Real Estate

A Crumb Cake That’s Worth Digging Into

Daily Real Estate News - November 2, 2020 - 3:43pm

(TNS)—I’m a sweets-for-breakfast guy. When I need grab-and-go food, these blueberry muffins are what I make. When I have time to wake up and bake, these buttermilk biscuits with jam hit the spot.

When I want to procrastinate a Thursday morning away, I make crumb cake, the old-school Jewish/German/New York kind with an avalanche of rocky shortbread crumbles on top. It’s a totally reasonable thing to eat when you wake up that is also a cake.\

I turn the volume up by amplifying the best part about the cake: the topping. I create boulder-sized crumbs, which are really what we all want.

And instead of a gentle perfume of spice, I pack the crumbs with spoonfuls of really good cinnamon that’s been warmed in brown butter. My favorite cinnamon is the Vietnam-sourced Royal Cinnamon from Burlap & Barrel, a company that sells exceptional and responsibly sourced fair-trade spices.

To balance all the intensity up top, I leave the cake batter below relatively plain—a buttery yellow cake scented with vanilla.

The cake keeps for a week and it only gets better and better the further I get from the day I had to put in the work to bake it.

Brown Butter-Cinnamon Crumb Cake

Time 2 hours, largely unattended

A springform pan is best because you can remove the sides and slide the cake out without disturbing the crumbs on top. If you have only a plain cake pan, though, that will work too; just make sure it’s at least 3 inches tall on the sides so the crumbs and batter don’t spill while baking.

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
2 tablespoons high-quality ground cinnamon
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, preferably Diamond Crystal
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pan
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt, preferably Diamond Crystal
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/3 cup sour cream
1 cup whole milk
Powdered sugar, to garnish (optional)

1. Make the crumb topping: Put the butter in a medium skillet and place over medium-high heat. Once the butter melts, continue cooking, whisking occasionally, until the butter foams and then starts to smell nutty, 3 to 5 minutes. As soon as you see light brown flecks on the bottom of the skillet (these are the milk solids caramelizing), remove the pan from the heat and use a heatproof rubber spatula to scrape the butter and all the browned bits on the bottom of the pan into a medium bowl. Whisk in the cinnamon until smooth, then place the bowl in the freezer for 10 minutes, stirring two or three times while it chills, to cool the butter until no longer warm.

2. Remove the butter from the refrigerator and add the flour, followed by both sugars and the salt. Using your hands, mix and knead the mixture until it forms a clumpy dough. Transfer the bowl to the freezer and keep the crumble topping cold while you prep the cake batter.

3. Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 9-inch round springform pan with some butter and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper. Grease the paper, then coat the inside with flour, tapping out the excess. Place the pan on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.

4. Make the cake batter: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda. In a large bowl, combine the butter, sugar and vanilla and beat with a wooden spoon or a hand mixer until creamy and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add one egg, beat until it absorbs into the batter, then add the second egg and beat until smooth. Beat in the sour cream.

5. Add one-third of the dry ingredients followed by half the milk to the batter, then stir with a whisk until almost combined. Add half the remaining dry ingredients followed by the remaining milk, then stir again until almost combined. Add the remaining dry ingredients, then stir with a rubber spatula until the batter just comes together and there are no patches of flour visible.

6. Scrape the batter into the prepared baking pan and smooth the top. Using your fingers, break up the chilled topping into crumbles—some the size of whole walnuts and some the size of peas—as you sprinkle it evenly over the batter. Try not to pile all the crumbs in the center but evenly cover the surface so the batter doesn’t get squeezed out.

7. Place the pan in the oven and bake until golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 1 hour and 20 to 30 minutes.
Transfer the cake to a wire rack and let cool completely before unmolding. Dust the top with powdered sugar, if you like, and cut into wedges to serve.

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Categories: Real Estate

Tech Startups Reimagine Future Needs for Office Space

NAR Daily News Magazine - November 2, 2020 - 1:00am

Many companies won’t necessarily move to an all-remote workforce, recognizing the benefits of an office for younger employees.

Categories: Real Estate

Disparity in Home Values Grows Between Whites, Minorities

NAR Daily News Magazine - November 2, 2020 - 1:00am

Researchers say that appraisers’ use of the “sales comparison approach” may be contributing to the widening of the gap.

Categories: Real Estate

Survey: Gen Z Expects Homes to Have Tech

NAR Daily News Magazine - November 2, 2020 - 1:00am

The youngest generation ranks features like smart locks and thermostats higher in importance than square footage.

Categories: Real Estate

Metros Where Homeownership Wealth Gains Are Highest

NAR Daily News Magazine - November 2, 2020 - 1:00am

A person who purchased a home 30 years ago would likely have gained an average $283,000 as of the second quarter of 2020, according to NAR.

Categories: Real Estate

Is ‘Starter Home’ an Outdated Term?

NAR Daily News Magazine - November 2, 2020 - 1:00am

Some say the phrase assumes buyers can’t find their dream home on their first purchase.

Categories: Real Estate

Tips on How to Wear and Care for Your Cloth Mask

Daily Real Estate News - November 1, 2020 - 1:05pm

(TNS)—Wearing a cloth mask in public to help slow the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 is recommend by the Centers for the Disease Control and Prevention and required by many business establishments.

