Consumer Real Estate News

    • After the Armed Forces

      26 May 2020

      (Family Features) Once their service ends, veterans often expect to start a new career. In many cases, the same skills and characteristics that helped make them successful in the military, such as ambition and a drive to succeed, make veterans uniquely suited for entrepreneurial endeavors like business ownership.

      Franchising is a path toward business ownership that requires strong leadership skills, so veterans are often some of the most qualified and successful prospective franchise owners. According to the Veterans Transition Franchise Initiative (VetFran), a strategic initiative of the International Franchise Association and the Franchise Education and Research Foundation, at least 97% of franchisors believe veterans would make excellent franchisees; 70% have brought on a veteran franchisee or employee in the last year alone.

      “The skills veterans develop through their military experience are integral to pursuing a new career,” said Tim Davis, president of The UPS Store, Inc. and former U.S. Marine Corps captain and Gulf War veteran. “Franchising presents a great opportunity for veterans to utilize the unique skillsets they developed in the service while also developing additional traits necessary for business ownership.”

      • Leadership. Work ethic. Discipline. These qualities are exactly what help more than 200 veteran The UPS Store franchisees succeed.
      • Working as a team: The success of an organization relies on its members working together and a recognition that the business is greater than the sum of its parts. Many veterans learn to rely on their fellow service men and women; franchise owners must embrace teamwork at multiple levels, from employees of the local franchise to the franchise’s national and regional leadership team.
      • Executing a plan: Although a franchise owner typically has access to a proven business model and ongoing support, executing the plan is the franchisee’s responsibility. Putting the pieces together and developing a working business plan requires an entrepreneurial approach similar to the military training veterans received.
      • Thriving under pressure: Things don’t always go according to plan, and service members possess the training and discipline to remain calm in pressure-filled situations. For best results when navigating situations like disgruntled customers or employees, a level-headed approach often prevails.
      • Working hard to accomplish a goal: Not all business owners have the level of commitment and work ethic necessary to accomplish their entrepreneurial goals. Service members are trained to understand the requirements of a mission and work diligently to achieve them.
      Financing a franchise dream
      Through its participation in VetFran, The UPS Store, Inc., makes it easier for veterans to attain their post-military professional goals.

      For example, its “Mission: Veteran Entrepreneurship” program offers nearly $300,000 in financial incentives to assist qualified U.S. military veterans in opening their own franchise locations. In addition, the first 10 eligible veterans to submit a complete buyer’s application packet and initial application fee by Nov. 11 will receive a waiver for their franchise license fees.

      To learn more about franchise opportunities and special incentives for veterans, visit

      Before You Buy a Franchise
      Becoming a franchise owner is a big decision, which means it’s important to thoroughly research potential opportunities and carefully review all the available documents. In most cases, you will have an interview with the franchisor, which is not only a chance for him or her to assess your abilities but also for you to ask questions like these that can give you more perspective.

      1. How mature is the brand?
      Some franchise systems are backed by a nationally renowned brand name and decades of franchise experience. A mature brand with a proven track record of success can be especially beneficial for a first-time business owner.

      2. Will training be provided?
      A good franchise will be committed to helping you succeed by providing the tools and training necessary to get you started on the right foot. The best franchise opportunities will offer a comprehensive training program that covers more than just basic operational procedures, but also provides ongoing assistance. Ask if there is a support team you can reach out to with questions. Also find out how the brand’s franchisees work collaboratively to learn from one another and help each other succeed.

      3. How stable is the industry?
      It’s impossible to guarantee the success of a business regardless of the state of the economy. However, some industries are more recession-resistant than others. Those that offer essential products and services that remain in demand or those that flourish due to tough economic conditions are typically among the best franchise opportunities. If you’re exploring opening a franchise business as a means of controlling your own employment and financial security, consider an industry that can thrive even in the face of market volatility.

      4. What type of marketing, advertising and promotion do you provide?
      While you can generally expect to receive marketing assistance and grand opening guidance when first opening a franchise business, the type of marketing and advertising support provided beyond that can vary greatly among franchisors.

