Smart tech has exploded over the past several years, with advances in voice recognition and response on levels that can easily amaze just about any consumer. Although you can link just about any system in your home to smart tech systems, it’s also possible to pick just the tools and gadgets that fit your needs. As a Realtor with over 25 years of experience staging, presenting and selling homes, I’ve seen technology advance and shift to become more consumer-friendly, and I can share that buyers are looking for features that “pop” and create a “wow” factor… and smart tech delivers.
My Smart Home Picks
Here are just a few options that I recommend to get you started thinking about what tech might be best to enhance your home. Think of this as a taste of what’s available on the market. Want to explore more or learn more about how adding small features can have big impacts on your property’s perceived market value and daily living experience? Then get in touch with me at 336-575-7249 and let’s discuss how smart tech can be a good choice for you and your family.
A voice-activated device that you utilize in controlling both your other smart home devices and internet-based features. You may have seen commercials where owners ask “Alexa” questions and receive verbal or action-oriented (lights turning on/off, thermostat adjustments, etc.) responses. Amazon technology and programming offers one of the most intuitively natural experiences of any device on the market.
Although costly, these bulbs can be connected to other smart technologies and offer safety lighting that goes above and beyond what you might expect. The bulbs learn your lighting patterns and can mimic habits when you are away from home, they continue to work in power outages, and can even automatically activate when they hear a doorbell or house alarm. Just a few of these bulbs go a long way to increase the security of your home.
Ecobee4: Smart Thermostats
Some other learning thermostats may have more marketing dollars behind them, but for the dollars, the Ecobee4 offers the biggest bang for your buck. If you are considering the Amazon Echo, this thermostat even has an integrated Alexa speaker (meaning you extend your reach of voice in your home by adding another device that can hear your commands). Like most thermostats in this category, this one learns your habits and needs and actively works to adjust your living environment in a way that leaves you to focus on more important things while you save money on energy costs and comfort.
SkyBell Wi-Fi Video Doorbell
Most smart tech devices are designed to either enhance your living environment or safety. This nifty doorbell does a little of both. Allowing you to patch into your doorbell from your smartphone or computer, you can easily see who is at your door, no matter where you are located, and can respond actively. You can also set the doorbell to take photos when it is rung or when movement happens within a certain range of the door, increasing the security of the entry points of your home.
Want to Learn More About Smart Homes?
These are just four of the amazing devices available for reasonable prices. You can learn more about how smart homes work, what you might want to consider when going smart and the best products by category to consider purchasing. Smart technologies provide a great and affordable way to enhance your home and properties in ways that were not possible just a few short years ago.
We all strive to keep warm during the winter months. We bundle up when we go outdoors, slide on gloves and insulated footwear, flip on seat warmers in our cars, and wrap ourselves in scarves and other layers. But our homes tend to be another story. The easiest answer to a warmer home is to turn up the thermostat, but that can be an expensive option! This study explains that turning down your thermostat by just 2 degrees Fahrenheit can help cut your heating bills by up to 10%! This means that any steps you can take to stay warm and save money are well worth the time.
One good rule to start with is to focus on keeping the people in your house warm, more so than your entire home. Your house doesn’t really care if it’s a little cooler, but you and your family mind if you feel cold. So in addition to taking a few steps to create a warmer home, get in the habit of wearing a sweater or robe or sipping hot beverages. For your bedding, switch to thicker winter blankets and layers. And consider investing in a nice pair of indoor slippers. Cold feet can make your entire body feel cool, so keeping a barrier between your feet and the cold floor surfaces of your home is a good idea.
If you FEEL warm, you are less likely to turn up the thermostat. So find a balance between warming up the entire house and being comfortable that works for you. As for your home, here are two tips to create a warmer environment for everyone:
Position Furniture to Maximize Air Flow
Furniture that is placed over floor vents or in front of baseboard heat sources can literally block the distribution of air flow and make your systems have to work harder to create a cozy feeling. Start by checking your furniture placement and making sure that heated air can flow easily and freely into the full room. If you like where your furniture is placed, consider tunnels and vent direction guides that are available at any hardware store and which slide over the vent to help move the air in the direction that you desire. Most are magnetic in nature and easy to install in places where moving the furniture itself to a new location is undesirable.
Besides clearing up air circulation issues, take a look at where your furniture is placed in relation to outside walls. If possible, place furniture that you will sit at near internal walls or more toward the center of the room. Furniture placed against outside walls not only gathers the cooler temperatures that seep through exterior wall surfaces, but they can create the illusion that you are cooler than the air temperature actually is in the room.
