Consumer Real Estate News

    • The Best Colors to Add New Life to Your Front Porch

      12 August 2020

      Your front porch is your home’s calling card, setting the stage for presenting the rest of your house in its best light, and creating a memorable welcome for visitors. That’s why choosing the right decor and, more importantly, the right paint color is a critical step.

      According to interior design experts, the best place to start when selecting a front porch paint color is by evaluating your landscaping, looking for colors that complement your grass, trees, shrubs and flowers. Also take into consideration any architectural elements that will come into play, such as brick, stonework, metal gutters and roof details. Any color you choose needs to work well with these various fixed elements.

      Color experts also advise taking into consideration your home’s exposure. For example, a front porch with southern exposure would be better suited to paler shades of paint, while the lighting from a northern exposure accentuates the cooler tones in a color.

      Here are some suggested paint colors to consider:

      A muted shade of green will tie into the greenery surrounding your home to create a pleasing cohesive look, without detracting from your landscaping.

      A deep blue paint will bring a sleek sense of style to your front porch, making your home stand out from the street.

      A warm blue will help offset a stand-out yard and garden. Look for colors that are reminiscent of summer skies.

      An off-white shade is always dependable and brings a crisp, fresh look to your home. Look for a warm but neutral hue that blends nicely with your home’s overall exterior.

      A silver shade of grey brings a sophisticated look to your front porch and helps highlight its architectural features. It also works well with just about any exterior color.

      Source: Martha Stewart

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 5 Ways to Save Big on Everyday Essentials

      12 August 2020

      (Family Features) With many Americans spending more time at home, they are also using more common household items such as cleaning supplies, pantry items and snacks, among other things.

      According to a Harris Poll survey, Americans are concerned about the economic impact the pandemic will have on their lives. These economic concerns are leading shoppers to seek out more ways to save. With the convenience and flexibility online shopping provides, many customers are turning to e-retailers to find those must-have items.

      To help busy and budget-conscious shoppers, Woot!, the Amazon-owned daily deals site, launched a grocery and household category to offer deals on everyday essentials.

      Consider these five ways shoppers can save time and money when making household purchases.

      Compare prices. One benefit of shopping online versus in-store is you can look across different brands to compare prices in real time. By seeing available brands and pricing in one place, you can save more and make the best purchase choices for your household.   

      Take advantage of deals. When you shop in a store, you’re confined to the deals and selection the store is offering at the time of your trip. When you shop online, you aren’t limited to the store’s offerings, often allowing you to score better deals and browse a larger selection. For instance, you can check out deal sites like to get new daily deals on household must-haves on your list for lower prices than you typically find in brick-and-mortar stores. 
      Save time exploring virtual aisles. Shopping at a store can be time consuming. Innovations like Woot!’s virtual grocery and household aisles allow you to quickly and easily shop various categories and find the best deals. Unlike in-person aisles, these virtual aisles hide categories when selection is unavailable so you won’t waste your time and can be confident items you’re looking at are available at a discount.

      Customize your shopping experience. The flexibility and convenience of shopping online can save you time. Since you aren’t shopping in-store, you don’t have to worry about store hours and locations, giving you the flexibility to shop at all hours and from any location, as long as you have Wi-Fi and access to a computer or mobile device. With the ability to shop around your schedule, you can gain precious time to spend with the people you love, doing the things you love.

      Benefit from membership perks. Another perk of online shopping is being able to leverage membership benefits to save more. Some retailers offer member-based programs or partners to offer members of certain programs discounts. One example is, which offers exclusive deals and free shipping for Amazon Prime members who shop on the site. 

      Between the vast selection, price options and convenience of shopping from home, there are many ways shoppers can save big on time and money as they shop for everyday essentials and household must-haves. Learn more at

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Smart Start: Savvy Tips to Kick Off a New School Year

      12 August 2020

      (Family Features) Returning to learning may bring more new experiences this fall than anyone ever imagined. Regardless of the learning environment, there are some tips and supplies that can make it easier on the whole family to restart curriculum.

      Whether your kids will be at home or in the classroom, making education easy is likely a top priority as you plan for the weeks and months ahead. These supplies and ideas can help you get organized and ready to tackle a new school year with confidence.

      Find more back-to- school tips and solutions at

      Calculate Your Way to School Success
      Whether learning from home or the classroom, Texas Instruments has students covered with new additions to its colorful collection of TI-84 Plus CE graphing calculators. Available in colors like “Rose Curve Gold” and “Measure Mint,” these math and science machines help students grasp important STEM concepts and succeed on exams. The super-sleek graphing calculator can take students from middle school through graduate school, and can even help them learn to code. Find more school solutions at

      Don’t Overlook Organization
      Staying organized during school season is a goal for many families, and one of the best ways to do so is with an option like ClosetMaid Mini 6 Cube Organizers, which are refreshed versions of old favorites. Use these organizers, also available in matching offset designs, on flat surfaces or mounted on the wall to store, organize and display any number of small items. Find more solutions for the school year at

      Make Lunchtime Easy
      You can make lunchtime fun, flavorful and easy for your little learner with Sabra Singles, a plant-based snack perfect for kids. Pair with classics like carrots, cucumbers, tortilla chips or pretzels. They’re available in varieties like Classic and Roasted Red Pepper Hummus and allow kids to help themselves to make lunchtime a cinch. Find more inspiration at

      Better Organization With a Bookshelf
      A new school year and the learning it entails calls for plenty of books, which means organization is paramount. Store your student’s books and more, like picture frames, with an option such as the Wide 3-Shelf Ladder Bookshelf from ClosetMaid. These sleek and modern units, available in multiple finish colors and sizes, can be easily assembled and quickly ready for use anywhere in your home. Visit to find additional organization solutions for this school year.

