Consumer Real Estate News

    • How to Care for a Cast Iron Skillet

      10 May 2021

      A cast iron skillet is a vital tool in every home chef’s arsenal. The versatility of cast iron has made it a long-term favorite cookware item, even with all the modern cookware options out there. If you find yourself a proud new owner of a cast iron skillet, you should know there are some hard-and-fast rules of caring for your new pan.

      Understand the Importance of a Seasoned Skillet
      You may have heard about a cast iron’s “seasoning” in passing. A well-seasoned cast iron pan will ensure a nonstick surface when you are cooking. In essence, seasoning is oil baked into the cast iron. The more you cook and care for your pan, the more oil or fat can molecularly bond with the pan to create another layer of seasoning. Since a well-cared-for pan can last for generations, it’s easy to see why the art of seasoning is vital knowledge. If you’re not lucky enough to get grandma’s skillet, you can buy them pre-seasoned for ease of use out of the box.

      Never Put Your Cast Iron Pan in the Dishwasher
      Cast iron may have its advantages, but hands-off cleaning is not one of them. Your pan should never be put in the dishwasher. Between the high heat and strong detergents of the dishwasher, your pan’s seasoning will be stripped away and will leave your pan likely to rust. Clean your cast iron cookware by hand only.

      Avoid Dish Soap
      If cleaning by hand makes sense to you, but you’re ready to reach for your trusty dish soap—stop right there! While dish soap and warm water won’t be as harsh as using a dishwasher, it will still serve to strip your pan’s seasoning. You will also want to avoid using harsh or abrasive cleaning tools, such as steel wool, and never let your pan soak to get off stuck-on bits of food. A cast iron pan soaking in water will rust.

      Properly Clean Your Skillet
      You may be wondering how you can clean your pan with all of these limitations. Rinse your pan and remove any food debris. If you find any stuck-on food bits, you can use a paste of coarse kosher salt and water. Once your pan is clean and rinsed, thoroughly dry it with a lint-free paper towel. Finally, rub a light layer of cooking oil or seasoning spray onto the surface of your cookware and use a paper towel to ensure no oil residue remains.

      Caring for any cast iron cookware can seem like a chore at first, but eventually, it will become second nature and you too will be a cast-iron convert.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • DIY Ideas to Increase Your Home’s Value

      10 May 2021

      (Family Features) Now as much as ever, your home may be a sanctuary for all kinds of expression, from thinking and dreaming to working and playing. Over the past year, homeowners began to consider the intersection of function and design in new ways.

      Weekend warriors are dedicating themselves to creating more organized living spaces and making their homes better places for learning, working and living. If you’re considering upgrades to your home, consider these DIY ideas from the experts at Royal Building Products that can increase beauty and resale value.

      Home Office
      Spending more time at home may mean storage space is at a premium, especially if you’re relying on a makeshift home office. You can add a high-impact and functional element to your office with a built-in bookcase or workstation. Consider your materials carefully since they have a big impact on your final results. For example, a versatile alternative to wood is synthetic polyvinyl chloride (PVC) trim, which you don’t need to sand or prime before painting, ultimately saving time, energy and money. While PVC is slightly more expensive than some wood options, it also requires less maintenance long-term. 

      By updating worn-out items, modernizing fixtures and creating a more functional space, you can expect to recoup up to 50% of a bathroom’s remodel cost, according to the National Association of the Remodeling Industry. If you’re considering an on-trend look like shiplap, a practical solution like Royal prefinished PVC Shiplap can help create a clean, comfortable space. It’s waterproof, mold resistant, flexible and works well in spaces with many slants and angles. Plus, it’s lightweight and easy to install.

      A home’s foyer offers the first impression of its interior, teasing the personality of architecture and decor found with each step deeper inside. Whether bold and dramatic, tranquil and serene, or something in-between, the entryway often sets the tone for a home’s ambience. Details like decorative molding and lattice trim can create a striking entryway for almost any home style.

