Wayne, Washtenaw, Oakland and Livingston County Real Estate News

Aug. 23, 2019

Ideas for Displaying your Favorite Art?

Whether you have a large piece that you want to display or a collection of your favorite art, picking a place is crucial for the look and feel of your living space. Click through to learn some tips for displaying your favorite art.

Artist Damai Ayo said, "Art should make you think and feel. It doesn't have to match your couch." You can have a collection of eclectic pieces or focus on a specific style to decorate your home. Whatever you have, it should be displayed in a way that helps you enjoy it and makes it accessible to everyone in your home. Here are some tips for displaying your favorite art. 

Across, not behind
We've all done it. You have a huge art piece, so you hang it over your bed or over your sofa. But is that really the best use of space? In your bedroom, consider hanging the art across from the bed instead. This way, you can see and appreciate it when you're turning in for the night. The same is true with your sofa. You don't need a large art piece centered over it. Put it on a wall where people will see it. 

Asymmetrical collection
If you have a number of small pieces in varying sizes, take some time to assemble an asymmetrical collection. Lay the art on your floor, arranging the patterns until it's pleasing to your eye. Take a photo and use that as a template to place the art on your wall. 

Scattered on shelves
Art doesn't have to be hung; you can lean it for a lovely effect. In fact, many collectors recommend having leaned art throughout your home. Lean large pieces on shelves instead of nailing them to the wall. Put assorted smaller pieces around the room on shelves or dedicated picture rails. 

3D visual art
People tend to collect a lot of images, whether prints, photos or posters, but don't forget 3D visual art such as sculpture. Place larger pieces on the floor and scatter smaller pieces on shelves and tables around your living space. Put several together to form a collection. 

Break the rules
Of course, even after considering all of this, don't be afraid to break the rules. Put things together that tradition says don't match. Be bold with colors and size. There shouldn't be a rule about art. Whatever you love, you should display. 

 
Aug. 23, 2019

Build That Game Room!?

Do you have an unfinished basement just begging to be turned into a rec room? There are a number of ways you can make a fun space in your basement — use your imagination. Click through to learn how to get started.

An unfinished or partially finished basement is a blank canvas waiting for your wildest imagination. You can be as creative as you want with a space that only you, your family and your closest friends will spend time in. A basement rec room can take on a lot of roles, such as a fun bar, an entertainment room, a music room, a game room or a television room. Whatever you can imagine, you can do. But how do you get started?

Decide on the Main Theme

What do you want to accomplish with your build-out? Do you want it to look like a traditional English pub? Or maybe the throne room of your favorite fantasy series? You could even create the perfect fan cave to celebrate your favorite sports theme. 

Once you know what you want to do, you can start making plans for construction. Depending on the current state of your basement, it could be as simple as hanging some memorabilia on the walls. If you need to build out walls or install flooring, know that those processes will take longer. 

Ensure You Have the Right Lighting

Unless you have a walkout or sunlit basement, you'll also need to consider lighting. Even in a walkout basement, the sunlight may not filter through the entire space, so there will be darker corners that need new lights. Lighting can be easy to do with lamps, but if you need to do more, contact an electrician. 

A professional can come in and make sure the lighting is installed correctly and you have everything you need to make a warm and inviting space for friends and family to gather. 

Hide Ducts, Pipes or the Furnace

The basement is usually the place where all the mechanical workings of your home reside. This means ducts for your heating and cooling system, pipes for your plumbing, your furnace and hot water heater, and maybe even your laundry. 

If you're creating a space for gatherings, you will want to isolate those things so they're out of sight. There is a variety of options, from adding a hanging ceiling to partitioning off a room in your basement. You may want to consult an expert to find the best solution.  

Plan the Space

Your basement's layout will dictate the best use of space. For example, if you plan on having a game table, such as a pool table, you'll need to have enough space around it to play comfortably. 

For other functions, you may need space to mount a TV or to build out the pub so the basement doesn't feel too crowded when more than two people are gathered.

