Real Estate News

    • Utilize This Winter's 'Budget Saving Time'

      12 November 2019

      When homeowners across the nation “fell back” for Daylight Saving Time (DST), many folks were already anticipating cranking up the heat to combat the longer, colder nights in many parts of the country. However, the experts at Window World firmly believe that the sun doesn’t have to set on lower energy bills.

      To help consumers in colder climates take advantage of natural sunlight to keep energy costs in check, Window World has released its "Budget Saving Time" guide.

      The guide sums up six easy ways homeowners can cut their energy bills:

      Design with daylight. Anyone considering home improvements can maximize the sun's limited presence by "daylighting"—using windows and skylights to bring sunlight into your home. Remember these points:
      - South-facing windows allow most winter sunlight into the home.
      - North-facing windows bring in relatively even amounts of natural light.
      - East- and West-facing windows are bright sources of light during either the morning or afternoon, but they don’t contribute much to solar heating.

      Energy-efficient lighting. Choose bulbs with the ENERGY STAR® label that meet strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
      Also:
      - Consider using timers or dimmers that will save electricity by turning lights off automatically or offering lower light levels.
      - Get into the habit of turning the lights off whenever you leave a room.

      Save big with window coverings. Keep drapes open on South-facing windows by day and close them at night. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, when drawn during cold weather, most conventional draperies can reduce heat loss from a warm room up to 10 percent.

      Double or triple treat your windows. Consider installing double- or triple-pane windows that have high-performance glass. The air, or in some cases gas, in between the window panes acts as extra insulation.

      Look for leaks. Air leaks around windows, doors and pipes can be filled with caulk or special coverings. Additionally, ensure weatherstripping around windows and doors is in good condition and isn’t frayed or worn down.

      Get programmable. Install programmable thermostats to keep temperatures from getting too hot or cold when you’re not at home.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • How to Travel Full-Time and Still Pay Your Bills

      12 November 2019

      Whether you're a recent college grad, a new empty nester or just have the travel bug, you may be dreaming of ways to travel full-time and still pay your bills. The experts over at Just Fly have created a short list of jobs you can do abroad. 

      Be an Au Pair. An au pair provides additional help to a host family. How they help changes from country to country, but there are usually a few constants. First, the au pair is normally a foreigner. Next, they usually help with childcare and housework. Third, they're typically treated as an extension of the family.

      They're also given room, board, a salary and sometimes language lessons in return for helping.

      Do Hostel Work. Hostels are a revolving door of guests and workers. They're also ideal for finding easy work overseas. They don't usually pay well (or at all), but they often offer food and a bed. You'll do laundry, dishes and clean dorm rooms. Buying groceries, correcting spelling mistakes and taking photos are also fair game. It's an easy way to make friends, too.

      Wait Tables. Remember those times you were nice to your waiter? It's time to cash in on your good karma. Food is one of the reasons many people travel, and finding a restaurant job is relatively easy. Waiting tables is the obvious choice, but you can wash dishes, cook or be a busboy/girl, too. If the city/country is bustling with locals and tourists alike, your chances are pretty good.

      Bartend. Bartending is a fun way to make money while traveling. While there's a bit of a learning curve, it's an easy skillset to pick up. The best part about bartending? Some bar owners are willing to pay under the table. If you’re willing to put in more work, take the necessary steps to become a mixologist. Cheers to happy hour connoisseurs...this one's for you.

      Plant Trees. There's nothing sexy about planting trees for money. It's hard manual labor, you're often in remote locations, and mosquito bites are common. You live out of a tent, and the weather can be harsh. That said, the money is great. While working hard and making money and friends, you can help the planet at the same time. 

      Be a Farmer. Remember Old MacDonald? You know, the nursery rhyme icon. Well, long story short, he had a farm. And on that farm—well, he worked very hard. Want to know something else? You will, too. But if you're not above getting your hands dirty, the money is good.

      Give Guided Tours. Put your public speaking skills to the test. Depending on the country, the weather may be harsh, but if you're well-informed and a little charming, you'll make a killing on tips. With a base pay and big tips, life as a tour guide can be lucrative.

