versus the parking costs of keeping a car in the city. If you live in a neighborhood where street parking is accessible and you don’t have to rely on a pricey garage, then that might be the route for you. Or if you’re in the market for an apartment or condo, find one that has monthly parking on the premises.

      Car pool. If you choose to drive, find a car pool, either within your company or with others working in the same suburban city. Companies that relocate to a suburban location are usually not alone, so there’s a good chance you’ll find others to commute with.

      Get productive. If you do choose to use public transportation, the good news is, you’ll be dealing with much smaller crowds, which will likely mean a guaranteed spot and room to work. Use your commute time to get busy work done, such as responding to emails or working on a presentation. You’ll already be ahead for the day once you get to the office.

      Take care of phone calls. While you wouldn’t want to handle a stressful client call or presentation while commuting, it could be the ideal time for a quick meet-up with your staff or boss. Or, perhaps it’s just an excellent time to catch up with a friend or your mom. Less crowded public transportation and roadways will allow you to freely converse.

      Binge watch or read. When you’re commuting, you don’t have to wait for the couch to start unwinding. If you’re on the train or bus, pop in your headphones and catch up on your favorite series. If you’re in the car, listen to an audiobook or podcast. 

      These ideas will take some of the stress out of your reverse commute and may even add a little pleasure and purpose to those moments of your day!

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Understanding the 5 Most Common Plumbing Problems

      23 September 2019

      Plumbing problems can create a serious headache - and financial burden - for homeowners. However, it is possible to get ahead of them. "Prevention and detection is key when it comes to most plumbing issues," says Max Rose, owner of Four Seasons Plumbing. "The problem is, a lot of homeowners simply don't know what to look for, or how to guard against plumbing mishaps. That's why we've decided to offer advice based on our professional experience."

      To help, Rose says there are five main plumbing concerns that arise:

      Toilet backups: The best way to "fix" a clogged toilet is to prevent it from happening in the first place. A lot of items that most people consider flushable, like sanitary products, paper towels, and cat litter, are actually very harmful to your sewage system and can fairly easily cause a backup to occur. A good rule of thumb: Do a bit of research before attempting to flush anything that isn't toilet paper.

      Frozen pipes: Depending on where you live, this may or may not be an issue, but even in the Southeast, temperatures almost always drop below freezing at least a couple of times each winter. The problem is in warmer areas. homeowners are less likely to prepare for those temperatures than residents who live further north, so frozen pipes are a pretty common issue. You might consider adding extra insulation to solve for this, or keep your heat turned on at all times. If you leave for a holiday trip and decide to turn off your heat, consider letting your faucets slowly drip while you're away.

      Slow pipe leak: Slow pipe leaks are especially troublesome because they are difficult to detect, but have the potential to cause massive amounts of water damage to your home. The best way to detect a slow leak is to pay careful attention to your monthly water bill. If it seems to be slowly, steadily increasing, you should call a licensed plumber immediately and schedule an inspection.

      Cracked water heater: If too much sediment builds up in your water heater, it becomes more likely to crack and leak. If your home seems to be running out of hot water at a faster rate than usual, you might have sediment buildup in your water heater. To fix this, try attaching a garden hose to the drain valve at the base of the unit, and run the other end of the hose outside. Slightly open a nearby hot water faucet in the home. Then open the drain valve and let all of the water drain out of your water heater. This should flush unwanted debris.

      Malfunctioning sump pump: Sump pumps are especially important this time of year in the Southeast, since rainfall is typically heavier than normal during the autumn and winter months. If you have a basement that's prone to flooding during a heavy rainstorm, make sure to test your sump pump prior to inclement weather by pouring a large bucket of water into the basin. If the pump doesn't switch on and remove the water, contact a professional to inspect and repair the system.

      Source: Four Seasons Plumbing

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 5 Reasons For Fall and Winter Solar Installations

      23 September 2019

      The season for solar does not end with the summer. According Headline Solar, while many people assume solar panels are only effective on long, sun-filled summer days, installing a solar energy system in the fall and winter can save homeowners money. Jared McKenzie, CEO of Headline Solar, offers the following insights.

      Improved Efficiency = More Power from Less Light
      The quality of solar panels continues to improve exponentially, meaning they can generate more power with every hour of daylight. If the sun is out, even behind clouds, you're generating power. Germany has some of the highest usages of solar power on the planet, but they have long, dark winters. Solar panels produced there are top quality and American homeowners can benefit from that. Plus all electrical systems are more efficient in colder weather.

      When Construction Season Slows, Prices Drop and Permitting Speeds Up
      As long as there is no snow on the roof, a good installer can get a solar system in place. In fact, most workers prefer cooler temps compared to a rooftop in July. Because overall home construction slows in the winter, most municipalities are able to process permits faster in the winter as well. But the biggest benefit to homeowners is that most solar panel installers are less busy in the winter and willing to offer great deals.

