Consumer Real Estate News


  • The Science of Odor In Clothes

    22 June 2017

    (Family Features)--From perfumes to scented body washes, deodorants and lotions, people are constantly looking for ways to combat the body's natural scent and replace it with something more pleasant. Before you attempt to mask the aftermath of a few hours outside or at the gym, it's important to understand the science behind odor to get rid of it effectively, especially now that warmer weather is arriving.

    Odor Buildup

    Odor build-up in fabric, the reason favorite t-shirts begin to smell, happens. When the transfer of bacteria and sweat to fabrics such as cotton occurs, odor generates within the fabric itself. Then, the transfer of "odorous" mixtures produced by a person's body is absorbed by the fabric. Bacteria such as staphylococcus epidermidis (staph), MRSA and E. coli, among others, often remain in clothing washed in detergents without bleach, which is why it's important to use an effective sanitizer that can kill bacteria in your laundry load.

    Odors and Materials

    Polyester fibers tend to retain odor-causing bacteria. Since polyester typically repels water, those odors can be harder to remove. Some of the most common items that can be plagued with mold, sweat or musty scents are ones you use daily, like t-shirts and bedding, because they often come in direct contact with your body. Evidence shows that natural, non-synthetic fabrics like cotton are preferable to synthetics when it comes to keeping them smelling fresh because they tend to produce and trap fewer odors in the first place and release odors more easily during washing.

    It's no coincidence that cotton has a legacy of being a favorite fabric because it's soft, durable and easy to care for. From the towels in your bathroom to the clothes you wear throughout the day and the sheets you snuggle into each night, cotton is a sensible choice to fight odors and the perfect breathable fabric for warm weather.

    Eliminating Odors

    In addition to choosing non-synthetic fibers and soft, durable fabrics such as cotton, adding a bacteria-killing agent like Clorox Regular-Bleach to your laundry can help sanitize smelly clothing and kill 99.9 percent of bacteria, which causes odor. 

    Studies have shown that some bacteria on cotton can be reduced when washing with detergent only, but still remain on the fabric. The addition of an EPA-registered bleach not only removes tough stains to keep whites brighter longer, but it also can potentially prevent the buildup of odor in washing machines and the need to clean clothing more frequently.

    For more information on tackling odor and keeping clothes whiter longer, visit WhyDoYourClothesSmell.com.

    Published with permission from RISMedia.

  • Electricity Safety 101

    22 June 2017

    After vehicular incidents, electricity is one of the top safety concerns for Americans across the country.  Whether you have small children to keep safe, or just want to be precarious yourself, below are a handful of tips from the Florida Power & Light Company to keep yourself safe around electricity.

    Inspect your electrical system – Have a licensed electrician inspect your home's electrical system to ensure that it's running properly and meets current electrical codes. Flickering lights, sparks, non-functioning outlets and tripping circuits may indicate a problem.

    Check bulbs – Ensure bulbs are screwed in securely and they are the correct wattage for the fixture. Replace bulbs that have higher wattage than recommended.

    Examine cords – Replace or throw away electrical items that have frayed or cracked electric cords. Cords should never be nailed or stapled to walls, baseboards or other objects.

    Use extension cords properly – Extension cords can overheat and cause fires when used improperly. Do not overload extension cords or attempt to plug them into one another.

    Only put electrical plugs into outlets – Teach children to never stick fingers or objects into electrical outlets or appliances with openings such as toasters. Cover or cap outlets you are not using to protect children.

    Plug-in one high-wattage appliance at a time – Plug only one high-wattage appliance – such as a coffee maker, toaster, iron or space heater – into an outlet at a time to avoid overloading it.

    Water and electricity don't mix – Don't place any electrical appliance near water sources, such as a sink or bathtub. Appliances that are used near water should be unplugged when not in use. If you have an appliance that has gotten wet, unplug it and don't use it until it has been checked by a qualified repair person. Ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFIs) should be installed on outlets near water sources.

    Before wiring, turn it off – Turn off the power at the breaker before working on electrical devices or wiring.  

    Stay away from power lines – Keep yourself and anything you are touching more than 10 feet away from neighborhood power lines and at least 35 feet from larger high-voltage lines. This includes ladders, tools to pick fruit or trim trees, kites, metallic balloons and flying toys.

    Report fallen power lines – Stay away from a power line that has fallen and anything it may be touching. Call 911 immediately to report it.

    Call 811 before digging – Call at least two full business days before doing any digging to have underground utilities marked. It's free and it's required by law.

    Check before using tools outdoors – Are the electrical appliances and tools marked for outdoor use? Make sure they are and avoid using them close to water or in the rain.