These tips are adapted from the CDC guidance on how to wear and care for a cloth mask:

How to wear cloth face coverings?

Cloth face coverings should:

– Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face.
– Be secured with ties or ear loops.
– Include multiple layers of fabric.
– Allow for breathing without restriction.
– Be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape.

How often should cloth face coverings be washed or otherwise cleaned?

Cloth face coverings should be routinely washed depending on the frequency of use.
Mayo Clinic recommends that cloth face coverings be washed after every day of use.

How do I store my cloth mask?
Masks should not be placed in pockets for later use. To store or transport, carefully fold the mask so the contaminated outside is folded inward and against itself. Place in clean or new paper bag and perform hand hygiene.

How can I safely clean a cloth face covering?
Machine washing or hand washing should suffice to properly wash a cloth face covering with regular laundry detergent. Mayo Clinic recommends a ‘hot’ water temperature for washing face coverings.

How do I safely remove a used cloth face covering?
When removing a cloth face covering, be careful not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth, and perform hand hygiene immediately after removing.

Information in this post was accurate at the time of its posting. Due to the fluid nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, scientific understanding along with guidelines and recommendations may have changed since the original publication date.

2020© Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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Categories: Real Estate

How an L.A. Agent Sold a ‘Haunted’ House

NAR Daily News Magazine - October 30, 2020 - 12:00am

The house may have been the scene of a gruesome murder decades ago, but real estate pro Nancy Sanborn wasn't going to let the stigma spook buyers.

Categories: Real Estate

5 Clever Ways Halloween Is Going Contactless

NAR Daily News Magazine - October 30, 2020 - 12:00am

Share these "tricks" with clients that show creative ways to hand out treats from a distance while keeping everyone safe this year.

Categories: Real Estate

Zombies Lurk in Real Estate, Even With Safety Nets in Place

NAR Daily News Magazine - October 30, 2020 - 12:00am

Despite pandemic-induced moratoriums, abandoned foreclosures still haunt many housing markets.

Categories: Real Estate

Sweet Treat for Buyers: Super Low Mortgage Rates Sticking Around

NAR Daily News Magazine - October 30, 2020 - 12:00am

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage continues to hover near its all-time low, as economists predict historically low rates into 2021 too.

Categories: Real Estate

3 Last-Minute Marketing Ideas for Halloween

NAR Daily News Magazine - October 30, 2020 - 12:00am

You still have time to use the day to connect with prospects while practicing social distancing.

Categories: Real Estate

Buying Your First House: Tips For Buyers

Daily Real Estate News - October 29, 2020 - 3:23pm

When taking on any new project, the more you know and understand, the better things are likely to go. The same is true when buying a home for the first time. With our first-time buyer tips, you should be able to avoid many of the problems that can prevent your purchase from going well.

Let’s take a look at some of the key things to consider before you jump into the real estate market and buy your first house.

Getting Prepared
One of the most important tips for first-time homebuyers is to make sure you can afford to buy. Renting an apartment is a lot different than owning a home. With homeownership comes another level of financial responsibility. The need to have your financial house in order well in advance of putting up the deposit for your house is essential.

Down Payment
You need to have money saved for your down payment. The amount you need will depend on the lender and the type of loan you choose. Lenders prefer you to have a down payment of 20 percent, but you can get away with just 3 percent of the purchase price if you have good credit. However, even 3 percent is going to be thousands of dollars for an average priced home.

Closing Costs
There are many fees to pay when buying a home. Many of these will need to be paid at closing. You should budget for somewhere between 2 percent and 5 percent of the mortgage amount. Sometimes sellers are willing to help with closing costs to make things easier for the buyer.

Moving In
The costs don’t end once you’ve bought the home; you still need to pay to move in. This will entail hiring a moving company or, if you are so inclined, you can do the move yourself. There could also be other costs like repairs soon after you’ve moved in.

Improving Your Credit
A lot hinges on your credit score as it determines the mortgage you will be offered and the interest rate you will have to pay for the loan. There are a few things you should do before applying for a mortgage to help.

Check your credit reports and fix any mistakes. Errors could be adversely affecting your score, contact the appropriate bureau to remove the problem. Make sure to pay bills on time, and don’t close any accounts or apply for new ones before closing on your home.

Choosing a Mortgage
There are a few different types of mortgages to choose from. They offer a variety of advantages for first-time buyers, from lower down payments to no down payments at all.

Conventional Loans
Government programs don’t back conventional mortgages, but there can still be good offers for first-time purchasers. You should be able to find mortgages with down payment requirements as low as 3 percent.

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) backs the FHA loans program. Their best down payment offer requires 3.5 percent of the purchase price to be provided by buyers. FHA mortgage programs are one of the most popular among first-time homebuyers. There are numerous benefits to FHA loans.

If you are a veteran or currently serving, the VA loans program offers great terms. They allow you to buy without any money down and have lower fees as well. When you have served your country, the VA mortgage program is one of the best for first-time homebuyers.

The Department of Agriculture offers rural homebuyers the chance of buying without a down payment as well. If you live in an area where the population is under 30K people, you might want to explore a USDA loan.

