Consumer Real Estate News

    • Tips for Managing Caregiver Stress

      19 July 2018

      (Family Features)--Stress can affect anyone and caregivers may find themselves faced with additional stressors. To help manage stress and avoid caregiver burnout, keep these tips from the Alzheimer's Foundation of America in mind:

      - Maintain a positive attitude
      - Be flexible and accept the circumstances
      - Be honest and open about your feelings
      - Take it one day at a time
      - Get a good night's sleep
      - Incorporate stress management techniques, such as meditation or deep breathing, as well as exercise into your daily routine
      - Drink plenty of water and eat a healthful diet full of fruits and vegetables
      - Set realistic goals and go slow

      Getting Help with Caregiving
      Everyone needs a break from time to time, even caregivers. Look into respite programs for a chance to care for yourself. Types of respite include:

      Home Care
      - Home care is often initiated by a doctor's order or hospital stay and administered by medical professionals who come into the home and help with personal care and housekeeping functions.
      - Medicare covers some home health services.

      Adult Day Programs
      - Social-model programs offer stimulation, socialization and therapeutic activities in a community-based group setting and often include meals.
      - Medical-model programs (adult day health care programs), offer health-based services as well as social activities in a group setting.
      - Some programs include assistance with activities of daily living and transportation.
      - Adult day services charge per hour and may be covered under some long-term care insurance policies.
      - Medicaid covers some adult day health programs.

      Facility-Based Respite
      - Provide a short stay for your loved one in a nursing home or another facility
      - Facilities typically charge for each day your loved one is in their care.
      - Medicare or Medicaid may cover some costs of an inpatient facility.

      Family and Friends
      - Identify responsible family members and friends who can lend a hand in providing supervision for your loved one and create a rotating care schedule, if possible.
      - Enlist the help of family members living in different states by assigning them tasks such as legal or financial paperwork.

      Source: Alzheimer's Foundation of America

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Put Your Home Equity to Good Use

      19 July 2018

      With home values enjoying a steady rise over the past several years, most Americans have witnessed a return of home equity, and many are leveraging that equity toward other important financial goals.

      A recent study by LendingTree, which assessed home equity loan requests since the start of 2018, tracked six uses for home equity loans: home improvement; debt consolidation; retirement income; investment property; emergency funds; and other uses. The research revealed some interesting findings about how homeowners are using their equity:

      Home improvement is the No. 1 reason for taking a home equity loan. According to the study, 43 percent of respondents reported requesting a home equity loan for home improvement purposes.

      Real estate investors borrow the largest amount. Borrowers who were looking to invest in another property had the highest property values and requested loan amounts. For property investments, borrowers requested an average of $103,625.

      For non-property investments, which likely include small businesses, borrowers requested $80,241.

      Just over 1 percent of requests were to fund retirement. This group had the highest average age of 63, 12 years above the next highest average age.

      A small share accessed their home equity for emergency expenses. This group had the lowest loan amount requested of $35,747 and kept their (loan to value) LTV low at 51 percent.

      Debt consolidators push the limits on LTV. Borrowers looking to consolidate debt had the highest LTV of 74 percent.

      If you’re looking to take advantage of your home equity, talk to a local real estate professional to find out the current value of your home. You may find it’s the right time to put your home on the market and move up to the larger home or new neighborhood you’ve been eyeing.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Money Matters: Tips for Resetting Your Personal Finances

      19 July 2018

      Whether you are just setting out with savings, or hoping to beef up your portfolio, below are tips from the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. about how you can reboot your personal finances.

      Track your Money: Are you keeping track of money that's coming in and going out? In today's digital age, enlist the help of apps to make this process easier.

      Check/Repair Credit: As we approach the one-year anniversary of the Equifax data breach, make sure your credit is in good standing. If you notice any suspicious changes, be persistent when correcting your report.

      Evaluate Insurance Policies: Don't wait for disaster to strike. Be proactive and evaluate if the policy in place is the best for your current situation.

      Consolidate Accounts: By combining your accounts, the resulting higher balance may avoid fees and even help you get a better deal. Not to mention, it will help streamline your finances.

      Review Retirement: Have you calculated your retirement number? If not, it can't hurt to boost your retirement contributions in order to boost your savings when you do decide to retire.

      Manage Investments: As market volatility increases and the second quarter ends, it is the perfect time for long-term investors to rebalance their accounts.

      Source: Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • How New Homeowners Can Save Money

      18 July 2018

      Crossing the threshold to your first home is one of the most exciting moments in a young person’s life... until that first mortgage payment is due. Then the heating bill. And the electric. And the taxes. Let’s face it. Homeownership can be pricey, especially when you’re a newbie.

      For those still adjusting to the new financial responsibilities that come with homeownership, there are lots of easy ways to save money by cutting back on some of the expenditures you didn’t think twice about as a renter. Try some of the following ideas, and start building a cushion for home maintenance, new furniture, or adding on a deck.