Create Layers Over Hard Floors (wood, tile, and marble)
In super cold climates, heated flooring is standard fare. In Alaska, it is unusual to find a bathroom without heated flooring options. But in climates such as ours, those kinds of investments just don’t make sense. Yet, we love our hard floor surfaces for their aesthetics and ease of cleaning. Think of your hard floor surfaces like you do suiting up to go outdoors in the cold: layers matter, at least for the winter months.
Uncovered and uninsulated hard floors in your home can account for up to 10% of the home’s heat loss, so taking a closer look at these surfaces and taking steps to add a few layers to help prevent this loss can have big impacts on your bills. Layering these surfaces is as easy as finding a few stylish and thick area rugs (look for those with tight weaves in their backing for maximum insulation effect).
Bake Your Way to Warmth
One of the best ways to simultaneously heat your home and get added benefits is to cook meals that are oven-centered such as casseroles, roasted meats, and baked goods. Your oven produces plenty of heat when preparing these kinds of dishes and can help cut heating bills if used in conjunction with another purpose like a yummy meal. In the summer months, we often get in the habit of doing things with stovetop or slow cooker recipes to reduce the heat in our spaces and decrease our cooling costs. The winter sees the opportunity to reverse this goal and strive to utilize the heat of the oven in a unique manner.
Take just one of these tips, and you’ll be well on your way to feeling warmer and saving a few dollars this winter. Remember, a few small steps can have a big impact, and the tips I’ve provided here can easily be implemented in just a weekend set of projects, so they don’t take much time to achieve and see effects. Stay warm this winter and remember that buying and selling real estate happens year-round!
When the time comes to explore a new home or to understand the market and opportunities for your family, lean on my extensive expertise to help you find and settle into a home that you’ll love. Just dial 336-575-7249 to speak to Ellen Dudley of RE/MAX Preferred Properties, right here in Winston-Salem, NC.
As someone with decades of experience in real estate, there isn’t much I haven’t seen over the years. And outside of partnering with me as your realtor, it’s important to know the work that goes into preparing a house, well before the listing goes live. These steps increase the perceived value of your house as well as showcasing the best features to every potential buyer. You can certainly move faster than this timeline, but be sure to be realistic regarding the work, time, and costs involved so you can keep your stress under control…
Taking on home improvements can be a fulfilling adventure, allowing you to transform spaces and looks whether you decide to sell or determine that your new space fits you once again! But if you are going to take on projects, my 20+ years of experience in real estate tell me that you’ll enjoy the project, outcome, and long-term effect of a project more if you consider the average return on investment you can anticipate. Here are a few of the best projects to consider to get you the best ROI on your exterior upgrades. It may be that you want to sell your current space and find a new home to customize into your very own…
Sometimes you just need a change, but you find yourself on a tight budget. Those are the perfect times to side-step big new furniture purchases and hiring outside help to dig into a few tips that allow any homeowner to spruce up their space without breaking the bank. After you take some of these steps, then you can easily consider if a few choice purchases might be the finishing touches you need to feel like new in your existing space.
Make Two Lists
The first list should include all the major pieces of furniture that are in the room or which you wish to place in the room. It’s important to have an inventory of the major pieces so that you can make a plan. In addition to the first list, make a second list that includes what uses and feeling you’d like the room to embody. These two lists together will allow you to plan a layout that evokes the types of environment and movement you want the room to achieve.
As you create the lists, think outside the room about other pieces of furniture that are throughout your home. Is there a nightstand that could switch out with an end table for a fresh look or something similar? Sometimes just switching up the location of furniture between rooms can have a powerful effect.
To get started making a layout, look at the entrances and outlets in the room to make sure you don’t place things far from the creature comforts that are essential to everyday living. Once you have a rough idea of how you want the furniture to be placed, sketch it roughly on a sheet of paper and make sure that you think that movement and comfort are accounted for. Finally, move the furniture into the general spaces that you have decided and let it sit for a few days to ensure that you are happy before you move to additional steps.
Once the layout of the room feels comfortable, take a look at the colors of fabric, walls, flooring, and accent elements. You want the colors to complement each other, so consider coverings for couches or chairs that work well with the wall colors. These kinds of changes are easier to adjust time and again than paint colors or other more intensive projects. If you have trouble matching colors and textures, consider using existing palettes that are distributed by designers as a foundation. For example, House Beautiful published some of the most anticipated color palettes for 2017.
Focus on Lighting
Lighting occurs in two environments, so you have to consider both and decide how to balance your decisions based on how you utilize the room.
