Consumer Real Estate News

    • 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 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.

    • New Parents: Tips for Baby Safety

      20 September 2019

      For all parents, keeping your children safe is always top-of-mind. But for new parents with their first child, the untraversed terrain of childcare can feel rife with safety concerns. To help, Happiest Baby offers the following safety tips.

      - Don't share a bed with your infant. More than 3,500 babies in the U.S. die suddenly and unexpectedly every year while sleeping, among those who die before the end of their 3rd month, 70 percent die in bed with their parents.

      - Careful where you put your baby to sleep!  No's include living room furniture, inclined rockers, car seats and swings. New statistics say room-sharing can lower the risk of SIDS by as much as 50 percent. It's easier to keep an eye on your baby, comfort, and feed him.

      - Lose the loose blankets, bumper pads, quilts, pillows and toys. Bulky bedding is a very real suffocation risk.

      - Babies should rest/sleep on their backs.  About 50 percent of babies who die in their sleep are on the stomach at the time of death.  Until at least 6 months, babies should only sleep on the back – for naps and at night. We know babies who sleep on their stomachs are 3-4 times more likely to die.  Some parents worry that babies will choke when on their backs, but that's almost unheard of. That's because the baby's airway anatomy and a simple turn of the head prevent that from happening.

      - Snugly swaddle baby so that they cannot turn over! Some babies calm immediately with swaddling, but many resist and may actually cry louder initially. But remember, most doctors warn to stop swaddling once the baby is beginning to roll over, usually at 2-3 months of age.

      Source: Happiest Baby

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 10 Secrets of the Millionaire Next Door

      19 September 2019

      We’ve all heard the stories: the hotel maid or shoemaker who put three kids through college - or died and left a fortune to charity. Where did the money come from? 

      While $1 million may not buy what it once did, the goal is reachable, suggest the editors at Kiplinger, the personal finance magazine, who offer 10 secrets about “the millionaire next door” that could determine whether you can someday be one of them:

      Most millionaires are self-made. They weren’t born into money, but worked hard and smart to become millionaires.

      Most millionaires don’t have advanced degrees. Some 74 percent have an undergraduate degree, but only 18 percent have a Master’s, while only eight percent have a law degree and six percent became physicians.
      However, those with advanced degrees earn more than those with undergrad degrees and undergrads earn more than those with a high school diploma.

      Millionaires are smart savers. They know that, thanks to the magic of compounding, a 20-year old who begins saving $200 per month will be worth more than $1 million at retirement. 

      Most millionaires have limited knowledge about investing. They take professional advice and they do invest, but 78 percent say they still have a lot to learn about investing.

      There are more millionaires in America now than in 2006. There are 7.7 million U.S. households with more than $1 million in investable assets today than there were before the Great Recession. That’s because as stocks recovered, so did their portfolios.

      Millionaires hail from across the job spectrum. No matter where you work or how much you work, the key to millionaire status is saving, millionaires agree.

      Making millionaire status costs more as you age. The longer you wait to start saving, the less money you will amass. A 45-year old would need to save $20,400 a year to hit $1 million by age 65.

      A majority of today’s millionaires live in Silicon Valley. Although topping the list of small cities with a lot of millionaires is the resort town of Summit Park, Utah.

      Millionaires still worry about retirement. That’s why they continue to save and invest.

      Money doesn’t buy happiness. A Princeton University study confirmed most people are happier as they earn more, but that levels off. Someone making $300,000 a year is not necessarily happier about his or her life than someone making $75,000.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • School-Year Safety Tips

      19 September 2019

      While we encourage our kids to pay attention, study hard and make friends at school, we may neglect to properly guide them on how to stay safe each day. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission offers the following primer on some of the common safety issues children encounter during the school year, and how we can advise them to be careful.

      Distracted walking. While distracted driving has become a term we’re all familiar with, distracted walking is also a real concern. For the five-year period from 2014-2018, there were an estimated 6,500 ER-treated injuries associated with walking-while-texting. Remind kids to keep their heads up and avoid texting or talking on the phone while walking, especially near traffic and cross walks.

      Bicycles: From fractures to contusions and lacerations, there were an estimated annual average of 154,200 ER-treated bicycle injuries from 2016 to 2018, for children under the age of 16 years old. Insist that children who are biking, skateboarding or riding a scooter to school wear a helmet.

      Playgrounds: Each year there are more than 230,000 injuries associated with playgrounds.  Have children leave necklaces and clothing with drawstrings at home to reduce choking hazards.

      Backpacks: From 2016-2018 there were an estimated annual average of 7,400 kids under 19 years old who were treated in emergency rooms for injuries related to backpacks. If your child is complaining about back pain, make sure their backpack isn’t too heavy and discuss ways they can lighten the load, such as online textbooks.  

      Published with permission from RISMedia.