Close Those Garage Doors

Despite this news story being from Wichita, Kansas it holds true for homeowners all across the country.  For those of us with garages in Arizona, it might be thought to keep your garage doors open in the heat. The officers interviewed in this article explain why that makes your house an easy target for burglaries.  Keep reading below to find out more.

Police remind you to keep garage doors closed

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – With the weather getting warm, it may be tempting to leave your garage door open. Officers say don’t do it.

“Unfortunately, there are individuals that are driving around looking for open garage doors, looking for something to take quickly,” says Officer Charlie Davidson with the Wichita Police Department. “And having an open garage door is something that leaves you susceptible to having something taken quickly.”

Davidson says this time of year, when the weather heats up, burglaries heat up as well.

KSN went for a drive, and within minutes, found an open garage door. It was at Randy Roger’s house.

We stopped down the street and walked to the house. It wasn’t 20 seconds later that Rogers came outside to see what was happening in front of his house.

“I’m usually real careful about it, if it’s open I’m here or around or in the kitchen,” explained Rogers about his open garage door.

We asked him if he normally keeps his garage door closed if he’s not near the garage.

“If I’m not going to be within sight or sound distance, then I will,” said Rogers.

In fact, we found Rogers to be a bit of a neighborhood watchdog.

“One of the things we did when we moved in we had a brunch with the neighbors. We would get to know who lived in what house and that house,” said Rogers.

Officers say that’s a perfect way to keep yourself from becoming a victim.

“Get to know your neighbors. Get to know them on a first-name basis. Get to know their activities. Have them help you watch your property while you are watching their property,” says Davidson. “Get their phone number and if you see their garage door is open, you can call them and just say, ‘Hey, I wanted to let you know that I saw your garage door open and I wanted to make sure you were home and make sure you were aware of it.’”

Officer Davidson says if you do see someone breaking in and stealing, just call 911.

“I really caution someone to confront anyone they think may be a burglar. Don’t put yourself in harm’s way,” says Davidson. “But call us. That’s why we’re here and that’s why we’re employed, to come and keep this community safe.”

Police also remind you to do the other little things to keep yourself from becoming a crime victim, like locking your doors. And, get a lock on the garage doors.

KSN talked with the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Department two weeks ago, and they say burglaries are on the rise this time of year. And that includes car burglaries.

“Just keep it locked and don’t leave the keys inside,” says Davidson. “It’s the obvious things that make a difference.”

Source: http://ksn.com/2017/06/12/police-remind-you-to-keep-garage-doors-closed/

Factors That Contribute to the Cost of a Garage Remodel

According to HomeAdvisor, “most homeowners spent between $5,773 and $16,108” on their garage remodels with the average cost being $10,638.  If you have been considering redoing your garage or simply adding some updates, then the factors described below are worth knowing about in order to do the remodel nicely, efficiently and cost efficiently.  Read more on this below.

How Much Does it Cost to Remodel a Garage?

The cost to remodel your garage will be based on how you will use your new space. Transforming a garage into a new master suite with a bathroom, an office workspace, or a small apartment–all are common garage remodeling projects that involve a lot of cost variables. Other garage projects to make the existing space more spacious and organized will cost less.

Add Windows

If your garage doesn’t have any windows, you can add some. This is especially important if you want to list it as a bedroom or rent it out. It will need to have an egress window, which means one big enough for a person to escape through in case of a fire.

Plumbing & Electricity

Most garages are already outfitted with existing electricity for automatic garage door opening and lighting. They are not often fitted for plumbing though. So if you want to turn your garage into a living space with a bathroom or intend to use it as an office space, you will need to have plumbing installed and likely add more wiring and outlets to the room for additional electrical devices.

Heating & Cooling

Adding an HVAC is another option that might exist in your garage, depending on your climate. If not, it will be another factor in your garage renovation costs should you decide to make it into a usable space.

Interior Walls & Insulation

You’ll most likely need to add interior walls and a ceiling with insulation if it’s going to be a bedroom or office space. This will help keep your remodeled room as comfortable as the rest of your home. Since the space is already framed and has walls, it will also be a cheaper option than an addition.

Interior Design Cost Factors

Once you get past the basics, total cost will vary based on what types of materials you choose to finish the room. You have a wide variety of flooring options available, from the original concrete to carpet or laminate. Carpet and laminate will stay on the lower end of the cost spectrum, and hardwood will increase remodel costs depending on the type. If you intend to make it into a bedroom, you will need to consider furnishings like a bed, dresser, nightstand and decorations. If you plan to install a bathroom, you will need to think about a bathtub or shower, countertops and mirror.

Expanding Garage

If you decide to simple expand the space to make more room for tools or storage, you might deal with the costs of interior walls and ceiling space. If you intend to keep the space the same and just change it on the inside, you will only worry about buying storage and organization tools: racks, shelves, containers and so forth. These will vary in cost depending on how many you need and whether you decide higher quality ones or the cheap options. For example, you could buy plastic shelving or metal wire shelving, and the price will be different depending on brand and height.

 

Popular “Smart Home” Features

As technology developers continue to top themselves, there are more and more features that homes can have to make them “smarter”.  As houses are put on the market to be purchased, real estate agents and brokers know what buyers are looking for, and the five listed below are some of the most sought out.  We especially love #3, and can help you make it happen at your home.

5 smart home trends homebuyers want in 2017

Agents should stay sharp on the newest technology and how it will save their buyers money in the long run

By Kayla Matthews


  • People are willing to spend more for smart home tech, and as such, real estate agents need to be well-versed in things like smart thermostats, leak detection sensors and home security trends.

