Turn Your Home Into A Smart Home On A Budget

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Turn Your Home Into A Smart Home On A Budget – t’s time to bring your home into the future! There are so many apps, tech tools and gadgets to help you manage and maintain your home while saving you money along the way. Here are just a few things you can do to turn your home into a “smart home” on a budget…

Door Locks

Did you know you can control the locks on your door with your smartphone? Yep! Never forget to lock the front door again! Using a smart door lock system like Okiokeys or Kevo Smart Lock you can lock or unlock your doors using a fob or app. Someone coming over to visit but you aren’t home? Give visitors, housekeepers or the kids a virtual key! Pretty cool.

Smart Speaker

Kind of like Siri, this speaker is voice activate, can check the weather, control a number of smart home gadgets, read you audiobooks, and even purchase things online! Check out the Amazon Echo.

Home Network

Centralize photos, music, movies, documents, surveillance footage and more using a tool like QNAP TS -x51. Consider this your own personal cloud that you can access from anywhere!

Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Detector

Yep, this too! This is a 2-in-1 device that will alert your smartphone when the alarm goes off. From the alert, you can call 911 or silence the alarm if your cooking set it off 🙂

5 Life Hacks To Use Around Your Home

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5 Life Hacks To Use Around Your Home – If you own a home, you already know that there is a new or trendy idea for everything. When it comes to unique or DIY ideas, the possibilities are really endless. Add a personalized touch with a few hacks that can work for any sized home, and will also keep you organized along the way. Here are 5 life hacks that are not only easy to do, but incredibly savvy.

A Hinged Painting

Putt hinges (instead of hooks) on a painting to cover up a thermostat. Not only will you not have to worry about an unpleasant eye-sore in the middle of your wall, but you will be able to brighten up the room with a beautiful work of art.

Differentiate Your Keys

Use different color nail polish to differentiate the sets of keys on your keychains.

Magnets

Glue a magnet to the bottom of your hammer. That way, you won’t have to fumble with nails in your mouth while you’re hammering things.

Command Hooks

Command hooks are great for everything, but there is definitely one way you’ll find them more helpful. Place them on the back of your child’s highchair to hold bibs, that way you won’t have to search for one during meal times.

Stripped Screws

Stripped screws are not fun for anyone. Use a rubber band on top of the screw to help remove it from its place.

 

For more hacks to use around your home, visit here.

5 Signs Your Home is Outdated

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5 Signs Your Home is Outdated – Sometimes features in a home can take a while to be “outdated” while others are considered trendy and can become outdated pretty quickly. Here is a list of features that can make your home seem outdated…

Popcorn Ceilings – This is a feature that was standard in new homes quite a few years ago. Today, it is considered an outdated feature. Did you know this is something that can be fixed pretty easily? Whether you want to update your ceilings yourself or hire a handyman to help out, do some research to see if this is something that makes send you, your home and your renovation agenda.

Heavy Features – By this I mean wall to wall dark wood walls or heavy/dark built-ins that make the room look smaller and well, outdated! You know what I’m talking about too! Before you spend time ripping out this feature in your home, take a step back and determine whether it just needs a fresh coat of lighter paint or a few minor modifications. This might be the time to bring in a home stager to help you make that decision.

Cheap Doors – Updated your doors to 6-panel or just a more sturdy, updated door can also give your entire home a facelift. Whether you keep that door a wood stained color or if you paint it white, think of the entire look and feel of the home.

Hardware – As you make adjustments to your home, don’t forget about door knobs, cabinet handles, faucets and drawer knobs. These can also make your home look outdated and by swapping them out for a few new options you can really transform your home.

Walls – Do you still have wall paper from 1982? Maybe the paint color is from the 90’s? What’s nice is that paint is easy to replace through the years so you don’t have to worry about this being an enormous expense to change up. Take a look at your walls and see if added a pop of color or toning it down to a neutral will update your home.

There are still ways to add your décor flavor to your home while still choosing options that will help in the resale of your home. Take a look at this list and take a look at your home. What updates will you be making this year?