      5. What is the total short and long-term financial commitment?
      It’s important to discuss all initial and ongoing fees in depth with the franchisor before committing to buy. Keep in mind that you will also need enough operating capital to support the business until it breaks even. The franchisor should be able to give you an idea of how long it typically takes franchisees in the network to become profitable.

      6. Do you offer funding, incentives or deals?
      The costs associated with opening a franchise business can be a significant factor in finding the right opportunity. Some franchisors offer financing options, as well as special incentives for veterans, women and minorities; certain business models; or opening a location in specific geographic areas.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Warm Weather Skin Care Tips

      26 May 2020

      (Family Features) If you've ever noticed how thirsty you get when it's hot outside, that's because your body's natural water content evaporates more quickly in warm weather. It's not just your mouth that gets parched, however; your entire body, including your skin, can feel the impact of climbing temperatures.

      Although it's often overlooked, skin is an essential organ that needs special attention and care. After all, not only does your skin tell the true story of your health and age, it provides a protective barrier to the rest of your body.

      Keeping your skin supple, soft and well-hydrated helps ensure it doesn't dry and crack, which is just as possible during the warm summer months as winter. Use these tips to create a healthy summer skin care regimen.

      Use proper sunscreen. The sun can dry out and damage your skin quickly even on an overcast day, and more so if you're near water, where reflections can magnify its intensity. Protect your skin from burning and drying out by using sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 any time you venture outdoors. Also remember to check the sunscreen's expiration date to ensure you're actually being protected.

      Moisturize often. Make moisture part of your daily routine, not just when you get out of the shower, but throughout the day. An option like Remedy Dermatology Series Moisturizing Lotion contains a proprietary botanical blend of nutrients, emollients and antioxidants, including green tea, clove and safflower oleosomes. Its smooth, rich formula absorbs quickly, leaving skin feeling soft with no greasy or oily residue. Formulated by skin care experts, the lotion helps skin stay moisturized for up to 24 hours and is free of 80 of the most common allergens that contribute to irritation and skin sensitivity. For more information, visit

      Shorten bathtub and shower time. It may seem contradictory that spending more time in the tub or shower strips your skin of moisture, but prolonged heat does exactly that. Keep your bathing time brief to minimize the chance of dehydration.

      "Although a long, hot shower or a nice soak in a tub is very relaxing, hot water can really dry out your skin," said board-certified dermatologist and Medline Remedy consultant Dr. Jeanine Downie. "Damp skin helps hydration from your moisturizer lock in, so the best time to apply moisturizer is not when your skin feels the driest but rather after a bath or shower. Be sure to apply a thick coat of lotion immediately after getting out while skin is still wet to help keep skin soft and supple."

      Exfoliate. Take time to regularly exfoliate, which removes dead skin cells and makes it easier for moisturizer to penetrate and reveal healthy-looking skin. Be sure to exfoliate gently and adjust your exfoliation schedule to your skin's unique needs so you don't irritate it.

      Hydrate frequently. Applying lotion is an external strategy for maintaining your skin's natural barrier, but you can also keep your skin hydrated from the inside out. When you're dehydrated, the body pulls water from any source it can, including your skin. A good rule of thumb is to drink at least 8-11 8-ounce glasses of water a day, and keeping a bottle of water on-hand at all times can provide easy, on-the-go hydration.

      Consume hydrating foods. Similar to upping your water intake, you can increase your body's overall water content by eating the right kinds of foods. Many types of produce have a high percentage of water, like berries, melon, cucumbers and zucchini.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Family Room TV Options to Keep You Entertained

      26 May 2020

      One of the most popular rooms in any household is the family room, and we spend much of our time there watching television. And things are vastly different from a generation ago when Mom, Dad and the kiddies got together and watched a few sitcoms or a movie on DVD.

      There are endless choices to make these days when it comes to show and movie platforms. Moving into a new home provides the perfect opportunity to look into these options and make a choice that offers the kind of shows your family wants but in the most economical way possible.

