Consumer Real Estate News


    • How to Prevent Accidental Poisonings

      16 July 2020

      Household chemicals and medicines can be useful and beneficial, but they can also be extremely dangerous. Accidental poisonings are common, especially among children, who are curious and may not understand the dangers around them. It only takes a second for a child to ingest a toxic substance, which can cause irreparable harm or lead to death. Many poisonings can be prevented by taking precautions.

      Use and Store Chemicals Safely
      When you finish using chemicals, put them away immediately. Make sure lids are screwed on tight. Store containers in a cabinet that children can’t reach or that has a child-proof lock. If you store chemicals in the garage or in a shed, keep them locked up.

      Keep household cleaners, pesticides and other chemicals in their original containers. If you pour a chemical into another container, someone else might not take the time to look at the label, and a child who can’t read won’t know what the substance is.

      Don’t mix chemicals. Two substances that are safe on their own can become extremely dangerous when combined. Even if no one ingests the mixture, toxic gases can cause harm.

      Avoid Medication Mistakes
      Ask the pharmacy to supply medications in bottles with child-resistant caps. Read warning labels on prescriptions, especially if you’re taking a drug for the first time. Put medicine away after the person who needs it takes a dose.

      Don’t share prescription medicines with others. Even if you have the same medical condition, the other person may require a different dose or may take another medication that could be dangerous when combined with your prescription.

      Follow dosage instructions carefully for both prescription and over-the-counter medicines. Don’t take medicine at higher doses or take doses more frequently than recommended. That won’t make you get better faster, but it can make you sick.

      Only give your kids medications designed for children. If you have questions, consult your pediatrician.

      Kids often resist taking medicine, so many parents try to make it more appealing by calling it “candy.” The problem with that strategy is that a child may like the taste of the medicine and take more when you aren’t around, which can lead to an overdose. Explain in simple, age-appropriate terms that the medicine will make your child feel better, but don’t call it candy.

      Get rid of any unused or expired medications. Contact the pharmacy to find out how to dispose of them. Your community may collect expired medications at designated times and places.

      Know How to Prevent Poisonings and What to Do If One Occurs
      Accidental poisonings can often be prevented by recognizing potential dangers and taking precautions. Be particularly careful if you have kids or if children come to visit. If you suspect that you or someone else has been poisoned, seek help immediately. If the person is unconscious and is not breathing, call 911. If the person is awake and alert, call the national Poison Helpline at 1-800-222-1222.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Why You Should Install Carbon Monoxide Detectors

      16 July 2020

      Every year, hundreds of people are killed and thousands of others become ill due to carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide detectors can save lives, but many people don’t have them in their homes.

      What Makes Carbon Monoxide Dangerous?
      Carbon monoxide keeps the blood from carrying enough oxygen to vital organs. A person who has been exposed to carbon monoxide may initially experience flu-like symptoms, such as headache, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, weakness and fatigue. Higher levels of carbon monoxide can cause a person to become disoriented or lose consciousness. Even a small amount of carbon monoxide is dangerous.

      Where Does Carbon Monoxide Come From?
      Carbon monoxide is produced when carbon-based fuels, such as wood, coal, gasoline, oil, propane and natural gas, are burned. It isn’t dangerous in a well-ventilated area, but the gas can cause problems in a confined space.

      Carbon Monoxide Detectors Can Save Lives
      A carbon monoxide detector will sound an alarm if unsafe levels of the gas are detected. Carbon monoxide may go unnoticed without a detector since it is odorless and colorless.

      You should have at least one carbon monoxide detector on each floor of your home (including the attic and basement if you have them), near each bedroom, and in or near an attached garage. Don’t put a detector near a window, in a humid area or in a place where it could be exposed to direct sunlight.

      Some carbon monoxide detectors are battery operated or plug into wall outlets, while other models can be connected to a home security system or monitored through a smartphone app. Choose carbon monoxide detectors approved by Underwriters Laboratories or another safety certification organization, check them as recommended by the manufacturer and replace the batteries when necessary.

