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Posts Tagged / home

  • Aug 08 / 2013
  • 0
Home Improvement, Home Security Houston, Home Security Industry, Home Security Tips, Smith Home Security Blog

3 Apps To Help You Hang Onto Your Cash

Nowadays, cash is becoming harder to hang on to. Prices are rising for everything everywhere, and before  you have time to really enjoy the money in your bank, it’s gone! Here are a couple of apps that can help you save your hard-earned cash!

snipsnap app

Tired of clipping coupons? Me too. It’s always hard for me to stay on the dotted lines. Thankfully, technology has a great solution for unskilled folk like myself. The SnipSnap app will take care of all the clipping for you. Simply just take a picture of your printed offer, and the app will convert all of the text, images, and barcodes into a redeemable, mobile-optimized offer. This app works at many national retailers (but not for all, unfortunately). You can use coupons from any source: the Sunday Paper, the junk mail, or even printouts from the web. And for those of you who don’t have any coupons at your disposal, don’t worry. SnipSnap has a discovery tool that will help you find the best coupon for you. Check out the featured coupons from SnipSnap or see what your friends and family have been up to. And don’t worry, the SnipSnap app will remember expiration dates for you to let you know when you should jump on those deals. Help yourself save some serious cash with this app.

slickdeals app

If you’ve never heard of SlickDeals, I pity you. But don’t worry, it’s never too late to learn. SlickDeals is the largest community-driven deal sharing site in the U.S. Users come here to discuss popular daily deals, and the best deals up-voted by the community will reach the front page. From there, you can decide whether or not you want to cash in on the slick deal. And don’t worry, you can trust the deals that popup on this website/app. These deals go through extensive research by the community. Most deals will also provide you with the price history of the item, reviews from the community, additional coupon codes, and more. This will help you ensure that you save the maximum amount of money. So, do yourself and favor and start saving on random stuff (it’s always stuff I “need,” I promise!).

alarm.com app

Need help reducing energy bills? You’re in luck. Home security monitoring companies like Smith Monitoring have been implementing home automation with their security systems. With my Seguin home security system from them, I’ve been able to save enough energy to power a city (okay, maybe not that much, but still). How? It’s easy. With the Alarm.com app, I can control my home from anywhere. I can check to see what lights or appliances have been left on (usually all of them when I’m in a rush), and if I need to, I can use the app to turn them all off. It’s that simple. I can even control my thermostat while I’m away. This remote power helps me save big on energy costs. And trust me, it feels good to see a low energy bill during the summer months.

About the author: Tim Slater is a writer for Smith Monitoring. Tim is also a pet freak, tech geek, and blogger. Keep up with his blogs to stay updated with the latest gadgets, apps, and furry friend news.

  • May 21 / 2013
  • 0
Home Improvement, Smith Home Security Blog

How To Get More From A Small Bathroom

A small bathroom can still be a real asset in the home as long as it’s designed as intelligently as possible. Few things make a house more attractive to buyers than beautifully designed practical spaces like the kitchen and the bathroom, but even when you aren’t thinking of selling, it’s important to have a lovely space where you can go through your daily routines.
The trouble is obviously that smaller bathrooms struggle for space. Still, it is absolutely possible to make even the tiniest bathroom practical and comfortable to spend time in. Here’s how:

Create the illusion of space

For starters, you need to make the room seem bigger than it actually is. This is something you can do by manipulating light. The bigger the window the better. When you have lots of naturally light pouring into the room and less wall space to create shadow the room seems loads bigger.
Plenty of bright, practical spotlights are a good idea and it’s best to go for white tiles and white bathroom suites because they are reflective brighten up the whole space. Naturally you’ll have a bathroom mirror over your sink, but it might be worth getting more mirrors to reflect more open space if white tiles aren’t performing the reflective task well enough on their own.

Limit your storage

You’ll inevitably have to store a number of items in the bathroom, but you need to actually limit the number of items of furniture you employ to do the job. Be intelligent with your storage. You need a bathroom mirror and a bathroom cabinet, but you can conflate the two by having a cabinet with mirrored doors over the sink. The sink unit itself can provide vital extra storage underneath it too. In the shower, make use of the wall space so that you can keep everyday items in there. As for towels, a simple stand will do so that you can roll them up when they’re not in use. Towels that are in use can be hung on free walls and on the back of the door.

