Real Estate News

    • 5 Tips for New Pet Parents

      18 April 2019

      (Family Features)--Introducing a new dog to the family can bring plenty of excitement, sweet snuggles and puppy kisses. However, there are also plenty of practical steps to consider to successfully transition a pup into its new environment.

      Whether you're a seasoned pet owner or a first-time puppy parent, these tips can help your newest family member feel right at home:

      Purchase the necessities ahead of time. Similar to newborns, new pets require products that fit their size, age and life stage to ensure their safety and good health. This includes chew-proof food and water bowls, an ID tag with name and contact information, and a sturdy leash for both walks and training. Many experts discourage retractable leashes because they offer little control. For puppies specifically, some veterinarians recommend harnesses to attach a leash to because their necks are too fragile to attach a leash to a collar. Remember, puppies are going to grow, and items like beds, crates and collars will need to grow as they do, so you may want to hold off on investing in pricier options until they've matured.

      Offer high-quality food that provides balanced nutrition. Feed new pets the best quality food possible because an investment in your pet's food is an investment in its health and longevity.

      "Quality is a top priority when new pet parents are selecting food, so reading ingredient labels and understanding what nutrients are important for your pet at his or her life stage is key," says Dr. Jennifer Adolphe, Ph.D., R.D., nutrition manager at Petcurean. "Better quality food will usually equate to fewer vet visits overall. The same goes for treats."

      Have enough playthings around the house. Keep dogs from destroying furniture, shoes and household items by providing them with fun, safe and entertaining toys. Chew toys and puzzles that combine play and treats are interactive, which can give dogs mental stimulation and help keep them out of mischief.

      Pet-proof the house. Dogs are naturally curious and spend time exploring their homes, especially pets eager to get to know their new environment. Items on counters and shelves that could be dangerous to a small child are also dangerous for dogs, including wires, sharp or small objects and fragile items. Store them up and away from your dog or in locked cabinets for safekeeping.

      Provide a safe spot to retreat. Moving in to a new home can cause a pet to feel a little disoriented and overwhelmed. Providing a safe place for the dog to retreat from enthusiastic kids, other pets and general household commotion can help the pup feel calmer. A crate or kennel lined with a soft pad or blanket in a quiet area of your home is typically a good choice - it's a confined space and can also serve a dual-purpose with housetraining, if needed.

      Source: Petcurean

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Want Flowers Inside and Out? Plant a Cutting Garden

      18 April 2019

      While flowers look beautiful blooming in the garden, or in pots and window boxes adorning your porch and patio, there’s nothing quite like the sight and scent of freshly cut flowers gracing the inside of your home. How to achieve the best of both worlds? Plant a cutting garden.

      As the name implies, a cutting garden is a designated area for planting flowers specifically designed to be cut. The trick is to nurture this garden to abundance so that you have plenty for cutting, and an ample supply left behind to admire while outside.

      The first step to planting a cutting garden is choosing the right spot. Look for an area that gets plenty of sun, has soil that is well-draining, and offers quick access to water.

      The next step involves choosing the right flowers. While just about any flower looks lovely when perched in a vase, certain varieties lend themselves to cutting, thanks to qualities like long, strong stems, and a long life post-cut. The experts at Martha Stewart suggest the following:

      - Sweet peas
      - Poppies
      - Peonies
      - Baby’s breath
      - Bachelor’s buttons
      - Queen Anne’s lace
      - Cosmos
      - Zinnia
      - Sea Holly
      - Dahlias
      - Coral Bells
      - HydrangeaBeyond choosing the right varieties of flowers, there are other factors to consider when planting your cutting garden. For example, be sure to mix things up in terms of color, shape, size and texture. Adding foliage to your cut arrangements adds interest and appeal, so consider greens such as hosta leaves, ferns, ornamental grasses, even boughs of pine.

      When you’re ready to cut, suggests cutting when color first appears on the buds. And always cut in the cooler mornings as opposed to the intense heat of the afternoon. To keep flowers as fresh as possible in the vase, cut off any leaves that fall below the water line to prevent bacteria from growing in the vase.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 3 Steps for Improving Your Home's Environmental Impact

      18 April 2019

      Your impact on the environment extends beyond recycling and ditching single-use plastic. How you live at home matters, too.

      "The decisions we all make about our energy and water consumption at home affect much more than our monthly bills," says Ted Puzio, owner of Southern Trust Home Services, a Roanoke-based HVAC, plumbing and electrical company. "Making small adjustments to reduce water waste and increase your home's energy efficiency will not only save money but also lessen our homes' strain on the environment."

      Below are Puzio's top tips.

      Regularly check for leaks. Leaks, no matter how small, should never be ignored. The EPA states that only 10 drips per minute add up to more than 500 gallons of water wasted in a year, and more than 10 percent of homes have leaks that waste 90 gallons each day. Regularly check inside cabinets and around plumbing for signs of moisture, mold or rusty stains, and periodically test for leaks by turning off the water at the main valve. Watch the meter for activity, and call a professional if the leak can't be found.

