Linda D. Dempsey - KELLER WILLIAMS REALTY


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Home automation is not only convenient for you, but it’s also one of the most eco-friendly things you can do. Putting things in your home on autopilot can help you stop wasting energy on heating or cooling the home when you’re not actually in it or forgetting to turn off lights when you leave for the day. If you’re thinking of adding some eco-friendly home tech, here are the solutions to consider that will be helpful additions to your home.

Smart Home Hub

The first thing you will need for eco-friendly home automation is a hub. A hub is the central location that controls all the automated features in your home. An Amazon Echo, Google Home or Apple HomePod are all good options. You can also sync your phone to these devices or use an app to turn your home into a smart home hub if you wish.

Smart Thermostat

Once you have your hub, you’re ready to start connecting things to it. A smart thermostat is one of the best items to purchase first. A smart thermostat lets you set up schedules for your heating and cooling based on your lifestyle. Some can detect your home, allowing them to switch on when you come home after a day at work. Smart thermostats can even detect the weather to make the home comfortable while using as little energy as possible.

Smart Power Outlets

Smart power outlets allow you to connect outlets to your smart home hub to control them remotely. They can also be scheduled to turn devices and lights off when you are not home, then turn them back on when you arrive home. 

Smart Sprinkler System

Automated sprinkler systems are nothing new. People have commonly enjoyed the convenience of timers that run the sprinkler on a specific schedule. Today’s smart sprinkler systems actually have water sensing technology built-in. Not only can they be set to run only at certain times, but they can also be set to run only when the soil needs watering. This prevents the loss of water from running the sprinkler right after a rain, saving you money on the water bill and keeping your yard sustainably-minded.

Household Energy Monitor

An energy monitor helps you monitor the energy use in your home with minute-by-minute breakdowns of how much power you are using. Simply clip the energy monitor onto the cable coming into your home, and start seeing how much you are using and when. This can help you cut down on wasted energy use significantly, so your home is more eco-friendly.

Solar Panels

If your roof or part of your yard gets a lot of sun, harvest the energy from that sun with solar panels. While these are costly to install, you can typically get rebates from your energy provider to help lower the cost. Over time, you will start saving money on your energy bills while also cutting back on energy used, all by simply harvesting the energy that’s naturally given by the sun.

As you make plans for a new home, don’t neglect thoughts about energy efficiency. With this tech added to your home, you can enjoy eco-friendly function, design and the possibility for lower energy bills.


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In many communities, homeowner’s associations, or HOAs, provide services to residents of the neighborhood. In fact, as many as 26 million homes are under the guidance of an HOA across the country. These community organizations can help ensure the neighborhood’s homes stay in good repair, residents treat each other respectfully, and agreed-upon rules are followed by all community members. But HOAs are not free. To be a member of a community with an HOA, you will need to pay a monthly or annual fee. So is the HOA worth having? Here are the benefits and drawbacks to consider if you’re shopping for a home in a community with one.

Benefits of an HOA

An HOA will provide amenities for you as a resident of the community. Sometimes, those amenities may include things like community swimming pools or a fitness center. They may be something as simple as enforcing rules about the upkeep of homes so the neighborhood looks nice. This, in turn, can help preserve the value of your property.

HOAs can reduce some of your responsibilities. Depending on the terms, they may cover lawn mowing and snow removal, or they may give you someone to call if your neighbor is letting his dog bark at odd hours of the night.

Finally, an HOA gives you a voice. These associations are run by boards, which are typically community residents, and those board members are supposed to listen to the needs and desires of community members.

Drawbacks of an HOA

On the other hand, an HOA does have some drawbacks. Sometimes, the rules, like rules about fencing in your yard or the color you can paint your home, may be detrimental to your goals. The cost is another factor to consider, as it will increase your overall cost of homeownership.

Depending on the terms of your HOA contract, it may be possible for the association to foreclose on your home if you fail to pay your dues and follow the rules. They can also spring assessments on the homeowners within the association if they lack the money to cover an expense, such as if the community pool needs to be renovated.

Finally, an HOA will often limit the rental of homes within its governance. If you need to move and don’t want to sell, you may not have the freedom to turn your home into a rental. If rentals are allowed, the HOA will have regulations about the rental agreements that you have to follow.

So is an HOA right for your needs? The answer truly depends on your goals for your home and your overall budget. Weigh the pros and cons, and then make a decision that fits you.


The home selling journey offers no guarantees, and as such, there is no assurance that you'll be able to enjoy a fast, profitable home selling experience. Lucky for you, we're here to offer insights into the home seller's perspective and ensure you can reap the benefits of a successful home selling journey.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you become a smart home seller.

1. Analyze Your House's Strengths and Weaknesses

Although you've allocated significant time and resources to keep your house looking great over the years, your home soon may be just one of many houses that is available to property buyers. But if you analyze your residence's strengths and weaknesses, you may be able to identify opportunities to improve your house and differentiate it from others in a competitive real estate market.

Oftentimes, it helps to conduct a house inspection before you list a residence. This inspection will enable you to receive a comprehensive analysis of your house from a property expert. Then, you can use an inspection report to prioritize home improvement projects and upgrade your house accordingly.

2. Set an Aggressive Initial Asking Price

What you initially paid for your house is unlikely to match your home's present value. However, if you analyze the real estate market, you may be better equipped than ever before to establish an aggressive initial asking price for your residence.