      Whether you’re sprucing up an outdoor living space or simply want to boost curb appeal, subtle enhancements can make a big impact. For example, board and batten shutters offer an attractive, low-fuss way to highlight your home’s windows. Painting the front door is another low-cost way to freshen up your exterior. Or invite a touch of nature by adding flower boxes to your front porch or windows.
      Find more creative inspiration, tools, tips and practical steps for every level of DIY-er at

      Select a Trim Style to Match Your Home Style
      The right style of trim can transform a room into a whole new space. A good rule of thumb is to keep the style of trim consistent with your home style and from room to room.

      The craftsman home style pairs well with simple, tailored and purposeful doors and minimally ornamented window casings while white, light beige and cream-colored crown moulding can create roomier spaces.

      This home style’s rustic simplicity and rich detail call for interior trim that lends a touch of stately courtliness. Choose multi-piece trim and wider baseboards, wainscoting and crown moulding to adorn family room floors, walls and ceilings.

      Cape Cod
      This practical and quaintly unassuming design can be accented by subtle interior trim such as transom windows and sidelights that surround multi-paneled entry doors, casings for double-hung windows, picture rails and frame walls. 

      The clean expansiveness of this home style lends itself to unadorned window and door casings as well as baseboards. You can go minimalist and use trim merely to protect walls and floors. Alternatively, you could rely on trim to create an appealing contrast with the wall colors.

      Open, informal and inviting, this style needs trim work that flows from room to room. Many styles work, from simple baseboards to more formal trimmed windows and cabinetry in the kitchen, fireplace mantels in the family room and passageway casings.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Solutions to Common Plumbing Problems

      10 May 2021

      While there are some things you shouldn’t try to DIY, knowing how to solve common issues can save every homeowner a lot of money and frustration. Here are some simple solutions to common plumbing problems that every homeowner should know how to resolve.

      A Leaky Faucet
      A small leak on your faucet can mean a big water bill over the course of the year—not to mention the sound of incessant dripping is enough to get on anyone’s nerves. To fix this costly and obnoxious issue, you will simply need some basic DIY skills and tools. First, turn off the water supply under the sink and turn on the faucet to allow the remaining water in the line to empty into the sink. Remove your faucet handle per manufacturer instructions. Check for an internal washer that has become stiff, torn, worn or dislodged. Replace if needed. Alternatively, you may need to replace your cartridge. After replacing, reassemble your facet and turn on the water.

      A Sewage Smell in Your Bathroom
      Bathrooms can get smelly, but if your bathroom constantly smells of sewage, you may have a plumbing problem. To discover the problem, you may have to put on your detective hat. To start, examine your toilet’s wax ring. This ring that seals your toilet’s drain may need to be replaced. The telltale sign? If your toilet bowl wobbles in place, your wax ring may need to be replaced. Another smell-harboring culprit? Your toilet’s caulking. Bacteria from stale water can settle in the space between your toilet base, causing the excess odor. Recaulking can ensure that the protective coating around your toilet’s base is fresh and ready to do its job.

      A Running Toilet 
      If your toilet is running, there’s no need to call a plumber. Most often, toilet running issues are caused by problems with the toilet’s flapper. Check the chain that secures your toilet’s flapper, because if it is too long and hangs off the flapper, it can be pulled underneath the flapper when your toilet is flushed. This will prevent proper sealing and cause your toilet to continuously run. If the chain doesn’t seem to be the culprit, your flapper itself is likely to blame. An old and deteriorating flapper cannot form a tight seal and allows water to trickle through, simply replace the flapper to stop the issue. If these quick fixes don’t seem to be the problem, you may need to troubleshoot further.

      While there’s certainly a time and place to phone the pros, a little DIY know-how can go a long way to solving some unpleasant household plumbing problems.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • What is a Broken Plan Home?

      7 May 2021

      Home designs traditionally featured rooms that were separated by walls and doors. Architectural trends have shifted and open floorplans have become increasingly popular. While many homeowners like the spacious feeling of an open floorplan, as well as the ability to easily keep an eye on their kids, some long for more privacy. A broken plan design can balance those priorities. 

