Consumer Real Estate News

    • 5 Tips for Easier Holiday Hosting

      19 December 2018

      Holiday hosting can be stressful and time consuming. Below are a handful of tips from WatermarkPointe for hosting the ultimate holiday bash with ease.

      Dress up your space. Spruce up your home before the big day. First, choose a color scheme and set the table the night before with elegant plates, napkins, and silverware. Set out some bowls of vintage ornaments organized by color or glass bowls filled with white twinkle lights. Place an evergreen branch in a vase and hang small ornaments from it. Put a beautiful wreath or big bow on the front door to welcome guests. No matter what type of décor you choose, the views that surround your home will only add to the magic this holiday season.  

      Hors-d'oeuvres and mini dishes. Plan and execute a gorgeous seasonal menu packed with mini dishes for your guests to enjoy, and display them on your  kitchen island. Make quiches ahead of time and freeze them to save time on the day of the party. Purchase nuts in bulk so they can be mixed together, toss with syrup and cook in a pan until they caramelize.

      The perfect mix of beverages. Provide guests with a variety of beverages to choose from. Set up a bar with champagne, wine, specialty beers, spirits and mixers so guests can make their own specialty cocktails. Don't forget to choose a signature holiday cocktail to put your guests in the party mood!

      Curated playlists or live music. Treat your guests to a seasonally-curated playlist and include some of their favorites in the mix for a special touch. Or, hire a one- or two-piece live act to really make your holiday party special!

      Enjoy your guests. This is the perfect opportunity to truly enjoy the spirit of the holidays. Spending time surrounded by friends and family is one of the most special parts of the season.  

      Source: WatermarkPointe

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 9 Home Design Trends to Watch

      19 December 2018

      With more than 8,000 homes built last year, national homebuilder and developer Taylor Morrison has a window into the design trends that are most influencing home decor. Here are nine trends from the builder's in-house design experts based on the selections today’s homebuyers are choosing.

      1. Healthy homes. Eco-friendly and healthy lifestyle trends are working their way into home design in a variety of ways, such as by incorporating an abundance of plants, choosing natural materials over manmade, hardwood over carpet, and flat-finish paint instead of high-gloss.

      2. Low vs. high maintenance. For busy families, the trend is toward low-maintenance design, opting for finishes that don’t require a lot of TLC, such as quartz instead of granite and large tiles instead of small ones...which means less grout to clean.

      3. Fashion-forward. Keep an eye on the runway because there will be a stronger link this year between fashion trends and home decor and design, such as the recent explosion of browns and tartans.

      4. Earth tones. In keeping with the indoor/outdoor lifestyle trend, earth tones will be prevalent in home design.

      5. Monochromatic looks. High-contrast, monochromatic looks are rising in popularity, especially in the kitchen. Look for dark finishes with stark white or grey cabinets.

      6. Pastels and jewel tones. Look for palettes featuring baby blues, mint greens and blushing pinks - or the “ice cream cone” colors - or conversely, bold jewel tones like emerald and sapphire.

      7. Unique finishes. Fun hardware finishes like black, rose gold and brass continue to gain popularity.

      8. Flower power. Also inspired from the runway, look for floral patterns, especially in wallpaper.

      9. Cozy comforts. Have you heard about the Danish “hygge” look? It’s all about building a comfortable, relaxed environment with items like cozy and soft rugs, sofas and beds, as opposed to stark, tailored designs.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 4 Tips for Holiday Giving

      19 December 2018

      Being generous during the holidays is a great way to spread joy and cheer, but not all charities and foundations are built the same, and you should be extra considerate of where you're placing your funds. To assist, USAGov offers the following insights to help make your donations count and celebrate the holiday spirit of giving:

      Decide what to donate. You can donate money or property to a charity. Make financial donations by check or credit card—not cash—for security and tax purposes. Some charities accept clothes, household items, vehicles or other types of property.

      Do your research. Before making a donation, make sure the charity is real. Find out if it has a license from the attorney general in your state and if it has had any complaints. You can also check if a charity is trustworthy by contacting the Better Business Bureau. How do you know if you can claim a charitable contribution deduction on your taxes? Use the IRS' Tax Exempt Organization Search to see if a charity is on the list of qualified organizations. (Under "select database," choose "Pub 78 Data.")

