Seller and Buyer Tips

    • 4 Tips for Buying Waterfront Property

      28 October 2020

      It’s easy to understand why waterfront property is so appealing to luxury homeowners. From breathtaking views to endless activities in the backyard, there are a multitude of benefits that attract a wide variety of buyers. For those who are interested in living on the water, here are a few things that you should keep in mind when looking at property.

      Do Your Research
      Quite simply, waterfront property is more complicated than your typical piece of land. Elevation, of course, is an especially important consideration to take into account to ensure that the house isn’t prone to flooding or, specifically for oceanfront property, rising sea levels. Property lines can also be a more complex issue, as some locations consider the shoreline to be public land. This is why it’s crucial to do your due diligence in order to avoid any unwelcome surprises.

      Consider How You’ll Use It
      Waterfront property can vary dramatically and so too can the lifestyle that it delivers. Some homeowners prioritize a sandy beach where they can soak up the sun, while others want a deep water dock to keep their yacht in the backyard or calm, protected waters for kayaking. If you find a home where you’ll want to add a dock, make sure it’s possible to get a permit beforehand.

      Extra Costs 
      Living on the water is expensive. From flood insurance to pricey hurricane-proof windows, there are plenty of extra costs that come with the territory. Although a salty sea breeze is one of the perks of living on the ocean, it also takes a toll on the home and corrodes materials, which usually means extra upkeep and maintenance costs.

      Work With a Waterfront Specialist
      Navigating the complexities of waterfront homes can be daunting. It’s certainly important to do your own research, but as they say, you don’t know what you don’t know. For this reason, the best resource you can have is a real estate agent who specializes in local waterfront property. Someone who is familiar with both the land and regulations will be the best advocate to have in your corner when searching for the perfect new home on the water. 

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • How to Organize Your Linen Closet

      28 October 2020

      If you’re like most people, you have probably accumulated numerous sheet sets, blankets and towels over the years, causing your linen closet to be disorganized and cluttered. Here are some tips to help you simplify and create an organizational system that works.

      Get Rid of Things You Don’t Use
      You may have old towels that you only keep because they were given to you as a gift or sheets that your adult children had when they were in elementary school. Cut through the clutter and donate items you no longer use.

      Create an Organizational System That Works for Your Family
      You may want to designate one section for each person’s linens, or you may want to put all the queen-sized sheets on one shelf and all the twin-sized sheets on another. You may choose to sort towels by size and color, or you may have different sets for each bathroom and store them in different areas. 

      Dividers can keep linens separate and prevent stacks from falling over. You can also use boxes, storage bins or baskets to separate linens. When shopping for containers, think about the height and width of your closet shelves and what you want to store on each shelf so you can choose containers that will allow you to make the best use of the space available. Label containers so that you, other family members and guests can easily find what they need and assure that whoever puts away linens, puts them in the appropriate places.

      If you struggle to find sheets and pillowcases that are part of a set, there is an easy way to organize them. Fold sheets and pillowcases that belong to one set and insert them into a pillowcase that is a member of the same set. When you need linens, you will be able to reach for a bundle and know that you have a complete, matching set.

      Keep commonly used items front and center. Store less frequently used linens on higher shelves or toward the back of the closet.

      Protect Your Linens
      Some materials used to make closet shelves can damage linens or cause them to fade. Look for shelf liners to prevent damage. Clean the shelves with a damp sponge or cloth and let them dry completely before lining them. You may also want to use cedar to protect your belongings from moths and baking soda or a lavender sachet to prevent odors.

      Look for Ways to Save Space
      Folding linens is not always the best way to store them. If you’re tight on space, rolling towels may be a good alternative.

      For large, bulky items, such as comforters, invest in some space-saving bags. You can put large items in a bag, seal it and use a vacuum cleaner to remove the air and compress the bag into a flat unit.

      Use space on the door to store items that don’t fit on shelves. You can look for fixtures to hang your ironing board and iron, tablecloths or toiletries.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Busy Season Meal Solutions

      28 October 2020

      (Family Features) As families across the country transition back into more normal routines this fall with work, school – whether virtual or in-person – and calendars jam-packed with commitments, it’s important to find ways to save precious time and squeeze in more moments with loved ones. 