Start by looking at the placement of natural light (including considering what time of day the sunlight will move through the room based on the direction the home faces) and how you can use that light during the day to showcase spaces in fresh ways. Perhaps you place a décor piece that you want to be a focal point where a sunbeam will fall in mid-afternoon or adjust the placement of a throw rug so that the light splashes across a pattern in a unique manner.
Next, consider what happens once the sun goes down. What kind of light will set the mood and environment that you need in order to utilize the space? Overhead lighting can splash a wide even light, but might be too much for some spaces. Floor lamps of different heights and wattage bulbs can offer adjustable options for bright areas and lower-light elements too. For relaxation, consider different lighting elements such as salt lamps or other diffused light options like electric candles that glow more than shine. With evening lighting, you even have the opportunity to layer lights in such a way that the room can be bright and filled with light or dim and cozy for watching movies or quieter times. If you want to invest a few dollars, consider installing dimmer light switches for an added element of lighting control! Ellen Dudley, RE/MAX Preferred Properties, 336-575-7249
Together, these interior home makeover tips will get you started looking at your spaces and pieces in a different light, giving fresh life and feeling to your home. Use them as a foundation and start one room at a time, picking your most used room as the first space to transform, and you’ll soon be seeing your home in a new way!
When you think about your home, the more comfort you can surround yourself with, the more relaxed you likely feel. Regardless of whether you plan to stay in your home for several years or are preparing to sell, one of the best improvements you can make involves the vast number of choices in smart home technologies. From safety, peace of mind, and convenience to saved time, comfort, and routine, smart devices can quickly upgrade a house into a home…
Curb appeal literally starts roadside at the curb and everyone knows that a beautiful green carpet of grass leading up to a doorstep can transform first impressions of a home. Aside from sod or professional lawn services, there are plenty of things that you can do to fill brown patches and encourage a consistent blanket of carpet throughout your yard. Once you get some of these tips started, give me a call at 336-575-7249 and let’s discuss other ways you can upgrade your yard or otherwise prepare your property for maximum enjoyment. After all, planting grass in fall is the best time of year to ensure success!
It’s easy this time of year to get caught up in the season and begin projects and improvements that you’ve been itching to do all year. But before you get started, I’d recommend looking at these projects that both increase your enjoyment of your home and allow you to increase the perceived value of your home to potential buyers. Who’s ready to invest in home upgrades that add value while keeping it low budget and easy?!!
What can you do to bring a bit of that beauty into your yard and ensure a thick carpet of grass without having to hire a professional service? While nothing can guarantee an ideal yard, you can take a few key steps to help make sure that your grass is healthy and thrives. Take some time to learn how to make your grass greener…
Shifts in market demographics and preferences can impact the best strategy for home sales. For more than the past 25 years, I’ve watched the market shift and evolve, always eager to bring the best trends to light for my clients. Learn a couple of the top trends in 2015 when it comes to buying and or selling your home…
As weather warms up and buyers thaw out, the beauty of your yard can begin to shine once more. In order to make sure your yard is ready for Spring to arrive, it is important to take some steps to prepare the soil and foliage now for maximum beauty and impact.
Landscaping decisions are so important because 71% of buyers list curb appeal as important in their property buying decision, according to BankRate.com. Your yard offers the first impression, so taking the time now to prepare the soil for Spring landscaping is vital to great curb appeal.
Spring Landscaping Tips in North Carolina
- The Piedmont Triad of NC is considered Zone 7 for planting, so look for plants that will fair well in our climate by reading labels and adding a few accent bushes to your yard
- Cut back Liriope and other perennials to stimulate Spring growth
- Prune only dormant trees and shrubs, avoiding anything that blooms in the Spring
- Apply crabgrass preventer towards the end of the month to get a head start on a lush lawn
- Select roses with various bloom times and get them rooted and spaced for wonderful presentation throughout the coming seasons
- Divide and transplant perennials
- Spruce up edging lines on bedding before growth begins
I know from experience that small steps can transform your buyer traffic and impressions. Get started with these tips that are designed for our unique climate. Then give me a call at 336-575-7249 and let’s discuss other ways to prepare your property for ideal presentation. The interest rates are low so it is time to buy before they get out of range.
We’ve all heard the phrase, “good fences make good neighbors,” but the emphasis here is on the word ‘good.’ The earliest publication of this phrase, Robert Frost’s poem, “Mending Wall,” is 1916, but not much has changed since then when it comes to installing a good neighbor fence…
Now that most of us (hopefully) have the power restored and have changed into our Spring and Summer shorts (really, North Carolina?), it’s time to get to work assessing and managing winter storm damage may have done to your home and property. Here are some particular things to look for. And remember, you should take pictures of any damage so you have evidence in case you need to submit an insurance claim…