What is an HOA?

What is an HOA?

It’s important to learn more about the neighborhood HOA, such as annual dues, community amenities, and restrictions when looking to buy a new home. The goal of the HOA is to help maintain home values and the overall aesthetics of a neighborhood.

When looking for a house, many buyers tend to take into account costs associated with owning a home such as insurance, utilities, and taxes. One thing buyers may not think to consider is whether the house is in a neighborhood with an HOA, what the dues are, and how the association is run. Many buyers may be aware of association dues and regulations in multi-family developments such as condos or townhomes. But, it’s becoming a new normal to find HOAs in developments with single-family homes



What is an HOA?

There are different definitions out there for a Homeowners’ Association and many operate differently from one another. A Homeowners’ Association, or HOA, is an association that works to maintain and oversee the common areas of a neighborhood or property complex. It’s fairly common to find them in neighborhoods that offer amenities such as a community pool, gated access, a playground, tennis courts, etc. The HOA is typically a volunteer-based board made up of homeowners living in the neighborhood. Many HOAs have committees that coordinate neighborhood events, review proposed changes homeowners wish to make to their property, enforce the covenants, and more.

Get to Know the Rules

The covenants, conditions, and restrictions are different for every HOA. Some rules commonly seen in HOAs are in regard to the overall appearance and aesthetics of the neighborhood, such as the appearances of houses and lawn maintenance. Some also have restrictions regarding street parking or where residents can park their boats and RVs. Others may deal more with coordinating neighborhood crime watches and events.

When considering a house, it’s a good idea to ask for a copy of the HOA covenants, conditions, and restrictions to get a better idea of what is allowed and not allowed in the neighborhood. It’s becoming more common for HOAs to have a website or social media page, which is a great place to learn more about the community. For example, some mandate there can be no cars parked in the yard of any house in the neighborhood. If a homeowner wants to paint the house a new color, change the landscaping, or add on to the property, the owner has to submit the proposed changes to the HOA for review and approval. The committee will review the proposed changes to ensure they fall in line with the covenants of the neighborhood. While these may seem rather burdensome or trivial, the HOA was designed to help maintain home values and the overall aesthetics of a neighborhood.

How are HOAs Funded?

Many HOAs require annual, quarterly or monthly dues. Those dues will vary based upon the size of the neighborhood and amenities. Dues are used for a number of things including maintenance of common spaces such as neighborhood entrances, playgrounds, pools, etc. In gated neighborhoods, many of the items that would normally be maintained by the city or parish must be maintained by the HOA. These items may include roads, sidewalks, and street lighting to name a few. Some HOAs will hire a property management company to oversee the collection of dues and coordinate maintenance issues.

Another thing to consider is whether the house is located in a new development. There may not be many amenities or common spaces to maintain as the neighborhood is being developed, so dues may be minimal. The developer may cover some of the associated costs while the neighborhood is still being developed. The true cost associated with running the HOA and maintaining the neighborhood may not fully come to light until the neighborhood is near completion and the developer turns the HOA over to the new residential board.

It’s important to pay the dues on time. Depending on the bylaws, late fees and interest could be tacked on to the bill and the HOA could place a lien on the property if the dues are not paid. The HOA could also foreclose on the property for nonpayment of dues.

After the Closing

Contacting the HOA should be a priority on the Post Move-in List as it is important to provide contact information to the HOA. It’s also a great time to get more information regarding upcoming neighborhood events or other ways to get involved. The HOA cannot operate without residents who are willing to give of their time.

It’s also a great idea to attend neighborhood events such as an ice cream social, an Independence Day parade, Halloween trick-or-treating, and a Christmas party. These events can serve as a great way to meet neighbors and build relationships.

It’s important to remember that the volunteers who serve on the HOA are your neighbors and friends. Like you, they want what’s best for the community. Every homeowner benefits from a well-cared for neighborhood.


Source: AMY POE

Posted on October 29, 2017 at 4:20 pm
Elizabeth Corvello | Category: get real (estate) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Teal Pumpkin Project


The Teal Pumpkin Project was inspired by a local awareness activity run by the Food Allergy Community of East Tennessee (FACET) and launched as a national campaign by FARE in 2014. FARE thanks FACET for their ongoing partnership as we work to reach families across the country and around the world with the Teal Pumpkin Project’s messages of awareness, inclusion and community.