      While getting nutritious, delicious and affordable meals on the table to help fuel those busy days is crucial, there are ways to cut down the amount of time spent in the kitchen each day. Setting aside a couple hours each week to meal prep can make it easier to serve lunch and dinner on a tight schedule and budget. For example, this California-Style Cheesy Enchilada Casserole can be made in batches ahead of time then frozen as individual portions and reheated when hunger strikes while working or learning from home.

      Using prepared enchilada sauce, roasted chicken and a Hispanic-style cheese blend made with 100% Real California Milk from California dairy farm families, plus a traditional blend of vegetables and spices, you can feel good about serving your family members a flavorful, nutritional and budget-friendly meal each time they reach for another helping.

      Find additional busy season recipe inspiration, nutritional information and more at RealCaliforniaMilk.com.

      California-Style Cheesy Enchilada Casserole

      Cooking Sauce:

      • 2 eggs
      • 1/2 teaspoon salt
      • 1/2 cup Real California half-and-half, milk or evaporated milk
      • 1/2 cup Real California sour cream
      • vegetable oil

      Casserole:
      • 1 1/2-2 cups prepared enchilada sauce, divided
      • 12 corn tortillas, divided
      • 1 cup roasted skinless chicken, cut into bite-size pieces 
      • 2 teaspoons enchilada seasoning
      • 4 cups shredded Real California Mexican cheese blend, divided, or 1 cup each shredded Real California Oaxaca, Cheddar, Jalapeño Jack and crumbled Cotija cheeses 
      • 1 cup canned pinto beans, drained well
      • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
      • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
      • 1/3 cup canned kernel corn, well drained
      • 1/3 cup sliced black olives, well drained 
      • 1/3 cup mild green chiles, well drained
      • 2 tablespoons of cilantro, minced 
      • 2 green onions, sliced
      • lime wedges, for serving
      • Real California sour cream, for serving

      Preheat the oven to 350 F. 

      To make cooking sauce: In bowl, whisk eggs, salt, half-and-half and sour cream; set aside. 

      Spray casserole dish with vegetable oil. 

      To make the casserole: Assemble the first layer by spreading 6 tablespoons of enchilada sauce on the bottom of the casserole dish. Top with four tortillas, overlapping them. Cover tortillas with 6 tablespoons enchilada sauce.

      Assemble the second layer by tossing chicken with enchilada seasoning. Mix with 3 cups shredded cheese. Layer half chicken-cheese mixture over tortillas. 

      Assemble the third layer by seasoning pinto beans with cumin and garlic powder. Spread beans over the cheese-chicken layer.

      Assemble the fourth layer by overlapping four tortillas then cover with 6-8 tablespoons enchilada sauce. Cover with corn, olives and chiles. Top with remaining cheese-chicken mixture.

      Assemble the final layer by covering filling with remaining tortillas, overlapped, then spread remaining enchilada sauce over them. Pour cooking sauce over the casserole. Top with remaining shredded cheese. Let rest at least 30 minutes.

      Bake 50-60 minutes, or until bubbling. Remove and rest 10 minutes before cutting. 

      Sprinkle with cilantro and green onions. Serve with lime wedges and sour cream.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 4 Defining Features of Victorian-Style Homes

      27 October 2020

      There are many ways to describe Victorian architecture. Grand, eclectic and ornate are just a few of the frequently used terms that come to mind. While it should come as no surprise that the iconic architectural movement emerged during Queen Victoria’s reign over the British Empire from 1837 to 1901, it can actually refer to several different styles that were prevalent during this period, such as Queen Anne, Second Empire and Romanesque. There are, however, certain features that have become synonymous with Victorian-style homes. Here are a few such characteristics that contribute to the endless appeal of these residences.

      Towers and Turrets
      The first thing you’re likely to notice when arriving at a Victorian-style home is a magnificent tower or turret defining the exterior. Often rounded, though sometimes squared, they typically rise above steeply pitched roofs and create an asymmetrical façade. Scalloped shingles are also commonly used for the outside of the home, though some styles, like Romanesque, are built from stone.

      Wraparound Porches
      Everyone loves a wraparound porch. Or at least, everyone should. Many Victorian-style homes are designed with such a porch in order to greet visitors with a spacious, covered seating area. In addition to providing an elegant outdoor living space, this feature sets the stage for the grandeur that continues throughout. 

