Consumer Real Estate News

    • Parents: Safety Tips for Your Little Trick-or-Treaters

      19 October 2018

      For kids, Halloween is a festive holiday full of spooky magic, sweets and fall fun. For parents, things can be a little scarier.

      "Emergency departments typically see an uptick in visits on Halloween," says Vidor Friedman, MD, FACEP, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP). "Some of the most common injuries are motor vehicle accidents, falls, or hand lacerations from pumpkin carving mishaps. Taking the appropriate precautions will help you make sure that your child gets treats from friends and neighbors, not treatment in the emergency department."

      Below are a handful of tips from ACEP to keep your little one safe this season.

      - Children should not walk alone in the dark. Try to go as a group, in a familiar neighborhood, with at least one adult chaperone. Seek organized festivities (schools, churches, etc.) if possible.
      - Bring flashlights. Visibility is important even at dusk, and it is especially important to remain visible to cars.
      - Stay on the sidewalks when walking at night. If you must cross the street, obey all traffic signals.
      - Discuss how to interact with strangers. Make sure your child knows to never accept rides from people they don't know.

      - Avoid candy that is not wrapped in its original wrapper.
      - Don't eat too much. Children (and adults) can get sick from over-eating candy.
      - Pay attention to labels. Edible marijuana and related products are becoming more common and can resemble food that looks harmless. You don't want to accidentally ingest, or let a child ingest, something with a harmful substance in it that could easily be mistaken for a common cookie or brownie.
      - Know which candy contains common allergens, such as peanuts. Be prepared with allergy medication, if necessary.

      - Make sure costumes are visible at night. Use reflective tape. Avoid costumes that are hard to walk in or could cause a child to trip (baggy pants, oversized shoes, etc.).
      - Avoid costumes that obstruct the child's sight or vision.
      - Dress appropriately for the weather. It could be cold or damp and you'll want to avoid slipping and falling, or putting a child at risk for hypothermia.
      - Avoid masks if possible. If your child must wear one, make sure it is well-ventilated.
      - Make sure costume fabric, wigs and beards are made of flame-resistant materials.
      - If a costume has an accessory, make sure it is made from flexible material and that any knives, swords, wands or pointed objects have dulled edges.
      - Use hypoallergenic makeup and remember to remove it before bed.

      - Keep Jack O’ Lanterns with lit candles away from children and at a safe distance from the doorway in order to avoid burns or fires.
      - Adults who carve pumpkins should exercise caution. Supervise older children and teens using any sharp tools. Young children should not carve pumpkins. One way they can help is by drawing the designs or removing the pumpkin pulp and seeds.
      - Consider purchasing a pumpkin decorating kit. The designs could eliminate the need for freehanded carving and the included tools may be safer than typical kitchen knives.

      Source: American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP)

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Having a Home Inspection? Don’t Forget the Trees

      19 October 2018

      When you buy a home, a professional inspection is a standard part of the process, designed to reveal any potentially dangerous and costly problems that may not be evident to the untrained eye, such as faulty electrical wiring or hidden mold.

      But there’s more to inspecting a property than the actual home itself. According to the Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA), it’s just as important to know the quality and safety of large trees on the property, as a mammoth branch coming through the roof during the first storm spent in your home is a problem no new homeowner wants to deal with.

      While beautiful, mature trees are probably part of what drew you to a property in the first place, the experts at TCIA advise inspecting the trees for the following issues. They could be telltale signs of an imminent problem:

      - Poor past care or previous topping
      - Improper planting
      - Too much mulch on the root system
      - Damage during construction
      - Wrong tree in the wrong place
      - Insect or disease damage
      - Overwatering from the lawn's irrigation system, or limbs rubbing on the siding or roof

      Dying or decaying trees are usually easy to spot, especially when foliage is out, but you’ll need a qualified arborist to identify some of the above problems, such as healthy-looking trees with structural defects. A professional arborist can also provide advice about the future maintenance of trees on the property to help stave off long-term problems.

      Taking action on tree issues sooner than later is a wise course of action before they result in more serious and expensive problems. As Lew Bloch, a registered consulting arborist in Potomac, Md., says, "Large trees are usually an asset and a valuable amenity to the property, but weak, damaged or diseased trees are actually liabilities."

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Looking to Learn: College Search 101

      19 October 2018

      If you or your teen are beginning their search for a college, there are many things to keep in mind, from size of school, to location, curriculum, and more. Anita Narayan, managing editor of Education at U.S. News, offers four key tips for beginning the college search.

      Focus on fit. Students should narrow down their ideal majors and decide if they want a rural or city campus, small or large classes, a school across the country or one closer to home. To start, U.S. News' college search tool has more than 1,800 college profile pages with in-depth information on alumni starting salaries, graduation rates, tuition cost and financial aid, class size and student body breakdown.

