InvestingKari's BlogUpgrades & Renovations December 24, 2020

Eco-Friendly Smart Home Upgrades For Greener Living

https://www.pexels.com/photo/cooking-hands-handwashing-health-545013/

 

Smart home tech obviously offers a lot to get excited about, but did you know it can also make your home more eco-friendly? There are a ton of smart home upgrades that go a long way toward reducing your carbon footprint. This will make your home greener, lower your electricity bills, and can even boost your property value!

Here’s a look at how to turn your house into an eco-friendly smart home:

Staying Safe While Getting Smart

Adding smart devices to your home is a great way to improve your day-to-day life and reduce your impact on the environment. However, you must do it right, and that means doing it safely. The more devices you have connected to the internet, the more vulnerable your home is to hackers. You want to make sure you’ve secured your network as much as possible, and stay careful and thoughtful every time you add a device.

Start by creating an additional hidden WiFi network, and make that the only network you connect smart devices to. The great thing about a hidden WiFi network is that it won’t come up in “available network” searches for people nearby. Although they’re not impossible to find, they prevent you from being an easy target. You should also always set up your networks with randomly generated passwords, and only give network access to people you really trust. It is also smart to change your WiFi password after, say, a breakup — just in case.

Smart Utilities

The most straightforward way to use smart technology to reduce your carbon footprint is to build smart tech into your utility usage. For example, you could invest in a smart thermostat. This offers several carbon-footprint-friendly features — most notably, it allows you to keep your heating and cooling output low while you’re out of the house, but brings the temperature back to comfort-level before you get home.

You could also look into installing a smart faucet in your kitchen. This gives you the ability to be really specific with your water usage. For example, if you need two cups of water for a recipe, it’ll measure two cups exactly — no overage to pour out. It can also help you track your water usage, which keeps you aware and helps you moderate where possible.

Obviously, it is wonderful how these devices help reduce harm on the planet, but let’s be honest: the reduced utility bills are nice, too.

Smart Tech for Eco-Friendly Lifestyle Changes

Smart technology can make your life eco-friendlier indirectly as well by encouraging environmentally conscious lifestyle decisions. For example, you might be surprised how much smart tech is out there for indoor container gardening. You can use smart sensors to know exactly when your plants need water, whether or not they’re getting enough light, and more. This is a great support tool for anyone who wants to move toward a more self-sustainable lifestyle by growing their own herbs and foods at home.

Even something as simple as a smart home hub can encourage you to stay eco-friendly. Subscribe to environmentally-minded podcasts and set them to play on your smart speaker throughout the day. This keeps you up to date on the latest technology and science for keeping the planet healthy and empowers you to make smart decisions on a personal, professional, and political level.

Smart home tech can do a lot to keep our lives as eco-friendly as possible while also making them easier and more pleasant. Focus on the forms of tech that will shrink your utility bill, reduce your carbon footprint, and improve your property value all at once to create the perfect eco-friendly smart home.

 

Looking for a property so you can get started? Contact Kari Haas for help finding the perfect fit!

 

Photo Credit: Pexels

This post was originally submitted by Lisa Walker and has been edited by the Kari Haas Team. Lisa walker is the creator of NeighborhoodSprout.org, which provides inspiration for people putting time and energy into their homes.

 

 

For BuyersInvestingTips & TricksUpgrades & Renovations September 6, 2019

What to Expect When Buying a Fixer-Upper

 What to Expect When Buying a Fixer-Upper

 

Buying a fixer-upper isn’t for the faint of heart. However, for many first-time home buyers, it’s the ideal way to get into the market. Before jumping into it, make sure you’re familiar with the buying process and what to expect when renovating. These tips will help you get prepared to take on your fixer-upper project the right way.

 

What to Expect When Buying

 

The average sale price for a home in Bellevue is $945,000, but a fixer-upper can often be purchased for less. When you start searching for fixer-upper properties in your area, keep these key points in mind:

 

  • Budgeting Basics: Your budget needs to factor in the cost of repairs along with the potential resale price once the home is all fixed up. You don’t want to offer more than you can expect to recoup when selling. It’s also crucial to consider how you will fund the renovations. Apartment Therapy recommends looking into renovation loans, which could help you finance the renovations and home purchase with a single mortgage.