What’s the Teal Pumpkin Project®?
The Teal Pumpkin Project encourages people to raise awareness of food allergies and promotes inclusion of all trick-or-treaters throughout the Halloween season. The steps to participate are:

  1. Provide non-food treats for trick-or-treaters.
  2. Place a teal pumpkin – the color of food allergy awareness –in front of your home to indicate you have non-food treats available.
  3. Display a free printable sign or premium poster from FARE to explain the meaning of your teal pumpkin.

Why is this important?

Halloween can be a tricky time for families managing food allergies. Many traditional Halloween treats aren’t safe for children with life-threatening food allergies. The Teal Pumpkin Project promotes safety, inclusion and respect of individuals managing food allergies. This worldwide movement offers an alternative for kids with food allergies, as well as other children for whom candy is not an option. It keeps Halloween a fun, positive experience for all!

What do I do if I want to participate?
Participating is simple. Pick up some inexpensive toys, and place a teal pumpkin and/or a free printable sign from FARE outside your home to show that you have non-food treats to hand out. Supporting the Teal Pumpkin Project is a simple gesture that can have a big impact.

Do you want to help spread the Teal Pumpkin Project’s messages of a safer, happier Halloween for all even further? You can support FARE and the Teal Pumpkin Project in a variety of ways:

  • Download FARE’s promotional flyer to circulate in your local community so that your neighbors can take part too!
  • Host a Teal Pumpkin Project inspired fundraising event to support FARE
  • Order an official Teal Pumpkin Project Halloween Essentials Kit that includes a fun selection of non-food treats, a pumpkin stencil, support poster, cool trick-or-treat bag, and more.
  • Make a donation and receive a free Teal Pumpkin Project magnet (while supplies last)
  • Download free materials and use the hashtag #tealpumpkinproject to help us spread the word.

I don’t have time to paint a pumpkin teal, what do I do?
Simple – you can print out a free sign from our website to post on your door. You can also look for teal pumpkins to purchase online and at local retail shops.

I didn’t know this was a problem. Why is Halloween a challenge for families managing food allergies?
Food allergies are a life-altering and potentially life-threatening disease, and a growing public health issue. In the U.S., one in 13 children has a food allergy – that’s roughly two in every classroom. For these children, even a tiny amount of their allergen has the potential to cause a severe reaction.

Virtually any food can cause a reaction. Many popular Halloween candies contain nuts, milk, egg, soy or wheat, which are some of the most common allergens in children and adults. Additionally, many miniature or fun-size versions of candy items contain different ingredients than their full-size counterparts and some miniature candy items may not have labels, so it is difficult for parents to determine whether these items are safe for their child with food allergies.

Non-food treats provide a safe, fun alternative for children with food allergies and other conditions for whom candy may present a problem.

What children can benefit from non-food treats?
All kids love non-food treats like glow sticks or small toys. There are children who have various conditions that may preclude them from having candy, or can particularly benefit from non-food treats, including:

  • Food allergies
  • Food intolerances
  • Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EoE)
  • Celiac disease
  • Food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome (FPIES)
  • Children with feeding tubes
  • Any child on a special diet

Is this taking away the tradition of collecting candy on Halloween? 
The goal is not to exclude candy from the Halloween tradition. The goal is simply to ensure that children with food allergies – and other children for whom candy is not an option – are able to enjoy a safer, happier Halloween. Trick-or-treaters typically receive pounds of candies and chocolates, and we’re sure they will continue to collect plenty of candy. Many kids, whether they have food allergies or not, enjoy the experience of receiving little toys and other fun items that they can keep.

Can I still pass out candy?
Sure – just do it safely! The point of the Teal Pumpkin Project is to make trick-or-treating as inclusive as possible. You can keep the experience safe by keeping your food treats and non-food treats in separate bowls.

Do kids with life-threatening food allergies actually trick-or-treat?
Yes! Who wouldn’t want to take part in such a fun tradition shared with friends, classmates and family? Many kids with food allergies go out to trick-or-treat just like their friends. They know they’ll give much of their candy away because it’s not safe for them. They have come to understand that a lot of their fun will come from dressing up in a costume. We hope the Teal Pumpkin Project becomes a tradition for years to come so kids will know that when they knock on someone’s door that has a teal pumpkin, they’ll have a treat they can fully enjoy.

Are there any non-food treats that I should avoid?
There are a few considerations when choosing which non-food items to hand out. First, some non-food items still contain food allergens. For example, some brands of moldable clay contain wheat. Additionally, try to choose latex-free items, as there are children who have latex allergies.