      Work on a Boat. Life at sea is quite an experience. It's also a fun way to see the world. Here are your two best options to make money on the water: cruise ships and yachts. Cruise ships offer way more options, like DJing, lifeguarding, administrative work, and more, but the pay won't exactly have you living in the lap of luxury.

      Speaking of the lavish life—yacht work might be for you. There's way more money in working on a yacht. Meet celebrities. See exotic destinations. Make your friends jealous. Besides the potentially long hours, what's not to love?

      Become a Dive Instructor. There are lots of perks to becoming a dive instructor. First, you'll likely be in a sunny and hot location. Next, you'll get to hang out with marine life. Finally, you'll get paid. It's also a cool way to get social. In most cases, you'll need a certification, which will cost you. But it's worth it.

      Work at a Resort. There are resorts all over the world that are often looking for English speaking staff. Animators, lifeguards, guides and hotel staff are common jobs at resorts.

      Ski resorts are also a great option (if you like snow and ice). They're seasonal jobs, but also guaranteed income for at least a few months. Best of all, beach and ski resorts provide tons of chances to meet people.

      Teach English. Teaching English overseas is a popular way to make money traveling. With the right credentials, you can make more than $80,000 annually. Native English speakers are always in demand. Some programs require certification, but that can be done in a few days (or weeks).

      Asian and Middle Eastern programs are particularly lucrative. Some schools offer 7 - 8 weeks of vacation (or more). You'll have lots of time to travel. Rent is often included. Many programs also pay for a round trip ticket. Finally, some schools provide a finishing or re-signing bonus, too.

      Travel Hack: You can teach English online while traveling the world. You don't have to stay in one country. All you need is a headset, laptop and a strong WiFi signal.

      Monetize Your Skills. More of an entrepreneur? Make money with your skills. Write code. Translate. Play an instrument. Teach a language. Take care of pets. You can even do basic household chores. People will pay for help all around the world. Here's a list of sites to get you started:

      - Craigslist
      - Kijiji
      - Upwork
      - Fiverr
      - TaskRabbit
      - Gumtree


      There are lots of ways to make money while traveling. Some jobs require more skills than others, but many just need you to show up and work hard. If you're serious about seeing the world, it's an easy choice.

      Source: Justfly 

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Is Your Family Safe From Lead Poisoning?

      11 November 2019

      While October marks National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week (NLPPW)—a federal initiative sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)—it's important to keep this top-of-mind regardless of the time of year.

      The CDC says that lead paint has been banned for use in house paints in the United States since 1978, and even though increased awareness of the risk of lead poisoning and primary prevention efforts have helped decrease the rate of lead-poisoned children, nearly half a million children living in the U.S. have elevated blood lead levels that may cause significant damage to their development and overall health. 

      In addition to paint and dust inside their homes, the CDC says children can also be exposed to lead that may be found in the soil around the outside of homes, and even from the toys they play with. For everyone living in a home or apartment built before 1978, it is important to understand the steps that should be taken to protect children from lead poisoning. 

      These steps include:

      Learn about hazards. Flaking, cracking and chipping paint in homes built before 1978 may be a hazard. Learn what you can do to prevent lead paint hazards by visiting https://www.cdc.gov/biomonitoring/Lead_factsheet.html.

      Get your child tested. Even if your young children seem healthy, ask your doctor to test them for lead at least twice before the age of five. These tests are usually conducted at the 12- and 24-month well-child visits. 

      To that end, the American Academy of Pediatrics notes that lead poisoning is usually detected by measuring the level found in blood. While finger-prick samples are appropriate for screening tests, all elevated capillary levels should have confirmation with a venous blood draw since capillary tests can yield frequent false positives.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Frozen Family Fun: Royal Frozen Sweet Potato Lasagna

      11 November 2019

      (Family Features)--As families look to incorporate more nutritious dishes into meals from morning to night, using kid-friendly recipes can help make the process easier and more fun. 

      To help make it easier for busy parents to plan and serve healthier meals, registered dietitian Melanie Marcus, Dole's nutrition and health communications manager, created a series of enchanted frozen fruit- and vegetable-based dishes including main courses, smoothies, desserts, sides, and more. Because these recipes can be made in advance and frozen for later use, they're perfect for on-the-go families and busy lifestyles. 

      For example, make-ahead lasagna simplifies a busy evening.

