Tati DaSilva's Blog
Home automation or smart-home technology is just one piece of the bigger picture that is known as the “Internet of Things.” What this term basically means is that as technologies evolve they are becoming more ingrained into everyday objects.
What was once designated just for personal computers and cell phones is now the domain of any number of everyday objects--from our cars to our refrigerators. This means we can control things remotely, monitor our houses and our belongings, and even see if our babies are sleeping soundly from work via the latest baby monitors.
One of the most recent implementations of these technologies is in our home security systems. Home automation and security are natural companions, give us an ever-increasing number of ways to guarantee our safety within our homes.
In today’s article, we’re going to talk about the objects in our home that can be connected to the internet and how you can improve security at home.
Security or security risk?
Critics of the internet of things often bring up one chief concern--data security. The more objects we connect to the internet the more ways we open our data up to being compromised. To make matters worse, many electronics manufacturers aren’t concerned with the security of the devices they make, giving them no safeguards or encryption against being hacked.
In fact, these objects have already been commandeered by hackers, but not in the way you might think.
A common way to attack a website or service is to simply flood it with more traffic than it can handle. Since WiFi enabled refrigerators, webcams, and baby monitors tend to provide little protection, hackers have found ways to install malware on them that allow them to send all of these devices to a given site in an orchestrated incident known as a DDoS attack (Distributed Denial of Service). All the while your refrigerator seems to be working normally, but behind the scenes it’s part of a “zombie” army of devices.
What items can connect to the internet?
The number of objects that come equipped with WiFi capability grows every day. Some are extremely useful. They can let you know when you’re out of paper towels or laundry detergent, they can tell you if you forgot to lock the doors or turn out the lights, or you can ask them to play your favorite playlist.
However, just because an item can connect to your WiFi doesn’t mean you should let it by default. You’ll need to consider the pros and cons.
Which items can I trust?
Unfortunately for consumers, there is no “safe to use” list when it comes to the gadgets you might have around your home. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t do your research on the items yourself to look for basic security measures.
First, check to see if the items are password-protected or use some form of authentication. You can often find this information on the manufacturer’s website or in the user guide.
Next, think about who makes the product. Reputable companies like Apple, Google, and Amazon all have a lot invested in the security of their customers. As a result, Google Home, and Apple’s HomePod are likely to have stronger security measures in place.
Finally, you’ll have to take a look at your own security habits. Changing passwords frequently, creating complicated passwords, and being careful with your information online are all ways you can help prevent your data or identity from being compromised.
Home improvement is something we all strive for, but many of us never really follow through with completing that goal. With the hectic lives that we live, it’s hard to find time to make those important upgrades to your home. However, home improvement doesn’t always have to be hard and time-consuming.
Add Some Fresh Paint
You won’t believe the kind of impact a fresh paint job can have. In fact, new paint could be just what your home needs to really come to life. And better yet, painting a room is relatively easy and inexpensive. It can have a huge effect on the look and feel of any room in your home, so be sure to be strategic as you’re choosing colors. Adding color to your walls can give your home the “pop” you’ve been looking for. And better yet, depending on how much paint you purchase, this home improvement tactic can cost you less than $200.
Install a Stair Runner
Wooden stairs can add a nice touch to any home, but they can be very slippery and dangerous. If your kids — and even your pets — are constantly slipping on your stairs, then you may be weighing the options when it comes to installing some grip. While you could always add carpet, this can be extremely expensive and the installation process can be time-consuming (then you’ll have to deal with stains and vacuuming). One easy and cost-effective method is to add a stair runner. These come in many different shapes, styles and sizes, and these can really add a nice touch. Instead of spending over $2,000 on carpet for your stairs, you can purchase a stair runner that should cost you under $300.
Upgrade Your Dishwasher
Are you and your family using too much water? Looking for ways to save? While those 20-minute showers could be a factor, the water use issue could be due to your dishwasher—or lack thereof. To the surprise of many, dishwashers can waste hundreds of gallons of water each year. And if you’re washing by hand, that can also waste a great deal of water. By upgrading this appliance to a new Energy Star-rated dishwasher, you save more than $30 per year on energy and nearly 500 gallons of water. If you want to complete this home upgrade, it’s very easy to do yourself. Just head on over to the nearest home improvement store, purchase a dishwasher, then follow a few simple steps to install it in no time.
Now that you decided to move into a luxury home, you need to determine whether you are going to build one or buy a luxury home that already exists. There are pros and cons to both sides of the coin. Also, in most cases, building is going to be more expensive. Still, you also get to choose materials and have the newest technology built-in instead of having to upgrade on top of the purchase of an existing home.
Buying a Luxury Home
The main benefit of buying a luxury home is that you can be in your home in as little as a couple of weeks if you are doing a cash transaction or in 30 to 60 days if you are getting financing. The cost of buying a home is also less than building in most cases. You might find some areas of the country where building is less expensive, but that would be rare.
