Real Estate News

  • Home Cleaning Hacks for Fall

    24 September 2021

    (Family Features) Cooler fall temperatures mean you’re likely to spend more time indoors. Taking time to spruce up inside and out can make you more comfortable and give you peace of mind that your home is tidy, clean and prepared to weather the months ahead.

    Tidy Outdoor Spaces
    Before stashing your lawn care equipment, give your home and landscape some end-of-season attention. Use a power washer to clean lawn furniture and store it away from the elements or use covers to protect it. Clean out gutters and remove debris from flower beds to encourage proper drainage.

    Check for Repair Projects
    Give your home a thorough inspection to identify any problems that need attention before cold weather sets in. Look for concerns like loose shutters or siding, cracked or loose shingles, cracks and gaps around doors and windows that may allow moisture or cold air to creep in. Severe weather and cycles of freezing and thawing can exacerbate these problems, so it’s best to make repairs before they result in major damage.

    Eliminate Dirt and Dust
    Moving indoors, take time to remove any dirt and grime that has accumulated. Wash textiles like curtains and rugs. Wipe down kitchen and bathroom surfaces with an antibacterial solution. Dust other parts of the house, including blinds, windowsills, baseboards and other hard-to-reach places.

    When it comes to vacuuming, make sure to keep floors clean and free of outside dirt all season long with an all-around cleaner that can vacuum and mop simultaneously. It provides convenient, efficient, hands-free cleaning you can control via smart home devices. With a built-in HD camera, the AI-powered robot identifies common household obstacles and intelligently determines how to clean around them, while also providing on-demand home monitoring. Complete with laser mapping and navigation technology to scan and map your floors for faster cleaning and fewer missed spots, it is also compatible with an optional, automatic emptying station that allows for up to 30 days of fully maintenance-free cleaning.

    Promote Air Quality
    In addition to keeping floors clean and allergies under control, there are other steps you can take to promote better air quality while you’re spending more time indoors. Scheduling service for your furnace can help ensure it’s in good condition before cold weather hits. This is also a good time to replace your air filter and consider a duct cleaning. Take time to clean ceiling fans and reverse the blades so the air circulates but fans don’t create a chilling effect.

    Swap Seasonal Essentials
    A new season brings change, whether it’s simply swapping out your wardrobe or gearing up for a busy season of school activities and sports. Make time to put away out-of-season clothes and other necessities to make room for the things you’ll need for the autumn months. Keep only the things you need and store the rest to help keep clutter under control.

    Find more tips for efficient fall home maintenance and cleaning at

    Published with permission from RISMedia.

  • 4 Common Misconceptions About Short Sales

    24 September 2021

    When a homeowner is facing financial hardship and unable to pay a mortgage, the lender may agree to a short sale. That means the lender will agree to accept a sale price below the amount owed on the mortgage so the homeowner can avoid foreclosure. Many people who don’t have personal experience with short sales have been misinformed.

    Misconception #1: You Have to Be Behind on Payments
    Homeowners who are in trouble often think a short sale is only an option if they’ve defaulted on their mortgage, but that isn’t true. A lender may agree to a short sale if a homeowner is struggling to afford the mortgage but has so far managed to scrape together enough money to avoid missing payments.

    If you’ve already received a foreclosure notice, a short sale may or may not be an option, depending on your state’s law and your lender’s policy. In general, if you know you can’t afford your mortgage, you’ll be better off seeking a short sale before you find yourself in dire straits.

    Misconception #2: It’s Tough to Qualify
    Many lenders offer incentives to homeowners facing financial hardships to encourage them to participate in short sales and avoid foreclosure. The short sale process can be complicated and confusing, but an experienced real estate agent can answer your questions and guide you through it.

    Misconception #3: The Lender Won’t Accept a Big Loss
    Some homeowners who are struggling to afford a mortgage think their lender won’t accept a payoff for much less than the balance owed on the mortgage, but in many cases, a company will. Whether a lender acquires a house through a foreclosure or a short sale, the fair market value for the property will be the same when it comes time to resell it. A lender can save itself time and lose less money by agreeing to a short sale.