First-Time Buyer Assistance
There might be more help from your state or local government if you are a first-time buyer. There could be low-interest mortgages, as well as help with down payments and closing costs. Check on your city and county government websites to see what is available.

Comparing Loans
To make sure you get the best mortgage for you, compare mortgages from different lenders. They will have different fees and interest rates that could make a considerable difference to the amount you have to pay over the course of the loan. Some lenders might offer the chance to reduce your interest through buying discount points, and all of this needs to be compared.

When you are happy with what a lender is offering, you need to get pre-approval. A pre-approval letter will show real estate agents that you are a serious buyer who can get the loan needed, which could give you an advantage over other buyers.

When you get pre-approved, you’ll really find out how much you can afford to spend on a home. They will look at your income and expenses to discover the maximum they’re willing to loan to you.

Finding Your New Home
The first step when starting your search is to choose your real estate agent. They will be working on your side through all stages of the home-buying process, so you need to have trust in them. It would be best if you tried to get referrals from people you know, and then contact the agents to see how they can help you as a first-time buyer.

Choosing Your Neighbors
Deciding which neighborhood to live in will make a lot of difference to your experience of living in your new home. Check out the area you want to move to so that you know it is the sort of place you’ll be happy in. Visit at different times of the day to make sure and check the available amenities in the area.

When you know the area you want to move to, your real estate agent can help you find the home you want. Choose a type of home that meets your lifestyle needs as well as your budget. A home in need of renovation will be cheaper, but you will need the budget to make the necessary improvements. Lots of first-time buyers underestimate the costs associated with fixer-upper homes.

Buying Your First Home Tips
Once you have found the right home for you and had an offer accepted by the seller, you need to do a few more things before the property is yours.

Home Inspections
A home inspection is advisable to make sure there aren’t problems that could make you regret your decision. The inspector will thoroughly check the main elements of the home to assess the condition. This will give you a better understanding of what you are hoping to buy and alert you to any problems with it. Understanding how a home inspection works is crucial for a first-time homebuyer.

You can attend the inspection if you want. This allows you to ask questions to learn about the home’s issues and how serious they are.

If the home inspection uncovers any required repairs, you can negotiate with the seller to have them fixed. If they don’t want to do that, you can ask to reduce the home price to cover your future repair needs.

If you are struggling to save enough money to pay for both the down payment and the closing costs, you can ask the seller to contribute to your closing expenses. If they do help you, so that you can continue with the purchase, you need to be aware of any rules your lender may have about the amount they can contribute.

In any negotiations you have with the seller, you will be in a stronger position if there are fewer buyers in the local market. When there is a lot of competition for homes, with multiple buyers vying for each house, you will have a difficult time getting concessions from the seller.

When the market is hot, you may find the seller won’t negotiate at all. You’ll end up having to decide if you really want the house or not. In some instances, when there are significant problems, it may be better just to walk away and get your earnest money back.

Home Insurance
Another thing you will need to pay for is home insurance. This will be required by the lender to make sure the costs of rebuilding the home are covered should the worst happen. First-time homebuyers should have a firm understanding of the basics of home insurance.

Final Thoughts on Buying Your First House
Buying a home for the first time is an awesome feeling. You have entered the next stage of your life with a lot more responsibility. Nobody ever said homeownership was easy. It will be up to you to make the most of it.

Hopefully, you have found these first-time homebuyer tips to be useful. Best of luck with your purchase!

Bill Gassett is a nationally recognized real estate leader who has been helping people buy and sell MetroWest Massachusetts real estate for the past 33 years. He has been one of the top RE/MAX REALTORS® in New England for the past decade. In 2018, he was the No. 1 RE/MAX real estate agent in Massachusetts.

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Categories: Real Estate

7 Steps to Prepare Your Home for Winter

Daily Real Estate News - October 29, 2020 - 3:19pm

(TNS)—All seasons affect your home, but perhaps no other season impacts it more than winter. The cold temperatures, wind, snow and freezing rain combine to make it a season not to be ignored.

To ensure you do not have any unnecessary repair costs this winter, follow these seven simple steps while preparing for winter. They are short and sweet—and can save you money in the long run.

How to Prepare Your Home for Winter Weather

Preparing a home for the winter can sound overwhelming, but these tips can usually be done within a weekend, and you will be better prepared for whatever weather comes your way.

1. Clean Your Gutters
You should do this every season, but right before winter might be the most critical time. If your area gets a lot of snow, your home will have to bear that additional weight. If your gutters get too much weight on them, they could be pulled from your home.

But perhaps the most important reason is that if you don’t clean your gutters, your home could get water damage. As snow and ice melts and refreezes overnight, the devastation inflicted on your home could cost thousands of dollars. Make sure the water has somewhere to go when it melts so it is kept well away from your house.

2. Recaulk Your Windows and Doors
Recaulk your windows and doors each year to prevent water damage and heat loss. A caulk gun and tube exterior caulk will cost you around $20, and you can easily do it in an afternoon.

To be clear, you should only caulk the outside perimeter of your windows and doors’ molding. Use exterior silicone caulk because it is less affected by extreme temperatures—meaning it won’t shrink and expand as the seasons change.

