Christine Rhoades | Laguna Beach Real Estate, Newport Beach Real Estate, Dana Point Real Estate


There is no set amount that a homeowner should spend on a smart house device. In fact, depending on the smart gadgets you purchase, you may wind up spending only a few dollars, or hundreds, on these devices. But if you understand how to shop for smart home gadgets, you may be better equipped than other property owners to find high-quality and budget-friendly smart devices for your residence.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you get the most out of your smart home device spending.

1. Choose Only the Smart Home Devices You Need

Although there are many smart home devices available, it is paramount to select only the ones you need for your house. That way, you can keep your smart home device spending in check. Plus, you can avoid the risk of buying smart home gadgets you ultimately won't need.

As you try to sort between smart device wants from needs, consider your day-to-day activities. For instance, if you require energy-efficient and economical lighting for your house, you may want to invest in smart light bulbs. Or, if you are concerned about security, a smart home security system may be an ideal investment.

2. Shop Online and at Brick-and-Mortar Retailers

Smart home devices are available both online and at brick-and-mortar stores. If you shop for smart house gadgets from a variety of retailers, you may find some that offer the optimal combination of affordability, convenience, and quality.

Don't hesitate to ask questions as you shop for smart home devices either. Remember, your goal as a homeowner is to find smart gadgets that can serve you well for an extended period of time. If you ask questions about smart home devices, you can gain the insights you need to make informed purchase decisions.

3. Consider Pre-Owned Smart Home Devices

Smart home device models are constantly evolving, and multiple generations of different gadgets may be available. Keep in mind, however, that an old smart home device model may suit you perfectly at a fraction of the cost of a new version.

Sometimes, you may find pre-owned smart home devices that work great and won't break your budget. If you search smart home device listings on Craigslist and other online marketplaces, for instance, you may find lots of terrific pre-owned smart house gadgets. If you browse these gadgets closely, you may discover a pre-owned smart home device that corresponds to your budget.

For those who want to buy a smart home device, it often helps to remain flexible, too. If you are open to shopping for smart house gadgets from a wide range of manufacturers, you may quickly find a smart home device that is both expertly constructed and affordable.

Ready to purchase one or more smart home devices? Take advantage of the tips above to shop for smart house gadgets, and find devices that fall in line with your finances.


A home inspection can make or break a property sale. If all goes well during a home inspection, a buyer and seller can proceed with a transaction. Conversely, if a home inspector discovers major problems with a house, a property sale may be in jeopardy.

As a homebuyer, you'll want to do everything possible to ensure a home inspection delivers valuable insights. With in-depth home insights at your disposal, you can determine whether to continue with a home purchase or reenter the housing market.

To ensure a successful home inspection, let's take a look at three common home inspection mistakes, and how a homebuyer can avoid these problems.

1. A homebuyer hires an inexperienced home inspector.

When it comes to hiring a home inspector, it is always better to err on the side of caution. With an experienced home inspector at your side, you can boost the likelihood of a successful home inspection.

Evaluate a variety of local home inspectors. Then, take a look at each home inspector's background and expertise to narrow your search.

In addition, if you feel comfortable with a home inspector, reach out to this professional directly before you make your final hiring decision. That way, you can request client referrals and gain additional insights to help you make an informed selection.

2. A homebuyer does not attend a home inspection.

A homebuyer is not required to attend a home inspection. However, attendance usually is a good idea, regardless of your homebuying expertise.

Remember, a home purchase is one of the biggest transactions that you likely will complete in your lifetime. If you want to ensure a home is a viable long-term investment, it certainly pays to walk around a property with a home inspector and conduct an in-depth evaluation.

In many instances, attending a home inspection may enable a homebuyer to gain home insights that might not be included in a home inspection report as well.

For example, a home inspector who identifies issues with a property may be able to give a homebuyer an estimate about how much it will cost to complete myriad property repairs. These insights are exceedingly valuable and can help a homebuyer determine whether a house is a worthwhile purchase.

3. A homebuyer ignores a home inspection report.

After a home inspector completes a property evaluation, this professional will provide the homebuyer with a home inspection report. Then, a homebuyer will have a set amount of time to review the report to determine whether to proceed with a home purchase.

A home inspection report contains plenty of valuable insights, and as such, should not be ignored. Instead, a homebuyer should spend time evaluating the report and learning from it. And if a homebuyer has any questions, he or she can reach out to the home inspector who provided the report for answers.

Lastly, if you need help planning a home inspection, you should employ a real estate agent. By hiring a real estate agent, you'll have no trouble getting in touch with the best home inspectors in your area.


Although you might have entered the housing market with a strategy to help you streamline your search for your dream home, it is important to remember that even the best-laid plan may need to be changed. And if you fail to discover your ideal residence after a comprehensive search, now may be a great time to revise your homebuying strategy.

Let's take a look at three tips to help you revamp your homebuying plan.

1. Consider Your Home Must-Haves and Wants

Creating a list of home must-haves and wants may be done at the start of a house search. Over time, however, this list may evolve. And if you update your list, you may be better equipped than ever before to reenter the real estate market with a fresh perspective.

Think about where you want to live in the foreseeable future too. Then, you can narrow your home search to specific cities and towns and accelerate the homebuying journey.

2. Review Your Budget

If you recently paid off your student loans or eliminated your credit cards, you may want to reassess your homebuying budget. That way, you can hone your house search and explore residences that fall within your up-to-date price range.

Of course, if you have yet to get pre-approved for a mortgage, you can still do so. Meet with banks and credit unions to learn about all of the mortgage options that are available. This will enable you to gain the insights you need to select a mortgage that matches your finances.

