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.

6 Tips For Settling Into Your New Home Before The Holidays

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6 Tips For Settling Into Your New Home Before The Holidays – It is the most wonderful time of the year! And there is no better time than the holiday season to start making new memories in your new home. There are numerous things you can do to help get you and your family get settled in your new space. Here are six tips for settling into your new home right before the holidays.

 

Participate in Local Celebrations

Whether you are moving across the country or down the street, make sure you participate in local holiday celebrations. This will allow you to meet some new people in your area and get a good sense of the type of community around you.

 

Plan for Delays

Make sure you plan for delays before, during and after the holidays. With an increased percent of travelers on the road, your belongings could be delayed. If you plan ahead and are prepared for any type of delay, settling into your home will not be difficult.

 

Focus

You will want to focus on the most important tasks at hand. While diving into all of the fun DIY projects you’ve brainstormed sounds like a great idea, it is important to remember that the busy holiday season is almost upon us and you won’t want to start something you can’t yet finish.

 

Prioritize Unpacking

It is easy to get sucked into the fun that comes with holiday activities, but make sure to finish your unpacking before it starts! You do not necessarily have to have everything unpacked, but doing the majority of it will cut down on your stress later on.

 

Get the Word Out

When you move, you want to let people know where you have gone. Use your holiday cards to let friends and family know about your move. Hopefully, you will get some cards in return, which will definitely make you feel right at home.

 

Decorate

Last but certainly not least, do not forget to decorate your new home with the festive looks of the season. Holiday decor is some of the most beautiful decor of the year, and adding holiday candles will help your new home look and smell like home.

For more tips on settling into your new home, visit here.

5 Things Homeowners Waste Money On

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5 Things Homeowners Waste Money On – As a homeowner, there are many responsibilities that fall on your plate, and those responsibilities can be expensive. The trick is determining what you should splurge on and what you do not need to waste money on. Here are five things homeowners waste money on, to help you save money.

Extended Warranties

When you purchase a new appliance, sales people will tend to persuade you to buy the extended warranty. Do not fall for it! Your appliance likely will not break down during the duration of the extended warranty anyway.

Outdated Insurance

You should always be shopping around to find the best insurance policy for your current situation. The one you purchased a long time ago, probably no longer meets your needs now.

Furnishing Your Home

When you become a homeowner and throughout the time that you’re living in your home, your interior preferences change. Do not immediately furnish your home within a month of living there. Give your home some time and let your style develop.

Energy Inefficiencies

Energy inefficiency is an expense you do not want to pay, but will have to deal with when you move into a home. Perform an energy audit on your home to make sure you are not wasting your money.

Private Mortgage Insurance

The best possible time to overpay on your mortgage is the first couple of years. While the 20 percent down payment is promising at the beginning, you often overpaying as much as $100 per month.

For more information about things homeowners waste their money on, and to help you avoid those mistakes, visit here.

8 Hidden Hazards In Your Home

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Every homeowner wants to sleep well at night, knowing their home is safe and sound for the health of their family. Yet did you know there are hidden hazards lurking in your home that you may be unaware of? Check your house against the list of hazards below, and your home and health with thank you.

  1. 9-volt batteries: 9-volt batteries, though useful and necessary for many electronic devices in the home, can ignite when coming in contact with anything metal. You may want to make sure your 9-volts are stored separately, or come with small plastic caps that you can use to keep them safe.
  1. Ionized smoke detectors: According to realtor.com, over 90% of smoke detectors found in the U.S. are ionized detectors. Unfortunately these detectors are less reliable when it comes to detecting slow burning fires, and lack of reacting can lead to major house damage or worse. Consumers should look for photoelectric detectors when purchasing detectors for their home.
  1. Hidden gas lines: Older homes, particularly ones that were built between 1860-1920, were all once fitted with natural gas lines to supply lighting in the home. As modern electricity improved these lines should have been capped off or converted, but many lines are still active today. Have a home inspector double check these lines to ensure they are dealt with properly.
  1. Lightwood truss construction: This type of construction uses metal gussets to join trusses instead of screws or bolts, but unfortunately is susceptible to heat and fire. When the home heats up, the gussets pop off, collapsing structures.  Installing a proper sprinkler system above these structures can aid in fire prevention.
  1. Tipsy Stoves: Though light-weight stoves are the norm today, unless correctly installed, they can easily tip over when weight is applied in just the right place, tipping over or injuring those in the way! Make sure your home inspection includes an investigation of the stove and its risks.
  1. Heavy Flat-Screens: Older flat screen TVs tend to be heavier than today’s lightweight models. Though often placed carefully on a mantel or TV stand, they can fall if hit or weighed down by a reckless body movement or playful child. The best thing to do is to mount the TV on the wall with appropriate hardware.
  1. Carbon Monoxide Levels: This is an odorless and tasteless gas that can be extremely dangerous when levels are high in the home. To prevent levels of carbon monoxide from rising in your home, have your heating appliances maintained regularly and install detectors on every floor in the houses.
  1. VOCs: VOCs are volatile organic compounds are gases that release from specific solids and liquids such as paints, cleaning supplies, adhesives, pesticides, and more. When using these products, make sure the home or space is properly ventilated or use them outside if possible. Release of these gases can contribute to negative health effects.

