Best of CES: Smartest Home Improvements for 2018

The 2018 Consumer Electronics Show was one for the books. This was my fourth year going and my biggest takeaway was that smart home tech is evolving at break neck speeds. The smart home show floor was massive and each category from security to entertainment is getting saturated with truly amazing concepts and products. Here were some of our absolute favorites in case you missed them…

In addition to all of the awesome items mentioned above, here were even more of our favorite smart home improvements…

Improving Your Smart Home’s “Brain”

What is the biggest downfall of smart home tech? To me, it is often the lack of one streamlined operating flow. With a ton of different apps and operating systems sometimes smart home tech can actually feel a little dumb.

The good news? At this year’s show it seemed like almost every single product integrated with Amazon’s Alexa or Google’s Home product. So the first smart home improvement you should make is picking one of these systems and finding products that sync with them. Which one is better? According to Forbes, Amazon is winning the race.

Improving Your Garage (and mental health)

Did you shut it?

Did you?

I can’t remember.

I’m pretty sure you did.

I am turning around…I have to check.

Have you had this conversation with their significant other or perhaps even yourself about your garage door? We have it at a few times a month at my house. That is why the Roost Smart Garage Door Sensor made my list. With a combination of home protection and peace of mind, this WiFi connected door sensor sends you a notification telling you if your door in open or closed. The biggest drawback though? If you did leave it open there is nothing it can do for you. Still a great product for those who get open door anxiety like me! Roost also has some other cool smart home devices you can learn about here.

This will be available sometime in the spring and will be priced at $40.

Improving The Safety In An Elderly Person’s Home

I believe there is no price you can place on the safety of a loved one. Especially when it comes to the safety of an elderly parent. If you

Improving Your Home’s Cleanliness

Over the past few year’s robo vacuum cleaners have gained popularity with products like the Roomba. If you enjoy having one (or have one on your wishlist) I have a feeling you’re also going to love the Cop Rose Window Cleaning Robot. Window cleaning is a tedious task and if you have pets or small children, it can feel like a never ending chore with little hand and nose prints everywhere you turn. This smart window cleaner will keep windows, as well as other vertical surfaces, in tip top shape with a touch of a button from your smart phone. It can also be used floors and walls.

At $150, this product is a great way to avoid one of most dreaded household chores. More information here.

Improving Your Home Gym

Peloton has already built a cult like following around their bike product and and now they’re hoping to do the same around their new treadmill called the Peloton Tread. The fancy treadmill is equipped with a 32 inch touchscreen display that allows the runner to stream classes in a studio like setting from NYC’s best instructors.

The Peloton Tread comes with a hefty price tag at $4,000 PLUS an additional $39 monthly fee for live classes. It will start shipping this fall but you can reserve one now.

 

Bonus Product: Improving Your Kitchen Gadget Collection

While this isn’t technically a smart home improvement I couldn’t help but share one of my personal favorites from the show which was the Coravin Model 11.  Have you ever wanted to drink just one glass of wine but passed because you didn’t want to ruin the bottle? The model 11 allows you to enjoy a glass without ever removing the cork or damaging the wine itself. This “first ever” fully connected automatic wine preservation opener works by placing a super thing needle through the cork. Check it out:

Like the Peloton Treadmill, this item comes with a large price tag at $1,000 but if you are serious about your wine then this is totally worth it splurge.

Source: CB Blue Matter Blog

Posted on January 17, 2018 at 8:42 am
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: Alexa, Google, real estate, Smart Homes | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Turn Them Blue

Many companies have already incorporated smart home tech into their daily business. Some have installed smart locks, lights or thermostats in the office. Many have encouraged agents to take the Coldwell Banker Smart Home course. The first-and-only course of its kind created for real estate agents. Companies have also encouraged agents to talk about the benefits of smart home tech in listing presentations.

Have you considered how you can use the brand’s leadership in the Smart Home space as a way to set your company apart and attract new agents to your office?  

Even for agents who haven’t yet had a transaction that included smart home tech in one way or another, chances are good that they will in 2018. Most aren’t going to be prepared. And many may not even know where to go to find information on how smart home can or should fit into their business.

