How To Help Teen Drivers

Learning to drive can be stressful and scary — for new teen drivers and the people teaching them to drive. Improve the process by following this five-step method when you practice together, and ease both your fears.

  1. Make a plan for driving lessons. Decide where your teen will be driving, how he/she’ll get there, and what skills you’ll be practicing. The best way to become a better driver is to drive, so give your teen lots of time behind the wheel in lots of scenarios, including “scary” conditions like driving at night, in heavy traffic, and in bad weather.
  2. Provide clear instructions. Avoid yelling or panicking. Instead, use a calm, even tone to instruct your teen on what to do. Don’t distract with superfluous conversation, especially with a brand-new driver.
  3. Avoid distractions. Model the behavior you want your teen to have, both while teaching him/her to drive, and when you’re behind the wheel and your teen is in the passenger seat. Don’t text or fiddle with tech when driving. Don’t eat or drink. Keep music to a minimal volume.
  4. Evaluate the experience together, especially if it was tricky. When your teen has reached the planned destination, talk about the drive. What went well? What went wrong? How could the situation be handled better next time? Offer praise where appropriate and point out opportunities for improvement.
  5. Maintain a progress log together. After each drive, note where and how long your teen drove, what the conditions were, and the skills practiced. This is a great place to make notes from your joint evaluation so you can remember to revisit skills that need a bit more practice.

Early Symptoms Of Gum Disease

Taking care of your oral health for its own sake is great, but did you know that many major diseases can be linked to poor oral health?

It can put you at greater risk for heart disease and Alzheimer’s, and illnesses like diabetes and cancer have oral symptoms—meaning your dentist could identify a more serious illness at an early stage. While much of our attention to oral health focuses on our teeth, it’s actually bacteria build-up along the gums that often cause the biggest medical issues. Here are some gum disease symptoms to watch for and tell your dentist about:

  • Inflamed, sore, or bleeding gums: One of the first symptoms of poor gum health is, thankfully, easy to spot. Gums should not be swollen, feel sore, and bleed when you brush. If you experience any of these symptoms, talk to your dentist.
  • Chronic bad breath: The bacteria in your mouth give off toxins as they feast on the plaque build-up, and those toxins don’t smell good. If your breath remains bad even after you’ve brushed, it could be a sign of more serious gum disease.
  • Longer-looking teeth: If you notice that your teeth appear “longer,” it’s not that they’ve grown—it’s that your gums have receded.
  • Sensitive teeth: Another sign of receding gums is that your teeth might suddenly be more sensitive to things like cold beverages or sweets.

Dealing With Selfish People

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay 

Many relationships — whether friendships or romantic ones — deal with ups and downs, but sometimes you may encounter one of your relationships being a little too one-sided. Is your friend or partner self-absorbed? Do they consider your needs and interests before their own? In a society where we are generally encouraged to think of ourselves first, it can be hard to have healthy relationships that nurture and care for each other. 

Here are some ways to regain a bit of balance in the relationship:

  1. Try to put yourself in their shoes. Having a better understanding of where they are coming from might help you see things from their perspective or reveal something you’re unaware of, like them dealing with a sick relative or family member. That could explain why they’re less responsive to communication or seem distant.
  2. Know your own responsibilities. A great way to manage relationships is with healthy boundaries. Set out what you are and are not responsible for. For example, we can’t make anyone feel anything, just like we can’t take responsibility for another person’s behavior, actions, or their responsibilities. We can, however, think of the other person, try to treat them kindly, and make ourselves available for them.
  3. Speak up but try not to be confrontational. If you feel that you need to address selfishness in the relationship use “I” statements instead of being accusatory. For example: “When you do X, I feel Y. I’d prefer if you could consider Z next time.”
  4. Share taking the lead. Consider ways you could take turns in your relationship, such as picking a place for lunch and making a reservation. You could alternate each week. The same with a regular catch up — take it in turns to make the call/arrange a date.