      How Can Spaces be Separated in a Broken Plan Home?
      A broken plan falls between an open floorplan and a design with rooms that are completely separate. In a broken plan, the house has an open, spacious feel, but areas can be separated in various ways to provide privacy, or the option to have privacy when desired. 

      For example, partial walls that stand just a few feet high can be used to divide areas without completely blocking the view. If you choose partial walls, your kids will be able to play in their own area while you’re cooking in the kitchen. That can give both you and your children some space and privacy, while making it easy for you to watch the kids. A half wall can also incorporate shelves for extra storage space.

      Glass walls can provide a measure of privacy. Walls made of clear glass can allow people to see into other areas while allowing individuals to have private conversations. Glass may also be tinted or frosted for additional privacy.

      A sunken room is a space that sits a few feet below the level of the room next to it. That can create an area that is separate, but not blocked by a wall. A sunken room can preserve an open feeling and won’t block sight lines.

      Furniture can be used to delineate a boundary between two areas. For example, a couch can separate a living room area from a dining space. A bookcase, screen, or area rug can serve the same purpose.  

      Is a Broken Plan Right for Your Family?
      If you’re planning to have a house built and trying to choose a layout, think carefully about your family’s lifestyle and how you will use the space in your future home. Although open floorplans have become popular in recent years, they have drawbacks. A broken plan may be a better option for your family since it can allow you to enjoy the spaciousness of an open floorplan while still having some privacy. 

      If you currently live in a house with an open floorplan, but you would like more clearly delineated spaces, you can incorporate permanent or temporary elements to create boundaries. If you’re not sure if a broken plan is right for you, experiment with temporary dividers. If you prefer a broken plan to an open floorplan, you may decide to install permanent dividers later.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • An Unforgettable Fruity Flavor

      7 May 2021

      ( Fresh fruit is finally in season. When the sun is out and kids are hitting the pool, it’s also time to indulge in some sweet fruit flavors. Watermelon, berries, bananas and more can all be found near perfect ripeness at grocery stores or farmer’s markets during the warm summer months. 

      On a hot day, there is almost nothing better than trying something new that sounds delicious. Throw your apron on, prepare your kitchen and get baking. 

      If you’re craving something sweet with no ideas where to start, try this sweet Lemon Cheesecake with Fresh Fruit. It’s tangy and rich, and allows you to escape to the summer oasis of your dreams, at least for a few minutes. 

      It has the smooth, creamy texture of cheesecake mixed with a hint of tart lemon juice. Topped with raspberries, mint and oranges, the burst of fresh fruit enhances the cheesecake flavor. It’s the perfect sweet treat for summer for people of all ages with its bright colors and varying flavors.

      In a bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter then press into a springform pan. 

      Beat cream cheese, sweetened condensed milk, three eggs, lemon juice and vanilla extract then pour it on top of the graham cracker mixture. 

      Bake for 50-55 minutes before cooling completely in the fridge and adding fruit and mint leaves. 

      The outcome is a fluffy cheesecake with a small hint of lemon topped with your favorite fresh fruits. It’s a delightful, sweet and satisfying recipe your family can make again and again to enjoy during those warm summer months. 

      Find more recipes perfect for summer at

      Lemon Cheesecake With Fresh Fruit
      Servings: 6-8
      1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
      1/4 cup sugar
      1/4 cup butter, melted
      2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
      1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
      3 eggs
      1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
      1 teaspoon vanilla extract
      1 orange, peeled and separated
      8 raspberries
      3 mint leaves, for garnish 

      Heat oven to 350 F.

      In a medium bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter. Press firmly into a 9-inch springform pan.

      In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Gradually beat in sweetened condensed milk until smooth. Add eggs, fresh lemon juice and vanilla extract; mix until combined.

      Pour into the pan. Bake 50-55 minutes, or until the center springs back when lightly pressed.

      Chill in the refrigerator until completely cooled. Arrange orange slices around the border of the cake and place raspberries in the middle. Top with mint leaves. 

      Published with permission from RISMedia.