Real Estate News


    • Is Flipping Houses Worth the Time and Effort?

      4 August 2020

      Flipping a house can be extremely profitable, or it can be disastrous. To buy a house, make improvements and sell it at a profit, you must choose the right property and make the right renovations. It’s easy to make costly mistakes, so getting professional advice is crucial.

      Choose the Right House
      You don’t want to find a house that you think you can flip and earn a profit on, then wind up overwhelmed by the costs. Have a house inspected before you buy so you’ll know how much work it needs. A real estate agent with a thorough understanding of the local market can help you get a good deal on a house to renovate and resell.

      Make the Right Upgrades
      If a house needs major repairs to make it safe or inhabitable, such as a new roof or plumbing or electrical work, you’ll have to make those improvements, and they can be expensive. That means you might not have much room left in your budget for other projects.

      Flippers often spend so much money on improvements that they earn little or no profit. Redoing the kitchen and bathrooms can cost a lot but may not add nearly as much to the sale price. Less expensive improvements can lead to a higher profit margin. Also, fixing up a house too much can make it worth significantly more than the rest in the neighborhood, and you may wind up struggling to sell it.

      Be Realistic About Costs
      Figure out your budget in advance. Be realistic, and keep in mind that renovation projects often go over budget or get delayed and that workers frequently find additional problems after work begins. Also consider the cost of utilities while you’re working on the house, as well as real estate taxes.

      If you pay contractors, that’ll reduce your potential profit. You’ll also have to spend time communicating with them and supervising the work.

      If you have construction experience, you may be able to make some or all of the repairs yourself. That can keep costs down and maximize your profit, but it may extend the amount of time required to flip the house if you’re also working full time.

      Avoid Taking on Debt
      Borrowing money to finance improvements can make things even riskier. You’ll have to pay interest on a loan, which can eat into your profit margin. If you’re struggling to make loan payments, you may be forced to sell the house for a low price and barely break even. If you pay with cash, you may be able to wait longer for housing prices to rise and make more of a profit.

      Do Your Research and Get Expert Guidance
      Flipping houses can be lucrative, provided you make a series of smart decisions. Ask a real estate agent for help choosing a house to flip, get it inspected, set a budget, and be realistic about the amount of time and money required and your potential profits.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Hygge Home Ideas Your Family Will Adore

      4 August 2020

      In the last few years, especially as the colder seasons approach, you’ve probably heard the word hygge (pronounced hoo-gah). Hygge is the Scandinavian word for cozy, but it is also a way of life and design mantra. The idea is to elevate your decor to create a warm atmosphere and a place to enjoy life’s little moments. If you are ready to embrace a cozy hygge ambiance in your home this year, these ideas are perfect for the whole family.

      Create a Meeting Space
      The hygge home is centered around community. It welcomes guests to sit and chat and encourages household members to take a moment to focus on each other. You don’t have to have a 70’s-style conversation pit to evoke a meeting space in your home. Simply arrange furniture in a way that promotes conversation. This means avoiding centering your furniture around electronics. Don’t worry, you don’t have to ditch your tv altogether, but instead consider hiding your tv to further contribute to a hygge mentality.

      Add Soft Textures
      Make your space warm and inviting by adding soft textures throughout your home. Faux furs, sheepskins and chunky soft knits are the epitome of hygge. The hygge home is full of comforting items that sooth and ward of winter’s chill.

      Address the Lighting
      Since the Danes experience long winters, they know the value of embracing the sunlight when it’s available. A truly hygge design leaves your space bright and inviting. Avoid heavy light-blocking curtains or unsightly blinds. Opt for sheer white curtains to bring in the daylight. In the evening, avoid fluorescent lights to illuminate a large space. Instead, choose warm lighting options in divided pockets across your home or room. Encourage intimacy and comfort by eliminating harsh or sterile lighting options. Candles and fireplaces (though not always practical for every room) is the perfect example of hygge lighting.

