Mary Moloney - KELLER WILLIAMS REALTY / Merrimack Valley



Posted by Mary Moloney on 7/14/2020

Home automation or smart-home technology is just one piece of the bigger picture that is known as the “Internet of Things.” What this term basically means is that as technologies evolve they are becoming more ingrained into everyday objects.

 What was once designated just for personal computers and cell phones is now the domain of any number of everyday objects--from our cars to our refrigerators. This means we can control things remotely, monitor our houses and our belongings, and even see if our babies are sleeping soundly from work via the latest baby monitors.

 One of the most recent implementations of these technologies is in our home security systems. Home automation and security are natural companions, give us an ever-increasing number of ways to guarantee our safety within our homes.

 In today’s article, we’re going to talk about the objects in our home that can be connected to the internet and how you can improve security at home.  

Security or security risk?

Critics of the internet of things often bring up one chief concern--data security. The more objects we connect to the internet the more ways we open our data up to being compromised. To make matters worse, many electronics manufacturers aren’t concerned with the security of the devices they make, giving them no safeguards or encryption against being hacked.

In fact, these objects have already been commandeered by hackers, but not in the way you might think.

A common way to attack a website or service is to simply flood it with more traffic than it can handle. Since WiFi enabled refrigerators, webcams, and baby monitors tend to provide little protection, hackers have found ways to install malware on them that allow them to send all of these devices to a given site in an orchestrated incident known as a DDoS attack (Distributed Denial of Service). All the while your refrigerator seems to be working normally, but behind the scenes it’s part of a “zombie” army of devices.

What items can connect to the internet?

The number of objects that come equipped with WiFi capability grows every day. Some are extremely useful. They can let you know when you’re out of paper towels or laundry detergent, they can tell you if you forgot to lock the doors or turn out the lights, or you can ask them to play your favorite playlist.

However, just because an item can connect to your WiFi doesn’t mean you should let it by default. You’ll need to consider the pros and cons.

Which items can I trust?

Unfortunately for consumers, there is no “safe to use” list when it comes to the gadgets you might have around your home. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t do your research on the items yourself to look for basic security measures.

First, check to see if the items are password-protected or use some form of authentication. You can often find this information on the manufacturer’s website or in the user guide.

Next, think about who makes the product. Reputable companies like Apple, Google, and Amazon all have a lot invested in the security of their customers. As a result, Google Home, and Apple’s HomePod are likely to have stronger security measures in place.

Finally, you’ll have to take a look at your own security habits. Changing passwords frequently, creating complicated passwords, and being careful with your information online are all ways you can help prevent your data or identity from being compromised.




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Posted by Mary Moloney on 7/7/2020

Receiving multiple offers on a residence is a home seller's dream come true. However, if a home seller faces a tight deadline to review several homebuying proposals simultaneously, making the right decision may prove to be exceedingly difficult.

Ultimately, evaluating multiple home offers at the same time can be quick and seamless – here are three tips to ensure that you can review various home offers and make an informed decision.

1. Consider the Homebuyer's Perspective

Although you probably won't be able to find out the identity of a homebuyer who submits an offer on your home, you may be able to learn about the homebuyer's perspective if you study a home offer closely.

For example, a homebuyer who wants to close on a residence as soon as possible may face a time crunch. And if this buyer has fallen in love with your home, he or she may do anything possible to acquire it.

On the other hand, a homebuyer who submits a lowball proposal may be looking for a bargain. Therefore, this home offer may fall far below your initial expectations, and you should not hesitate to decline or counter the proposal.

2. Analyze the Housing Market

Operating in a buyer's market or a seller's market may dictate how you proceed with multiple offers on your house.

If you've listed a house in a seller's market, the number of homebuyers likely exceeds the number of first-rate houses that are available. As such, you may want to accept a home offer in a seller's market only if it matches or exceeds your expectations.

Comparatively, if you're working in a buyer's market, there likely is an abundance of high-quality residences and a shortage of homebuyers. Thus, you may be more inclined to accept a home offer that nets you the biggest profit – even if the home offer falls shy of your initial home selling expectations.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

If you're unsure about how to approach multiple offers on your home, it certainly pays to consult with a real estate agent. In fact, a real estate agent can help you examine various offers and decide which home offer – if any – is right for you.

By hiring a real estate agent, you'll gain an expert ally who will support you throughout the home selling journey.

Typically, a real estate agent will learn about your home selling goals and ensure you can set a competitive price for your residence. He or she also will host home showings and open houses, negotiate with homebuyers on your behalf and do everything possible to help you get the best price for your home, regardless of the real estate market's conditions.

Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent is prepared to respond to your home selling concerns and queries. And if you have questions about a home offer, your real estate agent is available to respond to your questions at any time.

Take the guesswork out of evaluating multiple offers on your home – use the aforementioned tips, and you can determine the best course of action based on the home offers at your disposal.





Posted by Mary Moloney on 6/30/2020

Buying a home represents a life-changing decision. As such, you'll want to look beyond the price of a residence as you search for your dream house.

Ultimately, there are many factors beyond price that you should consider as you pursue your ideal residence, including:

1. A Home's Location

For most homebuyers, a house's location is the number one factor when they explore the real estate market, and perhaps it is easy to understand why.

Finding a home in a location that is convenient for you is priceless. And if you know how to conduct a comprehensive home search, you can quickly discover a high-quality home in a wonderful location.

As you prepare to kick off your home search, consider whether you'd like to live in a city or town. This will enable you to narrow your home search.

You also may want to consider homes that are located near work or school. By doing so, you can ensure that you won't have to travel too far to get to destinations that you frequently visit.

