Consumer Real Estate News

    • Should You Install a Double Vanity in Your Master Bathroom?

      22 October 2020

      If you’re planning to remodel your master bathroom, you may be thinking about installing a double vanity. It might make it easier to get ready and prevent some arguments with your partner, but it might also take up too much space or be too expensive. 

      What is a Double Vanity?
      A double vanity usually consists of two sinks placed side by side. In most cases, each sink has its own cabinet or drawers for storage. Each sink may have a separate mirror or one long mirror may extend above both sinks. You could choose a prefabricated double vanity or have one custom made to suit your preferences and your bathroom’s design.

      Pros and Cons of a Double Vanity
      A double vanity can be helpful for couples who get ready for work at the same time, who get frustrated taking turns in the bathroom or who get in each other’s way when both are in a hurry. Having separate areas can also be a good idea for couples who have different standards in terms of cleanliness. If each person has multiple hygiene and grooming products, having individual counter and storage space can make it easier to stay organized and prevent clutter. 

      Two sinks take up a lot more space than one. Depending on the size and layout of the bathroom, a double vanity might work, or it might make the bathroom feel cramped and leave you with too little counter space. If there was not enough space between the sinks, you and your partner might bump elbows.

      Having two sinks could limit the amount of storage space available. Two drain pipes would take up twice the amount of cabinet space, which would mean less room to store toiletries and other items.

      Cost is another important factor. The price tag for two sinks, counters and cabinets, plus the additional cost to hook up plumbing for both sinks, might be prohibitive. 

      Other Options to Consider
      You might want to install two separate pedestal sinks. They could be placed side by side or put on separate walls, depending on the layout and dimensions of the master bathroom. The downsides of pedestal sinks are the lack of counter and storage space.

      Another possibility is installing one long sink with two faucets. That could allow you and your partner to use the sink at the same time, but you would only have to pay for plumbing for one drain. With a single drainpipe, you would have more storage space than you would if you were to install two separate sinks. You would also have more counter space with one sink, and cleaning one sink would be easier than cleaning two.

      Talk to Your Contractor
      A double vanity sounds ideal to many couples, and it can be in some cases. For many homeowners, however, space and financial constraints make it impractical. You have numerous options when it comes to designing your master bathroom. Discuss your needs and goals with your contractor so you can choose the right design for you.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Improve Your Mental Health With Better Sleep

      22 October 2020

      (Family Features) For some, the holidays may be the happiest season of all, but for others the hectic pace and endless to-do lists can take a real toll on their mental health. This year, the impact is heightened by a global health pandemic. 

      According to a survey from Mattress Firm, more than 60 million Americans say COVID-19 has worsened their quality of sleep, and those losing sleep are often seeing their mental well-being and healthy habits worsen. Nearly half of respondents said COVID-19 has increased their worries and prevented them from falling or staying asleep at night, with 41% reported their poor sleep has a negative impact on their daily lives.

      “It’s no surprise that when our minds are full or our hearts are heavy, our mental health tends to suffer,” said Dr. Sujay Kansagra, a sleep health expert for Mattress Firm. “What many people don’t realize is that mental health struggles also affect sleep, and adequate rest is a key component of maintaining and improving your mental health.”
      If stress and worry are preventing you from getting a good night of sleep, try these ideas from Kansagra to help improve your mental state and ease your body into rest. 

      Think positively. Every night before going to bed, list three good things from your day. They don't have to be amazing things, just three positive aspects of your day. For example, acknowledge you had a good virtual catch-up with a colleague or enjoyed a new recipe or workout class. Listing your positive experiences at night can help you maintain a positive frame of mind as you unwind for the day.

      Create a to-do list. This technique is for those who mentally work through their list of pending responsibilities before bed. In a fast-paced world, sometimes lying in bed is the first time you have to actually think about what’s on your list. By creating a list of tasks (or even writing down your worries), you can prevent yourself from thinking about them excessively before bed and throughout the night. 