Four Expert Views on the 2021 Housing Market

Four Expert Views on the 2021 Housing Market | Keeping Current Matters

The housing market was a shining star in 2020, fueling the economic turnaround throughout the country. As we look forward to 2021, can we expect real estate to continue showing such promise? Here’s what four experts have to say about the year ahead.

Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist, National Association of Realtors (NAR)

“In 2021, I think rates will be similar or modestly higher, maybe 3%…So, mortgage rates will continue to be historically favorable.”

Danielle Hale, Chief Economist,

“We expect sales to grow 7 percent and prices to rise another 5.7 percent on top of 2020’s already high levels.”

Robert Dietz, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist, National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)

“With home builder confidence near record highs, we expect continued gains for single-family construction, albeit at a lower growth rate than in 2019. Some slowing of new home sales growth will occur due to the fact that a growing share of sales has come from homes that have not started construction. Nonetheless, buyer traffic will remain strong given favorable demographics, a shifting geography of housing demand to lower-density markets and historically low interest rates.”

Mark Fleming, Chief Economist, First American

“Mortgage rates are expected to remain low for the foreseeable future and millennials will continue forming households, keeping demand robust, even if income growth moderates. Despite the best intentions of home builders to provide more housing supply, the big short in housing supply will continue into 2021 and likely keep house price appreciation flying high.”


Bottom Line

Whether you’re ready to buy or sell a home in 2021, if you’re planning to take advantage of the market this winter, contact a trusted real estate professional to learn about the opportunities available in your local market.

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Unexpected Uses for Shaving Cream

Besides making shaving easier, shaving cream has several cleaning applications around the home.

  • Makeup Stain Remover: Shaving cream helps cut through oil. Put shaving cream on fabric stained with makeup, leave for about 10 minutes, rinse with cold water, then wash garment in the machine.
  • Mirror De-Fogger: A light coating of shaving cream rubbed onto your bathroom mirror, or glass shower door helps keep surfaces from fogging up after you shower.
  • Stainless Steel and Jewelry Cleaner: Cut through the oil build-up on stainless steel kitchen appliances, water stains on chrome bathroom fixtures, and grime on jewelry by polishing them with shaving cream and a clean rag.

Why Selling Your House on Your Own in 2021 Is a Mistake

Why Selling Your House on Your Own in 2021 Is a Mistake | Keeping Current Matters

There are many benefits to working with a real estate professional when selling your house. During challenging times, like what we face today, it becomes even more important to have an expert you trust to help guide you through the process. If you’re considering selling on your own, known in the industry as a For Sale By Owner (FSBO), it’s critical to consider the following items.

1. Your Safety Is a Priority

Your safety should always come first, and that’s more crucial than ever given the current health situation in our country. When you FSBO, it is incredibly difficult to control entry into your home. A real estate professional will have the proper protocols in place to protect not only your belongings but your health and well-being too. From regulating the number of people in your home at one time to ensuring proper sanitization during and after a showing, and even facilitating virtual tours, real estate professionals are equipped to follow the latest industry standards recommended by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) to help protect you and your potential buyers.

2. A Powerful Online Strategy Is a Must to Attract a Buyer

Recent studies from NAR have shown that, even before COVID-19, the first step 43% of all buyers took when looking for a home was to search online. Throughout the process, that number jumps to 97%. Today, those numbers have grown exponentially. Most real estate agents have developed a strong Internet and social media strategy to promote the sale of your house.

3. There Are Too Many Negotiations

Here are just a few of the people you’ll need to negotiate with if you decide to FSBO:

  • The buyer, who wants the best deal possible
  • The buyer’s agent, who solely represents the best interest of the buyer
  • The inspection company, which works for the buyer and will almost always find challenges with the house
  • The appraiser, if there is a question of value

As part of their training, agents are taught how to negotiate every aspect of the real estate transaction and how to mediate the emotions felt by buyers looking to make what is probably the largest purchase of their lives.