      Enjoy a Delectable, Better-For-You Dessert
      A long day of reading, math and more deserves a treat to end the school day on a high note. For a delicious option you can feel good about enjoying and serving to your kids, consider fairlife’s Light Ice Cream, expertly crafted with ultra-filtered milk and natural flavors to deliver a lactose-free treat with a rich, creamy texture and 40% less sugar than traditional ice cream. Find more information at

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • New Considerations in Home Design: Privacy and Space

      11 August 2020

      According to a recent report from Zillow, home builders are predicting that there will be a move away from open floor plans as homeowners seek out increased privacy, as well as an increased demand for more space. 
      Growing in popularity for decades, open floor plans have also been touted by popular home-design programs in recent years. In fact, Zillow research found that the share of for-sale listings mentioning open concept layouts more than doubled since 2015.

      However, in the wake of the coronavirus, homeowners are discovering that the lack of privacy involved in an open design concept can often be a detriment. In a recent survey by Zillow and The Harris Poll, 27 percent of those surveyed said they would consider moving to have a home with more rooms—one of the top reasons for considering a move—after spending more time at home because of coronavirus orders.

      Homebuilders agree. The experts at Berks Homes believe that homes built post-coronavirus will have more doors for privacy, dedicated home-office space, better insulation for noise control and separate spaces for kids. The pros at Pyatt Builders believe that open concepts won’t disappear, but will be approached differently, highlighted by features like barn doors, which preserve the feel of openness yet allow for private, multi-use space.

      Other emerging home trends will include germ-preventing features, such as mudrooms, allowing family members to remove shoes and wash hands before entering the house, and smart home technology like touchless faucets and self-cleaning toilets.

      According to Zillow research, home shoppers are clearly interested in starting from scratch when it comes to home design—searches for new construction homes are up 73 percent from 2019.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • How to Vacation More Safely

      11 August 2020

      Even though vacations may look a little different this year, there are many great ways to enjoy the season, whether you’re headed off on a roadtrip or simply to the backyard. Farmers Insurance recommends considering the following tips to help enjoy a safer summer:

      Know Before You Go - Before embarking on a road trip adventure, consider getting an overall checkup of your car to ensure comfortable cruising, especially if your car has been sitting for an extended period of time. Take your car to a professional for an inspection well in advance of your trip, so you have plenty of time to address any unexpected issues that come up.

      Check Your Coverage - It's also a good idea to know your insurance coverage before getting behind the wheel. You probably already know your personal auto coverage, but if you're planning to rent a vehicle or an RV for your travels, it's worth checking in with your insurance agent to understand what coverages you have and discuss coverage options you may want.

      Go Phone-Free in the Car - Limiting mobile phone use is one of the easiest ways to become a more focused driver—and that keeps everyone safer on the road. Recent driving data from Farmers Signal® app, which is powered by TrueMotion, shows that non-call phone use while driving is up 50 percent compared to pre-coronavirus levels. For more focused driving, make your car a "phone-free zone."

      Pump the Brakes - Take the time to safely slow down if you have to go over a pothole or any other object in the road and keep a safe distance from other cars. Farmers data indicates that 24 percent of all collision claims in the summer involve a rear-end collision.

      Enjoy a Quiet Drive - Road trips are great for bonding with loved ones, but boisterous conversation can be a distraction for drivers. Take a cue from the 33 percent of people who believe that talking to passengers, even those seated in the back seat, poses a danger to others on the road and keep the chat light.

      Treat Yourself - Your homecation is still a vacation—treat it like one. Many of us are working from home these days, so it's important to be intentional about taking time to relax and unplugging from your home office. Set up an out-of-office reply for your work emails, think about turning off email notifications on your phone and be sure to take plenty of pictures so you can cherish your homecation memories forever.

      Get All Decked Out - Think about taking on home improvement projects that expand your living space to the outdoors. Renovations like building a deck or balcony can create a much-needed personal paradise after spending so much time indoors—and can increase your home's value. Consider checking in with your insurance agent to understand what coverages you have and discuss coverage options you may want.

      Guard Your Pool With an App - Pool safety rule number one: never leave children unattended. You may already have a locked gate to help keep kiddos away from the pool, but you may also want to think about adding a high-tech monitoring system that connects WiFi motion sensors, lights and cameras around your pool to your smartphone.

      Bounce Into Safety - Trampolines can be a fun addition to your backyard setup, but they also can create a safety hazard, especially when multiple people are bouncing at once. Flips and somersaults can also be major causes of injury. Set firm ground rules for trampoline use at your home that limit use to one person at a time and prioritize safe bouncing.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.