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6 Tech Upgrades (and Gifts?) to Consider for the Holidays
Upgrading your home doesn’t always require getting dirty or sweaty, or bringing in pricey contractors. With a strategically chosen tech upgrade, you can boost your quality of life, save money, and increase your resale value – all at the same time. Here are six ways to use technology to enhance your home.
1. Smart Sprinklers
First, let’s be clear – automated sprinklers and drip lines are a wonderful invention and have been around for years. But smart sprinklers can take that convenience to another level. Not only can you program them, but you can adjust them on the fly from your phone or computer, even if you’re not home.
Suppose you have an evening watering schedule, but then the weather changes and an unexpected rainstorm is heading your way. You’re trapped at work or on vacation. With smart sprinklers, you can suspend the watering schedule for a few days and restart it later. Some smart sprinkler systems report helping their customers reduce outdoor water usage by over 30%.
2. Smart Thermostats
You may already be familiar with these, but if you don’t have one, they add great convenience to your home. You can program the temperature you want and set it to come on before you get home. Over time, your thermostat will learn your behaviors and adjust to your lifestyle.
Even better, the thermostat loves to watch the Weather Channel. It responds to shifting weather conditions so your home feels comfortable when you get home, even if you didn’t program it to turn on the heat or AC that day.
3. Video Doorbells
Video doorbells are also becoming more and more common. It’s a simple way to know when someone is at your door, and you will be alerted on your phone so you can take action if you detect a problem. These add a little extra assurance to your life while you’re away at work or on vacation.
4. Smart Home Security
A bit more of an investment than just a doorbell, smart home security offers a similar benefit, but all around your home. With smart cameras that turn on when they detect motion, you will be alerted if someone is taking a bit too much interest in your home.
5. Internet Gateway and WiFi Access Point
These handy little devices will speed up your internet and provide additional ethernet ports, giving you more flexibility and less frustration when you need to go online. Be sure to check with your existing internet provider to see what options they offer, and make sure what you want will be compatible.
6. Home Theater System
Are you tired of watching movies and TV shows on a three-inch screen with terrible sound? The benefits of actually being able to see and hear what you’re watching haven’t diminished in the age of streaming.
Home theater systems can be pricey, but you have lots of choices for how far to take it, so there is something for most budgets. The three primary components are a sound system, a projector, and a screen. You can permanently install all three of these to add to your resale value, or stick with portable ones and take them with you when you move. You can also forego the screen and projector and just focus on the sound if you already have a large enough TV that you’re happy with.
Volunteers at Childhaven Have Played Key Roles in Children’s Lives
Especially with newer babies who are brought to Childhaven because their home lives have put them at risk for a variety of possible setbacks, neglect, or traumatic events, the first few weeks are critical.
They are often hard to soothe. Many withdraw from adults or act fidgety. They often struggle to engage in basic behaviors like crawling, playing, and cooing.
But with help from caring and committed volunteers like Nancy Kritzer, in addition to the regular staff, babies find comfort and consistency from seeing the same adults. Eventually, those telltale signs of abuse and neglect turn into bright smiles and laughter, as the children warm up to her.
She loves holding them, singing to them, and rocking them to sleep. Each of these moments, strung together day after day, makes a huge difference for each child. As Program Operations Manager Julia Aman says, “Our children thrive from the additional smiles, hugs and praise that the volunteers give,” who spend at least one two-hour stretch in a classroom per week for a minimum six-month commitment.
The presence of volunteers like Nancy enhances the nurturing environment and helps children thrive and grow, putting their difficult starts to life behind them.
This is another reason why we donate a portion of the proceeds from every sale to Childhaven. Because every child deserves a chance at a good start to life, and volunteers play a vital role in making sure every child gets one.
Our donations to date for Childhaven!
Your business and referrals help
the kids at Childhaven
Through all of COVID-19 the Childhaven staff continues to care for every child, delivering counseling, developmental therapy, wrap-around
supports, home learning, meals, family meetings, and much more. Every referral you send our way helps the kids at Childhaven, because we donate a substantial portion of our income from every home sale to this amazing organization. If you know anyone considering buying or selling, you have three options:
1. Send an email with your referral’s name, phone and email to firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Call me direct or pass on my number - 206.779.9808
3. Go to our website at Weisbarth.com/refer
Are We Done Yet?
Life has been pretty volatile this year. We’ve seen wild swings in gas prices, interest rates, and inflation. There’s an ongoing war in Ukraine. Mid-term elections. What has all this done to real estate? It has fed into a feeling of uncertainty. Many people aren’t sure what to expect, or how to respond.
For the moment though, it is finally looking as if the market has stabilized. We have been anticipating this and have written to you about it for several months.
Well, the elections are over. Inflation seems to have peaked, and even the Fed is now talking about slowing down their prime rate hikes. With inflation in check, interest rates began to fall in the second half of November. They could of course, go up again, but the general trend the last few weeks has been downward. Gas prices are falling too, though perhaps not as much or as fast as people want. But it’s going in the right direction.
All of this leaves buyers and sellers on more equal footing than they have been in years. Sellers have had most of the leverage for quite some time. Now, buyers have more choices, more time, and more footing from which to extract a better deal.
With lower inventories now than we will see in the spring, if you are looking to sell, we recommend entering the market in early 2023 and not waiting until spring. There may be a slight rise in prices, but it will likely not be steep enough to justify waiting, because you’ll be up against much more competition, giving buyers even more leverage.
As you can see from the median home price chart, starting in 2019, prices have shown a steady upward climb, even today, compared with three years ago. They are not as high as earlier this year, but they are still up from year after year. And remember that some of these price drops reflect the natural seasonal effect that we experience every year in Q4.
In a more settled market like the one we may finally be returning to, that means no huge price swings. And that means, you aren’t missing out on huge profits by entering the market soon.
And remember, if you know anyone else considering selling or buying, feel free to give them this newsletter and send them our way. We are very grateful for your referrals.
Here’s how to send us referrals:
1) Email me at email@example.com with your friend’s contact info
2) Call me directly, or pass my number on to them – 206-779-9808
3) Go to our website at Weisbarth.com/referrals