4. You Won’t Know if Your Purchaser Is Qualified for a Mortgage

Having a buyer who wants to purchase your house is the first step. Making sure they can afford to buy it is just as important. As a FSBO, it’s almost impossible to be involved in the mortgage process of your buyer. A real estate professional is trained to ask the appropriate questions and, in most cases, will be intimately aware of the progress being made toward a purchaser’s mortgage commitment. You need someone who’s working with lenders every day to guarantee your buyer makes it to the closing table.

5. FSBOing Is Becoming More Difficult from a Legal Standpoint

The documentation involved in the selling process is growing dramatically as more and more disclosures and regulations become mandatory. In an increasingly litigious society, the agent acts as a third-party to help the seller avoid legal jeopardy. This is one of the major reasons why the percentage of people FSBOing has dropped from 19% to 8% over the last 20+ years.

6. You Net More Money When Using an Agent

Many homeowners think they’ll save the real estate commission by selling on their own. Realize that the main reason buyers look at FSBOs is because they also believe they can save the real estate agent’s commission. The seller and buyer can’t both save on the commission.

A study by Collateral Analytics revealed that FSBOs don’t actually save anything by forgoing the help of an agent. In some cases, the seller may even net less money from the sale. The study found the difference in price between a FSBO and an agent-listed home was an average of 6%. One of the main reasons for the price difference is effective exposure:

“Properties listed with a broker that is a member of the local MLS will be listed online with all other participating broker websites, marketing the home to a much larger buyer population. And those MLS properties generally offer compensation to agents who represent buyers, incentivizing them to show and sell the property and again potentially enlarging the buyer pool.”

The more buyers that view a home, the greater the chance a bidding war will take place, potentially driving the price higher, too.

Bottom Line

Listing on your own leaves you to manage the entire transaction by yourself. Why do that when you can hire an agent and still net the same amount of money? Before you decide to take on the challenge of selling your house alone, reach out to a local real estate professional to discuss your options.

The post Why Selling Your House on Your Own in 2021 Is a Mistake appeared first on Keeping Current Matters.

More Generations Are Living under One Roof This Year

More Generations Are Living under One Roof This Year | Keeping Current Matters

This year challenged us to reprioritize everything – from the way we use our time to where we work, how we socialize and gather together, and our needs at home. For many, this also meant making decisions about how to best support and engage with our extended families, near and far.

In some cases, we weren’t able to see our relatives and loved ones who were living in senior facilities. In others, maybe older children moved back home. Jessica Lautz, Vice President of Demographics and Behavioral Insights for the National Association of Realtors (NAR), says:

A lot of families have an aging senior relative who was living independently or in senior care and wanted to move them into their home.

These changes led more homebuyers to invest in multi-generational homes to accommodate more long-term plans. A multi-generational home, according to the 2020 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers from NAR, is a home that has adult siblings, adult children over the age of 18, parents, and/or grandparents in the household.

A recent study from NAR shows that since the health crisis began, there’s been an increase in purchasing trends for homes that cater to this dynamic:

“Buyers who purchased after March were more likely to purchase a multi-generational home at 15% compared to 11% who purchased before April.”

There are many reasons for this uptick in preference toward multi-generational homes. The graph below shows the top two reasons and how they’ve increased this year:More Generations Are Living under One Roof This Year | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

More homeowners are making arrangements to accommodate their loved ones so they can safely take care of them at home. If you’re in a similar situation, contact a local real estate professional so you can learn more about your local options and maybe even have your whole family under one roof by early next year.

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Why It’s Important to Price Your House Right Today

Why It’s Important to Price Your House Right Today | Keeping Current Matters

Even in today’s sellers’ market, setting the right price for your house is one of the most valuable things you can do. According to the U.S. Economic Outlook by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), existing home prices nationwide are forecasted to increase by 4.5% in 2021. This means experts anticipate home values will continue climbing next year. Danielle Hale, Chief Economist for, notes:

“We expect price gains to ease somewhat in 2021 and end 5.7% above 2020 levels, decelerating steadily through the spring and summer, and then gradually reaccelerating toward the end of the year.”

How to Price Your House

When it comes to setting the right price for your house, the goal is to increase visibility and drive more buyers your way. Instead of trying to win the negotiation with one buyer, you should price your house so that demand is maximized and more buyers want to take a look.