January is Smart Home Month here at Coldwell Banker. We are kicking the month off with our sponsorship of the Smart Home Marketplace at CES (Consumer Electronic Show) in Las Vegas! We will have agents from around the country creating content specifically to help other agents understand how to use Smart Home in their own business. This is a great opportunity for you to reach out to the agents in your market, offer them information and demonstrate the value you can add to their business. Here are a few questions to start with:

  • Have you considered how to talk about smart home tech during a listing presentation?
  • Do you know what you would say if a client asked you about the value of smart home tech during a purchase or sale?
  • Have you thought about using smart home as a reason to get in front of your sphere and network in the new year?

Every day in January we will be adding new tips, tricks and best practices for incorporating smart home tech into a real estate business, along with new product spotlights. All of this content can be found at ces.coldwellbanker.com. That means every day there is a new reason to talk to your list of prospects.

Showing agents the power and importance of this technology in the sale of a home, is yet another way you can bring value to agents in your office and attract those not yet affiliated. Leverage the leadership of Coldwell Banker in this area to deliver a clear edge for agents by sharing insights into state-of-the-art smart home technologies and how to leverage them to dominate the marketplace.

From content to conferences, Coldwell Banker is collecting and delivering leading edge insights during Smart Home Month to help you understand how the smart home boom impacts real estate:

  • CES: Catch Coldwell Banker on the floor of CES, Jan. 9-12 as the exclusive sponsor of the Smart Home Marketplace, which has grown every year since we began our sponsorship in 2016. It’s now over 114,000 square feet.
  • Consumer Survey: Find out how consumers view smart home tech, what they expect agents to know about it and how they react to VR. Spoiler alert – they love it!
  • Inman Connect New York: Coldwell Banker sponsors ICNY, Jan. 22-26, and hosts an exclusive lunch and learn on Jan. 23 where participants get the inside track on how to use smart home to market themselves and their listings.
  • Daily Content: Get an agent’s perspective on how smart home tech can benefit your real estate business with video and blog posts straight from the CES show floor.
  • Case Studies: Two case studies – one from T3 Sixty and one from Samsung – will explore how agents can be the early adopters of smart home in their market and how VR can truly set a listing apart.

If you’re already affiliated with Coldwell Banker and want to learn more about our Smart Home initiative, visit CB Exchange and search “Smart Home.”

If you would like to know what Coldwell Banker agents have access to, head to coldwellbanker.com/join and explore the possibilities of moving your business to Coldwell Banker.

Posted on January 8, 2018 at 9:20 am
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: Alexa, gadgets, real estate, Smart Homes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Smart Home Month is Here

If you’re like most agents, you’re finalizing your plan for how to make the most of 2018. And if you’re like most agents, you probably haven’t considered how you are going to use smart home tech to get a leg up on the competition this year.

If you haven’t already had a transaction that included smart home tech in one way or another, chances are good that it you will in 2018. Are you prepared?

  • Have you considered how to talk about smart home tech during a listing presentation?
  • Do you know what you would say if a client asked you about the value of smart home tech during a purchase or sale?
  • Have you thought about using smart home as a reason to get in front of your sphere and network in the new year?

Lucky for you, January happens to be Smart Home Month here at Coldwell Banker. Every day in January you’ll be able to find tips, tricks and best practices for incorporating smart home tech into your real estate business. Bookmark ces.coldwellbanker.com and check back daily to find all this, plus new product spotlights and posts that you can share with your sphere and even a few exclusive product giveaways (for the Coldwell Banker network)!

Understanding the power and importance of this technology in the sale or purchase of a home, is yet another way you can bring value to your clients. From content to conferences, Coldwell Banker is collecting and delivering leading insights during Smart Home Month to help give you an edge and build your understanding of how the smart home boom impacts real estate:

  • CES (Consumer Electronic Show): Catch Coldwell Banker on the floor of CES, Jan. 9-12 as the exclusive sponsor of the Smart Home Marketplace. Which has grown every year since we began our sponsorship in 2016. It’s now over 114,000 square feet.
  • Consumer Survey: Find out how consumers view smart home tech, what they expect agents to know about it and how they react to VR. Spoiler alert – they love it!
  • Inman Connect New York: Coldwell Banker sponsors ICNY, Jan. 22-26, and hosts an exclusive lunch and learn on Jan. 23 where participants get the inside track on how to use smart home to market themselves and their listings.
  • Daily Content: Get an agent’s perspective on how smart home tech can benefit your real estate business with video and blog posts straight from the CES show floor.
  • Case Studies: Two case studies – one from T3 Sixty and one from Samsung – will explore how agents can still be the early adopter of smart home in their market and how VR can truly set your listing apart.

