Real Estate News

    • Tax Tips to Take Advantage of Today

      16 March 2018

      With less than a month left to file your taxes, many Americans are feeling the strain of the season. If you're one of them, consider the following tips from U.S. News Personal Finance Editor Susannah Snider:

      What, exactly, is a tax refund? Don't think of a refund as "free money" – it's actually already yours. In fact, experts often describe the money in your refund as an interest-free loan to Uncle Sam. That money could be better spent growing in a retirement account, padding your emergency savings or funding another financial goal. If you're consistently receiving massive tax refunds, consider whether you should adjust your withholding.

      Get the most out of your refund. Get started on your taxes at the beginning of the year, if possible, so the race against the clock doesn't cause you to forget or neglect potential tax credits or subsidies that could be in your pocket. Filing early will also help protect you against a common financial scam in which fraudsters file a tax return in your name and steal your refund.

      Once you receive a tax refund, use it wisely. While treating yourself isn't always a bad idea, if you have more pressing financial obligations, or your emergency fund needs a boost, use some of that money to help reach those financial goals.


      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • How-To Polish Your Space for Spring

      16 March 2018

      When weather warms and winter wanes, your home could use a little extra TLC.  Below are a handful of tips to polish your home for the season swap.

      Attack the attic. Whether you have an attic, garage, or guest bedroom that takes the brunt of your clutter, visit those "out of sight, out of mind" spaces and reorganize, declutter and clean. Ditch sentimentality and really be brutal with items you no longer use. If you have enough usable items, consider a yard sale, or simply drag them to the closest clothing and goods drive.

      Polish. To make your home sparkle, spend an afternoon polishing the wood or tile floors, furniture, windows, and even silver to make your home really shine.

      Repaint. From the front steps to the kitchen cabinets, spring is a great time to touch up any old paint jobs and add a pop to your home.

      Declutter. The chillier months often lead to a pileup of clutter as you spend more time indoors. Zip around your home and pack away any winter weather items (boots and coats), or gather those stacks of magazines and paperbacks for donating to your local drive. This is also a great time to go through the closet and weed out whatever you haven't worn in the past few seasons.

      Add green. Your yard isn't the only place that likes to go green in the springtime. Snag a couple houseplants and pepper them around your space, especially in places you frequent often, like the front hallway, or your home office.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • How to Prevent Home Flooding Disasters

      15 March 2018

      When it comes to home damage, a busted pipe can create major havoc. But how can you plan ahead to save your space for water damage?

      "The best solution is prevention," says Michael Petri, owner of Petri Plumbing & Heating. Below are Petri's top prevention tips.

      Locate and tag your valves. It's important to be able to locate and turn off a main water or gas valve quickly in case of emergency. Petri offers this as a free service, but most plumbers will find and tag these for you.

      Inspect and maintain your pipes. Most home flooding damage is caused by corroded, rusty or frozen pipes. Have your pipes inspected annually to check for problems and proper insulation. Even with spring around the corner, temperatures are still dipping below freezing, and burst pipes are still a possibility.

      Look for signs of a problem. Pay attention to signs of a leak, including an increase in your water bill, banging pipes, rust stains, moisture on the walls or floor, or wet soil at the foundation. Also, search for weaknesses in supply and drain lines around toilets, water heaters and washing machines.

      Protect drain lines. Never pour grease down the drain. Plant trees away from drain lines so roots won't damage pipes. If you live downhill or below street level, you may need a plumber to install a backflow prevention assembly to prevent sewer drainage from backing up.

      Tackle problems quickly and professionally. If you suspect a leak or other plumbing issue, don't procrastinate repairs or have someone who isn't qualified attempt the project. A minor inconvenience can become a major problem if it isn't handled quickly and effectively. You risk more significant damage to floors or ceilings, as well as possible mold contamination.

      Source: Petri Plumbing & Heating

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 5 Ways to Promote Gender Equality in the Workplace

      15 March 2018

      (Family Features)--Although women are making strides in the corporate world, there is still work that can be done to level the landscape.