 
Aug. 22, 2019

Is Aging in Place Always the Best Option for Seniors?

“Elder orphans” is the phrase du jour in the elder care industry. It describes seniors who are single or widowed and have no children (at least locally) and no support system. They find themselves living alone in the community with no one to help care for them should they need it. This group of “orphans” will increase sharply as baby boomers age and as average life expectancy in the United States continues to stretch toward 80 and beyond.

Like most seniors, I want to age in place—a topic I cover frequently in my blogs. In two previous posts, I explored the prospects for the rest of my life. Will I be able to remain at home, or will circumstances force me to move into a senior residence?

There is no one-size-fits-all roadmap for aging. I have made preparations that will hopefully enable me to remain in my home and receive the support I need, but many seniors fail to plan accordingly. Elder orphans—and their families—surely see the concept of aging in place differently.

Aging in Place: Promoting Independence or Imprisonment?

It’s easy to understand why so many of us wish to remain at home. We like our familiar surroundings and we fear institutionalization, the loss of control we feel it signifies and the financial drain it brings. We often fight to remain in homes we can barely maintain or navigate safely. However, this desire doesn’t negate the fact that almost two million Americans aged 65 and older rarely or never leave their homes. Another six million are considered “semi-homebound.”

Aging in place seems ideal, but it can be dangerous, especially for vulnerable elder orphans who have few or no community ties. The risks they face are detailed in a case study led by Maria Torroella Carney, MD, chief of geriatric and palliative care medicine at Northwell Health in New Hyde Park, New York.

“As independent individuals, they have functioned sufficiently well on their own and thus do not actively plan for their medical future,” explains Carney and her fellow researchers. “As they age and decline, they realize, often too late, that they can no longer complete many of the tasks that they were previously able to do. Stemming from this inability, elder orphans may no longer access the care that they need, and acute, possibly preventable, medical events occur that can easily lead to hospitalization.”

For those of us aged 80 and older, more than three-quarters still live in their own homes. This may seem inspiring at first glance, but a 2014 study found that seniors in assisted living facilities actually got outside more often compared to those who remained in their own homes.

While aging in place may bring seniors a sense of control, it requires a variety of services and supports to be a successful long-term living arrangement, especially for the oldest and frailest of us. Seeking out and managing most of these essential services requires a support team, money and flexibility among team members to manage a senior’s ever-changing needs.

A Common Aging in Place Scenario

Aging is tough. I can attest that the support of family and friends is crucial, regardless of whether one wishes to age in place or not. To highlight some of the difficulties elder orphans often face, I decided to create a fictional character named Jim. He’s not a real person but a composite of several people I know or know about.

Now 74, Jim had been the CEO of a large manufacturing company in Cleveland. He stayed on the job beyond the usual retirement age of 65 because he enjoyed it. Tellingly, he had been known to say, “If I’m not president of this company, then I’m not sure who I am...”

Jim has had Parkinson’s disease (PD) for nine years, and the disease finally forced him to retire four years ago. He and his wife Marie enjoyed an active social life while he was CEO, but Jim’s friendships with work colleagues faded away once he retired. In time, he realized they were just business acquaintances, not true friends. Fortunately, Marie had several close girlfriends, and she and Jim continued to socialize with them and their husbands until she lost her five-year battle with breast cancer about a year ago. Not only did Jim lose his beloved wife, but he also lost his only connection to a social life.

Peter is their only child. He lives in San Francisco with his partner and their adopted daughter. They’re on good terms and speak often by phone.

Thanks to his wife and an excellent long-time executive assistant, Jim never needed to attend to many of his own personal and family needs. As a result, he now struggles to email his son and shop online for the murder mystery books he loves to read. As his PD progresses, daily tasks become increasingly difficult.

Jim and Marie designed and built their lovely home located an hour’s drive from downtown Cleveland. Unfortunately, the large house is a lot for one person to manage by themselves, even without PD. Jim was an avid gardener but now depends on a landscaper to tend to his yard and beloved plants. He recently had to stop driving as well, so he spends most of his time at home alone.

