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What Millennial Homebuyers Want in a Garage

November 23, 2016 2:09 am

Millennials are the largest generation shaking the housing market, according to research by the National Association of REALTORS. Despite this great news, when compared with the generations that came before them, millennials remain delayed in purchasing their first home. One aspect of homes millennials are particularly interested in is technology. From smart appliances to easy access garages, millennials love the latest gadgets.

For those interested in the latest and greatest in garages, read on for a handful of tips.

Access: Millennials use their phones for more than just communicating. They use them to buy coffee, book exercise classes and directly pay friends and family. Access to the garage should be no different, and with the availability of garage door apps,  homeowners can control entry to the home through their smartphones.

Security and Safety: More than 70 percent of homeowners use the garage as the main access point to the home, making safety and security a top priority when selecting the right home. Through LiftMaster's partnership with Nest Cam, homeowners can have an added security element. With Nest Cam, users can also access a video feed of what's happening in the garage the moment the garage door is activated, allowing for enhanced security and peace-of-mind. Garage safety is also vital – when viewing a potential home or during home inspection, millennials should ensure the garage functions securely and safely.  

Home Control: A connected garage is an easy way to make any home a "smart home." When looking to purchase a home, millennials should examine the capabilities of the garage door opener. Is it Wi-Fi® capable? Is it compatible with technology that controls the lights or thermostat? If not, consider asking the seller to replace the garage door opener with one that is,

Source:  LiftMaster.com.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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UV Rays Inside: Tips for Protecting Your Eyes At Home

November 23, 2016 2:09 am

When it comes to protecting our eyes against harsh, damaging UV rays, most of us think about popping on sunglasses for long days at the beach. However, it's possible to incur UV damage right at home, especially if you have an abundance of wide, bright windows.  According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), nearly half of all eye injuries occur at home.  

Untreated windows protect the eyes from only about 25 percent of damaging UV rays. As the AAO states, continued exposure to UV light raises the risks of many issues for the eyes, from cataracts to cancer.
To battle this, the International Window Film Association (IWFA) suggests consumers have professionally installed window film applied to all of the windows in their homes to protect their family's eyes from the damage caused by UV rays.

Having window film professionally installed on a home's windows can block up to 99 percent of UV rays from entering the home, protecting eyes from damage over time, while at the same time reducing glare and eliminating the need to squint when enjoying the view outside.


While extremely thin and virtually invisible to the eye, window film provides powerful protection without altering the look of a home.  Though it can be tinted in several shades, homeowners can also opt for clear film, which does not alter the view in any way. 

Source: www.iwfa.com.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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City Living Without Sprawl - Downsized Communities Offer Options

November 22, 2016 2:06 am

So you like the idea of popping down the block to a nice jazz club, or grabbing a quick bus or train to a minor league ballpark? I recently discovered why small cities are a big destination for home buyers thanks to WalletHub's in-depth look at 2016’s Best Small Cities in America.

With small cities growing 10 percent faster than the nation as a whole since 2000, WalletHub analysts compared 1,268 U.S. cities with populations between 25,000 and 100,000 using a data set of 30 key metrics ranges from “housing costs” to “school-system quality” to “number of restaurants per capita.”

So what did the Wallethub researchers determine? Here are a few high points:
- The Villages, Fla., has the highest homeownership rate, 96.50 percent, which is 148 times higher than in Fort Hood, Texas, the city with the lowest, 0.65 percent.

- Westfield, N.J., and Holly Springs, N.C., have the lowest percentage of residents below poverty level, 2.20 percent each, which is 24.3 times lower than in Statesboro, Ga., the city with the highest, 53.40 percent.

- Leawood, Kan., has the highest percentage of residents with at least a high school diploma, 99.2 percent, which is 2.6 times higher than in Maywood, Calif., the city with the lowest, 38.2 percent.

- Fort Hood, Texas, has the shortest average commute time, 10.4 minutes, which is 4.1 times shorter than in Waldorf, Md., the city with the longest, 42.9 minutes.

