Consumer Real Estate News

    • 9 Kitchen Tips You’ll Wish You Knew Sooner

      19 October 2021

      For those new to the kitchen, every meal prep is an adventure and shortcuts can be few and far between. Even experienced chefs may be surprised at some of these nine simple tips that go a long way toward saving time, effort and food.

      • Extend Veggie Freshness - Lining your fridge’s crisper drawers with paper towels helps absorb moisture to help keep veggies fresh longer. Wrapping fresh mushrooms in paper towels will help keep them from getting slimy. 
      • Keep Cheese Fresh - Spread a little butter or margarine on the cut surfaces to keep leftover cheese from drying out. Be sure to wrap them loosely in wax paper rather than plastic wrap.
      • Prevent Bacteria in Dairy - To make cottage cheese or sour cream last longer, place the container upside down in the fridge. Inverting the tub creates a vacuum that inhibits the growth of bacteria that causes the food to spoil.
      • Don’t Toss That Honey - Honey is a truly non-perishable food. If it crystallizes or looks cloudy, microwave it in 30-second increments until it is clear once again.
      • Keep Brown Sugar Soft - Keeping brown sugar in the freezer will keep it from hardening. If the brown sugar in your cabinet is too hard to use, pop it in the microwave for 30 seconds—and voila!
      • Make Juicing More Efficient - To get more juice from any citrus fruit, roll it gently on the counter before halving and juicing it. Don’t waste a whole lemon when you don’t need to. If all you want is a few drops, poke holes in it with a fork and extract just what you need.
      • Ripen Fruit Quickly - To ripen peaches or avocados, place them in a paper bag with an apple. Apples release ethylene gas that hastens the maturing process of other fruits.
      • Save a Scorched Pan - Sprinkle the burned bottom with baking soda, then add four to five tablespoons of salt, plus enough water to cover the area. Let stand overnight. Scrape out the charred remains with a rubber spatula.
      • Keep Copper Shiny - Apply a thin coat of ketchup—yes, ketchup—and rub it off with a clean rag.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Decorate Your Way to a Howling Good Halloween

      19 October 2021

      (Family Features) Costumes and candy may be mainstays of Halloween, but decorating is a fun way to set the mood and add a little extra excitement in the weeks leading up to the holiday. These spooktacular ideas can help dial up the drama and delight for all ages.

      Pumpkins aplenty: A traditional glowing jack-o’-lantern may be one of Halloween’s most recognized icons, but pumpkins can be used in plenty of other fun ways. You can dress them up with glitter and ribbon for a more elegant look or group a series of pumpkins in varied shapes and colors for a seasonal centerpiece. You can even give a pumpkin a coat of chalkboard paint and count down the days until Halloween.

      Creepy kids’ crafts: Get little ghosts and goblins into the Halloween spirit with hand-made decorations that make your seasonal decor equal parts sweet and spooky. Fold a black piece of construction paper down the middle and trace a child’s hand and wrist, with the wrist extending over the folded edge. Cut along the traced line, leaving the fold intact, and when you unfold the paper, you’ll have a bat to decorate. Add eyes and attach string to the top of the wings to hang and display.

      Gross and ghoulish: Some of the best Halloween displays have something in common: attention to detail. Get creative with your props and decorations to incorporate some unexpected attention-grabbers like brains in a jar. Place bunches of cauliflower in a clear glass container and cover with water died red.

      Spooky serving: If you’re entertaining for Halloween, incorporate spooky decor with your food and drinks to keep the theme going throughout the party. Use cauldrons as serving bowls and skeleton hands as serving spoons. Add plenty of cobwebs and other spooky accents to the table, and search for easy recipes that fit your theme. One fun idea for kids is baking sugar cookies in fun Halloween shapes and serving them with a selection of food-safe syringes prefilled with colored frosting.

      Ghostly greetings: All the tricks and treats indoors make for plenty of good spirit, but don’t forget to set the scene outside, too. Dressing up your front door lets visitors know they’re in for a real treat. A haunted graveyard scene or a spooky spider den with lots of critters dangling from fake cobwebs are sure to show all who dare to enter that a howling good time lies ahead.

      Find more frightfully fun ideas to make your home Halloween ready at

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • How to Spot Real Estate Scams on Social Media

      19 October 2021

      Scams no longer take place solely on email and by phone. Billions of people worldwide use social media, which unfortunately provides the perfect grouping of unsuspecting victims for scammers. While many post on social media daily, the majority of users have difficulty spotting scams before they’ve been compromised—and within the real estate space, users can lose out on more than just data, risking not only their safety, but their belongings and money, as well.

      Here’s what consumers should look out for on social media:

      Fake Listings and Rentals
      There’s a reason for the saying, “It’s too good to be true.” Oftentimes, consumers see a rental or listing for an incredible, low price. While the photos may look great on Facebook and Instagram, this should be the biggest indicator that the property may not be legitimate. Where renters or buyers have to be most wary is communicating with the “agent” or “owner” who posted the listing. If there are any requests to wire funds up front, or for sensitive information such as Social Security numbers before even seeing the property, consumers should walk away and report the incident to the police.