If I’m handing out candy and non-food treats, how do I determine which treat to give to each trick-or-treater?
You can either ask trick-or-treaters if they have any food allergies, or give every visitor a choice of which treat they’d like: candy or a non-food item.

Do kids really like non-food treats?
They don’t just like them, they love them! Finding a unique treat at your house will be a fun surprise. Glow bracelets, for example, are a great option. They are inexpensive, kids can wear them throughout the night, and parents are appreciative because they help make kids more visible after nightfall. Other non-food items, such as pencils and stickers, can be used at home and at school long after candy has run out or expired.

How do I know which houses in my area are participating?
FARE is providing a Teal Pumpkin Project Participation Map that allows people participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project to add their home address, street or neighborhood. Adding your household to the map shows your support and allows you to connect with other families in your area who are participating.

How do I get my neighbors involved?
Getting your community involved is easy!

  • Ask your friends and neighbors to learn more about the Teal Pumpkin Project and participate. Print out FARE’s flyers and hand them out.
  • Host an event like a teal pumpkin painting party and ask your friends and neighbors to participate.
  • If you have a neighborhood email listserv, send out an email about the initiative, including a link to FARE’s website (www.foodallergy.org).
  • Reach out to your local library, dentist/doctor offices, schools, or community buildings to see if they would be willing to help you post signs or get the word out.
  • Share information on social media, and post a picture of your teal pumpkins when you have them near your door! Don’t forget to use #tealpumpkinproject when you post!

Why teal?
Teal is the color of food allergy awareness. It has been used to raise awareness about this serious medical condition for nearly 20 years.

How did the project start?
The Teal Pumpkin Project was inspired by an awareness activity run by the Food Allergy Community of East Tennessee (FACET). FARE thanks FACET for their ongoing partnership as we work to reach families across the country and around the world with the Teal Pumpkin Project’s messages of awareness, inclusion and community.

Posted on October 15, 2017 at 5:07 pm
Elizabeth Corvello | Category: lifestyle, local | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Trend Alert: 8 Colors to Try This Season

Trend Alert: 8 Colors to Try This Season

Fall is here! Make holiday house guests and potential buyers feel at-home with the comfy, cozy and even cheerful shades of the season.

Guest post by  Michelle Lee, Houzz

Now that October is here and it’s officially fall, breezy colors and summery decor will start to feel out of place. Make holiday houseguests and potential buyers feel at-home with the comfy, cozy and even cheerful shades of the season. Follow along as we uncover eight trendy colors that will last through the new year.

1. Pumpkin Spice

As everyone is lining up for their long-awaited pumpkin spice lattes, the hue also has a well-earned spot in home decor. It’s bold, exudes warmth and resembles the always festive holiday, Halloween. This color works well when painted on one wall, as shown above, or through accessories like rugs, pillows, and throws if you’re color shy. It pairs well with neutral colors and monochromatic palettes as it takes the spotlight in all of its seasonal glory.

2. Autumn Red

If you don’t use autumn red in autumn, when will you use it? Although it’s a dramatic shade, it can infuse any room with a fiery and fun vibe. It adds intense energy to contemporary and modern rooms while being a happy addition to any playful, eclectic space. Use it intentionally and sparingly in a room to enhance its overall effect.


3. Emerald Green

There’s so much to love about this deep shade of green. Unlike the previous colors that are more playful, emerald draws from its roots in Mother Nature to create a sense of calm in any space. Serving as the focus in this kitchen, emerald green cabinetry marries perfectly with blond wood tones and light countertops. Wouldn’t you like to spend all holiday season here?

4. Navy Blue

Even darker and more daring than emerald green, navy is a close cousin to black. If you’re not psyched about displaying the iconic holiday colors in your home, but still want to stay on the dark side of the spectrum, this shade of blue is perfect for you. Honoring its origin from the British Royal Navy, this color embodies ultimate elegance, sophistication and power. Bringing navy into your home this season can have surprisingly health benefits too. It’s been shown to have a calming effect on the human body by slowing heart rate and metabolism.

5. Wine

Often an overlooked shade of purple, wine would make a lovely addition to any home this fall. Following suit with the deep tones discussed above, it has the strongest effect when used sparsely, as seen in this Chicago bedroom. Purple has historically been a color of royalty and power. Its wine pigment is no different, conveying richness and seduction in every capacity.