3. Learn About the Housing Market

The housing market may favor buyers or sellers. And if you have been searching for your dream home for several weeks or months, the market may have changed.

It does not take long for a buyer's market to become a seller's market, or vice-versa. As you consider your homebuying options, you should study the local real estate sector closely to determine whether the current housing market favors buyers or sellers.

Evaluating the prices of recently sold houses in a particular city or town usually is a good idea. This housing market data will enable you to find out whether sellers are receiving offers at or near their initial home asking prices.

You also should find out how long current residences in a particular city or town have been listed. If houses linger on the real estate market for an extended period of time, you may be operating in a market that favors buyers. Or, if homes are selling quickly, you may be operating in a seller's market.

Lastly, hiring a real estate agent often is helpful, particularly for homebuyers who are struggling to identify the perfect residence. A real estate agent can offer lots of tips as you conduct your search for your dream residence. Plus, if you need to revamp your homebuying strategy, a real estate agent will make it easy for you to do just that.


If your house is already on the market, you're probably familiar with the hectic process of getting it in presentable condition for the next showing.

Since there are so many things to remember, it can be helpful to create a "pre-showing checklist" you can refer to whenever you need it. Your reliance on the list will probably diminish over time, but it can be a good way to become more organized, focused, and efficient.

Even the simple action of writing down your priorities will make an impression on your mind and help reinforce your memory of what needs to be done prior to a showing or open house. Here are a few tips for staying on track, simplifying the process, and remembering important tasks that are all-too-easy to forget.

Stay One Step Ahead of Dust

Ideally, every room in your house should be dusted at least once a week, but that chore often tends to get postponed, overlooked, or just plain avoided! The problem with not dusting on a regular basis is that it tends to accumulate and get worse. What often occurs to home sellers is the sudden realization -- typically, just before walking out the door prior to a scheduled house showing -- that there's a thick layer of dust on your window blinds, baseboards, or book shelves.

If you're literally minutes away from a real estate agent showing up at your front door with clients, it's generally too late to do anything about the dust accumulations. However, if you've tackled those issues a day or two before they're walking up your front pathway, you can put your mind at ease that you've conquered the "grunge factor"! If you happen to have a housekeeper handling those details, it might pay to casually remind them to do an extra-thorough job on those dusty, grungy areas.

If you have kids (and even if you don't), dirt, finger prints, and hand smudges can often be found around light switches, cabinets, and door areas. While that might be the last thing you think about when preparing your home for a showing, it could be one of the first things potential buyers notice. Although perfection is an unrealistic standard to aspire to, "the devil is in the details!" In other words, it can be the small, easily overlooked details that undermine your chances for making a great impression on prospective buyers.

A Word About Mouse Traps

Whether you live in a mansion or a bungalow, nearly all homeowners occasionally have problems with mice sneaking into their basement, garage, or attic. Sometimes the little critters even find their way into your main living area (eek!). That's why it makes sense to set up a few mouse traps in areas where mice are most likely to enter. Mouse traps come in a variety of designs, some of which are better for homes with pets, children, or squeamish adults!

When it comes to preparing for a house showing, it's always a good idea to check mousetraps for "victims" that may have sprung your devices. Ideally, mousetraps shouldn't be placed in conspicuous spots, but you definitely don't want buyers to see dead mice anywhere in your house. Granted, live ones are worse, but -- in either case -- any infestation (or the perception of one) could be a deal breaker!


While many homes are sold on the basis of emotional appeal or location, there are plenty of other factors which can help tip the scales in your direction. As a home seller, the more advantages and desirable features you can offer to potential buyers, the greater your chances of attracting multiple offers.

If your kitchen and bathrooms haven't been updated for decades, that could easily become a major stumbling block to attracting qualified buyers. Unless their plan is to remodel your kitchen after they buy your home (which is not likely), house hunters are generally not going to look kindly upon old laminate counter tops -- especially those with the ghastly colors from the sixties and seventies! The good news about making your outdated kitchen and home more marketable is that you have the option of resurfacing old countertops rather that completely replacing them.

Although it's generally a good idea to have professionals do this, you can cosmetically improve the appearance of your kitchen countertops by resurfacing them with granite sheets or tile. Resurfacing is also a relatively inexpensive way to help restore aging kitchen cabinets -- another aspect of your home that potential buyers are going to notice.

According to a recent study, quite a few buyers are drawn to features like stainless steel appliances, subway tiles, farmhouse sinks, Shaker cabinets, exposed brick, pendant lights, and quartz countertops. By the way, Quartz does offer some advantages over granite because it's more scratch resistant, maintenance free, and doesn't need to be sealed or polished.

Other features which attract home buyers include energy-efficient windows and appliances, sufficient insulation in attic and elsewhere (many older homes lack this), low-maintenance flooring (not carpeting), roofing that's been replaced within the past decade, finished or semi-finished basements, first-floor/separate laundry rooms, newer hot water heaters (extra points for tankless units), outdoor security lighting, fenced backyards, and dry basements. If you do have issues with excess moisture or leaks in your basement, it may be helpful to install a sump pump, a dehumidifier, French drains, or other dry basement remedies to address those issues before they're brought up by prospective buyers.

While there are certain aspects of your property that can not be changed, such as proximity to neighbors or the school district in which you're located, their are plenty of cost effective ways to improve the appearance and functionality of your home before you try to sell it. To identify problems before they become obstacles, some homeowners hire a property inspector to point out issues. That way, they're not blindsided by unexpected structural, mechanical, electrical, drainage, or energy conservation issues they might not be aware of. In addition to a reputable property inspector, a seasoned real estate agent can also be one of your best advisors when you're ready to put your home on the market.




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