Real Estate Tips

    • A Sweet Coffee Treat

      26 October 2021

      ( Do you know that moment when something sweet hits your taste buds and a smile instantly spreads across your face? It’s almost magic to some. To others it’s just simply bliss. This holiday season, try something that’s simple yet sophisticated for an easy way to ensure smiles all around.

      Try an Easy Tiramisu Dip because whether you’re relaxing at home, having a small get-together with friends or joining your annual family gathering virtually, this dip is sure to spread culinary cheer.

      The recipe starts with “easy,” and it holds true to its name. With a short list of ingredients and only a handful of instructions, this is something you can whip up (literally) in just a few moments. Also, using minimal tools in the kitchen is always a plus for at-home chefs. The only appliance needed to make this recipe is a mixer.

      The outcome is fluffy, rich and sweet with a hint of espresso. It’s not overpowering, however, so little ones or non-coffee lovers can still enjoy this delicious dip.

      This is also a unique dessert because it can be served cool or chilled. If you are planning to take a sweet treat to a party this holiday season, this is nearly perfect. No oven time needed and simple to serve to kids and adults alike.

      Serve with ladyfingers or fruit to bring that sweetness to a whole new level, and it’s topped with a final sprinkle of cocoa powder to give it that extra appeal. You do eat with your eyes first after all.

      Give this one a try and see the faces of your loved ones light up with joy this season. This creamy, tasty dip is sure to impress.

      For more easy dessert recipes, visit

      Easy Tiramisu Dip
      Servings: 4

      1 cup heavy whipping cream
      1 tablespoon espresso powder
      4 ounces cream cheese, softened
      8 ounces Mascarpone cheese
      1/2 cup powdered sugar
      1 teaspoon vanilla extract
      2 teaspoons cocoa powder
      wafers or fruit, for dipping

      In a medium bowl, whisk heavy whipping cream and espresso powder until blended.

      In a large bowl, use a hand mixer to beat cream cheese until smooth. Add Mascarpone cheese and beat until combined. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating after each addition. Add vanilla extract; beat mixture. Add espresso mixture; beat until soft peaks form.

      Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

      Spoon mixture into serving bowl. Sprinkle it with cocoa powder. Serve with wafers or fruit.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Staging Your Home for Autumn

      26 October 2021

      If you have a home for sale, it's time to make your place fit the season. Autumn staging can help sell your home before the holiday season, and it's also an opportunity to present your house in the best way possible. Here are some ideas as to how to make your home enticing to potential buyers.

      Enhance your curb appeal. Just because spring and summer are gone doesn't mean you can't enhance your home's exterior with colorful plants. Mums, sumac, pansies and goldenrods are just a few choices. Pumpkins are another nice decorating touch that will put people in the fall mood. But don't go overboard and make your yard look like a pumpkin patch. Stage for fall, not Halloween.

      Let the air in. It's a great time of year to open your windows and let crisp air fill your home. It will make your home smell fresh and clean, while also making it comfortable. But make sure rooms don't get uncomfortably cold, especially as temperatures drop in the late afternoon.

      Snack it up. Have fall foods like apples, pumpkin treats and apple cider available for visitors. Buy them from local farms to give potential buyers an idea of the special foods they can enjoy if they move into your neighborhood.

      Set a cozy scene. Decorate your living room with pillows and blankets so that guests can imagine themselves enjoying quiet, warm evenings in your house on those chilly nights. If you have a fireplace, light it on cold days to really warm the room up and set a mood.

      Set the scene with candles. Scented candles, such as pumpkin, apple and cranberry look beautiful and bring the smells of autumn to visitors' noises. Autumn potpourri is another great decorative option that can make your place smell wonderful. You can also buy potpourri, or look for websites and videos that demonstrate how to make your own.

      Let the light in. During the daytime, open up blinds and curtains so that rooms are bright. Turn on lights in rooms that don't get as much natural light, and throughout the house later in the day as the sun goes down.

      The right buyer could be visiting at any time, be sure you set the perfect autumn scene to let them know your home is the one for them.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • The Screened Porch: A Must-Have for Some Buyers

      26 October 2021

      Porches are very popular, but a screened porch is a must-have for some because of bugs and weather that is more worrisome than before. Screened porches offer an outdoor sanctuary in an age of increasing concerns about pest-borne diseases, which is one of the reasons they have been increasing in popularity over the years.

      They will provide protection against bugs, but also offer shade from the sun and shelter from the rain. Additionally, a screened porch will lower ground temperatures, saving on cooling costs in the summer. A screened porch will also reduce the sunlight that reaches adjacent interior rooms.

      Lighting options are greatly increased as well. During the day, you can still rely on the sun, but at night, you can use recessed lighting, pendant lights or even a ceiling fan to give the room even more light and comfort.

      Sellers or those who recently purchased a home might even consider building an entirely new porch if there is space available, say between the garage and house. But keep in mind that it doesn't add to the home's total square footage.