Peter is understandably worried, as his dad’s world gets smaller and smaller. He also sees some warning signs of dementia in his father, but there’s only so much he can do from afar. He has been urging Jim to move into an upscale senior living residence nearby, explaining that the move will provide him with social opportunities and activities that will make him happier and healthier. But Jim says he loves his house and its reminders of Marie and the wonderful life they shared. “I can still get around more or less,” he protests.

As in Jim’s case, the progression into “orphanhood” isn’t typically sudden and often it cannot be easily foreseen. Regardless of individual circumstances, it is important for seniors and their loved ones to acknowledge that alternatives to aging in place may be more beneficial overall.

The Truth About Aging in Place

Many seniors are adamant about remaining in their own homes, which can be a possibility for several years, but this requires careful planning and forethought. Truly aging in place is not about inaction, denial or avoiding change. In fact, for many elders, a realistic plan for aging in place requires downsizing and moving into a more senior-friendly home. But even with a proactive approach to aging, finding the proper in-home supports and putting them in place can be difficult and very costly.

Without a comprehensive plan, seniors often wind up in unhealthy and unsafe living conditions, isolated, and with a reduced quality of life. Instead of fully enjoying their remaining years with their peers and with supports designed to extend their independence, they jeopardize their health and resign themselves to struggling to maintain the status quo.

The truth is that refusing to accept help or change one’s environment or daily routines is typically what contributes to serious health setbacks, eventually forcing the move to senior living that the elder wished to avoid all along. If their condition is grave enough at that point, then it is likely that they won’t be able to fully participate in deciding where they’ll move to.

In aging, as with all challenges we face, it is best to hope for the best and plan for the worst. Without a strategy in mind, there’s no guarantee that we’ll have any control over how and where we age. This is a common, deeply rooted fear for most of us as we grow older, yet many of us allow it to become a self-fulfilling prophecy through our own inaction.

Bruce Webb is a Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES) and has an extensive network of senior related referrals.

 
Posted in News, Senior News
Aug. 22, 2019

Give Yourself a Spa-style Bathroom?

Your bathroom can be an amazing retreat in the center of your own home, and there's no need to spend hundreds of dollars to be pampered when you can just stay home. Click through to see ideas for designing your own spa bathroom.

There is nothing better than lowering yourself into a warm tub surrounded by bubbles with candles lit all around you. Paying for a spa experience can be great, but you can enjoy it every day with your own spa bathroom. With a few simple tricks you can transform any bathroom into an amazing spa experience. Here are some ideas to get you started. 

Repaint the room
Color can go a long way to transforming a space. Whether you decide to go a bright white or a dark, calming color, break out those paint accessories and get going. You can paint just a feature wall or boldly paint the entire space. If you do, make sure you have ample lighting so that you can see when you do get ready for the day. 

Add rich accessories
Spas are always full of accessories. For example, gold mirrors and fixtures can help make the space seem rich and alive. Add fabrics that provide different textures, such as the upholstery on an ottoman or shades on the windows. 

Include live plants
A spa should help you feel alive, and nothing helps with that quite like plants. The lush green foliage can make a room feel warm and pleasant. Choose plants that do well in high humidity environments. Or you can plant lower-maintenance succulents in decorative pots. 

Use plush white linens
When you go to the spa, have you ever noticed that every towel and robe in the place is white? There is a practical reason for this: They're easier to clean with bleach between uses. White linens also feel rich and luxurious and can match anything in your spa space. 

Place candles
Candles are also a staple at a relaxing spa, so spread them around. Choose candles with different sizes and shapes. You can accessorize with different colors or choose all one shade or a neutral white. You may also want to buy candles with relaxing scents that you enjoy. 

Lay a rug down
Putting a rug down will also give your spa bathroom the feel of luxury. Something absorbent and washable is practical, but also choose a texture that feels good on your bare feet when you stand in your new spa space. 