How To Buy A Home in 2016

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How To Buy A Home in 2016 – The new year is finally here! Are you planning on buying a home this year?  In addition to the tips and tricks that will help you get into your new home, there are also a number of things to keep in mind before you begin the process. Here are five things to remember throughout your search for a new home in 2016.

Choose the Right Agent

Having the right agent will help you in numerous ways. He or she will be able to help you identify things that are must-haves in your new home, and will do everything in his or her power to make sure those must-haves are obtained. Your agent will also have incredible knowledge about the homes in the area, providing you with the best resources for what to look for.

Where to Search

In addition to consulting with the proper agent, you can also check out websites like Zillow and Trulia. If you find something up your alley, talk to your agent about what you like and don’t like about the home. They will be able to take that knowledge, in addition to their knowledge of the market and community, and find the home that best suites you.

Save For A Down Payment

Saving for a down payment is one of the most important steps in the home-buying process. You may need to save between 10 – 20% of the cost of the home you’re trying to buy, depending on the type of loan you’re looking for. Knowing what you have saved and what type of home you’re looking for will also play a big factor when determining your budget.

Look For The Right Loan

Looking for the loan that works best for you and your family can become stressful, but be confident in knowing that you have plenty of resources to help you make an informed decision. Whether you choose to have a 30-year or 15-year mortgage, a fixed-interest or split, make sure to do your research thoroughly to determine which option is best for you.

Choose The Right Home

When you finally find the home you love, you will know. Whether it’s move in ready or you need to put some elbow grease into it, it will be worth it. Not only will you feel emotionally satisfied by your choice, but you will feel financially comfortable in your decision.

For more information about buying a home in 2016, visit here.

 

Things to do in Perrysburg, Ohio – January, 2016

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Things to do in Perrysburg, Ohio – January, 2016 – Just because the weather is getting colder does not mean that you should stay indoors all day.  Check out these fun and interesting things to do in Perrysburg, Ohio during the month of January.

Mythbusters: The Explosive Exhibition in Toledo

Location: Imagination Station

Date: January 1 – 3, 5 – 10

Admission: $12.50 – $20.50

If you haven’t had a chance to check out the show at the Imagination Station in Toledo, now’s your chance to explore the scientific way to de-bunk the most popular myths!

 

ZUMBA!

Location: Mercy Weight Management

Date: January 6

Admission: $5

Kick of your New Year’s Resolutions with a trip to Mercy Weight Management for one of the best Zumba classes in the area!

 

Salsa Thursday!

Location: Blue Iguana

Date: January 7

Admission: Free

Spend your Thursday evening learning how to dance the Salsa. The night will fly by as you salsa to the beat of the music!
The Jill Jack Birthday Bash in Ann Arbor

Location: The Ark

Date: January 9

Admission: $20

Gather a group of girl friends and head out to the Ark for a musical evening filled with beautiful sounds and an even better performance.

 

5th Annual S.O.A.P. up Detroit Auto Show in Romulus

Location: Romulus Athletic Center

Date: January 9

Admission: $10

Whether you’re into cars or not, you don’t want to miss the Detroit Auto Show. This year’s event will be one for the books, as the proceeds will benefit S.O.A.P. (Save Our Adolescents from Prostitution).

Snow Removal Tricks and Tips

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Snow Removal Tricks and Tips – Winter in Ohio comes with many things, but the thing we should all expect is snow, snow, and more snow. As a homeowner, snow removal becomes a main priority for multiple reasons. Here are some snow removal tricks and tips to make your life a little bit easier this winter.

 

1. Invest in a Snow Blower: Snow blowers are perfect instruments for both yard and driveway snow removal. It can be a bit tricky to find the right speed to blow depending on the model type, but once you do, you should be good to go. For snow removal of the driveway, start in the middle and shoot snow to edges of the driveway. Keep alternating sides until snow is gone. Just check to make sure you aren’t tossing snow onto already cleared areas.

