Future-Proof Your Luxury Home With These 4 Smart Devices

What is the IoT? per Forbes, it’s basically the thought that everyday objects, from alarm clocks to toasters and everything in between, are going to be ready to send and receive knowledge via a network.

Although it already has several helpful applications in each the residential and industrial sector, we’re scarcely commencing to scratch the surface of the IoT’s potential.

What will this need to do with building luxury houses? Well, several forward-thinking corporations – Apple and Google, among others – have developed a variety of sensible merchandise that square measure designed to be utilized in the house, and that they might okay revolutionise the approach you reside your life.

Here square measure four of our favorite IoT devices that each new home ought to have:
1. Nest Learning Thermostat

The developers at technical school big Google have taken it upon themselves to renew regular home goods and prepare them for the fashionable world. This has culminated in one in all the best sensible home devices we have seen thus far: The Nest Thermostat.

Nest mechanically learns concerning your most well-liked climate and may build a schedule primarily based around your manner. It will flip itself off after you leave the house, adjusts the temperature whereas you are sleeping and is controlled wirelessly from your phone. These convenient options might additionally assist you save on your energy bill.
2. Philips Hue personal wireless lighting

In the past, we’ve mentioned the importance of selecting the correct sort of lighting. you’ll extremely take this idea to subsequent level with sensible lighting from Philips.

Intelligent junction rectifier bulbs open up a world of lighting potentialities. victimization your phone, you’ll manipulate their tone, brightness Associate in Nursingd hue to form an atmosphere custom-made  to the occasion.

Select the ‘Relax’ possibility and lights can dim to a delicate radiance, or modification the color of the lights to enrich your furniture’s style. you’ll additionally set a schedule to mechanically alter the lights looking on the time of day.
3. Amazon Echo

What luxury range in Perth would be complete while not a high-quality speaker system? There square measure several sensible choices on the market, however our decide of the bunch must be Amazon Echo.

The speaker connects to a cloud-based service referred to as Alexa, wherever it will access the news, weather, sports results and then on, and relay this info back to you instantly. With 360-degree audio output, it is also nice at playacting its a lot of ancient role of manufacturing nice sound.
4. August sensible Lock

Security can naturally be high on the list of priorities for anyone building a replacement home. Keep your family safe with the August sensible Lock.

This intelligent lock system offers the next degree of safety. additionally to keyless entry, it additionally provides you larger management over United Nations agency will and cannot enter your home. as an example, if a guest arrives whereas you are stuck in traffic, you may send them a ‘key’ that expires once one hour, permitting them temporary access while not compromising security.

The August Security Lock additionally keeps a record of who’s gone through the door, that you’ll access from your phone.

Smart home devices have the potential to vary the planet we tend to board. people who square measure able to adopt the technology currently are going to be ready to produce Associate in Nursing intelligent and economical home that is prepared for the longer term. visit new homes Peoria AZ for more information

7 Cities With Great Real Estate Deals

You’ve probably heard it a million times recently: it’s a buyer’s market right now in real estate. That’s actually a big understatement – it’s a huge buyer’s market. That’s bad news for sellers, but good news for you if you’re in the market for a new house (and can get financing). While there are attractive deals to be had nationwide, certain areas have a big inventory of affordable homes available now. You can see a full list of such places on HousingTracker.net, but here are some cities our experts have cited as being especially good choices for bargain-minded buyers.

This city has one of the strongest economies in the country right now, according to our experts.

“Good universities in the area have provided a skilled and educated workforce, which has positioned Phoenix as a competitive force in business,” says Bill Humphrey, senior vice president and managing director of XONEX Relocation, which provides global relocation services for transferring employees.

“Phoenix is projected to see more growth, especially since the technology, green energy and healthcare/life sciences industries have started to put down roots in the area.” Humphrey says houses that were selling for $500,000 before the recession are now in the $300,000 range. (With houses going cheap, there are bound to be problems. Find out more in Avoiding Foreclosure Scams.)

“The Houston market has a very diversified economy and is home to numerous industries including technology, energy, aerospace and aviation, logistics and manufacturing,” Humphrey says. Humphrey credits Houston’s solid employment numbers – and the projected growth – to its business-friendly environment, adding that the city’s crime rates have seen double-digit decreases over the past ten years.

