Consumer Real Estate News

    • What Do People Really Want From Their Smart Home? Savings

      18 January 2019

      Smart home device household penetration will eclipse 33 percent this year, and is expected to be well over 50 percent by 2023. What’s holding some consumers back from jumping on the smart home bandwagon? For starters, proof that these internet-connected devices would indeed save them money, according to a recent survey from Parks Associates.

      According to the survey, 60 percent of households with a broadband internet connection but that haven’t purchased an internet-connected appliance yet, reported they would consider purchasing a smart home device if it could help save them money in the long-term, such as by reducing an electricity bill. Since many smart home devices are expensive to purchase, proof of long-term savings is important to many would-be consumers.

      The survey also revealed that another 55 percent of people would be more inclined to purchase a smart home device if the initial cost of investment was less. As smart home technology advances and becomes more ubiquitous, industry experts expect this to gradually start to happen.

      Interestingly, almost six in 10 survey respondents said they would consider buying a smart home device if it meant a discount on their home insurance premium. Certain insurance companies do, in fact, offer a discount if homeowners install security cameras, smart thermostats or similar smart home products, so be sure to check with your provider.

      Security concerns are also keeping certain consumers at bay when it comes to investing in smart home technology. Approximately 50 percent of those surveyed said they would consider internet-connected devices if they were given more control over their own data and how it is collected and used by companies.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Your Carbon Monoxide Checklist

      17 January 2019

      Keeping yourself and your family safe at home is no joke, and one of the leading safety risks at home is carbon monoxide.

      "Carbon monoxide is known as a silent killer because it is colorless and odorless," says Michael Petri, owner of Petri Plumbing & Heating.  The Petri Plumbing & Heating team recommends residents follow this short checklist to ensure they're protected against carbon monoxide:

      Change the batteries in CO detectors. CO detector batteries should be changed every sixth months. Picking two holidays can serve as helpful reminders for when to swap batteries, such as every New Year's Day and Fourth of July.

      Use fossil-fuel-burning appliances in well-ventilated spaces. Gas stoves, ovens, space heaters and generators can all produce carbon monoxide. In areas with ventilation and proper airflow, this isn't a problem. However, if these appliances are used in enclosed spaces that don't have ample air movement, CO can build up and become trapped in the air you and your family breathe.

      Keep any vents, flues and chimneys clean. Ventilation is one of the most important methods to combat CO poisoning. If a home's airflow portals are clogged with debris, it can allow CO to linger in the home.

      Schedule seasonal boiler or furnace tune-ups. The best way to solve a problem is to prevent it. Getting boiler or furnace tune-ups in the fall and spring will not only make sure the heat or air won't fail when you need it, it can also alert a trained service expert to potential exhaust and carbon monoxide problems. Proof of regular tune-ups are required by many manufacturers' warranties, so annual maintenance can also help save on potential repairs in addition to reducing safety hazards.

      "A lot of it comes down to ventilation and maintenance," Petri says. "You want to keep areas containing fuel-burning appliances well-ventilated, but it's also important to make sure those appliances are in good condition. A boiler may be doing its job, but a crack can cause a CO leak that can create a dangerous situation."


      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 7 Easy Ways to Follow a Healthier Diet

      17 January 2019

      If you’re one of the many Americans who made a New Year’s resolution to drop a few pounds and eat a healthier diet, you are now faced with the cold reality of making the resolution stick.

      “We have many diet choices to make every day,” noted Lesley Lutes, Ph.D., an associate professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia. “It’s important to avoid making wholesale changes or setting unrealistic goals. Making a few minor changes makes a diet doable, rather than daunting, and the results will be more successful.”

      Nutritionists recommend these seven ways to get started:

      Eat the healthy foods you like - Don’t force-feed yourself foods you dislike. If kale and brussels sprouts turn you off, eat more carrots, strawberries, and other fruits and veggies you enjoy.

      Cook more - According to a behavioral study involving 11,000 people, those who eat home-cooked meals five or more times per week are 28 percent less likely to be overweight and 24 percent less likely to have excess body fat than those who eat at home less often.

      Eat your veggies first - Start your meal with a salad or some vegetable soup. Then start with the veggies on your plate before you eat the meat or potatoes. Filling up on veggies first may help you avoid eating too much of the wrong foods.