To caulk your windows and doors, cut the exterior caulking tube at a small angle using your caulk gun (most caulking guns have an internal blade for this). Insert the tube into the gun and crank the handle until the circular pad is pressed tightly to the tube. Caulking should start to come out of the hole you cut once enough force is applied.

Next, apply a thin line of caulk across the window or door molding to your house. Using a latex-gloved finger, lightly press down on the caulk to spread it out so it fills all of the tiny cracks and crevices until it is smooth.

3. Get Your Roof Inspected
This step is probably the most ignored yet most important step when preparing a house for winter. If you are unable to access your home’s roof, you can get it inspected by a contractor to look for loose or broken shingles.

Any contractor you hire to do an inspection should also be able to do any minor repairs in an afternoon (replacing shingles is usually a quick process). It might cost you more than you would like to spend, but neglecting it for an entire winter could easily lead to even more repair bills down the road.

Summer rainstorms are notorious for wreaking havoc on a roof, so it’s important you repair any damage before your roof gets its toughest test: packed snow.

4. Reverse Your Ceiling Fans
As you learned in high school, warm air rises. Reversing the direction of each of your fans will create an updraft, which in turn will push down any heated air pressed against your room’s ceiling. By keeping warm air circulating, you’ll use heat more efficiently, which should cut down on energy costs. Even if you don’t have any rooms with high ceilings, do this one as soon as the weather turns.

To reverse your fan’s direction, make sure the fan is off, then click the switch above the blades. If you have a remote-controlled fan, you should see an option for reversing the fan’s direction on the remote.

5. Get Your Chimney Inspected
To keep your family and home safe, get your chimney inspected and cleaned before each burning season—even if wood is not your primary source of heat, and you only use your fireplace for aesthetic reasons.

When you burn wood, deposits of creosote build up on the inside of your chimney. Creosote is cancerous and highly flammable. When enough of it builds up in your chimney, the smoke from a fire can cause it to ignite, which in turn can cause a chimney fire. Many home fires are caused by chimneys.

If you want to go the extra mile, consider installing a steel liner, which will help protect your home in the event of a chimney fire.

6. Drain the Fuel From Your Small Gas-Powered Engines
Gasoline doesn’t last forever; in fact, it decomposes quickly. When this happens in a small engine (such as a lawn mower or weed eater), it can cause the engine’s carburetor to gunk up, which means you may not be able to get it started again when winter is over.

To prevent this, you can either add a fuel stabilizer or let the machine burn through all of the gas by using it one last time in late summer/early fall and letting it run until it turns off. If you do this, your machines will last longer and start much more easily in the spring.

7. Check Your Insurance Coverage
Right before winter is a good time to check your insurance coverage. If you have done any renovations over the summer that could add value to your home, make sure the added value is covered by your policy in case anything happens in the winter. You should also check what your provider offers for things like roof and ice damage to see if you may want to add additional coverage.

The Bottom Line
Preparing a home for winter isn’t a marathon, but it does take a little bit of forethought. However, if you take the seven simple steps above, you will likely spend far less on maintenance than you used to.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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Categories: Real Estate

What to Stream: A Guide to the Best Halloween Movies, Depending on the Mood

Daily Real Estate News - October 28, 2020 - 4:12pm

(TNS)—It’s the last week of Spooktober. So if you’d like to squeeze in a few more horror movies to celebrate the upcoming Halloween holiday while staying safe at home, I’ve culled all the best horror movies from the top streaming services to avoid getting lost in the dreaded scroll loop.

Often, the hankering for horror film can be all too specific, so check out the choices below in each category depending on what you’re in the mood for. Happy watching!

Best Monster Movie/Creature Feature

Bong Joon-ho’s 2006 sea creature flick “The Host,” on Hulu and Kanopy, or French horror auteur Alexandre Aja’s crazy 2019 croc movie “Crawl,” on Hulu and Amazon Prime.

Best Oscar-Winning Horror Movie

Jonathan Demme’s 1991 masterpiece “The Silence of the Lambs,” on Netflix.

Best Sci-Fi Horror

Ridley Scott’s perfect 1979 film “Alien,” starring Sigourney Weaver, or John Carpenter’s 1982 movie “The Thing,” starring Kurt Russell, both on HBO Max.

Best Classic Horror

Peacock has a wealth of Universal monster movies, so check out Bela Lugosi in “Dracula” from 1931, or Elsa Lanchester as the iconic “Bride of Frankenstein” in the 1935 movie.

Best Werewolf Horror

The werewolf genre gets a much-needed twist in the 2000 Canadian film “Ginger Snaps,” on genre-specific streaming site Shudder.

Best Black Horror

Jordan Peele’s Oscar-winning instant classic, “Get Out,” is available for a $3.99 rental on all platforms.

Best Folk Horror

Ari Aster’s 2019 relationship dramedy as Scandinavian death cult thriller “Midsommar,” on Amazon Prime, or, the inspiration, Robin Hardy’s wildly entertaining 1973 film, “The Wicker Man,” starring Christopher Lee, on Criterion Channel.