The leadership of Coldwell Banker in this area delivers a clear edge to agents and brokers who embrace the smart home trend. By leveraging these insights into state-of-the-art smart home technology you can further dominate your market.

If you’re already affiliated with Coldwell Banker and want to learn more about our Smart Home initiative, visit CB Exchange and search “Smart Home.”

If you would like to know what Coldwell Banker agents have access to, head to coldwellbanker.com/join and explore the possibilities of moving your business to Coldwell Banker.

Source: CB Blue Matter Blog

Posted on January 5, 2018 at 3:43 pm
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: Alexa, Smart Homes | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

What You Need to Know About Solar Panels

Once you have decided to install solar panels, it’s important to research which solar panels are best for you, your home and your budget.

Guest post by Lauren White 

The solar panel industry has developed exponentially, in the past decade. Much of that is owed to increased demand. According to the Department of Energy, Americans use 23 times more solar energy now than we did around ten years ago.

Homeowners have more solar energy options than ever before. In order to meet demand and outshine the competition, companies are putting their resources toward research and development. They are constantly working toward creating more efficient and innovative solar energy technology.

Once you have decided to install solar panels, it’s important to research which solar panels are best for you, your home and your budget. There are generally three solar panel choices for residential homes: Thin-Film, Polycrystalline and Monocrystalline. These three panels are part of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, which means they convert the sun’s photons into electricity.

Thin-Film

Perfect for: The homeowner with a small budget, a low-to-average rate of energy consumption, and lots of area for installation.

The cells of thin-film panels are constructed by layering photovoltaic material on glass, metal or plastic. These layers can be measured in nanometers, significantly thinner than in traditional panels. Their thin construction makes them lightweight and flexible, and they have a low cost of production. As such, they come at a lower cost to consumers.

One drawback of this technology is its rate of degradation. These solar panels have an average life expectancy of 10-15 years, depending on the photovoltaic material used. Comparatively, monocrystalline solar panels have a life expectancy of 25-35 years.

Another drawback is their low efficiency rating of 7-15%. This rate doesn’t work well for homes consuming more than the national average of 11,000 kWh per year. Also, these panels must be installed over a significant amount of space, which can be a deterrent for homeowners with limited area for installation.

In recent years, technology has improved and certain thin-film technologies are pushing past 20% efficiency. With a higher efficiency rating, this technology can meet higher energy demands and become a greater competitor in the market.

Polycrystalline

Perfect for: The eco-conscious homeowner with wiggle room in their budget, an average rate of energy consumption, and perhaps a penchant for the color blue.

Polycrystalline panels are constructed by melting silicon into molds to create perfect square “wafers.’ These wafers of silicon are then installed on a grid to form the panel. The cost of making these panels is relatively low and the process produces minimal waste. This makes polycrystalline a more affordable option than the original solar panel, monocrystalline.

The efficiency rating for polycrystalline panels is typically 13-16%. They would perform best in homes with typical rates of consumption. You will still need a significant amount of installation space, for these panels, in order to achieve optimal benefits. You must also take into consideration whether or not your taste will agree with their blue tint.

Monocrystalline

Perfect for: The homeowner with less roof space for installation and/or a higher rate of energy consumption, who wants a longer-lasting product and can make a sizeable investment.

Monocrystalline panels were the first solar panels to be made available. Currently, they are some of the most expensive. Each panel is created using high-purity silicon cut into “wafers.” These silicon wafers are extremely efficient at converting photons into energy, with monocrystalline panels hovering around a 22% efficiency rating.

Since these panels can convert more energy per square foot, you won’t need as much space for installation. Greater energy conversion also means you’ll be able to power more appliances, like hot tubs, heated pools and electric cars.

Get What You Pay for—and Then Some

In most cases, homeowners surveyed by HomeAdvisor say the cost of installing solar panels is much less than their projected energy savings over a twenty year period. In fact, it’s been estimated that, in 2017, homeowners in Massachusetts and California will save double their investment in solar energy.

