Real Estate News

    • A Nutritious and Delicious Kale Salad Recipe

      3 February 2023

      Kale is the nutrient king of leafy greens. It’s filled with an abundance of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which provide you with a plethora of sustained health benefits. Though in itself, kale can be bitter in taste, it works as a wonderful, crunchy salad base. 

      Looking for a salad that’s rich in nutrients and in flavor? Look no further. This simple and delicious salad will sustain you throughout the day. Pack it for lunch on the go, or serve your friends and family. 

      Yield: 4 servings 
      Preparation Time: Approximately 45 minutes

      • 10 oz (approximately one bag) of shredded kale 
      • 15 oz can of chickpeas
      • 1 large or 3 small sweet potatoes 
      • 1 avocado 
      • 1 white onion 
      • Paprika 
      • Cumin 
      • Garlic Powder
      • Salt 
      • Pepper 
      • Olive Oil 
      • Honey 
      • Optional: Grilled Chicken 
      Let’s Get Cookin!

      Step 1: 
      Roast the Chickpeas
      Preheat the oven to 420°F. Using a strainer, drain the chickpeas. Drizzle with olive oil. Season with paprika, cumin, garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste. The chickpeas should be well-coated in seasoning. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 30-45 mins, or until crunchy. 
      Pro Tip! Broil the chickpeas for the last 2 mins of their baking time to make them extra crispy. The broil setting is very hot so be sure not to forget about them. 

      Step 2: 
      Roast the Sweet Potato 
      Dice the sweet potato into small cubes. Drizzle with olive oil and season with paprika, cumin, garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste. The sweet potatoes should be well coated. Place on a baking sheet. Set the baking sheet on the rack below the chickpeas. Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until nice and crispy. 

      Step 3: 
      Prepare Your Ingredients
      While the chickpeas and sweet potatoes are roasting, rinse your kale and place into a large salad bowl. Cut avocado in half, dice and add to the kale. Dice your onion and add to the bowl. 

      Step 4: 
      Combine and Enjoy!
      Once the chickpeas and sweet potatoes are sufficiently crispy, remove them from the oven and let cool. Once cooled, add to the salad. You may also add grilled chicken if you’d like an added protein punch! Drizzle with honey, serve and enjoy! 

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 3 Things New Homeowners Don't Know

      3 February 2023

      Becoming a new homeowner is an exciting milestone. It can also be an overwhelming process full of decision-making, seemingly endless paperwork and new responsibilities. When the dust settles and you officially sign for your new home, your work doesn’t end there. Many new homeowners don’t realize these important things. Don’t be caught unaware, be sure you understand these important tips.

      Your Insurance Needs to Be Updated
      Your home loan likely will require you to have adequate insurance on your house itself. This guarantees that in the event of an unpredictable situation, your lender will be protected. After all, if your house burns in a fire and is uninsured, the owner is unlikely to pay off the loan. 

      However, this is not all you need. If you and a partner purchased the home together, you will need to look into an updated life insurance policy. In the event of a death, the other person must be able to continue house payments, and the correct life insurance policy can help make that possible. Consult a financial advisor to see how you can best prepare for the unexpected.

      You Should Hone Your Handyman Skills
      Between maintenance tasks, small updates, and routine fixes, you will likely spend a lot of cash if you don’t learn how to DIY a few projects as a homeowner. Be sure you know your way around basic tools, and make certain you understand what annual maintenance needs to be completed to keep your home in its top form.

      Shadow a friend or family member as they complete odd jobs around their home. Be willing to help them and you may learn some skills and get a worker the next time you need assistance. If this isn’t an option, or you have a specific task you need to learn, consider signing up for a class at your local hardware store.

      You Should Keep Your Renovation Receipts
      While general repairs do not count, update and renovation costs to increase your home's basis. This means if you keep the receipts for any improvements to your home, you could find yourself saving some funds when you go to sell your home. This is because money spent on capital improvements can help lower your tax bill when you sell your home. Consult a tax professional to navigate this process. A higher cost basis reduces your total profit (or capital gain) and will result in paying fewer taxes at the time the seller purchases. For this reason, you will want to be sure to keep those receipts and save! 

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Tips for Comparing Homeowners Insurance Costs

      3 February 2023

      When you purchase a home, one of the first tasks you need to take on is finding the right homeowner’s insurance. Though this can be an overwhelming and time consuming experience, it is important that you are getting the best coverage that fits your budget. Shopping around is imperative, and this is something you should never stop doing, whether you just bought your first home or have been paying your mortgage for over 30 years. Here are some tips that you should keep in mind when comparing home insurance prices. 

      Read Your Existing Policy
      If you already have a home insurance policy, it is critical that you know what your current terms are, as your needs may have changed over the years. Also, each year, your renewal terms can change, premiums can go up and limits may have adjusted. Pull out the most up-to-date version of your policy and figure out what you are currently paying and the coverage you are limited to. Be sure to note your premium, deductibles, personal property coverage, riders (or extra policies that were not initially included in your coverage) and your sub-limits. 

      If you live in an area where you need additional coverage, such as flood, tornado or hurricane coverage, be sure to review these policies and their associated costs. It is important to factor in all add-ons, including coverage for fine art and other unique personal property, before you start comparing costs from other companies. 

      Shop Your Options 
      You may go into this shopping excursion simply looking for the best price, however, that should not be your only limit. For example, if you find a policy that is offering costs half the price of a competitor, it is important to read exactly why that is. Some insurance companies offer options such as managed repair programs, which offer major discounts on your coverage to allow the insurance company to send out their own contractors to do repairs. Though this may sound enticing, the discount you receive from the jump may not be as enticing when they hold control of the claim and decide how certain damage can be defined. At the end of the day, their only goal is to pay out as little as possible, and removing your leverage helps them, and costs you more in the long run. 

