What Every Real Estate Pro MUST Know about Smart Home

Real estate is constantly changing.  And if you want to stay competitive in this profession, you need to stay on top of current trends.  Everyday consumers are becoming more interested because smart home technology can save time, increase safety and be fun!

Buyers are looking for smart home features when choosing places to live.  It is becoming so popular buyers can specifically choose “Smart Home” as a search category in some markets.

And sellers can set their homes apart by installing smart home features to turn it into a certified smart home! (check out the Smart Home Staging Kit which turns any home into a certified smart home)

Staying on top of smart home trends is a must as a real estate pro.  Here are some tips for today’s “smart” agent:

  1. Smart today may be stupid tomorrow.  It started with Thomas Edison turning on the first light bulb and has evolved to full control of our lighting, security, heating and every other in-home system from our cell phone.  Whatever the latest trend in Smart Home technology, you can be certain that it will continue to evolve, improve and/or go away. There will always be another company creating a smarter, cooler or less expensive product.  Being a smart home expert means learning about the technology and continuing to study future improvements.
  1. Get Certified.  Coldwell Banker offers a Smart Home certification.  It’s more than just a piece of paper, and it’s important to set you apart from those who claim to specialists.  Certification creates standards as to what constitutes a Smart Home, and it sets you apart from your competitors.
  2. Keep it Simple.  Televisions shouldn’t need four remotes to make them work!  You should be able to turn on your outside lights without reading a manual. Smart homes need to be user-friendly and liveable.  Home buyers can be intimidated by overly complicated systems which only a 12-year old can operate.
  3. Integration.  Consumers have found themselves owning products like Nest thermostats, Amazon Echos, Lutron lighting systems and more.  Each one has its own app (and learning curve).  I don’t know about you, but if I called my wife by the wrong name, I’d be in trouble!  If you say “Hey Siri” to your Alexa, you are certain to get the silent treatment.  Don’t even think about calling her Google!  When you pick a smart home format, you are in a long-term relationship, and you can only do that successfully with an integrated system.
  4. Source CB Blue Matter Blog
Posted on January 9, 2018 at 8:24 am
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: real estate, small home | 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 , , , , , , , ,

Privacy-Minded Home Security Options for the Camera Averse

As a homeowner, security and privacy can be an important priority. Learn about how to secure your home without always keeping a watchful eye.

Guest post by Eric Murrell 

It’s never been easier to secure your home, thanks to an abundance of new gadgets on the market. Setups that once required professional installation and thousands of dollars in highly technical equipment are now easy to put together with off-the-shelf products and a few inexpensive apps. It’s a great time to be a consumer, and frankly, a bad time to be a criminal.

All of these new gadgets and services are great, but what if you’re worried about your privacy? Hacks and security breaches in the news—or simply the fear of loss of privacy between family members—have made some people uncomfortable with a camera-based security system inside their home. Thankfully, you can still make high-tech upgrades to your home to keep you safe without always keeping a watchful eye.

The first option to consider is a modern twist on a classic home security setup: motion sensors. Whether it’s a motion-sensitive light on your front porch or a few sensors placed around the home, motion-activated lights and alarms can be a surprisingly effective deterrent to the average thief.

Using today’s smart home technology, it’s easier than ever to add battery-operated sensors to strategic spots around your home. Both inexpensive and easy-to-install, these new sensors can trip lights and alarms like the old ones, but can also pair with a smart home hub to send instant alerts to your smartphone the moment an intruder is detected. Take a close look at your new thermostat or other smart devices; many include motion sensors that are already built-in.

To add an additional layer of security, purchase smart door and window sensors that serve as a first line of defense from the outside world. Like the motion sensors, inexpensive models are available that integrate with most smart home platforms. It’s simple to configure open and closed alerts, but you might find it even more helpful as a passive form of home security. Worried that you forgot to close the garage door after letting the dog out? By taking a quick glance at an app while you work, you can know for sure.

Even if you rule out in-home smart cameras, do consider having smart cameras outside your home so you can see if packages are delivered and if there are any trespassers in your yard. The most well-regarded systems now include location-based privacy features that use your smartphone to automatically adjust their settings, offering an unprecedented combination of privacy and security. Using the GPS signal from your phone, it’s easy to activate your full security network when you leave the house, and have the cameras automatically turn a blind eye the second you pull in the garage.

Security is personal for every family. Explore your device options, and even ask your internet service provider if they offer a home security solution, as bundling services often results in additional savings. Likewise, your ISP may offer the ability to control all of your existing home security gadgets from a centralized app. Whether you install array of sneaky sensors or smart locks, there are a wealth of connected home devices that can help keep your family safe without betraying their privacy. A good night’s sleep is only an app away.

Source: Coldwell Banker Blue Matter Blog

Posted on September 12, 2017 at 3:36 pm
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: Alexa, Apps, burglary, crime, gadgets, insurance, real estate, safety, security | 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 , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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 , , , , , , ,