Consumer Real Estate News

    • Should You Get Earthquake Insurance?

      30 November 2022

      Although Americans typically associate earthquakes with California, they can happen anywhere, even far from known fault lines. Most earthquakes cause little or no damage, but a powerful quake can cause widespread destruction. A standard homeowners insurance policy may not cover earthquake damage. Purchasing a separate earthquake insurance policy is an option. 

      What Earthquake Insurance Covers
      If your home is damaged or destroyed by an earthquake, an earthquake insurance policy can pay to have it repaired or rebuilt. Some insurance companies include building code upgrade coverage or offer it as an add-on. If you have that type of coverage and your older home gets damaged or destroyed by an earthquake, your insurance company will pay to have it repaired or rebuilt so it complies with current building codes.

      Earthquake insurance will cover personal property that gets damaged or destroyed. If an earthquake renders your house uninhabitable, loss of use coverage will pay for additional living expenses while your home is being repaired or rebuilt. If you can’t live in your house but you still have to pay your mortgage, loss of use coverage can prevent you from being overwhelmed financially.

      An earthquake insurance policy won’t necessarily cover all damage. An earthquake can cause other problems, such as fires and flooding. Depending on the circumstances, your homeowners or flood insurance policy might pay for repairs or replacement. 

      Costs for Earthquake Insurance
      Premiums for earthquake insurance vary widely, depending on location and how often earthquakes occur there. Rates may be much lower in low-risk areas than in places that experience frequent earthquakes. If you’re concerned about high premiums, you can choose a policy with a higher deductible.

      Other Factors to Consider
      Think about where your house is located, how often earthquakes happen there, how serious they generally are, the materials used to build your house, whether it was constructed to withstand an earthquake, the amount of rainfall your area typically gets, and the type of soil on your property. Consider the value of your home and its contents. Ask yourself if you would be able to pay to have your house rebuilt from scratch and replace all your belongings if you lost everything in an earthquake and didn’t have insurance. 

      Deductibles for earthquake insurance policies are usually a percentage of the total amount of coverage. If, for example, your house gets damaged or destroyed by an earthquake and you have a 20% deductible, you will have to pay 20% of your coverage amount before your policy will cover any of the bills. If the damage is minor and the cost of repairs is less than your deductible, your insurance will pay nothing at all. 

      Weigh the Pros and Cons
      Earthquake insurance can protect you from financial ruin if an earthquake destroys your home. If your area never experiences an earthquake, or if an earthquake occurs but causes minimal damage to your house, you may pay a lot of money in premiums but never use your policy. 

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Where Is the Best Location for a Laundry Room?

      30 November 2022

      If you’re planning to build or remodel a house, you may be trying to figure out where to put the laundry room. It should be in a convenient location where it won’t interfere with other activities. Here are some things to consider when deciding where to put your washer and dryer.

      Utilities and Ventilation
      Water and electricity are necessary to operate a washer and dryer. Place the laundry room in a location where it will be easy to connect machines to utilities. In or near the kitchen or a bathroom may be the best choice. A laundry room will also require a drain to remove water from a washer and ventilation for a dryer. 

      Accessibility and Convenience
      Many homeowners like to have the laundry room near the main living areas so they can go back and forth quickly while cooking dinner or doing other activities. Some families like to have a laundry room on an upper floor near the bedrooms to minimize the distance that they have to carry laundry. Still, others prefer to put the laundry room in the basement, where it’s out of the way and won’t take up valuable living space. 

      If anyone in your family has trouble walking up and down stairs or carrying heavy loads, take that into consideration. The laundry room should be in a location that won’t put someone with limited mobility in harm’s way. 

      Washers and dryers can be noisy. Think about this when selecting a location for your laundry room. You might not want to put it between your kitchen and living room if noise from laundry machines would make it difficult to hear the TV in the next room. 

      If you’re concerned about noise, the basement may be the best location, provided family members can carry laundry up and down the stairs without trouble. Another plus is that if a washer leaks in the basement, you won’t have to worry about flooding causing damage in other parts of the house. A downside to your laundry room being in the basement is that you might not be able to hear when the washer and dryer have ended their cycles.

      Your Home’s Layout 
      If you’re building a house from scratch, you will have a lot of leeway with the design. If you’re remodeling an existing house, your options may be more limited. Think about where utilities are currently located and how much space you will need for a washer, dryer, shelves, cabinets and a counter. 

      Figure Out What Will Work for Your Family
      Think about the size of your family, who does laundry, how often and how you use other rooms in your home. Choose a laundry room location that will best suit your needs.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • How Your Nutritional Needs Can Change as You Get Older

      30 November 2022

      Aging causes changes in the body that can affect your nutritional needs. Health conditions, medications and lifestyle changes can cause vitamin deficiencies and other issues. Choosing the right foods and taking supplements can help.

      Fewer Calories
      Since older adults tend to be less physically active than younger people, they generally need fewer calories to maintain their weight. If you become less active with age, but you continue to eat the same number of calories, you can gain fat, particularly around your abdomen. 

      More Nutrients
      Even though older adults require fewer calories, they need the same amount of nutrients, or possibly even more, than younger adults. Protein, calcium and vitamins D and B12 are particularly important for senior citizens, but many don’t get enough.