Take a look at the prices of available houses in your city or town that are comparable to your own residence. By doing so, you can narrow the price range for homes in your region.

Furthermore, a home appraisal may prove to be exceedingly valuable. An appraisal enables you to receive a property valuation based on your house's condition, age and the current state of the real estate sector. With this appraisal in hand, you can set an asking price for your house that will hit the mark with many potential buyers.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

Even a home seller who is persistent and intelligent may require additional help to achieve the optimal results. Fortunately, real estate agents are available who can make it simple for a home seller to maximize his or her home sale earnings.

A real estate agent is a housing market expert who is unafraid to be honest with a home seller. This housing market professional will offer unbiased feedback about a residence's condition and provide recommendations to help a home seller improve his or her property. Plus, a real estate agent is happy to respond to a home seller's concerns and questions. This means a home seller can receive extensive housing market insights from his or her real estate agent and make informed decisions throughout the home selling journey.

When it comes to selling a home, there is no need to leave anything to chance. Take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and anyone can enter the real estate market as a smart home seller.


The homebuying journey is rarely problem-free. Fortunately, homebuyers who know how to address challenges throughout the property buying journey should have no trouble making their homeownership dreams come true.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you develop an effective approach to address any homebuying challenges that come your way.

1. Be Diligent

When it comes to homebuying challenges, it helps to be diligent. A diligent homebuyer allocates time and resources to understand problems and address them from every angle. As such, this buyer may be better equipped than others to find the right solution to any homebuying challenge, at any time.

Furthermore, a diligent homebuyer often learns about the housing market and analyzes real estate market patterns and trends. With this information at his or her disposal, a homebuyer can use real estate market data to gain an advantage over rival property buyers. And as a result, a diligent homebuyer can use housing market data to make fast, informed decisions throughout the property buying journey.

2. Understand the Worst-Case Scenarios

No one likes to think about the worst-case scenarios. Yet considering potential challenges that could arise during the homebuying cycle may help a property buyer plan ahead for these problems.

As a homebuyer, it is important to prepare as much as possible for all stages of the property buying journey. If a buyer understands potential challenges, he or she may be able to address such problems without delay. Perhaps best of all, this buyer can minimize the risk of encountering possible hurdles that otherwise may prevent him or her from finding the right house at the right price.

3. Work with a Real Estate Agent

Dealing with a homebuying challenge on your own can cause immense stress. Lucky for you, real estate agents are available who can help you identify and resolve any homebuying challenges before they escalate.

A real estate agent is a homebuying expert who can guide you along each stage of the property buying journey. First, he or she will learn about your homebuying goals and craft a custom property buying strategy. A real estate agent next will keep you up to date about new homes that match your property buying criteria, as well as set up home showings. And once you find a house that you want to buy, a real estate agent will help you submit a competitive offer to purchase this residence.

Let's not forget about the assistance that a real estate agent provides after a seller accepts your offer to purchase a home, either. At this point, a real estate agent will help you schedule a house inspection and ensure that you are fully prepared for closing day. And if you have concerns or questions along the way, a real estate agent is ready to respond to them.

Want to become a confident homebuyer? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can bolster your homebuying confidence and address any homebuying challenges with poise and integrity.


Although clutter in your home may seem like an insignificant problem, it can actually have a negative impact on everything from your personal productivity to family relationships.

When dirty dishes pile up, clothes gather on the floor, and toys are scattered everywhere, it often creates a feeling of discouragement that can seep into every aspect of your life.

While most people view clutter as an annoyance or an eyesore, studies have shown that it can contribute to stress, feelings of guilt, and even depression. Books have been written on the topic and well-known websites have devoted countless pages to the connection between stress and clutter.

In addition to feeling embarrassed when guests drop over unexpectedly, household clutter makes it difficult to find important things, like car keys, homework assignments, or cell phones. A disorganized, messy home can also lead to bills being paid late, which can bring with it a whole separate set of problems, such as late payment fees, collection letters, and credit rating issues. For people planning on applying for a mortgage in the near future, a damaged credit score could adversely affect interest rates, loan terms, or even their chances of obtaining a mortgage.

Fortunately, there are ways to turn the tide on your battle with household clutter. The first step, of course, is to recognize that you have a problem. The second step is to begin writing a plan or set of goals for taking charge of the clutter. The third step is to begin taking action and to set aside 15 to 30 minutes a day for organizing your home and putting clutter in its place!

If you're considering putting your home on the market in the near future, you may need to bump up that time allotment! Cluttered closets, storage areas, and countertops are sure to send the wrong message to prospective home buyers. Living areas that contain too much furniture, stacks of magazines, or piles of unsorted mail will convey an unwanted image of chaos, messiness, and disarray. Clutter can also have the effect of making rooms look smaller and less appealing.

In addition to establishing new and better habits for keeping your home organized and looking its best, it's also important to enlist the cooperation of your family. When everyone does their part to keep your home looking presentable and well maintained, fewer things will get misplaced, moods will be lifted, and you'll no longer feel embarrassed when company drops by!

The best time to begin attacking the problem is now. If the project seems overwhelming, the solution is to start small, but stick with it on a daily basis. As the famous quote says, "The race does not always go to the swift, but to those who keep on running."