      Cable and Satellite
      These are the more traditional formats—you can simply turn on your television and watch programs as they are being broadcast. There are various packages, which increase in price based on how many channels you want, and so-called "premium" channels like HBO and Showtime that will also add to your monthly bill.

      Most areas have a number of providers that offer packages of cable and internet and phone service. And the good news is that many of them offer great deals for new customers that save you a lot of money for your first year or two of service, so do your research and find yourself a bargain.

      With satellite, you need to make sure that you're not in an area with a lot of trees, which could impact the picture and cause headaches you don't want. Look around your new neighborhood and if you see people with a satellite dish, ask them how coverage is.

      Streaming Services
      More and more people are cutting the cord, choosing to unsubscribe from cable and watch television through streaming services, such as Netflix, instead. It basically involves buying a product such as Apple TV or an Amazon Fire TV Stick to watch shows.

      It can save you a lot of money, but it can get complicated. For example, CBS shows aren't on Hulu, so if you like programs on that network, you'd have to look into the CBS All Access app, which also has original programming. And sports fan will have a tough time watching their local team without cable or satellite.

      With so many options, it's smart to hold a meeting and figure out your family's priorities. But rest assured, no matter what direction you go in, everyone in your household is bound to be thoroughly entertained.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Top 5 Storage Hacks for Your Garage

      25 May 2020

      If you're looking to organize and store items in your garage, then you need to have a plan. The last thing you want is to not have enough room to park your own vehicle in your garage.

      Here are the five most popular storage hacks that’ll allow you to make the most out of your garage:

      Garage Shelving
      One of the easiest ways to store a bunch of items in your garage is by installing shelving. The good news is that shelving systems are easy to assemble. A good shelving organization tip is to put the heaviest items on the bottom. This will lower the center of gravity of the shelf. Also, you'll be able to easily access the heaviest items.

      Storage Bins
      If you want some flexibility, buy several plastic storage bins. You'll be able to put large and small items in the bins, as well as store the containers in various ways. No installation required.

      Ceiling Storage
      If you want to dedicate most of your garage space for your vehicles, you may be pressed for space. However, you can actually store items above your vehicles with the use of ceiling storage racks. These racks are mounted from the ceiling and can hold a number of items. It'll take some expertise to install the ceiling rack, but it will be well worth the time for this garage storage hack.

      If you're looking to store your bicycles or other heavy items, or if you want to organize your tools and lawn care equipment, you can use pegboards to attach the items to your garage wall. First, install the pegboard on the wall. From there, you can add hooks that’ll allow you to hang your items.

      Wall-Mounted Cabinets
      With wall-mounted storage cabinets, you'll be able to secure items of all sizes. You’ll also be able to better organize your items while keeping your garage looking neat and clean. Wall-mounted storage cabinets may require professional installation; however, it will be well worth the investment.

      By using the right garage storage hacks, you’ll be able to properly organize one of your home’s largest spaces. Consider what you need to store before planning your strategy. Most likely, combining two or more storage hacks could allow you to get the best use out of your garage.

      Source: Kara Masterson/RISMedia’s Housecall

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Family Fun with Fudgesicles

      25 May 2020

      (Family Features) Planning snacks you can enjoy with your children is a winning parenting strategy for spending more time together while creating tasty treats.

      Take it a step further with a recipe like these Homemade Fudgesicles, which are an ideal example of an easy treat made with the goodness of real milk kids can help make, giving them an added incentive to enjoy moments together. To help your children reach the recommended 2-3 servings of dairy each day, serve with a glass of milk.

      Find more snack recipes at

      Homemade Fudgesicles
      Recipe courtesy of Milk Means More
      Total time: 10 minutes plus 12 hours chill time
      Servings: 12

      • 3 cups milk
      • 1 cup sugar
      • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
      • 1/4 cup honey
      • 1/4 teaspoon salt
      • 12 ice pop sticks
      In a pot over medium heat, heat milk, sugar, cocoa powder, honey and salt, stirring often, until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Pour into ice pop molds and insert sticks then freeze until firm, about 12 hours.

      Remove ice pops from molds and place in a freezer-safe bag until ready to eat.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.