The biggest con to buying a luxury home is that people rarely find a home that has everything they are looking for. Most people settle for a home that has almost everything and either do without or add the feature on later. That depends on the feature and whether the feature is a deal-breaker.
Building a Luxury Home
The best part of building a luxury home is that you can choose the location of the home. Find that perfect piece of property, whether you want a small lot or thousands of acres, and then find the perfect place on the property for your home. On larger properties, you might decide to put your home near a lake or pond on the property, or on top of a high hill with a gorgeous view.
Consider your floor plans carefully, and always find a builder that you are comfortable with. It’s easier to work with someone who is open to your suggestions and will do their best to make your dreams come true. When you are going over the plans for your new luxury home, give the builder a good overall picture. For example, if you like to entertain, tell the builder, so he can help you design a house that is good for entertaining.
You can add all of the newest materials to the build, plus have the best technology built into the house, such as a security system, hidden safes, a storm shelter, automation and top-notch appliances.
If you are looking for a smaller lot, be sure to find a lot large enough for landscaping you want, a pool and other outdoor amenities. If you are looking for acreage, space isn’t a factor, unless the piece of property sits on a mountain and the only home site is too small for the house you want. Keep in mind what you want to do with the property, including adding stables or other buildings – you’ll need room for those buildings.
Are you familiar with “green” home builders? They are contractors who construct homes from sustainable or renewable products. These green home builders use durable materials in building all kinds of homes ranging from individual bungalows to expansive, real estate developments. Just like traditional builders, they handle diverse types of construction but build in a way that minimizes waste.
Green homes have gained recent popularity due to their energy efficiency, water efficiency and minimal impact on the environment. Apart from their environmental impact, green homes are known to boost the quality of living for the occupants. Moreover, a green home can enhance their overall well-being.
While searching for a suitable, green home builder, you must examine aspects of their past work like their building strategies, experience, quality of work and expertise. A green home builder must be actively involved in all phases of your home construction; they should be a part of the process from the time of design inception to the completion of the home.
Here are things to consider before employing the services of a green home builder:
Just like other businesses, it is essential for real estate builders to have a license that permits them to construct green homes. These licenses are issued by the state, federally, or via local city council. It is proof that a particular contractor has a permit to build a sustainable house. Therefore, you must ensure that a green home builder has a license before employing his/her services.
Experience is a quality that a green home builder must have. In addition to a license, builders may seek the designation "Certified Green Professional" (CGP), which is an industry determination requiring them to pass specific coursework to obtain and maintain. In addition to certification, to choose a reliable and experienced green home builder, you should endeavor to ask your prospective green home builders to show some similar projects that they have done in the past.
Green builders who believe in the quality of their work may refer you to their past customers. When meeting these customers, ask questions that will give you an idea of the builder’s level of expertise, and how living in a green home enhances their lives.
Knowledge is power, so don't be afraid to ask the tough and necessary questions to ensure you're getting the most value and efficiency for your money. To find a green home in your area, seek the advice of your real estate professional today.
In a seller’s market, you shouldn’t have a home that’s simply sitting there. If a home isn’t selling and the market is hot, something must be wrong. There are many different reasons that your home isn’t selling. Below, you’ll discover some of those issues and what you can due to remedy the problems.
You Need To Adjust Your Expectations
Many people put their homes on the market expecting high results. While it’s good to have confidence, it can be detrimental to your home sale. Great expectations can lead to an overpriced home, a lack in marketing efforts, or lowering the price of the home too late. All of these situations can be detrimental to your home sale. Research and hiring a realtor to help you with the sale can keep you organized and assist ou in staying on top of the market.
You Don’t Understand Home Values
If you’re selling your home on your own, you may not have priced the property correctly especially if you have no professional experience. This is where a realtor comes in. A real estate agent can do the professional market research that finds the sweet spot for a price on a home for sale. Knowing that price is one of the best ways to sell your home fast. Without a well-valued home, it could sit idle in a good market.
Your Home Is Neglected
If you have been neglecting various projects around your home, you could find that it’s more difficult to sell your home. Buyers want the best house for the lowest possible price. Homes that have been properly maintained with the right HVAC maintenance, yard upkeep, and regular appliance services are more likely to be scooped up fast by buyers.
Before your home even goes on the market, you should do any tasks around the house that you have been neglecting. The investment of both time and money will be worth it for you in the long term when you go to sell your home.
The Photos Aren’t Professional
The marketing efforts used to sell a home are very important. On the top of this list is the photos that represent the house. Most home buyers begin their search online. This means the first impression that they get of your home is from pictures. If these are not well done, it could be very detrimental to your home sale.
For good photos, be sure that you get rid of all the clutter from your space before the pictures are taken. It’s really best to hire a professional to deal with his aspect of home marketing. If you must take the photos on your own, using a better camera than that a cell phone provides can really be a step up in the picture taking process.