Consumer Real Estate News

    • How to Get Rid of Bad Smells in a Home

      24 February 2021

      Whether you’ve just moved into a new home, or you’re noticing an unwelcome smell has developed since you’ve arrived, there are some steps you can take to make your nose feel more comfortable.

      Identify the Source
      Bad smells come in all varieties and need to be treated differently to ensure they stay away. Save yourself time and frustration by taking a moment to identify the smell before you begin home remedies in earnest.

      Remedies to Common Household Smells

      • Pet Smells. Whether caused by pet dander or pet urine, a smelly pet can quickly translate to a smelly home. Ensure your pet is cleaned regularly and, if necessary, keep your pet off specific furniture or carpeting, or cover those areas with washable items. For any carpeting already affected by pet dander smells, try using a carpet freshener or baking soda mixture and vacuum off the residue. For pet urine, use an enzymatic spray and carpet cleaner. You may need to call in a professional or replace the carpeting if the stains are too prominent.
      • Strong Food Odors. Spices and strong food odors can linger long after the meal is gone. For rancid food or refuse smells, clean and remove the residue from any affected areas. For strong spices or curry smells, if the home is new and the previous owners cooked with spices often, some soft surfaces may need to be replaced or professionally cleaned. The walls may need to be repainted for the smell to be permanently reduced.
      • Smoke Smells. A robust approach is needed for smoke smells in a home. Soft items including blinds, HVAC filters and even smoke detectors will need to be replaced. Professional cleaning is advisable due to the risk of thirdhand smoke, and odor-removing paint and primer may be required.

      Bad Smell Prevention
      To prevent lingering odors, keep regular deep cleaning on your to-do list. Odor removal is easier the sooner bad smells are addressed. When cooking with spices, be sure to use the kitchen fan to keep air circulating, ensure dishes are properly and promptly cleaned, and keep an eye on pets and children to ensure that urine or other odor-causing stains do not go unnoticed.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Wood Heat Safety Tips for Your Home

      24 February 2021

      As the cold seasons of fall, winter and even chilly spring come along, many homeowners breathe a sigh of relief as the threat of wildfire diminishes. However, fire risks are present in any season. If you have wood heat in your home, be sure to take note of these important maintenance and use tips to ensure that your family is as safe as possible.

      Flue fires in dirty chimneys are not uncommon, and when a flue fire’s flames or embers escape into the attic, walls or ceilings throughout the entire home can become compromised. 

      Follow these basic tips to prevent a flue fire:

      • Have your flue cleaned and inspected by a professional chimney sweep. Creosote buildup is extremely flammable, and some is impossible to clean except by a certified chimney sweep.
      • Ensure the installation of a cap with a screen on the top of the flue. This will serve to reduce embers from landing on the roof, and will prevent birds, squirrels and leaves from entering.
      • Because fire can escape through cracks and holes in brick and mortar chimneys, avoid using these unless a "sleeve" or metal pipe is properly installed.
      • Burn only seasoned hardwood that is clean and dry, and avoid evergreen wood that contains pitch, sap or resins.
      • Smoke contributes to creosote buildup. Reduce the presence of buildup by keeping dampers open to promote a clean, hot fire with less smoke. Burn hot, bright fires and use smaller fires in milder weather.
      • Call 911 if you suspect a flue fire. Firefighters will come out and search for flames or embers that may have spread into the attic, walls or ceiling. 
      Some additional safety tips regarding using wood heat:
      • Clean the stove often and always dispose of the ashes in a safe, non-flammable location.
      • Ensure that working smoke alarms are installed near the sleeping areas. Keep them far enough away from the stove to prevent false alarms when smoke escapes after the stove door is opened.
      • Never use flammable liquids to start a fire in the stove. This can cause severe injury, death and even the loss of homes.
      Keeping your home safe and warm during the chilly months is easy if you stay on top of maintenance, prevent safety hazards and always look to professional help when needed.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • The Best Plants to Buy for Perfectly Styled Shelves

      24 February 2021

      A beautiful shelf should contain more than just books or knick-knacks, especially if it is on display in a prominent room in your home. To ensure that your shelf is wonderfully styled and has a pleasing visual interest, display your favorite items and photos alongside some fresh greenery. 

      Snake Plants. Also known as mother-in-law’s tongue or sansevieria, these low-maintenance plants are striking and hardy, making them the perfect shelf plant for anyone lacking a green thumb. These plants are forgiving if they’re forgotten about for periods of time—and while they prefer indirect light, they will tolerate a lot of lighting conditions. This makes them ideal for a shelf space that doesn’t see a lot of sunshine.

