Real Estate News


    • How to Incorporate More Fruits and Vegetables Into Your Diet

      29 October 2020

      Many people don’t eat as many servings of fruits and vegetables as they should. Consuming a variety of produce every day can help you get all the nutrients you need for good health and may lower your risk of cancer, heart disease and other serious medical problems. There are a lot of simple ways to include more fruits and vegetables in your diet.

      Breakfast
      Add fruits and vegetables to things you ordinarily eat in the morning. For example, if you eat cereal for breakfast, toss in some berries or banana slices. If you usually have plain eggs, cut up some vegetables and make an omelet. You can also make a breakfast smoothie with a variety of colorful foods to get your morning off to a healthy start. Experiment with different combinations of ingredients.

      Lunch
      Put lettuce, tomatoes and other vegetables on a sandwich or have a vegetable or fruit salad. If you like soup, buy or make some that contains a variety of vegetables. If you make soup from scratch, prepare a large amount and store the leftovers in the refrigerator or freezer so you can have several healthy meals. 

      Dinner
      For dinner, you can have a vegetable or salad as a side dish or incorporate vegetables and fruit into the main course. Try pasta and rice dishes with a variety of vegetables. You may also find creative ways to use fresh fruit to add some sweetness to your evening meal.

      Snacks 
      Instead of cookies or chips, have some fresh or dried fruit or raw vegetables as snacks. Put a fruit bowl on the kitchen table or counter so you will see it when you’re hungry and reach for a nutritious snack. If you like sliced veggies, prepare some ahead of time so they will be available when you need something to hold you over until your next meal.

      Dessert
      If you typically choose desserts filled with sugar, look for healthy alternatives, such as fruit salad. If you’re craving ice cream, find a brand that is low in sugar and serve it with a homemade fruit sauce.

      Look for Creative Ideas
      If you aren’t sure how to work more fruits and vegetables into meals, look for recipes in cookbooks or online. You will easily find many that combine familiar foods in unexpected ways. You may even be inspired to try some foods you have never had before and find that you love them. 

      Shopping Tips
      Frozen fruits and vegetables are usually as nutritious as fresh ones. If you buy canned or dried fruits and vegetables, soups and other prepackaged foods, check the labels to avoid products with a lot of sodium and preservatives.

      Fruit and vegetable juices can be good sources of nutrients, but be sure to read the labels so you don’t buy products with large amounts of sugar. Don’t try to get all your fruits and vegetables from juice. Fresh produce has fiber, which is important for maintaining a healthy immune system.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Celebrate the Best of the Season

      29 October 2020

      (Family Features) If it seems like your grocery store’s apple section is more abundant than it has been in the past, you’d be correct. With new apple varieties coming onto the scene every few years, gone are the days of choosing between simply red or green. 

      Instead, choosing the right apple is similar to selecting the perfect wine. Apples can range from tart to sugary sweet, so finding the right balance for your palate is key. Scent can also influence taste, especially when you have a balanced sweetness with an uplifting, fresh aroma. 

      When it comes to apples, a satisfying texture is as important as taste. Consider an option like the Envy apple, which has been referred to as “the ultimate apple experience” for its consistently balanced, delightful sweetness coupled with a crisp, elegant crunch. They are an easy snack when eaten fresh out of hand and are perfect for pairing with cheese, charcuterie boards, chocolate and nut butters. 

      Easy to spot with their crimson red skin over a golden background that practically glows, Envy apples are naturally descended from Braeburn and Royal Gala apple varieties, bred by farmers who use time-honored plant-breeding methods. Plus, the apples’ bright white flesh is naturally slow to brown when sliced, so they stay fresher longer.

      For more information, including recipes and entertaining tips, visit EnvyApple.com.

      Creating the Ultimate Charcuterie Board
      Stick to the basics this holiday season to create a perfect charcuterie board:

      The board: Select a board big enough for your gathering but not too big as you want there to be overlap and crowding.