      A specifically important limitation to be aware of is water damage. A large majority of claims on homeowner’s insurance policies have something to do with a water leak or burst pipe. Many policies that offer big discounts often limit water damage coverage, which can become financially devastating very quickly for a homeowner. Even if you have to pay a little more than you would for a policy with these restrictions, it will save you big down the road if you need to make a serious claim.

      What Does Enough Coverage Mean to You?
      The key to finding the right coverage at a low price is to pay close attention to the benefits of your policy. Details, such as home features and personal property valuation, are varied and weighed differently across the board. Be sure you know the replacement value of your items through appraisals and receipts. 

      If you have made or plan to make a major upgrade to your home, such as adding a pool to your property, you have to understand what coverage is right for you and your family. 

      Your credit score will also play a huge part in determining your insurance costs, so before you sign and commit to a price you were quoted, make sure you understand what you need to do, such as improving these numbers, to get a better quote. Consider bundling your home insurance policy with auto, life or umbrella insurance for even bigger savings. 

      For more information, and if you have any questions about home insurance policies and price comparisons, talk to your financial advisor or an insurance agent. And before you sign up for a cheaper policy just to save some extra bucks, be sure that the coverage offered will protect you, your home and your bank account down the road. 

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Foods That Can Help You to a Better Night's Sleep

      2 February 2023

      Whether from work worries, other stressors or just a too-busy to-do list, everyone has trouble sleeping from time to time. But nutritionists tell us that making the right food choices can help us get a better night’s snooze. Try upping your intake of these common vittles and see if your sleep quality improves.

      • Bananas - Besides its big helping of potassium, the humble banana offers a good amount of vitamin B6. Eating one before bedtime can boost brain-calming levels of serotonin.
      • Salmon - The vitamin D and omega-3s found in salmon is another way to increase the production of soothing serotonin. It’s best eaten no more than twice a week, however, because of concerns about the mercury it may contain.
      • Almonds and Brazil Nuts - Both are packed with magnesium, which can enhance levels of sleep-regulating melatonin. A study reported by the National Library of Medicine reported a 10% drop in the number of students reporting insomnia after eating 10 almonds a day for 14 days.  
      • Crab - Low dietary intake of the mineral selenium has been linked with difficulty nodding off. Eating more crab meat is one way of getting your selenium fix, plus crucial sleep nutrients like calcium and vitamin B6.
      • Soy Foods - Greater intake of isoflavones, found in soy products such as tofu, are linked with higher chances of getting optimal sleep. Just one daily portion of soy, which could be tofu, a glass of soy milk or a serving of edamame, made it more likely people got enough snooze time.
      • Butter Beans - Also known as lima beans, and delicious in soups or salads, these humble beans contain phosphorus, magnesium and vitamin B6, making them a powerhouse when it comes to inducing better sleep.
      • Cottage Cheese - Cottage cheese on crackers or crispbread is an ideal bedtime snack, providing a balance of tryptophan for initiating serotonin and melatonin formation and carbohydrate, needed to transport this amino acid into the brain.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • The Ultimate Kitchen Design Guide

      2 February 2023

      Even if you're working closely with an interior designer or a kitchen design firm, understanding what goes into a kitchen design is an integral part of the process. Before working with a design professional, it’s helpful for you to understand the different components that go into the planning stages of designing a kitchen to ensure the process is as seamless as possible. If you have a kitchen redesign planned soon, read on to learn more about everything that goes into a kitchen design project.

      Make a List of What You Want
      Assess your current kitchen, and make a list of all the missing features and functions. For example, if you entertain often, perhaps you need an additional prep sink or a second dishwasher. Or, if you love getting the newest kitchen appliance, you may need extra storage to conceal these larger appliances. If you have a busy household, maybe you need warming drawers built-in to the cabinetry to keep everyone’s meals warm. Or, if your family tends to gather around the island, perhaps you need more creative seating options. Whatever you feel like your kitchen is missing, write it down. It’s easier to scale back than add to your list once the design process begins.

      Set the Budget
      No matter how high-end your kitchen is, every project has a budget. This will make the project easier to design and implement, giving your designer better insight into selecting materials. Plumbing, electric, appliances, materials and labor all go into the kitchen design budget. To cover any unexpected costs, it’s wise to build in an extra 10-20% into your overall budget.

      Visualize the Layout
      While your design professional will create the layout for you, it’s your job to thoroughly think through how you use your kitchen. For example, if you and your partner like to cook together, you’ll need ample space for two cooks. If you have younger children who like to be in the kitchen with you, you’ll require plenty of room to move around. The working triangle is a long-standing guide to laying out the kitchen. This means the sink, refrigerator and oven range are in a triangular shape and help create a more seamless cooking experience. 

      Factor in Lighting
      Don’t let lighting become an afterthought. As you plan the layout and cabinetry design, consider where you want light sources. For example, you’ll likely want recessed lighting in the ceiling in addition to pendants over the island. You may also want to include sconces and picture lights into your design to add a visual element.

      Think Through the Creative
      Gathering as many inspirational photos as possible is the best first step to take so you can start to shape your kitchen’s design vision. Whether you prefer white, colored or natural wood cabinetry, selecting the cabinet color is the best place to begin to determine your kitchen's design aesthetic. The cabinet color will help guide your decisions on the wall color, flooring, the countertop material and shade, the backsplash material, the hardware finish and the lighting options. 

      Published with permission from RISMedia.