Our Real Estate Blog
New home builders are starting to equip residences with smart door locks, and for good reason. With these locks installed, homeowners enjoy even more security and convenience than ever before. Instead of digging out your keys, you can use an app, fingerprint scanner or voice commands to unlock and lock your door in an instant. Curious if this system would benefit you? Take a look at this guide to learn everything you need to know.
What are Smart Door Locks?
Smart door locks connect to WiFi to allow you to lock and unlock your home without a key in hand. You just have to use your fingerprint, voice or an app to tell the locking mechanism when to open and close. The app-connected models even let you make changes on the fly while you’re away from home.
So, if you forgot to lock up or are just worried you did, then you can activate the lock with a click of a button. Similarly, if you need to let someone in while you’re away, you can do that, too. You use smart locks on the doorknob, deadbolt or both, depending on the level of security you want for your home.
Smart Door Lock Benefits
Although using your key to lock and unlock your home is easy enough, smart systems take that experience to the next level and give you all the following benefits.
Boost Household Safety
Smart locks help improve the safety of your household by making it easy to get inside without fumbling with your keys. Beyond that, these systems make it easy to get back inside if you get locked out. With that, you never again have to worry about storing an extra key under your doormat or in a phony rock.
Make Life More Convenient
As you walk up to your door with your hands full, getting your house key out of your pocket proves difficult indeed. To avoid all that, you can just unlock the door from your phone before loading up your arms or reach out a finger to press on the reader. And if you have friends or family coming from out of town, you don’t have to arrange time off to go let them in. You can just click a few buttons once they arrive to open the door while you’re still at work.
Enjoy True Peace of Mind
If you have that nagging feeling that you left your front door unlocked, you’ll never again have to race home to check once you have smart locks on your side. You can just check the app to verify that they’re locked or click lock to secure the front door if your gut feeling was correct.
Save Money on Insurance
Homeowner’s insurance companies often offer discounts on your premium when you install security systems – and smart locks definitely qualify. Since these locks help prevent burglaries and other incidents, they may net you a discount of around 5% a month, if not more. You just have to let your insurance company know, and they will apply the discount to your account.
When you buy a home equipped with intelligent locking systems, all these benefits are yours for the taking.
Best Practices When Using Smart Locks
When setting up your smart locks, you’ll want to follow all the steps in the user manual to avoid missing any key information.
In addition, it’s important to:
- Make use of all the safety features
- Lock any smartphone that uses the app
- Watch the battery life of your locks
- Have a backup key on hand at all times
When you follow all these important practices, you can make the most of your smart lock setup and enjoy all the benefits it offers.
If your new home build only has these locks on the front door, you might want to add them to all the other exterior doors as well. Even the garage door can benefit from smart opening systems that improve your home security and make your life more convenient.
If you receive an offer to purchase your house, determining how to proceed with this proposal sometimes can be difficult. Ultimately, a home seller needs to weigh the pros and cons of accepting an offer to purchase. And if the pros outweigh the cons, it probably is a good idea to accept the homebuying proposal.
When it comes to reviewing an offer to purchase, there are many reasons why a seller should accept this proposal, and these include:
1. An offer to purchase matches or exceeds a home seller's expectations.
If a home seller receives an offer to purchase at or above the initial asking price for his or her house, accepting the proposal likely is a no-brainer. In fact, a seller may want to provide an instant "Yes" to this offer so he or she can quickly move on to the next step of the property selling journey.
Of course, it helps to establish realistic home selling expectations before listing a residence. If a seller sets a competitive initial asking price that corresponds to his or her home selling expectations, then this individual may be better equipped than others to enjoy a seamless property selling experience.
2. An offer to purchase falls in line with the current housing market's conditions.
If you're selling a home in a buyer's market, you may pounce at the opportunity to accept any offer to purchase that comes your way. Comparatively, if you list your house in a seller's market, you may need to consider all of your options closely before you accept an offer to purchase.
As a home seller, you should evaluate the current state of the real estate market. If you allocate time and resources to learn about the housing market, you can gain real estate market insights to help you determine whether to accept an offer to purchase.
3. An offer to purchase enables a home seller to speed up the property selling process.
If you're operating on a tight home selling timeline, you may be more inclined than ever before to accept an offer to purchase, even if it falls below your initial expectations. Conversely, if you plan ahead for the home selling journey, you may reduce the risk of facing a time crunch to sell your house.
For home sellers, hiring a real estate agent is key. This housing market professional can help a seller prepare for the real estate market and ensure that a seller sets a competitive price for his or her house. Plus, a real estate agent will set up home showings and open house events to showcase a residence to prospective buyers. And if a seller receives an offer to purchase, a real estate agent can provide a recommendation about the best way to respond to this homebuying proposal.
Ready to add your house to the real estate market? Collaborate with a real estate agent, and you can boost the likelihood of getting an offer to purchase your home that allows you to maximize the value of your property.
If you ride through the suburbs of America, you’ll likely notice that the houses just seem to get bigger and bigger. Like our taste for large trucks and SUVs, Americans tend towards the idea that bigger is better.
On the opposite end of the spectrum are people who feel quite the opposite. From this minimalist mindset has emerged the “tiny house.” What exactly is a tiny house?
There is no exact definition. However, most tiny houses are built on wheels--to adhere to local building code--and typically don’t exceed 500 square feet in size.
You might be thinking that’s a bit extreme. And you wouldn’t be alone--Americans have taken advantage of small homes in the form of modular homes, and cottage-style houses for decades.