Fill a spa basket
Lastly, whether it's for yourself or guests, put together a spa basket with lotions and soaps that make you feel amazing. This can include bubble bath, bath bombs or essential oils. Scrubs, shampoos, conditioners and whatever else you or your guests need can go in the basket for convenience and décor.

 
July 29, 2019

This Housing Trend May Radically Change Neighborhoods?

Oregon is joining a growing movement to loosen up single-family zoning laws in order to ramp up homebuilding. While several cities have passed similar bills, Oregon could be the first to offer state-level legislation.

Oregon’s House and Senate have passed a measure to require cities with more than 10,000 people to allow duplexes in areas that have been zoned only for single-family homes. In Portland, cities and counties are required to also allow the building of quadplexes and “cottage clusters” of homes around a common yard. The state’s governor is expected to sign the bipartisan bill.

“We all know we have a housing crisis,” Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek said in February. “We need multiple tools. One of them is to smooth and encourage additional construction.”

A single-family home may be too pricey for some families, but duplexes and townhomes may offer greater affordability.

“Every lot that is developed in the city that might be well-suited for townhomes or a duplex or a triplex that is instead developed this year with a single-family home—that was a missed opportunity,” Rep. Julie Fahey, who worked with Kotek on the bill, told Oregon Public Broadcasting.

In December, the Minneapolis city council voted to eliminate single-family zoning and allow duplexes and triplexes throughout the city. California recently considered a bill that would allow quadplexes in neighborhoods zoned for single-family housing and more density near transit, although the bill has been tabled until January 2020.

But critics say that lifting single-family zoning rules won’t necessarily open the door to greater construction. Builders have cited rising labor and lot costs as barriers that are making it more difficult to build lower-priced homes. Also,a  common objections to the increase in density says that relaxing single-family zoning laws would “destroy neighborhoods.”

Potential home buyers are seeking lower-priced homes, but Laura Wood, a Portland real estate professional, told Oregon Public Broadcasting that “I have a lot of first-time home buyers, and they all want exactly what I want. They want a house in a neighborhood.”

 
Posted in Buyer News, News
July 29, 2019

What Color Should You Paint Your Front Door??

Is your front door making the right statement about your home? Does it express your personality and complement your home's style? Click through to learn about color options for your front door and their hidden meanings.

Everyone agrees that curb appeal is essential. Not only do you want to enjoy the look of your own home, it's also the first thing potential homebuyers will see. Since your front door is often exposed to the elements, a fresh coat of paint every few years isn't a bad idea. What color do you choose, and what does your choice say about you? Here are some of the most popular choices.

Bold and Bright

If your homeowner's association allows it, don't be afraid to go bold with your front door color. Some popular colors today include orange, turquoise or teal, or even lime green. There are no limits when it comes to bright and bold. 

These door colors are especially great in areas with less sunny weather. If you live in a high-rainfall area, a bright sunny color can give you a smile as you approach your home. 

Classic Red

Did you know that there is an amazing history behind the color red on a front door? In some places, it meant that travelers were welcome. For others, like the historic town of Savannah, Georgia, a red door meant the house was owned free and clear with no mortgage. Red paint was more expensive, so if you didn't have a mortgage payment, you could afford it. 

Whatever it means to you, red is still an inviting color for a front door. It is classic, welcoming and vibrant enough to stand out. 

Black or White

If you want something subtler, you can stick with basic black or clean white. Either is fine, especially if the rest of your house is painted in a bolder color like blue or red. 

Black will give your front door more depth and can be a great choice for a solid white building, while a white door will stand out well against a darker-colored home. You can even go with an intermediate hue such as a shade of gray. 

Rich Brown 

A brown door is most often solid wood. A stained wood door is a great statement, and you can make it any shade, from light to dark, to match your tastes. 

Or, if you already have a painted door but want that rich brown look, select a brown that coordinates well with your house color. Browns can have a lot of undertones, so don't be afraid to try something fun. 

Posted in News
July 29, 2019

Keep Your Home Safe for Pets?