Calculate Your Estimated Savings

If you’re not sure of your ROI, Google has a convenient tool called Project Sunroof, which will calculate your estimated savings based on your specific home address. As for your installation cost, you can request local estimates through HomeAdvisor to get a realistic figure for budgeting.

While you’re doing your research, or when you are speaking with a professional, see what’s new and on the horizon in the industry. These technologies are developing so rapidly, there are breakthroughs on a yearly basis. In July of 2017, for example, scientists developed a solar cell with 44.5% efficiency. There is hope that this technology, and others like it, can be streamlined and integrated into the residential and commercial solar market.

Source: Coldwell Banker Blue Matter Blog

Posted on September 14, 2017 at 9:02 am
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: construction, energy, inspections, real estate, Smart Homes, Solar, summer | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Our Future is Now: The Coldwell Banker Brand Anthem

The power of the Coldwell Banker brand – in one customizable video (and downloadable eCards). View the brand anthem video and get your very own now.

From the CB Zap platform, award-winning CBx Listing Experience App, smart home initiative and record breaking ad campaigns, Coldwell Banker Real Estate has the resources that can help you lead your market and exceed your goals.

Watch above as we show exactly why Coldwell Banker is the real estate brand with real advantages.  And the best part is you can customize this video and download an eCard for promotional use in your local market!

The Coldwell Banker network is filled with trailblazers, trendsetters and doers.  By affiliating with the brand, your business demonstrates a power, reach and recognition of a global brand where we make a difference in the lives of others.

 

Source: Coldwell Banker Blue Matter Blig

Posted on August 14, 2017 at 8:58 am
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: community, equity, family, Homeowners, neighborhood, real estate, Smart Homes, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

“Alexa: Open Gen Blue News”

Thanks to Amazon, “Alexa” has become a household name. Now, Coldwell Banker is turning up the volume with a Skill for agents and brokers to get real estate news on-the-fly. We’re calling it Coldwell Banker Gen Blue News. Want to learn more? Let us break it down for you.

What’s a Skill? An Amazon Alexa Skill is an app for the voice-controlled Amazon Echo speakers.

How does it work? Once you enable the skill, just prompt Alexa with, “Alexa, open Gen Blue News.” In less than 90 seconds, Gen Blue News delivers best practices, industry insights and quick challenges to help you grow your business.

Why develop the Skill? Coldwell Banker surveyed its brokers and agents and found that 79 percent of respondents would be interested in a smart home speaker, like an Amazon Echo or Dot, that was equipped with real estate news and industry insights. Your wish is our command!

What can I expect from the Gen Blue News Skill? Episodes will feature quick tips and useful info to stay ahead in the market, challenges to act on immediately to drive business and agent success stories that offer an important dose of inspiration.

Who can I expect to hear from in the Gen Blue News Skill? You’ll hear the voices of brand leadership, industry insiders and the brokers and agents who make up the Coldwell Banker network. The first episode of the Skill features Brad Inman, founder and owner of Inman News, the leading source for real estate industry news. This episode is all about how agents can suit up for change with the innovative technology available in the real estate business.

How can I try this out for myself? You can search for the Coldwell Banker Gen Blue News Skill in the Amazon Alexa smartphone app, or using your Amazon Echo or Echo Dot, you can ask Alexa, “Enable Coldwell Banker Gen Blue News.”

Don’t have an Amazon Echo or Echo Dot? Don’t worry, the Echo Dot is available as part of the Smart Home Staging Kit alongside products from Nest, August and Lutron. Or you can buy on the Amazon Marketplace. If you’re with Coldwell Banker please log-in to Coldwell Banker Exchange to get your exclusive discount code.

Learn more about the Coldwell Banker “Home of the Week Skill” here!

*Article from Coldwell Banker Blue Matter Blog

Posted on August 3, 2017 at 2:46 pm
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: Alexa, appliances, Apps, Buyers, buying, community, Entertainment, financing, gadgets, real estate, Smart Homes, technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

4 Steps to Take After Your Home Has Been Burglarized

Your worst nightmare…arriving home to find that you have been the victim of a burglary. Home Invasion. Loss of your precious privacy and belongings. While nothing can take away that feeling, here are a few steps you can take while you recover from the shock of it all.

