5 Great Spatulas for the Kitchen

You can't make this omelette with eggs or a spatula.

You can’t make this omelette with eggs or a spatula. (Pixabay/)

When it comes to preparing the best meals, having the right tools becomes an important part of the process. Spatulas come in a variety of forms, including different materials and sizes, making them better equipped for different types of tasks. If you are in the market for a new spatula, here are our favorite options to complete your kitchen set up and cook the foods you have been dreaming about.

Prepare your favorite dishes easily with this firm and controllable spatula.

Prepare your favorite dishes easily with this firm and controllable spatula. (Chef Craft/)

This versatile spatula also makes it simple to prepare your favorite meals. Equipped with a 13-inch length handle, you will find it easy to turn and flip the foods you cook without getting your hand too close to the flame. When it comes to moving items on the pan, the spatula itself has been designed with a thin edge at a slight angle that quickly slides under the food to scoop it up and direct it where you need it to go. The welded, stainless steel design also makes it straightforward to control the utensil throughout the cooking process. You can then clean up following the food preparation by tossing the spatula into the dishwasher.

This heat-resistant spatula makes cooking anything, from eggs to hash browns, easy and enjoyable.

This heat-resistant spatula makes cooking anything, from eggs to hash browns, easy and enjoyable. (Norpro/)

This spatula has been designed to make everyday cooking a breeze. We found that its firm yet gentle design made it safe to use on a variety of coated cookware, including nonstick pans, while also easily transferring anything we wanted to cook. When we finished preparing meals, the soft design even could help to scrape the bottom of the pans without damaging them. The non-slip handle also includes a thumb grip, which makes it even easier to manage and control. The spatula is simple to clean, thanks to being dishwasher safe. Because it is heat resistant up to 410°F/210°C, any cook can feel confident using this utensil in their cooking. 

It has never been easier to lift and flip food for the perfect finish across a variety of types of cookware.

It has never been easier to lift and flip food for the perfect finish across a variety of types of cookware. (Sabatier/)

Whether you are cooking in a cast iron pan, on a grill, or otherwise frying up something delicious, you want a spatula you can count on to help you flip effortlessly and keep delicate foods intact without breaking. This spatula has been designed specifically with these moments in mind. The head is designed to be narrow, enhancing your ability to scoop up food in a variety of sizes. We also appreciated how the handle was designed with durable materials, reinforced with stainless steel, to ensure that it can withstand the weight of anything we wanted to cook. When the time came to clean up after cooking, all we had to do was throw the spatula in the dishwasher.

Prepare flavorful sauces, pasta, and countless other dishes with this wood spatula.

Prepare flavorful sauces, pasta, and countless other dishes with this wood spatula. (Eddington/)

We adore this wooden spatula for its sleek design and the ease with which we can use it to prepare our favorite pasta and sauces. If you select the pierced version of the spatula, the utensil makes it easy to drain and taste dishes as you prepare them, ensuring you hit your recipe perfectly. All of the versions also boast a soft yet strong design that makes them safe to use on a variety of cookware types, even those coated with nonstick materials. To keep this spatula clean and beautiful, the only requirement is to wipe it down by hand after each use and occasionally coat it in olive oil to keep the wood looking its best.

These were designed with the needs of those who like to mix batter, spread icing, and scrape bowls.

These were designed with the needs of those who like to mix batter, spread icing, and scrape bowls. (U-Taste/)

This BPA-free spatula set should be on the wish list of any baker. They also work great in the standard frying pan, with the soft silicone making it easy to stir and scrape ingredients without damaging pots and pans. Because the spatulas can safely withstand heat up to 600°F, they can also be washed in the dishwasher when you are done. We found that the silicone itself was designed to be quite durable for frequent use and the BPA-free element makes it a great choice for those looking to reduce exposure to added chemicals.

These Meal Prep Kits Will Help You Plan Ahead

Plan your meals in advance with a meal prep container.

Plan your meals in advance with a meal prep container. (Unsplash/)

Not eating enough fruits and vegetables? That’s where meal prep container kits can come in handy. Busy schedules require better menu planning. A good meal prep container helps measure out the proper ratios of protein, vegetables, fruits, and starches. Not only can they help you stick to your goals and resist the temptation to eat unhealthy fare, they can also help you save the money you’ll need for celebrating each new milestone along the way. 

Kids will appreciate their snacks packed in these brightly colored and festive holders.

Kids will appreciate their snacks packed in these brightly colored and festive holders. (Rubbermaid/)

Organize and streamline meal planning time for your kids with these fun food storage vessels from Rubbermaid that are perfectly portioned for smaller appetites. They come with blue freezer pack lids that snap onto the containers to keep food cool in their lunch bags until it is time to eat. They are made with non-toxic, BPA-free plastic, so you can feed your kids with confidence.

These translucent vessels make it easy to choose what you’re craving.

These translucent vessels make it easy to choose what you’re craving. (Prep Naturals/)

No worries about plastic or plastic byproducts are necessary with these glass meal organizing containers by Prep Naturals. The divided compartments allow you to practice proper portion control so you can stick to your goals. The borosilicate glass allows you to freeze, refrigerate, and microwave your meals. The lids, however, are not dishwasher, microwave, or oven safe.

With spill-proof engineering, you can carry with confidence.

