Real Estate News

    • Don’t Neglect Your Fall Landscape

      22 October 2019

      Even though peak gardening season has passed in many areas of the country, the fall months are an opportune time to get creative in your yard and set the stage for next season’s blooms. Try these suggestions from the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP).

      Choose Texture Over Flowers
      While bountiful summer blooms may have long gone, add interest to your garden, planters and window boxes with a variety of interesting textures. Traditional fall mums and asters are always a good, colorful choice, and try mixing them with ornamental kales, cabbage and peppers. A variety of grasses will add shape and drama to your landscape, and many will last long into the winter months. NALP also recommends succulents, which are a great outdoor option in many climates where they’ll happily grow all year long. 

      Add Depth With Jewel Tones
      Spring may be the time for soft pastels, and summer for bright bolds, but fall is the time for regal jewel tones. Add purple with fall pansies, blue with delicate asters, deep emeralds with evergreens and rich golds and oranges with decorative gourds and pumpkins. Update your outdoor furnishings with jewel-tone cushions and pillows to tie the look together.

      Up the Cozy Factor
      Continue to enjoy your outdoor spaces by warming them up with fire pits or outdoor heating units, such as propane or electric heaters. Stock your patio or porch with easily accessible, outdoor friendly blankets, and make the most of the cooler weather.

      Focus on Maintenance
      In order to unveil a beautiful lawn come spring, put in the necessary maintenance work now. At a bare minimum, the NALP recommends raking leaves to prevent them from decomposing on the grass. Also consider aerating and fertilizing to nurture grass underground during the winter months. 

      Source: Real Simple

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Encouraging Youth Sports and Their Benefits

      22 October 2019

      (Family Features)--Sports help shape kids' lives, but due to funding shortages, some school sports programs are at risk. 

      Most experts agree that physical activity is an essential aspect of youth development that teaches teamwork, builds confidence and fuels academic potential. However, according to a survey of middle school educators engaged with DonorsChoose.org, 6 in 10 feel their middle school athletic programs are barely funded or underfunded. In fact, a lack of funding accounts for 47 percent of cuts to middle school sports programs, the survey revealed.

      Consider these benefits of youth sports: 

      Teamwork. Sports teach kids the advantages of working together toward a common goal. The ability to collaborate with peers, including those outside a child's immediate circle of friends, is a skill that provides benefits through adulthood. 

      Character. Learning how to accept wins and losses gracefully isn't just good sportsmanship, it's a life lesson. A playing field puts these lessons to use so kids can practice empathy and other social interactions in a comfortable setting.

      Fitness. Sports are a fun way to get kids moving, and this increased physical activity helps build healthy bodies and reduces the risk of diseases. From cultivating a healthy heart and lungs to helping prevent high blood pressure and, ultimately, heart disease, regular physical activity provides numerous health benefits.

      Discipline. While free play has its place, kids also need structure and boundaries. Sports come with rules, and kids naturally learn through positive reinforcement (scoring points or winning a game) and consequences (getting a penalty or losing).

      Academics. Studies reveal that physically active children score higher on tests and are more likely to go to college, according to research published by The Aspen Institute. Sports help reinforce learning concepts and habits like repetition and problem-solving. Those skills, along with the sense of accomplishment that comes with learning, are transferable to the classroom setting.

      Source: Kellogg's

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Navigating Difficult Political Conversations

      22 October 2019

      Whether you're stuck in politics banter in the office or around the dinner table at your great Uncle Chuck's, it can be awkward - and sometimes enraging - to engage in political topics, and each election cycle awakens new challenges within family members, neighbors, friends and co-workers. To help, Benjamin Cook, BYU Law professor and director of the Center for Conflict Resolution offers the following suggestions:

      Put yourself in the other person's shoes. The first thing to focus on when approaching difficult conversations about any topic is how you're seeing the other person, or your mindset. When we have strong disagreements with someone, we tend to see them as an object. With that mindset, our conversation will almost always end badly because the fundamental way we view someone ends up negatively affecting everything we hear and say. So the key is to see the other person as a person: "She has hopes, fears and challenges, just like me." If you don't know what those are, your conversation might need to start by getting to know more about that person so you can see her fundamental humanity.

      Ditch the "I understand" lingo. Never say, "I understand, but..." The intent here is good: "I want the other person to feel understood before I make my point." But no one has ever felt understood when someone tells him, "I understand, but..." To the contrary, we feel the other person emphatically doesn't understand, and we brace ourselves for what he's about to say, knowing it will contradict what we said. Instead, show the other person you understand. We can do this by saying something like, "I think I understand. You feel that... [give a brief summary or paraphrasing of what you understood the other person said]. Is that right?" Once someone feels that we've listened and understood him, he is much more likely to be able to listen and seek to understand us.