      Meandering Floor Plans
      If you want an open floor plan, then a traditional Victorian-style home may not be for you. The interior of these homes often have elaborate layouts with rooms of various proportions, from grand parlors and reception rooms to intimate nooks and alcoves. These days, however, it’s not uncommon to find a Victorian that’s been renovated with an open living space on the main floor. 

      Intricate Details
      An ornate aesthetic is always front and center. Outside, you may see stained glass windows and intricately-carved eaves, while the interior usually has impressive wood finishes and decorative moldings. 

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Combat Cool Days With Comforting Dishes

      27 October 2020

      (Family Features) From filling dinners to favorite desserts, comfort foods can bring smiles to friendly faces. As temperatures drop, lean on recipes that add flavor and bring warming scents to your kitchen. 

      Loaded with comforting ingredients like READ German Potato Salad, this Cheesy German Potato Soup can appease appetites with tantalizing taste. Ideal at dinner parties or festivities throughout winter, Mini Chocolate-Beet Cheesecakes with Maple-Orange Glaze combine Aunt Nellie’s Sliced Beets with familiar cheesecake flavor for a tempting treat. 

      Visit readsalads.com and auntnellies.com for more comforting inspiration. 

      Mini Chocolate-Beet Cheesecakes with Maple-Orange Glaze
      Servings: 12

      Crust:

      • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
      • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
      • 3 tablespoons salted butter, softened

      Cheesecake:
      • 1 jar (15 ounces) Aunt Nellie’s Sliced Beets
      • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
      • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
      • 1 large egg
      • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted

      Topping:
      • 2 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate
      • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
      • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
      • whipped cream (optional)

      Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line 12 medium muffin cups with foil liners.

      To make crust:
      In a medium bowl, combine flour and walnuts.

      Using a fork or pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Place about 1 tablespoon mixture into each lined muffin cup. Lightly press crumbs into the bottom. Bake for 5-6 minutes, or until the crust begins to brown.

      To make cheesecake: Drain beets, reserving 2 tablespoons liquid. In a blender, puree 1/2 cup beets and reserved liquid until smooth; set aside. Dice remaining beets; set aside.

      In a large bowl, combine cream cheese and syrup. Beat until smooth. Add egg; mix until blended. Stir in reserved pureed beets. Add melted chocolate; mix well. Spoon about 3 tablespoons cream cheese mixture into muffin cups over warm crusts. Bake for 15 minutes, or until filling is set. Let cool to room temperature. Place cheesecakes in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

      To make topping: In a small saucepan, combine reserved diced beets, orange juice concentrate, syrup and cinnamon. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture comes to boil, stirring frequently. Continue cooking and stirring until mixture thickens and appears glossy, 5-8 minutes. Remove from heat; let cool to room temperature.
      Remove cheesecakes from muffin liners. Top evenly with glazed beets. Serve with whipped cream, if desired.

      Cheesy German Potato Soup
      Recipe courtesy of “Today’s Creative Life”
      Servings: 8
      • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
      • 1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
      • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
      • 8 slices bacon, chopped 
      • 3 large carrots, chopped
      • 1 medium onion, diced
      • 2 cloves garlic, minced
      • 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
      • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
      • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
      • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
      • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
      • 2 cans (15 ounces each) READ German Potato Salad
      • 1 cup heavy cream
      • 1 cup whole milk
      • chopped parsley or chives (optional)

      Place cheeses and flour in a gallon-size zip-top bag. Close bag. Shake until cheese is covered with flour; set aside.

      In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, cook bacon until crisp, stirring occasionally. Transfer to paper towel-lined plate; set aside. 

      Pour off all but 2-3 tablespoons bacon drippings. Return Dutch oven to medium heat. Add carrots, onion and garlic. Cook until onions are translucent and carrots are softened, 3-4 minutes. Add chicken broth, black pepper, red pepper flakes, thyme and parsley. Stir in potato salad. Continue cooking over medium heat 5 minutes, or until potatoes are heated through, stirring occasionally. 

      Reduce heat to low. Slowly stir in cream and milk. Cook 5-8 minutes until blended and heated through, stirring frequently. Slowly add cheeses, stirring until melted.

      Top with bacon. Garnish with parsley or chives, if desired.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.