“There is lots of inventory available, and prices are still very reasonable.”

New Orleans
Needless to say, the Big Easy is in a rebuilding period right now, in the wake of some challenging times. The silver lining: “the city has major growth potential and is on the cusp of a big renaissance,” says Humphrey. “The community has really come together to rebuild its infrastructure, pride and spirits, making it a nice place to live. Also, Louisiana has shown the greatest unemployment improvement and New Orleans has the lowest jobless rate of any other metro city in its class.”

While Humphrey admits there is still some work to be done, he says the city is headed in the right direction and smart shoppers will buy now. “Prices are low and inventory is available.”

“Prices have tumbled dramatically, and there are multiple ‘mini-mansions’ available at bargain prices,” says Robert Eisenstein of HomeRun Homes, which operates the Lease2Buy.com site targeting rent-to-own buyers and sellers.

“Most of the properties are not in need of anything more than a little bit of cosmetic work.” Inventory seems to be plentiful in this area. According to HousingTracker, there are currently 87,000 single family homes and condos available in Atlanta.

Orlando, Florida
The central Florida area has always been a hotspot for bargains, says Eisenstein, “but with the recent beating the market has taken, prices are lower than ever. There is a mix of very beautiful homes that don’t need any work – and there are also homes that need some renovation, but the prices are reflective of this.”

Haverhill, Massachusetts
Several experts mentioned the Boston suburbs in general as a good place for great deals, but Haverhill in particular seems to have a lot to offer – no matter what your price range is.

“You can buy a brand new mid-level executive style home in the mid $380,000 to $450,000 range or find a first time buyer move-in condition property at around $170,000,” says Lisa Johnson, vice president at Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Haverhill. “Condominiums can be found in the $50,000 to $60,000 range.”

Johnson says the area has a lot of great perks, from a thriving bar/club scene to a downtown restaurant district that can rival those of big cities.

“The MLS lists many properties selling for less than $50,000,” says Diane Smith, a real estate agent and Lexicon Realty mortgage broker. “In the $100,000 range there are many houses selling for $10,000 to $20,000 under value as a result of foreclosures and other economic issues.”

The Housing Bottom Line
If you’re looking for a great deal – and want to explore exciting new areas – focusing on areas with high inventory and low prices can be your ticket to a fantastic bargain on your next home. (To learn more, check out 5 Tips For Recession House Hunters.)

Check out last week’s business highlights in Water Cooler Finance: My iPad Beats Your Toyota.

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8 Ways To Make Money With Real Estate

It’s a buyer’s market in real estate, and mortgage rates are at an all-time low. Maybe you’re thinking of diving into the real estate market, or maybe you already own a home or land. Wondering how you can get the most of it? Here are some unexpected ways you can use real estate to boost your finances.

Multi-Family Dwelling
When you think of a roommate, you’re probably having flashbacks to your college days – but think again. Renting a portion of your home can bring in big bucks, and may even allow you to live in your home for free once you factor in your rental income. Retirees and single professionals could benefit in a big way by splitting housing costs, but even families with unused rooms or basements could profit from having a tenant.