Tip: Take frequent breaks to avoid strain and injury to the shoulders and back

Tip: Check out these solid Snow Blower choices from consumerreports.org

 

2. The Good Old Snow Shovel: Dig out the ever-versatile snow shovel for extra snowy days. Some folks prefer to shovel while the snow is coming down to prevent extra work later, and some people like to wait until the snowfall is over, to do it all at once. Both ways are fine. To clear your driveway, push as much snow as possible to the edges, but try to not pack down any bottom layers. Then scoop up the remaining snow and toss it to the side.

Tip: There are numerous snow shovels available for purchase from your local hardware store. Consider buying a couple models for difference purposes in snow removal. For example, plastic edges shovels are better for uneven pavement, etc. Furthermore, snow shovels are becoming more ergonomic and lighter weight all the time.

Tip: If snow is sticking to your shovel, spray it with a little bit cooking spray.

 

3. Stake out your Lawn: When removing snow from your yard, you want to make sure to not damage any small trees, shrubbery, or even garden beds that you so carefully tended over the summer. To avoid damage, place some tall stakes or markers around these spots so you don’t hit them with your shovel or blower.

Tip: If there is a good bit of snow building up around your shrubs or small trees, let them be. Trying to remove the snow can often do more harm than good.

 

4. Don’t let the Piles, Pile Up: When shoveling, blowing, or pushing snow, you may want to watch where you pile it. Snow can harden and freeze up against foundations, causing to expensive-to-fix damage later on. Additionally, this icy snow is very hazardous if someone would happen to tread on it.

Tip: Spread kitty litter or sand on slippery surfaces to give them a little grit and grip.

 

5. Decide on a Deicer: Rock salt is everybody’s go-to product when it comes to ridding your steps, sidewalk, and driveway of ice and snow. However, it can be harmful to your shrubs and yard, if you do not use it carefully. For less harsh salts, try magnesium or calcium chloride, which are less severe and work in the iciest of temperatures.

Tip: Always use gloves when spreading salt

Tip: Store deicers off the ground or in sealed containers to keep moisture from getting in

 

With just a couple of the above tips, you can keep your yard and home free of snow and potential damage this winter. Do not be afraid of a little snow, especially if you have the tools to tackle to problem!

10 Reasons To Start House Hunting In The Winter

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10 Reasons To Start House Hunting In The Winter – House hunting can be a huge task during any time of year, but looking for your next home in the winter months can have its benefits. Whether you are looking to move now or within the next few months, it is a great time to begin your search. Check out these ten reasons to start house hunting in the winter.

 

It’s A Good Test

Winter is a great time to test out your potential new home. You can find out how good the heating, plumbing, roofing, etc? How the home holds up in the winter weather will be a good indication of the shape it’s in overall.

 

Low Competition

Not many people house hunt in the winter when compared to the spring, summer and fall. When you find a home you love, you are less likely to find yourself in a bidding war.

 

Realtors and Mortgage Brokers

While many people think that the professionals are hard to find in the winter months, that is not always the case. They will likely have more time on their hands to focus on your specific needs.

 

Landscaping vs. Larger Expenses

You may not be able to see the full potential of the curb appeal in the winter, but hiring a landscaper in a few months will be less expensive than having to repair the heating system.

 

Sellers Are Motivated

Sellers in the winter are more motivated than during any other time of the year. They are not getting as many offers as they would in other seasons so they are more likely to negotiate.

 

Easier Scheduling

You are more likely to be able to view homes at your convenience, as there is not as much competition and they can work with your schedule.

 

Neighborhood Atmosphere

In the winter, you will be able to see the entire neighborhood without the lush greens and bountiful plants. Seeing every home for what it is during the winter will give you a much better idea about how much your home will be worth in the future.

 

People Are in the Holiday Spirit

It is a rather festive time of year and everyone is in the holiday spirit, making the home-buying process much more pleasant.

 

Get The Deal

Getting the deal you want can be easier in the winter, especially if the home you are looking at has been on the market for a while.

 

Better Rates

Mortgage rates tend to be lower and easier to get in the winter because not as many people are applying for mortgage loans, so you should be able to take advantage.

 

For information about the top markets for house hunting this winter, visit here.