With the cost of heating and powering a home rising year after year, it’s beginning to make sense to downsize.
So, in this article we’ll talk about what it means to live in a smaller home to help you decide whether it’s a good choice for you.
Barriers to building small houses
If it’s your dream to someday build a small house on a hilltop in your hometown, you might have to face-off with the local zoning committee first. Some of the biggest barriers to building smaller houses are local regulations involving minimum house sizes.
This isn’t a new problem, with towns struggling with the idea of minimum square footage as far back as the 1970s. In spite of this barrier, small house and tiny house proponents have been finding loopholes.
One such workaround involves simply building your house on wheels. However, that isn’t easy to do and it doesn’t always look great either.
Depending on your hobbies and philosophy, living in a small house can be a good or a bad thing. Those who seek to become more minimal in their belongings often find that small houses help them achieve this.
The more things we own the more we have to worry about storing and maintaining them. However, if you value experiences more than objects, living in a small house could save you money and therefore leave you with more funds for traveling and other experiences.
Family is another thing to consider when living in a small house. If you have a large family or pets, living in a small house can be difficult. However, there is something to be said about growing up in a small house (it makes it harder for kids to avoid their parents by playing video games in their room or the basement!).
How to decide if you can manage living in a small house
If you’re downsizing from a larger home it can be scary to lose all of that extra space you were used to. There are a few ways to see if you can adapt to a smaller home, however.
You could rent a small apartment while you search for a new home. This will allow you to acclimate yourself to living in a smaller environment.
If you don’t want to go through the trouble of signing a lease, there’s always renting a small property through AirBnB or a camping cottage for a few weeks. Then you’ll have time to notice what you like and dislike about the smaller space and will be able to plan for how to want to deal with those changes if you decide to move into a smaller house.
A seamless home search may be a dream come true for property buyers. Yet for those who want to accelerate the homebuying journey, problems sometimes may arise that make it tough to streamline a home search. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to speed up a home search and find your dream house without delay.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you expedite the homebuying journey.
1. Establish Realistic Homebuying Expectations
You know you want to buy a house, but you still have no idea what you want to find in a dream home. If you establish realistic homebuying expectations, however, you could simplify your house search.
Think about what you want in your dream house, as well as where you want to reside. Then, you can search for houses that have the features you want and are located in your preferred cities and towns.
2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
A mortgage generally is a must-have for a homebuyer. If you enter the real estate market with a mortgage at your disposal, you'll know exactly how much you can spend to acquire your dream residence. As a result, you can search for homes that fall in line with your budget.
To get pre-approved for a mortgage, you should meet with a variety of banks and credit unions. These financial institutions can teach you everything you need to know about different types of mortgages and help you find the right mortgage based on your individual needs.
Of course, as you search for the right mortgage, don't hesitate to ask questions. Banks and credit unions employ courteous, knowledgeable mortgage specialists, all of whom are happy to assist you in any way possible.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent goes above and beyond the call of duty to support a homebuyer. He or she understands the ins and outs of buying a home, and as such, will do what it takes to help you discover a great house at an affordable price.
Typically, a real estate agent will meet with you and learn about your homebuying goals. He or she next will craft a homebuying strategy for you and put this plan into action. A real estate agent then will help you conduct an in-depth house search. And once you find a home you want to buy, a real estate agent will help you put together a competitive offer to purchase this residence.
A real estate agent also works diligently to help you achieve the best-possible results at each stage of the property buying journey. He or she is ready to respond to your homebuying concerns and queries and ensure you can make informed decisions throughout your quest for your dream house.
Want to expedite your home search? Take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and you can quickly and effortlessly find a home that suits you perfectly.
Porch lighting is an essential part of a home's curb appeal. It offers much more than help navigating in the dark or a pretty accent for your front door. A brightly lit porch can enhance security and also save you money on your energy bill.
Where will you place it?
The location of your porch light helps you choose the right fixture. When updating an existing light, your choices may be limited if you don’t want to relocate your electricity or create additional patching or painting tasks. If your project is bigger or you are starting from scratch, your options are unlimited. In addition to the traditional placement on either side of the door, porch lights can be hung from above or be installed on posts.
What is the style of your home?
The architecture of your home also dictates the kind of fixture you should choose. If your home does not have any defining characteristics, your style is all you need. Porchlights can be found in several styles and designs with modern, casual and traditional options widely available. Consider a traditional style for a colonial home or a rustic fixture for a log cabin.
What is the size of your entry door?
The size of your porch light should balance with the size of your door. For example, if you have a standard-size door of six-feet eight-inches, it is recommended that your porch light be between 5 and 9 inches wide. A porch light that is 10 to 12 inches wide will balance with an eight-foot door. Choose the same or similar widths when installing multiple fixtures.
What are the features?
Motion sensitive porch lights feature a built-in sensor that turns on the light when a person or pet moves into the range of the sensor. A daylight sensitive light has a timer that automatically turns on the lights at dusk. Most decorative porch lights feature built-in dusk to dawn photoelectric eyes, which means you won't need to think about turning on the porch light.
If you want a bright porch light, check the wattage recommendations for the fixture you’re considering. Do not exceed the fixture's wattage as this could cause damage. Replace your incandescent bulbs with LED bulbs or outdoor-rated compact fluorescent bulbs.
Installing the right porch light can add charm to your home and significantly boost your curb appeal. If you need guidance or installation assistance, ask your realtor for recommended lighting professionals or contractors to help with your project.