Consumer Real Estate News

    • 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 Culinary.net.

      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.

    • 10 Safety Tips for Online Shopping

      23 September 2021

      Online shopping has forever changed the way we buy just about everything. With a few simple clicks, we can order and pay for clothes, electronics, tools, furniture, groceries, and more. Then, before we know it, what we bought is delivered right to our doorsteps. Talk about convenience!

      With online shopping’s convenience, however, comes the risk of not receiving exactly what we ordered– or, worse, getting scammed by illegitimate websites. To better protect yourself while shopping online, follow these 10 tips from the Better Business Bureau:

      Know the advertiser. Some of the best deals are only available online, but be careful. It’s easy for a fake website to mimic a famous retailer’s real one, so make sure you’re shopping with a legitimate site. If the site is missing contact information, that’s a red flag.

      Check a site’s security settings. If the site is secure, its web address should start with “https://” (with an “s”) and include a lock icon on the purchase or shopping cart page.

      Be a savvy shopper. When shopping online, be sure to take your time and read the fine print before submitting your order. Look for the return policy; although many online orders can be returned for a full refund, others have restocking fees. Some items can’t be returned at all, so know before you buy.

      Protect personal information. Read a site’s privacy policy, and understand what personal information is being requested and how it’ll be used. If a site doesn’t have a privacy policy, that’s a big red flag that it may be a scam.

      Think before you click. Be especially cautious about email solicitations and online ads on social media sites. Many sketchy retailers advertise great deals that don’t measure up to the promotional hype.

      Beware of too-good-to-be-true deals. Offers on websites and in unsolicited emails may offer free or very low prices on hard-to-find items. There may be hidden costs, or your purchase may sign you up for a monthly charge. Look for and read the fine print.

      Beware of phishing. Phishing emails can look like a message from a well-known brand, but clicking on unfamiliar links can place you at risk for malware and/or identity theft. One popular scam claims to be from a package-delivery company with links to “tracking information” on an order you don’t remember making. Don’t click!

      Shop with a credit card. In case of a fraudulent transaction, a credit card provides additional protections; it’s easier to dispute charges that you didn’t approve. Debit cards, prepaid cards or gift cards don’t have the same protections as a credit card.

      Keep documentation of your order. Save a copy of the confirmation page or email confirmation until you receive the item and are satisfied. Be sure to know and understand the return policy, and keep this documented with your purchase records.

      Keep a clean machine. Install security software on your computer, tablet and smartphone. Check for and install the latest updates, and run virus scans regularly.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Touring an Open House? Here are 8 Things to Look For

      22 September 2021

      When you’re searching for your dream house, you’ll likely spend a good chunk of time touring open houses—and while you may have a list of ‘must-haves’ or ‘no-no’s’ in mind, it’s easy to be distracted by color and/or other cosmetic touches that keep you from noticing more critical factors. Experienced real estate agents know what to look for. But if you’re touring on your own, here are eight things you should definitely be alert to.

      • Signs of Water Damage - They may not be obvious, so look for water marks on the ceilings or brown water marks on the walls. If there’s carpeting in the basement, be sure it is dry and be wary of a musty odor.
      • Foundation Cracks - While these, too, may not be obvious, check for misaligned doors or windows, sticking doors or sloping floors, which may be signs the house is not solidly anchored.
      • Too Many Stairs - They may not bother you now, while you are young and healthy, but will Grandma be able to handle them—and will you when you are her age?
      • Closet Space - Picture your things fitting into the existing closets. If you think perhaps there is not enough space, you’re probably right.
      • Storage Space - Where will you store your holiday ornaments, camping gear and out-of-season sports equipment? Think not just about closet space for clothes, but about space to store all your extras.
      • Water Pressure - Lackadaisical water pressure can be a big issue in the kitchen or the shower. Turn on the taps full blast for a minute to see how the water runs. 
      • Natural Light - If you’re touring the home in bright daylight with all the lights on, try turning the lights off to get a better idea about natural light. 
      • An Aging Roof - A home inspector will note it, but why wait until mid-transaction to realize you may need to budget for replacement? Check for an abundance of damaged or missing shingles, or signs of water damage in the attic.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 7 Tips for Selecting a Remodeler

      22 September 2021

      (Family Features) When planning a potential home remodeling project, the list of decisions to make may feel nearly endless. Ultimately, you may find the most important decision is choosing a trustworthy team of professionals to complete the job.

      For example, an organization like the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) provides homeowners with helpful ways to find qualified, professional remodelers and contractors. These seven tips can help guide you through the selection process and assist you in making an informed decision that best suits your needs.

      1. Look Local
      Local remodelers have a vested interest to perform quality work that satisfies their customers in order for their business to survive. That’s why word-of-mouth referrals can be especially helpful in finding options near you. Ask relatives, friends, neighbors and business colleagues who live nearby about projects they’ve completed and the professionals they’ve used. Other resources may include people you know in the local home industry, such as lenders, real estate agents and material suppliers.

      2. Follow Building Codes
      Another advantage to hiring a local professional is he or she typically knows and understands the local building codes and permit requirements for your town or city. Building codes can vary considerably from each jurisdiction and are known to change from year to year. Most structural work or footprint expansions require permits.

      3. Check for Licenses and Insurance
      Many states, but not all, require contractors to be licensed, bonded and insured. Contact your state or local licensing agencies to ensure the contractor you’re considering meets all requirements. Most states require a contractor to carry worker’s compensation, property damage and personal liability insurance. Ask for copies of their licenses and insurance to make sure it is current.

      4. Check for Violations and Complaints
      Check with your Consumer Affairs Office and your local chapter of the Better Business Bureau to ensure there are no complaints on record for the contractors you’re considering. You can also search for reviews online and verify they are members of reputable trade organizations that promote professional excellence, such as NARI.

      5. Compare Apples with Apples
      If you solicit estimates from more than one contractor, be sure they are working off the same scope and quality of work. Discuss variations in prices and beware of any estimate that is substantially lower than the others.

      6. Be Informed
      A good remodeling professional educates clients on green remodeling, universal design, lead safety, new products, building techniques and trends. Make sure you’re hiring someone who has knowledge and expertise relevant to the remodeling industry, as well as the appropriate certifications and experience to complete the job.

      7. Check References
      Don’t rely on a contractor’s personality or demeanor. If a professional does not offer references, ask for them and follow up with a site visit or phone call.

      Find a qualified and reputable remodeler in your area at RemodelingDoneRight.com.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.