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Smart Home Ideas

by Scott Zeller
 

604

 

Understanding and Choosing Smart Home Products that Are Right for Your Lifestyle

 

Figure out which smart home products can work best for you.

Guest post by Patrick Hearn

Many people are drawn into the world of smart home technology by cool features like smart lights and smart assistants, because they help make life more convenient. But it can also be somewhat intimidating for people to get started when they’re faced with a bevvy of technical terms and limitless options. Getting past the jargon and understanding how smart home devices can work together can all add up to a much more convenient lifestyle.

Here’s how to figure out which smart home products can work best for you.

Consider How Devices Communicate

When you’re selecting smart home devices, you may come across the terms Insteon, Zigbee, and Z-Wave. These are different types of networks that smart home products use to communicate with one another. Insteon can communicate over a Wi-Fi network or through the existing electrical wiring in your walls, while Zigbee and Z-Wave communicate only through your Wi-Fi network.

The main thing to keep in mind is that there are compatibility differences to consider. Not all smart home products are compatible with these networks, but the vast majority of smart home products will work with Zigbee and Z-Wave.

Choose Devices that Can Simplify Your Life

The number of available smart home devices grows with each passing day. Where once there were only smart lights and security systems, now you can purchase everything from a connected oven to a smart robot that vacuums your home for you. The majority of newer products are compatible with most existing products, and even those that don’t work together straight out of the box can be made to work together through smart home hubs.

1. Security

Take a moment and think about the conveniences you want in your home. If you invest in only one type of smart home technology, make it a security system complete with security cameras. Connected home security systems make it easy to keep an eye on things around the house when you’re away, and even the presence of a security system can be enough to deter someone with malicious intent.

2. Smart lighting

For people who work out of the home, go away on vacation, or simply want an easier way to manage their lighting, smart lighting can help. With smart lights, you can control your lights from afar with a mobile app. Because smart lights have been around for a while, there are a lot of different options to fit every budget and color range.

3. Smart assistants

A smart assistant is just what it sounds like — a voice-activated device that can tell you everything from the news to the weather, control your smart home, play music, and much more. Although each device comes with varying levels of complexity, most of the difference lies in the volume level of the speaker.

4. Smart appliances

These days, you can connect everything from toaster ovens to washers and dryers. Most of these alert you via smartphone when something is finished cooking or a load of laundry is ready to go in the dryer, but certain appliances offer different features. Any homeowner with a busy schedule and lots of chores can benefit from the conveniences of managing appliances remotely.

5. Smart power strips and outlets

Smart outlets are one of the easiest ways to add smart home tech to your home without breaking the bank. Smart outlets can control the flow of power to and from a device. You can monitor the status of an outlet from your phone and turn it on or off. Are you one to leave the house and panic over whether the iron was plugged in? Next time, plug it into a smart outlet and you won’t have to worry.

6. Smart thermostats

Many people are introduced to smart home technology through a smart thermostat. These devices learn how you like your home to feel. If you keep it cooler at night and turn up the heat in the morning, a smart thermostat will pick up on that after a few days and adjust automatically. Like other smart devices, these can be controlled from your phone or via voice input with a smart assistant. They’re also an energy-saver. Homeowners who are concerned with energy efficiency would benefit from this device.

With these devices, you can get creative and customize them to the needs of your lifestyle. Services like If This, Then That (IFTTT) make it possible to connect devices together in ways you never would have imagined. You can also connect them through a smart home hub, like one provided by your internet service provider. For example, program a smart light next to your bed to simulate a sunrise if you have to wake up before dawn, and trigger your heat to turn on. Program smart lights to turn a certain color based on the temperature outside. Set your smart coffee pot to be linked to a motion sensor so that it begins brewing the moment you get out of bed. Make your life smarter, and a lot easier, with the limitless options.

 

Patrick Hearn is an Atlanta-based tech writer for Xfinity Home. When not researching the latest gadget or home security solution, he can be found at the latest coffee shop trying the newest pour-over.  