6. Steel Gray

Gray is one of the most versatile hues on the spectrum and can easily be used all year-round. Having said that, it’s often hard to choose the right gray for the season. Light gray can be seen as a winter wonderland while charcoal can be hard to distinguish from black. Steel gray is a solid middle ground. It’s the star of the show in this contemporary London kitchen with its sharp, clean and defined lines.

Photo by Gary Quigg Photography – Discover eclectic living room design ideas

7. Mustard Yellow

A hue that echoes the falling leaves soon to come, mustard yellow provides warmth and joy to any space. It plays well with other bold colors, like the bright blue sofa and TV stand in this eclectic living room. For year-round summer lovers, this color can also serve as a happy reminder of the sunny days and will brighten up any interior.

Photo by Chalet – Discover traditional bedroom design inspiration

8. Brown to Beige

Brown is a classic fall color, but too much of it can make a home feel more like a cave. Instead, use brown as an accent color and brighten it up with a lovely beige tone. Add in some white decor for a gorgeous layered look, like you see in this Denver bedroom.



Source: Houzz/ Sharon Lee

Posted on October 8, 2017 at 6:39 pm
Elizabeth Corvello | Category: lifestyle | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Smart Pergolas Adjust to Any Weather

Smart Pergolas Adjust to Any Weather

Posted on July 31, 2017 at 6:08 pm
Elizabeth Corvello | Category: get real (estate), lifestyle | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Getting Preapproved- FAQ’s

Getting Preapproved- FAQ’s

Can I apply before I find the home I want to purchase?

Yes! When you apply in advance, we can issue you a pre-qualification letter that will affirm to the seller of the home that you are a qualified buyer. We can also help you determine a comfortable price range to look in and keep your payment within your budget.

What is a rate lock?

A rate lock is an agreement between the borrower and lender that allows the borrower to secure an interest rate range for a specified period of time. This can offer you protection from fluctuations in the market. It is your choice whether or not to lock your interest rate, your loan officer will be able to advise you on whether and when to lock.

Who do I contact if I have a question about the servicing of my loan?

If you need additional information regarding the servicing of your mortgage loan, please submit the following information in writing: your name, your loan number and the additional information you are requesting.

If you believe an error has occurred regarding the servicing of your mortgage loan, please submit the following information in writing: your name, your loan number, and the error you believe has occurred.

What are title and escrow?

Title companies act as a neutral third party during a real estate transaction by handling the transfer of funds and documents between the parties involved. As a neutral party, the title company protects both the buyer and seller by ensuring that all conditions are met for the sale prior to the exchange of funds. Title companies also offer title insurance for property owners, this provides insurance against loss due to title defects, liens and other issues.

Can I still qualify for a loan after short sale, foreclosure or bankruptcy?

This will depend on a number of factors: whether your waiting period has expired, whether you have been able to do any credit repair needed and your current income and employment situation. Contact us anytime for a no obligation, free evaluation to see what we can do for you.

How do points work?

Points can be paid upfront at closing in exchange for a lower interest rate throughout the life of the loan. One point is equal to 1% of the loan amount. Although this means you will be required to pay at closing, you will lower your payments by doing so.

By comparing the costs of the points at origination to the savings you would gain from your lowered monthly payments, you can judge how many payments it would take to recoup the money spent on the points. If, for example, you plan to move or refinance in 3 years, but it would take 4 years of payments to gain a savings from the points, then paying points would not be a good investment

How will my credit score affect my mortgage?

Your credit score is determined by a credit bureau and used to determine the likelihood that you will repay the loan, the number can range from 300-850. The amount and type of credit available to you, the balance owed, your consistency in making payments, credit inquiries and any defaults or late payments all factor into your score. You can view a copy of your credit report from the 3 major bureaus once every 12 months for free by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com

Your credit score can play a big part in qualifying for a mortgage. Depending on the type of loan you are interested in, there may be a minimum score required and your credit score will also be reflected in the price of the loan. If you are in need of credit repair we would be happy to advise you on ways to improve your score.

What are closing costs?

Closing costs are the costs incurred during the loan process. These costs can include origination fees (the charge for processing the loan paperwork), credit report fees, appraisal and inspection fees, title insurance, recording fees and underwriting fees. Depending on your loan, closing costs may also include fees for escrow deposit or discount points as well.

Typically, closing costs will be between 2 and 5% of the cost of the home. Your loan officer will provide you with a Good Faith Estimate (GFE) after you submit your loan application, which will outline the expected closing costs. The GFE is only an estimate, though, and closing costs can change during the transaction.