- East Lansing, Mich., has the lowest mean weekly work hours, 27.8, which is 1.8 times lower than in Fort Hood, Texas, the city with the highest, 50.

-Duluth, Ga., has the most coffee shops per 100,000 residents, 194.10, which is 142 times more than in Pharr, Texas, the city with the fewest, 1.37.

-Castle Rock and Parker, Colo., have the lowest percentage of adults reporting fair or poor health, 7.2 percent each, which is 5.3 times lower than in Eagle Pass, Texas, the city with the highest, 38.3 percent.

Source: Wallethub  

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Top Safety Tips for Riding Your Bike at Night

November 22, 2016 2:06 am

Are you a bike enthusiast? Long work days may mean you're hitting the pedals at night. Below are a handful of safety tips for all of you night riders.

Plan your routes. For night riding, pick spots with features that enhance night rides: slow traffic, bike lanes and street lights are a must. And although you don't want to ride on a busy street, try to find spots that are somewhat well traversed; you don't end up all alone on a deserted trail with a flat tire or worse.

Get the right lights. Lights are key for safe night riding. Make sure you have a bright red light on the back of your bike (this will help ward off rear-ends) and front lights to warn oncoming drivers.

Slow down. Sure, you may love the wind in your hair as you whip down a dark city street. But speedy riding is more likely to end in an accident, especially when you're riding in the dark, so navigate slow and steady and you'll reach your destination safely.

Reflect. Sure, you may feel dorky wearing one of those reflector vests, but a safe dork is far better off than a squashed cool kid. In addition to wearing reflectors on your person, install them on your spokes, and the back and front of your bike.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Make A Big Impression By Cooking Small For Thanksgiving?

November 21, 2016 2:03 am

If cooking small on what is arguably the biggest food holiday of the year seems like an exercise in culinary futility, I have tapped several noted sources who will tell singles and small intimate Thanksgiving hosts otherwise.

At finecooking.com, Tom Douglas writes that smaller turkeys are easier to cook than 25-pound behemoths, and their meat is more likely to stay moist while the skin crisps up nicely. In fact, Douglas says even if you’re cooking for a large group, you’re better off roasting two medium turkeys than the biggest turkey you can find.
He prefers about a 12-pound turkey rubbed with smoked paprika and toasted fennel seeds, then roasted over a bed of onions, which become the base of a flavorful gravy.

And finally, Douglas prefers not to truss his turkeys or chickens so the heat circulates better - and don’t forget to let your roasted bird rest 10 to 20 minutes before carving to give the juices time to settle.

Emma Christensen at thekitchn.com reassures those hankering for a scaled-down feast, that it is doable. Her favorite alternative recipes for two to four people include:

Rolled Turkey Breast with Sausage Pecan Stuffing - The turkey breast by itself cooks much more quickly than the whole turkey, plus it stays moist and tender in a dish like this.

• Roasted Corn Pudding in Acorn Squash - One half for you, the other half for your guest.

• Kale and Ricotta Salata - this recipe offers fresh flavors to create a nice balance to heavier holiday dishes.

• Fingerling Potatoes with Chives and Parsley - Teeny fingerlings are perfect for a small-sized meal.

At seriouseats.com, Maggie Hoffman is pitching openers like shucked oysters, and is also a fan of the turkey breast versus the whole bird. She dresses it with an earthy, mushroomy gravy that starts with good homemade turkey stock, and is flavored with dried porcini mushrooms and a little sherry for added savory flavor.

Hoffman also suggests a side of uncooked cranberry relish with orange zest and apple, that can be whipped up in the food processor a few days in advance. And she says it's also fantastic on a leftover-turkey sandwich.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Refinishing Your Kitchen Cabinets: Paint vs. Stains

November 21, 2016 2:03 am

So you've got new kitchen cabinets. Congratulations! But now what? For those wondering how to finish their brand spanking new cabinets, we run down the pros and cons of painting vs. staining—the two most popular finishing avenues.