    Misconception #4: A Short Sale Will Cost You Money You Don’t Have
    You shouldn’t have to pay any upfront costs for advice, and your real estate agent’s commission can be paid by the lender. You might incur a fee if the lender charges you a deficiency, or the difference between the mortgage balance and the sale price. Whether that’ll happen in your case will depend on state law, your lender’s policy and your specific situation.

    Talk to Your Lender and Real Estate Agent
    If you’re facing financial hardship and can’t afford your mortgage, a short sale could help you avoid foreclosure and the devastating long-term effects it could cause. You might be able to purchase another home much sooner after a short sale than you could after a foreclosure. Explain your circumstances to your lender and discuss your options. If you choose to pursue a short sale, your real estate agent can guide you through the process.

    This article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as professional or legal advice.

    Published with permission from RISMedia.

  • What to Do If Your Mortgage Application Was Rejected

    24 September 2021

    Being turned down for a mortgage can be devastating, but you may still be able to achieve your dream of owning a home. Your lender should provide you with a letter explaining why you were denied. You can use that information to make changes to improve your chance of getting approved for a mortgage in the future, either with the same lender or with a different company.

    Boost Your Credit Score
    One of the most important factors in a lender’s decision is a mortgage applicant’s credit score. You should’ve checked your credit report for errors before you submitted your loan application, but if you didn’t, check it now. Lenders frequently misreport or fail to report information, and data from different people’s reports sometimes gets mixed up. Errors in your credit report may have caused your application to be rejected through no fault of your own.

    If your credit score is low because of high credit card balances or missed or late payments, work on bringing it up by paying down your balances to lower the percentage of available credit you’re using and by paying all your bills on time. If you have a foreclosure or bankruptcy on your credit report, those derogatory remarks could affect your credit score and your chance of obtaining a mortgage for years. You may need to let some time pass and work on rebuilding your credit before buying a house.

    Lower Your DTI
    A lender looks closely at an applicant’s debt-to-income (DTI) ratio, or the percentage of gross monthly income that’s used to pay credit card bills and loans. If a lender rejected your application because your DTI is too high, you can lower it by paying down your debts and/or by increasing your income. If you have high loan payments, you might be able to lower them by refinancing.

    Put More Money Down
    If you want to make a small down payment and borrow most of the money for your dream home, the lender may consider your application too risky. You might be better off finding more money for a down payment or applying for a mortgage through a lender that routinely offers loans to borrowers with small down payments.

    Stick With Your Job
    Most lenders want a mortgage applicant to have been in the same job for at least two years. That helps the lender be confident that an applicant is capable of holding down a job and is likely to repay the mortgage. If you recently started a new position, focus on impressing your boss and building a stable work history.

    Don’t Give up Hope
    If you’ve been denied a mortgage, find out why the lender turned you down and take action to address the issue. You’ll have a better chance of qualifying if you work on improving your financial circumstances. You can also submit another application to a different lender that has more lenient terms or that offers mortgages for people in circumstances like yours.

    Published with permission from RISMedia.

  • Savory, Smothered Cuisine

    23 September 2021

    When you are hungry and searching for something filling, juicy and rich, turning to your pantry for on-hand ingredients can make dinner a breeze. Dodge snack cravings and avoid the temptation to swing by the drive-thru; instead, you can have a homemade meal ready in a matter of minutes by putting your skillet to work.

    Call your loved ones to the dining room to share time together while trying these Smothered Pork Chops in Mushroom Sauce. It’s a dish the entire family can dig into without questioning the substance of the meal as it’s a filling option that requires just a few ingredients you likely already have at home.

    It all starts with the pork chops, which are thick and seared to perfection. The mushroom sauce is a beautiful blend of earthy and creamy textures. Bring it to a simmer then smother your pork chops and garnish with fresh parsley for a pop of color.