You may choose to pay your closing costs at the time that the loan closes, or finance them into the loan. You can also consult your realtor about the possibility of asking the sellers of the home to pay some or all of your closing costs.

Most lenders will be happy to run your information for you. Some local lenders will also help you do FREE credit repair.


Posted on July 16, 2017 at 5:23 pm
Elizabeth Corvello | Category: get real (estate) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

RATATOUILLE Crostini with Goat Cheese and Toasted Pine Nuts

RATATOUILLE Crostini with Goat Cheese and Toasted Pine Nut

I love Summer food, especially when I can throw things in the crock pot, make enough for the week and then not get the house hot each day. This Savory recipe is just perfect for bringing together the flavors of all the beautiful summer veggies we have during this season.



This is where you can make your ratatouille to taste. I like mine spicy but my one year old doesn’t- so I make it without the heat and then sprinkle chili flakes on the finished product. I like to use:
1 Eggplant
3 Zucchini
1 can diced tomatoes (can be substituted with 1 pint cherry tomatoes- whole)
1 can tomato paste
3 large button mushrooms
2 small sweet vidalia onions
4 cloves garlic
7 or 8 mini bell peppers
3 sprigs basil
herbs de provence to taste
salt and pepper to taste ( I add at the end)
basil to garnish
toasted pine nuts to garnish
1 Baguette or Pugliese bread
goat cheese
olive oil
1 clove garlic


1. Rinse all your veggies and dice into bite size pieces

2. Combine all ingredients in crock pot and pour over the tomato paste and diced tomatoes. Cook on high for one hour, then turn to warm, uncover and allow to simmer in crock pot for another 2-3 hours.
3. When ready to serve, slice bread to 1/2 in thickness and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Place under broiler until lightly golden brown.
4. Remove from Broiler, and rub with garlic clove.
5. Spread small amount of goat cheese on each piece of crostini, then cover with warm or cold ratatouille
6. top with pine nuts and fresh basil to garnish ( I also throw on red chili flakes from time to time- YUM!)


Make the ratatouille a day in advance—it’s even better on the second day after the flavors have come together. If it’s not enjoyed all at one sitting, it keeps well in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Posted on June 19, 2017 at 9:51 pm
Elizabeth Corvello | Category: lifestyle, Recipes and Food | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

25 Smart Home Technologies that Matter Most to Home Buyers

25 Smart Home Technologies that Matter Most to Home Buyers
Nearly 60 percent of the real estate agents polled said they are seeing more smart home features in listing descriptions than they did two to five years ago.

Everyone is talking about the connected home. Smart home technology is becoming the new norm and now according to a survey of more than 500 Coldwell Banker sale associates it’s taking off in real estate as well. Nearly 60 percent of sales associates surveyed said they are seeing more smart home features in listing descriptions than they did two to five years ago, and one in three sales associates noted that properties with smart home features and technologies sell faster than homes without them.

The relevance of the smart home was also apparent at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show held in Las Vegas earlier this year. Members of the Coldwell Banker Real Estate marketing team attended CES. The team couldn’t walk more than a few feet without encountering a new piece of smart home technology. From security systems with advanced motion sensors to innovative systems that allow for lighting control from mobile devices, the connected home was ubiquitous.

Inspired by CES, Coldwell Banker compiled a list of the top 25 smart home products and technologies that matter most to buyers, based on the Coldwell Banker survey and CES favorites. The list is grouped into seven categories: security, temperature, safety, lighting, entertainment, appliances and overall connectivity.

Check them out below, and follow along all week as we continue to highlight smart home technology on the Blue Matter blog and through social media with #smarthomeweek.

Smart Security

1. Kwikset Kevo Smart Lock – With Kevo the smartphone is now the key. Home sellers can allow their realtors, or anyone else such as a neighbor or a housecleaner, to have access to specified doors for a designated time. Eventually when the new buyer moves in all they have to do is download the app and they’re ready to go.

2. iSmartAlarm –Meet one of the DIY smart home security leaders, with no monthly fees and no contracts. This easy-to-install wireless DIY system is great for apartments or small homes. The iSmartAlarm system is almost infinitely expandable via door and window motion sensors, smart switches, and iCamera and iCamera KEEP models with streaming video and video storage. Packages start at $199.

3. Oplink Connected– Oplink Connected is great for a slightly larger home, and provides a premier service for a low monthly fee. The DIY alarm package includes door and window sensors as well as video cameras which are controlled through its mobile app.