 

Kari Haas team member Darren Costa is a mortgage industry expert, including Limited 203(k) loan programs. Darren and the rest of the team will help guide you along the right path for your project!

 

  • Choose Projects Wisely: When looking at potential properties for your fixer-upper, it’s important to assess how much of what you will need to do is cosmetic and how much is structural. Cosmetic changes will be least costly, whereas larger structural issues can add up quickly. Getting a home inspection is essential to making sure you know what to expect, and this will help you determine whether your renovations are likely to pay off. The national average cost of hiring a home inspector is $244 – $421. In the greater Seattle area, the price can range from $300-$600.

 

How to Tackle the Project

 

Buying a house that needs to be overhauled can be overwhelming. Avoid getting bogged down in frustration by creating a list of everything you want or need to do and then prioritizing projects.

 

The Kari Haas team is experienced in contracting and construction. Whatever your goals are, the Kari Haas team will be your best sounding board to help you make sure you’re set up for success.

 

  • Be Prepared With the Right Tools: The most cost effective way to tackle a fixer-upper is to do the work yourself. Even if you’re starting from scratch, it will be well worth investing in the right power tools. Consult a list of essential tools for DIY, such as this one from Fine Homebuilding. A few essentials include a drill, sander, and jigsaw, along with a basic toolbox and ladder.
  • Start With Structural Changes: If you need to make any structural changes or the exterior needs work, prioritize those projects first. Otherwise, you may end up undoing some of the cosmetic work you’ve done inside.
  • What Makes the Most Sense? Even if you have projects that you really want to put on the top of your list, focus on what makes the most sense to do first. You may be tempted to rip down some particularly ugly wallpaper, but if you’re planning on moving furniture in and living there through construction, it may make the most sense to install flooring first.
  • Make Your Space Livable: Along the same lines, prioritize one or two projects that are necessary to make your home livable. If you don’t want to live on takeout, that might mean a kitchen renovation comes first.

 

Stay or Sell?

 

After all the work is done, how do you know if selling is the way to go? If you have kept costs low by doing a good bit of the work yourself, you have a greater chance of being able to sell for a profit. Then you have the question of whether your fixer-upper makes enough money to buy a home you want to live in. Or maybe it would make a great vacation rental for long-term income! You may also fall in love with your “new” home and decide you want to stay. When someone buys a house to flip, they typically renovate to appeal to a wide range of buyers rather than to their own tastes, so think about your end goal.

 

You don’t have to figure everything out beforehand, but you don’t want to go into this process blindly either. Be sure to do your research and work with an experienced real estate agent who can guide you. If you’re up for the task, buying a fixer-upper has rewards that you will enjoy for years to come, whether you decide to flip or end up with your dream home.

 

Call Kari Haas TODAY to get started on your project, or just brainstorm!

206-719-2224

 

 

Photo credit: Pixabay

 

This post was originally submitted by Erin Reynolds and has been edited by the Kari Haas Team. Erin Reynolds is the creator of DIYMama.net, which provides resources to help others with home improvement projects and repairs.

 

DecorFor Home OwnersInvestingTips & TricksUpgrades & Renovations July 16, 2019

How to Boost the Value of Your Vacation Rental

 

Seattle at Dusk - Pixabay

 

Tens of thousands of dollars — that’s how much you could be making by renting your property out to vacationers if you do it right. Boosting the overall level of comfort and aesthetic appeal could turn a modest dwelling into a cash cow. Potential guests are willing to shell out for the extras, as long as they’re the right ones. If you want to turn their heads, as well as a tidy profit, you need to have a top-notch rental in a great area to get an excellent return on investment.

 

Location Is Important

Having a rental that’s close to activities, shopping, and dining makes all the difference. And when marketing your vacation rental, you want to highlight these nearby attractions — especially since you’re likely to have competition in a hot market like Seattle. If your rental is in one of Seattle’s many unique neighborhoods (Shoreline, Ballard, Queen Anne, Capitol Hill and West Seattle to name a few!) you’re well on your way to attracting guests. And even if you aren’t in one of these neighborhoods, look for other ways to make your rental stand out.