      Try progressive relaxation. This involves taking slow, deep breaths and slowly tensing the muscles in your body for a few seconds then relaxing them. Start at your feet and work your way up the body. This technique can help you relax and decompress after a long day.

      Give yourself a break. Especially if you’re working from home or tackling a lot of seasonal tasks, it’s easy to keep yourself busy up until the minute you fall into bed. However, your mind may still be whirling from all that activity. Build in a few minutes before bed each night to let your mind rest, whether it’s spending a few minutes with a good book, practicing meditation or sipping on a cup of sleepy-time tea.

      Appeal to your senses. Being mindful of how your senses react to various stimuli can play a role in your ability to drift off to sleep. Some people need silence; others benefit from ambient sound. Certain scents can be soothing and make good choices for essential oil diffusers, such as lavender oil. Also be conscious of the touches that affect your sleep, like the support from your mattress, the softness of your sheets or the temperature of the room.

      Whether it’s your family, your health or general stress that’s keeping you up, find time in your day to give yourself some grace. Your mental health is extremely important and should not be overlooked, so if you’re feeling a little worn down, ensure you’re getting the quality sleep you need to tackle the day and week ahead. 

      What’s Keeping You Awake?
      If you’re like many Americans, outside influences and worries may affect your sleep. Pinpointing what’s keeping you awake, such as these common sleep disruptors reported in a Mattress Firm survey, can help you address your concerns so you can rest more easily.

      • Money or Paying Bills (49%)
      • My or My Family’s Health (48%)
      • State of Country and the Economy (39%)
      • My Kids and Their Health or Education (32%)
      • Missing Social Interaction (31%)

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • How to Protect Your Data When Working From Home

      22 October 2020

      Working from home has become increasingly popular over the last few years. Though there are many perks to working remotely, there are also some risks. When it comes to setting up a secure internet connection and protecting your data, here are a few things you should know.

      Risks of Telecommuting
      Working from home can create security challenges. Employees in an office use computers that are provided by a company and that have antivirus software installed and updated by an IT department. Workers can easily communicate with each other about security threats and take measures to keep data safe. 

      That’s harder to do when people are spread out and working on different Wi-Fi networks in different locations and using a variety of devices. Employees who work from home should take some important security precautions.

      How to Keep Data Safe
      Only use a secure Wi-Fi network. Your home network should be secure, but if you’re tempted to work from a coffee shop just to get out of the house, realize that the Wi-Fi there could put your data at risk. On a public network, other people could monitor your activity and attack your computer to attempt to gain access to your data. If you want to work outside your home, use a personal hotspot or virtual private network (VPN) to protect your files.

      If you store information in the cloud, use a product with robust security features. Be careful if you use a USB drive to store files. It’s easy to install malware on a USB device. If you insert it into your laptop, hackers may be able to access your data.

      If your company provided you with a computer, only use it for business activities. Using your personal computer to check work-related emails could put your company’s files and network at risk because your personal computer is probably less secure than the one issued by your employer.

      Use complex passwords. Don’t use the same password for work and personal accounts. If someone hacked a personal account, your work data could be compromised, and vice versa.

      Beware of phishing emails that appear to come from a trusted source, such as a co-worker, a client or a financial institution. Cyber criminals use phishing emails to trick people into clicking on links or opening attachments that install malware so hackers can access work and personal files. Phishing emails are often easy to spot because the email address is incorrect or because the email contains spelling or grammatical errors. An email that asks for sensitive personal or financial information should also be a red flag. 

      Take Precautions While Working From Home
      If you are required to work from home, or choose to do so, you may have the time or training to do everything necessary to secure your data. If you have not already taken these steps, prioritize security moving forward.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • How New Curtains Could Lower Your Utility Bills

      21 October 2020

      High utility bills are a problem for many homeowners. If you are paying more than you would like for heating and air conditioning, you may be able to save money simply by installing new curtains. 