Is your home safe for your furry, feathered or scaled friends? Creating a protected environment can be trickier than you think! Click through to see the best ways to make your home perfectly safe for your favorite animal companion.

We don't always think about our homes in terms of pet safety. We will childproof a home for a toddler, but puppies and kittens are just as good at finding trouble. There are several hazards in your home that could pose a threat to your pet, so it's a good idea to take some time to address and correct them. Here are a few ways to make your home safe for your pets.

Secure Medications and Chemicals
Dogs and cats, especially when they're young, are as curious as small children can be. They are surprisingly dexterous with their little paws and can get into all sorts of cabinets and rooms. That means you need to secure medications and chemicals, such as cleaning products, to make sure your furry babies don't get into them. Storing them in high cabinets or secured behind child safety locks will help keep the curious felines or canines safe. 

Know Which Foods Are Dangerous
It's OK to occasionally give your furry friends a little treat from the table, as long as it doesn't lead to begging behavior. It's also important to know which foods are safe for them to have a nibble of. There are plenty of foods we take for granted as safe that could be very harmful to dogs or cats. These foods include:

  • Chocolate.
  • Grapes.
  • Onions.

Know Which House Plants Are Dangerous
Cats, and sometimes dogs, are notorious for getting into houseplants. Sometimes all they do is dig in the soil, but sometimes they eat the flowers or leaves. A few common houseplants are extremely toxic to cats and dogs. For example, the lilies popular around Easter are poisonous when ingested, as are both aloe and ivy, which are commonly found in many homes. 

Seal Small Holes and Cracks
Tiny dogs, kittens and cats are notorious for trying to go where they don't belong. Before you bring small animals into your home, make sure that there are no places where they could get stuck. If they wiggle in somewhere inaccessible, getting them out again could require more home renovation than you imagined. A little prevention can go a long way. 

Pack an Emergency Bag
It's also helpful to put together a bag of things for your pets in case you have to leave for an emergency such as a fire or a weather event. Keep leashes or travel crates accessible so you can grab them quickly when needed. Pack a small bag with food, treats, medications, toys and anything else that will help your pets feel more comfortable if you have to leave suddenly. 

Put a Sticker on Your Door or Window
An emergency can also happen when you're not home. In that case, make sure first responders know your pet is inside. There are stickers available from your vet or local pet store to stick on your door or window to let firefighters or police know to look for your cat, dog or other beloved pet that may be trapped in your home. 

What other safety improvements can you make for your pets? Contact us today to talk about creating a pet-friendly home.

 
Posted in News
July 22, 2019

Look for Your Dream Home: Know What You Want vs. What You Need!

In this day and age of being able to shop for anything anywhere, it is really important to know what you’re looking for when you start your home search.

If you’ve been thinking about buying a home of your own for some time now, you’ve probably come up with a list of things that you’d LOVE to have in your new home. Many new homebuyers fantasize about the amenities that they see on television or Pinterest, and start looking at the countless homes listed for sale through rose-colored glasses.

Do you really need that farmhouse sink in the kitchen to be happy with your home choice? Would a two-car garage be a convenience or a necessity? Could the “man cave” of your dreams be a future renovation project instead of a make-or-break right now?

The first step in your home buying process should be getting pre-approved for your mortgage. This allows you to know your budget before you fall in love with a home that is way outside of it.

The next step is to list all the features of a home that you would like, and to qualify them as follows:

  • “Must-Haves” – if this property does not have these items, then it shouldn’t even be considered (ex: distance from work or family, number of bedrooms/bathrooms).
  • “Should-Haves” – if the property hits all of the ‘must-haves’ and some of the ‘should-haves,’ it stays in contention but does not need to have all of these features.
  • “Absolute-Wish List” – if we find a property in our budget that has all of the ‘must-haves,’ most of the ‘should-haves,’ and ANY of these, it’s the winner!

Bottom Line

Having this list fleshed out before starting your search will save you time and frustration. It also lets your agent know what features are most important to you before they start showing you houses in your desired area.