      If you do decide to go this route, there are numerous options when deciding on the materials to build with. A quick look around the web will provide advice on designing the porch in three phases: flooring, exterior materials and interior trim. Everything from pressure-treated Yellow Southern Pine to vinyl and to up-cycled composites can be considered.

      When getting started, know what you want in the look of your ceiling from the beginning. Flat ceilings can give a screened porch that interior room feel, whereas a vaulted or cathedral ceiling is spacious, allowing for better ventilation.

      Also, think about doors carefully. Do you want one leading directly to the house, or do you want it to wrap around the side for easier entry from a pool or outside entertaining area? Aluminum doors are highly recommended because wood doors tend to warp over time.

      While this might seem like a project you might want to tackle yourself, using a professional contractor is probably best, as they will know the zoning laws, can deal with any issues of wires that might pop up, and can create something in less time.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • How to Make the Holidays Less Stressful for the Whole Family

      25 October 2021

      (Family Features) Between changes in routine and visiting family (or having them visit you), the holidays can be emotionally overwhelming for children and adults alike, even in “normal times.” Add in inclement weather, the desire for a perfect holiday and parents still working, and you have a perfect cocktail for emotional meltdowns.

      “The key to enjoying whatever this holiday season brings is to acknowledge the range of emotions the entire family may be feeling and hold space for those feelings,” said Ariel Acosta from KinderCare’s Inclusion Services team. “By working on a few key things now before the heightened expectations and busyness set in, families can build a toolbox of skills that will help make the season less stressful for everyone.”

      Consider these tips to help families prepare for a less stressful holiday season.

      Find ways to destress as a family – Throw on some music and have a dance party. Incorporate some simple yoga moves or stretches into your day to create mindful moments. Help your children create a list of calm-down techniques to choose from when they start to become overwhelmed or as a way to reset after an outburst, such as taking a deep breath.

      Set expectations for greetings – Talk with your children about your family’s expectations around greetings and help them think of and practice different ways to say hello, such as a hug, handshake, high-five, wave or verbal greeting. Giving your children options ahead of time allows them to choose the greeting that feels most comfortable in the moment. To lessen the pressure, make sure family members and friends understand what you and your children are comfortable with. For example, “It looks like Zazil doesn’t want a hug right now, Auntie Mei. Perhaps a high-five would be better.”

      Give your children (and yourself) grace – Talk with your children about the range of emotions you feel throughout the day. This can help them learn emotional literacy and flexible thinking. It also normalizes feelings. When a big feeling does happen, remember to connect before you correct by labeling and validating your child’s emotions: “I can see that you’re really sad we have to leave the party. Leaving makes me feel sad, too. What would help you feel better?”

      If your child is engaged in unsafe behaviors, like hitting, wait until after everyone is calm before talking about what could be done differently next time.

      “How you handle your mistakes can be a powerful example for your children,” Acosta said. “Once you’re calm, explain what happened to your children. Start by naming your emotion, apologize if you didn’t handle your feelings well and let your children know what you plan to do differently next time. ‘I was really mad you two were arguing and I yelled. I shouldn’t have done that. Next time, I’m going to try to remember to take some deep breaths to help me speak more kindly.’”

      For more tips to help your children with social and emotional development, visit

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Buying a New Mattress Could Help You Sleep Better

      25 October 2021

      Are you one of the millions of people who say they have trouble sleeping? Chances are, it has something to do with your mattress and the fact that you're just not that comfortable at night, tossing and turning throughout.

      It could be that the mattress is too hard or soft for your liking, you might not like the size, or it just may be old and you feel it's time for something new.

      But buying a mattress isn't as simple as going to the store and picking one out based on looks. There is a lot that goes into buying a mattress to ensure this is something you will want to lay on night after night.

      Buying the correct mattress could be the most important purchase you make for your home because you will spend more time on it than any other piece of furniture in your home. Just think, most people try to get 7-8 hours of sleep a night, so that's almost a third of your life!

      Think about other beds you've slept on over the years—at hotels, family gatherings or a friend's house—and figure out if you slept better on those beds than yours. If so, the type of mattress probably had a great deal to do with it and you should try to figure out what they have to aid in your mattress search.

      Before purchasing a mattress, you should get on top of it and try it out. You won't be able to actually take a nap in the store, but you should lay on it in the way you would fall asleep and see how it feels. Stretch out, roll from side to side, and see if it's a comfort that works. It's going to feel different than what you're used to, but different could be better. If you share the bed with a loved one, make sure he or she checks it out as well. You want everyone in the bed enjoying a peaceful sleep.

      There are numerous types of mattresses out there, with the most common being a traditional innerspring, memory foam, and hybrids that combine the two. Adjustable air mattresses, such as Sleep Number, are also somewhat popular, so make sure you try them all to figure out what's best.

      Some people like firm mattresses, while some people prefer the opposite. And not every mattress company has the same definition of firm, so again, check to make sure you like whatever level you plan to buy. You may think you don't like a hard bed, but then find it more comfortable than you imagined.

      Sleep is important so buying a mattress that will let you be comfortable is a decision that you should take seriously.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.