      Keep records. It's important to keep records to prove the amount you donated to a charity. This includes a receipt, credit card statement or email confirmation showing your donation. You can also use a phone bill if you gave a donation by text message. Keep in mind, the amount you can deduct on your taxes may not be equal to the amount you originally paid for the items you're donating. For donated property (non-cash items), you can deduct the fair market value on your taxes. This is the price the property would sell for used on the open market. That can be much lower than the price paid when new. Learn what types of records to keep and other rules to claim a charitable contribution deduction on your federal taxes.

      Watch out for charity scams. Researching a charity will help you avoid scams, but don't let your guard down. Scammers set up fake organizations to take advantage of people's generosity. This is especially common after disasters and tragedies. Learn how to protect yourself from and report charity scams to help keep others safe.

      Sourc: USAGov

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • What's Good for Us Is Good for Our Pets

      18 December 2018

      As the bond between people and their pets continues to grow stronger, it’s no wonder that key lifestyle trends are trickling down to our furry friends, as well. In a recent survey commissioned by the Michelson Found Animals Foundation, a survey of 1,000 dog and cat owners found that as humans become more tech-connected and embrace alternative health practices and diets, they’re getting their pets on board with these same practices.

      Smart pets. Intrigued by pet technology and its ability to give pet parents a better grasp on a pet's health and wellness, many are gravitating toward features such as nutrition apps (47 percent), vet telemedicine (46 percent) and fitness trackers (31 percent) to help maintain their pet’s health. More than half (53 percent) are interested in getting a pet tracking device or a microchip (52 percent) and four in 10 (40 percent) are interested in pet monitoring cameras. With one in four pet parents admitting they spend more on tech for their pets than for themselves, the future of pet tech is very bright. In fact, more than half (56 percent) of pet parents say they have special tech just for their pet.

      Alternative treatments. Pet owners who have tried alternative therapies themselves are likely to use them on their pets, as well. Of those who have used alternative treatments like hemp-based products, 74 percent have also used them on their pets. More than a quarter of pets (26 percent) have experienced mobility-related therapies like massage, physical therapy, chiropractic and acupuncture.

      Clean eating. As people's growing awareness of the effect the food they eat has on health and wellness leads them to try new diets and eating plans, it’s trickling down to their pet’s diet, as well. Of those surveyed, 45 percent admit to personally following a diet, and 70 percent of those admit to putting their pet on a special diet too; for example, almost half of pet parents who eat organic also feed their pets organic (47 percent vs. 12 percent average).

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Home Safety Hacks for Winter Weather--and Decor

      18 December 2018

      Decking the halls and watching the snow fall can be fun and festive, but winter weather brings a slew of unusual safety risks for you and your family. Below, Mister Sparky® offers the following safety tips to help ensure homeowners and house guests stay safe this holiday season.

      Check holiday decorations for flammability:
      - Water and electricity don't mix! Be sure all outdoor illuminations like light strings are rated for outdoor use or are properly protected. Never exceed the recommended wattage and plug outdoor electrical equipment into ground-fault protected circuits.
      - Avoid plugging too many lights into one outlet; overloaded circuits can easily start fires.
      - Make sure to turn off the lights when you go to bed and to take your decorations down after the holidays--they can deteriorate over time and cause problems in the future.
      - While most decorations are flameproof, treat all decorations as highly combustible and keep away from holiday candles. Keep your holiday trees watered; dry trees are a fire hazard.

      Prep your house for winter weather:
      - If you need to use a space heater to stay warm, consider the safety features of the unit, the size of the area you want to heat and the energy efficiency of the heater. Finding a heater that fits your space is critical to safety.
      - Never leave a space heater on when you're not home, and unplug the device when you're not using it. It's also important to keep combustibles at least three feet from the heat source. This can include holiday decorations and curtains.
      - Test your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, or install new ones. Mount smoke alarms high on walls or ceilings. It is recommended that one smoke detector be placed on every floor of the home, including basements and attics, as well as in every bedroom of the house.
      - Consider upgrading your outdoor lighting on stairs and walkways, in advance of dark and icy weather, to protect your family and guests during the winter months.

      Call in the experts before the holiday rush:
      - Your local electricians are available to ensure your house is ready before decorations go up and guests arrive. Professional installation of safe and convenient electrical outlets for your holiday lights will help defend your home from surges.
      - Getting a full home inspection, including GCFI protection for all wet areas in your home, can highlight the problems that will cause a headache during your celebrations.


      Published with permission from RISMedia.