With spill-proof engineering, you can carry with confidence. (C Crest/)

You can create five lunch portions and five dinner portions with plenty of C Crest containers to go around. These containers are safe to use in the dishwasher (top rack only) and feature locking lids. While the tops are safe for dishwashers, they are not safe for use in ovens or microwaves.

Easy to stack and fit in most lunchboxes.

Easy to stack and fit in most lunchboxes. (Cubeware/)

Keep food safe and fresh and in these airtight storage units by Cubeware. They’re suitable to carry a variety of pre-prepped food to work or school. The size is just right for fitting in most modern lunch boxes and they’ll stack nicely in refrigerators and cabinets. Made of BPA-free plastics, these kits are safe to use in microwaves, dishwashers, and freezers.

Plan weeks in advance with this large set.

Plan weeks in advance with this large set. (Enther/)

Made of strong and durable plastic that is non-toxic and easy to use, these Enther containers allow you to assemble meals well in advance so that you can stay on top of your dietary, time, and money goals. They are built to last several uses in the microwave and dishwasher and stack neatly for storage.

5 Table Cloths For Any Occasion

Ready for a special celebration? Here are the table clothes to pick.

Ready for a special celebration? Here are the table clothes to pick. (Pixabay/)

With a wide range of textures, colors, and sizes, finding the right tablecloth can be a challenging task. It’s important to remember that tablecloths serve a dual purpose, you want to look for the best protection for your dining table while also keeping your personal style in mind. It also helps if it’s easy to clean, so you can skip worrying about special care. Pro tip: it’s a wise move to stock up on a few options that can easily be swapped out for seasonality as well as indoor and outdoor dining experiences. 

These classic patterns add a touch of class to your dining room.

These classic patterns add a touch of class to your dining room. (JUCFHY/)

This tablecloth has been designed from high-quality polyester to ensure that it will last through plenty of epic meals and washings. Festive enough to use for the holidays yet durable enough to stand up to daily dinners. The material has been designed to resist spills and stains, making spot cleaning a breeze. When it’s time to wash the tablecloth, just toss it in your washing machine and tumble dry—no ironing necessary. With a variety of colors and sizes to choose from, you can be sure to find one for any table in your home—kitchen, dining room, or breakfast nook.

We’re loving the original details this organic look offers.

We’re loving the original details this organic look offers. (ColorBird/)

This delightful tablecloth has been designed from heavy cotton linen fabric, which helps to ensure that the material will not fray and will stay looking beautiful for the long haul. It can easily be washed in your washing machine, though to make care even easier, the material is wrinkle-resistant. The stitching and tassels on the tablecloth add a natural flair of style to your space. Available in various sizes, you can also choose between 4 color options to find the one that’s right for you. 

Ideal protection from crowds.

Ideal protection from crowds. (ABC Canopy/)

Perfect for events, parties, or professional catering—these wrinkle-free spandex table cloths boast a tight fit, keeping the material in place to avoid blowing away. The unique fabric blend makes it stretchy and heavy-duty, so they can stand up to the needs of any tugging, spills, or stains. They will offer your tables additional protection and a longer lifespan. Laundering is a cinch and can be washed in a standard washing machine. 

The one minimalists will want.

The one minimalists will want. (Kadut/)

Simple, single-color fabric and quality construction makes this tablecloth extremely versatile. Serving double duty–this piece will fit right in for everyday needs or can be used as a base beneath your finest dinnerware for any type of celebration. You can also count on no-fuss care for this table cloth. It’s machine washable and both wrinkle and stain resistant, which helps keep it looking its best time and time again. Added bonus: the material is designed to resist snags, so you can leave your worries about runs and rips behind. 

Bring cheerful pizazz to your patio.

Bring cheerful pizazz to your patio. (Benson Mills/)

Relax and enjoy a party, picnic, or barbeque with this tablecloth. Perfect for covering up weather-beaten furniture, it comes in a variety of designs and sizes. The iconic buffalo plaid pattern instantly sets a festive tone and is synonymous with sharing a casual meal with friends and family. Made of treated material, the spill-proof covering means that all liquids can be easily wiped up, to help keep the tablecloth looking brand new. It’s also machine washable and designed to last through many uses, cleaning it has never been easier.

Food Scales to Help You Achieve Precision

Are you tracking the weight of your meals? Here are some tools to help.

Are you tracking the weight of your meals? Here are some tools to help. (Pixabay/)

Kitchen scales can be incredibly useful tools when it comes to cooking and particularly baking. There are more than just a few beneficial ways a scale can help you in your kitchen. Let’s start with baking—most bread recipes typically call for measurement of dry ingredients in grams. You definitely don’t want to bungle that buttery brioche you set your heart on baking. The best way to achieve accuracy is with a food scale. 

Another added bonus: with a scale, you’ll reap the benefits of fewer bowls and measuring cups to clean. And of course, if you’re trying to eat healthier, a scale can help you practice better portion control by weighing your food before consuming.

Whether you’re trying to eat healthier, learning to bake like the pros, or just experimenting in the kitchen, these food scales can help.

This budget-friendly model combines accuracy with minimal design.

This budget-friendly model combines accuracy with minimal design. (GreaterGoods /)

Weighing your food shouldn’t require intimidating technology. This scale from GreaterGoods is a winner because it’s easy to read. It has four sensors that can measure within a single gram. It shuts off and automatically calibrates. It has a large enough surface to weigh bigger items. And it can support up to 11 pounds of weight. It’s up to the job.