      The cheeses: Select three different cheeses that complement the other items. Brie is a solid soft cheese choice while blue fills the need for a stronger, more pungent cheese. Try an aged cheddar or smoky gouda to round out the trio.

      The meats: Something salty with a little fat, like prosciutto or speck, provides a flavorful addition to the board. 

      The produce: Choose fruits that not only taste great, but are also beautiful to display such as Envy apple slices, which stay whiter longer, making them ideal for any entertaining occasion. Plus their balanced sweetness pairs well with any item on the board.

      The crackers: Variety is key with crackers, and like the cheeses, three types is typically the magic formula. Think water crackers, multi-grain wafers and breadsticks.

      The snacks: Sweet and salty are king when it comes to snacks, so a mix of chocolate and nuts works for many charcuterie boards.

      Home for the Holidays
      Traveling to visit friends and loved ones will likely be limited this year, so make this holiday season a time for cherishing traditions in new, different ways. Consider these ways to make apples part of the celebration:
      Break out the webcam and challenge your siblings to a cross-country apple pie bake off. 

      Give a relish tray an upgrade with a sophisticated charcuterie board stacked with creamy gorgonzola cheese, salty caramel sauce, crunchy mixed nuts and crisp apple slices. Entertaining tip: Envy apples are a perfect addition to any holiday spread as their white flesh stays naturally whiter longer and resists the browning that sometimes shows with other apples. 

      Visit Alaska, Austria or nearly any other location from the comfort of your couch by watching one of Hallmark Channel’s 40 new holiday movies, munching on apples as your movietime snack.

      Share the scents of the holidays with neighbors by crafting pomanders, which are fresh apples studded with whole cloves.

      Fill decorative bowls with festive Envy apples, enclose in cellophane and gift them to friends and family members.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Can You Get Approved for a Mortgage if You Have Student Loan Debt?

      29 October 2020

      A large percentage of recent college graduates have student loan debt, often totaling tens of thousands of dollars. While having significant balances might make it harder to become a homeowner, you may still be able to qualify for a mortgage. 

      Factors That are Important to Lenders
      A lender will look at your overall financial picture to decide whether to approve your mortgage application. Each company has its own requirements, but all lenders look at several key criteria to make decisions.

      An applicant’s payment history is one of the most important factors. If you have consistently paid your student loans and other bills on time, that demonstrates that you manage your finances responsibly and may increase your chance of qualifying for a mortgage with a competitive interest rate. 

      Mortgage lenders also consider an applicant’s debt-to-income ratio or the percentage of monthly income that goes toward paying down debts. Lenders don’t want borrowers to have a DTI ratio above a specific percentage.

      An applicant’s credit score is also important. A high score could help you get approved for a mortgage with a competitive interest rate.

      Improve Your Finances
      If your current student loan payments would make it difficult for you to qualify for a mortgage, you might be able to switch to an extended repayment plan or an income-driven repayment plan to reduce your monthly payments and DTI ratio. If you have multiple student loans, you might be able to consolidate them and reduce your monthly payment. Don’t request a forbearance or deferment to lower your debt-to-income ratio. That could make a lender think you’re in financial trouble and could hurt your chance of qualifying for a mortgage. 

      Pay all your bills on time. Focus on reducing your DTI ratio and your credit utilization ratio, or the percentage of your available credit you are using. Once you pay off a credit card, you should keep the account open since the length of your credit history affects your credit score. Avoid applying for new credit cards because hard credit inquiries could lower your score. 

      Look for Other Sources of Help
      If you can’t qualify for a mortgage on your own and someone close to you is also interested in buying a house, you might want to consider purchasing a home together. You could have a better chance of qualifying with a co-borrower since the lender would consider both your incomes and savings.

      Another option is to ask someone to cosign a mortgage. That person’s income and credit score could help you qualify, but the cosigner would not have an ownership stake in the house.