      In design terms, hygge may refer to textured throws, fire, candlelight and unfiltered daylight, but true Hygge decor goes far beyond simple aesthetic. Beautification is simply a means to an end. The real goal of a hygge home is to enjoy and embrace each day and those around you. This is a design goal everyone in the family will appreciate.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Hot Drink Ideas to Break Your Coffee Addiction

      4 August 2020

      If you are looking to lower your caffeine, or simply minimize your coffee intake, there are thankfully some delicious warming options. Break your coffee addiction little-by-little by replacing your morning brew with one of these tasty hot drink options.

      Chai Tea
      This cafe favorite may seem fancy and complicated, but with a little hot water, the right tea packet and a milk of your choice, you can make this surprisingly simple drink. With warming spices and a creamy taste from the milk, you will wonder why you didn’t make the switch sooner. Sweeten it with sugar, maple syrup or stevia for a flavor boost.

      Vegan Golden Milk
      Golden milk is a traditionally Indian drink made from hot milk and ground turmeric, but it has been gaining popularity for its flavor and its health benefits. The golden-hued turmeric for which the drink is named, offers a host of benefits including anti-inflammatory properties. Any type of milk can be used, but for a creamy flavor try canned coconut milk, a dash of fresh cinnamon, a teaspoon or two of ground turmeric and maple syrup to taste. Whisk it all together in a saucepan and gently heat it up. You’ll love the flavor and the health benefits of this drink on a cold afternoon.

      Hot Cocoa
      If you are looking for something a little less caffeinated than your typical mocha, but you are still craving that creamy chocolate flavor, cut out the middleman and make your own decadent hot cocoa from scratch. Far better than the watery packets from your childhood, a little half & half with milk serves as an indulgent base for this drink option. Mix a heaping scoop of cocoa powder, confectioners' sugar and a dash of salt together. Whisk it carefully into your simmering base. Finally, add a drop of vanilla extract or some cinnamon to lift the flavor. The comforting taste will have you coming back for more.

      There’s nothing like a warm drink on a chilly day, but there’s no doubt that you don’t have to reach for coffee every time. If you are looking to break your coffee addiction, look no further than these hot drink replacements.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Top 10 Flooring Options: Which Is Right for You?

      3 August 2020

      Homeowners today have a seemingly endless array of options when it comes to selecting what kind of floor they’d like in their homes. So, how do you know which is right for you? HGTV has the scoop on the top 10 flooring choices and what you need to know about each:

      1. Wood. Solid wood is a popular option for many because it can be refinished over and over and lasts a lifetime. However, in order to be installed properly, it needs to be nailed to a sub-floor, and it’s important to check that the wood is harvested responsibly–look for an FSC or SFI certification to be sure.

      2. Engineered Wood. The difference between this and solid wood is how it’s constructed: The top layer of engineered wood is a veneer of the real thing, supported by plywood underneath. It’s about the same cost and boasts a similar durability to actual wood, but installation is much easier, especially with certain “clickable” varieties.

      3. Laminate. Laminate floors give you the freedom to choose any number of patterns and colors to complement your home’s architecture and decor. Manufacturers use photo technology to create a plastic coating that mimics whatever style you’re after. Another perk: It can be placed directly on top of an existing floor. No tear-outs!

      4. Linoleum. An environmentally safe option, linoleum is made with renewable, biodegradable resources. Special coatings resist stains and heavy traffic, but the floor itself is high maintenance, needing refinishing every two years.

      5. Ceramic Tile. Tile is another popular choice for flooring because it can be customized easily. There are four main types: glazed, quarry, porcelain (the most resilient) and terracotta. Installation isn’t cheap, especially if you add decorative trim pieces or mosaic inlays.

      6. Carpet. The most versatile flooring is carpeting, which features more colors and textures than any other kind. A good quality indicator is the fiber density; wool is the standard, but other common materials include nylon, acrylic, polyester and polypropylene.

      7. Stone. Stone floor tiles are also popular, if you’re willing to splurge. Costing anywhere from $2 to $100 per square foot, they add a touch of luxury to any home. Harder stones (think granite and marble) only need to be sealed every five years; softer stones, such as limestone, must be refinished more frequently. A word of caution if you want stone in your bathroom: It’s wise to invest in skid-resistant surfaces, as stones become slippery when wet.