      People tend to lose muscle mass as they get older. That increases the risk of bone fractures and poor overall health. As you age, incorporate more protein-rich foods into your diet to slow down or prevent muscle loss. Resistance exercise can also help you maintain muscle mass.

      Calcium is necessary for strong bones and vitamin D is needed for the body to absorb calcium. Senior citizens tend to absorb less calcium due to a vitamin D deficiency. That can lead to bone loss and a higher risk of fractures. Make sure that your diet includes plenty of calcium-rich foods, such as dairy products and leafy green vegetables. You can get vitamin D from fish or supplements.

      Vitamin B12 is necessary for the production of red blood cells and healthy brain function. Many older adults have a vitamin B12 deficiency. You can get the amount you need by eating foods that are fortified with vitamin B12 or by taking a supplement.  

      Deficiencies in magnesium, potassium, iron and omega-3 fatty acids are also common in older people. You can get these nutrients from fruits, vegetables, lean meats and fish. 

      Many older people experience constipation due to reduced physical activity and medication side effects. Diverticular disease, which causes inflammation or infection in the colon, is also common. A high-fiber diet filled with fruits and vegetables can help you avoid these problems.

      Enough Food and Water
      Older adults tend to eat less than they did when they were younger. This can be due to a variety of factors, including changes in taste, smell and levels of hormones that signal hunger and fullness. Illness, medications, dental problems and changes in lifestyle and daily routines can also play a role. If you struggle to eat a full portion in one sitting, break it up into smaller meals or have nutritious snacks between meals.

      Senior citizens often become dehydrated because receptors in the body that detect thirst become less sensitive to changes. Drink water throughout the day, even if you don’t feel thirsty. 

      Focus on Your Health as You Get Older
      As you age, monitor your diet carefully to make sure that you’re getting enough of vital nutrients. If you have questions or concerns or think you might need supplements, talk to your doctor.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Boost Your Home’s Value With These Low-Cost Ideas

      29 November 2022

      Your home is likely the largest investment you’ve made in your life and, as such, should be carefully guarded and nurtured to increase in value over time. That means enhancing your home to continually build equity and ensure maximum market value.

      But not everyone has the funds to go all-out on a kitchen re-do or tack on an addition. Fortunately, there are many more affordable ways to improve your home and add to it’s value. Consider one of these suggestions from Real Simple and the experts at Zillow and Houzz.

      Paint the bathroom light blue. Believe it or not, the right paint colors in certain areas of your home are known to increase the sales price. Light blue paint in the bathroom is one of them. Perhaps a reflection of the need for tranquility during pandemic times, homes with light blue bathrooms can fetch nearly $5,000 more when it comes time to sell, according to a paint-color analysis from Zillow.

      Install a touchless kitchen faucet. If you’re a bit handy, you won’t even need to hire a pro to install a new kitchen faucet, and going with a touchless variety may gain you a 0.6 percent increase on your home’s sale price. The touchless faucet is a sign of the increasing popularity of smart home features, not to mention the increased attention on germ-free living. 

      Upgrade your lighting. Good lighting can indeed present your home in a whole new light. Replacing dated fixtures with dimmer switches will help show the many moods of your home and help enhance its positive features. Want to sell your home more quickly? Install a pendant light in the kitchen, says Zillow.

      Declutter your space. This particular endeavor won’t cost you much more than sweat equity but will go a long way in improving the value of your home. Homebuyers covet space, so streamlining your closets, cabinets and living areas by getting rid of unnecessary belongings will work wonders in selling your home for the best possible price. Your organized home will feel larger and more manageable to would-be owners and therefore, more attractive. With that in mind, the investment in an organizing pro may be well worth it.

      Extend your living space outside. No longer just a nice-to-have, outdoor areas are now considered an extension of a home’s living space. With that in mind, make sure your yard, patio or deck are both functional and inviting. Invest in engaging outdoor lighting, comfortable furniture and a cozy eating area where family and friends can gather. Setting the right outdoor scene can surely give your home’s value a boost. 

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 5 Financial Guidelines Every Working Adult Should Know

      29 November 2022

      While situations vary and there are no ‘one-size-fits-all’ rules for managing money, there are sensible guidelines for spending and saving that have long stood the test of time. Here are five basic financial guidelines consumer advisors recommend.

      • 50/30/20 for Budgeting - Perhaps the oldest but still relevant rule for budgeting is that of 50/30/20; that is, 50% for necessities like housing, food and bills, 30% for discretionary spending on vacations, dining out and entertainment, and 20% for paying off debt, saving for retirement and other financial goals.
      • The 10% Retirement Rule - Saving 10% of gross income for retirement has long been the gold standard. But at the current rate of inflation, and given that people are living longer, saving 20% for your golden years may be wiser.
      • The Six-Month Rule for Emergencies - Job loss, unexpected expenses and all sorts of other emergencies can upend anyone’s life. That’s why it’s important to have six months’ worth of expenses in a readily accessible account.
      • The 20% Rule for Buying a Home - While there are many ways to finance a home with less of a down payment, sticking to the traditional 20% down payment guideline will not only increase your chances of being approved for a mortgage, but can significantly lower your monthly payment.
      • The 20/4/10 Rule for Buying a New Car - Buying a used car makes good financial sense. But if you purchase a new car, be prepared to put at least 20% down, finance it for four years to incur little or no interest and allocate no more than 10% of your income on your car payment. For maximum value, plan to drive it for 10 years or more.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.