      Royal Frozen Sweet Potato Lasagna
      Prep time: 45 minutes
      Cook time: 1 hour, 5 minutes
      Servings: 8

              Nonstick cooking spray
          1     tablespoon olive oil
          1     medium DOLE white onion, chopped
          1     package (8 ounces) Dole mushrooms, sliced
          2     garlic cloves, minced
          1 1/2     pounds 99 percent fat-free lean ground turkey
          5     cups Dole baby spinach
          1     teaspoon Italian seasoning
          1/4     teaspoon salt
          1     cup marinara sauce
          1     cup raw cashews
          2     cups fat-free cottage cheese, strained 
          4     medium Dole sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/8-inch thick crosswise
          1 cup  low-moisture part-skim mozzarella cheese 

      Heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray 13-by-9-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

      In large skillet over medium-high heat, heat olive oil; add onion and cook 5 minutes, or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add mushrooms; cook 4 minutes, or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add turkey; cook 8 minutes, or until browned, breaking up turkey with side of wooden spoon.

      Add spinach, Italian seasoning and salt; cook 3 minutes, or until spinach wilts. Stir in marinara; cook 1 minute. 
      In a food processor, pulse cashews 20 times, or until small crumbs form. In a medium bowl, stir together cottage cheese and cashews. 

      Shingle 1/3 of sweet potato slices in bottom of prepared dish; top with 1 cup of cottage cheese mixture followed by 1 1/2 cups turkey mixture. Repeat layers twice; sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and cover tightly with foil. Bake 45 minutes; remove foil. Bake 20 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.

      Tip: To freeze lasagna, wrap tightly once cooled with a layer of plastic wrap then foil. Freeze up to 3 months.

      Remove plastic wrap; bake lasagna from frozen, covered with foil, at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 1 hour. Uncover and bake 15 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

      Source: Dole/Disney

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Avoid Travel Nightmares With These Smart Tips

      11 November 2019

      Whether you're a seasoned travel pro or embarking on your first international trip, it's important to take precautions to protect your travel plans. To help, CheapOair® offers the following common pain points with some tricks to navigate them.

      Missing Luggage

      Check-in as early as possible. Most travel nightmares begin with a rush to the airport, and lost luggage is one of the most common and most tedious travel setbacks.

      "Checking in at the last-minute may cause the airline baggage handlers to miss getting your luggage to your destination," says Tom Spagnola, senior vice president of Supplier Relations at Fareportal. "Make sure you get the barcode for the luggage tag that goes on your bag. This is how the airlines can track your bag should they not be able to find the luggage. The barcode will save you a lot of time and frustration trying to find your luggage."

      Add an itinerary. It is also recommended that travelers place an itinerary inside their luggage in case the tag gets ripped off in transit. This will allow the airline to reunite consumers with their lost items a lot faster.

      Missed Connections

      There's nothing that gets the heart pumping faster than an airport-length sprint to another terminal. A missed connection could derail an entire vacation.

      "Should you be taking a connection flight, try to avoid one that is less than one hour," advises Spagnola. "The more room for error, the less likely you are to find yourself stranded and losing valuable time. With an abundance of restaurants, shops and lounges now available at most major airports, a longer layover isn't as tiresome as it used to be."

      Preparation is key. Travelers should plan the best they can by downloading an app  that can keep them updated on flight times, delays and gate changes. This will help circumvent any last-minute surprises that may lead to a missed flight.

      For consumers that do miss their connections, see a gate agent immediately to confirm when the next flight will be available. As frustrating as it may feel, a cool head and a calm demeanor can work wonders when trying to get on another flight.

      Passport problems. A lost passport is everyone's worst fear, but there are several other passport problems that can end a trip before it even begins.

      As a rule of thumb, a passport should be valid up to six months AFTER the return date of your trip. It is also important that the document is not damaged in any way. A mangled passport can and will be denied by a TSA agent.

      "Most people forget how easily a damaged passport could stop someone from getting on a flight," remarks Ruben Bello, vice president of International Operations at Fareportal. "If there is damage beyond the usual "wear and tear" such as discoloration, ripped pages or indecipherable details, that document is not fit for air travel. If you're unsure, it's always safest to get a new passport at least a month before you're set to fly."

      Source: www.CheapOair.com  

      Published with permission from RISMedia.