4. SAGE Security & Home Automation– Coming soon — SAGE allows for management of the entire connected home through mobile devices and televisions. The television-centric SAGE system enables consumers to check on children in another room via a video feed, see who rang the doorbell or lower the room temperature — all from the comfort of the TV room couch.

Smart Temperature

5. Nest Learning Thermostat – Tell a buyer that the home has a Nest thermostat and their ears will perk-up. The Nest Learning Thermostat absorbs its owner’s daily routine and adjusts the temperature accordingly. The Nest thermostat can be controlled through a phone, its built-in sensors detect an empty home allowing Nest to set itself to an energy-efficient temperature. Oh, and it also saves customers about 10 – 12 percent on heating bills and 15 percent on cooling bills per year — a huge win.

6. Honeywell Lyric Thermostat – Honeywell is known for temperature control and their new smart thermostat, the Lyric, is a solid entry into the smart home market. The most talked about advantages of Lyric are its geofencing feature and humidity sensor for more accurate comfort, control and savings. All of these qualities are definitely pluses for families.

7. Canary – This sleek-looking product is mostly about security, but it made this smart temperature list for its ability to monitor air quality, temperature and humidity. It’s cool enough to make an impression with potential buyers, at only $249. The Canary system is available in white, black or silver.

8. Big Ass Fans’ Haiku with SenseME – The world’s most advanced ceiling fan knows exactly when to speed up and when to slow down. Not to mention, it is a gorgeous and luxurious addition to any room. Starting at $1,045 it’s a better fit for luxury homes, but it will certainly set any listing apart.

Smart Safety

9. Iris Safe & Secure Kit – With Iris, Lowe’s is making it simple for just about anyone to make their home smarter. Feel more confident that families, homes and pets are safe and secure with the DIY, self-monitored home security system. Receive notifications directly to a smartphone, tablet or computer whenever an alarm event is triggered.

10. First Alert Onelink – This suite of smart home safety products is fresh to the market. Included in this offering (and available for presale on Amazon.com) are a Wi-Fi combination smoke and carbon monoxide alarm as well as a watch, both of which send phone notifications if something is amiss. The First Alert Onlink safety products, including the already available Wi-Fi thermostat, will be compatible with Apple’s HomeKit ecosystem.

11. Nest Protect – This smart home device is a smoke and carbon monoxide smart alarm that speaks in a human voice, telling the user if there’s smoke or CO, which room it’s in, and if there is immediate danger. Definitely comforting for families!

12. Leeo Smart Alert Nightlight – This genius little nightlight keeps track of smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms and home climate. If something’s not right, it sends immediate phone notifications.

Smart Lighting

13. Sengled Pulse Smart Bulb – This combination light and speaker had everyone buzzing at CES 2015. Simply twist the bulb into an existing light socket, download the app and connect to the Pulse bulbs. The Sengled Pulse Smart Bulb can stream music and control lighting at the same time.

14. Lutron Caséta Wireless – This connected home solution allows for lights, battery-powered shades and temperature to be controlled from a mobile device. An easy DIY solution that’s affordable, these products are less than $150. For example, hit “morning,” lights will turn onto a certain level, shades will rise and room temperature is adjusted to the desired level.

15. Philips Hue – Philips Hue delivers more than 16 million colors and all shades of white light to personalize lighting to suit any occasion, mood or moment. With more than 230 apps, Philips Hue can sync lights to music, or even simulate a sunrise effect. Bulbs and lamps are now all controllable via the Hue app or MyHue portal.

16. Belkin WeMo LED Lighting Starter Set – With this simple starter set, turn lights off-and-on from anywhere, create schedules and dim to create the perfect ambiance. The set includes the WeMo link, which allows users to connect up to 50 WeMo Smart bulbs. Can’t get enough of Belkin WeMo products? Get tricked out with complete Belkin home automation.

Smart Appliances

17.LG Studio Collection – LG Studio, LG’s premium line of kitchen appliances, seamlessly blends best-in-class innovation with an uncompromising approach to design. Its full suite of appliances — including refrigerators, cooktops, ranges, ovens and microwaves — delivers integrated and timeless styling, embodying LG’s finest expression of aesthetics and performance.

18. Whirlpool Smart Duet Washer and Dryer – Whirlpool has made it easy to control every load at anytime from anywhere. The Smart Front Washer and Dryer now work with the Nest Learning Technology, helping to keep clothes fresh if the cycle ends while the user is away.