What would you do if you came home and found your house was broken into and your property stolen? For millions of Americans every year, this nightmare is a reality. In 2010, there were 2,159,878 burglaries in the U.S., equivalent to nearly 700 break-ins per 100,000 people, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Most victims in this situation find themselves totally unprepared and at a loss for what to do. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to regain control of the situation, improve the odds of recovering your property, and prevent your home from being broken into again.

Call the Police
Call the police when you spot the first sign of a break-in. The intruder may still be on your property and pose a threat to your safety. Seven percent of all home burglaries involve violence against household members, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

You also need to call the police to get your case on file for insurance and legal purposes. A police report and investigation increases the strength of your insurance claim, as well as your odds of retrieving your property. The police also need to record crime scene evidence which can help convict suspects if they are caught. Don’t touch anything before the police arrive so that you don’t accidentally destroy evidence, such as fingerprints.

When the police arrive, they will want you to file a report. Take pictures to document what was stolen, and provide the police with a list of everything that was taken and its approximate value. As a preventive measure, it’s wise to take an inventory of valuable items ahead of time in case you are ever robbed.

Call Your Insurance Company
You should also copy your list of stolen items for your insurance provider. To maximize your odds of receiving reimbursement for stolen items, contact your insurance provider within 24 hours. They will need your police report to process your claim, so make sure you have already filed a police report before calling. Your insurance provider will probably send an adjuster to review the crime scene, so in order to avoid disrupting the evidence, you may wish to stay somewhere else until they arrive, if possible.

Review Your Security Camera Footage
If you have security cameras installed on your property, you should review them to see if there is any additional evidence. If you’re fortunate, you may have captured footage of the burglar breaking in, walking through rooms, or rummaging through items. You may also notice more clues or additional information about which items were stolen. Provide copies of any relevant footage to the police and to your insurance provider.

Evaluate Your Home Security
After the police and your insurance adjuster have finished reviewing the crime scene, you can begin cleaning up. You should also conduct a review of your home’s security with an eye towards preventing future burglaries. Once burglars have successfully broken into a home, they often return in the future, so it’s important to make sure you secure any vulnerabilities that enabled the initial break-in. The National Crime Prevention Council provides a home security checklist you can use to review your home security and identify any vulnerabilities that need to be fixed.

Having your home broken into is a traumatic and disturbing experience, but taking these steps can help you recover and restore your life to order as quickly as possible. Filing a report with the police, calling your insurance company, and reviewing your security footage will maximize your chances of getting your property returned and bringing those responsible to justice. Reviewing your home security can help prevent future burglaries and restore your peace of mind.

Source: RisMedia

 

Posted on July 26, 2017 at 2:41 pm
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: burglary, crime, Police, real estate, safety, security, Smart Homes, Uncategorized, Vacation | Tagged , , , , , , ,

9 Home Gadgets to Save Energy and Entertain

Who doesn’t love a great gadget?!  Isn’t it interesting what sort of great ideas these companies come up with?

So you’re up for making your home truly state-of-the-art? I’ve got a great list for you. Here are nine gadgets to be on the lookout for:

Moen’s U lets you customize the perfect shower before ever stepping in with just a few taps on your smartphone.

Smart and Blue’s Hydrao smart showerheads let you instantly control your water consumption and energy needed to heat it by lighting up the water spray with different colors depending on the amount of water used—and it’s powered by the shower’s natural water-flow.

Luke Roberts Smart Light – This LED pendant lamp, from Austrian startup Luke Roberts, lets you place light in any direction, illuminating only certain areas of a room through simple gestures on your phone.

Kuri – Created by Mayfield Robotics, this app uses a camera to check on pets, kids, or guests when you’re away. It sets reminders, uses Wi-Fi to connect to things like weather reports, and works with IFTTT to control some connected devices, according to CNET.com.

Hello Egg – From RnD64, this works with the Eggspert web and mobile application to fully automate planning weekly meals, supervising the pantry, organizing shopping lists, and even ordering grocery delivery. Hello Egg also projects voice-navigated video recipes and answers cooking-related questions with a connected 24/7 support team of cooking experts.

CUJO creates a guarded firewall gateway between your devices and their connection to the internet by analyzing for malicious intent, whether it’s coming in from the internet, going out to the internet, or making moves across your network.