Sharon is the Manager of Product and Content Marketing for Coldwell Banker Real Estate, LLC. She lives in New Jersey and holds a BA from Syracuse University. She loves pun-ny jokes, true crime documentaries, podcasts and she can watch adorable videos of puppies and babies all day!

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Staging Ideas

by Scott Zeller
 

719

 

3 Staging Touches That Up Your Chances of an Offer

 

Here are some tips to touch up your home staging to increase your chances of an offer.

Guest post by Abigail Sawyer

It takes more than finding a realtor and posting a “For Sale” sign in the front yard for a successful home sale. Getting your house in order is the first step to a quick offer. The secret is to give potential buyers the opportunity to imagine their “stuff” and family living in the home. Plus, you want to put your home’s best foot forward and present it in the best possible light. Here are some tips to touch up your home staging to increase your chances of an offer.

1. Clear Out Your Belongings 

You may be attached to your stuff, but the first rule is to clean it up, clear it out and pack it all away. It can prevent new buyers from imagining the house as their own.

  • Pack away personal items like family photos and kid’s artwork for your new home.
  • Make sure toiletries, clothing, jewelry and accessories are in drawers and out of sight.
  • Eliminate excessive clutter. Display only a few generic items on your shelves and make sure the bathrooms are pristine.

Some rooms are harder to streamline, especially children’s or teens’ bedrooms. Clean them out and clear away as much clutter as your son or daughter will allow. Invest in covered containers that will fit under the bed or in the closet.

2. Make the Rooms Look Bigger

You want to make each room look as spacious as possible. Start with these tricks:

  • Take out some of the furniture. Move it to the basement or storage shed, or sell it if you won’t need it in your new place.
  • Clear off the kitchen counters.
  • Roll up area rugs, which tend to make rooms feel smaller.
  • Arrange furniture in intimate seating groups that encourage conversation and coziness. Don’t line everything up along the wall!

Installing curtains and blinds as close to the ceiling as possible draws the eye up and makes the room appear bigger. Panels should skim the floor. In this living room corner, a classic chair and small table before a window suggests to the future homeowner here is place for a morning cup of coffee in a well-lit room. 

3. Pay Attention to Your Decor

Highlight your home’s best features and downplay the less-than-perfect areas to create a welcoming space.

Paint is an easy fix. When possible, paint walls in pale, neutral colors like soft grey, beige and off-white. Neutral colors allow the buyer to imagine their own furniture in place. Plus, it screams “move-in ready.”

Don’t overlook the power of the view and the importance of natural light. Window treatments can help solve many issues. Windows without draperies make a room feel empty or undone. Curtains also help absorb sound in rooms with wood floors and they can hide an unsightly view or enhance a lovely one.

If a major selling point is your view – such as the ocean, the mountains or a gorgeous garden – don’t cover it up! Install stationary panel curtains that hang well off the window. If the scene outside is less than stellar (like an alleyway or the building next door), hang sheer draperies that allow the light in but camouflage the view.

As with paint color, choose drapery fabric in neutral colors and traditional patterns. This woven geometric check blends in with the rest of the space and will coordinate with almost any style of furnishings.

After the living room and kitchen, a great master bedroom is high on buyers’ checklists. In addition to natural light and the view, privacy is paramount.

Follow the same rules to make the space look bigger, hang as high as possible and skim the floor. Sheer curtains that can be closed allow light and hide an unappealing view while providing privacy. Keep surfaces clear of personal items and choose plain, neutral bedding. Open up the wall space with minimal artwork and move the excess furniture out. Buyers are looking for large rooms that feel serene and calm.           

Don’t forget to spruce up any secondary bedrooms as well. Keep the window treatments simple with Roman shades and valances. If the room needs a touch of color, a classic plaid or small print that works for boys and girls is in order. Temporarily replace superhero bedspreads with coverlets or duvets in solid colors and encourage your kids to keep their room neat and tidy.

Follow these few simple staging tips and your next showing could produce a winning offer.

 

Abigail Sawyer is a Senior Social Media Specialist for Blinds.com. She’s an expert on all things home improvement and is currently restoring her 1972 cottage. Abigail shares her knowledge on decorating by writing about everything from updating your home office to staging your home for sale. If you’re looking to invest in new Roman shades for your house, you can find a wide variety on Blinds.scom.

