Consumer Real Estate News

    • 5 Tips for Travelling By Air With Children

      26 February 2020

      (Family Features) Spring, for some families, means packing bags and heading to the airport for a getaway. However, flying with young children can be stressful.

      “New experiences can be exciting for some children, but they can also be frightening, especially if it’s your child’s first time flying,” said Linda Nelson, a program developer on KinderCare’s education team. “Talking about what will happen can help your family manage expectations and focus on the fun of travel.”

      Consider these ideas to help make family airplane travel an enjoyable adventure for everyone.

      Schedule Flights Smartly
      If you have the ability, pick a flight that works with your child’s current eating and sleeping schedules. Aim for a flight that occurs between mealtimes, and try to fly during normal naptime.

      Be Ready for Jet Lag
      If you’re going to cross time zones, plan ahead to combat jet lag. Two weeks before traveling, start making small adjustments to your family’s schedule by moving bedtime 20 minutes toward the time zone you’ll be traveling. Wait a few days then adjust your schedule again. When you get to your destination, try to stick to your child’s regular schedule by taking naps and going to bed as close to his or her normal times as possible.

      Pack the Essentials
      At the airport, you’ll want to move nimbly and hands-free, so opt for a backpack as your carry-on. Pack a change of clothes for each member of the family, diaper wipes, tissues, lotion and lip balm. If your child uses a pacifier, attach it to your child’s clothing using a clip. It can help soothe the pressure in his or her ears during takeoff and landing. Also consider packing books, crayons, markers, pencils, paper, activity books and age-appropriate toys to keep your child occupied.

      Remember the Snacks
      Low blood sugar can turn even the sweetest kids into champion tantrum throwers, so be sure to bring along plenty of healthy snacks in case delays disrupt regular mealtimes. Consider options like homemade granola or protein bars, fresh fruits and veggies, sandwiches or almond-butter pouches. If your flight is long, try to pack snacks that won’t create lots of crumbs you’ll have to live with until you arrive at your destination. Also remember a spill-proof cup or water bottle you can fill before boarding.

      Mind the Rules

      • Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents are there to help passengers, but there are also rules that must be followed. Consider these airport regulations before traveling:
      • Medically necessary liquids like baby formula, baby food, juice and breast milk are not subject to the 3.4-ounce limit.
      • Children under the age of 12 are not required to remove their shoes during screening.
      • If you’re flying within the United States, children under the age of 18 traveling with an adult usually don’t need more identification than a boarding pass. However, some airlines may ask for a birth certificate for lap infants. Call ahead of time to see which documents you need.
      • Your child will need a passport if flying internationally. Child passports must be renewed every five years until the age of 16.
      • If your child is traveling internationally with only one parent, you may need to bring a notarized letter of consent from the child’s other parent or legal guardian.

      For more tips for traveling with children, visit

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Why Your Employer Is Checking Your Credit

      26 February 2020

      Employers want to see an applicant’s credit report for a number of reasons. They may be looking for stability and trustworthiness, such as if you’re likely to embezzle or steal from the company. Or they may want to reduce their legal liability for negligent hiring. They may also be looking for a history of financial trouble, judgments against you, evictions or criminal charges, or convictions so they can get a sense of the type of person you are.

      Credit Score Versus Credit Report
      A credit score is the number on your report that measures your credit risk at any point in time. Information from your credit report—payment history, credit utilization, length of credit history, new credit and credit mix—is put into an algorithm to measure credit risk. Your score ranges from 300 – 850. FICO and VantageScore are the two most popular credit scoring models.

      A credit report is a record of your credit history. It includes details about your past and current credit accounts and debts, when and where you’ve applied for new credit, and collections that have gone to a third party. Public record information such as evictions, bankruptcies, foreclosures, liens and judgments are also included.

      What Employers Can Check
      Employers can only check credit reports with an applicant’s permission, and some states don’t allow credit checks at all. The terms “credit score” and “credit report” are sometimes used interchangeably, creating confusion. Federal law only allows a credit report to be checked by an employer, and only then under certain restrictions.