      Reduce the runtime of your heating and cooling system. The most significant source of power consumption in the home, an inefficient system can wreak havoc on both bills and emissions. Annual maintenance by a licensed professional is recommended, and filters should be changed frequently to ensure smooth operation. To lower the runtime further, consider using ceiling fans to offset up to five degrees on the thermostat, and invest in a programmable thermostat to better control heating and cooling times.

      Consider minor, inexpensive efficiency upgrades and adjustments. Investing in low-flow showerheads and new faucet aerators can further reduce water consumption, and choosing to completely unplug electronics when not in use can eliminate trickle charges. Also, purposefully seeking out more eco-friendly supplies, such as choosing an enzyme-based drain cleaner, is a better choice for the environment and easier on your plumbing.

      Source: Southern Trust Home Services

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Common Renovation Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

      17 April 2019

      Embarking on a home improvement project is exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time. You can’t wait to take the next step in turning your house into the home you’ve always wanted, but you’re also probably making a major investment to do so.

      So, before you get started on your reno, consider Real Simple’s and HomeAdvisor’s Dan DiClerico’s advice on how to avoid these common home renovation mistakes:

      Rushing the job. Unfortunately, one too many home improvement shows have led us to believe that home renovations magically happen in no time at all. In reality, large-scale projects take months, so take the proper time to accurately plan for each step of your project, then tack on several additional weeks to allow for the inevitable curve balls that will arise. Rushing will only cost you—emotionally and financially.

      Ignoring the need for a team. According to DiClerico, your project most likely requires a variety of professionals, such as an architect, a kitchen or bath designer, a contractor, etc. But many homeowners make the mistake of working with just one of these individuals before bringing in the others. Get the team together as early as possible to ensure a smooth flow and optimal outcome.

      Miscommunication. Tensions can run high during a home renovation—between you and the professionals you’re working with, as well as between you and your loved ones. Find out the best way to stay in ongoing touch with your contractor, i.e., email, text, weekly meetings, and let your contractor’s professional guidance help mitigate issues between you and your partner.  

      Making your own design choices. While you may have diligently combed Pinterest and home-improvement magazines for months, there’s a big difference between what you like and what makes the best sense for your home. DiClerico advises working with a designer who can help ensure good quality design and functionality.

      Forgetting to budget. You must go into your renovation project with a number, allowing for the fact that it will cost more than what you originally planned—so adding in another 10 - 20 percent is prudent. DiClerico suggests spending more on the things you’ll interact with—i.e., cabinet doors—versus items that are purely decorative.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Top Plumbing Issues, Explored

      17 April 2019

      Homeownership comes with many joys,  as well as headaches, especially when it comes to unforeseen maintenance, like plumbing. Mr. Rooter Plumbing recently commissioned a national survey asking homeowners about the most common plumbing issues they face.

      "Being a homeowner is a fulfilling and rewarding accomplishment, but it can also bring new responsibilities and tasks that many aren't prepared for," says Doyle James, president of Mr. Rooter Plumbing. "This survey gave us tremendous insight as to the most common plumbing problems that homeowners deal with, along with their go-to methods for fixes. We learned that when faced with a plumbing issue, nearly 4 6percent of homeowners research DIY tips and attempt to fix the problem themselves. That's why it's vital to educate consumers about the do's and don'ts of plumbing, so they can hopefully avoid back-ups, bursts or other potential catastrophes down the line."

      To help prep homeowners for any unforeseen plumbing disasters, Mr. Rooter offers the following tips on how to handle some of the most common plumbing issues.

      Clogged toilet. Do not try to flush the toilet, as this will only lead to an overflow. Find a plunger and make sure to have a good and consistent connection with the plunger and the toilet. Being quick and repetitive with the plunging motion and keeping an eye out for movement in the toilet is key to unclogging it.

      Backed-up drain. Use a regular wire coat hanger and straighten it out as much as possible. Bend one end to create a hook, push it through the drain and start fishing. Hair and all the buildup, aka gunk, should pull out. Once it's all pulled out, run the hot water and it should clear up.

      Clogged sink. Mix 1/3 of a cup of baking soda and 1/3 of a cup of vinegar until it starts to fizz. Pour it immediately down the drain to help break down the gunk, hair and grime. Let it sit for about an hour (overnight is even better) and then flush it with hot water.

      Low water pressure. Screw off the aerator, clean off the gunky residue and screw it back onto the faucet. This should help the water pressure get back to normal.

      Garbage disposal. Never use chemical cleaners to clear a backed-up garbage disposal. To check for clogs, remove the unit and visually inspect the pipe for obstructions.

      Source: Mr. Rooter

      Published with permission from RISMedia.