Pros for paint
- It's flawless. Regardless of the color you choose, painting your cabinets covers up any quirks or blemishes in the natural wood, which can often be magnified by staining.

- Your color choices are endless. When it comes to picking a paint, the world is your multi-colored oyster. Get crazy and really customize the look and feel of your cabinets.

- Paint sticks to lower quality materials. If your cabinets are not made of wood (think particle board), paint is your BFF. It sticks to these materials just as well as higher grade wood options, and no one but you will know the difference.

Cons for paint
- It looks more uniform. Remember those natural quirks we mentioned? Well you may not want to cover these up. If you're looking for a more natural, country vibe that highlights those stunning features like grain and knots, opt for a stain over a paint.

- It's pricey. While not too expensive in the grand scheme, paint is more expensive than a stain, so if budget is a concern, take heed.

- Harder to touch up. Even if you can't find an exact match for your cabinet color, when you're working with stain, odds are you'll have better luck blending touch-ups in stain than with picky paint.

Source: Houzz

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Must-Read Financial Tips for First-Time Parents

November 21, 2016 2:03 am

So a babe is on the way? Congrats! Along with the chaos of, well, everything that is to come, your finances are soon to get an upheaval as well. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it will cost upwards of $245,000 to raise a child born in 2013 to the age of 18 – and this does not include college. Feeling that bank account burn already? Below are 5 tips for rocking your budget as a new mom or dad.

1. Tweak the budget. Your new little one is going to cost a pretty penny. From hospital costs to diapers and child care, budgetary stress is an added strain on you as a new mom or dad. Look for any un-necessaries you can slash to make room for more baby dollars. The more prepared you are, the better.

2. Track your spending. Don't just make that budget and set it aside. Set a monthly meeting with your spouse to look over your spending, make sure you're on track, and identify any problem areas or potential saving pockets.

3. Learn your tax credits. I bet you didn't see this one coming. Being a parent has some advantages at tax time, so talk to your tax professional about the child tax credit, the earned-income tax credit (EITC), and the child and dependent-care credit, all of which can save you mad money come tax tie.

4. Automate, automate, automate. Not only can automation help you avoid bouncing bills, but by having money withdrawn from your account, you can pad up your savings, too. Figure out how much you can part with every month and automatically squirrel it away into an emergency savings account, a college savings account, or both.

5. Set financial goals. While creating a budget and savings plan is great, setting goals for your family can help you stay on track. Looking to have a set amount in a college account by the time your kid hits 18? Do the math and decide how much you need to save monthly to hit it. Is an annual family vacation a must for connecting? Figure out how to stash some cash for that, and then make it happen. Don't forget to be realistic (a tour of Europe with a two-year-old wouldn't be that fun, anyway), and forgive yourself if it takes some time to get on track.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Keeping Kids Active in Cooler Temperatures

November 18, 2016 1:57 am

(Family Features)--As the weather gets colder, it can be harder to motivate kids to step away from their computers and devices and get off the couch. However, it’s essential for kids to participate in active play all year round. According to research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, regular physical activity helps build and maintain healthy bones and muscles, promotes psychological well-being and reduces feelings of depression and anxiety.

Sadly, physical activity is becoming less of a priority in kids’ daily routines. A recent survey conducted by Let’s Play, an initiative from Dr Pepper Snapple Group to make active play a daily priority, found that 64 percent of parents said busy schedules stand in the way of more active play for their children, up from 56 percent in 2015.

Each season brings its own opportunities for play, and fall is no exception. Families can beat the cold weather blues and stay active together by trying some of the following activities:

Plan a nature walk to find inspiration and materials for art. Even though it’s chilly outside, your family can still get out and enjoy the outdoors. Bundle up and take a nature hike with your kids around the neighborhood or at a local, national or state park. Encourage your kids to collect items like pinecones, acorns and leaves as you go and to be on the lookout for wildlife to observe. After the hike, take out art and craft supplies and help them create projects with the items they found.