      If a carbon monoxide detector goes off, get all people and animals out of the house and into fresh air immediately. If anyone has flu-like symptoms, call an ambulance. Don’t re-enter the house until the authorities have told you it’s safe. If you don’t know why the carbon monoxide detector went off and officials aren’t able to determine the cause, have any appliances that burn carbon-based fuel inspected and repaired or replaced if necessary.

      How to Prevent the Release of Carbon Monoxide
      Have your heating system, chimney and fuel-burning appliances regularly inspected and maintained. Don’t use a stove or oven to heat your home or use a grill or stove designed for outdoor use indoors. Don’t warm up your car in the garage, even if the door is open, because carbon monoxide can build up to dangerous levels. Pull your car out of the garage before warming it up. Don’t run any gas-powered equipment indoors unless the area is well ventilated.

      Protect Your Family
      Carbon monoxide can be produced by common appliances that are found in virtually all homes. The gas can be lethal, and it often goes undetected until it’s too late. If you don’t have carbon monoxide detectors in your home, install them to keep your family safe.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Why You Should Avoid Using Credit Cards When Shopping for a House

      16 July 2020

      If you’re looking for a new home, you probably already know that a mortgage lender will consider your credit score, percentage of available credit used and debt-to-income (DTI) ratio. If your score is too low or your credit utilization or DTI ratio is too high, the lender may charge you a high interest rate or reject your loan application altogether.

      Buyers often run into trouble because they don’t understand a key fact about how mortgage lenders vet candidates. A lender checks a borrower’s credit when an application is submitted, and again shortly before closing. If a borrower uses credit cards to buy furniture and appliances or to pay for moving costs, the person’s credit score, utilization ratio and DTI ratio may rise enough to cause the lender to raise the interest rate or decide not to grant a mortgage at all.

      How to Protect Your Credit and Get a Mortgage
      While you’re in the process of house hunting, it’s important to keep your credit in the best shape it can be and to avoid using credit cards as much as possible. If you normally use credit cards for food, clothing and entertainment, don’t. Use cash or a debit card, or don’t buy certain things at all. If you must make an important purchase, ask yourself if you can live without it until after you’ve closed on your home.

      If you receive a letter inviting you to apply for a new credit card with a low introductory rate or rewards, it can be tempting, but you shouldn’t apply while you’re looking for a new home. Too many hard inquiries in a short period of time can hurt your credit score. You shouldn’t apply for an auto loan while house hunting for the same reason.

      Make Sure You Have Enough Savings
      You’ll have to save money for a down payment, but you shouldn’t put all your savings toward that. If you do, you’ll be left with no cushion to deal with any unexpected bills for things such as medical treatments or car repairs. You also won’t have funds readily available to buy furniture and appliances before you move into your new house. That means you may be tempted or forced to use credit cards, which may jeopardize your ability to obtain a mortgage.

      Don’t Lose out on Your Dream Home
      Even if your mortgage application has been approved, that doesn’t mean the decision is final. The lender will check your credit again before you close on the house. A sudden rise in credit card balances and a higher utilization ratio and DTI ratio could cause the lender to change its decision and to reject your mortgage application. Set aside money for any planned or unexpected expenses you may encounter so you can avoid using credit cards as much as possible until you’ve closed on your new house.

      This article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as professional or legal advice.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Create a Family-Friendly ‘Staycation’

      15 July 2020

      (Family Features) With summer vacations looking a little different this year, infusing new energy into playtime – and making it a family affair – can turn time at home into a fun “staycation.” Both kids and adults can quickly grow tired of the same scenery and activities, but new ways to engage together can help bring back excitement for making the most out of summer.

      Help battle boredom and get the whole family involved with these fun and engaging activities from DQPlayAtHome.com. To celebrate the summer season, the family-favorite soft serve destination is helping fans create some of summer’s most iconic experiences right in their own homes and backyards. From a DIY backyard water park to a playful, treat-inspired coloring book and lighthearted challenges, there are a variety of downloadable games and activities to help fill your home with happiness:

      Camp-In: Bring the great outdoors into your own living room with camping themed playtime. Set up a tent, roll out the sleeping bags and get ready to tell silly stories around a make-believe bonfire. Even forest animals can join in on the fun through a shadow puppet adventure. All you need are your own hands, a flashlight and a little imagination to create easy animal- and nature-themed characters on the wall.