    The best part is this recipe doesn’t take much time to accomplish. The pork chops are seared for 3-5 minutes per side then simmered in the mushroom sauce for another 2-3 minutes until thoroughly cooked.

    Don’t waste time with complicated recipes, dirtying an array of kitchen utensils and multiple trips to the store for ingredients you may not use again. This recipe requires one bowl and a single skillet. Cleanup is a breeze, which means there is more time to spend around the table with those who mean the most.

    Find more savory recipes at

    If you made this recipe at home, use #MyCulinaryConnection on your favorite social network to share your work.

    Smothered Pork Chops in Mushroom Sauce
    Servings: 4

    • 1 teaspoon mild chili powder
    • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
    • 4 pork chops
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 2 tablespoons butter
    Mushroom Sauce:
    • 2 1/2 cups brown mushrooms, sliced
    • 5 garlic cloves, smashed
    • 1 tablespoon parsley
    • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
    • 1/2 cup chicken broth
    • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
    • fresh parsley, for garnish

    In a small bowl, whisk chili powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper until combined.

    Pat pork chops dry. Season generously with spice mix. Set aside.

    In a skillet, add olive oil and butter. Add pork chops; sear 3-5 minutes per side. Transfer to plate.

    To make mushroom sauce: In the same skillet, add mushrooms. Stir fry until golden brown. Add garlic, parsley and Italian seasoning. Stir fry for 2 minutes. Add broth and heavy cream. Stir to combine. Simmer for 5 minutes until slightly thickened.

    Return pork chops to sauce. Simmer 2-3 minutes until pork chops are cooked through. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve.

    Published with permission from RISMedia.

  • How to Choose the Right Pet for You

    23 September 2021

    Are you thinking about getting a pet? Owning and taking care of an animal is a huge commitment filled with responsibilities and expenses. Some pets are more so than others. Although you or a family member may have a particular animal in mind, the American Veterinary Medical Association suggests you consider the following to help ensure you choose the right pet for your household and circumstances:

    Do you already have a pet? If so, will your current pet accept another pet of the same or a different species? If you’re uncertain, your veterinarian can help you answer this question.

    What are you looking for in a pet? Do you want a lap warmer? A running buddy? Or a pet that’s easy to care for? This will affect your pet choice.

    Who will care for the pet? Consider the abilities and availability of the caretaker. If you have young children, a pet that’s active at night wouldn’t be as good a choice as one that’s active during the time your child is awake. Although it’s good to involve children in caring for pets if you have them, it’s unrealistic to expect a child to be solely responsible for any pet’s care and welfare.

    Do rules limit your choice? If you rent, your landlord may restrict the type or number of pets you can have. Condominium and homeowner associations may have similar restrictions. If you live in a city, your choice of pet may be very different from your choice if you lived in the suburbs or the country. Some types of pets aren’t allowed by local ordinances. Consider also the amount of exercise your pet will need and whether your living arrangements accommodate that need.

    Can you provide enough attention and a life-long commitment? Different species and breeds of animals have differing needs for companionship and attention, as well as differing life expectancies. For example, some larger birds have been known to live more than 100 years! Do your research to ensure you have a realistic understanding of the commitment you’re making when you get a particular type of pet.

    Can you afford the pet? Think of the needs your pet will have for food, housing, socialization, exercise, grooming and veterinary care, and make sure you can afford and are willing and able to provide them. Some pets, such as reptiles, amphibians, pocket pets and birds, require special veterinary care, so make sure there’s a veterinarian in your area who can provide that care.

    How long will you be present? Some pets need more frequent exercise or feeding and might not be a good choice for owners who spend a lot of time away from home by working long hours or traveling frequently.

    A cat, dog, bird, fish, rabbit, rodent, ferret, reptile–even a horse. There are so many different types of pets to consider. If you’re still unsure which is right for you, do some research or consult a veterinarian.

    Published with permission from RISMedia.