If you’re buying a home, look for properties with finished basements, mother-in-law suites or two master baths, a common feature in many newer homes. Consider adding a kitchenette and a private entrance, which can be done with a small investment, to give your tenant their own space. (Learn more in Tips For The Prospective Landlord.)
Home Business
Real estate can open doors if you’re interested in owning your own business. Auto mechanics, hair dressers and even those with a green thumb growing produce in the backyard can use their home as a place of business. Just be sure to check any zoning laws or homeowners’ association rules before hanging out your shingles.If you’re working in an office, owning real estate can give you a chance to work from home, and even take a tax deduction. Talk to your boss; you may find telecommuting some or all of the time is your way to get the most out of your real estate dollar.
Your garage or unused basement can make a great storage area, for your stuff or someone else’s. If you find you have the room, consider placing an ad to rent out your storage space for extra income. Check your local storage providers for the going rate, so you can offer your space at a discount. Make sure you draw up a contractual agreement before renting the space, so you’re not liable for damages or claims.
That parking space that comes with your apartment is premium real estate. If you’re not using your space, rent it out for a monthly fee. Likewise, if you own acreage, consider renting parking spots to RV owners or even campers. Just be sure you’re in compliance with any local or homeowners association regulations, and you’ll be adding to your bottom line with very little effort.
Vacation Rental
How about renting out your property as a vacation home? If you travel for long periods of time, or if you’re just looking to get income from a second home or other empty property, vacation renting can bring in big money. If you’re looking for a cheap vacation, look at swapping homes with someone as a way to get free lodging at a different location; there are many websites where you can connect to others looking to trade places for a few weeks. Just make sure you know what obligations and risks you’re committing to before you sign up. (Learn more in Vacation Home Or Income-Producing Investment?)
Real estate can be used as collateral in loans of all kinds, which will give you a better interest rate than an unsecured loan. If you have equity in your property, look at home equity lines of credit (HELOC) at your bank – just be sure you understand the rates and terms. Disclose any liens held on your property when you discuss loan options with your banker.
Long-Term Investing
Recent price drops have made many investors think twice about real estate holdings. Real estate isn’t very liquid, meaning it’s hard to convert it to cash in a hurry, and the risks of price fluctuations are real. But there are many opportunities when investing in real estate today; prices and interest rates are at historic lows, and there are even tax incentives to aid homebuyers, making real estate a great investment – as long as you’re able to hang on for the long term. Live in your home or rent it out and you’ll find real estate to be a smart long-term investment with various uses. (Learn what to avoid in 5 Mistakes Real Estate Investors Should Avoid.)
Tax Shelter
Nobody likes to pay more taxes than required, which is why investing in real estate is a great way to lower your tax liability. Mortgage interest, closing costs and property taxes could be deducted from your income – check with your tax advisor on ways you can benefit from real estate holdings.

7 Must-Have Real Estate Contract Conditions

contract-conditionsWhen you formally make an offer on a home you want to buy, you’ll fill out a lot of paperwork specifying the terms of your offer. Aside from the obvious things like the address and purchase price of the property on which you’re making an offer, here are some items you should be sure to include in your real estate purchase contract.

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Finance Terms
If you are like most people and you won’t be able to buy the home without obtaining a mortgage, your purchase offer should state that your offer is contingent upon obtaining financing at a specified interest rate. If you know you can’t afford the monthly payment on the house if the interest rate is higher than 6%, don’t put 6.5% in your offer. If you do that and you are only able to obtain financing at 6.5%, the seller will get to keep your earnest money deposit when you have to back out of the offer.

If you need to obtain a certain type of loan in order to complete the deal, such as an FHA or VA loan, you should also specify this in your contract. If you are paying all cash for the property, you should state this as well because it makes your offer more attractive to sellers. Why? If you don’t have to get a mortgage, the deal is more likely to go through and closing is more likely to happen on time. (Learn more in 6 Ways To Come Up With A Down Payment On A Home.)

Seller Assist
If you want the seller to pay part or all of your closing costs, you must ask for it in your offer. The offer should state the amount of closing costs you are requesting as a dollar amount (e.g., $6,000) or as a percentage of the home’s purchase price (e.g., 3%).

Who Pays Specific Closing Costs
The agreement should specify whether the buyer or seller will pay for each of the common fees associated with the home purchase, such as escrow fees, title search fees, title insurance, notary fees, recording fees, transfer tax and so on. Your real estate agent can advise you as to whether it is the buyer or seller who customarily pays each of these fees in your area.

Home Inspection
Unless you are buying a tear-down, you should include a home inspection contingency in your offer. This clause allows you to walk away from the deal if a home inspection reveals significant and/or expensive-to-repair flaws in the structure’s condition. For example, if the home inspection reveals that the home needs a new roof at a cost of $15,000, the home inspection contingency would give you the option to walk away from the deal.

Fixtures and Appliances
If you want the refrigerator, dishwasher, stove, oven, washing machine or any other fixtures and appliances, do not rely on a verbal agreement with the seller and do not assume anything. Specify in the contract any fixtures and appliances that are to be included in the purchase.

