Tony Nakhle
RE/MAX Landmark, Realtors | 781-589-5622 | tnakhle@landmarkweb.com


Posted by Tony Nakhle on 5/24/2020

It doesn’t matter if you’re moving down the street or across the country, moving into a new neighborhood can be hard. You want to make your new property, and new area feel like home. Relocation is always a challenge. There are a few things you can do to make the transition smoother for your family. Meeting people and learning about your new community doesn’t have to be a huge ordeal. Read on for tips to make it fun! 


Approach Your Neighbors


It can be kind of scary to approach your new neighbors, but reaching out to them is one of the best ways to meet people. If you see your neighbors out and about give them a wave or shout “hello.” These gestures are a way to extend yourself without intruding on them. Ask questions about the neighborhood like when the trash pickup is or how the traffic on a local route is. You can even find out where the best grocery store to shop at is. Anything simple can open up a great conversation. 


Get Outside


It’s easy to meet up with your neighbors if you give them an opportunity to see you. Sit out on your porch. Go for a walk around the neighborhood. Spend some time outside gardening. Just be approachable. If you’re cheerful and seem a bit inquisitive about the area, people will be more likely to talk to you. 


Spend Time In The Community


If there’s a local diner or coffee shop, spend some time there. You’ll be more likely to meet your neighbors and have something in common with many of the people that live in your new space. Check out local parks with your kids or bring your dog. You can talk to other dog owners or parents and get to know them. 


Finding ways to volunteer and get involved in your community is also a great way to connect and get to know where you live. 


Other Ways To Get Involved


You can get connected with people in the area through connections you have. College alumni networks can connect you with social clubs in a new city or region. Your employer may also have mentoring programs to assist you through the transition         


Moving to a new area can be hard, but with an open mind to opportunities, you can make the transition pleasant for both you and your family.   






Posted by Tony Nakhle on 5/17/2020

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 Tony Nakhle on 5/10/2020


 Photo by Gerd Altmann via Pixabay

Energy Efficiency

As home buyers become younger and younger, energy-efficient structures become more popular. According to the National Association of Home Builders, the most sought-after green features in a home include:

  • Energy-Star rated windows and appliances.
  • Toilets that conserve water.
  • Tankless water heaters.
  • Solar panels.
  • Extra insulation.
  • Triple-paned glass in windows and doors. 

Home buyers in 2020 want an efficient home that boasts big creature comforts, combined with a small monthly utility bill.

Sustainability

Hand-in-hand with energy efficiency comes sustainability. Recycled building materials such as reclaimed wood and recycled steel are gaining ground as viable alternatives to traditional building materials. The use of pre-cast concrete and bamboo is increasing as well. But homebuyers who really want to flaunt their devotion to sustainable products this year may be able to choose sheep's wool or straw bales as home insulation. Houses made of earth may even begin to crop up in places where they weren't previously welcome. 

Technology

It's a digital world in which we live in 2020. That's why young home buyers want more tech features in the homes they're considering living in for the next three-to-five years. CNET includes the following devices in their list of top home tech:

  • Smart speakers.
  • Smart displays.
  • Mesh routers.
  • Smart plugs.
  • Smart light bulbs.
  • Smart thermostats.
  • Video doorbells.
  • Home security systems.

These devices not only protect your home from intruders and show you who's at your door from across the country, they do the little things, too. They can read you a recipe so you're free to keep your hands in the bowl. They can ensure you have seamless WIFI connection all through the house and have your rooms warmed up and waiting for you when you get home from work in the evenings. Today's tech is all about hands-free convenience at the simple command of a voice, and today's home buyers are crazy for it. 

Wide-Open Spaces

Open-concept areas are still big this year, but in 2020, they're expanding to include the great outdoors. Homes that offer a seamless transition from indoors to an upgraded, outdoor living space are in demand. Walls of sliding, glass doors that simply fold away to remove the barrier between a kitchen and an outdoor deck are prime real estate. 

