Consumer Real Estate News

    • 5 Signs It's Time for a New Mattress

      3 July 2020

      A good night’s rest helps you have a good day, not to mention stay healthy and alert. But if your mattress no longer gives you the proper comfort and support, it could mess with the many benefits of quality sleep.

      Is it time for you to buy a new mattress? To help you decide, Consumer Reports offers these five signs that your mattress might be shot and worth replacing:

      1. It’s a little lumpy. Lumps or deep indentations can happen over time, no matter which materials a mattress is made of. It may also sag, causing you to roll to the center.

      2. The foam is failing. Spilling water on certain types of foam may cause damage to the adhesive between the layers, causing them to shift. The foam may also just degrade over time.

      3. You’re waking up sore. A worn-out mattress might no longer support your spine’s natural curve, causing stress to other parts of your body as you sleep. If you’re suddenly waking up with unexplained soreness, your mattress might no longer be giving you the support you need.

      4. You can feel the foundation. Sleeping in the same spot every night can compress the layers so much over time that you can begin to feel the bed slats or whatever else the mattress is placed on.

      5. The springs are poking you. Ouch! If you’ve moved your mattress often or sat in the same spot for extended periods of time (such as when watching TV in bed), you’ve probably pushed its innards out of alignment and a spring might’ve been pushed out of place.

      If your mattress is still in good shape, Consumer Reports also offers a few simple tips to help it stay that way.

      For example, you should rotate and/or flip your mattress at least twice a year to prevent long-term pressure in certain spots from denting or otherwise damaging those areas. Check the manufacturer’s instructions to learn when and how to perform this duty properly for the type of mattress you own.

      Another way to help preserve your mattress is to avoid unnecessary stress caused by, say, sitting at the edge to put your shoes on or bouncing in and out of bed. The gentler you are with your mattress, the longer it’ll likely last.

      Sweet dreams!

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 3 Tips to Help Your Kids Love Veggies

      3 July 2020

      Getting kids to eat their veggies can be hard to navigate--especially if you hope that they’ll eventually enjoy them. Thankfully, giving children the opportunity to love new vegetables is not as hard as it can seem. With a few tips that allow you to give your kids autonomy with their food options, you’ll soon find them reaching for the veggies each meal.

      Take A Field Trip
      Visit a nearby farm; taking children on a field trip to see where fresh food comes from is an excellent way to get them familiar with fresh vegetables before they ever consider needing to take a bite. Many farms offer tours or family days. These tour days not only show kids the labor and love that goes into growing your food, but also includes activities and games. Consider taking your kids along for a fun day where they can bring home a souvenir in the form of a veggie to eat later.

      Let Them Decide
      As a child, many things are chosen for you. From when to sleep and where to play, adults set the parameters for the day. When it comes to food, giving your child a bit of extra autonomy can make meals fun instead of a battle of wills. Take a quick trip to your favorite grocery store or farmers market and let the kids decide what veggie they would like. Let them choose a favorite, or ask them to pick a new item they haven’t seen before. A great weekend activity, this can be an exciting way for parents to branch out and try a new recipe, and can give children the power of autonomy over their food. Just be sure to make it soon so your child’s excitement doesn’t waine. Making the food a week later and forcing them to eat it defeats the purpose.

      Make Them Sous-Chefs for the Day
      Kids love to help, and they love messy fun. Get them in the kitchen with you helping whenever age appropriate. Truly young children can assist with stirring and mixing ingredients, while older children may be able to cut soft foods or stir items cooking on low heat. Having children become active participants in the cooking process can make them appreciate the care that goes into meal preparation and get them excited about the end result.

      Getting your kids to love veggies may be a slow process, but it doesn’t have to be a battle. With a few tricks of your sleeve, it can even be fun.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • How to Manage Taxes If You Own a Rental Property

      3 July 2020

      Renting out a property can be an excellent way to earn a living or to supplement your income from a job. It’s important to understand what types of information you’ll need to include on your tax return and to keep accurate records to avoid penalties.

      What’s Considered Rental Income?
      You’ll have to report all rental income on your tax return. That includes any regular rent payments, as well as rent paid in advance. If a tenant pays you to cancel a lease, that also counts as rental income. If a renter pays any of your bills, such as utilities, or provides services in lieu of regular rent payments, the cost of those bills or the fair market value of the services provided must be counted as rental income.

      If a tenant pays a security deposit to cover the last month’s rent, that should be counted as rental income when you receive the money. Don’t include a security deposit in your income if you plan to return the money when the tenant moves out. If you keep all or part of a security deposit to cover damage to the property or a violation of the lease, that money needs to be counted on your tax return as rental income.

      Which Expenses Can Be Deducted?
      You can deduct property taxes, mortgage interest, management costs, maintenance, utilities and insurance. You can also deduct expenses paid by a tenant if the Internal Revenue Service considers those deductible rental expenses.