Sharon is the Manager of Product and Content Marketing for Coldwell Banker Real Estate, LLC. She lives in New Jersey and holds a BA from Syracuse University. She loves pun-ny jokes, true crime documentaries, podcasts and she can watch adorable videos of puppies and babies all day!

Subscribe to Blue Matter and get the latest updates

 

Autumn Nights Outdoors

by Scott Zeller
 

651

 

Autumn Nights Outdoors: How to Enjoy Your Outdoor Space in the Fall

 

Extend the life of your porch or patio by transforming your favorite summer spot into a cozy retreat that’s perfect for enjoying autumn nights outdoors.

Guest post by Angie Erickson

As we welcome cooler temperatures and colorful foliage, many homeowners might be tempted to pack up the outdoor furniture for the year. Not so fast, we say. Extend the life of your porch or patio by transforming your favorite summer spot into a cozy retreat that’s perfect for enjoying autumn nights outdoors.

Keep It Cozy

When the temperatures begin to drop, consider putting away the umbrella for the season. You’ll not only invite more sunlight to your space during the day, but you’ll also clear the view for stargazing during alfresco dinner parties. To bring more warmth to the area once the sun sets, circle a few outdoor chairs around a firepit. Make sure you keep the sparks at bay by picking a fireplace with a mesh lid.

To make things even cozier, layer on comfort with outdoor pillows. Swap out summer’s tropical hues for classic fall colors. Orange, wine and dark green instantly make the space feel autumn-ready. Make sure to complement the pillows with plenty of soft throw blankets. Chunky, knit options are ideal for snuggling up on the outdoor sofa on chilly nights. If you’re entertaining a large crowd, consider bringing a sharable-sized quilt outside.

Get Creative with Lighting

As the sun starts setting earlier and earlier, it’s important to have enough light on your porch for dark nights. A simple porch light does the trick, but creative lighting is a great way to add ambiance to your space. For instance, outdoor string lights bring an enchanting look to the porch or patio. For a soft glow around the perimeter of your yard, wrap a few long strings of white lights around the trees, shrubs or fence posts. Shorter ones are a gorgeous addition to the tabletop. Simply place them over your runner with an autumn leaf garland for ambient lighting during moonlit meals.

If you need more lighting, nothing creates a more romantic glow than candlelight. To give your outdoor table a fall feel, opt for pillar candles in seasonal colors—orange, red and ivory candles in clear glass holders play up the colors of changing leaves. To diffuse the light, go for white candles in textured glass or metal hurricanes. Lanterns look lovely scattered around the porch. Fill a few with birch candles and others with fall botanicals such as pinecones and acorns.

Looking for something unexpected? Try decoratively carved pumpkins. While the quintessential smiling jack-o’-lantern works well in October, other designs can add ambiance to the porch beyond Halloween. Carve the shapes of acorns, autumn leaves or abstract patterns into gourds, and place a tea light inside of them to show off your handiwork. The fun doesn’t stop with the carving. Rather than tossing the seeds, roast them on a baking sheet and season with salt, pepper or cinnamon for a delicious treat.

Indulge in Fall Flavors

To take the bite off of chilly fall breezes, warm up with hot drinks. Hot apple cider is a fall favorite. Make your own with fresh apples from your local orchard, and simmer in a stock pot with sugar and spices. Serve in glass mugs, garnish with a cinnamon stick and add your choice of liquor if desired. If you’re short on time, simply keep bottles of hard cider and ice in a beverage tub, and provide pint glasses. For kid-friendly beverages on family night, serve hot chocolate in ceramic mugs by the firepit.

For dinner, make the most out of the grill before winter sets in. Tailgate with hot dogs and burgers for casual meals during football season. If you want a more formal dinner party, grill steak or salmon accompanied by hearty sides made with seasonal ingredients such as squash or sweet potatoes. Plate on leaf-decorated or autumn-toned dishes that coordinate with your outdoor decor.