IoT, or the “Internet of Things,” is bringing some amazing trends to pass. The platform involves connected devices of all kinds. A great example of this is smart home technology.

As a real estate agent, you might think this technology is beyond your needs. Not only that, you might think there’s little to no use for it in your industry.

However, smart home technology and IoT may make it easier to sell homes and real estate, especially to younger audiences. A recent survey revealed that 86 percent of millennials are willing to spend more money to rent a place with smart home technology already implemented.

If they’re willing to spend more on rent, it stands to reason they’re willing to spend more for a home purchase.

That same survey found 65 percent of baby boomers are willing to spend more to rent a place with smart home technology. Although that number is significantly less, it’s still pretty substantial.

If anything, it shows that smart home technology is quite popular these days. So popular, in fact, that 80 million smart home devices were delivered globally in 2016, which is a 64 percent increase from the prior year. Those numbers are expected to continue climbing well into 2017.

Considering those stats, now is the time to get on board with IoT and smart home technology.

But what are the most viable trends that you should be on the lookout for? What technology is in high demand from homebuyers? More importantly, how will it help you make a sale faster and move some homes?

1. Leak detection sensors

Fire alarms, smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, radon detectors, moisture detectors — these are all devices that help you keep the home environment safe. There are even air quality devices that measure the air inside a home and identify dangerous toxins.

A Coldwell Banker Real Estate survey revealed that safety devices — like the detectors mentioned — are a large part (56 percent) of what qualifies a homes “smart” in the eyes of those polled.

Why is any of this important? Because we all need to feel safe at home, and smart technology that can handle this kind of monitoring can help us with that.

Perhaps the most useful of these devices is the smart leak detection sensor. They monitor the plumbing in your home and walls to ensure there are no major leaks or malfunctions. This can help you prevent serious water damage or the buildup of mold and mildew inside your walls from a slow leak.

This could be a game-changer for those older homes with lots of character, which can be a crapshoot in terms of dependability.

For example, is there central heating and cooling? Is the plumbing outdated or worn down? What other elements of the home need to be updated?

Installing smart leak detectors in new and older homes can waylay some of this worry.

2. Connected thermostats

For homeowners, energy consumption is a big deal. The more power and energy you use, the higher your electric bill is going to be.

You constantly have to manage how much energy you’re using, and that involves monitoring several different aspects of your home, including lighting usage and air conditioning reliance.

Connected or smart thermostats can help alleviate this problem by conserving energy over time. They are much more advanced than simple, programmable thermostats.

They will learn your habits and preferences and can even detect your presence. This allows for scenarios like leaving the air off while you’re not home and letting it auto-adjust to a comfortable temperature when you’re on your way.

Ecobee and Nest, smart thermostat manufacturers, claim you can save anywhere from 12 percent to 23 percent of power consumption costs. Even so, it’s still money saved, and, in today’s world, any amount of money back in your pocket is a good thing.

Smart thermostats can help you sell a property, especially if you drive home the idea that they offer cost savings and better energy efficiency. Not to mention, something like the Nest thermostat can double as a central hub to interface with and control other smart home products.

3. Smart garage doors

Have you ever left home and realized you left your garage door is wide open? With a traditional door, you must return home to close it. With a smart garage door, you can monitor your garage door from anywhere.

Check the open or closed status from an app on your smartphone, and, if it’s open, you can close it, even remotely. You can be miles and miles away from home and still control your garage door.

This opens up a world of possibilities, too, like letting the dog or house sitters in through your garage or opening your home to emergency services or neighbors when you’re gone. Now imagine explaining all this to interested homebuyers. It’s an easy sell, right?

Smart garage doors offer both convenience and better security for the homeowner.

4. Smart watering systems

Another form of consumption homeowners need to be wary of is their water usage. Not just in terms of clean water for drinking, cleaning or bathing but also the water used to irrigate land.

If you live in a deed restricted community, you keep your grass trimmed and healthy or you risk fines and complications. But, at the same time, you may be restricted by law as to the amount of water you can use due to water shortages and droughts.

Smart watering systems make this process much simpler and more efficient.

Not only can you schedule watering sessions, but you can also keep track of how much water you’re using. This is important because it can help you keep your water consumption to a minimum, and it can also help you save money over time.

5. Smart home security cameras

Security is a huge concern these days. You don’t need to look far at all to see something concerning.

According to Safewise, a burglary occurs every 18 seconds in the United States.

A report by the University of North Carolina at Charlotte’s Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology shows that about 60 percent of convicted burglars were deterred by the presence of a home security system.

The takeaway here is that home security matters, but for homeowners, the cost savings are also a concern. Most home security solutions, like the ones offered by ADT or Brinks, are expensive. There’s a certain cost you must deal with if you want to protect your home.

But if you have a smart home security camera, those costs are pretty much negated. You only need to pay for the equipment once, and any service fees are minimal compared to conventional security plans.

For example, Canary offers up to 30 days of cloud video storage, 24/7 remote incident support, an extended warranty and a homeowner’s insurance reimbursement, and their service is only $9.99 a month.

A property with smart home security cameras pre-installed will be both safer and cheaper in terms of operating costs for that security system. Again, this should be another easy sell for real estate agents.

With the demand for and convenience of smart home tech, real estate agents should stay sharp on the newest trends and how they will save their homebuyers money in the long run.

Kayla Matthews covers smart technology and future trends for websites like VentureBeat, Curbed and Motherboard. You can read more posts by Kayla on her personal tech blog: Productivity Bytes.

Email Kayla Matthews

Article image credited to scyther5/Shutterstock