Consumer Real Estate News

    • Quick Tips to Make Your Room Look Bigger

      5 August 2020

      Small spaces have their own charm and challenges, but every home--regardless of size--can benefit from visually adding space. Thankfully, there are a few key tricks to making your rooms look bigger that are easy to implement.

      Scale Down
      This may be obvious, but a massive couch will swallow a small room. If your room is small, or you would simply like to maximize your empty space, opt for smaller furniture and even smaller art. Keep everything appropriate for the scale of the room.

      Use Vertical Space
      Keep your floor uncluttered by using vertical space instead. Opt against horizontal storage options like large trunks or long dressers. Strategically staged tall bookcases and tall dressers can serve to house items without compromising your floor space

      Go for Minimalist Style
      Too many items in a small room looks cluttered, even if it’s organized. Lean towards a minimalist aesthetic to ensure that you are not visually cramping your space.

      Bring in the Light
      A well-lit room feels airy and spacious even if it’s small. Avoid light-blocking curtains and blinds whenever possible and try to keep the room bright. For the evenings, add track lighting, recessed lighting or more lamps to keep the space looking roomy and inviting.

      Go for Sleek Furniture
      Clunky and bulky furniture of the past should be avoided in a small space. Instead, seek out the sleek look of mid-century modern furniture. This style works very well in a small space because it’s elongating lines elevate the room and the furniture itself takes up less square footage.

      Keep Your Color Scheme Minimal
      Bright and dazzling colors have their place, but that may not be in your small room. Light, softer hues work better to keep a room looking spacious and airy and a monochromatic color scheme keeps your space from looking too visually stimulating and cluttered.

      Preventing a cluttered and claustrophobic feel should be the goal in any sized room. And while adding extra square footage may be a task for your next renovation project, there are easy ways you can make your room look bigger in the meantime.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • New Food Trends Can Save Time and Money

      5 August 2020

      (Family Features) As families continue to adjust their meal routines amidst a worldwide pandemic, there are trends you and your loved ones can follow to improve your general health, maintain a budget and spend more time together.

      Home cooking: According to a study conducted by Hunter Public Relations on how COVID-19 has changed home cooking, 54% of Americans are cooking more and 50% have more confidence in the kitchen. Many, perhaps for the first time, found that cooking at home and learning cooking techniques could be a fun family activity.

      Trusting frozen: Frozen foods have seen a renaissance in 2020. Many families discovered that new technologies allow frozen foods to deliver innovations in flavors, recipes, authenticity and affordability without compromising taste. For example, Aqua Star’s frozen Cutting Board Meal Kits are available at grocers nationwide and feature full chef-inspired meals like Chipotle Shrimp Street Tacos and Southwest Chili-Lime Tilapia.

      Saving money: It’s common knowledge for many consumers that eating at or ordering takeout from a restaurant is more expensive than cooking at home. Eating at home showed families just how much they could save, and this trend is likely to continue. According to a Simon-Kucher Restaurants Survey, 26% of consumers who ate meals from casual restaurants before the pandemic anticipate eating meals primarily at home for up to a year after lockdown.

      More seafood: According to a national survey by Aqua Star, one of the country’s largest seafood companies, 75% of Americans want to eat more seafood. Seafood provides nutritional benefits for a multitude of recipes, but many people don’t know how to prepare it. One of the easiest ways to introduce your family to seafood is through familiar comfort food recipes and convenient one-pan meals.

      Online grocery shopping: Nearly daily trips to the grocery store can be an expensive habit since impulse buying is a bane to healthy eating and saving money. As online grocery shopping grows in popularity, it provides families with a convenient, time-saving way to keep must-haves on hand without overspending at the store.

      Dinners with family: After years of families grabbing meals on the run, sheltering in place has brought many back to the dining room table. For a simple family meal that focuses on frozen seafood and pantry staples, try this recipe for Shrimp Scampi that involves just a few steps of preparation that can even allow kids to help in the process. If you don’t have time to cook, Aqua Star’s Shrimp Scampi MicroSteam Bowl is a simple way to enjoy the same flavors in minutes, from the microwave, with no clean-up required.

      Find more at-home seafood solutions at

      Shrimp Scampi
      Cook time: 20 minutes
      Servings: 4

      • 8 ounces pasta linguine
      • 2 tablespoons butter
      • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
      • 4 garlic cloves, minced
      • 1/2 cup dry white wine or seafood broth
      • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
      • 1 dash crushed red pepper flakes
      • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
      • 1 1/2 pounds large or extra-large Aqua Star shrimp, shelled
      • 1/3 cup parsley, chopped
      • 1/2 lemon, juice only

      Cook pasta according to package directions. 

      In a large skillet, melt butter and oil. Add garlic and saute until fragrant. Add wine or broth, salt, red pepper flakes and black pepper. Bring to simmer and reduce by half.

      Add shrimp and saute until shrimp turn pink and opaque, approximately 2-4 minutes depending on size. Stir in parsley, lemon juice and cooked pasta.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Toy Storage Ideas to Maximize Space

      5 August 2020

      It never seems to fail that kids acquire more toys than parents can keep up with. While it can be good to cull through toys once-in-a-while to prevent against excess that causes clutter, there is a lot to be said for good toy storage practices. Great toy storage solutions can ensure that your children can access their favorite toys without creating a mess too big for them to handle. These savvy solutions may be just what your home--and your children--need to keep toys and books cared for and contained.