      You may not deduct the cost of changes to improve or restore a property or to convert it to a different use. You can deduct depreciation to recoup some or all of the cost of improvements.

      How to Prepare for and File Your Taxes
      Keeping accurate and complete records throughout the year will make things easier when it comes time to file your taxes and will help if you get audited. Include all money received for rent and all costs associated with ownership, management, maintenance and repairs, as well as costs to travel to the rental property to perform maintenance and repairs.

      In most cases, you’ll need to report your rental income and expenses on Form 1040, Schedule E. The IRS has instructions to help you figure out which income and expenses should be included and how to calculate depreciation. If your expenses are greater than your rental income, or if you use a property that you rent out as a personal residence some of the time, the amount of loss you can deduct on your tax return will be limited.

      Seek Professional Assistance
      Owning a rental property can be lucrative, but you need to be mindful of how it can affect your taxes. Talk to an accountant so you understand what you must include on your tax returns, and keep detailed records of all income and expenses. If you don’t want to handle record-keeping yourself, hire professionals to make sure everything is in order.

      This article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as professional or legal advice.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Getting Maxi Space Out of a Mini Bath

      2 July 2020

      A small bathroom can be a major dilemma, especially for families or for anyone who regularly accommodates guests. But making more space in a small bathroom can be like fitting a puzzle together; it takes an eye for design, a little savvy and being open to some outside help.

      From bath designers and solution-seeking parents, here are seven ideas for getting maximum use out of small bathroom space:

      1. Redirect the door. A door swinging into a small bathroom makes things seem even tighter. Reposition the door to swing outward or, if that’s not feasible, try a sliding pocket door.
      2. Make the most of under-sink storage. If there is no vanity under the sink, install one. If there is one, chances are it’s a wasteful cavern. Invest in portable, under-sink organizers, available at most hardware or big-box stores, that provide tiered storage bins you can tuck into the vanity to hold bath toys, grooming supplies, cleaning supplies and more.
      3. Install a countertop extension. Expanding the vanity countertop with a banjo-style extension that goes over the toilet provides extra space for guest towels, aerosol containers, tissue boxes, cosmetics and more. If that’s not feasible, try hanging a couple of basket shelves on the wall next to the sink.
      4. Capitalize on shelving. Moving the towel bar to behind the door leaves more room on the wall next to the shower for a storage cabinet or shelving. Maximize storage by rolling small towels to fit into small cabinet cubbies.
      5. Keep paper goods in plain sight. Stack toilet paper rolls on an attractive vertical stand tucked in a corner next to the toilet.  
      6. Use accessories to your advantage. As space allows, use attractive baskets, bowls, designer hooks and boxes to store a wide variety of bath items.
      7. Trick the eye. A large, well-placed mirror reflects light and adds depth. Give it double duty by positioning it over the sink so that two people can use it at the same time. 

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 5 Organizing Tools You Didn't Know You Needed

      2 July 2020

      Home organizing can seem overwhelming at times, and it can seem like a task best left to the professionals. While you may not have every item in your home color-coordinated for a photo worthy of social media, organizing your home is perfectly achievable for the average person. These five organizing tools are the perfect place to start. 

      Bamboo Drawer Dividers
      This is a must-have if you find that your kitchen utensils are constantly in disarray. With the ability to customize your spaces for each item, this is a far more user-friendly option than a traditional box utensil organizer. While it may seem like a small place to start organizing, since you likely cook daily, you will notice the impact right away.

      Wire Bins
      With an industrial and modern feel, wire bins are the perfect option for anywhere in the house. Utilitarian enough that they will work in a closet or cupboard, but sleek enough to be displayed out in the open. They’re design makes them ideal for viewing groups of items at-a-glance making a grouping of a few together ideal in a children’s room for toys or your pantry for various foods.

      Clear Plastic Totes
      Clear totes in a range of sizes are an essential item to house any gear or clothing that is out of season. Be sure to stick only to clear and weathertight totes. This will ensure that your belongings are protected if you decide to put them in a garage or shed. Keeping the totes clear makes it easy to see what you are storing in case you are unable to see the label.

      Cabinet Door Wire Rack
      If you need a good spot to store your favorite hair dryer and other accessories in your bathroom, look no further than a cabinet door wire rack. Organize your hair care tools with ease while ensuring they stay off the counter with this handy way to add usable space to your bathroom cabinets.

      Cabinet Pullout Shelves
      Installing pullout baskets in your cabinets is a simple task that can add a lot of extra utility to your cabinet storage. Opting for a two tier model not only doubles your vertical space, but allows you to easily access items that are being stored in the very back of the cabinet. These pullout shelves are ideal for anything from pots and pans to cleaning supplies. Once you get one, you’ll be hooked.

      Getting your home better organized can feel like a breath of fresh air. Get started today with these tools and you will be on your way to becoming an organizing guru in no time.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.