      This is where working with a vetted real estate agent comes in handy. Agents can help consumers determine if a listing is legitimate or if it appears to be a scam. Additionally, agents work with other licensed agents who are listing rentals or properties for sale, ensuring transactions and all involved parties are valid and safe. By working with unvetted online leads, consumers put themselves at risk.

      Scammers Impersonating Real Estate Agents
      This can go both ways. With social media, it can be difficult to vet an individual. Anyone can go online and say he or she is a real estate agent. Social media users today need to be savvy when hiring someone. Here are some red flags to look for when people claim to be real estate agents on social media:

      • No formal business page
      • A lack of online reviews
      • No link to a website with their license number
      • No references to real estate on their social media pages
      • An unwillingness to meet in person
      In essence, consumers should never meet someone in person without first identifying who they’re speaking with. Furthermore, money should never change hands before a property viewing and until legitimate contracts are involved.

      Most real estate agents use social media these days to stay in contact with past clients and reach new ones. Unfortunately, there are also some real estate scammers looking to take advantage of people online. Before working with someone found on social media, consumers should do research to ensure a person or company is legitimate.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • What to Think About Now for Aging in Place

      18 October 2021

      There’s no question that Americans are aging. The Population Reference Bureau estimates the number of citizens who are 65 and older will nearly double from some 52 million currently to more than 95 million by 2060—and an aging population will need practical solutions for living safely and independently as seniors. 

      Some basic home design features, such as wider doorways, wider hallways and entryways without steps, may be best left to new home builders. But for homeowners with renovation plans in mind, there are a few features well worth considering.

      • Lower Countertops - Kitchen countertops that are just three inches lower than the standard 36-inch height allow the wheelchair-bound or seniors with limited mobility to continue participating in meal prep. 
      • Thoughtful Kitchen Storage - Lower cabinets with pull-out shelves, ‘lazy Susan’ corner cabinets and easy-pull handles offer additional convenience for those with mobility issues.
      • Smart Appliances - Sight sometimes fails as we get older, as well as short-term memory. When choosing appliances, opt for easy-to-read microwave ovens and stoves with automatic shut-off features that ensure they won’t stay on if forgotten. 
      • Bathroom Aids - Practical think-ahead solutions that make aging in place easier include walk-in tubs or showers with seating, hand-held showerheads, comfort-height toilets and grab bars near the toilet and in the shower.
      • Non-Slip Floors - Fall-related injuries are commonplace for seniors. While it’s impossible to prevent every fall, you can minimize the risk by installing non-slip flooring choices, such as low-pile carpet, cork and slip-resistant vinyl.
      • Good Lighting - Adequate lighting is critical for seniors. Install bright lighting in hallways and stairs. Outdoors, consider motion-sensor lights that don’t need to be turned on and that will keep the area well-lit at all times.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • A Family Meal Worth Celebrating

      18 October 2021

      ( When you are hungry and searching for something filling, juicy and rich, turning to your pantry for on-hand ingredients can make dinner a breeze. Dodge snack cravings and avoid the temptation to swing by the drive-thru; instead, you can have a homemade meal ready in a matter of minutes by putting your skillet to work.

      Call your loved ones to the dining room to share time together while trying these Smothered Pork Chops in Mushroom Sauce. It’s a dish the entire family can dig into without questioning the substance of the meal as it’s a filling option that requires just a few ingredients you likely already have at home.

      It all starts with the pork chops, which are thick and seared to perfection. The mushroom sauce is a beautiful blend of earthy and creamy textures. Bring it to a simmer then smother your pork chops and garnish with fresh parsley for a pop of color.

      The best part is this recipe doesn’t take much time to accomplish. The pork chops are seared for 3-5 minutes per side then simmered in the mushroom sauce for another 2-3 minutes until thoroughly cooked.

      Don’t waste time with complicated recipes, dirtying an array of kitchen utensils and multiple trips to the store for ingredients you may not use again. This recipe requires one bowl and a single skillet. Cleanup is a breeze, which means there is more time to spend around the table with those who mean the most.

      Find more savory recipes at

      If you made this recipe at home, use #MyCulinaryConnection on your favorite social network to share your work.

      Smothered Pork Chops in Mushroom Sauce
      Servings: 4
      1 teaspoon mild chili powder
      1 teaspoon garlic powder
      1/4 teaspoon salt
      1/4 teaspoon pepper
      4 pork chops
      2 tablespoons olive oil
      2 tablespoons butter

      Mushroom Sauce:
      2 1/2 cups brown mushrooms, sliced
      5 garlic cloves, smashed
      1 tablespoon parsley
      1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
      1/2 cup chicken broth
      1 1/2 cups heavy cream
      fresh parsley, for garnish

      In a small bowl, whisk chili powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper until combined.

      Pat pork chops dry. Season generously with spice mix. Set aside.

      In a skillet, add olive oil and butter. Add pork chops; sear 3-5 minutes per side. Transfer to plate.

      To make mushroom sauce: In the same skillet, add mushrooms. Stir fry until golden brown. Add garlic, parsley and Italian seasoning. Stir fry for 2 minutes. Add broth and heavy cream. Stir to combine. Simmer for 5 minutes until slightly thickened.

      Return pork chops to sauce. Simmer 2-3 minutes until pork chops are cooked through. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.