      Pegboard Organizer
      Keeping toys out of the way but still easy to access is always a challenge. Pegboards are the perfect solution to this issue. Toys can be in view at all times but hung up utilizing vertical space. This is an excellent solution for kids of any age, since it’s so easy to put items back after use. Hang up nerf guns and swords, badminton rackets, art supplies and more!

      Picture Ledges
      Not just for pictures, these slim shelves serve as the perfect option to display illustrated children’s books. Lean books against the wall on the shelf to make them accessible for the youngest members of your household while adding a whimsical and artistic display to any bedroom or toy room.

      Multi-Use Cubby Shelves
      Cubby shelves are go-to options for toy storage for many households. Far superior to the traditional toy box, they allow toys to be grouped with like items. This means your child won’t take out every toy they own to get to the last piece of their favorite set that happens to be sitting at the bottom of the toy bin. Cubby shelves with multiple uses are even more ideal than their predecessors. Cubby shelf benches are perfect for walkways, toy rooms and bedrooms, and desk options are ideal for school-aged children.

      Lidded Rope or Jute Baskets
      Lidded baskets are an excellent way to keep your child’s favorite toys in living areas without losing an adult aesthetic. Rope or jute baskets have a modern and minimalist style that heightens any room (even if the baskets are secretly housing your children’s collection of stuffed animals).

      Toy storage is a challenge that most parents must navigate in some way. These toy storage options can help you maximize your space and keep your home organized, all without sacrificing fun in the process.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Is Flipping Houses Worth the Time and Effort?

      4 August 2020

      Flipping a house can be extremely profitable, or it can be disastrous. To buy a house, make improvements and sell it at a profit, you must choose the right property and make the right renovations. It’s easy to make costly mistakes, so getting professional advice is crucial.

      Choose the Right House
      You don’t want to find a house that you think you can flip and earn a profit on, then wind up overwhelmed by the costs. Have a house inspected before you buy so you’ll know how much work it needs. A real estate agent with a thorough understanding of the local market can help you get a good deal on a house to renovate and resell.

      Make the Right Upgrades
      If a house needs major repairs to make it safe or inhabitable, such as a new roof or plumbing or electrical work, you’ll have to make those improvements, and they can be expensive. That means you might not have much room left in your budget for other projects.

      Flippers often spend so much money on improvements that they earn little or no profit. Redoing the kitchen and bathrooms can cost a lot but may not add nearly as much to the sale price. Less expensive improvements can lead to a higher profit margin. Also, fixing up a house too much can make it worth significantly more than the rest in the neighborhood, and you may wind up struggling to sell it.

      Be Realistic About Costs
      Figure out your budget in advance. Be realistic, and keep in mind that renovation projects often go over budget or get delayed and that workers frequently find additional problems after work begins. Also consider the cost of utilities while you’re working on the house, as well as real estate taxes.

      If you pay contractors, that’ll reduce your potential profit. You’ll also have to spend time communicating with them and supervising the work.

      If you have construction experience, you may be able to make some or all of the repairs yourself. That can keep costs down and maximize your profit, but it may extend the amount of time required to flip the house if you’re also working full time.

      Avoid Taking on Debt
      Borrowing money to finance improvements can make things even riskier. You’ll have to pay interest on a loan, which can eat into your profit margin. If you’re struggling to make loan payments, you may be forced to sell the house for a low price and barely break even. If you pay with cash, you may be able to wait longer for housing prices to rise and make more of a profit.

      Do Your Research and Get Expert Guidance
      Flipping houses can be lucrative, provided you make a series of smart decisions. Ask a real estate agent for help choosing a house to flip, get it inspected, set a budget, and be realistic about the amount of time and money required and your potential profits.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Hygge Home Ideas Your Family Will Adore

      4 August 2020

      In the last few years, especially as the colder seasons approach, you’ve probably heard the word hygge (pronounced hoo-gah). Hygge is the Scandinavian word for cozy, but it is also a way of life and design mantra. The idea is to elevate your decor to create a warm atmosphere and a place to enjoy life’s little moments. If you are ready to embrace a cozy hygge ambiance in your home this year, these ideas are perfect for the whole family.

      Create a Meeting Space
      The hygge home is centered around community. It welcomes guests to sit and chat and encourages household members to take a moment to focus on each other. You don’t have to have a 70’s-style conversation pit to evoke a meeting space in your home. Simply arrange furniture in a way that promotes conversation. This means avoiding centering your furniture around electronics. Don’t worry, you don’t have to ditch your tv altogether, but instead consider hiding your tv to further contribute to a hygge mentality.

      Add Soft Textures
      Make your space warm and inviting by adding soft textures throughout your home. Faux furs, sheepskins and chunky soft knits are the epitome of hygge. The hygge home is full of comforting items that sooth and ward of winter’s chill.

      Address the Lighting
      Since the Danes experience long winters, they know the value of embracing the sunlight when it’s available. A truly hygge design leaves your space bright and inviting. Avoid heavy light-blocking curtains or unsightly blinds. Opt for sheer white curtains to bring in the daylight. In the evening, avoid fluorescent lights to illuminate a large space. Instead, choose warm lighting options in divided pockets across your home or room. Encourage intimacy and comfort by eliminating harsh or sterile lighting options. Candles and fireplaces (though not always practical for every room) is the perfect example of hygge lighting.

      In design terms, hygge may refer to textured throws, fire, candlelight and unfiltered daylight, but true Hygge decor goes far beyond simple aesthetic. Beautification is simply a means to an end. The real goal of a hygge home is to enjoy and embrace each day and those around you. This is a design goal everyone in the family will appreciate.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.