19. LG Mega-Capacity French-Door Refrigerator – LG’s Mega Capacity Refrigerator boasts incredibly impressive size. As the largest in its class, families have room for even the biggest shopping expeditions with space to spare! It also includes the Slim Spaceplus Ice System and the Smart Cooling Plus System, which help keep food fresher, longer. The LG Mega-Capacity Refrigerator includes a 10-year limited warranty.

20. GE ChillHub This first-of-its-kind smart refrigerator has two USB hubs, WiFi and an open-source IOS-compatible app that integrates with the refrigerator by allowing access to sensor data and control of fridge components. The first ChillHub accessory, Milky Weigh, will even tell you how much milk you have left!

Smart Entertainment

21. N’FINITY PRO HDX Dual Zone Wine Cellars – The N’FINITY PRO is the most advanced wine cellar on the market. Equipped with an energy saving cooling system, telescopic shelving and dual zone cooling, these smart wine cellars will take care of all wine storage needs in the most cost efficient way!

22. Vizio 60″ P-Series Smart TV –This Ultra HD TV is crystal clear and lets users stream popular apps and favorite shows in UHD quality and use UHD playback from next generation cable and satellite receivers, Blu-ray players and more.

23. TCL Roku TV – The TCL Roku TV was released in August 2014 and quickly became a favorite because of its price and comprehensive smart TV features, such as its selection of more than 2,000 streaming channels, easy-to-use interface and simple remote. Recently, Roku announced plans to support 4K UHD streaming in future Roku TV models.

24. DishWorld TV App – The DishWorld app allows viewers to stream live TV on any smart phone, computer or tablet. The app can be used on Roku, Slingbox, Samsung Smart TV, Apple, Windows or Google Play devices.

Connected Home Platform

25. Iris Smart Kit: With so many ways to make a home smart, it can be a lot to digest and manage. Thankfully Lowe’s is making it easy with a single app to manage a Smart Home. Iris offers three starter kits and basic or premium service plans.


Source: Lindsay Listanski/ CB Blue Matter

Posted on June 8, 2017 at 10:05 pm
Elizabeth Corvello | Category: get real (estate) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

How-to Buy a Home in a Tight Market

How-to Buy a Home in a Tight Market

We all know the equation: low inventory means higher prices. Also known as a tight market, this setting can be stressful for buyers, who are trying to snap up their dream home but keep running into competition. According to the National Association of REALTORS® , attempting to purchase a house in this type of market can make the already complex process of buying a home even more overwhelming.

To help buyers successfully get through the buying process in a tight inventory market, NAR offers these five suggestions:

Determine and stick to a budget.

Before beginning the house hunting process, prospective homebuyers should receive preapproval from one or more lenders to verify the amount of money they are qualified to borrow. Then, after taking into account additional costs of ownership such as taxes, utilities and insurance, buyers should determine a final budget they can comfortably afford. When listings are scarce, bidding wars can drive up prices, so buyers must be prepared to walk away if the asking price surpasses their budget.

Identify desired neighborhoods and home wants versus needs.

When housing inventory is tight, buyers may need to compromise on what they believe they want from a home. Certain wants, such as stainless appliances or hardwood floors, can be added later. However, if a buyer wants to be in a specific school district or have a decent sized backyard, those cannot be addressed later and must be taken into account during the house hunting process.

Be ready to make a decision quickly.

In a seller’s market, homes rarely stay on the market long, so when a house that is in their budget and checks off all of their needs come along, buyers should not hesitate. Buyers should be ready to submit an offer quickly, or they may risk missing out on the home altogether.

Bid competitively and limit contingencies.

It is tempting to submit a low offer as a starting bid, but in a seller’s market buyers need to put forward their highest offer from the very beginning or they are likely to lose out on the home. It is also important to remember that in multiple bidding situations it is not always the highest offer that is most attractive to the seller but the one with the fewest contingencies. Removing restrictions related to the sale of a current home and being flexible with things like the move-in date can make a bid stand out to a seller.

Work with a local Realtor®.

All real estate is local, so it is important to work with an agent who is a Realtor®, a member of the National Association of Realtors®, and who is familiar with the areas and neighborhoods the homebuyers are considering. Realtors® are the most trusted resource for real estate information and have unparalleled knowledge of their communities; they can give buyers the competitive advantage needed in a tight market.

Source: Rismedia and  www.nar.realtor.