      8. Vinyl. Vinyl flooring, whether in sheets or tile squares, requires almost no maintenance. There are many colors and styles to choose from, with very little cost associated with customization. Backed by felt, they have an upper layer designed to resist scratches for 15 years.

      9. Bamboo. All the rage with green living enthusiasts, bamboo flooring is an eco-friendly option made from the plant’s fibers held together by glue. It can also stand up to wear and tear, which makes it comparable to stronger flooring, like wood.

      10. Cork. Cork is an alternative trend that’s gaining traction in newer homes. It’s comfortable to walk on and comes prefinished, so you don’t have to reseal within a year. Another plus is that it comes from the bark (rather than the core) of a tree, so forests remained unharmed during the harvesting process.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Quick, Easy and Delicious School Night Meals

      3 August 2020

      (Family Features) When it comes to back-to-school season, whether students are heading back to the classroom or learning from home, one of the biggest challenges for busy parents remains the same: how to serve up delicious homemade meals the whole family will love. With the right preparation and ingredients on-hand, parents can easily pass the test.

      One ingredient to consider adding to your shopping list is Mrs. T’s Pierogies. Found in the frozen food aisle, they are stuffed with creamy mashed potatoes, cheesy goodness and other big, bold flavors. Available in 14 varieties, including mini and full size, they can be boiled, baked, sauteed and even grilled, making them a versatile addition to your favorite everyday meals, apps, sides and snacks. 

      If you’re looking for fun ways to spend more quality time with your family this back-to-school season, try getting everyone involved in the kitchen while preparing tasty recipes like Pierogi Taco Casserole or Mini Pierogi Mac ’n’ Cheese Skillet.

      Visit mrstspierogies.com to find more back-to-school recipes.

      Pierogi Taco Casserole
      Prep time: 10 minutes
      Total time: 35 minutes
      Servings: 4

      • 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
      • 1 box Mrs. T’s Classic Onion Pierogies
      • 1 red pepper, diced
      • 1 cup corn, drained and rinsed
      • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
      • 1 teaspoon cumin
      • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
      • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
      • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
      • 1/3 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
      • 1/4 cup diced tomatoes
      • 1/4 cup diced red onions
      • 1 handful cilantro, roughly chopped

      Preheat broiler to high heat.

      In a large skillet over medium heat, add 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and saute pierogies until golden brown, about 8 minutes per side.

      Remove pierogies and add remaining olive oil. Saute red peppers, corn, black beans, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper until fragrant, about 3-4 minutes.

      Spread red peppers, corn and beans into a square baking dish. Nestle in pierogies. Sprinkle with shredded cheese.

      Melt cheese under a broiler for about 2 minutes.

      Top with tomatoes, onions and cilantro before serving.

      Mini Pierogi Mac ’n’ Cheese Skillet
      Prep time: 10 minutes
      Total time: 35 minutes
      Servings: 4 
      • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
      • 1 box Mrs. T’s Mini 4 Cheese Medley Pierogies 
      • 2 scallions, thinly sliced, white and green parts separated
      • 1 cup broccoli florets
      • 1 small red pepper, diced
      • 1 small yellow squash, diced
      • 1 tablespoon flour
      • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
      • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
      • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
      • 1 ounce cream cheese, cubed
      • 1 cup shredded white cheddar cheese

      In a large skillet over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and saute pierogies until golden brown, about 6 minutes per side. Remove pierogies from the pan.

      Add remaining olive oil to the skillet. Saute white parts of scallions over medium-high heat until fragrant and translucent, about 2 minutes. 

      Add broccoli, peppers and squash. Cook for 5-8 minutes until tender but still crisp.

      Remove veggies from the pan. 

      In the same skillet, whisk flour, salt, pepper and heavy cream. Simmer until thickened, about 2-3 minutes. Add cream cheese, stirring until melted.

      Remove skillet from heat. Stir in cheddar cheese until the sauce is melted and smooth. Add pierogies and veggies back to the pan, gently stirring until coated. 

      Top with green scallions before serving.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.