      Be mindful of application deadlines. The majority of schools have a regular decision deadline of Jan. 1, with students expecting to hear back sometime between March and April. However, some schools offer early decision or early action deadlines that can come as soon as November. Other schools have rolling admissions, which means they will evaluate applications as they receive them and release decisions on a regular basis. Remember these dates so that deadlines for top-choice schools aren't missed.

      Write the college essay. One of the most important aspects of the application is the college essay, and students should start working on it as soon as possible. Essays have a 650-word limit on the Common App, an application platform that allows students to submit materials to multiple colleges, and the prompts are usually open-ended.

      Discuss cost and affordability in detail. Don't let a school's sticker price stop you from applying. Sometimes, seemingly expensive schools offer a considerable amount of financial aid. However, understand the implications of student loan debt, and remember that the average cost of attending college can vary based on whether a school is public or private, in- or out-of-state, and more.

      "Applying to college is a process years in the making and requires lots of family support, dedication and detailed research," says Narayan.

      Source:  U.S. News & World Report

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • How to Take a Tech Time-Out

      18 October 2018

      Have you ever tallied up the hours in a day you spend in front of a screen? Between your desk job, your social media accounts and your nightly Netflix-a-thon, those hours in front of a screen really stack up. Too much time in front of a screen can seriously damage your vision, and hinder your mental health. Below are a few tips for stepping away.

      Weekly game night. Skip the TV time for a weekly game night with family or friends. Pick out your favorite old-school board game and get some healthy competition flowing, away from your phone.

      No phones in bed. Leave your phone charging in another room when you head to bed. This will keep you from staying up late checking social media, as well as checking your messages as soon as your eyes are open. You may need to revert to an old-school alarm clock, but the time away from your screen will be worth it.

      Skip the video chat. While video chatting with friends and family can be a great way to see their faces, it does mean more screen time. Once in a while, opt for a regular phone call and let your eyes rest as you catch up.Leave your phone at home. Once a month or, if you can swing it, once a week, go on an outing and leave your phone at home. For safety precautions, let your family know where you'll be, and that you’ll be out of reach. Head to a museum, park, movie or restaurant and let your mind wander, phone-free.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • How to Choose the Right Food for Your Dog

      18 October 2018

      (Family Features)--When it comes to selecting the right food for their dogs, people often agonize about choosing among a myriad of options. Given that 95 percent of pet owners consider their pets to be part of the family, according to a Nielsen survey on The Humanization of Pet Food, pet parents typically want to provide a well-balanced diet, made from quality ingredients.

      Whether looking to introduce variety into a pet's diet or address a problem, such as a food sensitivity or weight issue, the right pet food can nurture pets and address health issues.

      "There are so many well-formulated dog foods to choose from today," says Dr. Jennifer Adolphe, senior nutritionist, Petcurean. "Like humans, all animals are unique, so it just takes a little patience and persistence to find the recipe that is best for each pet."

      Keep these tips in mind when evaluating what might be best for your pup:

      Look at the ingredients
      High-quality, whole-food ingredients like fresh meats, fruits, vegetables and grains provide the essential nutrients your dog requires. They are also a source of other important dietary components such as antioxidants and plant-based nutrients to support optimal health.

      Select a protein source
      For dogs with food sensitivities, selecting a protein source can be tricky. If you suspect a food sensitivity, it's a good idea to consult with your veterinarian. You'll also need to begin testing alternative food options to identify a formula your dog can tolerate. If you are not sure which proteins your dog is sensitive to, try something more obscure, such as duck or pollock.

      A limited-ingredient diet may also be beneficial to lessen the chance of an adverse food reaction. These diets usually contain a single-source, novel protein and have a limited number of ingredients, which decreases the odds of your pup eating something that doesn't agree with his or her stomach.  

      Consider activity level and weight
      You may need to choose a food that is designed to meet specific needs. For example, an overweight dog may need a food with fewer calories. With a calorie-reduced food, you may be able to feed the same volume, but your dog will take in fewer calories. Alternatively, high-energy and active dogs may require food higher in fat and carbohydrates.

      Look for healthy fats
      Healthy fats, such as omega-3 fatty acids, can provide health benefits in dogs. The omega-3 content of a food can sometimes be found in the guaranteed analysis on the packaging. Some examples of ingredients that contain omega-3 fatty acids are salmon oil, flax oil and canola oil. A good guideline is to look for foods that contain an omega-6 to omega-3 ratio between 5:1-10:1.

      Think about rotational feeding
      You also may want to consider a rotational diet, which can allow your pet to experience different flavors and textures and discourage picky eating. This approach also encourages varied proteins and food forms.
      For those looking to change things up for their pet without making a full switch, there are also creative ways to add variety to your pet's diet, such as adding wet food, mixers or toppers.  

      Source: Petcurean

      Published with permission from RISMedia.