2. A Home's Condition

A home may look like a great investment at first, but its condition may have deteriorated over time. Thus, you'll want to take a close look at a house's condition before you finalize a home purchase.

Typically, a homebuyer will complete a property inspection after a home seller accepts an offer on a residence. This inspection will enable a homebuyer to perform an in-depth assessment of a residence and learn about its strengths and weaknesses. Then, a homebuyer can determine whether to move forward with a home acquisition.

If a property inspector discovers myriad issues that impact a home's condition, a homebuyer may want to reconsider his or her offer. At this point, a homebuyer can still walk away from a home purchase. Or, a homebuyer can ask the home seller to complete various home improvements as well.

On the other hand, a homebuyer who falls in love with a house may choose to proceed with a home purchase, regardless of the residence's condition. If you choose this option, however, it is important to consider the potential long-term ramifications of your decision.

3. Your Future

It is paramount for a homebuyer to find a house that he or she can enjoy for years to come. Therefore, a homebuyer should consider his or her future before finalizing a home purchase.

For example, if you plan to settle down and start a family, you may want to evaluate houses that are close to schools. Conversely, if you eventually want to work in the big city, you may want to consider homes that will make it easy to commute into the city day after day.

Don't forget to hire a real estate agent to help you during the homebuying journey too. With a real estate agent at your side, you should have no trouble examining a broad range of top-notch houses that won't force you to break your budget.




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Posted by Mary Moloney on 6/23/2020

When you think of your real estate budget, you should know that the more you spend on a home, the more overhead costs you’ll face. You’ll need to pay for things like real estate agent fees, attorneys fees, and other closing costs. The more you pay for a house, the higher all of these fees will be since they are usually percentage based. So, the overarching question is how do you budget and find a reasonable amount of money to spend on a home? 


Prioritize


Your real estate agent may show you a myriad of homes across many different price ranges. Each property will have pros and cons. You can look at seeing these homes as an educational experience. Viewing properties could even help you hone in on what you want in a home. There are a few good reasons to look at homes above your budget range. 


Housing Prices Could Rise Or Drop


When housing prices begin to rise, people tend to believe that they’ll keep climbing. The panic couldn’t be further from the truth. Eventually, the prices need to drop. The idea of buying a property and adding value is to make a bit of a profit back when you go to sell. You need to be prepared for anything when you head out to buy a home. Price changes will apply to you if you plan on living in your new home only for a specified period. If you don’t have plans in your future to move, you may not worry about home value changes quite as much when shopping for a property. 


Mortgages End Eventually


If you plan ahead, you don’t have to pay mortgages for the rest of your life. If you keep moving and taking out 30-year mortgages, you could be making mortgage payments forever. If the average family stays in their home for around a decade, that's not a significant amount of time. Here, you’ll find a great reason not to max out your budget on a home. If you buy a less expensive house, you can get the mortgage paid off faster. You may even be able to take the mortgage out for a shorter term. Paying your home off more quickly allows your financial freedom. It’s simple, yet many people opt for a bigger house that they aren’t planning on staying in, causing a bit of a financial headache.


You Need A Rainy Day Fund


If you avoid maxing out your budget to buy a home, you’ll be able to save a bit for any emergencies that come up. You will be under less stress knowing that you have a little bit of money set aside in case your home needs major repairs, or you face a job loss or illness. In conclusion, it’s never a good idea to max out your budget on a home purchase.                    





Tags: Buying a home  
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Posted by Mary Moloney on 6/16/2020

Image by Karolina Grabowska from Pixabay

To keep clutter at bay, it is important to make sure everything has its own place and returns there after every use. In small homes, this could prove quite challenging, however, as there are only so many places to put things. Unless, that is, you alter your house to include additional storage space that gives every item a home. Here are some ideas to help you get started.

Embrace the Power of Dual-Purpose Furniture

Cozy floor plans greatly benefit from furniture that goes beyond its original purpose. A tiered coffee table, for example, not only provides a flat surface for all your remotes, drinks and more, it also has space underneath for storage. Simply add bins and fill with the items you want on hand to make the most of that space.

To dress up the living room space even more, find couches, footrests and other furniture with hollow cavities inside to hold your blankets and other items. The bedrooms, on the other hand, can benefit from bed frames with drawers underneath the mattress and cabinets in the headboards.

Make Your Stairs Work Double Time

If your floor plan has a staircase, you can make it work double time by integrating storage into its design. In the cavity beneath the stairs, for example, you can add pull out drawers or cabinets that blend into the wall.

Or, you can go one step further and turn the stairs themselves into drawers to hold your winter wear or other seasonal items. Either way, make sure to use drawer organizers and other tools to separate the cavities, giving all the stored items room of their very own.

Pair Up Cabinet Doors with Pegboards

Pegboards can hold all sorts of items from hand tools to spray bottles. But they are not always attractive to look at, especially when filled to the brim with items. Thankfully, you can keep them accessible, yet hidden, by installing the pegboards behind cabinet doors. Then, add hooks of all kinds to hold all the stuff you want to tuck away out of sight.  

Install High Shelving Along the Walls

When placed well above eye level, shelves provide plenty of places to store your items without detracting from your home design. This storage option works best along big empty walls that could use a little bit of decoration along their edges.

Working just above the door frames in the room, install the shelf across the entire length of the wall. Then, paint the top and bottom surfaces of the shelf the same color as the wall to help it blend in.

By implementing these creative storage options, you can make excellent use of every square foot in your home. Once you are done, there’s no doubt that you will marvel in how much stuff you can tuck away in all these areas.  




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