This small yet mighty scale measures items between 1 gram and 11 pounds for easy use in home kitchens.

This small yet mighty scale measures items between 1 gram and 11 pounds for easy use in home kitchens. (Etekcity/)

This versatile kitchen scale from Etekcity allows you to choose measurement units in ounces, pounds, grams, milliliters and fluid ounces to work with practically any recipe. It also features a tare function that enables you to remove the measurement of cups, plates, etc. from the final weight. 

This model includes a large face with easy-to-read numerals.

This model includes a large face with easy-to-read numerals. (Escali/)

The Escali scale comes in a variety of colors to accommodate most kitchen decor and functions with a simple two-button operation. It offers the tare feature so you can automate subtraction of the weight of cups or plates. It can also measure in grams, pounds:ounces, and ounces. The large face design makes it a breeze to decipher.

With measurements provided in both pounds and kilograms, this scale is helpful for global recipes and instructions.

With measurements provided in both pounds and kilograms, this scale is helpful for global recipes and instructions. (INEVIFIT/)

This kitchen scale features an easy-to-read backlit LCD display that makes it simple to use when cooking, prepping meals, or measuring portions. It offers a tare function, unit conversion, and signals you when the battery is low.

This unit requires two AAA batteries, which ship with the kitchen scale.

This unit requires two AAA batteries, which ship with the kitchen scale. (Zerla/)

Enjoy the crystal clear and straightforward-to-interpret LCD display that uses black backlight, effectively eliminating shadow interference. The ZERLA scale features a tare function, low-power indicator, and it turns itself off when not in use to save your battery. 

Weighing in at 0.83 pounds, this scale features a slim design that makes cleaning and storing a cinch.

Weighing in at 0.83 pounds, this scale features a slim design that makes cleaning and storing a cinch. (Nutri Fit/)

This scale by Nutri Fit comes with its own app to give you instant access to portions and nutritional information when weighing your food. You can even use the app to track your intake history of food for the day, week, month, and even year. The scale features a large LCD display, a tare function, and measures in ounces, grams, pounds, and milliliters.

10 Surprising Facts About Tarek El Moussa’s Fiancée, Heather Rae Young

Heather Rae Young and Tarek El Moussa

heatherraeyoung / Instagram

Heather Rae Young is quickly becoming a household name.

Her rise to fame first began as a star of “Selling Sunset,” the Netflix reality show focusing on elite Los Angeles real estate agents. (It will return for Season 3 in early August.) But interest in her life shot up a year ago, when she began dating “Flip or Flop” star Tarek El Moussa.

Much about this 32-year-old is still a mystery, however. To help shed some light, we dug up some surprising facts about her life, real estate career, and what she loves to do in her downtime with El Moussa. (Hint: It involves more real estate—clearly, these two are a match made in heaven).

1. She was once an actress, model, and Playboy pinup

Young is no stranger to the limelight. Before she began working as a real estate agent for The Oppenheim Group and starring on “Selling Sunset,” Young had a successful modeling and acting career.

She began modeling professionally when she was just 18, and has appeared in a handful of TV shows and movies. She even appeared in Playboy magazine as Miss February 2010.

2. She was a natural at selling homes

“After modeling and appearing in Playboy, real estate felt like a good transition for me, because I’d met so many people, and I’m really good at building relationships and making contacts,” she explained in an interview with the magazine in May 2020.

“A couple of my friends actually suggested it, and originally I said no. But you know what? I did it! I studied my ass off, I passed the [real estate licensing] test.”

Young turned out to be a natural. Within the first three months of working in real estate, she sold a $7.2 million house and a $1.5 million condo. Today, she works primarily with high-profile clients, including musicians, athletes, and celebrities.

3. She met El Moussa on a boat on the Fourth of July

Think Young and El Moussa first met crossing paths via their shared love of real estate? On the contrary, they bumped into each other on boats!

Last Fourth of July, they were both out boating with friends in Newport Beach, CA, and met while their two boats were docked side by side.

El Moussa honked his horn as a greeting. Young reflected on their chance encounter in an Instagram post, writing that she was grateful that El Moussa took the initiative to say hello.

4. Young helped El Moussa sell his bachelor pad

Young and El Moussa moved in together just a week after they started dating. But their quick timeline doesn’t stop there: The fast-moving relationship prompted El Moussa to sell the Costa Mesa, CA, “dadchelor pad” he bought shortly after splitting with his ex-wife, Christina Anstead.

Young actually represented El Moussa in the sale of his house, which sold quickly, after receiving multiple offers. That meant that the couple needed to find a new place to live, and had to move in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic (more on that next).

5. They rent a house rather than own (at least for now)

After the quick sale of El Moussa’s house, the couple initially put in an offer on a home together, but decided to back out of the deal, because of flaws with the house.

Instead, they moved into a beach house rental in Newport Beach, CA, and got to work making it feel like their own.

6. She takes her role as ‘bonus mom’ seriously

Although she hasn’t had her own kids (at least not yet), Young  has embraced her role as “bonus mom,” and her house reflects that.

For one, she was put in charge of redecorating the bedrooms for El Moussa’s kids, Brayden James and Taylor Reese. She’s also designed other areas of their beach house for family-friendly living.

The kitchen, for example, features huge floor-to-ceiling glass doors that the couple likes to open while the kids are swimming in the pool, so everyone can spend time together.