      Put down the boxing gloves. Discussions about politics tend to make us defensive. We need to be aware of what's happening internally when someone disagrees with us on a political issue, and ask ourselves what is being triggered that makes us so defensive. Often we get defensive because we are actually somewhat uncertain or insecure about the issue in question, and rather than explore it honestly and objectively, we double-down and entrench ourselves in our initial position. Approaching political conversations with a certain level of self-awareness and humility can lead us to greater understanding, and often induces the other person to be more open, honest, and civil, too.

      Find areas of common ground. Finally, finding areas of commonality can be healthy and really contribute to a productive conversation when exploring differences. Are you both passionate about working toward a greater good to help others in your community and the nation? Do you share camaraderie when it comes to non-political topics? Maybe it's a passion for volunteerism, prioritization of education or even a favorite sports team. Finding and exploring areas of common ground can soften the conversation or provide a topic to pivot the conversation when it's time to break bread and move on.

      Source: The BYU Law Center for Conflict Resolution 

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • How to Prepare for Making an Offer on a House

      21 October 2019

      So you’ve found the perfect house and you’re ready to move forward and make an offer. The number you put forth is one of the most important decisions you’ll make in the entire home-buying process, so before you make that offer, be sure to consider the following:

      You might not be the only bidder. Chances are, especially if you’re in a hot market, or simply on a desirable street in a particular neighborhood, that there will be a competing bid or two on the home. If that’s the case, before you raise your offer, dig deep and decide what this home means to you. If this is truly THE house for you, then go ahead and raise your bid if you can afford to.
       
      Consider writing a letter. While not effective in every situation, sometimes a personal letter to the seller can help make your offer more attractive. Talk to your real estate agent to find out if the seller has a particularly strong emotional attachment to the home, in which case, a letter describing why the home means so much to you could make a difference. For some sellers, it may mean a lot to know their home will pass on to someone who will love it as much as they do.

      Be prepared for a counteroffer. If the seller considers your bid too far below the asking price, they may come back with a counteroffer. Take a deep breath, and keep in mind that the seller can only negotiate with one buyer at a time. If you can’t afford their counter but are intent on pursuing the house, you can counter offer back. If not, you may have to be prepared to walk away. 

      Know the circumstances of the seller. A good real estate agent will work with the listing agent to determine the particular situation of the seller. Maybe they’re relocating for a job and need to be out by a certain date. Or maybe they’ve already bought another home and have a new mortgage looming. Either situation can mean a quick closing date is slightly more attractive than getting top dollar, so make that part of your offer.

      Be sure to discuss the many variables of making an offer with your agent - it’s not always just about price!

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • How to Stay Healthy While Traveling

      21 October 2019

      The rushed pace, lack of sleep, and increased exposure to germs while traveling are often a recipe for getting sick. With a few preventative measures, however, you can make sure you stay healthy in order to fully enjoy your vacation or ensure a productive business trip. Keep the following tips in mind:

      Find a way to sleep. If you have trouble sleeping on planes or in noisy hotel rooms, you’re not alone. So take some extra measures to induce sleep. Try packing your own pillow, noise-cancelling ear plugs, herbal sleep inducers, like melatonin or valerian root (check with your doctor first, please!), and a good book, or download a meditation app, like Calm.

      Watch your alcohol intake. Not only will it interfere with your sleep, it may also reduce your immune system, so drink responsibly. Keep in mind that drinking alcohol in the high-altitude environment of an airplane increases its effect and dehydrates you more rapidly.

      Boost your immune system. With so many risks to your immune system lurking while on the road, up your vitamin C intake as a preventative measure. Stash some echinacea tea in your travel bag and end the day with a nice, hot immune-boosting cup.

      Get some exercise. Speaking of boosting your immune system, exercise is a great way to do so. While it can be tough to stick to your regular fitness routine while traveling, even a little added exercise can do the trick. Hit the hotel gym, take a walking tour around the city you’re visiting or rent bikes instead of calling an Uber. Even a quick yoga or bodyweight session before leaving your hotel room will do the trick.

      Sneak in some good food. Part of the fun of traveling is veering off your diet and indulging in the local specialties of the place you’re visiting, i.e., Chicago deep dish pizza, New Orleans beignets, Paris croissants...go for it! Just sneak in some healthy choices here and there to help stave off sickness. Have a smoothie for breakfast or a mid-afternoon snack, and pack it with fruits and veggies, and start that decadent dinner with a big, green salad. Pack some multivitamins for an extra level of insurance.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.