For dessert, make things more interactive with a build-your-own caramel apple station. Provide bowls of warm caramel or chocolate for coating, with plates of chopped nuts and candy for easy rolling. If you’re hosting a bonfire, s’mores are a must. Provide skewers alongside serving bowls full of large marshmallows, and let your guests roast their own. As a twist on the classic, consider setting out cookies as an alternative to graham crackers.

With just a few changes to your porch, you can continue to entertain outdoors well into autumn. Think about inviting everyone to the backyard for a Halloween party, post-football game dinner or a weekend bonfire before winter arrives.

 

Angie Erickson writes inspirational content for Crate and Barrel. She shares entertaining and interior design advice on lifestyle blogs.

 

Smart Home Technology

by Scott Zeller
 

138

 

“Smart Home” Technology Is the Future. Here’s Why

 

Why should you consider upgrading to this increasingly prevalent technology? Let’s explore a few reasons.

Today’s smartphones go a tremendously long way in making some of life’s responsibilities easier to manage. Their ability to interact with home automation tools has contributed significantly to the rise of Smart Home technology. By making the move to this increasingly innovative tech, homeowners can reap significant benefits. It’s not unusual to come across listings these days promoting Smart Home as one of the several features of a home or a condominium residence. Why should you consider upgrading to this increasingly prevalent technology? Let’s explore a few reasons.

Control at the Touch of a Button

Smart appliances create an unprecedented level of control that simply makes life easier. Take for example something like an oven. Let’s say you were in the middle of baking a great meal for your family or friends but you forgot an essential ingredient, forcing you to head to the store. Instead of worrying whether or not you turned the oven off and having to waste valuable time by turning back, just turn it off at the touch of a button. The same idea applies for your air conditioning. You may wish to turn it off completely when you’re not home, or perhaps turn down the temperature a couple of degrees when you’re on your way home. That way when you arrive home, your home is nice and cool.

Better Safety and Accessibility

Besides making sure ovens don’t stay on, your security is dramatically improved. Through a smartphone, you can see who is knocking at your door when someone rings the doorbell, you can lock your doors remotely, or even keep track of when certain people in your home come and go such as when children arrive from school or when an elderly relative is picked up. Speaking of the elderly, voice commands make it much easier for them to perform simple tasks such as turning on the lights, reducing the risk of injury while attempting to fumble for the light switch in a dark room.

Better Use of Energy

Modern smart appliances have advanced enough that they use minimal electricity. Today’s cooktop stoves, for example, are intelligent enough to know that heat should only be applied when there is a metal pan placed on top. With this intelligent technology, homeowners can potentially save money on their electric bill.

Money Savings

The US Environmental Protection Agency published a study showing that using smart thermostats resulted in as much as thirty percent in energy savings for homeowners. When evaluated over a long-term period such as five years, that’s quite the chunk of money being saved. It’s also worth noting that if and when it comes time to sell your home, Smart Home technology may significantly improve the resale value of your home and catch the eye of a buyer looking for something that offers modern conveniences.

Transitioning towards a fully Smart Home equipped home may require a significant investment upfront but again, the long-term rewards outweigh the initial costs. Consider how the technology can benefit you and your family.

 

This update is by The Jills team which includes Jill Eber, Jill Hertzberg, Danny Hertzberg, Hillary Hertzberg, and Felise Eber. Call 305-341-7447 for more information about The Jills team, Miami Beach real estate, or the upscale homes of North Bay Road in Miami Beach.

 

Jill Hertzberg has lived in Miami Beach her entire life and is co-founder of The Jills®, Coldwell Banker’s #1 sales team worldwide and #1 team in Florida. An avid golfer, biker and runner, she goes the extra mile for her clients. Together, The Jills have sold over $3.17 billion in real estate since 2005. Jill also supports numerous organizations such as Camillus House, Jackson Memorial Foundation, United Way of Miami-Dade, Diabetes Research Institute, and Seeds of Peace.

 

Displaying blog entries 1-4 of 4

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Coldwell Banker Snow and Wall
1980 Old Fort Parkway
Murfreesboro TN 37129
Mobile: 615-479-4776
Business: 615-893-1130
Fax: 615-893-3246

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