Best Japanese Horror

If you’ve never seen Takashi Miike’s 1999 movie “Audition,” it’s required viewing for any horror fan. Find it on Shudder and Arrow Video Channel.

Best Vampires

Anything from the legendary British company Hammer Film Productions, which churned out low-budget gothic horror from the 1950s to the 1970s is a hoot and a half, and usually stars Christopher Lee (as Dracula) or Peter Cushing.

Best Prom Horror

Brian De Palma’s 1976 adaptation of the Stephen King novel, “Carrie” on Starz, or, “Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II” on Peacock, a sequel that’s much more entertaining than the original.

Best Class Warfare Horror

The superstitious heirs to the Le Domas gaming fortune are no match for Samara Weaving in 2019’s “Ready or Not,” on HBOMax.

Best Feminist Horror

French director Coralie Fargeat’s 2017 film “Revenge” is an eye-popping twist on the revenge movie, starring Matilda Lutz as an instantly iconic action hero. On Shudder.

Best High-Concept Horror

Before David F. Sandberg helmed “Shazam,” he directed the clever horror flick “Lights Out,” on HBO Max.

Best Forest Horror

You’ll never forget the monsters from David Bruckner’s 2017 movie “The Ritual,” on Netflix.

Best Horror Movie About Horror Movies

It doesn’t get more meta than Drew Goddard’s 2011 meta-horror comedy “Cabin in the Woods,” on Hulu.

Best Scottish Christmas Zombie High School Musical

John McPhail’s utterly winning 2017 film “Anna and the Apocalypse,” on Hulu.

Best Really, Really Scary Horror

Looking for dread, scares, body horror, and disturbing content? Try Tobe Hooper’s 1974 classic “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” on Shudder and Arrow Video Channel, or, newcomer horror auteur Nicolas Pesce’s “The Eyes of My Mother” (2016) on Kanopy, or Ari Aster’s 2018 family trauma/witchcraft movie “Hereditary,” on Amazon Prime and Kanopy, featuring a tour-de-force performance by Toni Collette.

Best Gentle Halloween Theme (Not Scary)

If horror’s not your thing, Adam Sandler’s Salem-set seasonal movie “Hubie Halloween” on Netflix will put you in the fall mood and elicit some laughs too.

Best Horror Atmosphere

Setting the mood? Shudder has a handy “Ghoul Log” feature: three different hourlong videos of a flickering jack-o-lantern to create a spooky vibe at home, complete with evocative setting and sound effects.

2020© Tribune Content Agency, LLC
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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Categories: Real Estate

Do Halloween Masks Protect You From COVID-19?

Daily Real Estate News - October 26, 2020 - 3:57pm

(TNS)—Wearing a costume and mask for Halloween has long been a holiday tradition. But a costume mask is not a substitute for a protective mask. Cloth masks combined with other preventive measures, such as frequent hand-washing and social distancing, slow the spread of COVID-19.

“A mask as part of a costume would not be considered to be protective against transmission of infection,” says Dr. Nipunie Rajapakse, a Mayo Clinic pediatric infectious diseases specialist. “And we would discourage wearing a cloth mask underneath a Halloween face mask because that can impair breathing or make breathing difficult.”

Dr. Rajapakse says consider using a Halloween-themed cloth face mask.

“People should wear a cloth face covering that covers their nose and their mouth,” says Dr. Rajapakse. “There are some nice Halloween prints that they’re making now, but we are discouraging wearing them underneath a costume mask. A costume mask itself does not provide protection against transmission of the virus.”

The primary way that the virus spreads is through respiratory droplets. When a person coughs, sneezes, talks or sings, they can generate droplets that someone else can potentially inhale.

But what about that the screams that a visit to a haunted house can produce?

“We do know that screaming generates respiratory droplets, so keeping more than 6 feet of distance is recommended in those situations,” says Dr. Rajapakse.

Traditional Halloween activities such as trick-or-treating are discouraged this year because of a high risk of infection or exposure to the virus. Outside activities where social distancing can be practiced are lower risk than indoor gatherings or parties. Better low-risk options include virtual events, such as a virtual costume party or activities involving only your household family members.

Dr. Rajapakse says it is important that people adhere to recommended guidelines to reduce the risk of infection.

“If you are sick, or if you’ve been exposed to anyone with COVID-19, we recommend against any activity where you’re coming into contact with other people. If you are going to be in contact with others from outside of your household, wear a cloth face covering, make sure that you wash your hands frequently, for at least 20 seconds, either using soap and water or an alcohol- based hand sanitizer, and try to adhere to that 6 feet of physical distancing. These measures will help keep you and your family as safe as possible.”

Along with wearing a cloth mask with a Halloween costume, holding outdoor activities instead of indoors is another way to reduce the risk of transmission.

Information in this post was accurate at the time of its posting. Due to the fluid nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, scientific understanding along with guidelines and recommendations may have changed since the original publication date.

2020® Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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Categories: Real Estate

3 Tips to Effectively Train for Virtual Races

Daily Real Estate News - October 22, 2020 - 3:46pm

(TNS)—Running is a great cardiovascular activity and one that has definite health advantages. For people who enjoy running, training and completing a marathon or road race brings a great sense of satisfaction. But when COVID-19 struck, many races were canceled to limit crowds. Now, virtual races are becoming a popular alternative.