Worried about potential hazards in your home? Luckily, there are ways to cope and deal with these problems. You can check out the Green and Healthy Homes Initiatives website for tips and resources to combat these hidden hazards and put your mind at ease.

 

Pros And Cons Of A Solar Panel In Your Home

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Pros And Cons Of A Solar Panel In Your Home – Wanting to go green with your home? If you are considering installing a solar panel, you might want to consider all the pros and cons before taking the plunge. Check out the helpful list below to get started.

Pros:

  1. Sustainability: When you install a solar panel in you home, you are installing a green and renewable energy source. Solar power is unlimited and cannot be over-consumed. Furthermore, solar power technology is always improving as engineers search for ways to use greener materials for the panels as well as increase the panels’ energy gathering potential.
  2. Lowers electricity costs: According to energyinformative.org, installing one solar panel could reduce your electric bill by $100 a month! This can add up greatly over the years. To reduce costs even more, homeowners can lease or choose power purchase deals to eliminate the upfront expenses of installing the panels.
  3. No or little maintenance: Your solar panel is at low-risk of breaking down because it has no machine parts. Panels are also relatively easy to install. The most you’ll need to do is have the panel cleaned just a few times a year to maximize its efficiency, as solar panels have long lives.

Cons:

  1. Expense: Solar panels can be very expensive upfront. There are tax subsidies and green energy programs that do help lower costs, but we still have a ways to go before prices are within reasonable range for more homeowners. Furthermore, it will likely take more than one solar panel to sufficiently run your home, depending on its size and floor plan.
  2. Consistency: While solar panels fuel energy during the day, they are not able to generate electricity at night and sometimes even on very cloudy days. Solar batteries to store energy can be purchased, but they are an additional cost on top of the already expensive panel.
  3. Pollution: Some of the manufacturing processes for producing solar panels have been known to contribute to greenhouse gases and other types of pollution. Additionally, the process of installing the panels can contribute to pollution as well. However once in place, they emit no harmful chemicals.

By weighing your options carefully and doing a little research, you can make the right choice for your home. Going green may not always be what it seems, so it is important to evaluate all your options before purchasing a solar energy panel. Furthermore, there may be other systems that are better for your home and your pocket book, but just as green and energy friendly.

Avoid These 5 Home Staging Mistakes

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Home staging is a necessary component of prepping one’s house for the real estate market. However when staging, it is crucial to elude silly mistakes so that potential buyers don’t pass up your house. Avoid these 5 home staging mistakes when readying your house for the market.

Cluttered cupboards: During an open house, visitors are not just looking at the floor plan and open spaces, they’re likely to peak inside your cupboards and closets as well. If these spaces are messy or cluttered, it can give buyer the impression that storage space is at a minimum, rather than a realistic representation.

Loud paint colors: Just because you love the bright red palette you chose to decorate your living room, does not mean others will. By painting the rooms in your home neutral colors, buyers can see the potential of a space for their own future décor.

Overly ornate or beat-up furniture: Using ostentatious furniture or even worn and dated furniture can disrupt the clean lines you want to create in your staging. When choosing furniture for display, less is more and simple is better.

Thematic staging: While staging themed rooms like nurseries or office spaces can be appealing to some buyers, there can be times with the themes just don’t work in a space and can throw of the overall flow of the home.

Dusty or messy rooms: If your home is layered with dust, your tub is grimy, and your spaces are cluttered, buyers won’t be able to see beyond the mess. Though it can time-consuming, do your best to ensure your house is spic and span for every viewing.

Good home staging can dramatically improve the look of your home so that it sells quickly and for the best price. When staging, it is best to consult your realtor or a home staging expert to maximize the home’s true selling potential.