Design within your means regarding space

Don’t plump for a shower unit and a bathtub if it’ll put too much pressure on the space in your bathroom. Simply install a shower unit over the bath and invest in a nice screen. Completely transparent glass screens are best here because don’t intrude on the room – the don’t create an opaque division that makes the place feel cramped, but encourage the flow of lighting around the room.

Cut down on clutter

The more ornamental features you have in your bathroom, the more likely you are to suffer space issues. Keep things simple. If you have a corner unoccupied by other furniture – perhaps the corner over the bathtub on the opposite side to the shower head – put some neat little corner shelves, preferably glass ones, so you can put a couple of candles up for atmosphere. If you’re worried about colour, a couple of accent tiles to break up the white here and there will do the trick and you can bring more with your choice of bathroom linen.

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License: Creative Commons Image Source

  • Apr 22 / 2013
  • 0
Home Improvement, Smith Home Security Blog

House Hunting 101: Never Judge A Home From The Curb

You can tell a lot about a house just by its appearance from the street. After all, that is the first impression made by every home – and the whole point of improving “curb appeal”. But judging a house based solely on what it looks like from the curb is a bad idea for house hunters.

Imagine you’re driving through a neighborhood and you see a relatively nice house with a ‘For Sale’ sign in the front yard. From what you can tell at the curb, the place looks nice and the lawn is well kept. Based only these things, would you sign the deed and buy the home right there on the spot without looking any further? Not a chance!

This is an important lesson that realtors know can be applied in any home selling or buying situation, however you’d be surprised at just how common it is for people to judge homes from the curb.

Let’s go over the principles surrounding the notion of how we perceive a house from the street, whether cruising by slowly or parked at the curb. We need to know how much we can rely on what we’re seeing from the outside for a first impression, as well as recognizing the impact of what we can’t see.

What Can We See From the Curb?
First, let’s take a quick look at what we can usually deduce by looking at a home from the street as we build our initial impressions of the house. Here’s a quick list of those elements and what they mean.

*Front of the House: The condition of the home’s exterior is of course the most visible feature. You can determine the overall wear on the exterior, the condition of doors and windows, paint quality (and color appeal) and sometimes interior draperies or blinds.

*The Front Lawn: One good rule of thumb that helps us out here is that the back yard often resembles the front yard. If the front yard is overgrown and untended, chances are the back is no different. In any case, look at landscaping quality, the type of grass and how well the yard is maintained.

*Sidewalks and Driveway: The quality of the pavement can help you with your first impressions. Is it just standard concrete, brick or inlaid stone? Are there a lot of cracks? Can you see grass or weeds growing from the cracks? The home might also earn bonus points for accent lighting alongside them.

*The Garage: Make sure the garage is in good shape, structurally sound and has no broken windows

*The Mailbox: Usually this only matters if it’s an especially expensive or high quality mailbox. Home owners who install a “luxury” mailbox tend to take good care of the home as well.

What Can’t We See From the Curb?
*The Home’s Interior: The inside of the home is obviously the biggest setback to the limited visibility we have from the curb. There’s no way to properly appraise a home without going inside, and a pristine exterior tells us nothing about what could conditions are like on the inside.

*The Back Yard: While you can sometimes get a good idea of how well the back yard is kept by looking at the front yard, you still can’t get the whole picture. For example, there could be a nice patio or deck, it could be filled with trees and shrubbery, not mention even a swimming pool. Or it could be hiding eyesores like tree stumps and rubbish piles. Can’t tell from the curb!

*The Foundation: One of the most important determining factors of the value, condition and quality of a home is the foundation – and you can’t see it from the curb. You might be able to make out a few subtle features that indicate foundation quality, but not enough to truly make an appraisal.

*The Basement: It’s pretty much impossible to see the basement from the road, but it needs to be seen for a proper evaluation. You’ll want to know whether it’s finished or not, whether it is structurally sound, whether it’s prone to flooding (which could lead you to the back yard or foundation), and how much room is available for storage, etc.

*Utility Installations:  Another crucial aspect of the home are the utility installations. This includes the water heater, furnace, air conditioning, plumbing and drainage, electrical boxes, washer/dryer units and any other large, critical appliances and hardware related to your utilities. These things can’t be seen from the curb, but if any of these items are missing or damaged, the costs will be sizable.

*The Roof: It’s possible to see a portion of the roof from the curb in most cases, which can occasionally offer a glimpse at the quality of the roof. But in order to make an accurate appraisal of a home, and to pinpoint any potential problems or repair opportunities, someone will eventually need to hoist up a ladder (preferably someone who isn’t afraid of heights).

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