Allison Gregg, a Mayo Clinic dietitian who is also a runner, says that virtual races are a great way to improve your cardiovascular health and stay motivated with training, but require different planning and preparation, especially regarding nutrition and hydration.

“At physical races, nutrition and hydration aid stations are usually set up at regular intervals around the course. With virtual races, it is now up to you,” says Gregg.
She offers her top three nutrition and hydration tips for an effective virtual race:

Tip 1: Don’t Skip Intra-Race Fueling

“Whether a virtual race or in person, it’s critical not to skip fueling while racing as your body needs energy to keep going,” says Gregg. She says it’s even more important for novice runners, compared to professionals, because novices typically run for a longer time and use more fuel.

Gregg recommends ingesting 30-60 grams of carbohydrates every hour if running for longer than one hour. “You should begin carbohydrate intake shortly after the start of your race and continue to consume at 15- to 20-minute intervals for the remainder of your run,” she says.

Hydration is also an important component. Losing just 2 percent of your body weight through dehydration can severely impair performance and easily add unwanted time to your race. While you may not have been accustomed to bringing drinks with you, your virtual run will require it.

You should plan to consume 1 cup of fluid every 10-20 minutes during your race. If running for longer than one hour, incorporate an electrolyte drink. You can choose which brand and flavor, but you should make a choice that provides a balance of carbohydrates, sodium and potassium to replace losses.

Tip 2: Plan Ahead for Your Race Route

As you go through your training for a virtual race, consider how your route, and your hydration and fuel, factor in. With a virtual race, you will need to carry your own supplies. This can be achieved several ways, including using a running vest or belt to carry drinks and gels. Another popular strategy is to coordinate your race route to pass by your house. “A looped course starting at your house allows for multiple passes for a nutrition and hydration station set up in the driveway or front yard,” says Gregg.

Or, she adds, consider getting friends and family involved. “They could join you on the course in predetermined locations along the route to hand off nutrition and hydration to you.”

Tip 3: Practice Your Race Fueling Plan in Advance

“Race day is not a good day to try new things,” warns Gregg. “Practice your nutrition and hydration plan during training, especially with a run that will be similar to your race intensity effort.”

Experiment during training with different gels, bars and other whole foods, water, sports drinks and electrolyte beverages to see what your body tolerates best. Your body will digest nutrition differently on an easy run versus a harder effort. Simulate your race in terms of exertion and distance as close as possible to leave nothing to chance on race day. Also, practice the simple things, such as opening your gels while running. Or consider ripping your gels or other food items in advance so you can easily open them while running.

“Although COVID-19 has changed the look of running races, you can still aim for your personal best during a virtual event by keeping your body hydrated and ensuring you have enough energy to get to the finish,” says Gregg.

2020© Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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Mayo Clinic Q&A: Children With Animal Allergies Can Live Comfortably With Pets

Daily Real Estate News - October 12, 2020 - 3:33pm

(TNS)—Dear Mayo Clinic: Our young daughter has shown signs that she might be allergic to our dog. We have had our dog for eight years, and the dog seems to be fond of our daughter. Do you have any tips for how we can safely keep our dog without sacrificing our child’s health?

Pets are an important part of many families. In most cases, you should be able to keep your dog while keeping your daughter safe.

Allergies occur when your immune system reacts to a foreign substance. Pet allergies often are triggered by exposure to pet urine or saliva. These allergies also can be triggered by dander, the dead flakes of skin that an animal sheds. Dander is a particular problem because it is small and can remain airborne for long periods of time with even the slightest bit of air circulation. Dander collects easily in upholstered furniture and sticks to clothing.

For people with pet allergies, exposure to these allergens can lead to various symptoms. The most common symptoms include sneezing; runny nose; itchy, red or watery eyes; nasal congestion; and postnasal drip. In a child, you may see frequent rubbing of the nose. For those with a history of asthma, symptoms also may include coughing, wheezing, chest tightness or shortness of breath. In some people, skin symptoms may occur in the form of itchy skin, hives or eczema.

To reduce the effects of a pet allergy, an important first step for your daughter is to encourage handwashing after petting the dog to minimize allergen exposure to the eyes or nose. Another key component is to keep at least one place in your home dander-free. It may be best to keep the dog out of your daughter’s bedroom, since it is likely that she spends at least eight hours of each day there.

In addition to implementing environmental changes, you also can try nonprescription remedies. Several over-the-counter medications, such as antihistamines and nasal corticosteroids, may relieve allergy symptoms. For example, oral antihistamines ease itching, sneezing and runny nose by reducing the production of histamine, the primary mediator in an allergic reaction. Nasal corticosteroid sprays reduce nasal swelling, sneezing and congestion. For more persistent symptoms, prescription medications, such as montelukast, or Singulair, also may help.

I would encourage you to speak to your pediatrician about any specific medications or other efforts that may be valuable, given your personal family situation. If your daughter’s symptoms worsen, you will want to visit with an allergist to discuss whether allergy testing and shots are needed.