      Large student loan payments can make it difficult to save for a down payment. You may qualify for assistance through a program offered by the federal government or by your state government. You may also be eligible for a mortgage for first-time homebuyers with a low down payment or none at all.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 4 Tips for Buying Waterfront Property

      28 October 2020

      It’s easy to understand why waterfront property is so appealing to luxury homeowners. From breathtaking views to endless activities in the backyard, there are a multitude of benefits that attract a wide variety of buyers. For those who are interested in living on the water, here are a few things that you should keep in mind when looking at property.

      Do Your Research
      Quite simply, waterfront property is more complicated than your typical piece of land. Elevation, of course, is an especially important consideration to take into account to ensure that the house isn’t prone to flooding or, specifically for oceanfront property, rising sea levels. Property lines can also be a more complex issue, as some locations consider the shoreline to be public land. This is why it’s crucial to do your due diligence in order to avoid any unwelcome surprises.

      Consider How You’ll Use It
      Waterfront property can vary dramatically and so too can the lifestyle that it delivers. Some homeowners prioritize a sandy beach where they can soak up the sun, while others want a deep water dock to keep their yacht in the backyard or calm, protected waters for kayaking. If you find a home where you’ll want to add a dock, make sure it’s possible to get a permit beforehand.

      Extra Costs 
      Living on the water is expensive. From flood insurance to pricey hurricane-proof windows, there are plenty of extra costs that come with the territory. Although a salty sea breeze is one of the perks of living on the ocean, it also takes a toll on the home and corrodes materials, which usually means extra upkeep and maintenance costs.

      Work With a Waterfront Specialist
      Navigating the complexities of waterfront homes can be daunting. It’s certainly important to do your own research, but as they say, you don’t know what you don’t know. For this reason, the best resource you can have is a real estate agent who specializes in local waterfront property. Someone who is familiar with both the land and regulations will be the best advocate to have in your corner when searching for the perfect new home on the water. 

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • How to Organize Your Linen Closet

      28 October 2020

      If you’re like most people, you have probably accumulated numerous sheet sets, blankets and towels over the years, causing your linen closet to be disorganized and cluttered. Here are some tips to help you simplify and create an organizational system that works.

      Get Rid of Things You Don’t Use
      You may have old towels that you only keep because they were given to you as a gift or sheets that your adult children had when they were in elementary school. Cut through the clutter and donate items you no longer use.

      Create an Organizational System That Works for Your Family
      You may want to designate one section for each person’s linens, or you may want to put all the queen-sized sheets on one shelf and all the twin-sized sheets on another. You may choose to sort towels by size and color, or you may have different sets for each bathroom and store them in different areas. 

      Dividers can keep linens separate and prevent stacks from falling over. You can also use boxes, storage bins or baskets to separate linens. When shopping for containers, think about the height and width of your closet shelves and what you want to store on each shelf so you can choose containers that will allow you to make the best use of the space available. Label containers so that you, other family members and guests can easily find what they need and assure that whoever puts away linens, puts them in the appropriate places.

      If you struggle to find sheets and pillowcases that are part of a set, there is an easy way to organize them. Fold sheets and pillowcases that belong to one set and insert them into a pillowcase that is a member of the same set. When you need linens, you will be able to reach for a bundle and know that you have a complete, matching set.

      Keep commonly used items front and center. Store less frequently used linens on higher shelves or toward the back of the closet.

      Protect Your Linens
      Some materials used to make closet shelves can damage linens or cause them to fade. Look for shelf liners to prevent damage. Clean the shelves with a damp sponge or cloth and let them dry completely before lining them. You may also want to use cedar to protect your belongings from moths and baking soda or a lavender sachet to prevent odors.

      Look for Ways to Save Space
      Folding linens is not always the best way to store them. If you’re tight on space, rolling towels may be a good alternative.

      For large, bulky items, such as comforters, invest in some space-saving bags. You can put large items in a bag, seal it and use a vacuum cleaner to remove the air and compress the bag into a flat unit.

      Use space on the door to store items that don’t fit on shelves. You can look for fixtures to hang your ironing board and iron, tablecloths or toiletries.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.