Family photos are on display throughout the home, and coffee tables in the living room can be rolled to the side to make room for El Moussa’s wrestling matches with the kids.

The dining room table is the site of all their family dinners, which regularly feature El Moussa’s father and other family members.

“When I was growing up as a kid, we had dinner together at the table every single night, and it was homemade meals,” El Moussa reported, during a video tour of the home with People magazine.

7. They got engaged just a year after they met

Talk about a whirlwind romance: Just a year after they met, El Moussa got down on one knee and proposed. And while they haven’t set a wedding date quite yet, “We’re expecting it to be less than a year,” El Moussa said in one interview with E! News.

“With the coronavirus going on, it’s really important to us that we have a proper wedding. So whenever we get back to normal, we will be getting married.”

8. She filmed an episode of ‘Flipping 101’ with Tarek, but he can’t appear on her show

View this post on Instagram

You know you are in a relationship when you scroll through photos and find some like this!??? . For the first time ever, @heatherraeyoung and I filmed my new show together! . We were both excited and nervous but we had a blast!! She was so cute on camera I couldn’t stop smiling! . Honestly, you just never know where life is going to take you. I feel like a full life is a life that’s lived with many different lives within it! . Does that make sense? I guess what I’m saying is within our life we live many different lives. . Are you guys ready to see our tv debut this March?? I hope you are excited for flipping 101 and for even more info please follow @homemadebytarek 🙂 .

A post shared by Tarek El Moussa (@therealtarekelmoussa) on

If you’re craving a guest appearance from El Moussa on “Selling Sunset,” we’ve got some bad news for you.

Because of his HGTV contract, El Moussa can’t appear on the show. But that doesn’t mean Young can’t spend a lot of time talking about her burgeoning relationship with El Moussa on camera.

Yet you can catch the real estate-savvy couple together in “Flipping 101 With Tarek.”

El Moussa gushed about filming the episode with Young, writing on Instagram: “She as so cute on camera I couldn’t stop smiling!”

9. She’s a biker!

View this post on Instagram

Last weekend In La Quinta @therealtarekelmoussa took Bray’s training wheels off and taught him how to ride his big boy bike. He rode by himself & he was so happy he kept saying “I want to keep training” Such a proud moment watching Tarek teach Brayden how to ride. – So we decided to get the kiddos these cool little motorized bikes from @ridestacyc First time riding them & they both picked it up so fast and had the biggest smiles on their face!! – Fun fact: Tarek & I are both obsessed with going fast….. we love racing cars, motorcycle racing, & go carts. And I actually have my motorcycle license & used to ride a Harley. – With everything going on in the world it was nice to spend quality time together. Hug your family tighter. Sending so much love to everyone. Spread some love, put a heart in the comments below. ❤️

A post shared by Heather Rae Young (@heatherraeyoung) on Jun 6, 2020 at 3:15pm PDT

Young doesn’t shy away from a challenge. Case in point: She used to ride a Harley Davidson motorcycle, and she still has her motorcycle license.

10. One of their shared hobbies is window-shopping real estate

Since Young and El Moussa are both obsessed with real estate, one of their favorite hobbies is looking at listings of available homes, then driving around to scope out the properties in person.

It’s not clear exactly what the future holds for this power couple, but we already have visions of these two buying, selling, renovating, and flipping homes together.

Hello, new reality show!

The post 10 Surprising Facts About Tarek El Moussa’s Fiancée, Heather Rae Young appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Rid Your Home of Rodents with these Mouse and Rat Traps

It takes more than a hunk of cheese to catch a rat or mouse. You need a good trap.

It takes more than a hunk of cheese to catch a rat or mouse. You need a good trap. (Pixabay/)

Combating pest populations like mice and rats require effective traps that help you eliminate them fast. From snap traps to humane traps to bait traps, you’ll find many options are available. To help you decide, we’ve put together a look at five great mouse traps we like that’ll help you eliminate that mouse or rat problem.

This original, wood-based snap trap from Victor offers a simple, affordable way to deal with rodent control.

This original, wood-based snap trap from Victor offers a simple, affordable way to deal with rodent control. (Victor/)

Known for quality and effectiveness, Victor has long been known for their wooden snap traps, which are easy to use and affordable. The traps work by snapping when a mouse triggers the metal bait pedal. Remove mice from traps and reuse, or simply throw away the entire trap for clean, quick mouse or rat removal.

These non-toxic mouse traps are a safe option for use around pets and children.

These non-toxic mouse traps are a safe option for use around pets and children. (Catchmaster/)

These baited traps work for not only mice, but rats and snakes, too. Because they’re completely non-toxic, it’s a safe choice if you happen to have pets or children in your home. Lay it out flat, or you can fold the trap into tunnel shapes to use them in dusty or tighter areas. The professional-strength adhesive used ensures pests won’t get away. They come ready for you to use, so there’s no additional baiting for you to do.

They’re washable so they’re easy to clean and use again.

They’re washable so they’re easy to clean and use again. (Kat Sense/)

These heavy-duty rat traps feature an integrated bait cup that lets you place your bait on the trap, and all you need to do is set the trap and forget about it. They’re tough enough and provide enough force that they are sure to capture mice and rats so there’s no escape, yet they are fast and painless for a more humane way to eliminate pests. Made from washable material that makes these traps easy to clean, they’re easy to use again and again, and they won’t leave behind bad odors that alert mice to steer clear of the traps. Touch-free release ensures you don’t need to ever touch the rodent.