    Source: Florida Power & Light Company

    Published with permission from RISMedia.

  • Analyzing the Yin and Yang of Millennials and Markets

    22 June 2017

    In a recent release from apartmentlist.com, I was interested to learn that while millennials are starting to buy homes, there are not enough homes in their price range on the market - and eve if there were, many could not come up with a down payment.

    In his latest Apartmentlist Rentonomics report, Andrew Woo writes that during the Great Recession, investors bought countless foreclosed properties, most of which were starter homes.

    And rather than selling when prices recovered, investors turned them into profitable single-family rentals. And as a result, Woo says there are very few existing starter homes on the market.

    Woo points to Megan McGrath of MKM Partners, who says the housing recovery was primarily at the middle end of the market which drove up home prices and land prices followed. With higher land prices, it is harder for home builders to make a good profit at lower home prices.

    During the housing recovery, the price spread between new and existing homes increased because builders were focused on the move-up buyer. But Woo says now middle-end sales are starting to slow down, and builders need to target new buyers to sustain growth.

    He says big builders are starting to introduce new product lines at lower price points, and these starter homes are selling well. But the only way for builders to lower prices and take a hit to their margins is if they see big growth in new orders, and he is not seeing that happening anytime soon.

    Woo says the demand is clearly growing but is not as strong as demographics would suggest. Single-family construction still stands at 18% below its 25-year average, and he warns about a developing affordability gap.

    Aparetmentlist.com recently surveyed 24,000 millennial renters and found that 80 percent want to purchase a home, but face a huge obstacle in affording one. Woo says it's because millennials vastly underestimate the savings needed for a down payment.

    Woo fears based on current saving rates most millennials will need at least a decade to save enough - and that a lack of savings, combined with the shortage of affordable starter homes, will leave a large share of millennials renting for years to come.

    Published with permission from RISMedia.

  • Cost of Living Soars in These Cities

    21 June 2017

    Do you live in one of the most expensive cities in the country? Are you unsure? A recent GoBankingRates study unveiled the places in the country with the highest cost of living.

    According to the study, American household debt totaled a record $12.73 trillion as of March 2017, so cost of living concerns are more pertinent than ever.

    The study evaluated U.S. cities based on two principal metrics:

    - The increase in a city's cost of living index, which includes food, rent, utilities and transportation.
    - The Increase in the amount of income required to "live comfortably," a concept used in GOBankingRates studies that combines the money needed to pay for necessities — including food, rent, utilities, transportation and healthcare — with the amount one should budget toward discretionary spending and savings.

    Their findings? Read below.

    Top 5 Cities Where the Cost of Living is Rising Quickly

    5. Jacksonville, Fla.

    - Live Comfortably Amount Increase: $2,095
    - Cost of Living Index Increase: 3.36 points

    4. Austin, Texas

    - Live Comfortably Amount Increase: $1,407
    - Cost of Living Index Increase: 3.84 points

    3. Louisville, Ky.

    - Live Comfortably Amount Increase: $2,066
    - Cost of Living Index Increase: 4.49 points

    2. Seattle

    - Live Comfortably Amount Increase: $3,190
    - Cost of Living Index Increase: 7.32 points

    1. Nashville, Tenn.

    - Live Comfortably Amount Increase: $9,135
    - Cost of Living Index Increase: 8.61 points

    Source: GoBankingRates

    Published with permission from RISMedia.

  • The Real Cost of Utilities

    21 June 2017

    Have you ever stopped to think about how your utility bills are affecting your wallet? Well, according to a report from ATTOM Data Solutions and UtilityScore, utilities - electricity, natural gas, water and sewer - add 25 percent to homeownership costs and 21 percent to renter housing costs on average nationwide.  

    When you factor in the high cost of many markets across the country, utility costs tip the scales and make these markets unaffordable for many. Monthly utility costs require 7.0 percent of average wages on average across 931 U.S. counties analyzed for the report. When utility costs are included, buying a median-priced home requires more than the 43 percent of income recommended by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFBP) in 323 of the 931 U.S. counties.

    Here’s where solar power comes into play. The report takes a look at solar installation in California as an example. Between 2010 and 2017, home sellers who had a solar system installed between the original purchase of their home and the subsequent sale of their home saw average profits that were more than double those of home sellers without a solar installation. 

    So when buying or selling your home, be sure to take utilities into consideration. Make sure your budget can handle the costs, and consider making smart investments, like solar, that will reduce utility costs when it comes time to sell.

    Published with permission from RISMedia.