      Happy Chats: When the answer to “did you have fun today?” is always the same, it can be hard to keep the conversation flowing. Entice little ones to speak up at the dinner table by taking turns drawing cards from the Happy Chats card set, which is filled with unique prompts, questions and interactive challenges. Inspire their imagination by asking kids to dream up a new ice cream creation or describe a pretend mission through outer space. Invite friendly competition by seeing who can recite the alphabet backward the fastest. Encourage kids to learn about the past when they draw cards asking parents to share stories from their own childhoods.

      Playbook: Sometimes all you need is a fresh take on classic fun to get excited again. Using common household items like utensils, you can easily turn down time into game time for the whole family. Merge timeless entertainment like spoon relay races and obstacle courses to create a competition zone in the backyard. From a living room game of hot potato to hallway bowling, your home can become smile central.

      Coloring: There’s a reason even adults have coloring books these days; it’s a chance to tap into your creativity and focus your attention on the simplicity of creating a work of art. Printable coloring books encourage fans to show off their art skills by coloring joyful scenes and iconic treats.

      A Sweet Surprise: Make memories with an occasional shift in routine by surprising the family with dessert after they’re in their pajamas. Have one parent tackle bedtime and send the other to a local favorite like Dairy Queen for some drive-thru treats. Sweet moments with family are some of the best ways to celebrate the season.  

      Visit DQPlayAtHome.com to find more inspiration for summer family fun.

      A Backyard Bonanza
      Recreating summer fun at home can be as simple as changing into swimsuits and turning on the sprinklers, but you can take your backyard waterpark to the next level with these tips:

      • Start by blowing up an inflatable pool
      • Use goggles for underwater fun and splashing safety
      • Add pool noodles and floaties for a realistic feel
      • Remember to apply sunscreen as recommended and wear hats for added protection
      • Include snacks and treats like soft serve for an additional cool-down in the summer heat

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • How to Maintain the Beauty of Stainless Steel

      15 July 2020

      Stainless steel appliances give a renovated kitchen that pop it needs, while stainless steel cookware makes for a durable product that never disturbs flavors yet guarantees a balanced heating of foods. To boot, stainless steel even resists corrosion and rust.

      However, stainless steel can sometimes be difficult to keep clean. Here are some quick and easy tips for maintaining that fresh metallic look:

      Clean with water and a cloth. Microfiber cloths are the best option to use when cleaning stainless steel because they absorb all of the water. They also avoid scratching steel surfaces. You’ll want to avoid paper towels or any cloth or towel with a rough surface intended for non-stick cookware. This especially includes steel wool. When drying, dry along the grain to avoid water spots. If you clean or dry aggressively against the grain with regular scouring pads, you’ll leave marks on your appliance or pan, so be sure to take it easy.

      Only use a drop of dish soap. For most cases, a drop of mild dish soap and warm water is all you'll need to clean a stainless steel pan or pot, so don't overthink it. Just be gentle. Alternatively, using white vinegar as a cleaner has also been proven to work.

      Glass cleaner is your friend. Fingerprints on stainless steel is one of the biggest complaints, and it’s a valid concern. No matter how careful you try to be, fingerprints will always end up on your fridge. Spray glass cleaner on a microfiber cloth to get the job done. Wipe away the fingerprint using a soft circular motion. There are newer finishes of stainless steel that are fingerprint resistant, so if you’re buying new appliances, be sure to do your research and seek those out.

      Keep a stainless steel cleaner on hand. If you need to remove stains or scratches from your stainless steel, using a steel cleaner is a great option. Read the directions on the cleaner, and be sure to test the product on an unnoticeable location.  Even if you aren’t trying to remove a stain or hide a scratch, stainless steel cleaner or glass cleaner will help your appliance shine. As always, rinse the area thoroughly afterwards and towel dry.

      Stainless steel can be finicky, but with a little TLC, it will keep your kitchen looking sleek and stylish for years to come.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.