      Research from Catalyst, a global nonprofit focused on empowering and accelerating women in business, shows the needle is moving, albeit slowly. In nearly 10 years, the number of women in senior roles in the United States increased just 1 percent. At Standard & Poor's 500 index companies, overall women's representation is far behind: 5.2 percent CEOs, 11 percent top earners and 26.5 percent senior-level officials and managers. Less than 5 percent of senior level positions are held by women of color. Men still lead more than 95 percent of the most powerful companies in the United States.

      If you're looking for ways to promote change in your workplace, explore these five steps that can help build a work environment where everyone can advance and succeed:

      Engage in programs that celebrate women of color. Tap into resources that honor women in leadership and foster growth for aspiring women leaders from racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds, such as those available through Catalyst. The nonprofit offers a host of ongoing workshops, programs, trainings and consulting services designed to promote inclusive workplaces, along with events around the world. For example, the "Catalyst Skyline Takeover," which is a visual realization of the international business community's commitment to greater diversity, inclusion and gender equality in workplaces around the world features dozens of global companies "lighting up" their buildings with the female symbol.

      Assess and formalize pay scales. As numerous studies indicate, wage disparity is one of the most obvious signs of inequality in the workplace. A fair pay scale outlines specific responsibilities and corresponding compensation rates and can be applied to roles across the board regardless of race, gender or other potential discriminatory factors.

      Ensure growth opportunities exist. Leveling the pay scale is an important step, but ensuring equal access to the positions at the higher end of that scale is an essential supporting move. Simply saying you'll pay a woman the same as a man in the same job falls short if all candidates, regardless of gender, race or ethnicity are not given the same chance to compete for more senior positions.

      Implement mentorship programs. Positive role models can give future leaders the vision to dream big and the guidance to make those dreams a reality. Putting aspiring women leaders in close contact with other women who have attained success in their field helps set a course toward achievement. It also helps men to advance and develop unbiased leadership. Since the majority of business leaders are currently men, change for women can only be accelerated if all those in leadership positions work together.

      Support parental involvement. Historically, the issue of parenting and the workforce has been dominated by discussions around maternity leave policies, but more recently, that dialogue has evolved. Men, too, desire more time with their families, and through equal parental leave policies, workplaces can allow women and men within all types of family structures to thrive in their careers and at home.

      Source: Catalyst

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 4 Cocktail Party Tips for Newbies

      15 March 2018

      One of the best ways to ease into home entertaining is the cocktail party: it’s festive, yet relaxed, and saves you the stress and expense of providing a full-course meal. A cocktail party also places understood parameters on the length of the party, denoting an affair that takes place prior to dinner.

      If you’re new to cocktail parties, however, it’s easy to get tripped up in the do’s and don’ts. Here are some great tips from the experts at for making your cocktail party a great success:

      Keep the guest list in check. While too few people will make any party a bust, cocktail parties should be fairly intimate in nature as opposed to an all-out bash. Aim for a dozen or so guests.

      Streamline the cocktails. Have enough beer and wine on hand to accommodate your guests, then make your party festive by serving one or two specialty cocktails to suit the season, such as margaritas and cosmos in summer, or Manhattans and martinis in winter. Pre-mix your specialty cocktails and have them available in decorative decanters or pitchers so that guests can help themselves.

      Have enough food, but not too much. Resist the urge to go overboard on food by keeping in mind that guests are not expecting dinner. Prepare a couple of hot hors d’oeuvres, then make the rest no-prep items, such as olives, seasoned nuts, one or two fine cheeses, and crudites.

      Do all your prep in advance. Most importantly, make sure all your work is done in advance so that you can actually participate and enjoy your party. Make your hot appetizers ahead of time, place everything out before guests arrive, including small plates, napkins, water and anything else that might be needed so that you’re not running around handling requests. All that’s left to do? Enjoy!

      Published with permission from RISMedia.