Closing Date
How much time do you need to complete the purchase transaction? Common time frames are 30 days, 45 days and 60 days. Issues that can affect this time frame might include the seller’s need to find a new home, the remaining term on your lease if you are currently renting, the amount of time you have to relocate if you are moving from a job, and so on. Occasionally, the buyer or seller might want a closing as short as two weeks, but it’s difficult to remove all the contingencies and obtain all the necessary paperwork and funding in such a short time period. (Learn more in 10 Hurdles To Closing On A New Home.)

Sale of Existing Home
If you are an existing homeowner and you will need the funds from the sale of that home to buy the home you are making an offer on, you should make your purchase offer contingent upon the sale of your current home. You should also provide a reasonable time frame for you to sell your home, such as 30 or 60 days. The seller of the property you’re interested in is not going to want to take his property off the market indefinitely while you search for a buyer.

There are many other things that go into a thorough real estate contract, but for the most part, you shouldn’t have to worry about them. Real estate agents will commonly use standardized, fill-in-the-blank forms that cover all the bases, including the ones described in this article.

In California, for example, a common form is the California Residential Purchase Agreement and Joint Escrow Instructions document produced by the California Association of Realtors. If you want to familiarize yourself with the details of the purchase agreement form you’re likely to use before you write your offer, ask your real estate agent for a sample agreement, or search online for the standard form that is common in your state or locality. (If you are looking for a good deal and have time to wait, a short-sale house may be for you. To learn more, read Purchasing A Short-Sale Property.)

5 Tips For First-Time Renters

With tightened lending practices following the popping of the housing bubble and the number of low-cost rental properties on the market, more and more people are turning to renting rather than buying. For those of you out there who are moving into your first rental, from students to former homeowners getting back to the rental circuit, there are a lot of things you should be aware of. Like any contract, leases are always different, and you really should read the fine print. With all of that said, let’s take a look at some lease conditions that you should know. (For more, see To Rent Or Buy? The Financial Issues.)
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Lease Length
There are a few key things you should know before getting started renting. First is the length of the lease. Depending on which state you live in, and your landlord’s preferences, you can get weekly, monthly or yearly leases. This is something to consider when you’re first looking, as most landlords advertising places for rent will tell which kind of lease type it is.

So, if you’re a student who moves back in with your folks for the summer, you might want to try and get a monthly lease type so that you don’t have to go through the headache of subletting (more on that later), but if you know you want to stay put for a while, go for the yearly lease so that there aren’t any sudden changes if the landlord decides they want to jack up the price or rent to someone else next month. Breaking a lease is rarely legal, so be sure you’ll be able to fulfill the time frame of your lease before signing it. (Read more, in There’s More To It Than Money.)

Security Deposits
In most states, there is a limit on how much a landlord is able to charge for a security deposit. In some states, like Hawaii and Massachusetts, the limit is a single month’s rent, and in others like Iowa and Arkansas it’s two months. There are many states where a landlord can ask for whatever they want, like in non-rent controlled apartments in New York.

In New York, however, a landlord must place your security deposit into an account when you give it to them, and if you cause no damage above regular wear and tear, the landlord has to return your deposit, along with the interest, minus a 1% administration fee. Every state is different, however, so it’s best to check your state’s renters’ rights to see what your landlord is allowed to charge you, what the details are on deducting for damages and the time span that is legally required for them to return your deposit.

Extra Charges
“Key money,” is usually not allowed, and if anything all deposits should be included within the damage deposit. In New York, extra charges like key money are illegal as they are basically a way for landlords to give themselves a bonus for finding a tenant. In highly sought after areas, like expensive neighborhoods around colleges, the former tenants will sometimes want a bonus or finder’s fee for passing on their apartment to you. This is not legal, but it can be hard to prove. It’s not advisable that you pay this, as you’ll just support this trend. There will be other places out there that won’t cost you a finder’s fee – keep looking. (Figure out if you’re ready to take the plunge, in Are You Ready to Rent?)

Adding Roommates, Extra Tenants and Subletting
If one of your roommates moves out, it’s best to let that landlord know rather than try to sneak in a new person. For the most part, given that there are no drastic changes, a landlord will be fine with the change, as long as it doesn’t go over the occupancy limit.