Allergy shots are a form of immunotherapy that involves receiving allergens in small incremental doses. Shots are initially given weekly, and the concentration of allergen is gradually increased to a maintenance dose over three to six months. The maintenance shot is then given monthly for three to five years. Allergy shots reduce symptoms by desensitizing the body’s immune system to the allergens to which one is reactive.

A combination of allergy medication and environmental changes often can help control pet allergies, making it unnecessary to remove a family pet from the home. In almost all cases, the physical and emotional benefits pets can offer children far outweigh the issues allergies might cause.

— Dr. Arveen Bhasin, Allergy and Immunology, Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Florida

2020® Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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Categories: Real Estate

9 Spooky New Shows to Watch This Fall

Daily Real Estate News - October 11, 2020 - 12:03pm

(TNS)—Spooky season is heading into full swing. Now’s a good time to get in the spirit. To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of shows guaranteed to unnerve you—in the best kind of way. From fully watchable series to those with new episodes on the way, these are our top picks.

Brand-New Shows

‘The Haunting of Bly Manor’
From the creators of “The Haunting of Hill House” comes the next installment of the “Haunting” anthology series. Some of the actors from Hill House, including Victoria Pedretti (of “You” Season 2 fame), return as characters in a new ghost story set in 1980s England. Pedretti plays Dani Clayton, who is hired to take care of two children at the Bly estate after their former au pair dies under mysterious circumstances.

The show’s nine episodes hit Netflix on Oct. 9.

‘Lovecraft Country’
Everyone’s talking about the new HBO series, produced by Jordan Peele and Misha Green and based on a 2016 horror novel by Matt Ruff. The show is set in the 1950s, and the first episode follows Korean War vet Atticus Freeman (Jonathan Majors), his friend Leti (Jurnee Smollett) and his uncle George (Courtney B. Vance) as they drive from Chicago through Jim Crow-era America in search of Atticus’ father. The show combines supernatural terrors inspired by the horror fiction of H.P. Lovecraft with the real-life terrors of racism in America.

New episodes of the 10-episode show premiere on HBO and HBO Max on Sundays at 9 p.m. Eastern. Seven episodes are available now.

‘The Third Day’
Jude Law and Naomie Harris star in this “Resident Evil”-type survivor-horror limited series told in two parts, “Summer” and “Winter.” The show, which has been compared to “The Wicker Man” and “Midsommar,” follows a man named Sam in “Summer” as he rescues a girl and takes her to a secluded island where locals are preparing for a creepy festival. In “Winter,” struggling single mother Helen goes to the same island with her two daughters, seeking answers.

New episodes of the six-episode show debut on HBO and HBO Max on Mondays at 9 p.m. Three episodes are available now.

‘The Walking Dead: World Beyond’
The show is a new spinoff series of everyone’s favorite zombie series, “The Walking Dead.” Featuring new faces, it picks up 10 years after the apocalypse with the first generation to come of age in a new world. Two seasons of 10 episodes each are planned.

The first 10-episode season premiered Oct. 4 at 10 p.m. on AMC. The 10th season of the original show, “The Walking Dead,” resumed Sunday on AMC; the first nine seasons of “The Walking Dead” are available on Netflix. Season 6 of a different spinoff, “Fear the Walking Dead,” debuted Oct. 11 at 9 p.m. on AMC.

2020 Shows, Fully Watchable Now

’50 States of Fright’
Want a jump scare but don’t have the time to invest in a 10-hour series? Sam Raimi is the executive producer of this Quibi short horror anthology series, which explores scary stories and urban legends from areas around the United States. Starring Rachel Brosnahan (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”), Asa Butterfield (Netflix’s “Sex Education,” “Ender’s Game”), and many more, the show’s short episodes feature tales from Michigan, Kansas, Oregon, Minnesota, Florida, Iowa, Washington and Colorado.

Watch the show’s two seasons (20 episodes) on the Quibi app, which features short-form programs designed to be viewed on your phone.

‘Locke & Key’
This mind-bending fantasy series is based on the horror comic of the same name. Filled with demons, magic and secrets, the show centers on the three Locke siblings (Connor Jessup, Emilia Jones and Jackson Robert Scott) after they move with their mother (Darby Stanchfield) to their dead father’s estate, Keyhouse.

Watch the show’s 10 episodes on Netflix. A second season is coming, but no date has been announced.

‘The Outsider’
Adapted from Stephen King’s bestselling novel by writer and producer Richard Price (“The Wire,” “The Deuce”), the Emmy-nominated miniseries opens with an investigation into the grisly killing of a young boy led by experienced cop Ralph Anderson (Ben Mendelsohn). As conflicting evidence piles up, it’s obvious the case isn’t as simple as it seems.

The show’s 10 episodes are available to watch on HBO and HBO Max.

‘Penny Dreadful: City of Angels’
Showtime’s dark fantasy spinoff of the “Penny Dreadful” series (2014-16) stars Natalie Dormer (“Game of Thrones”) in four roles. Set in 1938 Los Angeles, the show follows detective Tiago Vega (Daniel Zovatto) and his partner (Nathan Lane) as they look into a gruesome murder.