      Your employer only gets a modified version of your credit report. It won’t be the same one a lender sees. The modified report will show employers information about your loans and credit cards, but won’t show identifying information, such as account numbers, year of birth, references to your spouse or anything that violates equal employment laws.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 4 Home Improvement Ideas

      26 February 2020

      (Family Features) Whether you’re thinking about a bathroom update, kitchen overhaul or any other type of home improvement project, these tips from the experts at the National Association of the Remodeling Industry and can help you get started.

      Create a Plan
      Improving your home can be one of the most exciting projects to undertake. Start by setting realistic expectations, determining your goals and needs, finding inspiration and, perhaps most importantly, setting a budget.

      Renovate the Bathroom
      You can improve your home’s usability and increase its value with bathroom updates or a full renovation. Before you get started, think about these factors: the amount of space and storage you need, features that are important to you, sustainability concerns and accessibility considerations.

      Update the Kitchen
      The kitchen serves as command-central for most homes, and you can get the most enjoyment out of yours by making purposeful changes, reconsidering the physical space, re-evaluating your shopping style and choosing appliances with care.

      Start a Remodel
      If it’s time for a serious undertaking, a full-blown remodel may be necessary (or simply desired). Remodeling typically calls for hiring a professional contractor, a process you can go about by gathering local recommendations, asking for licensing and insurance, checking references and comparing bids.

      Find more home improvement ideas and solutions at and

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Curtain Alternatives to Dress Your Windows

      25 February 2020

      Looking to dress your windows with something other than curtains? The following ideas are fun, great for creative expression and relatively inexpensive.

      Screens. These thin, partially transparent screens can be pulled down when you need them and still let some light through.

      Bright frames. Don't want any type of coverage but looking for a color pop? Paint bright wooden frames (think pictures frames) and fit them around your window for flare.

      Canopies. Instead of hanging curtains on a rod, fix two long sheaths of fabric from a bed crown hung above the window and then draw them back like curtains. This looks particularly lovely behind a bed.

      Beads. Grab a funky beaded curtain, available in all shapes and sizes—a great addition to a kid's bedroom or playroom.

      Frosted glass. If you're looking at a room with windows that always need covering—like those above a bathtub or the bed—consider installing panes of frosted glass for full-time coverage.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • How to Manage Your Mortgage After a Natural Disaster

      25 February 2020

      Getting in touch with your insurance agent after your home has been destroyed in a fire, hurricane or other natural disaster is likely to be one of the first steps you’ll make after letting your family know you’re safe. Your next call should be to your mortgage lender.

      While banks can have a reputation for being hard-nosed when it comes to being paid on time, they don’t want to come off as calloused by foreclosing on someone who lost their home to a hurricane. However, mortgage bills are still due to be paid after a home has been destroyed, whether an insurance company covers the loss or not.

      Money can be tight after losing your home in a disaster, and paying your mortgage may be difficult. But unless you’ve lost your job or can’t work for a while, your lender will likely expect your mortgage payment to be paid after a disaster. However, they’re likely to work with you and should be open to deferring payments for a few months, sometimes called a "mortgage holiday" or forbearance—it’s a temporary suspension of payments for a set period.

      You may not even have to contact your lender. Banks may be proactive and offer the deferment to you as a sign of good will after your home is destroyed. Your bank will know if your home has been hit by a disaster if a claim is paid by your insurer in a covered loss because the bank controls the payout from the insurance company.

      While the insurance settlement check will be payable to both the borrower and the lender, the lender controls the payout until the borrower pays off the loan in full. Any money left can be used to rebuild or buy another property.

      Rebuilding can require a building loan for the construction of the new house, and these can have a higher interest rate than a traditional mortgage. Once construction is completed, any remaining debt can be put into a new home mortgage. If the borrower decides to leave, they’ll still own the land on the vacant lot.

      The interest clock is still ticking during a mortgage payment delay, which can last for a year or possibly longer. Interest is still being charged during that time, and the deferred interest that accrues will either be added with extra loan payments for that mortgage holiday, or with increased payments during the existing loan. Either way, expect your monthly mortgage to increase after the deferred interest is computed into a new payment.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.