Plan an indoor scavenger hunt. When a really cold day comes along, send your kids on a fun and active scavenger hunt around the house, searching for items that you can hide in advance. Work together as a family to locate the items or create some friendly family competition to see who can find all the items first. Having the family move around the house with a mission prevents the temptation of staying on the couch in front of the television all day.

Join a class or indoor sports team. Whether you are playing a favorite sport or learning a new one, it is always more fun with other people. Longer stretches of active play are often more likely to occur with friends or siblings. Sign your children up for an indoor sport or class they have never tried before, such as gymnastics, rock climbing, swimming or dance. This allows your children to learn something new, meet kids their age and be active for an extended period of time.

Volunteer. While giving back is always in season, this time of year is a perfect opportunity to teach kids about giving back to those in need and being grateful for what they have. Sign the whole family up to volunteer at a local soup kitchen, participate in a toy drive for a children’s hospital or help out at an animal rescue shelter. Your children will not only be active, but will also grow emotionally, socially and intellectually as a result.

Source: LetsPlay.com

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Pull Your Holiday Table Together with a Tablescape

November 17, 2016 1:57 am

With the holidays looming, many are busy planning their holiday home décor. One decoration often overlooked is the tablescape – the decoration of your holiday table.

These top tips can help you pull together a festive tablescape this holiday season.

Think about the centerpiece: The centerpiece can tie the full look together. Fill a lantern with pumpkins, go for fall florals, or add a table runner to add various sizes of pumpkins lining the table.  

Create the look based on atmosphere: Think through all the details including where you will eat, who will attend, and how big of a crowd you'll host. You can still have a dinner al fresco with Edison bulbs or have a formal dinner for a larger group with stylish, party dinnerware that looks like the real deal. 

Expand décor beyond the table: Spreading leaves on a side table, adding candles and other thematic décor throughout the house can make decorations cohesive.

Themes don't need to be traditional: If you're going for different look this holiday season, At Home offers its Grateful Shores line – complete with driftwood and pumpkin decor that have a nautical twist.

Source: http://www.athome.com/.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Four Steps for Downsizing Your Home

November 17, 2016 1:57 am

(Family Features)--For one reason or another, you’ve determined the house you’re living in has become too much to handle. Seniors, empty nesters or those moving from a suburban home into a loft or apartment in the city all face similar challenges when it comes to downsizing.

For example, after Judy Raphael’s husband was diagnosed with dementia and moved to a nursing home, it became difficult for her to take care of her large house the couple had lived in for 23 years. At first, Raphael tried to maintain the house by herself, but things started to pile up and soon the house was in need of serious repairs.

“There were a lot of unknowns on what was wrong in the house – from mildew and mold to the driveway that needed to be replaced, the list goes on,” Raphael said.

When it comes to downsizing your living space, you can start preparing with these steps.

Determine what’s next. Think about what type of lifestyle you want to live moving forward, but take into account how much space you’ll actually need to accommodate that life. Whether it’s a smaller house or alternate option like an apartment or townhome, the first step is to decide what you’re looking for in your next living space. This can also help you figure out what items will move with you and what will need to be sold, donated, thrown away or left behind.

Assess what you actually need. Now that you’ve determined that downsizing is your best option, you’ll need to figure out what size, space and things you need. Maybe there’s a pile of stuff collecting dust in your attic or basement that can be sold or donated, or maybe you believe you can move all of your belongings into a more compact area. Either way, a downsize means going through storage spaces, closets and room in your home to determine what stays behind and what goes with you.

Sell your home. Raphael knew she needed to fix the house before it would be considered sellable, but knew she could not manage it alone. Working with a reputable real estate brokerage will help you sell your home faster, and with ease.

Stay organized during the move. You’ve now spent a ton of time and energy going through old things and boxing up possessions for the big move – don’t let that time go to waste by allowing your organization to fall apart on move-in day. Make sure you store items in places that make sense, going room-by-room in an organized fashion.

Source: homevestors.com.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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