A choice where snap traps or poisons are prohibited, these pest traps feature heavy-duty glue to catch pests with ease.

A choice where snap traps or poisons are prohibited, these pest traps feature heavy-duty glue to catch pests with ease. (Catchmaster/)

If you don’t want to use snap traps and you’re worried about using poisons around kids or pets, these traps by Catchmaster offer an excellent choice. The catch pests with a heavy-duty glue, which has a peanut butter scent that attracts pests like mice. While they can fold up to fit in tighter locations, you can lay the catch boards flat, too. No matter what way you use them, you can easily monitor traps so you know when you’ve got a catch.

These numbers are cruelty free and safe around pets and kids, too.

These numbers are cruelty free and safe around pets and kids, too. (CaptSure/)

If you’re looking for a humane mouse trap that won’t cause pain or kill mice, this cruelty-free trap is an excellent choice and endorsed by animal rights organizations and humane societies. It’s also a safe choice for your home because there’s no glue, electricity, poison, or chemicals used. (That also makes them safer around pets and kids too.) The design also ensures you’ll never have physical contact with mice, reducing the risk of a bite or contacting diseases carried by rodents. It’s simple to set and easy to use, and you can use it as many times as needed to remove mice.

Our Favorite Fire Pits

Set the mood with a thoughtful fire pit.

Set the mood with a thoughtful fire pit. (Pixabay/)

There’s nothing like gathering around that popping fire, toasting marshmallows and telling stories amidst the glow of a fire pit. Resist the urge to recycle an old rusted drum or concrete block to serve as a fire pit – those will only distract from your outdoor décor. You’ll find plenty of beautiful options to choose from, including portable fire pits, freestanding designer fire pits, and more among our recommendations.

This pit offers quick assembly and a lightweight design for easy portability.

This pit offers quick assembly and a lightweight design for easy portability. (KINGSO/)

This fire pit features a durability steel frame that has a black, heat-resistant finish. Still it’s lightweight enough to move easily. It’s topped with a mesh screen that ensures debris, embers, and sparks won’t fly out. With quick assembly that only requires you to attach the legs to the rim, you’ll have it up and going in no time so you can enjoy roasting marshmallows, grilling, or just the warmth of the fire.

This stylish, unique design looks great on your patio or backyard, and cutouts add ambiance while allowing for 360 viewing of the crackling fire.

This stylish, unique design looks great on your patio or backyard, and cutouts add ambiance while allowing for 360 viewing of the crackling fire. (Landmann/)

It’s the decorative cutouts on this fire pit that make it so stylish and unique, creating a wonderful ambiance in the evenings. Those cutouts of stars and moons all around the pit ensure you can enjoy viewing the fire from any angle, and they also improve air flow to ensure your fire lasts longer. It’s easy to assemble and features sturdy, steel construction for enhanced durability and three sturdy legs guarantee your fire stays level. It comes with a full-size enamel cooking grate that lets you enjoy grilling over the fire, too. The included mesh guard won’t let any uncontrollable embers fly out of the fire.

This sleek, modern number sets up in less than 60 seconds without the need for tools.

This sleek, modern number sets up in less than 60 seconds without the need for tools. (Fireside Outdoor/)

With a modern design that’ll look great anywhere, the big benefit of this fire pit is its ability to set it up in less than 60 seconds – without tools. The fire burns on stainless steel mesh to ensure the perfect airflow for hotter, brighter fires and little smoke, yet it can handle up to 125 pounds. It packs up small, too, so it’s easy to fit into your gear whether you’ll be camping, RVing, or heading to the beach.

The farmhouse-style slab design provides rustic appeal.

The farmhouse-style slab design provides rustic appeal. (Best Choice Products/)

The traditional, stylish design of this propane fire pit makes it a winner, and it comes with a side table to hold food and drinks, too. It’s the perfect choice for entertaining – family and friends can easily gather around it to enjoy the warmth, share stories and roast marshmallows for s’mores. All you do to get the fire start is turn a nob, and it creates lovely flames radiating against the included lava rocks, offering you that backyard fire ambience you want. The elegant, farmhouse-style slab design provides rustic appeal to patios, porches, gardens and backyards, and built-in side handles allow you to move it around easily when you change up your décor. It comes with a weather-resistant cover to keep it protected from the outdoor elements.

Designed for easy, quick assembly, all you’ll need to do is attach the legs to the bowls outer rim and you’re in business.

Designed for easy, quick assembly, all you’ll need to do is attach the legs to the bowls outer rim and you’re in business. (Sunnydaze/)

The large size of this fire pit by Sunnydaze makes it the perfect one for larger gatherings, while the crossweave design adds a modern touch that makes it stand out. With a 36-inch diameter, it works well in your garden or on your patio. Constructed from 1.7mm gauge steel, it’s durable and long-lasting. The set comes with the fire bowl, a metal spark screen that prevents flying sparks or embers, a weather-resistant, waterproof cover, poker tool for controlling flames, and a wood burning grate that offers superior airflow.