For subletting: when you’re tied into a lease and you lease out your apartment to someone else for a shorter period, let your landlord know, and you can obtain legal subletting forms. If you try to do it without telling your landlord, you might wind up without a leg to stand on if the subletter refuses to pay rent, or damages your apartment. When subletting, you can be on the hook for advertising the apartment and finding the right tenant. (Is now the right time? Find out, in Take Advantage Of A Housing Crisis – Rent!)


Home Staging

Real Estate

Home staging is the process where you present your house in a way that makes it sell faster while maximizing its selling price. In this ultimate buyer’s market, anything you can do to set your house apart is critical to getting the property sold. Emphasizing any freshly remodeled areas of your home is great, but first and foremost staging can serve a very different purpose in this housing market. Highlighting the fact that your home isn’t in an advanced state of foreclosure can be a huge advantage—in fact, with crashing prices, one of the only advantages.

House Staging in Today’s Market
When you’re trying to sell your house on your own, good house staging is at least as important as how you put your house on the market. Whether or not you’re trying to complete a “distressed” sale, you want your home to stand in stark contrast from the fire-sale auctions of banks. Along with location and school districts, selling a home in today’s market is closer to selling a car. You want to convey to the prospective buyer that you’ve cared for your home since day one. There are no surprises for the buyer, here. To get the best value, you should present your home to attract buyers who are looking for their dream home, not a trendy investment property.

You should try to look at your house as though you were a prospective buyer. If you’re in the market to buy a new home, pay attention to how the homes you look at are staged. What grabbed your attention? What worked? What didn’t? At the same time, you need to remember that living in your home is different from presenting it to a potential buyer. What you like for your house may not necessarily be what the new homeowner likes. You’ll need to set up your home to create a canvass of decorating opportunities.


Interior Preparation
Obviously, you’ll want to clean everything top-to-bottom. Focus on the bathrooms and kitchens. These are the two key areas that tend to most directly enhance your home staging. In particular, make sure all counters are free of small items and all magnets and mementos are removed from your refrigerator. Take down as many wall hangings as is practical. If you have a lot of furniture in rooms, remove these pieces and keep only the essentials. Even if you’ve already moved out, you don’t really need to remove everything from your house, but you’ll want a potential buyer to be able to easily imagine what their furniture and items will look like in the house.

Exterior Preparation
Keep your yard neatly mowed. Weed and mulch any applicable yard areas. Keep your garbage out of view or, better, start dumping it off somewhere daily or especially before an open house. Get your gutters cleaned and swept. Treat your decks, patios, and porches like you would an interior room. Remove all clutter and any extra furniture. A small table and a few chairs are plenty for a patio. A completely clear patio or deck isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Finally walk out to the curb and take a good look at your house. If the house can’t be seen, it’s going to be harder to sell. If you need to, trim any shrubs, bushes, trees, etc. that inhibit your ability to see the features of the house.


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Open Houses

Just before you hold your open house, you should consider adding any subtle warming touches. Finding a way to create pleasant aromas is one easy way to do this. Potpourri is a good bet but, you should avoid anything overpowering like strong incense. This may be distracting and may create the impression you’re trying to cover up an existing, suspicious smell. Providing food is another good way of creating a pleasant atmosphere. Cookies can be a good choice. If you have the time to bake and clean up, making a pie can provide the perfect aroma for your home. You might want to give your prospective home buyers the pie on the way out, though—blueberry stains are the last thing you want.

Home Stagers and Real Estate Agents
That said, home staging doesn’t need to be a DIY project by any means. You can hire a professional home stager to take care of most, or all, of this process for you. Home stagers and real estate agents can be separate entities or a bundled service. You can hire only a real estate agent to put the house on the market for you, while you take care of your own house staging. Alternately, you can hire a home stager and attempt to put your house on the market on your own. Many real estate agencies offer home staging services. Some may include a fee or higher commission, as home staging can be outsourced or staffed within a real estate agency. However you want to play it, you’re sure to find the right company/professional for your level of services. Just be sure to discuss what is included in the commission price before you sign any contracts.