AirTV is the only major streaming platform that integrates local over-the-air (OTA) programming with your streaming services. Just add an AirTV Adapter and an OTA antenna to get local channels in HD, without a monthly cable bill.

Sony A1E – Unlike most TV speakers, sound comes to you from the entire screen, immersing you in a new entertainment experience—if there can be such a thing!

LG W7 – Capturing Best of the Best recognition at CES 2017, the W7’s picture-on-wall design allows the television to lay virtually flat so it seems blend with the wall and disappear.

Source: RisMedia

Posted on June 16, 2017 at 10:49 am
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: appliances, energy, Entertainment, gadgets, real estate, security, Smart Homes, television, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

6 Easy DIY Projects That Will Boost Your Home’s Value

 

Not only will these DIY’s boost your home’s value, but you get to enjoy them too.

The satisfaction of creating something productive is powerful!

Your house is likely to be the biggest investment you make in your entire life. Whether you’re planning to sell it or you’re there for the long haul, it is important to take care of your investment. As any real estate agent will tell you, the first thing people notice about your home is the exterior. You need strong curb appeal to make a good first impression.

With that in mind, here are six simple DIY projects to help boost your home’s value:

Invest in Your Landscaping
Landscaping is often regarded as one of the top three ways to add value to your home in terms of return on investment. HomeGain.com conducted a survey of 2,000 brokers in 2007. The results indicated you could possibly quadruple an investment of $400-$500 on well-planned landscaping.

That said, just throwing a couple hundred dollars at plants is not a good approach. Instead, focus on creating a healthy, vibrant lawn. Fill in dead or sparse areas, fertilize, and clean up edges along your sidewalk, pathways and gardens. Trim overgrown bushes and shrubberies and cut down tangled tree branches. Plant flowers and plants to brighten up your landscape—just be sure to plant perennials that will come back year after year, not annuals that will die within a year and never return. Also, look for plants that are native to your region or are drought-tolerant. They need less water and maintenance, saving you money in the long run.

Upgrade Your Front Door
Your front door is the entryway to your home and it sets the tone for the rest of the house. Make a good impression by ensuring your home’s entry point (including the area directly surrounding the door) is attractive and eye-catching.

The first thing to consider here is whether to replace your existing door or not. If the door you have is good quality and a style you like, you can save some money by just freshening it up a bit. Refinish the wood or paint it for a pop of color; clean and polish the hardware or replace it with something that will add more of an accent; and replace the hinges if they are worn. If you decide to replace the door, look for a well-insulated, energy-efficient, secure door; this is not something you want to cut corners on by going with a cheap alternative.

Illuminate With Outdoor Lighting
Outdoor/exterior lighting adds value to your home in three important ways. First, it helps keep you and your family safe. It’s important to be able to see where you are going to avoid a fall. Second, it adds a layer of security. Keeping your property well-lit is a good way to deter a would-be thief from targeting your home. Third, it enhances the aesthetics of your property. Show off your beautiful home and well-maintained landscape.

Consider which of these aspects are important to you. If safety is your goal, focus on pathways, entryways and steps. If you are more concerned with security, perimeter lighting set on timers and motion-activated flood lights are your best bet. If you want to add curb appeal, light up your trees, unique landscape elements, and water features.

The second thing to consider is what type of lighting to go with. Solar is great because you don’t need wiring and don’t have to pay for power. LED lights produce a bright, crisp light and are energy-efficient. Halogen lighting, though affordable, is being phased out for the most part. Consider replacing existing halogen bulbs with LED replacements (also called LED retrofitting).

Discover the Magic of Pressure Washing
You see your home every day, so you might not notice as it slowly gets dirty and the colors and features become dusty and dim. Just spending an afternoon with the power washer can dramatically add some pop and resuscitate your curb appeal.

First and foremost, read the instructions and specifications of the pressure washer you purchased or rented. Check the water flow in gallons per minute in addition to the PSI, and get one with different pressure settings if possible. Confirm it is okay to use on all the areas you are planning to wash to ensure nothing will be damaged. You’ll probably be okay on things like sidewalks and driveways, but double check that your siding and windows can withstand the pressure. Turn off power to electrical outlets and fixtures and cover them. You may also want to cover plants and flowers if they are close to your house or the area you’ll be cleaning. You’ll likely want to use detergent (only use detergent that is specifically made for pressure washers) for the grimier parts of the job.