Suburban Homeowners Looking to Downsize Buy in the City

benedek/Getty Images

The pandemic and stay-at-home guidelines stimulated a lifestyle reevaluation for many people. For some, that meant giving up a city home for the fresher air and outdoor space of the suburbs or the country, but, on the other hand, some took this as an opportunity to fulfill the dreams they had long nurtured to downsize from their too-large home and embrace an urban way of life.

“While there’s no question that, on the whole, more people are reluctant to live in central London right now, we’re seeing a simultaneous trend of empty nesters with bigger country homes that are not well-connected to public transit finally finding buyers,” said Martin Bikhit, a managing director at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Kay & Co. in London. “Covid-19 released these people from the inability to sell their more-isolated homes, and now they can move where they want to be: near friends and family in the city and with access to culture and to high-quality medical facilities.”

The equation works well for some empty nesters, particularly those with larger properties, Mr. Bikhit said.

“They are now able to sell for the price they want, so they’re maximizing their profit on the sale and finding a better price in the city,” he said. “Brexit shaved 10-to-15% off values in Central London, and now we’re seeing lower volumes of sales due to COVID-19.”

In New York City, Darrell Williams, an associate broker at MNS Real Estate, recently worked with buyers who sold a large single-family home in New Jersey to buy a US$1.3 million condo in Harlem.

“They were able to pay cash for the condo because of the sale of their home, and they figured that COVID-19 cases would go down,” Mr. Williams said. “They wanted to be near all the conveniences of city living and to Central Park.”

Renewed buyer interest in suburban homes combined with price reductions in the city works well for downsizing empty nesters.

One couple, who Vickey Barron, an associate real estate broker with Compass real estate brokerage in New York City, worked with, recently sold their Westchester County home quickly for more money than they expected, so they accelerated their plan to move into Manhattan to be close to their adult kids, have less maintenance and enjoy city life.

“Some people are taking advantage of this opportunity of urban sellers willing to listen to reasonable offers and low mortgage rates,” Ms. Barron said. “But there are also just people who like the city and know it will come back strong.”

Walkability and city amenities drew one couple from Garrisonville in Prince William County, Virginia, to sell their large suburban home and buy a two-bedroom condo in Washington, D.C., said Laura Henne, a real estate agent with Urban Pace in Washington, D.C.

“This couple downsized by more than half to buy a 1,200-square-foot condo at eNvy in the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood,” Ms. Henne said. “When they wrote the contract for the condo, they were a little nervous about selling their larger home during the pandemic, but it sold quickly and they were able to buy for more than US$1 million.”

Shifting Priorities for Urban Buyers

As it is changing so many things, the pandemic is influencing the features that buyers want most.

“It used to be that the view trumped everything, but now space trumps views,” Ms. Barron said. “People want it all, of course, but if they have to compromise, they’ll go for bigger and better space rather than a smaller place with a great view.”

So, for example, townhouses are more appealing in New York than ever before, Ms. Barron said, because there’s no need to share an elevator.

“People want a larger terrace with 600-to-800 square feet, not one of those little ‘smoking location’ balconies,” Ms. Barron said.

In Washington, D.C., buyers moving from the suburbs are attracted by the floor-to-ceiling windows that wrap around the rooms and offer city, Potomac River or baseball stadium views at eNvy, Ms. Henne said.

“Having at least two bedrooms is also important so that family members can stay with them and there’s space to work at home,” she added. “But the location means more than anything, especially the proximity to places to bike and run along the Potomac.”

Like many buyers, the couple from New Jersey who worked with Mr. Williams wanted at least two bedrooms to be able to use the second bedroom as a home office.

“They also want amenities like a gym in the building because they feel like that will be safer and less crowded,” Mr. Williams said. “Buyers also want a balcony or roof terrace and lots of light and space in the unit.”

While some buyers in London want a smaller two- or three-bedroom “lock-and-leave” apartment for £500,000 to £2 million (US$646,000 to US$2.6 million), Mr. Bikhit said many buyers he’s working with want a big flat overlooking a park.

“We’re hoping to close soon on a £7 million flat in London with buyers who sold a £10 million country estate after four years on the market,” Mr. Bikhit said. “Most people who plan to live in London full-time want at least three or four bedrooms for their kids and grandkids to stay.”

U.K. buyers have the added incentive of a tax holiday for property buyers, Mr. Bikhit explained. From now through March 31, 2021, buyers are exempt from Stamp Duty Land Tax on the first £500,000 of their purchase, a savings of £15,000.

“That’s one more bit of savings that helps people eager to move into the city,” he said.

Pied-a-Terre Purchases

For some downsizers, the new appeal of their larger suburban home to buyers means they can achieve their goal of two homes: a city apartment and a larger place in a sunny location.

“I’m seeing more buyers snapping up a New York place sight unseen because they see the opportunity when prices are adjusted by 10% to 20%,” said Ellie Johnson, president for New York Properties for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. “The most common scenario I see is that people are selling a big asset, buying a home in Florida for the tax benefit and buying a smaller place in New York City.”

In London, some buyers who have a retirement home in Spain or the South of France also purchase a two-bedroom city flat after they sell their country estate in the U.K., Mr. Bikhit said.

Whether they want a big-city home for full-time urban life or an apartment for occasional visits, COVID-19 changed the way people think about home and allowed some buyers to make a move they thought might be impossible.

“The pandemic accelerated people’s plans,” Mr. Bikhit said.

The post Suburban Homeowners Looking to Downsize Buy in the City appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Dry Your Laundry on these Great Clotheslines

Give your wardrobe extended life with a clothesline.