As a seller in today’s market, you might be thinking about pricing your house on the high end while so many of today’s buyers are searching harder than ever just to find a home to purchase. But here’s the thing – a high price tag does not mean you’re going to cash in big on the sale. It’s actually more likely to deter buyers.

Right now, even when there are so few houses for sale, your house is more likely to sit on the market longer or require a price drop that can send buyers running if it isn’t priced just right from the very beginning.Why It’s Important to Price Your House Right Today | Keeping Current MattersIt’s important to make sure your house is priced correctly by working with a trusted real estate professional throughout the process. When you price it competitively from the start, you won’t be negotiating with one buyer. Instead, you’ll likely have multiple buyers competing for the house, potentially increasing the final sale price.

The key is to make sure your house is priced to sell immediately. This way, it will be seen by the greatest number of buyers. More than one of them may be interested, and it will be more likely to sell at a competitive price.

Bottom Line

Reach out to a local real estate professional to price your house correctly from the start so you can maximize your exposure and your return.

The post Why It’s Important to Price Your House Right Today appeared first on Keeping Current Matters.

12 Decorating Ideas to Create Your Dream Bedroom

Though we have our eyes closed during much of the time we spend in the bedroom, the right decorations can make the space feel like your own personal retreat whether your eyes are open or closed.

Maybe one or two of these tips will work for your room. And, next time you stay in a relaxing hotel room or a friend’s guest room, make note of how those bedrooms are decorated—you may get even more new ideas to try out at home.

  1. Splash bold wallpaper around the room and you may not need any other decor.
  2. Hanging oversized tapestries adds color as well as texture.
  3. Removable adhesives make adding pictures or quotes easy (check out
  4. Floating shelves are both additional storage and a way to showcase beloved trinkets.
  5. Give a room an antique feel with decorative moldings.
  6. Introduce some greenery with pretty sconce planters for succulents or other small plants.
  7. Feature a modern sculptural work for some dimension.
  8. Make small rooms feel bigger with large mirrors.
  9. Dress your windows with elegant floor-length curtains for drama.
  10. Hang tiles typically meant for ceilings or kitchen backsplashes as an accent wall – mix designs creatively, or make a smaller framed piece for added texture and surprise.
  11. Try a headboard of rustic wood panels or luxurious upholstery fabric (or an entire wall).
  12. Take advantage of lots of wall space to create a museum-style gallery of your favorite art.

4 Keys To Happy Relationships

If you’re currently partnered, think back to when you first met your partner. Chances are you thought about how much you liked them and wanted the feeling to be mutual, but you probably didn’t think about the daily work it would take to make that heady feeling last.

While there’s no magic pill to make a relationship happy and healthy, there are some things most happy couples do that help keep their relationships strong. Your mileage may vary (every relationship is different, after all!), but here are a few tips to try.          

  1. Communicate, communicate, communicate. Good communication is absolutely crucial in any lasting relationship. Remember that none of us is clairvoyant, so we all need to express ourselves in order for our partners to learn what we want and need. It’s important to give your full attention to your partner when they’re speaking (instead of tuning out while you plan your response) and be respectful of their feelings (especially if they’re broaching a challenging topic for them).
  2. Learn how to argue constructively. When you have to communicate about a difficult subject, you’ll need to know how to do that without completely blowing up. Before you’re in the heat of an argument, take time to set ground rules for disagreements—including giving each person a chance to be heard as well as a promise that the other person will truly listen.
  3. Be appreciative. Even though you thanked your partner for cooking all the dinners last week when you were swamped at work, expressing your gratitude again is a good idea. Make an effort to notice the things your partner does without being asked and with no expectation of appreciation—and then let them know you noticed.
  4. Celebrate similarities, celebrate differences. It’s wonderful when you and your partner have shared interests. Take advantage of that by planning fun activities together doing what you both love. On the flip side, couples don’t need to do everything together—and, in fact, relationships often benefit when people have time away from one another. Absence really can make the heart grow fonder. Encourage each other to take that solo time.