 
July 22, 2019

Having “The Talk”: How to Discuss End-of-Life Issues with Parents

Sex and death: It’s odd that these two topics of conversation should bring so much anxiety to parents and children. One addresses the beginning of life, while the other addresses the end. Both are a natural part of the circle of life, but many find that sex is often the easier subject to discuss.

In fact, a national survey conducted in 2018 by The Conversation Project found that 92 percent of Americans say it’s important to discuss their wishes for end-of-life care, but only 32 percent have had such a conversation. Why is it that we are avoiding these discussions with friends and family even though we fully recognize the importance of having them?

In my experience, I’ve found that it isn’t always seniors who avoid talking about death. Some do, of course, but many of our aging loved ones would like to discuss the legal and financial arrangements they’ve made, as well as their preferences for end-of-life care and who they would like to handle their medical decisions if they were to become incapacitated. On the other hand, adult children often find excuses to delay frank discussions about serious illness and death.

Few of us like to consider the fact that our parents will die, but nothing will change this truth. In actuality, avoiding end-of-life discussions and failing to help aging loved ones prepare for this inevitability can make the whole experience more difficult and painful for the entire family in the long run.

It is to everyone’s advantage to discuss plans and preferences in depth as early as possible. When I had my own legal papers drawn up, including a last will and testament, power of attorney documents and a living will, I told my children, “Let’s just handle all of this and then get on with the business of living.” While my sons didn’t find the prospect of my death fun to talk about, they dutifully listened to the details of the plan I had created and where they could find these important papers should they need them. Regardless of who wishes to avoid end-of-life conversations, they must take place.

Resources to Help Guide Discussions About Death

When it comes to discussing awkward or emotionally charged topics, it always helps to do some research and preparation beforehand. There are countless books about discussing estate planning, end-of-life care, death and dying on the market, but there are two that I personally recommend.

Creating the Good Will: The Most Comprehensive Guide to Both the Financial and Emotional Sides of Passing on Your Legacy by attorney Elizabeth Arnold emphasizes the importance of estate planning. Arnold has helped guide many families through the process of end-of-life legal preparations, and she drives home the fact that that individuals often wish to pass along much more than possessions to their surviving loved ones. One’s values, life lessons and wishes for surviving family members’ futures can also be included in one’s end-of-life paperwork. This book is a good fit for anyone who is struggling with how to broach the end-of-life talk, regardless of age or state of health.

The other book I recommend is The Parent Care Conversation: 6 Strategies for Dealing with the Emotional and Financial Challenges of Aging Parents by Dan Taylor. This one helps family caregivers and their parents work together to plan legally, financially and medically for future care needs. Taylor uses a step-by-step approach and practical exercises to foster honest conversations among family members about challenging elder care issues.

There are also unique materials available online that can help families tackle uncomfortable questions and concerns about death and dying. The non-profit Coda Alliance developed a card game called “Go Wish” to help players facilitate discussions about end-of-life care options and advance care planning.

Another popular tool is the Five Wishes fillable form. It was created with the help of the American Bar Association’s Commission on Law and Aging to help individuals and families document and discuss their preferences for end-of-life care. Better yet, this document functions as a valid advance directive in 37 states once it has been signed and witnessed. (In some states, the Five Wishes form must also be notarized to be considered valid.)

How to Start the “Death Talk” with Elders

Adult children are often hesitant to bring up end-of-life topics with their parents. They typically worry that, with the wrong approach, Mom and Dad will find the conversation morbid, insensitive, totally pointless or rooted in self-interest. What I personally suggest to adult children who find themselves in this situation is that they bring up the subject by talking about themselves and their own end-of-life concerns. Starting with the medical aspect of the larger end-of-life conversation can be useful because it doesn’t put the more delicate financial issues front and center.