Give your wardrobe extended life with a clothesline. (Pixabay/)

Using a clothesline has become an increasingly common way of doing laundry as people discover its many benefits. A clothesline can help to lower power bills and reduce the environmental impact of your household. (Pro tip: It can also help to keep the colors in the items themselves looking fresh and increase the longevity of your favorite shirts, presses and pants.) If you are considering getting a new clothesline for your home or travels, here are several we recommend. 

Dry multiple loads at once with 170 feet of line space.

Dry multiple loads at once with 170 feet of line space. (Household Essentials/)

This retractable clothesline system includes five lines of drying space. We found that the amount of space it creates empowered us to dry even multiple loads of laundry at once. Because the system is retractable, it can also be set up when needed and taken down when finished. The system can be used both indoors and outside, which means that we could still do our laundry in the event of rainy or poor weather. When you want to set the system up, it is straightforward to mount it to a flat surface, and you can then pull the hooks and attach them across the way to lock the dryer into place. The strength to manage bedding and the convenience of being able to retract the unit when not in use means that this system definitely caught our attention.

This 150-foot heavy-duty clothesline was designed to continue drying your clothes for years to come.

This 150-foot heavy-duty clothesline was designed to continue drying your clothes for years to come. (Strata/)

This clothesline was created to make it straightforward to live a more green lifestyle. With more than 100 feet of space along the extended clothesline, you can easily ensure that your laundry can dry in the wind, without relying on electricity. This not only is good for the planet, but it also helps to protect your clothes. The strength and durability of this system also ensure that once you have set up your clothesline that you can trust that it will continue to work for years to come.

This clothesline will help you dry your clothes on the go, everywhere from camping to hotel rooms.

This clothesline will help you dry your clothes on the go, everywhere from camping to hotel rooms. (HAWATOUR/)

We were drawn to this clothesline because of its versatility even when outside the home. Those who enjoy camping will appreciate how easy it is to string this clothesline between trees and dry laundry even when in the woods. The clothesline comes with steel hooks at each end, which facilitate the installation of the clothesline in a variety of environments, from the bathroom to trees outside. You can set it up, use it and bring it with you whenever you are ready to move on. The clothesline can be stretched up to 10 feet, providing ample space for drying while traveling. It also comes with 12 clothespins that make it painless to keep items in place while they dry.

This model has special holes that fit clothes hangers, allowing you to hang delicate laundry.

This model has special holes that fit clothes hangers, allowing you to hang delicate laundry. (Brabantia/)

This clothesline’s umbrella design allows you to maintain three different line positions and maintain the tension in them. We also appreciated that the entire system had an adjustable height, ranging from 50 to 74 inches, which ensured that all users could comfortably use the features. It has the positions to fit items from cushions to bedding and everything in between. It then turns slowly, even when covered in wet laundry, to help your clothes dry quickly. The system is easy to install with a metal soil spear. 

Easily dry your clothes wherever it is most convenient with this versatile pick.

Easily dry your clothes wherever it is most convenient with this versatile pick. (Riveda/)

What drew our eye immediately towards this clothesline was its strength and versatility. The heavy-duty rope makes it simple to draw the line out to the size you need and then dry all types of laundry. At the same time, this line can be retracted, moved, and transported with you. You can bring this line indoors to dry laundry while traveling or in the case of bad weather. Those who do not have access to yards can use it on balconies or in the bathrooms. Its customizable size and the ease with which it is mounted means that people can use it wherever they want.

Comeback Kids: These Housing Markets Have Recovered the Most Since the Start of the Pandemic

ivanastar/Getty Images

There’s no point in sugarcoating it: The U.S. economy is a hot mess. The continuing coronavirus pandemic has led to scores of business closures, the worst unemployment since the Great Depression, and the steepest economic contraction on record. 

Yet, despite it all, the U.S. housing market has come back—and then some. After monthslong pauses in many parts of the country, bidding wars and offers over asking price have returned. Cooped-up buyers seeking larger homes and wanting to cash in on record-low mortgage interest rates are battling it out over a very limited supply of properties for sale. Median list prices are up more than 9% over last year, a result of the lack of homes on the market, according to weekly realtor.com® data. (The median home price nationally rose to an all-time high of $349,000 in July.)

“Housing tends to be immune from economic downturns and slowdowns,” says realtor.com Director of Economic Research Javier Vivas. That’s excluding the past recession, which was caused by a housing bubble. “Right now we’re seeing markets recover faster where they’re able to contain the virus better. Markets with strong technology sectors have been more resilient.” 

So where are these comeback kids—the housing markets rebounding the most since the start of the COVID-19 crisis? 

Realtor.com found that more than half of the largest metropolitan areas have recovered from their pandemic lows. (Metros include the main city and the surrounding suburbs, exurbs, and smaller cities.) But the housing markets in less expensive, smaller cities as well as the suburbs and farther out towns where buyers can get more square footage for their money, the easier to social distance in, are more in demand than high-rise condos and apartments in the nation’s largest, most expensive city centers.

“People are looking for larger homes and also looking for value,” says Vivas.

To figure out which metros have boomeranged the best, realtor.com’s economics team looked at median home asking price growth, the percentage of new listings coming online, the number of days on market that it took homes to sell, and online home search growth. The team looked for year-over-year growth in each of the metrics. Then it created an index by comparing those stats in January—a relatively normal pre-COVID-19 month for the housing market—to the week ending July 18.