      Pathos Plant. A classic houseplant that anyone can care for, a pathos plant’s beautiful cascading leaves makes it a wonderful addition to any shelf space, particularly for bookshelves with multiple layers. Allow the vines to waterfall down from shelf to shelf to create extra visual interest and add much-needed cheer and visual interest to an otherwise stodgy bookshelf. The best part? Pathos plants are adaptable to different levels of light and only need watering every few days, making them easy to add to any shelf space.

      Orchid. An admittedly finicky plant, orchids have a reputation for being a little high-maintenance and even a bit fickle. However, if you can forgive their demands and manage to keep them in good shape, orchids will reward any shelf space with a delicate and sophisticated beauty. This makes them the perfect addition to a shelf in need of a more classic and refined touch.

      ZZ Plant. The Zamioculcas zamiifolia, nicknamed the ZZ Plant, is a glossy and bold beauty. Fans of the trendy fiddle leaf fig tree may find themselves in love with this vertical growing plant with an equally vibrant dark green leaf. These plants are suited for a wide range of light and smaller spaces like shelves since they grow upwards and outwards without becoming overwhelming.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • New Trends for Nurseries in 2021

      23 February 2021

      If you’ll be bringing home a baby in the next few months, you may be thinking about decorating a nursery—a cozy space designed to nurture, inspire and grow as your little one does.

      Whether or not you know baby’s sex, recent trends are to gender-neutral colors over traditional blues or pinks, partly because many parents don't want their little boys or girls conditioned from early on, but also because neutral backgrounds allow for greater decorative freedom.

      Here are some of the top decorating trends for nurseries in 2021:

      Gray is the new yellow - While yellow still works as a gender-neutral shade, gray provides a fresh, modern update that is versatile enough to pair with almost any color palette. Bright hues in décor or furniture look especially beautiful against a light or medium gray.

      Wall murals are back - ...and they’ve gotten a major upgrade. Gone are the days of the simple baby duck murals. Beautifully illustrated trees or a choice of playful scenes are now available via wall decals. A bold, graphic wallpaper is another great idea for upping the design game in your space, typically on only one wall.

      Gallery walls add interest - Instead of hanging one or two larger pictures, consider a gallery wall featuring a dozen or so illustrations from children’s fairytale books displayed in varying sizes of simple white frames, or choose any theme of your liking. You can even choose a mix of subjects to add more visual interest.

      Animals are timeless - Animal decor is always a fun option for a gender-neutral nursery. Again, you can choose to stick to a theme—woodland, zoo or farm animals for example—or feature one type of animal throughout the space. Add a giant stuffed animal and/or an animal-shaped hamper for extra fun.

      Don’t forget the ceiling - Wallpapering the ceiling is another great nursery option when you want to up your design game. Pair the theme of your ceiling with curtains for an unexpected, super modern look.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 4 Sweater Weather Hobbies to Try This Season

      23 February 2021

      When sweater weather comes, it’s understandable to want to simply curl up on the couch with a blanket and a good book or movie. However, if too much time at home this winter has made you long for a new experience, try one of these fun hobbies that are perfect for winter.

      Become a Master Chef. There’s nothing more soothing on a cold winter’s night than a delicious meal. Try your hand at baking or cooking a fancy dish—you may be surprised to find a new hobby that you will enjoy and can share with those you care about. Few people say no to a delicious home-cooked treat. Take an online cooking course, or sign up for a meal kit or baking kit that offers all the ingredients and instructions on-hand to hone new skills.

      Take Up Painting. When the weather outside is gloomy and dull, bring a pop of color into your day through painting. With dozens of in-person or online courses, or even free tutorial videos online, there are plenty of ways to learn to paint your favorite scene or subject.

      Ice Skating. A natural winter activity, ice skating is a perfect winter hobby if you’re hoping to get outside and get your body moving. Whether you choose to go to a local park, pond or indoor rink, there are few more classic winter activities that the whole family can take up.

      Embroidery. Knitting can be a classic winter hobby. Who doesn’t want a warm sweater or scarf when the stormy weather hits? Knitting can be finicky, however, as you begin to learn. Embroidery can be a bit more forgiving and is very inexpensive to begin learning, making it the perfect hobby to start when you’re cozying up next to the fire.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.