Watch all 10 episodes on Showtime. Catch up on the original “Penny Dreadful’s” three seasons on Showtime or Netflix.

The ominous psychological thriller tells the origin story of Nurse Ratched (Sarah Paulson), the iconic villain of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” Set in 1947 California at a psychiatric institution, it follows Mildred Ratched, who uses her charm to con her way into the good graces of Dr. Hanover (Jon Jon Briones). Soon we’re left to wonder about her motives and whether they have anything to do with one of the hospital’s high-profile patients, convicted mass murderer Edmund Tolleson.

All eight episodes of the show are available to stream on Netflix.

2020© The Dallas Morning News
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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Categories: Real Estate

Mayo Clinic Q&A: Integrating Work at Home

Daily Real Estate News - October 8, 2020 - 3:18pm

(TNS)—Dear Mayo Clinic: I have been working from home since the COVID-19 pandemic began, and my company recently shared that we would be continuing to do so. In the beginning, it was difficult for me to juggle working remotely with my children’s online schooling and finding time for myself. Do you have any suggestions for finding a better work-life balance?

Although many people worked remotely before COVID-19, the ongoing pandemic has resulted in more people working from home than ever before. As physical boundaries between work and personal life blur, it can become difficult to manage the two worlds, especially when you have children.

Instead of trying to separate your professional and personal lives, focus on ways to effectively integrate them. The concept of work-life balance is not necessarily the focus since that implies a 50-50 split. In reality, prior to COVID-19, most people probably weren’t typically working 50 percent of the time away from their family and then spending the other 50 percent focused on their home lives.

Since each family and each person is different, finding the right mix to effectively integrate or blend work and personal life is a personal one.

That said, it is also important to recognize that what works for you may not be exactly what works for your spouse or children. Have an honest conversation as a family to identify areas that are valuable to each of you. With the whole family taking part, you’re more apt to achieve your goals for navigating remote work, schooling and other priorities.

A crucial step in achieving good work-life integration is to create and maintain a routine. Make a list of the things each day that you need to do or want to do. Build a schedule around those items.

For instance, before COVID-19, you may have gotten up in the morning, gone to the gym first thing, come home, showered and then went to work. I suspect that, for many people, their routine changed due to that the fact that gyms were closed in many areas because of COVID-19. If you were working at home, as well, it became easy to just get up, maybe skip the shower and start working. Now is the time to reset your routine. Put it on your calendar that at 7 a.m. you will go outside for a walk or a run. Or if your local gym is open, put it on your schedule to go for your workout. Then come home, shower and go to work.

Creating a routine helps by allowing you to know when work begins and ends, and when you can integrate activities that are important.

Many patients talk about missing meals because, despite working from home, they are tied to phone calls and video chats, and forget to take a break. Schedule time to get up, stretch and get a drink or snack. Your mind will be rejuvenated.

Another strategy that can help you better achieve good work-life integration is to adopt a concept called “delegate, delete and do.”

People often begin to feel anxious or overwhelmed when they are juggling too much. I recommend pausing and taking inventory of all the things on your plate, whether it’s work-related or not. Write it down on a list. Look at each item on the list and honestly ask yourself if this is something that is important, something you need to do or something that can wait. Often people find there are things that could be delegated. Other things can simply be deleted or taken off of the priority list.

Sometimes when we look at that list, simply keeping things on the list can build anxiety for us. But if we can say, “Let’s just take this off the list for now,” it can make a huge difference. Worst case, you can always add it back to the list later.

Finally, there’s “do,” which is really about understanding priorities. That is, it’s what has to get done and when.

There are certainly distractions when you are working from home versus a traditional office. Whether it’s a child asking for help or a pile of laundry, it can be challenging to remain focused. This is where your routine and reviewing that list of to-do items is helpful.

Creating a strategy where, no matter what else is happening, you know that you have two or three things on your list that must get done today—and then doing them first if possible—can help you manage feelings of being overwhelmed. To allow for better integration of your work and personal life, remember to include tasks or priorities from your personal life, as well. It may take practice, but it is important to schedule time for the seemingly small things, whether it is making a grooming appointment for your pet or a reservation for a family dinner.

Consider a few other tips that can help you feel more organized and in control while working at home:

Create a space to work that is free from distractions. Clutter and noise can make it difficult to concentrate, potentially affecting your productivity.

Schedule in breaks. Although you might not schedule your bathroom breaks while at the office, get into the habit of taking breaks to stand up and stretch, grab a coffee, or go for a walk.

Close the door. If you have a space where you can physically do so, at the end of your work time, close the door. This can help signify that it is now personal time.

Avoid working when it’s family time. Resist checking email at the dinner table or when you’re watching a movie with the kids. And while the worry and changes brought by COVID-19 have many people reporting fretful sleep or insomnia, refrain from logging in and doing work when you can’t sleep. Instead, read a book or take a brief walk.

If you continue to struggle with managing work and home life, reach out to your primary health care provider or a trusted community source for additional resources.

— Dr. Adam Perlman, General Internal Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Fla.

Information in this post was accurate at the time of its posting. Due to the fluid nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, scientific understanding along with guidelines and recommendations may have changed since the original publication date.

2020® Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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