Sharing a real-life cautionary tale with your parent(s) can also help to drive your point home. For example, mention to your dad that you just read a story in the newspaper about a man whose family is fighting over whether he should be kept on life support. Say something like, “I don’t ever want to put my family through that, so I’ve made an appointment with an estate planning attorney and am going to have all the legal paperwork drawn up.” You may find that this strategy interests Dad far more than the dry, patronizing “Do you have your affairs in order, Dad?” approach.

If you are lucky, Mom or Dad may even say, “Can we make an appointment to go see the lawyer together?” If this doesn’t happen, though, don’t be discouraged. Go ahead and make your own preparations because you should have a plan in place, too. Once you’ve received your will, power of attorney forms, advance directives and any other legal documents from the attorney, sit down with your parents and go over the paperwork together. Explain the plan you have put into place for yourself and your family and give your parents copies of all the information they will need should you become incapacitated or pass away. As this all sinks in, the chances are excellent that they will begin thinking through their own desires for end-of-life care, disposal of their estate, etc. Even if they don’t ask you to take them to the attorney’s office ASAP, you will have broken the ice and made death an acceptable topic of conversation.

One common hitch to be aware of, particularly with older generations, is that a husband may see to his own paperwork and find it sufficient for both he and his wife. For whatever reason, many senior men just don’t think that their wives may be put in a position where they need a will of their own. The truth is that every single person should make an end-of-life plan for themselves. (Of course, couples should also work together to ensure their plans complement each other and account for all possibilities.)

Even if one cannot afford an attorney to draft the necessary legal documents for such a plan, there are other low-cost resources available online and through your local Area Agency on Aging. At the very least, having detailed conversations about one’s wishes with trusted family or friends and putting them down on paper are free.

And if it’s your own adult children who don’t want to listen to your end-of-life plan? Just do it anyway. Find an attorney, get your affairs in order, present your kids with the facts (you can do this via e-mail to ensure they’ve received the information, willingly or not), and then get on with living your life. Regardless of how you manage it, once you know the reality of death has been addressed, you and your family will be much more comfortable carrying on with life.

Bruce Webb is a Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES) and has an extensive network of senior related referrals.

Posted in News, Senior News
July 22, 2019

5 Smart Home Upgrades Worth the Money

Smart technology is more popular today than ever before. Smart assistants, such as Google Home and Amazon Echo, give information on demand, even faster than a regular internet search can. Smart speakers aren't the only way to incorporate smart technology into your home. The "internet of things" is expanding, and there are a few smart upgrades that are affordable and great choices to add value to your home.

  1. Smart thermostatWe're not sure there is a relationship on the planet in which a couple completely agrees on what temperature to keep the home. A smart thermostat can create, and even anticipate, settings for maximum comfort for all. You can even connect it to your smart speaker and use voice commands to turn the thermostat up or down. A smart thermostat will save money by more efficiently heating and cooling your space.  
  2. Smart smoke detectorNot all smart tech is about saving money — some also saves lives. Smoke detectors aren't just a good idea — they're required. But a smart smoke detector can take your safety to the next level. This type of device can send alerts to your smart phone if an incident occurs while you're away from home so that you can get the help you need faster. 
  3. Smart sprinkler systemCurb appeal is important, and so is the health of your lawn. You spend a lot of time making sure your lawn is watered. An installed sprinkler system is great, but it can cause major problems if it leaks. It can also waste water if it runs unnecessarily, such as when it's raining. A smart sprinkler controller customizes your irrigation system. You can conserve water and save money over time.  
  4. Smart lights and lampsA completely dark house is a scary place, especially if you have your hands full. It isn't just the monsters lurking in the shadows, it's tripping hazards or other obstacles that could challenge you. With smart lights paired with your Google Home or Amazon Echo, you can turn the lights on with just the sound of your voice. The plug adapters are inexpensive and easy to use. 
  5. Smart front doorsYour car may already have keyless entry, and that tech is also available for your home. A smart door lock means that you don't have to fumble for your keys when you get home. And some systems even allow you to grant access to visitors or family members remotely when you're away from home. Imagine having pet sitters text you when they arrive and being able to unlock the door for them from your phone.