      Let It Snow...and Slide Right Off
      If your home and attic are well insulated, snow stays on your roof. That's a good thing. But solar panels are not insulated and in fact generate some heat which means the snow slides right off. And that's a great thing. For overly-eager solar power producers, there are snow rakes and brooms with long extensions that can be used to clear off panels right away and the panels are plenty durable.

      Be Clark Griswold and Let Your Lights Shine
      Summer is certainly the peak electric-use season when air conditioners are running, but most homeowners still use a lot of power in the winter. Shorter days mean you've got the lights on longer. Colder weather means you're inside longer and just want to Netflix and Chill. And if you're that guy who cranks up the holiday lights from Thanksgiving to Valentine's Day, you can certainly cut your electric bill with solar panels in the winter."

      Federal Solar Tax Credit End December 31.
      This is absolutely the number one motivator for winter solar panel installation. The federal government will credit 30 percent of the cost of your solar installation but that offer expires this year. The installation doesn't need to be done by New Year's Day, but the contract needs to be signed and a 5 percent deposit needs to be paid. (Most homeowners finance the rest of the install cost.) This is often about $10,000 in savings, so it's a fantastic Christmas gift to give to yourself.

      Source: Headline Solar

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Bring New Life (and Comfort) to Your Balcony

      20 September 2019

      For condo and apartment dwellers, one of the most important areas of home decor happens once you step outside...to the balcony!

      Not only can a balcony be an important selling feature when it comes time to list your property, it’s a great extension of your living space, offering urban dwellers access to the outdoors, natural light and fresh air. Here are some great suggestions to step up the style factor of your balcony, no matter how tiny it may be.

      - Always have a table and chairs. Don’t think that your balcony is too small for seating. A small, foldable cafe table and two chairs is just enough for morning coffee or a casual meal al fresco, even on the most diminutive balcony.

      - Consider built-in bench seating. A clever, L-shaped banquette or bench on your balcony will allow you to add seating and maximize space. Plus, you’ll never have to worry about high winds blowing your furniture away.

      - Add plants and herbs. Fill your balcony with an assortment of potted plants, flowering shrubs and herbs to create the feel of a backyard, nurture your green thumb, and add a secluded feel. 

      - Choose an outdoor rug. Add color, warmth and style with the addition of an outdoor rug. The rug can play off of your indoor decor scheme to add continuity and help expand your interior space.

      - Hang or mount a light. The right lighting will add ambience and allow you to utilize your balcony far into the evening hours. Consider wall sconces or stylish hanging pendant lamps. For a more casual, fun look, string lights will do the trick.

      - Go for comfort. Just because your balcony is small, doesn’t mean it can’t be an exceedingly comfortable nook. Consider floor pillows, a hanging chair, even a hammock. Have a warm throw at the ready for stargazing or watching the sunrise.

      - Add privacy. If your balcony abuts your neighbor’s place, then a little privacy may be in order. Consider installing a rolling shade made from a weather-proof material or plant a short evergreen border, such as bamboo, boxwood or pine.

      By putting these ideas into action, not only will your balcony look magazine-ready, you’ll actually use it more and enjoy more time outside in this special, personalized oasis you’ve created.

      Source: Architectural Digest

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Steps to Better Sleep for Peak Sports Performance

      20 September 2019

      (Family Features)--While plenty of attention goes into developing skills and talent, other important components that affect an athlete's performance can be overlooked.

      Considering the demands of an athlete's training and game schedule, getting adequate sleep is often an afterthought.

      However, a lack of sleep can significantly affect athletes' performance both on and off the field.

      Sleep quality, efficiency and duration all may decrease just before competition, limiting opportunities for athletes to get the optimal quality and quantity of sleep their bodies need due to intense practice and game schedules, according to research published in "Sports Medicine." 

      The same research found sleep can affect several aspects of an athlete's performance. Skills that require endurance tend to be more affected by sleep deprivation than short-term, high-power activities. Running speed and free throw accuracy improve with more sleep, for example. There is also evidence that getting inadequate sleep increases the risk of injury as sleep deprivation can cause low energy and problems with focus during the game. It may also negatively affect split-second decision-making.  

      Less sleep also means fewer opportunities for natural secretion of the growth hormones that occur in deep sleep and aide restoration, physical performance and a healthy metabolism.

      Athletes can maximize their performance, recovery and overall health with these tips from Mattress Firm's sleep health expert, Dr. Sujay Kansagra:

      - Ensure you are getting between 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Athletes may need additional sleep due to strenuous daytime activity.

      - Keep your wake time and bedtime similar, regardless of your training schedule. Don't wake up early to practice one day and sleep in the next. Try to keep it consistent.

      - If you have trouble falling asleep, avoid workouts late in the evening just before bed.

      - For competitive sports teams that travel across time zones, it's important to try to adjust your circadian rhythm based on the time you will be playing in the new time zone. The goal is to time the game to when circadian rhythm and alertness are at their peaks, in the late morning and late afternoon or evening.

      - As the body works to repair itself during sleep, creating muscle tissue and releasing important hormones, sleeping on the proper mattress can provide support that aids in reducing aches and pains.  

      Source: Mattress Firm

      Published with permission from RISMedia.