      Set a budget for groceries. Instead of running to the store to pick up whatever you need as you may have done in the past, now’s the time to set a budget for groceries and stick to it. Stock up on low-cost staples to build meals around, like rice, beans and pasta, then add in fresh meats, fish, fruits and veggies each week. Opt for store brands over pricier name brands, shop store sales and use coupons.

      Walk, bike or use public transportation. Save money on gas and Uber, and walk or bike as much as possible, or use public transportation. This will be healthy for you, your wallet and the environment.

      Have fun at home. If you were in the habit of frequenting trendy restaurants or spending weekends out on the town, now’s a good time to scale that back to one night a week. This doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice fun, however. Cook at home and have a romantic dinner for two, or invite friends for a potluck. Have a game night or a movie night. Or, seek out free or low-cost entertainment in your new neighborhood, such as concerts in the local park, craft fairs or free days at the museum. Not only will this get you out of the house, you’ll start meeting the new neighbors as well.

      DIY fitness. If you’d been investing in pricey gym memberships or exercise classes, you can save a lot of money by taking fitness into your own hands. A vast array of apps and YouTube videos can guide you through very effective at-home workouts, or take advantage of the great outdoors and walk, hike, run, bike, swim… whatever your area lends itself to.

      Saving money is easier than you think - and can actually open the door to a more enjoyable way of life. And the nest egg you’ll start building will help make you a smarter, happier homeowner.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Storm Safety: 10 Outdoor Power Equipment Questions

      18 July 2018

      Whether a storm is on its way or you're just doing your due diligence, there are many things you'll need to do before you power up that outdoor equipment, especially if you haven't used it in a while.

      OPEI offers ten questions for home and business owners to ask when planning ahead:

      What equipment will you need during and after a storm? Survey your property. Consider the damage a storm might cause and make a list of what tools might be needed to weather the storm or make repairs afterwards. You might need a chainsaw, pole pruner, generator, or UTV. Take time to think through a strategy for clean-up efforts.

      What outdoor power equipment do you already have and what condition is it in? Make sure equipment is in good working order. If needed, take your equipment to an authorized service center for maintenance or repair.

      Where is your safety gear for operating the equipment? Avoid the scramble for sturdy shoes, safety goggles, hard hats, reflective clothing, flashlights with working batteries and work gloves. Round them up now and store them in an accessible area with your equipment.

      Did you review the owner's manuals for your equipment? Know your machine. The key is to read and understand the owner's manual. The same kind of machine will vary by manufacturer. Read product manuals to ensure you know how to operate your equipment safely. If you don't have the printed manuals on hand, you can look them up online. Save an electronic version to your computer for reference.

      Do you have the right fuel on hand for your outdoor power equipment? Fuel stations may be closed after a storm, so it's important to have the proper fuel for your equipment. Store your fuel in an approved container. Use the type of fuel recommended by your equipment manufacturer. It is illegal to use any fuel with more than 10 percent ethanol in outdoor power equipment (for more information on proper fueling for outdoor power equipment visit

      Do you know basic safety precautions? There are some fundamental safety tips everyone should follow year-round. For instance, observe the safety zone, which means keeping bystanders and power lines (those above you and any that might have fallen down) at least 50 feet away from your work area. Also, if using a chainsaw, understand kickback, which may happen when the moving chain at the tip of the guide bar touches an object, or when the wood closes in and pinches the saw chain in the cut. Always stand with your weight on both feet, and adjust your stance so you are angled away from the blade. Hold the chainsaw with both hands. Never over-reach or cut anything above your shoulder height. Always have a planned retreat path if something falls.

      If using a portable generator, do you know how to use it safely and have a place outside for it to run? Generators should never be used in an enclosed area or placed inside a home or garage, even if the windows or doors are open. Place the generator outside and away from windows, doors, and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors. It should have plenty of ventilation. Keep the generator dry and do not use it in rainy or wet conditions. Before refueling, turn the generator off and let it cool down.

      If you have a UTV (Utility Task Vehicle), do all operators in your home know how to drive it with caution? It's important that anyone operating the vehicle know how to follow safety procedures. Keep the vehicle stable and drive slowly. Do not turn the vehicle mid-slope or while on a hill.

      Do you know how to safely use a pump to remove water after a flood? Never operate a centrifugal pump without water in the pump casing. A self-priming pump creates a partial vacuum by purging air from the intake hose and pump casing. All self-priming pumps require water to be added to the pump casing to start the priming process.

      Is everyone in your home or business aware of safety procedures when outdoor power equipment is in use? Keep bystanders, children and animals out of your work area. Do not allow other people near outdoor power equipment when starting the equipment or using it.


      Published with permission from RISMedia.