A score of 100% means the market is performing the same as it was in January. Anything higher shows how much better it’s doing. (The list was narrowed to just two metropolitan areas per state to ensure geographic diversity.)

These are the markets that have recovered the most since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis:

  1. Boston, MA, 122.52%
  2. Seattle, WA, 113.73%
  3. New York, NY, 112.74%
  4. Philadelphia, PA, 112.35%
  5. Denver, CO, 111.66%
  6. San Francisco, CA, 109.27%
  7. Los Angeles, CA, 108.78%
  8. Las Vegas, NV, 107.710%
  9. Rochester, NY, 106.61%
  10. Memphis, TN, 105.9%

Northeastern markets with low caseloads have recovered strongly

Boston, a finance, tech, and higher education hub, earned the No. 1 spot on our recovery list, with a median home price* of $675,050. But the metro, like many others across the country, has seen a huge shift in what buyers want.

The new townhomes and condos within walking distance to the city center—which have been selling like shares from hot IPOs for the past few years—are now sitting on the market. However, the McMansions and actual mansions that were popular in the ’90s are suddenly all the rage again, including this $1.5 million five-bedroom house on a half-acre in the suburb of Needham, MA

“Sellers would have had to discount [these places] to sell” before the pandemic, says local real estate agent Gary Kaufman of Keller Williams Realty. “Now these properties are selling at full price.”

A similar scenario is playing out in other big, Northeastern cities. The New York City metro, which comes in third place, has also seen a demand shift. (The median price was $593,000 for the entire metro area, which includes swaths of upstate New York and parts of Connecticut, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.)

Co-op and condo prices in tightly packed Manhattan have remained relatively flat. It’s the suburban and exurban markets, though, stretching from nearby Westchester, Fairfield, and Nassau Counties to mountainous Ulster County, that are exploding with high-wage earners who are either leaving the city completely or buying second homes with room to spread out.

In the Catskills, the same Woodstock, NY, four-bedroom home with a pool that sold for $869,000 in 2001 was renovated and is now listed for $1,600,000.  

“Almost overnight the tether between work and home just got infinitely longer,” says New York City–based real estate appraiser Jonathan Miller. “The suburbs of these metro areas, second markets, and the exurbs are all having their day right now. I think it continues in some form after there’s a vaccine because the technology is there [to enable folks to continue telecommuting].”

Buyers in pricey, Western tech hubs are also heading to the burbs

Seattle’s suburbs have become more popular as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Art Wager/Getty Images

Residential real estate markets in pricey, tech hubs on the West Coast are rebounding almost as well, if not better, than their Northeast counterparts.

In the tech meccas of Seattle, the nation’s second best bounce-back market, with a median list price of $629,900; Denver, No. 5, at $544,300; San Francisco, No. 6, at $1,054,210; and Los Angeles, No. 7, at $994,150, buyers also traded the crowded city for the surrounding towns and smaller cities. Ultralow inventory, down by double digits, year over year in each of these metros, has also played a big part in rising prices.

“Right now, everything that residents love most about San Francisco and other cities—clubs, cultural venues, and events, street fairs, restaurants, the ‘rush’ of social life in the city, being able to walk to work—has pretty much disappeared,” says Patrick Carlisle, chief market analyst at Compass. “What remains is the sense of feeling locked in, being more exposed to the virus, and trying to avoid people whenever they venture outside.

“San Francisco is the weakest market in the Bay Area.”

Sales in the four outer counties with the lowest population densities (Monterey, Santa Cruz, Napa, and Sonoma) are up six to 10 times more than San Francisco. In Napa Valley’s Saint Helena, this four-bedroom home listed at $2,995,000 is asking more than double its 2019 sale price. 

Cheaper areas are popular with local and out-of-state buyers

The Las Vegas housing market has rebounded well from this recession unlike the last time around.

trekandshoot/Getty Images

More affordable, smaller metro areas are becoming increasingly popular with buyers, many of whom hail from other states and can work remotely from anywhere. That’s helped Las Vegas, No. 8, with a median list price of $340,050; Rochester, NY, No. 9, at $249,950; and Memphis, TN, No. 10, at $260,050, make our list. These metros had some of the least expensive home prices on our list, along with growing economies. 

“You’ve got people priced out of California, Colorado, Washington state, and even Arizona now,” says realtor.com’s Vivas. “They’re looking for cheaper mortgages and a larger space for less money.”

This helps explain why Vegas, which was one of the poster children of everything that went wrong in the past recession, has rebounded so quickly. The big difference this time is inventory is low, down 14.4% in July compared with the previous year. Meanwhile, demand is high. The reverse was true during the past housing bust.  

Memphis is also getting a rush of buyers trying to edge one another out for the limited number of homes on the market. In roomy suburbs such as Germantown, TN, sellers are asking top dollar for places like this three-bedroom home for $419,000 and this four-bedroom home for $595,000 that flew off the market in just four days.

“After being at home with their families, a lot of buyers have figured out they really want to be more active—and outside,” says Memphis-area real estate agent Kelly Erb of Marx Bensdorf Realtors.  


* Median home list prices are as of July 1, according to realtor.com data.

The post Comeback Kids: These Housing Markets Have Recovered the Most Since the Start of the Pandemic appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.