      Go meatless one day a week - A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that replacing animal protein with an equivalent amount of plant protein was associated with a lower risk of mortality, especially from heart disease. Swap your burger for a veggie burger once a week or make a bean chili so hearty that no one will miss the meat.

      Eat a better breakfast - Eating a breakfast that contains protein, such as eggs or yogurt, will keep you fuller longer, helping you to eat less calories overall, which is critical for weight loss.

      Replace a sugary drink for water - We all know soda is not a healthy choice. Replacing one soda or juice each day with water can help you toward your goal.

      Make a small snack more satisfying - Instead of nibbling mindlessly, focus on the snack you choose so you enjoy it more and make it last.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • The Feng Shui of Color

      17 January 2019

      You may gravitate toward certain color palettes for your home for a variety of reasons, but did you know that color can impact the way you and your loved ones feel? According to the ancient Chinese practice of Feng Shui, the right combination of colors placed in the right areas of your home can actually affect the flow of energy. So consider the following guide from Artistic Tile before you grab that paint brush.

      Blue: Calmness and Serenity. The color of a serene river or a clear sky, blue is associated with the element of water in Feng Shui and is, therefore, considered a restorative color. Look to add blue to rooms of your home where you want to relax or escape.

      Black: Grounding and Protection. Black is a color that can have many meanings—from formal to seductive to dramatic to elegant. Consider using it in areas of your home where you want to make a strong impression, such as foyers or powder rooms. In Feng Shui, black is considered to have a heavy energy, so ideally, it should be used in moderation, and below eye level. Since it provides grounding and protection, use it near entrances or in picture frames surrounding photos of people you wish to protect.

      Green: Growth and Vitality. Due to its association with plants, green represents health and growth, so place it in areas where you’d like to see vitality—-such as your home office. It also works well in areas where you want to inspire well-being, such as a bedroom or exercise area.

      Gold: Prosperity and Abundance. When it comes to Feng Shui, a little bit of gold goes a long way. Summoning the vibrant warmth and energy of the sun, as well as associations of prosperity and abundance, gold can inspire passion and drive in your home. Small elements of gold can work well in a variety of places, including creative spaces, entertaining spaces and home offices. Its warmth also makes it appropriate for family and living rooms.

      Red: Love and Luck. Red symbolizes luck and love in China, and in India, where red is the standard color for bridal gowns, it is the symbol of marriage. The symbol of love, courage and passion in many cultures, use red in any room of your home that could benefit from a bit of high energy and luck, such as your home office, workout space or family room.  

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • How to Create an Inspiring Home Workspace

      16 January 2019

      Many Americans work from home part- or full-time, or snag a few hours to tie up loose ends in the evenings or on weekends. If this sounds like you, here are a few hints to help make your home office more inspiring.

      While the team at says that it's essential to design your workspace with productivity as a priority, the trick is finding the balance between keeping your surroundings informal, yet productive. A minimalist design ensures everything is efficiently organized, which will help you take advantage of working from home—without compromising productivity.

      Hannah Becker at explains that poor lighting and an overall depressing interior can drain energies and dampen productivity. To design an inspirational home workspace, consider:

      Two light sources. Utilize both artificial and natural lighting sources for your workstation. Don’t let some blinking iridescent bulb be your primary source. Instead, place your desk by a big window and open the blinds to let the natural light in.

      Wall display. Experts agree that staring at the computer screen continuously will make your eyes tired and can even cause maladies such as headaches. Break up the screen monotony by glancing away at aesthetically pleasing art or personal pictures. Some psychologists even recommend looking at something green to encourage creativity throughout the day.

      Bring the outside in. Bringing outdoor elements like sunlight and green plants into your home office space can help improve your quality of health. Plants improve air circulation and help make the office look a little more “natural” and relaxing.

      Dust off. According to Jason Yang at, if you're noticing floating dust particles in the glow of your monitor, it's time to start shopping for an air purifier. Depending on the size of the room, this will cost you anywhere from $80 to $500, plus the cost of replacement filters.

      If you're looking to bring some inspiration to your home workspace, don't forget about the importance of good ventilation. According to the folks at, the free flow of air makes you feel fresh, rejuvenated and more creative.

      You can ensure clean flowing air through cross ventilation by locating your workspace between windows at opposing sides of the room. Then, crack open the windows for a fresh blast of air.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.