Posted on May 28, 2017 at 11:54 pm
Elizabeth Corvello | Category: get real (estate) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Degrees With the Shortest Savings Path to Homeownership

Degrees With the Shortest Savings Path to Homeownership

College students taking specific courses of study have the potential to become homeowners sooner after graduation than others, according to a new report by realtor.com®.

Engineering majors have the most promising prospects, with petroleum engineering majors able to become homeowners in an average 2.6 years—the shortest time of all the degree tracks analyzed by realtor.com. Petroleum engineering majors earn a starting salary of $96,700, according to Payscale.com, which allows for $19,340 savings each year—enough to accumulate a 20 percent down payment on a $250,000 home in roughly two-and-a-half years.

“When it comes to homeownership, degrees in engineering really pay off,” says Joe Kirchner, senior economist at realtor.com. “While this analysis leverages averages and assumptions, it shows just how powerful a high starting salary can be when it comes to early homeownership.”

Other degrees with short timespans to homeownership include: physician assistant studies (2.9 years); computer science (3.5 years); chemical, computer, mining or nuclear engineering (3.6 years); and electrical engineering (EE), electronics and communications engineering or electrical and computer engineering (ECE) (3.7 years).

On the other hand, homeownership is some years away for education majors—according to the report, education majors average seven years saving for a down payment.

“Our analysis also underscores the importance of consistently saving, especially if you aren’t making a high starting salary,” Kirchner says. “While seven years may sound like a long time, putting away 20 percent each month could have education professionals in a home by their late 20s or early 30s.”


Source: Rismedia

Posted on May 21, 2017 at 8:23 pm
Elizabeth Corvello | Category: get real (estate), lifestyle | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

8 of the Best Places in America to Retire

8 of the Best Places in America to Retire

Finding a place to retire doesn’t have to be stressful. There are many living options for you to look at that offer the things you love.

Finding a place to retire doesn’t have to be stressful. Just think about what you love to do and what kind of adventures you want to partake in. There are countless places that offer the things you love, but for now here are 8 places that you should consider.

Colorado Springs, Colorado

Colorado Springs is a vibrant and attractive city for retirees. There are many opportunities for an active life in the great outdoors of Colorado. Colorado Springs is nestled at the base of Pikes Peak and is the home of the Garden of the Gods, one of the most breathtaking national wonders in America.

Indianapolis, Indiana

Indianapolis is the biggest city in the Hoosier state. Living in a big city may seem like a questionable financial move, but Indianapolis offers small-city pricing. There are numerous cultural activities that the city offers. Fan of the arts? The Indianapolis Museum of Art offers free general admission on the first Thursday of each month. If you enjoy world renowned art exhibits, beautiful gardens, or summer nights outdoor movie screenings, the IMA is the spot for you.

Tampa, Florida

If you are looking to retire near the beach, Tampa is a great spot for you to check out. While Tampa is located right by the beach, the city still offers many urban attractions, such as malls, sporting events.

Aiken, South Carolina

Located in the center of South Carolina’s “Thoroughbred Country” Aiken is just a small town that is placed right outside of Augusta, Georgia. There are dozens of opportunities of take place in golfing tournaments, as well as to watch steeplechase horse racing. Aiken is also well-known for its parks, historic buildings, wooded areas, and art museums.

Rockport, Texas

Rockport is one of the largest retirement communities in the United States; more than 25% of the popular is older than 65. Not only is it a thriving retirement community, but it also is conveniently placed between two big cities. The ocean is not very far away from Rockport, as well as all the amenities that come with living in or near a big city.

Astoria, Oregon

Astoria is a little beach town tucked into the Northwest corner of the beautiful state of Oregon. The mighty Colombia River runs through Astoria on the way to the Pacific Ocean. Lovers of nature need look no further than Astoria to find a peaceful small town with specialty shops and delicious, fresh seafood!

Mendocino, California

Mendocino is more than just a place—it’s a state of mind. Mendocino boasts gorgeous natural scenery combined with a tight-knit local community. With the perfect mix of social opportunity and natural wonder, Mendocino is a retirement dream.

Thinking about where you want to retire certainly can be stressful, especially if you have no idea where you want to purchase your new home. All eight of the cities that we talked about in this article are great places to retire; they’re all filled with fun adventures that you can partake in. Just think about what you love to do and you will be all set to pick the best location for you to retire in!

Source: CB Blue Matter/Sharon Le

Posted on April 27, 2017 at 5:01 am
Elizabeth Corvello | Category: get real (estate) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,