      Thermal Curtains Could Lower Your Heating Bills
      If your house has drafts, cold air can get in and heat can escape in the winter, which means you may pay more than you should to keep your home warm. Installing thick thermal curtains or drapes could significantly reduce heat loss and cut your winter heating bills. Thermal curtains insulate a room to prevent air from entering or escaping. If you get thermal curtains, open them from time to time so condensation doesn’t get trapped between the curtains and the windows, which can lead to mold and rot.

      Blackout Curtains Could Help You Save on Air Conditioning
      Blackout curtains prevent sunlight from streaming in through the windows and heating up the house in the summer. If you have blackout curtains, your air conditioner won’t have to work as hard to keep your home at a comfortable temperature. Choose blackout curtains with a light-colored backing to reflect sunlight. 

      Open and Close Curtains at the Right Times to Save Money
      You can open and close the curtains at different times of the day to control the amount of sunlight and heat allowed into your home. In the winter, open the curtains while the sun is shining to heat the house naturally and reduce your reliance on the furnace. When the sun isn’t out and you are running the furnace, close the curtains to keep warm air inside the house. 

      During the summer, close the curtains before the sun begins to shine directly on that side of the house. Keep the curtains closed until the sun has passed the area where the window is located.

      How to Install New Curtains
      Before you hang new curtains, check the windows for drafts. Replace caulking, if necessary, to prevent air leakage.

      Hang the curtains as close to the ceiling and floor as possible and press them against the wall to create an airtight seal. Two curtains can be more effective than a single curtain at keeping your house at a stable temperature and reducing energy consumption. 

      Be Careful Not to Use More Energy in Other Areas
      If you keep the curtains closed during the day, your house may not get enough natural light for your family to perform daily activities comfortably and you may need to use more artificial lighting. To avoid running up your electricity bills, use energy-efficient light bulbs. 

      Look for Simple Ways to Cut Your Bills
      Homeowners are often frustrated by high utility costs and think that lowering their bills would require major home improvements, but that isn’t necessarily true. Sometimes, simple solutions can yield big savings. Think about why your utility bills are so high and consider installing new curtains to save money.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 4 Features That Dog Owners Look For in the City

      21 October 2020

      We all love our furry friends, but there’s no denying that living with a dog has its challenges. For starters, they can take a toll on the house, which is why pet owners typically prefer homes with proper flooring, performance fabrics and maybe even a grooming station. When you’re living in an urban area, however, having a dog becomes even more complicated. If you’re looking for a new city home that your pets are sure to love, keep an eye out for these features.

      Fenced-In Backyard
      Having a fenced-in backyard in the city is something that we can all enjoy, but it’ll be a dream come true for your pooch. You’ll be able to simply open the back door whenever the dog needs to go outside and run around, which is certainly more convenient than having to take the elevator every time they need to do their business. 

      Dog-Friendly Neighborhood
      Ideally, there’s a dog park in the area where you can take your pets to run around. If not, a nearby park where you can go on walks and maybe even take them off the leash to throw a ball around is a major benefit for dogs that need plenty of daily exercise. Well-paved sidewalks are another feature that can make a big difference, as well as shops and restaurants with pet-friendly policies. 

      Nearby Pet Services
      It might not be the first thing you think of when looking for a new home, but having all your dog-related needs nearby will make your life much easier. A good vet that you can trust and a groomer who can keep your pets looking and smelling their best are important for the furry member of the family. If you tend to go away a lot, you might even consider checking out nearby options for doggie daycare and dog walkers. 

      Friendly Building Policies
      Of course, if you’re moving to an apartment building, you’ll have to make sure that it’s pet-friendly. There are tons of different policies and sometimes it’s just a matter of getting your dog approved by the board at a “dog interview.” Other times it’s more complicated and can go so far as requiring referrals from vets, dog walkers and even past neighbors. 

      Published with permission from RISMedia.