Create a Beautiful, Functional Space With a Fire Pit
Adding a fire pit is a cheap, simple way to help get the most out of your outdoor space by breaking it up into different areas. Fire pits consistently poll well among potential homebuyers (especially younger ones), and came in first in expected popularity of design elements, according to the Residential Landscape Architecture Trends Survey. One of the great things about taking on this project is that it can be as simple or as grand as you like. You could DIY a very basic one for as little as $150, or you could go all out and include a gas line (with professional help) and a fancy fixture if you have a bigger budget at your disposal. If you are not as handy, you can get a kit with everything you need and step-by-step instructions. However, building your own fire pit is not overly complicated and will allow you to completely customize it to fit your personal taste.

Upgrade Your Home’s Technology
These days, homebuyers want the latest technology. It’s easy to understand why when you look at all the amazing things technology can do for your household. Having these advanced features can be what sets your home apart from similar ones on the market.

You can install smart locks for added safety and convenience. You’ll never have to stumble around trying to get your keys out of your pocket while carrying groceries again, thanks to Bluetooth technology that will pick up on your phone approaching—and you’ll never stress again wondering if you forgot to lock the door when you rushed out. Smart sprinklers can save time and money. The sprinkler system can adjust based on weather patterns and temperature so you’ll save money by not wasting water.

These are all projects that offer a good return on your investment and can be done without a professional, saving you around 40-60 percent of what you might be charged. Plus, these projects can be wrapped up within a couple days, meaning you could conquer them over the course of a weekend or two. Get out there and start building some sweat equity the smart way!

Source: RisMedia

 

Posted on June 16, 2017 at 10:36 am
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: backyard, curb appeal, DIY, landscaping, maintenance, real estate, Smart Homes, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Coldwell Banker Real Estate Gets Vocal – Announcing Our First Amazon Alexa Skill

Smart Home Ready!  Meet Alexa and Coldwell Bankers first Alexa skill!

Coldwell Banker teamed up with Amazon’s Alexa to create its first Alexa skill, an extension of the popular Home of the Week series.

We’ve all heard that real estate is local, but Coldwell Banker has put its own spin on the adage, declaring all real estate is Vocal by announcing its first Amazon Alexa Skill, which will be available by the end of June.

What’s a Skill? An Amazon Alexa Skill is essentially an app for Amazon’s voice controlled Echo speakers.

How does it work? By prompting Amazon’s voice assistant with Alexa, Ask Coldwell Banker for the Home of the Week,users will hear a one-minute description of a featured Coldwell Banker listing and can be connected to their local Coldwell Banker office. The Skill is an extension of the Home of the Week video series which profiles the hottest Coldwell Banker listings each week.

Why develop the Skill? Consumer demand spurred development of the skill after a January Coldwell Banker survey found that 72% of consumers with smart home tech wanted voice control products. Coldwell Banker also surveyed nearly 1,000 Coldwell Banker real estate professionals and found that 79% of respondents report that home buyers are interested in smart home technology, underscoring growing demand for voice controlled assistants and other smart home devices.

Not only will this fulfill consumer demand, it will also provide agents with the ability to market their listings in a new and exciting way. Alexa users will be connected with their local Coldwell Banker office through the Alexa smartphone app.

How can I try this out for myself? If you have an Amazon Echo or Echo Dot, you can search for the Coldwell Banker Home of the Week Skill in the Amazon Alexa smartphone app, or simply ask Alexa to Enable Coldwell Banker Home of the Week later this month.

If you don’t already own an Echo or Echo Dot you’re in luck! Coldwell Banker is thrilled to announce that the Echo Dot will be joining its existing Smart Home Staging Kit alongside products from Nest, August and Lutron. Now homeowners and agents showing smart homes can control the house’s core functions through simple voice commands.

Interested in buying your own kit? Be sure to visit SmartHomeStaging.com and speak to your Coldwell Banker agent to take advantage of the exclusive promotional pricing!

So what’s next? Coldwell Banker looks forward to expanding its voice control capabilities for agents, buyers and sellers in the near future. Stay tuned!

Source: CB Blue Matter

Posted on June 6, 2017 at 2:55 pm
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: Alexa, real estate, Smart Homes, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , ,

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