 

Whether seeking a vacation rental or searching for a forever home, location is key. Make it as easy as possible to envision the geography of the area and what activities, shops and services are nearby. This property is in the heart of Queen Anne with a gorgeous view of Puget Sound, easy access to downtown, and around the corner from the Seattle Center.

 

 

Upgrade the Kitchen

Vacationers often rent homes rather than stay at hotels in order to cook for themselves, so offer them a pleasant experience preparing their meals. First, make any necessary changes to the layout. Then, continue with popular upgrades that focus on function and appearance, such as new countertops and fixtures.

 

Upscale custom cabinets, new appliances and imported granite? Yes please! This home has gorgeous updates in every room including two master suites. Searching for an investment property to use for a vacation rental? Look no further than right here!

 

Add Some Appliances

New appliances could seal the deal when a potential client is considering your property for rental. They’ll expect the basics, such as an oven, refrigerator, and microwave, while toasters, blenders, and food processors make for attractive bonuses — as long as they don’t take up too much space.

 

Redo the Bathrooms

You can save money by doing a bathroom remodel yourself. You’ll significantly boost value with a coat of paint, some fresh grout, and a new vanity. Of course, if you’re not handy with a hammer and drill, hiring a contractor to install these wouldn’t be a bad idea. If you want to do a full remodel, make sure there’s room in your budget. Even a mid-range bathroom remodel averages $19,000. However, the Kari Haas team has great resources and new bathrooms are often less than $7,000 for designer details!

 

If they are looking into renting a home for their vacation, these vacationers are probably most interested in being a tourist in the city. If you want to really impress them with your property, don’t just stop with the kitchen remodel, bring the vacation into every room, including the bathroom. Who ever said no to a giant luxurious soaking tub?

 

Install New Lighting

New lighting will make the whole interior look more spacious, warm, and inviting. There are a few ways to do this quickly and easily using recessed fixtures and sconces, with perhaps some under-cabinet task lighting in the kitchen to make cooking that much easier. And don’t forget the outdoors, particularly the path that leads to the doorway.

 

Give It a Unique Decor

Provide an experience that’s one of a kind rather than run of the mill. You can do that without busting your budget by buying furnishings and decorations at secondhand or outlet stores, estate sales, consignment shops, and auctions. There’s treasure to be discovered there.

 

Make the Patio Special

Your guests want to chill outside with a drink in their hand, one of the most pleasant parts of any vacation. Ensure they can do that in style and comfort with seating that fits the climate, along with some shade from umbrellas or a retractable awning. If space permits, consider setting up an al fresco dining area.

 

Every extra thing you do to enhance your property gives vacationers more of a reason to give you their business.

 

Plan for Maintenance

When it comes to maintenance, a preventive approach comes highly recommended and could save up to 20 percent in repairs when it comes to major appliances, as well as the heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems. Regular tasks like cleaning filters should be carried out according to a strict schedule, which should also include periodic visits from qualified technicians.

 

Keep It Spotless

If your vacation home isn’t clean, you may get a nasty review from one of your guests that scares off future business. Pay close attention to the kitchen, bathrooms, and bedrooms, as those draw the most scrutiny. Hire a cleaning service to keep your vacation rental sparkling clean. In the Seattle area, this will typically cost you between $123 and $239.

 

Learn How to Market

These improvements are for nothing if potential clients don’t know about them. Pictures are the best way to show them what’s on offer, so they should be taken by a professional. They will make an impact when you spread the news of your property far and wide on the internet and social media. Call Kari Haas for great photographer referrals costing between $300-$500!

 

With these upgrades and savvy salesmanship, you’ll get rave reviews that’ll bring a steady stream of clients flowing through your doors. Any successful business person will tell you that regular business is the best kind.

 

 

This post was originally submitted by Erin Reynolds and has been edited by the Kari Haas Team. Erin Reynolds is the creator of DIYMama.net, which provides resources to help others with home improvement projects and repairs.