Other top trends in home design this year include industrial living spaces and rooms that boast high-contrast decor. The majority of home buyers going forward are expected to be some of the youngest, most professional that the market has ever seen. Younger buyers means more adventurous floor plans and garages capable of housing multiple cars. In short, 2020 is shaping up to be a real estate agent's dream. 






 





Posted by Tony Nakhle on 5/3/2020

Image by Nattanan Kanchanaprat from Pixabay

Owning a home can be an amazing experience. But interest from your mortgage accumulates over time, leaving you to seemingly pay an arm and a leg to finance your home. But while you may think that paying off your mortgage early is a great idea, that isn’t always the case.

You May Have Other Debt

Paying off your mortgage early can save you on interest costs, but you more than likely have other debt to deal with. If you have other debts — like car loans, student loans or credit card debt — then these should be paid off first. Try to focus on your debts with higher interest rates; these tend to be associated with credit cards. After you’ve paid those debts off, then moving on to pay off your mortgage could be a good choice.

You Don’t Want to Go Broke

Paying off your mortgage may sound great and all, but you must consider all of your expenses, including possible emergencies. Saving on interest is very tempting, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of your emergency fund. You never know when something serious will happen, so do your best to set aside some cash. If you have hefty savings and all of your expenses are accounted for every month, then you can move on to paying off your mortgage early.

Consider Your Future

Many people try to pay as much as they can towards their mortgage, only to find out that they used up all of their money. While they have some big expenses and big life changes that cost money, now they have to save up in order to cover those costs. That being said, it’s best to think about your future before paying more towards your mortgage. Are you planning on having kids? Thinking of going back to school? With how frequent life changes, you never know when you could use money down the road. While it might seem like a great plan to throw money at your mortgage payment, think about your life goals and how your finances fit in that equation.

It Can Be Beneficial

Although we’ve made some points above that suggest that you shouldn’t pay off your mortgage early, it can still be very beneficial to do so. Let’s say your household is doing very well with finances and money is pouring in quickly. If your other debts and finances are taken care of, then paying off your mortgage early can help you save on interest; the larger amount you pay, the more you’ll save on interest. However, this can be a tough choice. Be sure to consider the points mentioned above before paying this loan off early.





Posted by Tony Nakhle on 4/26/2020

Fireplaces are often seen as a necessity for homebuyers. It adds charm and decorative as well as physical warmth to a home. More than half of new homes have a fireplace. If your home doesn’t have a fireplace, you may wonder if installing and maintaining a fireplace is worth it. Will it add value to your home? There are a few things you need to consider before you decide to take on this project.


Value


Keep in mind that fireplaces are not directly accounted for during a home appraisal. Yet, they add value to a home. Home buyers will pay more for homes that have fireplaces. Depending on the location of your home, a fireplace can increase the value of the property by a significant amount- up to thousands of dollars.


Location


The location of a home really has a direct effect on how much value it adds it a home. When added to other amenities in your home, a fireplace can compound to make the home appear more luxurious. A fireplace is a must in a higher end home.  


On the flip side, more modest homes may not need fireplaces. If a home needs many other improvements, a fireplace may not add much to the property. The amount of value a fireplace adds is very much dependent on the type of property it’s being added to.       



Cost


It’s possible to add a fireplace to just about any home. The cost will vary by a large amount ranging anywhere from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. Specific requirements may exist within your city dictating how fireplaces must be installed. Keep in mind that everything from the type of fireplace that’s being installed to the height of the chimney must be considered. Look into things like:


  • Emission limits
  • Chimney height
  • Construction requirements
  • Permits
  • Type of installation

Each requirement will add a bit more cost to the project, so it’s best to do some research beforehand. 


Getting The Maximum Value


If you decide that adding a fireplace is the right decision for your property, there are a few ways to get the maximum return on your investment. First, you should build the fireplace in the room of your home that’s most used. This space would most likely be the living room or family room in most cases. Keep in mind that adding a fireplace can drastically change the look of a room.


Whether you’re adding a fireplace or putting in an initial one, you can be sure that it will add value to your home in the form of attraction and home price.  





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